Wednesday, September 24, 2014

EVE skill system and M&S

People always whine how the EVE skill system is punishing newbies and this or that skill should be removed or made baseline or whatever. Reading Tobold about "progression" made me realize that these whiners aren't just randomly wrong, they are as wrong as they could be. The EVE skill system is the best possible in the gaming industry.

At first we have to realize the importance of "character progression" in games. You see, they aren't needed by default. You don't progress in a Starcraft battle or an FPS game. You definitely don't have stronger pawns or smaller goalposts because you played lot of chess or Football.

The "character progression" was created to simulate the non-existent player progression for bad players. When you first play a game, you suck horribly. Then as you learn the game, you get better. Your increasing scores reflect that progression. But this is only true if you aren't a moron or a slacker. Mining or friglolling for years won't make you any more powerful. So rather sooner or later the M&S would realize that he isn't going anywhere, would blame the game and quit. But the built-in character progression allows him to see better scores without being any better. You killed 10 wolves? Here is a sword and your DPS increased. You killed 10 more wolves? Here is a new level with more DPS. The increased DPS shows you became so much better in the game and now you are now capable of ... killing 10 wolves! Here is a new magic ring providing more DPS!

The problem with this standard, WoW-like character progression is that it rewards no-life grinding, which both burns out some of the players (who quit in disgust), while those who have enough time to kill all the wolves will complete their character and leave the game because "it has no content". This cannot happen in EVE. Your character gets more powerful every day without any grinding and you'll never run out of "content". You spent the whole year with doing nothing besides lolling in frigs? You can now fly Amarr battleships with T2 guns and all support skills!

Take this away and all the M&S would notice that he isn't shaping the narrative, he isn't a butterfly that makes a storm, he is just another scrub and it won't change.

PS: this Goon minion lost his bling only because he didn't have High Speed Maneuvering 5. When he'll have it, he'll be unstoppable!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The HERO-Provi toys

I read the battle report of BR-N97 and couldn't help being sad about both HERO and Proviblock. Their fight didn't decided the outcome. Hell, not even their diplomacy decided it. PL first shot HERO and repped the IHub, then shot Provi, leading to the destruction of the IHub. NC. helped HERO (formally against PL), but they didn't shoot each other.

This is beyond the "you must kiss our ring or die". This is "you are irrelevant toys we play when bored". PL, NC. and the rest of the "third parties" can't care less who'll win, they just blow up ships at will, enjoying their supremacy over both HERO and Proviblock.

My simple question is, why do these two play along? Why don't they recognize that their current actions don't shape the future of Providence and Catch. The coin that the PL FC tosses to decide who to shoot have more power than them.

What could they do? Refuse to be a toy. Abandon Providence/Catch and their dreams of being independent Sov-holder. There are awful lot of options where they can make difference instead of just being a toy:
  • Kissing a ring, becoming member of N3, PL or CFC blocks. I obviously hope no one picks the CFC, but for HERO and Provi, even that would be better than being a toy.
  • Picking one of the blocks as arch-enemy because of some past or present grievance and move to NPC space near them and hunt ratters.
  • Move to WH space. The new small-ship WHs favor frigswarms.
  • Move to highsec, kick RvB out of the POCO throne.
  • Pick an FW faction and win the war for them.
This is just what I could make up in 5 minutes. I'm sure there are better options and they can find them if they try. But anything is better than being a toy for bored PL/NC./whoever. Of course I have a reason to write that: nullsec is stagnant because HERO and Provi allows the powerblocks to have content without risk. Would they stop being a toy, a real war must start or the powerblocks crumble because their bored pilots unsubscribe.

PS: some of you question my judgment that Goons are evil. So let one of them describe their motivation with his own words:
If you want to do something about these baby-robbers, donate!

PS2: RAZOR (a not too successful minion of the Evil) deploys to lowsec and mentions better Jita access among the reasons.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hellcamps, deployments and ISK

Seems I was wrong about the hellcamping of the NPC station occupied by Mordus Angels. It did cause a few Mordus corps to leave. After talking to some members of them, the reason why hellcamping isn't useless revealed: lack of ISK.

Let me explain: bubble-camping an NPC station stops those who live there from undocking in anything but interceptors and nullified T3 ships. One can also leave via clonejump or setting his medical clone elsewhere and undocking in a pod. This is why I couldn't imagine why Goons are doing it. If I'd live there, I'd just clonejump somewhere else and attack unprotected CFC members from there. Most Mordus members did the same. But not all of them, because operating from somewhere else need combat ships in a station "somewhere else".

Since Black Frog can transport stuff for people who don't own a JF, I considered this a minor nuisance. If I was a Mordus pilot, I'd have a stack of ships, ammo, spare 3% HW and such in half dozen stations to act from. I could do that, because such stack costs about 2B and it is something I can easily set aside. Setting up the packages and the transports are probably more effort than earning their price. But not for an average player. There is a reason Goons travel in convoy fleets instead of having ships everywhere: they can't afford it. Some MoA corps couldn't either.

Besides the pilots, the alliance itself needs assets in all bases: a bridging titan, several towers with guns, jump freighters, black ops battleships, a few triage carriers, dreads with fuel. Counting with 5-600 active pilots, a deployment base costs about a trillion ISK. Yes, that's just one base outside their home. Having just one such base doubles the manpower needs of a hellcamp. Goons must operate a full fleet on both bases as MoA could just log in, fleet up, clonejump to the other base at once, undock and break the camp if it's not properly manned. If the alternative base is in lowsec, then hellcamping becomes theoretically impossible.

So the hellcamping issue is an ISK issue. MoA - both pilots and the alliance - need more ISK to achieve the needed mobility and become invincible from CFC strategic fleets, forcing the minions of Evil to engage in small-gang which usually doesn't end well to them. You can help the alliance by donating, while the pilots must earn their own ships. Yes, being an independent pirate isn't a cheap adventure, the ISK making ship (or the PLEX-ing wallet) is just as important for success as the combat ship.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Weekend minipost: donation drive over 30B

The Mordus Angels donation board recorded more than 30B ISK. While I'm clearly the #1 donator, I provided less than 1/3 of the ISK. Mordus killed the most CFC last month and the CFC is camping them hard in return. They need your support to continue killing the minions of Evil.

In the meantime, this minion wasn't really smart.
This ratter and this interestingly fit hauler learned the hard way that renting from the Evil is wrong.
Travelling in a pod in highsec is completely safe, especially if you serve the Evil.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The reason of ALODs

ALOD posts (awful loss of the day) are common in EVE community sites. Everyone is happy to see Darwinism in action. Their common explanation is "stupid".

But the losses I saw yesterday got me thinking. A guy lost 1, 2, 3 blinged Machariels within 3 hours to the same killers. Losing one blinged Mach could happen anyone who is dumb. But fitting another one and losing it to the same guys in an hour? And doing it again? One thing is for sure, he did it on purpose. It's similar to the Chremoas loss.

Now the question is, why would someone want to do that? To find the answer, at let's replace that blinged Mach with a PvP fit frigate. Would you still consider him an idiot? No, most people would call him "PvP-er who was looking for fun fights", despite he'd still lose his ships for zero kills.

The crucial point in ALODs is that the EVE community doesn't look down on ship losses, on the contrary! Driving your ship into certain doom is "fun" and receive cheers instead of laughter. Being defeated in EVE PvP doesn't put the "loser" stamp on you. Avoiding losses on the other hand does, you'll be called a "carebear".

Now, most people lose T2 fit frigates and cruisers. Maybe a faction frigate or cruiser. The ALOD doesn't stand out from the average by its actions but only by its pricetag. However pricetag is a relative term. An OK-fit Cynabal can be someones total fortune, while it's rounding error for a trader. So average PvP-er says "I fly ships that cost 5-10% of my total fortune and I fly them dangerously losing a few per week" and everyone agrees him. If I'd do the very same, I'd be called an idiot for dropping a dreadnought on ratting carriers.

The term ALOD doesn't mean "I would never do that" but "I would never do that with such ship". The speaker isn't mad for losing a Cynabal, he did it on purpose for "good fight", but he strongly believes that the fishing Hel ex-owner is very mad, since he'd be very mad if he'd have to grind for a new Hel.

The income of people is very different, both in-game and out. A casual player who runs missions or anoms with one account can earn 50-100M/hour. A trader can earn 10x more. Someone who has a $100K/year, 200hours/month job can earn 2B ISK by working an hour and buying PLEX. It's not right to laugh on someone doing the same thing as you just because he can afford to do it with 10x more expensive ships.

Of course I'm not calling losing Machariels smart. I just point out that the common opinion of "throwing away ships for fun" is mutually exclusive with yelling ALOD! The smart thing from the Machariel ex-owner would be doing what I'm doing: using his money to enable the PvP of those who have less money. If I'd throw away 60B a month for PvP ships, I would never ever get 200-300B damage on CFC. Probably I wouldn't get 20-30B, I'd just lose my ships for miniscule kills.

If you are rich in EVE, doing PvP yourself is either waste of time (you lose more on opportunity cost than on the ship) or making ALODs. If you are good in making ISK (or have lot of real money to spend on the game), you should support those who are good in PvP but horrible in making ISK. If that pilot would donate the cost of the Machariels to Mordus, he'd be on top of the donation board instead of the Pursuit of Happiness killboard.

PS: as the Goon renter alliance constantly lose members, in their desperation, Goons opened NOBUX for individual players wanting to rent in CFC space. So for only 250M ISK you can put in a cyno tackle ratter pilot into PBLRD! I fully endorse this initiative!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why are Goons so mad at my GRR project?

Goons are mad. Every time I post on the official forum, Goons post dozens of insults, usually ending up as ISD food, but some less primitive ones can be seen. Just search for "Gevlon Goblin", open the thread and "enjoy". Also, I moderate out comments telling "you are irrelevant" by dozens from this blog. Why do they bother so much?

At first, because they get humiliating amount of damage from my project. It's over 2T now, with 200-300B more every month. That's close to 10% of their total monthly damage. And they had to give up the Goonwaffe POCOs. People used to believe that CFC is untouchable by anyone and anything short of the N3/PL Wrecking ball. It's not that a player or small group can't defeat them (that's obvious), but they can't even do token damage to CFC, because of its near-infinite resources and manpower. I measured the "infinite" and found that while 3T/month isn't small, it's neither stellar (about 60M/pilot). I've shown that they aren't untouchables, you can hit them too. The Mordus Angels donation board was created to allow PvE players to contribute to the destruction of CFC.

Secondly, my charts. Before I started posting the killboard data analysis, everyone believed that most of the damage to CFC comes from N3/PL. I proved month after month that the main CFC killers are non-sov-holders, providing well-deserved publicity to the "NPC trash", (propaganda term of CFC against their deadliest enemies). This will lead to increased recruitment, as previously everyone believed that the big action is done by Sov-holders, so those who wanted to matter in PvP went there. My ratting analysis provides intel where they rat and also provide quantitative results for AFK cloaking campaigns.

But above all, the reason of their madness is their total inability to fight back. All the damage they could cause me since I've started this project in January is taking my experimental C1 WH back in March and popping a few destroyers during Burn Jita. Much less than 2T with no hope of further damage. They can't gank my transport Tengus and there is little point in ganking tanked Retrievers. Of course I spend lot of ISK on the project, but that's all my decision. They can't force any loss on me.

PS: Kirothe used to be in Galactic Hauling Solutions Inc.. That corp accepts JF contracts the same way as Black Frog. Kirothe saw 5 contracts issued without collateral by a Goon minion and did what any decent person would:

PS2: I usually don't mock friendlies, but this guy would definitely be better off spending his ISK on the donation board than on Machariels.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Amazing story! A player won 800B ISK on Maybe I misquoted the name of the site, but whatever.

RMT (usually combined with botting and account theft) is a plague on every MMO. EVE could limit its effect by using a sanctioned method, the PLEX market. It allows good players to play for free and bad players to get ISK without breaking the EULA. But it does not allow getting real money for playing, so there is still reason to bot, steal and RMT the ISK away.

The main danger in doing RMT is delivering the game money without getting caught. If you just transfer large amount of game money to a total stranger, or rather multiple strangers, it rises flags instantly. After all, EVE players aren't famous for giving their ISK away to strangers, so false positives are pretty rare.

RMT-ers in EVE started to use the fake-gank method where a ship full of expensive items were ganked in a safespot by the buyer. This blended into the baseline because lot of legitimate idiots are ganked. However such methods are often visible to the community via killboards and get publicity. Also, half of the loot destroys, halving the income of the RMT-ers.

SOMER Blink pioneered a new RMT method, using gambling. Gambling is legitimate in EVE and by its nature contains stupid and pointless ISK transfers. Someone sends billions to the site and gets nothing back? He lost! (and totally not a botter who was paid) Someone receives 800B? What a lucky jackpot! (and there is totally not a $8000 transaction to the bank account of the site owner). The reason Blink got caught is that they were obviously open with their policy with those "blink credits for PLEX" and later the "PLEX buyback promotion" that ended their career.

Such obvious method had a positive: it was easy to manage and any random guy could join. The new RMT method is more complicated, but also more lucrative (risk vs reward in its finest): the buyer pays real money and then told to make a bet and then he wins! The non-paying players lose and finance the scheme, along with botters and account thieves who deliver their ISK via large gambling losses.

I think CCP should make an official in-game lottery and ban all other forms of gambling within EVE to prevent this form of RMT transfers. The official lottery could also serve as an ISK sink in the game.

PS: don't forget the Burn Branch bounty! You can catch purple battleships! By the way anyone knowing fitting can tell if he was just dumb for putting a warp disruptor to a ratting boat, or did he really try to PvP in that thing?

PS2: a small error was fixed in the ratting analysis post, tables updated. The difference is too small to be seen on the charts. Also, a new table is inserted, the coalition ratting distribution:

Subscribe to the goblinish wisdom