Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don't do better, do differently!

The career path of doctors is pretty conservative. First they go to med school. Then they go to do busywork in a hospital as residents. Then they become associates of an established doctor. Only after that, probably more than 15 years after they started the process will they become the ones who do something great on their own.

Wouldn't be cooler if a bunch of students would just self-teach, found a hospital and outdo the old ones? Of course it would be. It doesn't happen though.

Same with farmers, mechanical engineers, homebuilders, athletes and practically everyone else in the professional work. You don't start as a superstar. You start as a student, then continue as an apprentice, than as one of the practicing guys and finally you become a big guy in your field.

For some weird reason, people in EVE find this obvious path bad. Now a HERO leader passed his tears to the public because new wannabe alliance leaders cannot skip that path. They can't just start their own alliance and grow big, they must join the established ones and climb the ladder. And this is so horribly bad, because in a video game we should be able to do what we can't do in real life and become accomplished, acclaimed hot-shots overnight. Well, I've heard in WoW everyone is a hero, maybe you should try it.

The CFC and N3 leaders aren't "just" good in leading coalitions. They are doing it longer than we are playing the game. The Mittani was already behind a CSM term before I got my first million ISK. Vince was leading supercapital fleets before I got my first destroyer. They earned their place in competition with literally everyone in Sov-Null. How much arrogance one needs to believe that there is a systemic error if he can't beat these guys on their own turf?!

But sometimes the magic happens: guys go into the garage of their parents and cook up something that changes the World. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and many-many startup began their saga in the hands of untrained, unprofessional, unsupported, unconnected youngsters. Why shouldn't you be the next?

Because you aren't even trying! These guys didn't do better. They did different. Zuckerberg didn't write a better social media than the existing ones. There were no existing ones. Facebook isn't 10% faster or considered easier to use by 5% more testers than the competitors, it was pioneer work. The old guys couldn't beat him down because there were no old guys on the field.

Any established theater is ... established. It isn't without progress and you can be part of the progress, but there is no way you can start an alternative establishment. You have to join the existing, prove yourself to the big guys, carry their suitcase and learn from them. After you know more than them can you become someone within the same establishment.

Or, you can go somewhere where no one went before. To a virgin land without establishment. If you build something worthy there, you'll be the first - therefore the best - on the field. Of course most places are simply unsuitable for building anything and anyone tries will become one of those perpetuum mobile creating weirdos. The reason why people want to outdo other people isn't simply being competitive, it's avoiding risks: building a coalition is possible, as others did it already. Starting a highsec war against a nullsec coalition on the other hand not only looks silly, but there is no proof that it can theoretically work.

It does. 1.18T losses in Feb-May and another 0.29T in June. Of course before that there were horribly failed ideas including unorthodox titan fits, keeping up a sov-holder based on donations and countless other weird ideas you could see in this blog.

It's respected to do as others, but better, as imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Flattered veterans sometimes throw a well-wish or some handout to the "adorable newbie". Maybe cry with them about how hard it is, because that means that they are awesome for overcoming this hardship. Doing something different meets with ridicule and dismissal. After all, you can only be right if they are wrong.

You should really stop crying that you can't succeed outperforming the veterans on their own turf. Start finding your own turf instead!


PS: this Goon minion had a T1 cyno frig. With a capsule that would bring tears of joy to the New Order.
Bonus: a pure blood Goon was doing what they are best at.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Nerfing supers is deleting the EVE economy

The Goon propaganda brigade is in the overdrive about nerfing supers because they are an "apex force", something that can't be countered by anything but itself. Everyone against it were too busy explaining why is it important to have special, endgame ships, while ignoring that the whole "apex force" thing is a big lie. Supers can't fight without subcap support because they can't tackle each other. If you drop a bunch of supers on other ships, they just warp off and laugh. Sure, you can grind down structures in unsupported supers, but if you just once go unprepared, just once don't have the numbers online, you get B-R.

The big lie about B-R was CFC going all in. CFC never goes all in. The whole Botlord is about avoiding going all in, even in a favorable situation. The whining and crying to avoid fighting Montolio was about avoiding all in. In B-R N3PL went all in and lost. CFC on the other hand took minimal risks. If hundreds of N3PL supers log in for the pings, CFC would just jump in their subcaps, clear tackle and jump out. Sure they'd still lose some to the first doomsdays and some unlucky would get bumped or disconnected, but losing trillions was never on the table for CFC. Supers might win timers but only subcap superiority can kill supers. Fun fact: the B-R battle report shows lot of CFC subcap loses considering they weren't even there according to the propaganda.

If we recognize how dependent supers are on dictors to kill other supers and on other subcaps to clear tackle, we can realize how big the Goon lie is. The question is why fighting so hard to nerf them? The answer is "it's the economy, stupid". Once upon a time PLEX was 200M ISK, now it's 800M. This means an hour of EVE-farming worth 4x more real money when newbies had to mine in Banthams and Ospreys and the Exhumers had 1/8 EHP and 1/8 cargohold. Marauders also couldn't tank whole complexes all by themselves and T1 ships were much weaker too.

Those were the times when losses hurt. Now a subcap can be replaced while waiting for the next fleet, chatting while your AFK miner/ratter gets you the ISK. Now losing subcaps doesn't hurt anywhere else than in your ego, just like in World of Tanks. A whole subcap fleet loss cost less than a single highsec gank, hence we reached the bizarro-world where the 250 men Marmite Collective kills half as much CFC as the 60K N3+PL+HERO+Provi+xxDeath do.

With constant PvE buffs, we reached the point where a somewhat competent player can ignore subcap losses. Especially if his alliance leadership feels generous with the SRP program. Supers are the only ships in the game which need savings to buy or hurt to lose. While I can clearly replace a lost supercarrier, it would still cost me two weeks of farming. If you kill my supercarriers faster than one in two weeks, I'm bankrupt and I guess most people have a bit lower income.

The problem of the CFC with supers is that they require an economy. Without supers, ISK wouldn't matter. The whole economy would turn into a luxury thing, like in WoW: if you have lot of gold, you can buy silly shinies, but nothing that would make you stronger in fields that matter. Why would CFC want to delete the whole economy, turning the game into World of Tanks in space?


PS: Why?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

33B/month without skill, risk or investment

I wrote how no-life multiboxing should be limited by CCP charging subscription not by months but by logged on hours. It wasn't exactly popular, because the loud minority are those who play the most, so enjoy paying as much for their account as a casual who uses the server 1/10 as much.

Instead of more arguments, I prove my point by bringing the mining mission farm to the extreme. For those who don't want to read that long and detailed business post: there are level 4 missions in highsec that require you to warp to a deadspace complex, start your ice/gas harvester on one big resource, go AFK for 10/20 minutes, then dock up. No other player input needed, the pilot is perfect after 2 months of training, no investment is needed and there is no risk of losing ships to rats. In case of ganks you lose an empty pod and a 5M venture or 30M retriever, but no one ganks in mission deadspace areas due to having to scan it down then slowboat from the mission entrance to the barge, which is impossible if your sec status is below -5.

It's an extreme form of AFK-farming. You don't even need multiboxer software, you can just click on the window where input is needed. You can leave the computer at any moment, if you are away for long, you just find your ships full. This means that you can go nolifer without actually affecting your life. If you live or work near a computer, you can run such AFK farm without impacting your main activity. The question is how much you can earn with this. To measure it, I let the farm run whenever I was at home and awake and I checked on it when I had a few free minutes. The amount of LP can be calculated from the amount of ISK spent in the LP store, since all the implants I was buying needed 666.66x more ISK than LP:

I copied these journals from all 5 involved pilots to Excel, got the average implant prices from the Jita market history and got:

Oops! 32.7B income over a month. So an extremely easy, dumb, risk-free and solo activity provided more than a supercarrier a month. My trading income which is gained by understanding markets, investing hundreds of billions and taking risk by flying around with tens of billions is barely more.

You might also noticed that my pilots spent more than 25 hours a day doing this. This is possible by having 5 miner accounts (+1 for Orca boost). I have 5 because I had 5 accounts with slots available for this test. I didn't expect such numbers, so I didn't start more accounts. I mean I had the calculated income, but didn't expect to be able to run so many hours a day without it affecting my ability to work, do chores, write this blog and upkeep a relationship. Cliche nolifers can't do these, but that's because other games need constant player input. In order for your avatar to farm an hour in WoW, you must sit front of your computer and click buttons for an hour or risk banning for botting. To run the mentioned mission farm, you need to talk to an agents 4 times an hour, press the undock button 4 times, warp to the mission bookmark 4 times, approach gas 2 times (other 2 are ice, in range of the lasers), start mining 4 times and press dock 4 times. That's about 2 mins/hour/account activity.

While multiboxing is a plague in all games, the constant need of inputs in other games force (non-botting) multiboxers to be at the same location, so their income is diminishing. 2 WoW avatars kill mobs faster, but not twice faster. After 5, killing mobs is so fast that adding more avatars doesn't speed you up further. In EVE I could keep adding miners up to 30 (where they start idling as I can't do the mentioned clicks fast enough for all of them). They are all in their own missions, not affecting each other. So a cliche nolifer doing the mentioned mining mission farm with 30 pilots (+Orca), doing it 12 hours a day can earn 15.5B/day. Let me put this in perspective: that's 50% more ISK than Pandemic Legion makes (the alliance, not the individual members). Or 2x more than TEST on its peak. The price of a titan every week. If you want to buy the same money on the legitimate PLEX market, that's over $100K a year. All that by one guy, with beginner skills, without exploit or even a multiboxer software and without paying a dime to CCP.

Do you need any further proof how horribly broken it is? The obvious solution is charging after playing time. If you watch 2x more movies, you pay 2x more to the cinema. The subscription should allow X hours/month play, if you want to play more, you have to activate extra PLEX-es. This is needed to put a pricetag on pilot hours which are currently free (pilot existence is not free, but his hours are). This will decrease the farm income by PLEX_price/X ISK/hour. With the increase of PLEX prices, it would market out many farms, opening up niches for casual players. As they play less already than X, their income isn't taxed.

Other possible solution is making AFK-farming impossible. In WoW if your pet kills a mob, you can't loot it and your "kill 10" quest won't progress. You need to put at least one bit of weapon damage into the mob to claim it. The same could be implemented for drones and smartbombs in EVE: if no targeted module activation happened on the rat, it dies without leaving a wreck, giving no bounty nor standings. AFK mining can be killed without complete rewrite by breaking up asteroids into one-cycle chunks. Of course making mining engaging would be better. The point is that you need to perform actions front of the client to earn ISK, decreasing the income/effort ratio (which is over 1B/hour with the mining mission farm now). Of course, botting will still be a problem, but at least botters risk banning, while AFK-ers don't.

Monday, July 28, 2014

You are only safe in the central corp

The personal reason of leading a crusade against the Goons is that I can never be one of them. I'm an "n-word" in their eyes, because I'm not on their out-of-game forum. I can only be their minion, their slave. This obviously bothers me as - unlike with PL and N3 - I'm not into this "elite PvP" nonsense. My playstyle fits CFC much better, but I am not allowed to enter, regardless of what I do.

So far so good, you've heard it too many times. But Goons aren't treating their "slaves" so bad, otherwise they wouldn't have so many and Lucas wouldn't protect them like his life depends on it. Sure, Goonwaffe Goons get preferential treatment, they can stay without any stratop participation, they can stay while they do nothing but ratting all day. But this is an academic argument as I don't want to slack. When I was in TEST, I had near perfect statop attendance. I would probably be in the top 1% of those paplink listings, maybe protesting against bombless bomber fleets by showing up in a Phoenix. Sure, I'd be annoyed that some slackers are being carried, but there is big difference between being annoyed with them and spending 160B+ on defeating them. The truth is that I didn't know why I resented "Goon minions" and just rationalized it with social justice bullshit.

However the recent stupid drama about The Red Barons made it clear why. Alliances, and recently coalitions are having identities. They do stuff. They get mentioned in news. Yet you can't join an alliance, you can only join a corp and corps can join an alliance. Why do corps exist? Because players are social and want to be in a social group smaller than the Dunbar number. While they fight in an 1000-men fleet, they still prefer to be in small, social corps "with friends" in the meantime. But being in a corp is more than a hoop I'd have to jump in order to be in an alliance: it's a serious risk of drama.

When Doc Know lost his cool over someone being mean on the internet, all members of his corps were removed from The Marmite Collective. They lost access to the wars they joined for. They didn't do anything to lose access. Of course in a PvP game, you can lose against your will. If the enemy invades your land, you can fight back. If you fail, you failed, so deserve to lose. But in case of drama, the line members can't do anything.

Except if you are in the central corp. Since it is the anchor point, in case of stupid drama, always the other one loses the alliance/coalition membership. If an SMA leader loses his cool with The Mittani, SMA will ragequit/gets ragekicked from CFC. If the Wildly Inappropriate CEO melts down and gets yelling with The Mittani, WI will leave. If The Mittani loses his cool with the FCON management... yeah, FCON leaves. Goonwaffe can only lose Goonswarm and CFC membership if CFC failcascades. As long as there is CFC, Goonwaffe will be in it. The bottom line is that a Goonwaffe member can only be kicked if he personally does something bad. If you are outside of Goonwaffe, you can lose your CFC membership without anyone even blaming you. It's enough if your corp ceo or alliance leader does what social people often do: gets mad over words.

The above isn't an academic issue. The HBC failcascade, the TEST failcascade, the Falcon-drama, the Halloween Russian failcascade are all examples of people losing their land without even a fight, just because someone above their rank acted like a kid. Of course you can never be safe from drama as long as there are social people around. Even the central corp of HBC lost nullsec. But being in the central corp gives you a safety net: as long as there is a surviving fragment, you'll be in it.


PS: tomorrow comes a shocking business post. No Goons will be mentioned! No speculation used, everything is tried out!

PS2: terminal case moron here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend minipost: expanded cargoholds

Putting expanded cargohold on haulers is good if you are hauling veldspar or other low-value, large volume goods. Not so good if you are hauling valuables. Even less if you are also the minion of evil with a stupid name, with T1 expanders or dodging bubbles in null.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekeend minipost: The three lies of the head of evil

Thank God it's weekend, I refuse to waste more real posts to refute the lies of the head of evil. So he is out again with propaganda against supercapitals. Now this post isn't a good propaganda. Whenever someone is worried for the poor newbies, while his organization massacre them as a recreational activity, it's obvious he is lying, even if you don't see how. The only people who can legitimately speak for newbies besides actual newbies are those who actually helped newbies recently. Everyone else are just wanting to ride on the Malcanis-effect on his newbie-saving suggestion, me included. But let's cut the introduction, it's a minipost. Let's see the three lies!
  • "Eve Online's unique draw was once that a new player could jump into the game and have an impact on the galaxy three hours in." The validity of this statement can be easily seen if we read a bit more: "But true newbies spend the first few weeks being confused by the UI and bumping into things hilariously, calling rats on gates as hostiles, and generally being cute." How can you affect something in three hours if you are being confused for weeks?! But that just proves that he is lying, not that he is wrong. The true proof is in the new player graph: it skyrocketed after B-R and not after 6VDT. Why? Because the unique draw of EVE is inflicting and suffering/avoiding loss. Blowing up $300000 in ships is unique in MMOs. Blowing up a subcaps the target can re-grind in minutes is just World of Tanks in space.
  • "Humans are the sand in the sandbox; the more unique humans involved in a setpiece battle, the more viral the experience." Remember the sov-dropping of BoB? Everyone knows the story in EVE. Lot of people knows the story outside as it was covered well. How many people were involved? One. In this lie The Mittani shamelessly pulls the WoW-lolkid-defense: "BlizzardCCP must create content available to every player, regardless of skill and effort as we are all subscribers." The truth is that WoW had increasing numbers until the mass nerf of WotLK and EVE had increasing numbers until the mass nerf of "tiericide", because dreaming about being a top dog one day is better than facerolling everything and running out of content in a month. Note: killing different peoples frigates isn't new content. I couldn't make myself gank another Mackinaw after 10 weeks, despite I was probably the #1 killer in EVE and not just some nameless frigloller.
  • "Out of control sentry drones and ewar-immune spider-tanking supercarriers ensure he cannot make an impact until he has reached the endgame and acquired a capital or supercapital ship of his own". It's not only a lie because I could afford a super pilot and a supercarrier after 2 months of playing. It's even lie in the sense of "you must fly super to matter". You know how can a frigate single handedly destroy a supercarrier? By stopping its creation. Supers are expensive. They cost 30B to create and a PLEX/month to upkeep as they need a dedicated pilot. That's lot of ratting to gather. Go and kill the ratters and they won't be in supers. Even better: rat yourself, donate and then your alliance won't depend on moongoo and renters, so you can live in NPC space and can troll the "apex force" while they are outside your NPC station and can't do anything. You can defeat a super-riding empire without a super with asymmetric warfare! Of course he doesn't want you to think about that, because an 1000 Megathron riding empire can be defeated the same way.
The Mittani is probably the most powerful man in EVE. So we should ask: what did he do to help newbies in this month? Don't say it's impossible, I have charts to prove you can help them.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Someone stole the Drama Llama's handbag

You probably know that the best PvP-ers of the Lemmings were collected into the corp called "The Red Barons", lead by the Lemming main FC Doc Know. After the Lemming project was closed, they were moved to The Marmite Collective. Despite their small size, they quickly became one of the top killer corps of Marmite. Everyone was happy, until they wasn't:
I guess you noticed the key point: he didn't even accused anyone with wrongdoing. His reason of removing his corp from Marmite, swearing eternal revenge and messing with my highsec wars were simply someone being mean to him.

I'm not worried. Not because Tora Bushido, the leader of Marmite was pretty chill about this drama (his response is the title of the post). Not because the members of his corp joined to kill CFC and not for personal vendetta over "he said she said" (numbers are already dropping). But because I won't be harmed even if he could (he can't) destroy Marmite. Marmite wasn't the first highsec wardeccer, and it's possible that they won't be the last. They might close doors one day. But as long as there are highsec wardeccer pilots, there will be highsec wardeccer corps. They will naturally join into an alliance to share the wardec costs. They will be happy to shoot CFC alliances as they are literally the best targets after the 3 big renter alliances. So I can always make a mutually beneficial deal with "the" highsec wardeccer.

There is no possible way to prevent drama. Social people want to be liked and respected. Stupid words signalling it's not the case drive them maaaad. This is why you shouldn't get invested or attached to any particular one. They can brake down at any moment and turn into raging irrational creatures. The only possible way of cooperating with them is business: you negotiate mutually beneficial terms and you keep your part as long as they are capable of keeping theirs. When the inevitable meltdown happens, you just replace them with ones that function well at the moment.

I honestly hope that my current partners, The Marmite Collective and Mordus Angels will live long and prosper, providing me lot of dead CFC. But I go with open eyes, checking the killboard for prospective alternatives. No social bullshit can ever get into my way.


PS: it seems that drama did not diminish the ability of Marmite to massacre the minions of evil.

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