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:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No country was ever defeated by asymetric warfare

The title is common argument against my asymmetric warfare campaign against CFC. However there are two problems with that. At first, many armies were defeated in a war with serious guerilla participation, like the nazis in France. The French Resistance liberated Paris before the "real" enemies of the nazis arrived. The CFC isn't without "real" enemies either. The last war ended with these enemies capturing all land they aimed for. It doesn't include CFC land, just the land of the temporary allies of CFC, despite their effort to defend such allies. The difference of strength between the powerblocks can be shifted by asymmetric warfare to the point where N3 can safely invade the starving CFC.

The second problem is more important: CFC isn't a country, it's a video game guild. Countries - until defeated - retain control over their disgruntled members, video game guilds can't. Just because the allies bombed German cities, the people who lost their homes were still under the control of Hitler, they still could be conscripted to his army or sent to work in his military factories. Hitler couldn't care less if they were mad, so made little effort to save them.

On the other hand, a CFC member can easily quit CFC both permanently and temporarily after he lost several ratting and hauling ships and got "lol don't be bad" as support from his "bros" who also donated money to his killers just for comedy. The permanent way is what Hirr choose, who were disgruntled over something and left RAZOR for Northern Coalition. Corps, alliances or even individual members can do the same over PvE losses.

Temporary quit is the player simply not logging in or playing on a non-CFC alt. This decreases his future loyalty. He might logs in for a "titan tackled" ping, but not for bombless bombers or a station camp, directly decreasing the combat power of CFC. You must see the social contract of sov-holder nullsec alliances and their members: the alliances provides access to ratting/mining/PI space while the member provides his presence in boring fleets. Fun fleets don't matter here, since NPC null/WH/lowsec/highsec PvP groups provide that too, the unique selling point of Sovholders is using Sov.

Of course you can claim that CFC members don't care about ISK making ability in nullsec. Some surely don't. But we saw the ratting numbers and claiming that ratters don't care about ISK is stupid. ISK is the only reason for ratting and destroying assets takes this ISK.

If asymmetric warfare reaches the point where ratting is no longer profitable, owning space will no longer be profitable, leaving only those members loyal to CFC who don't care about land or only as bragging right. While such players exist, the ratting numbers say that they aren't the average members in CFC.

PS: keep up the asymmetric warfare against the Evil! Donate! Already 25B collected.
God Bless the awoxing event of the Goons.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The proper handling of official forums

I'd like to give an advice not just to CCP games but to all gaming companies how to properly moderate and handle their official forums in order to both meet their interest of having a positive relationship with customers and also foster constructive discussions for the betterment of their product: shut the damn thing off and leave it that way!

An unmoderated forum is obviously unbearable experience to anyone with braincells and serves absolutely no purpose. However moderation isn't a trivial issue for any site operator, even if he has no financial interest in the issue. Before addressing the issues of subjectivity, we must address a problem arising from the "4 fun ppl" theory. Even a bot could moderated useless comments as "i lolled" or "waddafukk iz thiz" or "ground floor". But such commenters are people and their comments are genuine expression of their inner self. Yes, their inner self is a bit shallow, but they are classified as "4 fun ppl" for a reason. The problem is that cruel rejection of the expression of their hearts in the form of moderation will make them mad. They are unable to understand that their contribution is worthless (otherwise they wouldn't make them) and see their moderation as an act of injustice and oppression.

While a blogger or fansite operator has absolutely no reason to care if a "4 fun peep" is mad at him, a profit-oriented gaming company cannot permaban them without cutting deep into their bottom line. So the hide-and-seek game of moderators and trolls takes place where the topic is filled by 10 pages of crap, then it get deleted with inhuman moderator effort and then refilled by the very same "trolls". Having no official forum solves this problem: the "4 fun ppl" are banned by evil bloggers and not by the developer.

Even if a game company would be ready to make the financial sacrifice to alienate those who can't form a coherent opinion and have moderators who respect differing opinions, they still face the problem of out-of-the box criticism. The "in-box critic" accepts your general context and argues over a technicality. For example you outline a plan of limiting force projection in EVE and someone claims it won't help, you need mechanics to break up large alliances. While you disagree, you both seek solutions of the same problem (blue doughnut) in the same way (mechanics change). Now some guy arrives and claims that the superpowers of the blue doughnut are weak, their apex force is irrelevant and EVE PvP is dominated by small-gang engagements. Both parties of the previous argument would agree that this third guy is either a pants on head retard or a purposeful troll and his opinion brings no value to the discussion so they'd agree to ban him and then continue to respectfully argue over the proper mechanics changes. Well, the problem is that the third guy is me and I'm right: CFC suffers most of its losses from "irrelevant NPC trash" and in small-gang engagements. Of course I have proper statistics to prove it and no one even attempted to argue their valitity. But I didn't start with them. I started with stupid titan fits. If the "reasonable people with experience on the field" could silence me then, the CFC loss graphs couldn't be created or published.

The problem is obviously that you can't determine if an out-of-the-box idea is genius or just retarded until it has enough evidence, which is never the case when it first appears. To not silence the rare gems, you must not silence all the dumb ideas, returning to the "unmoderated crap" problem. Damned if you moderate, damned if you don't. What is the solution?

The solution is that the internet is big. I kept on posting my ideas on my blog, despite receiving barely any links, references or any form of support from the EVE community (there is no EVE site in my top 10 referrers. Only Sugar in the top 20). If you just read lot of EVE-related sites, you'd never figure out that I exist. Yet my blog continued to have 4-5000 visitors per day, thanks to search engines that lead people to my ISK making posts and mostly to this page. My EVE audience was formed either from people who followed me from my WoW and WoT times, from people looking for ISK tips and from people who got my link from a friend. Despite the "boycott" of the EVE community, by creating interesting content, I lived on and could survive until I understood the game enough to know what kind of data to analyze.

The solution that you can't moderate someone out of the internet if he is creating interesting things, but you can completely ignore anyone. If l33townzor has a blog where he posts random idiocy, it doesn't hurt you, as no one (or just fellow morons) read it. On the other hand people with valuable opinions will create sites with large audience. These content creators can be considered a focus group, like the CSM, with their viewer count being their voters. Whenever the developer needs input, he doesn't have to look further than these third-party sites. He can participate in the discussion without revealing his developer status, avoiding people trying to manipulate him.

The countless sites doesn't solve, but circumvent the "out of the box criticism" problem. I'm not some oracle who was right all the way. I surely banned lot of people from my blog who were right (not Lucas Kell, he is always wrong). But it did nothing to them, as I only banned them from my blog and not from the internet. If their ideas were worthy, they could form their own audience.

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