Greedy Goblin

Friday, April 29, 2016

The death of subscription gaming

I've checked EVE Central to see if there is any change from the old trend, but no. PLEX is 1B while skill injectors are 635M, so the 1 month old data is still right and actually it's even more right today: an SP farmer pilot gets 570M/month for a few clicks. Please note that two SP farmer alts get enough profit to PLEX the main pilot who don't have to sell skills. So you can play like you did last year without paying anything. Perfectly free to play.

This isn't an EVE post. CCP did nothing for these prices, these are completely player set. It's the players who offer so much money (ISK or real) for the injectors that it's profitable to just run SP farmer alts. Even worse: one with 1B ISK (farmed or PLEX-ed) can choose to PLEX his account or buy 1.57 injectors to receive 0.63M SP (at least 20% is lost when injecting over 5M SP). As this is the equilibrium price, we can conclude that for the average EVE player 0.63M SP right now is just as valuable as 1.8M SP over a month plus 1 month game access.

The naive gamer opinion is that the Golden Age of fairTM subscription or buy-to-play models were destroyed by short-sighted suits who know nothing of gaming. Now we have unquestionable proof that the average players value in-game items much higher than access to the game and those who are ready to give up some in-game advantage (by extracting the SP) for free to play are a minority. It's not just some whales are being stupid, the average players demand more in-game stuff to be available for $.

With this result, the "everyone pays the same" model is dead. Well not completely, it can exist as a niche thing for "pure" gamers who demand "fairness", but they can upkeep only indie games and not AAA ones. Why? Because if someone would create a "fair payment" good game, someone would make a clone of it and the players would abandon the first for the second, where they can buy progress with their wallets.

I know it's hard to face the truth and easier to just blame "evil suits", but it won't change the facts: we, the players killed subsription gaming.


Little EVE business PS: people are creating the wildest conspiration theories why PLEX prices are crashing. Not like someone didn't predict it long ago. Short version: since Goons fell and the whole politics is in turmoil, it's no longer sure that New Jita will be built in time. Every month old Jita is used, about 15T/month is sinked out of the economy, instead of the usual +10T/month ISK increase. As a result, the remaining ISK will be more valuable. Therefore every half-decent speculators are selling everything and "invest" into ISK. This of course means dumping PLEX deposits too.

PS2: my miniproject is complete, post will be up on Monday, then I try out Black Desert Online.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A letter to MassivelyOP

After MassivelyOP published an extremely misguiding interview with Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy, I sent them the following mail. Since I'm not sure that they read such things, I post it here too. I also recommend to read the top comment on this article.

Hi,

The article mentioned is extremely unresearched and unbalanced, containing only what Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy said. Many of them are provable lies and well known within the EVE community. Harassment issues are common in EVE and mostly because of the attitude of Paul Elsy. Just some well known issues:

The Bonus Round: it was an especially disgusting "scam" that involved making the victims perform humiliating and stressing stunts for HOURS, recorded and published. Dozens of such soundclouds were created. CCP dismissed it to be a problem, until Ripard Teg who had the most visited fan blog back then started to bang the drums. Only after the outrage were the perpetrators banned. http://jestertrek.blogspot.hu/2014/03/the-bonus-round.html

Not much later his blog was closed, for the telling reason: "And if there's a fundamental truth in EVE Online it's that if enough people want your ship dead, it will die, and all the reps in the world won't help".


The momument vandalism: Well covered back then, but later development of the case missed the media. The perpetrators were members of Goonswarm Federation, just as everyone expected. Yet, their name was cleared by Paul Elsy who lied to everyone in his official position: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4595532#post4595532

He also decided to not hand the criminals to justice. Nothing was done about the fact that they wanted to blame the vandalism on me (libel is another crime). The criminals were not even banned (despite CCP claimed so) and they are still playing and bragging with their "edgy stunt": https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/4fhwfd/mittani_is_mia_spirit_continues_to_wane_shittier/

How did the story got out? Goons themselves bragged about it on their own site, celebrating CCP Falcon! https://www.themittani.com/features/monumental-mistakes-lessons-vandalism/page/0/1

Some of the most recent stuff: An EVE streamer lost her grandfather. Dozens of Goons started to follow her stream with usernames "Grandpaisdead" and co. No CCP action: https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/4fzs1i/gsf_crasskitty_thread_screencaps_large_image/

A prominent Fleet commander (raidleader) CELEBRATED THE TERRORIST ATTACK on Benghazi because one of the four victims was an EVE player he didn't like. https://twitter.com/lexarson/status/723677323808133121

No CCP action, he is still leading fleets. Two in-game assets were named by him: http://evemaps.dotlan.net/outpost/W-4NUU was named "The Benghazi Consulate" on April 23 and renamed again on 26. http://evemaps.dotlan.net/outpost/P-2TTL was named "2 bad you can't blue jihadists" [blue is the EVE slang for ally with].

Finally my pesonal account. I was a top 5 traffic EVE fan blogger and never got involved with CCP dealings, never named devs, just played the game, challenging the then-largest coalition. Going against 40x outnumbering enemy looked like a great game story. When we took their first station, celebrated and claimed that we'll beat them, Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy with his official tag made the following statement: "Whenever I feel down, whenever I feel sad... the outrageous lunacy, sheer tinfoil and unbelievably biased and unhinged craziness of Gevlon's blog always cheers me up." https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/3f3p9m/gevlon_has_spoken_moa_better_than_blncpl_fighting/ctle0xm

When confronted about this, instead of apologizing or claiming to "just kidding", he doubled and tripled down claiming that I'm a madman: https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/3f3p9m/gevlon_has_spoken_moa_better_than_blncpl_fighting/ctuob6t https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/3lf5id/gevlon_answers_directly_to_his_callout_on_reve/cv820ah This constitutes harassment itself. Again: I didn't provoke him, hell I didn't even know who he was, I was just playing the game and didn't hang out with "the cool guys".

Dear Editors, you are doing a great disservice to the community by painting EVE as a safe space where harassment is handled. Harassment is widespread in EVE and Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy doesn't simply turn a blind eye on it, but champions it himself.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Is pay to win such a big deal?

I've always vehemently opposed any kind of pay-to-win, as it devalues in-game decisions. In a strongly pay-to-win game it doesn't matter what you do as long as you spend. In the meantime I usually turned a blind eye on "grind-to-win", despite putting in stupid hours is equally not in-game skill.

However what really changed my position is the fall of the Imperium in EVE. It's clear that they fell because lots of ISK was spent sending various groups after them. However you can buy ISK legally in EVE for real money via PLEX. If someone spent $150000 on PLEX in 2014 or 15, he'd get 10T ISK and could do the same. Destroying the largest coalition is clearly winning and with nothing but money you could do it. Ergo, EVE is as pay-to-win as it can be.

However I've spent four years in EVE and never found it pay-to-win, despite I was working on a project exactly to destroy them via money. According to the recent developer economic report, there are 3000T ($45M) worth of ISK in EVE and less than 10T made this difference. Which means that it's not some inhuman money that can only be purchased via PLEX, it's something present in the EVE world, just most people didn't use it well. I'd guess most of these 3000T are doing absolutely nothing and it's in the form of wallet collections and logged of supers that people built and use for nothing. "Using well" is an in-game decision. "Skill" if you prefer.

So microtransactions aren't an automatic "no" for my next game. It's still a negative, but other factors will be considered. We have to accept that the World isn't perfect and deal with it. Actually, I'd rather deal with an opposing group full of whales than a group backed by an abusive and corrupted community manager.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Let's increase the pie!

Competitive goals are necessarily zero sum. By climbing up the ladder, you push others down. You can't blog "this is how you climb", since the readers compete for the same spots. Also, the way to climb is usually already covered by those who are high: world top guilds gladly share their boss strategies after they killed it. Needless to say, those who actually reached something are more likely give good advices than those who throw around theories with no personal accomplisment.

In the real world, we try to "increase the pie": making goals reachable to people who couldn't reach it before. Today a poor person on medicare gets better health care than a king got 200 years ago. Theoretically, we can do this in games. For example my PuG [pick up group] to Ahead of the Curve idea shows all good players how to do Heroic (and likely Mythic) raids in time by abandoning scrub "friends" and playing with randomly picked similar good players. Such ideas are always unorthodox. "PuG" was a swear word in WoW and the idea that PuGs can reach higher than established guilds was nonsense. Yet I got the "ahead of the curve" before 85% of the raiding guilds (who killed bosses eventually).

Same for the "money is power" and "stats over PR" project in EVE that shown the way to everyone to affect the game World, while previously it was believed that "making friends" and "metagaming" are needed to do that. This way much more people can be more than disgruntled highsec nobody or simple line member.

Is it an "everyone is happy" result? Let's see what really happens if more good players raid in PuGs! Previously there were many "casual raiding" guilds, full of "casual raiders", with PuGs they split into a few "raiders" and lots of "non-raiding scrubs". While the pie was increased (more heroic and mythic bosses killed), the difference between the goods and bads also increased. It seems every good idea cuts into the middle class, grab a few people and pull them up, while the rest sink. I doubt if we can help that.

Anyway, the next project must have a very specific goal (regardless what game it will take place): to increase the "GDP" (bosskill count, PvP damage count, whatever) by mobilizing skilled players who are not yet mobilized, but sit in the swamp of M&S. It won't be easy, especially that most of my recent experience is from a game I cannot play anymore. It's possible that I simply have to play a game for a few months before my brain adjust and can recognize interesting niches instead of figuring out an EVE project and trying to apply it to another game.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A too late victory

This is my last EVE-Offline post. I have a new mini-project. Unfortunately I can't blog about it until it's complete (somewhere mid-next week).

I blame Sugar! She worked so hard and was so enthusiastic that I believed she can make a difference. So at the CSM 10 election I gave another shot to the Council of CFCPL management, just like 25% of the voters and she won a permanent seat. No one ever, not even The Mittani on the peak of his power had 25% voter support. It was as good as it possibly could: a very motivated, very intelligent, very hard working, absolutely metagame-free candidate with unmatched support. We believed she will finally make CSM what it's meant to be: a council representing the players as whole. A year later she practically quit blogging, I don't know if she plays at all (she stopped PvP for sure) and she didn't run. Her debriefing is openly bitter.

I should have boycotted last year and maybe EVE wouldn't be devastated by New Jita. Maybe there were already NDA free focus groups instead of the horrible CSMX. Only after Sugar gave up I realized that CSM is institutionally rotten: any decent candidate is meaningless while any indecent is a huge asset to his group by leaking and by corrupting devs.

Today I "celebrate" my last EVE achievement, one that will surely won't have some LennyKravitz jump out of nowhere to claim credit for: I was absolutely the only community figure who called for a boycott, with the explicit idea to make it obvious that CSM represents only the Imperium and NC/PL. The results: only 3 winners (Steve Ronuken, NoobMan and Jin'taan) aren't (weren't at the time of nomination) from Imperium, PL or NC. The turnout was 40% lower than last election. If we consider that EVE has more players now (PCU increased), the voter % is even lower. Everything went exactly as I predicted and called for. I'm absolutely sure that this harmful organization will be deleted this year.

But it's too late now. They managed to lobby in a game-breaking design and by this, they already fulfilled their purpose: to allow their groups safely monetize EVE until the game dies. When I started the boycott, I didn't see this. I still strongly believed that EVE can be salvaged and I can defeat the corruption rotting it. I won the battle of CSM but lost the war for EVE. I know now that I should have left when Falcon jumped on me. By then, my work was already done, with MoA I've already proved that the Goons are weak and showed the optimal way to beat them. Eep and TISHU would have finished them without me. That last half year was indeed a waste, especially since it didn't even count as a "I had fun playing". You don't have fun in a game where prominent devs are openly hating and sabotaging you. So I don't play anymore.

Since the group with New Jita will be so unbeatable that not even box-of-frogs-mad players will challenge them, those who are lured to EVE with the PR of World War Bee will leave due to the complete stagnation. Could we save it with a CSM boycott a year ago? Maybe. But you know what? It's not our job! We are players, our part is to fight other players inside the game and not fight for the game outside of it, against Sion-like corruptors and Falcon-like corrupted.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Minipost: No, I still won't come back

There are news that broker fees and taxes won't be so steep as originally expected. But they are still disastrous.

At first, as I calculated, the February 5.9T broker fees were gained with an average 0.54% fee. With the same skills and standings, the new proposal will be 2.5% average, so about 20T/month extra will be pulled out of the economy. The 9.8T tax was on 0.9% average, with the new numbers it will be 1.4%, that's another 5T/month sinked out. This will turn the about 10T/month total ISK growth to -15T/month. Since people already stockpile, the "active" ISK will lose bigger percentage, causing hyper-deflation. You must understand that if speculators expect ISK shortage, they stockpile it, contributing the deflation. You can already see this at the drop of PLEX price (actually, the PLEX is the point of reference, the value of ISK goes up).

Secondly, people still don't understand that the bigger problem isn't the tax itself, people would learn to live with it with higher vertical integration and out of market trading (everyoney would know that Joe Veldspar is the guy to go to if you want to buy or sell lots of veld, trading is by contracts). The problem is that the broker fee can be hijacked by the owner of New Jita. If they set the broker fee to 1.5% to be competitive, they still grab about 15T/months. That's still half of the output of all ratters, totally passive. They would still be all-powerful.

Thirdly: even if this get fixed, the pure fact that anyone could even think of such nonsense proves an inacceptable level of corruption or incompetence. I mean, why play if some idiot or corrupted dev can destroy everything you worked for in the next patch.

Fourthly: even if they'd implement institutional checks and balances to make sure this nonsense won't ever happen, my personal "relationship" (we never ever chatted, just publicly defame each other) with CCP Falcon is so hostile that it's impossible for me to return (he would surely go after me and I'd never contribute to his salary by paying/luring in paying players).

Fiftly: even in the case of institutional checks and balances and firing Falcon I would be totally broke since I sent everything away. My 3-4B/hour needs about 1T assets to be rotated. Getting the first trillion would take at least 6-8 months intensive farming and trading. No thanks, I won't go over that again.

Sorry, my departure from EVE is final.

Weekend minipost: why MBC can't last

Don't worry, I'm not considering returning, but I guess I play some EVE Offline until I find a new project (I have two in mind, you saw one of them yesterday). One rarely finds philosophical depth in reddit, but this one delivers:
There seems to be two MBC/reddit schools of thought at odds with each other, the group that wants to make EVE less boring (even if it means more telling people to kill themselves) and the group that wants to make GSF leadership answer for their perceived crimes (telling people to kill themselves)
The Mittani and Sion type Goons were the worst of both worlds: they kept the "edgy" Goon image while in actions they were cliche carebears.

Just as our philosopher said, the half of MBC were after them for the first thing, the other half for the second. As soon as Mittani and Sion are off the scene (a couple of weeks tops) and Goons break into "ratter" and "True Goon" factions, so will MBC: half of them will shoot the ratters (not just ex-Goons) and farm their tears, the other half will shoot those who farm tears. Which will mean that the two halves of MBC will shoot each other. Update: this will happen much faster than I thought.

That will be the true war of ideas. And both groups are native redditors.
The popcorn industry is not prepared.