Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jump changes, dumb Goons, smart Goons

This is an extra post, written because the prepared post for today is somewhat obsolete. The jump range changes prove that CCP doesn't listen to those who demand freebies for themselves.

If you read the comment section of the new dev blog that introduces huge jump nerf, you see two very different kind of Goons. One is doomsaying and joins the N3PL posters with their "I quit EVE now" crying, the other one is celebrating. Obviously one of them is right and the other is dumb. Let's see how this change will affect various groups:

New Sov holders arising: this is the stated goal of the changes. To shake up the stagnation and let new groups in. This will completely fail. The only change on the Sov map will be related to HERO/Provi who can finally finish their war without PL being able to mess with them routinely. And even they can only hold Sov if the big ones let them. Why? Because the change slows down the N3/PL Supercap fleet and the CFC 1000 Megathrons, but doesn't stop them. It's true that they can't show up on every random tower reinforce and be at home for dinner. They must plan a deployment carefully. So they'll probably ignore losing Sov, letting the new Sov holder grind down a few constellations in subcaps and a few capitals. Then the big one deploys, grinds everything back in a few days and the aspirant can't even form up for a fight. Even if we ignore the obvious morale effect, grinding down a constellation in subcaps and a few dreads takes much more man-hours than grinding back with supers or 100 dreads+500 Megas. So a capture-recapture cycle costs more man-hours to the small than the big, while the big has much more. Also, the small one is constantly in the warzone, making no ISK, while the big one spends the capture phase at home, making ISK. It's no-brainer that the attacker will give it up.

CFC vs N3/PL: CFC is a clear winner here, making one type of the Goons rightfully happy. The changes will make it impossible for the same supercap blob or the same Megathron fleet to fight in Querious and Cobalt Edge in the same day. The CFC has theoretical advantage since Megas take gates faster and jumpclone+ship cache is cheaper for Megas than Nyxes. However this is practically irrelevant as the average CFC pilot is more casual so if the FC tells them after a 2 hours structure grind in Querious "now let's take 60 gates to Cobalt Edge" he is likely to uninstall the game. So both groups must deploy to one region and stay there. The real advantage of CFC is that Mega fleet can be splitted, the Wrecking Ball cannot. Why? Because the half-Mega fleet that finds itself outnumbered can MJD out of the bubble, safe up in the staging tower and log out for the day at the cost of a few dozen battleship losses. The half-Wrecking Ball fleet that finds itself outnumbered is going down with trillions on the killboard. So in a CFC/N3PL war the CFC can split and grind multiple regions while N3PL can progress only in one region. The war would end with N3PL condensed into a few regions space that is small enough to be covered by the Wrecking Ball.

While the dumb Goons celebrate their victory in a war that will never come, the smart Goons are crying over their inevitable defeat in the war that is upon them: the one against pirates. You see, pirates don't want to take Sov, they let Goons pay the bills. They take what makes Sov worthy of taking: money moons and ratters. Staging from nearby NPC stations, pirates don't have to project their power, they are at home. By running locator agents on CFC super pilots, they can easily determine if its safe or not to deploy capitals to grind mining towers. Being expert small gang fighters, they can protect them from subcaps (and forming up 1000 Megas doesn't go unnoticed by spies). They kill and drive away the ratters and renters and make ISK in the process. Of course sooner or later CFC has enough, deploys there and grinds everything back. But - unlike with the new Sov holders - this capture-recapture cycle is profitable for the pirates and not the owners. The owners have to deploy-undeploy, the pirates are at home. The pirate towers create ISK for the pirates owning them, the CFC towers create ISK for the pirates siphoning them. The pirates earn ISK during all phases (local missions when CFC is away, highsec alts when CFC is deployed) while CFC pilots can't rat while deployed. The only way for CFC to counter it is being permanently deployed, but they can't be permanently deployed to everywhere. This is the reason N3PL won't be defeated. Capturing more regions would add nothing to the CFC, as they couldn't use them anyway.

Last question: why will pirates plunder CFC and not N3PL? Because CFC went out of their way to make everyone who isn't them hate them and want to take revenge on them. Also, N3PL knows to PvP, so they can fight back the pirates without deployment, in a small-gang way, while CFC small gangs are food for everyone who knows more than pressing F1.

"Go back to EVE, n00b!"

Update: Now we can tell why did the Null leaders made this disgusting suggestion: CCP just released the dev blog that nerfs capital jumps by large. Capitals won't be able to travel fast to further than a region. So they wanted to pack their whole coalition into one region, as they won't be able to defend it against multiple small groups. If PASTA reinforces towers in Delve and MoA does the same in PB, Goons can't go to both fights, they'll lose one. I'm now sure that CCP will not increase the player density and without that, occupancy Sov is actually a good thing: if they stop ratting in a system because of an AFK cloaker, they lose index! Let's celebrate and laugh on their tears in the comment section. Still, it's not without purpose to look at what the product of this despicable cowardice planned to do with the game, just to see how corrupted the current nullsec leaders are.

WoW is well-known to be an easy game. It claims to be easy. Its main dev quit for Riot with the message "it's really refreshing to work on a game where I don't have to worry whether someone's grandmother can pick it up or not." Rewards are openly called "welfare epics" by devs. The lowest difficulty is called "Looking for Retards" by the community. If you'd want to point a non-playing casual grandmother towards a video game, you'd point at WoW.

And you'd be wrong. This WoW guild was randomly picked for one criteria: it has only one heroic (max difficulty) boss kill. Now look at its ranking: "West 21077". "West" means EU and US. About 4M players play from these regions. Most guilds raid with 10-man teams and some with 25. Each has replacements, so a "20 men/guild" isn't a bad assumption. With these, we can conclude that those players who raided just one boss in the heroic difficulty are top 10%. This is a surprisingly small number. It shows that the main endgame content of WoW is still pretty exclusive. 9 out of 10 players aren't good enough for that.

Now let's look at the EVE nullsec Sov-holder numbers: CFC 36K pilots, HERO 17K, N3 17K, Provi 11K, PL 2K, xxDeath 2K, Renters 30K. All together 115K pilots. Total TQ accounts? Around 350K. Sure, many of the pilots are alts and unsubscribed, but still we are facing 20%. It's already easier to get to nullsec than killing one heroic boss in WoW".

There are about 2900 Sov-nullsec systems. If the "dense ecosystem of players undocked and interacting within single system" means just 20 players in local, then 60K players are needed to fill nullsec. EVE has about 30K concurrent logins. So even if everyone would move to nullsec, half of it would still be empty. Under occupancy sovereignty "empty" means "unclaimed". So even if the lowliest of highsec miners would move to nullsec, half of it would still be vacant, waiting for more players to take.

The proposal is for an unprecedented nerf to difficulty in EVE. It would turn Nullsec into an "everyone is good enough to play here", Farmwille-style place. Sure, it would still have ganks, but who cares. A ratting ship can earn itself in a few hours, most PvP ships are cheap T1 craps and watching local isn't a particularly hard task (even if many fail in it). The current difficulty comes not from losing ships, but from losing the Sov, structures and access to docked assets. Under occupancy sov it will be impossible to evict significant amount of groups, even if they don't fight at all. Sure, you can hellcamp them and run sites to raise your index, but as soon as you leave, they can return and get it back without showing up to fleet fights. Or, they can move to somewhere else, there is enough unclaimed space. Unless you do nothing but follow them around like some bitter ex, you can't really harm them. Even if you do follow them around, you can do it to 1-2 groups and there will be thousands.

How long would the "Dark Cold Universe" survive if the word goes around that it's easier than WoW? Would you really like to play a game which gains its new players from those who failed so hard in WoW that the other players told him "Go back to EVE, n00b!"? How did nerfing went for WoW?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Class struggle in EVE Online

Marx would love to play EVE nowadays, because everything he preached came true with the declaration of the nullsec leaders. These leaders have overcame their "ethnic" boundaries, recognized their common class interest as bourgeois and now demand changes that are good for all of them at the expense of line members in all alliances: the proletarians. The critics of their declaration feel that it is wrong, but can't prove it because they still think in "national/ethnic" terms (GSF vs N3). It doesn't work that way. This proposal isn't aimed to help GSF against Nulli or GSF against PASTA. Its aimed to help The Mittani against line Goons and to help Vince against line NC. members.

You must see that the largest income source of alliance leaders are members. They click the "PLEX" link which give the leaders affiliate money, they visit the ad-riddled propaganda sites and they pay the ratting tax that can be used for "purposes". Renters and moons just supplement it, both because they aren't loyal (they can switch or can be taken) and because they pay in ISK instead of PLEX-affiliate $ or ad-clicks. If N3/PL would completely drive out CFC from Sov-null, Vince and Grath would get the ISK from the renters and moons, but they would never get PLEX-affiliate money, ad-clicks or tax money from CFC members. The CFC members would either follow their leaders to lowsec or quit playing. This makes the conflict negative-sum. If either CFC or N3/PL would be destroyed, the sum of the $ income of Mittani, Vince and Grath would decrease, as the $ of the inactive/quiting/moving to FW members would be lost for all of them. The winner would get a slight increase, the loser would have a large loss. As they have much more to lose than win, they are all interested in upkeeping the status quo.

This is in direct conflict with the interest of their line members. The line PL and NC. members are eager to get revenge for B-R. They didn't rebuilt their titans for ship spinning. Similarly the CFC members haven't joined to shoot red crosses, but to ride with the 1000 Megathrons. The social contract between line members and leaders is "we pay you tax and grind structures, you provided us awesome fights". If the signatories would just announce "we won't fight anymore, we'll just rat all day" their members would quit overnight.

To prevent this, they agreed to not attack the Sov of each other and satisfy the bloodthirst of their members with staged fights and lolroams. They signed the BoTLord treaty to guarantee that no real fight will ever happen in New Eden again. Fate is wicked. Only 10 days later mistakes were made by mid-level managers and FCs and the signatories were facing 11T ISK reimbursement costs. They also remembered the Falcon incident: at any point one of them can lose his nerve and perform a knee-jerk action ruining coalitions. This time they want systematic checks and balances hard-coded into the game that protect their status and income forever against human mistakes of both their underlinks and their own. They want CCP to guarantee that there won't be a single major fight again.

Their suggestion wishes to reach it by separating their armies regions away. With "increased player density" all CFC can rat in Deklein, all PL/BoT can rat in The Spire and all N3/NA can rat in Omist, making any kind of random conflict impossible. The other regions would be available to terribad alliances who serve as easy food for bloodthirsty members. Dunking them is possible even for a junior FC, so reimbursement costs are low, capital subsidies aren't needed.

In the meantime, ratting greatly increases due to safe use of (super)capitals. 50 Nyxes in a fleet, each in its own anom, warping to the tackled one cannot be killed by anyone within 5 region ranges, so they can keep on ratting with even a small gang in local. This means greatly increased tax income with greatly decreased Sov costs. As there would be barely any structures to maintain, no strategic fleets to lead, no capital ops to plan, leaders would have no work, just income.

The other winners are the terribad wannabe-leaders. Arthasdklól, freshly switching from WoW can start a REAL NULLSEC SOVHOLDER CORP with his local-chat recruited buddies and take a system in the buffer regions. While they'll be routinely farmed, no one wants to take their Sov or structures, so Arthasdklól can be a proud FC and REAL NULLSEC CEO. Needless to say how much fun his corpmates will have in this process. Please understand that "new corp/alliance" means "new corp/alliance leader" and not "new line member". Line members already have the options to join nullsec corps that function at a level above Somalia. They have no interest in the success of their current terribad corp, actually their interest is to get out and find a functional one. Only the leader has interest in the success of the corp.

So with this shameless proposal the main winners are the bourgeois who will profit from the highly productive mechanized (Nyx) and socialized production performed by the proletariat. The lesser winners are the petit bourgeois who can now have the status of REAL NULLSEC CEO without being any good. The losers will be the proletarians who will forever be abused into shooting red crosses and lolroams without any hope for anything remotely resembling the fights they heard about and joined for.

Workers of the World, Unite!

PS: why would I support the worker class against the "bourgeois"? Because EVE isn't real life but a video game. If production increases and combat decreases, that's very good in real life. But horrible for a video game. Video games must have conflict coded into them and this proposal would remove all conflict from nullsec.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

90% of Nullsec leaders want to rat safely in Nyxes

In an unprecedented event, the leaders of the Sov-holder alliances made a declaration how they want to change Sov mechanics.

These suggestions aim at one thing: to forever stabilize their situation and allow them to earn real money from playing EVE (by selling third-party content and as PLEX-affiliates and totally not by illicit RMT) without the risk of either a new empire ending their income or infighting between each other "because of a Falcon".

I urge CCP to realize that the signatories are personally depending on Nullsec being stagnant and would go great length to prevent any conflict. The best event that ever happened in EVE - B-R - which brought unprecedented player influx to EVE is their worst nightmare. Where we see a spectacular battle, they see $300000 lost income! The ISK they have to give to their pilots to reimburse the losses is an ISK they can't keep for themselves for "purposes". Remember when Montolio lost his coalition overnight for trying to play EVE instead of Jabber or when Nulli was reseted for trying to remove Providence that serves as a distraction for all to prevent a N3-CFC conflict.

The crucial point is "We believe that vast swathes of conquerable nullsec are essentially worthless to our line members and can only support the activity of a handful of players in each system. We would like to see the value of individual systems increased to support a dense ecosystem of players undocked and interacting within single system." In short: "we need solar systems to allow more ratters". This is numerically provable lie. Let's look at the Dotlan toplist of August. Best ratting system: RQNF-9 with 578665 rat kills. So you can surely kill at least this amount of rats in a single system. If we assume that it's the theoretical maximum (it's not), than in all 3295 nullsec systems people could kill 1900 million rats in a month. Number of rats killed in August in Nullsec: 97M. Yes, that's about 5% utilization and these shameless liars claim that nullsec is full and ratting should be made easier.

Why do they do it? Let me translate "a dense ecosystem of players undocked and interacting within single system": "50+ Nyxes ratting in the same system in fleet under cynojam." Each is farming in its own anom, if one is tackled, the rest warp to it and no small gang can break the spider tank of 50+ Nyxes! Currently such farm is impossible as a system can't support more than 4-6 Nyxes, that is too small number to tank BL, Snuff Box, MoA, Tri or Hard Knocks (they didn't sign, surprise!).

In the proposed Nullsec, most of the current ratters would be in a few systems, leaving the rest of the space available for bad players to form buffer zones where the big players and third-party pirates could satisfy their bloodlust. Please note that "creating conflict" and "allowing small alliances in" are mutually exclusive. Why would the big ones attack each other while a single small one is alive?! Protected by these buffer zones and wanting nothing that the other have, the signatories can sell their titans and keep the ISK. Hell, they don't need the 1000 Megas either, so they can keep the SRP fund too, the members won't need it anyway. If their suggestions comes true, there won't be a single strategic battle ever again in Nullsec!

What should CCP do instead? What they did with ice belts! Anoms spawn and if you rat them out, they won't respawn in X hours, you must move to another system. Make the spawn rate so high that perfect ratting would allow a bit less than what's killed today. This would make the space used, as ratters would need to move around. It would also force PvP as safeing up and waiting for local to clear would mean that others kill the limited anoms.

Their "occupancy-based sovereignty" suggestion just underlines their aim to avoid any conflict. They don't want to put titans or even 1000 Megas to risk. They literally want to capture land by ratting. The systems where their supers are ratting would be on max index, the rest be damned.

What CCP needs is making space a scarce resource, something worth fighting for, something that everyone wishes and only the best can own. The signatories want the very opposite: space being abundant and so worthless that literally anyone can own some. Please understand that there are two limiting factors over making ISK: resources and your time. If a resource is limited, people will have free time that they'll use it fighting for the resource or just for fun. If the resource is unlimited, there is no need to fight and all your time is consumed by making ISK anyway.

Of course there is no need for doomsaying. With the FW-farm-disaster CCP shown that while they are prone to ruin the economy with totally unbalanced features, they also shown that they aren't shy to fix them overnight. If this abomination would be implemented, they would see the runaway ISK influx from Nyx-farms and would stop further damage. But still, it would be much better if this wouldn't be implemented.

One personal comment: such amount of nerf-begging and demanding the devs to give them freebies would make Arthasdklól of WoW ashamed.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mining missions: Thukker LPageddon

The graph shows the value and volume of Thukker Tribe Loyalty Points, calculated from the Jita market history on Mid-grade Nomad Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon and Omega implants, weighted by their costs. The other items in Thukker store are either normal Empire faction items or have no volume. As you can see, it's been decreasing in the last 4-5 months, crossing 2000 ISK/LP for the first time ever.

Considering that the traded volume doesn't show anything extraordinary, this isn't trading or manipulation related. The reason for the continuous price decrease is my mining mission farm post. For proof, we have the dotlan ratting data (example):
The ratting in Hodrold grew by 400% in the last 8 months. Hodrold is a back-end highsec-island system with not many PvE options. It has no security agent, nor a fixed complex. The places where you can kill rats are mining belts (including an ice belt), random anomalies and scannable sites. Why would anyone go to the end of the World for doing what he could do literally anywhere in continuous highsec (except for the ice belt)? There is no reason, and you can see that the neighboring Hroduko did not get any attention. But Hodrold has the only highsec lvl4 Thukker Tribe mining mission agent. Mining missions spawn rats that your drones must kill, or they take out your barge.

The good news is that people respond to published moneymaking opportunities. Hodrold was practically empty when I started mining there. Now it has 40-50 on local and dscan is full of Retrievers and Ventures. For some reason CODE. never shown up, only a Goonwaffe member contributes to the discussion on local.

The first bad news is that you've missed the party. The total Nomad implant volume is around 2M LP a day, which can be collected in about 160 hours of running missions. With 40 pilots on local, it's that's just 4 hours, mostly AFK. So Thukker LP is going down to 1000 ISK/LP, the standard Highsec LP cost. There will probably be a plateu on the graph around 1500 when the security mission runners quit for SoE, decreasing the production volume, but eventually the mining mission runners will grow to the point where it'll be more profitable to buy standard Empire implants than Nomads. If you bought Nomad implants for speculation, you are going down. These are the expected prices for Mid-grade Nomad implants:
  • Alpha: 50M
  • Beta: 67M
  • Delta: 162M
  • Epsilon: 285M
  • Gamma: 99M
  • Omega: 554M

The really bad news is how immature the game economy is, considering its age. This opportunity was here since Venture was introduced and no one jumped on it. The Thukker L4 security missions were here since ever and yet people underused them so much that they had 2-3x higher LP/ISK ratio than random empire factions. Why does anyone run missions for standard empire corps when Sisters of Eve is all over the news? The solution is that dumb players are just as common in EVE as in WoW, despite they are so full of themselves, believing to be the pinnacle of MMO players.


PS: If you are a pirate with the genius idea to camp Frulegur to catch the ships full of Nomad implants, you're up for a disappointment, everyone with a brain flies to a Thukker station in continuous highsec with an empty ship and buys the implants there.

PS2: a bonus ISK making idea from Phil Alexander available even for genuine newbies (1 day old players)

PS3: New doctrine in the CFC! Solo, spider-tanking, blinged slowcat.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekend minipost: MoA ISK and CFC ISK losses

The MoA donation board collected more than 35B ISK in less than a month! This will allow them to continue killing the minions of Evil. Especially if you donate too! Note: the "last donated" field is still bugged.

Please count the stupid on this. Hint: ship, fitting, place, cargo. And once again. And again!
Mercy killing.
PBLRD forces lost 6.5B in the battle of Uedama.
He got out of Branch alive!
Don't do highsec exploration in your learning clone with the mark of Evil on your ship!

PS: I often got letters asking for advice. I sometimes doubt if I should answer them helpfully or put them here for laughter. I guess I can do both:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekend minipost: bad complexity

The dev blog is out with the rebalancing of modules. Meta 1-4 modules used to be useless except for one, now each are given a role or merged into others. This is good. Faction and deadspace modules are changed too. This is good for some and bad for others. But there is something that I see no upside: several modules left redundant or made redundant. Below you can see the tables from the dev blog. The ones with the same background color are identical in stats, yet they are different items, so you must search all of them in the market for buying the cheapest one. This is bad complexity, adds nothing to the game. The identical modules should be merged. Having only one would also bring better price stability due to higher volume.

Before you'd say "lore", there is nothing against putting a flavor text to the merged item like the "Navy Co-Processor" could say "This advanced co-processor was independently developed and used by Caldari, Federation and Khanid navies. Shadow Serpentis and Dread Gurista pilots often use them if they can get their hands on them."


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