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.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekend minipost: first week of donations

The Mordus Angels donation board is up for less then a week. It already collected 23B ISK. Most donations came from a few rich highsec trader like myself (#1 with 6B), some came from other alliances and lot from MoA members who support their own alliance. Much better use of money than spending it on bling and losing it to Goons. For some weird reason Goons find it funny to send small donations in large numbers. I hope this strange meme keeps on and they keep financing the massacre of their own coalition.

Remember that you can donate too for the noble cause of getting rid of Goons.

PS: You must see this kill. You must.
This Goon house slave surely put up hell of a fight before going down.
Noobship down.
Weird choice for a transport ship.
Empty slots can kill.
I really should write a covops hauler guide.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The 70B I made when I was 2 months old

A recent Sugar post reminded me of standings and what I wrote about them more than a year ago. The reason I remembered it is that I calculated how much ISK I saved by this feature: about 70 billion ISK. That's a big number, even by my standards.

Of course, it's strongly related what kind of trading you do. The taxes are 1.5%, which can be decreased to 0.75% by Accounting 5 (0.9 by Accounting 4 which is easy to reach). Broker fees are 1% which can be decreased to 0.75% by Broker relations 5 (0.8% by 4) and down to 0.2% by having perfect standings too. If you just sell items you farm, then having only Accounting 4, Broker Relations 4 and no standings will cost you 1.7% of your income. That won't break anyone. If you are trading with 100% margin (fishing for idiots), than your taxes/fees will eat 4% of your profit (don't forget that you pay broker fee for buying the item at half price). If you are trading with 10% margin (buying in Jita, selling in other hubs) then 27%!!! of your profit will be eaten by taxes and fees. By learning the skills to maximum and getting enough standing for 0.25% broker fee, you decrease this tax loss to 13%.

I mostly trade with low margin, I moved 11T worth of items to earn 700B after-tax income. During my trading life, I paid more than 100B taxes and broker fees. If I'd ignore standings - like Sugar does - that would be another 70B paid to the station NPCs, so reaching 0.2% broker fee in Jita and 0.24-0.28 in other hubs paid well.

The interesting thing is that I made this saving possible when I was an 1-2 months old newbie, while earning my seed money, running distribution missions. That was in 2012 March, more than two years ago. Actually my very first EVE picture shows a Badger II industrial ship doing basic trading and distribution missions. The actions I did when I was a newbie had such effect on my later career.

No other game has this persistence. I don't remember my exact /played value before I stopped playing WoW, but I guess it was around 4000 hours. That's a lot. I've also spent over $1000 on subscription. If I'd resubscribe now, my character would be no stronger than a total newbie who subscribes now, pays $60 for instant top level and farms 10 hours on the island of dailies. Sure, I liked playing WoW. Hell, I might even play again. I got value for my money and time. But everything I've reached in WoW is reseted by the subsequent patches. In EVE, what you earn once is yours until you lose it by bad choices. The game doesn't take power from you by gear resets and level upgrades. This is a design choice that only EVE developers picked and a choice I value.

PS: you might heard that griefers were mass-banned. Of course they are out in the forums posting how they are innocent and victims of the evil conspiracy of Ripard Teg. The best reply: "50% of their harvested tears dropped!"

PS2: confirming that MoA is hellcamped and can't play. Please donate!
Epic fit, epic solar system, epic alliance. I'm stabbed, so I'm safe.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

GRR Goons summary page

I've completely remade the GRR Project permanent page and made pages more visible on the blog.

Until August the project in numbers:
  • The Marmite Collective highsec wars caused 1428B ISK damage to CFC. Highsec wars clearly do nothing.
  • Darwins Lemmings caused 402B ISK damage to CFC in their brief life.
  • Mordus Angels caused 361B damage to CFC since I'm supporting them. Obviously they would have done damage without support, so my exact contribution can only be guessed.
  • I spent 289B ISK on the project.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The end of "gamers"

The "Gamers are dead" is a hot topic recently. If you'd miss it, the idea is that those who are good in a game are a small and irrelevant minority, financially successful games must aim for a broader audience dubbed as "anybody". "Gamers" are a small and exclusive group who have loud noise but small wallets, so can be ignored.

I find very hard to believe it. Even the most "nolifer" gamer is nowhere in commitment from a professional athlete. The ratio of "serious players" and "observers/casuals" is much worse in Football or Basketball than in video games. Yet no one want to make these sports "more casual", nor they show signs of financial failure. People actually pay to not play, just watch good players play.

Maybe the video games are different from sports in this respect: everyone wants to play and no one wants to watch other people play, even if they are good. Well, Google and Amazon bet one billion dollars on the opposite when they battled for, which is good for practically one thing: letting other people watch you play.

On the other hand, Wildstar, directly designed for these "real gamers" is dying, forced to merge all servers. EVE Online is stable with a very low (400K) subscriber number. Where are the "real gamers" and their fans to support these games?

The solution is that these self-announced "real gamers" aren't really good. They are above average of course, but the high school basketball team is also above the average student, despite not being any good and having no career in basketball after high school. The "real gamers" are far from being competitive in the leagues that attract visitors. Yet they are full of themselves and demand recognition for their upper-mediocre performance. They avoid competitive games and stay in casual games like WoW while spouting hate on it for not being hard enough.

Wildstar failed because it was a hard game and these "gamers" either tried and ran away or didn't even try. EVE is stable because it's a sandbox: in absence of official toplist, anyone can explain why he is a God and everyone else is crap. Most obviously: his kills are "real PvP kills", while the kills of others (especially against him) are "ganks", "blobs" and "ECM". CCP would kill EVE in a year by creating an official, zero sum killboard (meaning: when someone loses a 100M ship, 100M kill generated for all the killers and not for each of them), as the "real gamers" would quit in the moment they face their 30-40% ISK ratio.

Games aiming for competitive players, like League of Legends are very much coming up. The market for chest-beating self-announced "l33t" is collapsing.

PS: my chart has a life of its own.
Don't forget to donate to Mordus Angels against the evil Goons and their minions!
Too many people demand response on the recent MoA Aeon loss, despite I wrote that response 2 months ago.

PS2: FCON propagandists created this poster in response to "Burn Branch":

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Mordus Angels donation board is up

More than one year after the 400B collected for TEST by donation board, after lot of preparation, the Mordus Angels donation board is up. You can donate ISK too by:
  1. In game, search for "Dissident Aggressors" (the MoA Executor Corp)
  2. Right-click and "Give Money"
  3. Choose any amount over 1M
  4. Set the reason to: DONATE
Why should you donate? I've been donating them 3B a week since June (the donation board is new, that's why you only see my September donation), after I realized that this small, NPC living alliance does very high ISK damage to CFC. 152B in May, 109B in June, 97B in July, 155B in August. To compare, in August PL did 21B damage to CFC, Nulli did 94B, NC. did 68B, TEST did 20B.

Mordus Angels lives in 5ZXX-K, a small NPC Null island, deep in CFC space, surrounded by the legions of the Evil. The Evil Ones often show up in 200+ fleets to camp the station, yet MoA keeps fighting and kills them in unprecedented amounts. With kills come losses, 100-170B/month. Don't forget that they don't only have losses to CFC, but also against third parties as they live in null and have to haul their stuff through large hostile space to 5ZXX-K. To pay for that, they have no moon empire, renters nor Sov where they could rat anoms all day. They need to do missions in that small space, often camped by 200+ CFC or on highsec alts. You can see the titanic effort needed to keep up the fight against the CFC with 30x more members, vast moon, renter and ratter empire to pay for losses.

You can help them field more ships, spend more time fighting instead of missioning on highsec alts. You can keep them in ships to bring death and destruction to CFC.

Have Goons wronged you? Dumb question, it's equal to "are you playing EVE without being on SA forum?" Goons openly claim that they came to destroy our game. Hurting someone who had no conflicting interest is a badge of honor among them. They waste lot of ISK to come to Jita and gank anyone moves every year, just to make you cry! They taunt you that you can't do anything about it as you are small and they have 50000 slaves to do their bidding. Have you considered "if you can't beat them, join them"? Then you were probably recruitment-scammed by them. They don't want you to join, as you are just a lowly "pubbie shitlord" in their eyes. They want you to cry and quit EVE.

Make them pay for all the evil they have done! Bring the fight deep in their heartland where they rat all day! Mordus Angels and their allies are slaying their ratters, traveling members and smash their small gangs. Keep MoA in ships, so they can keep killing CFC! Donate for the good cause!

Your donation will be forever remembered by the donation board. A few years from now, when Goons will be just a bad memory, you can link it to newbies and tell them "it was me who made it possible, it was because of me the evil Goons are gone". Wouldn't it be better than "I spent my money on deadspace modules for my missioning ship until the Goons suicide ganked it and laughed on me"?

Stop leveling your Raven, start making history! There shall be no Goons!

PS: If you are following my blog, you know why I'm especially happy for this kill.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Burn Branch

The last post was titled "prelude to Burn Deklein", yet, here you see "Burn Branch". There are three reasons for this last minute change, first is finding that CFC renters are focusing on this region with ratting. I hope everyone who went to Delve to sabotate the Goon renter empire feel silly for not checking the data first:

The second reason is that Deklein is already the deadliest region for CFC and its ratting numbers are already dropping, so it hard to tell how big part of the loss is related to my project. Branch on the other hand has the 6th highest CFC losses, despite being #2 on ratting. Thirdly, to my surprise, Goonswarm had 52% ISK ratio against Battlement Coalition, while FCON had 34% and PBLRD had 31%, so it's much easier to hunt in Branch.

So I'm going the easier way to get visible and undeniable results in Branch. A after burning this region to the ground, with the experience gained in that operation and with the proof of its effectiveness, it will be much easier to find cooperators (and donators) to burn Deklein. I'm sure Goons will be happy to see that my attention turned to their lowliest minion (not PBLRD), but their joy will end when it failcascades and no longer will be able to provide F1-bots to the bombless bombers.

The project is simple: every month 20B bounty will be distributed among those who kill CFC in Branch. Update: it's on already. Any kills you have in September (including the ones you did already) count into the September bounty. The money will be given to corps with the following rules:
  • The bounty is automatic, you don't have to sign up or do anything but killing CFC in Branch. Many corps will be pretty surprised when they get ISK out of the blue.
  • CFC members are obviously not eligible. Nor NPC corps.
  • The kill must be on Zkillboard with API verification. (Hint: submit your corp API to Zkillboard.)
  • Only loss reports over 150M count, as I need to be able to manually check them for T1 haulers full of goods with manipulated prices and other scam attempts. Such kills are obviously disqualified and listed for everyone to see.
  • Only player ships matter, I won't motivate anyone to grind structures in bombless bombers.
  • The kills are de-whored. If your corp scored 0.01% damage on a 100B titan, you get bounty after 10M kills, not 100B.
  • Only bounties over 500M are paid, the long tail is cut off and their share is redistributed among the top killers.
At the beginning of each month, I process the killboard data and create a report, distributing the bounty of the previous month. As an example, here is the imaginary August report:

Another month passed in our glorious project to burn down Branch region, stopping its ratting. At first, let's look at the Branch ratting numbers:
The ratting didn't decrease significantly since June, since there was no project, it's just a test report. Below you can see the 150M+ kills, listed with their ID. If your kill is missing, please check if it's API verified and if so, please write its zkillboard link in a comment. If you are just a bystander, feel free to laugh on this beautiful graveyard of the minions of Evil:
40995731, 40994221, 40990350, 40983505, 40972488, 40969662, 40967084, 40964067, 40952381, 40951713, 40951706, 40951179, 40948362, 40947901, 40933741, 40933752, 40933634, 40933629, 40933536, 40931717, 40930256, 40930015, 40924803, 40921943, 40921819, 40919361, 40913904, 40911629, 40911636, 40910989, 40910962, 40909986, 40907034, 40906333, 40902868, 40902777, 40895571, 40888639, 40880247, 40880111, 40879931, 40878054, 40878070, 40877626, 40877615, 40873562, 40871997, 40871720, 40860108, 40855805, 40846832, 40846827, 40846373, 40837283, 40829598, 40828454, 40828237, 40820018, 40819592, 40815486, 40809731, 40809729, 40809730, 40809699, 40809383, 40809377, 40797073, 40796985, 40782683, 40762844, 40755011, 40754743, 40752470, 40747555, 40746707, 40746004, 40745718, 40745703, 40743767, 40742808, 40731308, 40730464, 40726715, 40725184, 40724761, 40720203, 40719451, 40717026, 40708828, 40708149, 40708051, 40703741, 40703672, 40701063, 40676325, 40666267, 40666241, 40665886, 40665476, 40659377, 40659376, 40656440, 40656290, 40656065, 40655983, 40650614, 40650004, 40633509, 40633382, 40633153, 40633131, 40633106, 40632096, 40632076, 40632072, 40632063, 40617932, 40617157, 40616090, 40616047, 40615899, 40599354, 40599321, 40595713, 40595335, 40595331, 40589970, 40572122, 40572060, 40568659, 40567360, 40567344, 40566576, 40564780, 40559403, 40553087, 40553073, 40552462, 40551574, 40551452, 40551273, 40550354, 40550090, 40545829, 40545638, 40544710, 40539282, 40538533, 40526291, 40526285, 40518491, 40518499, 40518483, 40518468, 40518437, 40517228, 40516570, 40515299, 40510536, 40508699, 40508687, 40501547, 40501411, 40501396, 40501085, 40500692, 40491352, 40487004, 40485178, 40485161, 40484582, 40480158, 40475848, 40456363, 40429430, 40427660, 40420077, 40414127, 40413245, 40413174, 40413010, 40412866, 41002148, 40872344, 40809801, 40585450, 40511208, 40511206, 40420780, 40990751, 40974264, 40971099, 40969550, 40963043, 40963045, 40957126, 40957137, 40957143, 40957135, 40957141, 40950834, 40950843, 40950851, 40948801, 40933869, 40933200, 40932458, 40911193, 40902048, 40902044, 40886940, 40886939, 40886932, 40879390, 40867159, 40865638, 40858308, 40850174, 40848649, 40848132, 40810569, 40793606, 40786519, 40751252, 40751245, 40751227, 40728727, 40719195, 40710501, 40701289, 40690692, 40690696, 40682774, 40682540, 40677042, 40677029, 40668508, 40649714, 40648740, 40648724, 40643849, 40628864, 40607286, 40607258, 40607248, 40591372, 40591368, 40571701, 40567986, 40563849, 40563247, 40548218, 40537561, 40519109, 40518532, 40516193, 40514231, 40513058, 40503837, 40503092, 40495796, 40487212, 40487188, 40475299, 40474737, 40463260, 40463209, 40463135, 40462924, 40451762, 40451751, 40447394, 40445602, 40421767, 40412679, 40411198, 40501878.
Note: mobile tractor unit kills are displayed here, the program will need some tweaking, they will not be eligible for bounty.

126.4B ISK destroyed. Good job! Now let's see the killer corp toplist with their kill values and bounties:
Congratulations to the winners, their ISK will arrive in 24 hours never, because it's just an example report.

You can see that the last winner killed 1.7B CFC. If you think your corp is capable of killing more, it's time to deploy to Branch and participate in the noble contest. Are you a multiboxer? Create a corp, place a bunch of AFK-cloakers with covert cynos and catch ratters! By bringing death and destruction to the minions of Goons, you also contribute to a better nullsec, one without The Evil ruling it. By encouraging PBLRD ratters to change to NA/B0T and by driving FCON out of nullsec, a huge step will be made towards this Goon-free vision.

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