Greedy Goblin

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fails are fails

If I had to call one ability that separates effective people from the ordinary Joes it would be "recognizing his own non-fatal fails".

Besides the obnoxious idiots everyone is capable to recognize a slap in the face. When he loses something valuable. When his house burn down because of letting candles unattended. When he crashes his car. They might even learn from them. After all - again, except for obnoxious idiots - most people manage to avoid the Darwin award. Hell, they might even learn from the fate of less "lucky" fellows and avoid doing Darwin-class fails.

Since games have no real consequences and most games have no ingame consequences either, most fails are acknowledged with the usual "lol" statement and the M&S specimen moves on his epic quest to get the next shiny the developers placed into the current content patch. However some games have consequences. In EVE you can lose the product of weeks of grinding if you do it wrong. Between such circumstances the previous paragraph applies: most players learn from the idiotic mistakes of themselves and others and don't make really bad moves.

However avoiding mining in a 0.5 system connected to lowsec in an untanked Hulk makes no one rich. It merely make him not totally broke. Not being an epic idiot isn't winning, it's merely ... not being an epic idiot. The difference between the mediocre, dime of a dozen moron or slacker and the effective, rich person isn't handling huge mistakes. It's about handling small, merely relevant mistakes. Because there are lot of them and their combined force is enough to keep one being "constantly out of luck".

You probably don't remember the moron from a month ago. He bought 46 pieces of books for 70K higher than vendor price. Many have defended him that "he could afford it" and "when I'll have hos much ISK I'll do the same". Well, I just did. I bought 30 books for 21.65M instead of 21.60. That's practically rounding error. It's nothing compared to the profit I make with that (they sell around 24M). Still, I miss that 30*0.05 = 1.5M, despite that's just 0.0075% of my total wealth. I know that I made something silly and it's not "lol", it's something to fix. I also know that time is money, so I have to figure out a path that allow me to buy these from the 21.60 vendor while not putting too many extra jumps to my path.

Another "honest mistake". By the way, I hate the term itself. Accepting these and ignoring them is the best way to make them by the dozens every day, making sure that we remain averagely poor. This time I was updating the price of an item and noticed that a nice bunch is sitting in my hangar, thanks to the buy orders. They were selling for 24.99999 M, so I typed in 249 and started pressing the zero key until the above/under regional price counter moved to the +-50% region and hit enter. No new line appeared but my money count jumped up. I checked transactions and recognized my "honest mistake": I misclicked, so sold another item that I wanted. I sold it for 249M while the running price was 330M. Nice way to say goodbye to 80M. But hey, it's not so bad when I make 500M a day. And it's a "game lol", who cares?

I do, because I don't want to make such fails. I kept thinking until I figured out a protocol to avoid that happening again: every time I sell something, I press the magnifier icon on the sell window. This will update the market window for the item. If it's a wrong item, the update will show its own market details, so I'll sell it for the proper price.

I'm also notorious for leaving the items I meant to haul on the stations. "my ship iz empty lulz" - the M&S would say, along with "i turn back lol". Except I know that time is money and I don't want to turn back. So I created the protocol of having the assets window open while hauling. If it has more than one line, I left something, so I can turn back after one jump instead of a dozen. It's not perfect as it doesn't protect me from leaving stuff on my home station (as I always have something there, so it always has an asset line), but it's better than nothing. I just double-check before leaving that station.

Finally when I was capital-limited I prioritized Orca over Retail 5. Now I'm sitting over 5B cash, unable to invest it as I have 53/53 market orders. Is it so terrible to have "only" 4-500M/day income because the 5B makes no profit? Of course not. But it's still a fail. I should have planned better, especially as my second account alts would take 3x more time to all learn it.

So the way to get rich to take your small fails seriously instead of finding excuses like "I can afford them" or "others do more". Both are true. But you have to decide if you want to be just like the "others", who are mediocre by definition. Also, you have to decide what you want to afford: mistakes or a titan? You can't have both.

EVE Business report: Thursday morning 20.5B(2 PLEX behind for second account, 0.3B spent on Titan project) Remember that you can participate in our EVE conversations on the "goblinworks" channel (60-80 people on peak time) and your UI suggestions are welcomed.


Babar said...

This reminds me of something I read about Poker. If, every time you get a Royal Flush, you immediately fold and lose the hand, is that a huge mistake? The answer is no, since it's a mistake you get to make extremely rarely. Maybe never if you play casually.

However, if every hand you play, you leave a cent too much on the table, that's a huge mistake, because you get to make it so often.

The point is, in the end, what matters is the long term, and all the small mistakes will quickly add up.

Anonymous said...

Re "most players learn from the idiotic mistakes" - Most people who are still playing have learned from - or don't care about - their mistakes. But that is not the same as "most players learn." On average, about a half of a percent of the players quit every day for any number of reasons. My guess is far more players quit MMOs dues to mistakes and failures rather than triumphs.

Quitting the game is certainly a way to deal with mistakes. The mature response is "I could learn to do better, but it is not worth my time." The immature is "life and this game is unfair." Regardless, not playing an MMO is frequently a healthy choice.

All the zebras you see still in the herd have been able to avoid lions. That does not meal all zebras were so skilled.

Larofeticus said...

NPC orders (book seeding) fluctuate a small bit based on demand; if someone buys a large number of books then the order gets re-listed a percent or two higher. Over time, if it doesn't get bought out again, it will drop back to the initial price.

Your particular book likely has slightly more demand closer to your market hub, keeping the price slightly higher there. Your 1.5m "rounding error" is not a mistake; it is the cost of a shorter haul weighed against a longer one that fewer people fly.

Also, a months old character can make 1.5m in two minutes of belt ratting, and your own activity at a maximum of 5 minutes (you don't play 24/7 so it would be less than that, but we don't know how much less).

Your asset window protocol has a snag. If you have asset window up while changing the contents of a hanger then the game will hang while the transfer propagates to the database and then back to the asset window. For small numbers of items it doesn't matter, but if you get to the point of having a hundred or more stacks in your hanger then it can get obnoxious quite quickly.

Fade Toblack said...

'Still, I miss that 30*0.05 = 1.5M, despite that's just 0.0075% of my total wealth. I know that I made something silly and it's not "lol", it's something to fix.'

No presumably it's just an opportunity cost decision rather than a mistake.

Most of my Eve-related opportunity-cost decisions are based around time. I only have a limited amount of time to play the game, so I want to spend my time doing the activities I enjoy, rather than grinding ISK for the sake of being rich.

The most obvious example would be buying an entire ship+fit in Jita (or another major hub) rather than shopping around for all the modules (which is almost certainly cheaper). For example if you lose your logistics ship whilst running Incursions - which are netting you 80m ISK/hr. Spending an hour running around for a replacement ship to save 10m ISK would actually leave you 70m out of pocket.

Time isn't the only limitation however, as another example, I regularly sell loot/salvage from NPCs. Now I could try and extract the last cent out of every item I sell by putting everything up on a sell order, but I don't want to tie up all my sell orders in slow-moving, low-value loot. So I make an opportunity-cost decision on whether to sell to the highest buyer, or to list on the market.

Nielas said...

@Fade Toblack

For Gevlon it was not an opportunity cost decision. In that case he would have spend the extra time to make sure he did not overpay if he was aware that he was overpaying.

The real opportunity cost calculation here comes when you consider the cost of double or triple checking every action vs the cost incurred if you make a mistake.

If double checking everything causes you to spend an extra hour doing your transactions then it might not be worth it if a mistake will cost you a trivial amount.

On the other hand if spending an extra minuted checking things will save you a potential loss of 30M then it would be stupid not to double check.

Hivemind said...

Considering that you're an asocial player yourself, and your main interactions with other EVE players come through the market and wallet UIs and the Goblinworks channel, which from what I've seen consists primarily of other traders, I do have to wonder what your source is for your frequent assertions as to what M&S do in EVE.

In this case, the core assertion is correct, but I think you underestimate... not necessarily the M&S themselves, but definitely how effectively EVE punishes players who refuse to learn. If they forget cargo, or leave drones behind, or sell for well below market price or buy well above it, the punishment is boredom - they have to fly back, they have to replace drones, they have to work for more ISK to recoup the loss before they can buy whatever it is they want. Those are all pretty annoying things to have to do, especially with the knowledge that it's your own failiure that got you into that situation, and it irons out behaviours like that surprisingly well. The big difference is that M&S are more likely to make an appearance of shrugging it off because they are usually social players - they want the feeling of acceptance from other people going "You forgot your cargo? Oh, I hate when I do that" etc, but that doesn't negate the tedium of then having to fly back and pick it up again, which is what teaches them.

I was actually surprised that you didn't check market info already, to be honest. I've always found the individual buy/sell order prices far more useful information than just the region-wide averages, especially when you're selling or buying in hubs which will be skewed vs the region averages.

Final note, you talk about players buying/selling skillbooks for above/below npc prices as M&S action. That's fair enough when it's a large order clearly for resale, but it's worth noting that for a lot of veterans who aren't concerned with simply maximising ISK income and minimising expenditures place a very high opportunity cost on spending time travelling, and are often willing to pay more for a closer source for skillbooks, or to buy all their ships and modules in one place (hence the rise of hubs like Jita). By your own standards, that's less M&S behaviour and more that those players are casuals in the economic field; they know they could make more or spend less, but they value the time/effort saved by not taking the most cost-effective route more than they do the ISK it would gain/save them.

Post final note: What if getting a Titan is a mistake in itself? Just a random thought.

Fade Toblack said...

@Nielas - I understood it that he paid too much because he bought them from a poor location. They're a NPC sell item, therefore you buy directly off the market - it should be almost impossible to buy them at the wrong price.

Happy Forum said...

@ Babar

The 2+2 forums are down, but a remnant of the post you're probably talking about is this:

If not, it's at least relevant. :>