Greedy Goblin

Monday, June 18, 2012

The wardec system is/was/will be unfair to Goons!

The blogosphere is uproar that CCP "rushed to save" Goonswarm from Jade Constantine. They call CCP on their "obvious favoritsm" that allow a 10K alliance to wardec a 100 man corporation and disallow the latter to gather mercenaries in any number near 10K. What can it be than blatant and total support for Goonswarm?

Obviously if two powers are at war, the bigger wins. This is true in nullsec sov and real life. From this the people generalize that "bigger is better". Goons are big, so the system favors them, right? Completely wrong!

The discussed wars take place in EVE highsec. There are no objectives like towers or stations that one side must defend or lose the war. The only activity in highsec war is killing each other. You can't send cyno-reinforcements or fly capitals, so the tools to win an encounter (battleships, strat cruisers) are available to every pilot over 10M SP. Blobbing barely works as almost every systems have several gates and stations to dock. If you form a blop, you might kill one pilot before every enemy knows to run and hide. Also highsec is full of neutrals who can be alt-scouts openly following your blop, reporting it on a channel and may even trolling it in local while the blop can't do anything besides suicide gank it. The most effective highsec war elements are 2-3 men roams. These are available to corporations of all sizes, except the family-sized ones.

Let's calculate the number of wins and defeats the two corps have. For simplicity, let's say that ships fly only in "units" which can be 1-man, 2, 3, whatever, but they only fly in this size. Also, let's assume equal player, pilot and ship strength, so a 1 v 1 battle between units has 50-50 chance. Let's introduce the value P, the chance that a unit is present in a random system. It is proportional to the sizes of corporations. Please note that P is pretty low as there are about 1000 highsec systems and even the largest corporations can only have a few hundred players in highsec at the same time. So we are looking at P in the range of 0.001-0.1. The chance that any given time a 1v1 battle happening in a certain system is P1*P2. The chance of a 2v1 battle is P1*P1*P2 while a 1v2 is P1*P2*P2. If we translate it to a huge (P = 0.1) and a small (P = 0.001) corp, the results are:
  • 1v1: 0.1*0.001*1000 = 0.1 battles (the 1000 comes from the 1000 systems). Half of them is won by the big corp
  • 2v1: 0.1*0.1*0.001*1000 = 0.01 battles, all won by big
  • 3v1: 0.1* 0.1*0.1*0.001*1000 = 0.001 battles, all won by big
  • 4v1: 0.1*0.1* 0.1*0.1*0.001*1000 = 0.0001 battles, all won by big
  • 1v2: 0.1*0.001*0.001*1000 = 0.0001 battles, all won by small
So big wins 0.1/2+0.01+0.001+0.0001 = 0.0611 while the small wins 0.0501 battles, which means 55% wins, 45% losses to the big corp, despite being 100x bigger. OK, this is small difference, but still, bigger is better, right?

To continue, you have to recognize that most combat in EVE are ganks. Players can exist in two form: a hunter looking for reds (or even suicide targets) in a PvP-fit ship, or a prey sitting in an ISK-making ship (miner, hauler, ratter/missioner). You can only skip the prey phase by buying ISK via PLEX which is not an option for the average player as on average players buy as many PLEX as they sell. The above create three kind of corporations:
  • Wolf corporations: they only have members who are hunting. They get ISK from loot, PLEX or out of corp alts.
  • Lamb corporations: mostly highsec "bear" corporations whose members never or rarely hunt. Mission runners, miners, group of friends.
  • Mixed corporations which has both kind of pilots and ships.
Imagine a war between a wolf and a lamb corporation. The damage the preys cause to predators is zero. They lose every battle. Since the chance of a 1v1 "battle", 1000*P1*P2, is proportional to the size of both corps, the larger either the lamb or the wolf, the more damage the lambs suffer.
Here the small (P=0.001) corp can be both the lamb or the wolf. If we increase the size of the other, the amount of ganks grow. Coming from the obvious fact that only wolves declare war, it's completely fair that wardec costs depend on target size: the more targets you want, the more you should pay.

Now comes the interesting part: wolf vs mixed and mixed vs mixed. Actually it can be discussed easily with a separation: The mixed corporation is half lamb, half wolf. Let's calculate the winrates for both small and larged mixed vs wolves for various size differences:
While the size gives a few % increase in the winrate, the corporation composition makes much larger difference. Increasing the size of the mixed to 100x bigger than the wolves increase their winrate from 25% to 27. Increasing the size of the wolves from 1x to 100x of the target only increases the winrate from 75% to 78%. Size barely affects the winrate. Of course it strongly affects the amount of battles and how it feels: for a combat pilot increasing sizes means more targets, for a PvE pilots more ganks.

Finally we have to notice that the Goonswarm isn't at all overpowered. Actually they are desperately undepowered even with the fixed ruleset. With the unfixed, "dogpiling" situation they were facing extinction. Why? Because nullsec corporations can't be pure wolves without exposing a near-pure lamb. Everyone must do some industrial activity for ISK. Even PLEX-ers must haul their items as ISK can't fly. They can't just keep their lambs in neutral corps since then their own members/allies would shoot them down in their own null, not knowing that they are their buddies alts. They could create one neut corp and tell their members to not shoot them, but for a 1000+ alliance it's totally impossible to keep this secret, the real name of "Goonlamb inc" would be outed in a day and wardecced by everyone. So all nullsec corps are mixed.

On the other hand a highsec corp can split into wolf and lamb because in highsec CONCORD limits aggression on neutrals. Also, in highsec you can keep your "lambs" in NPC corps immune to wardecs. We can assume that any highsec corp that is willingly enter into a war is pure wolf, keeping their farming alts/friends in NPC and carebear-disguised corps.

The above means that anyone wardecced by Goons can get Goons farmed by inviting pure wolf mercenaries. The mercenary size has little effect on the fact that Goons are farmed with 75-77% ISK efficiency, it only matters in the total damage of the war. Actually the ISK efficiency can be much worse as Goons who come to highsec are probably mostly haulers, so their wolf:lamb ratio can be worse than 1:1. With the dogpiling strategy the huge mixed Goons were facing a huge wolf force meaning farmed in huge scale.

The current wardec system is unfair towards null/low corporations and favors highsec PvP corps regardless their size. Of course the highsec PvE corps are always on the receiving end, but the recent changes increased their safety a lot. They can now only be wardecced by professional wolf corps, as another (bigger) mixed corp (an unfriendly lolbear corp or even Goons) are afraid that the bears stay docked while their mercenaries farm them. Even pure wolves are better off not declaring on carebears, as it would mean that the bears are docked while their mercs are fighting around 50% winrate. Instead they should wait until some dumb mixed corp declares someone and jump in as merc for 75% winrate.

Jade Constantine was never in danger from Goons. The Goon foreverwar may force him to leave his mixed corp, but allows him to sell his membership to any wolf corp, giving them opportunity to farm Goons.

The only way out of this for Goons is to form a small pure-highsec-wolf branch, a corp with well-paid pilots sitting in combat ships with the only purpose to hunt in highsec, having neut-scouts and all. This corp could wardec in the name of the Goons.

The Goonswarm itself (or any other nullsec corp) should not declare war on any highsec corp (and it's even risky on anyone else) because of dogpiling. While the new rules made it harder to dogpile, it's still possible: If your corp is decced by nullsec corps, tell your members to quit and move to a new corp. Invite an alt to the corp and make it the CEO. Set the war mutual with 1T surrender cost. Then open up the recruitment for every player in New Eden with the recruitment slogan: permawar with Goons, join and kill them! Soon your only problem will be learning Sovereignity 5.

Saturday morning report: 53.9B. (1 PLEX ahead, 1.1B spent on LCT, 0.1 on Rorqual)
Sunday morning report: 55.7B. (1 PLEX ahead, 1.6B spent on LCT, 0.1 on Rorqual)
Monday morning report: 57.3B. (1 PLEX ahead, 1.6B spent on LCT, 0.1 on Rorqual)
Join the goblinworks channel for trading, hauling, crafting discussions.


evemonkey said...

Hi Gevlon,

You lost me with some of your logic there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of statistics and how they affect things regardless of individual perceived skill, but I think you’ve misunderstood certain things (could be wrong):

Like you’ve said wars only matter in highsec (and to a certain small degree in lowsec) and therefore are used between nullsec alliances as a means of restricting empire to null and null to empire logistics streams. They are used between highsec corporations for the purposes of wolf/lamb engagements, or if there is a target of opportunity in a high-sec pos for some reason.

I can’t speak for highsec corporations, but for nullsec corps, a war merely means that all space is treated as if it were nullsec. Most nullsec players that I know of have npc corporation alts hauling things to staging systems which are then (with all the precautions as per nullsec/war conditions) jumped to via carrier or jump freighter to the home null system.

Therefore for the smart nullsec players (and I am under the impression that there are a higher proportion of smart players in null than there are in high) are slightly inconvenienced, whereas highsec corporations, should they rely solely on their in-corporation characters for income are very inconvenienced.

The solution is ( and most smart players I know use it) is to spread your income streams around different characters/alts so you are not paralysed when either your nullsec base is under sustained attack or your corporation/alliance is war-decced.

I’m actually not coming down on either side of this argument, hopefully wars help make people more situationally aware regardless of where they live or how they get their income. This can only be a good thing

Just thoughts anyway.


Anonymous said...

i don't get where the numbers are from when someone wins and when not.

In "real" eve even fights happen where a hand full of pilots defeats a fleet multiple largers then theirs.
an extreme example:

also, most more serious nullsec alliances have their "industrial" wing in external corps with the names of the members only exposed to those in it.

and frankly, most highsec pvp folks that you call wolves hardly know enough about game mechanics to fly their ships.

But well, then most goons are not any better.

highsec corps that go to war with 0sec corps usually do that because they expect to easy-kill a few guys who are new in the 0.0 alliance and do their own logistics. They hope - and usually that hope is filled - that the 0sec corp/alliance will
simply not go to empire to fight.

Anonymous said...

Good article. You know the goons formed a highsec corp to wardec bloggers right? So they are using the workaround you suggest, while keeping their 90% carebear highsec population safe.

Hivemind said...

There's an awful lot of assumptions in your post, very few of which have much basis in reality.

The biggest flaw is assuming a spread of combatants across hisec, with rare fights occurring where agressor and defenders meet. It's actually very easy to narrow down where defenders will be in hisec - Corp HQs (visible in corp info), trade hubs around hisec and corridors between those two for example. If you know what the corp does for a living (usually in corp info or available from recruiters) youalso can make educated guesses as to where members will be - a corp that advertises L4 missions will probably have members around the local mission hubs. Best of all you can use locator agents to track down the exact location of any corp members you know the names of. An aggressor corp in a wardec doesn't seed members throughout hisec or go on roams through random systems hoping that they'll run into their targets, they use common sense and the tools available in the game to find exactly where there targets will be.

The second big assumption is "The most effective highsec war elements are 2-3 men roams” – like so many of your assertions about PvP you’ve given no reason for why this should be (possibly because of your assumption above?) and it’s not the case. The size to bring depends a lot on intent; if you want actual fights your defenders need to think they have a chance, so small groups are the best, though a lot of your “wolves” will effectively cheat using out-of-corp alts in logis as a force multiplier. On the other hand if the goal of your war is simply to harass the corp, whether to get them to pay a surrender fee or get them to quit EVE, the best thing to do is bring overwhelming force. Your enemies will undock and die if they’re stupid or see local full of hostiles and stay docked, but they won’t be able to play the game as normal. There’s also a huge amount of variance such as a small but tough bait fleet to entice defenders into combat while a larger gank fleet waits a couple of jumps out to fly in as soon as the bait have people tackled. The point is that 2-3 men roams are a single tool in the aggressor toolkit, not the be all and end all of hisec PvP.

The third is “let's assume equal player, pilot and ship strength, so a 1 v 1 battle between units has 50-50 chance”. If you wanted to look specifically at cases of deliberate fights between aggressor and defender then you could make a case for this assumption, though the truth is that the majority of hisec decs are experienced PvPers vs inexperienced PvEers which will skew all those in favour of the aggressor. That doesn’t matter though because you said yourself that these kills are mostly ganks – they’re situations where the aggressor prepared and dropped in on a defender who’s not prepared or expecting them. An obvious example would be an aggressor hunting down a mission runner – if they know what the mission runner is fighting they can customise their defence and offence to take advantage of their target’s setup (EG a mission runner fighting Guristas will be fit for high Kin and Therm tank and do Kin damage, so a ship tanking Kin and doing EM or Explosive damage will easily kill them). The point is, any time in EVE that one side can prep and the other can’t, it’s going to skew in their favour so that 50-50 chance never happens.

The upshot of all this is that your mathematical examples of “mixed” vs “wolf” corps and the like don’t bear any relationship to reality at all.