Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

August business report

A month ago I was happily reporting 50B/month without hassle or even bothering to find anything new.

This time it wasn't so shiny. When Inferno expansion hit, CCP left in a serious bug/design error: capturing the faction warfare zone and upgrading it to T5 allows decreasing the ISK portion of the LP store prices, turning it into a money print (as opportunity cost). The exploiting ran rampart and the fix, despite announced, still not arrived. Now everyone and his mother are AFK-farming FW sites printing LP that they turn into LP store items during organized cashouts.

I wrongfully believed that the discounts only affect LP prices and also that CCP will be as fast with fixing and punishing the exploiters as they were with those who found a different loophole and used it to create millions of LP. The LP store exploit affects me directly since many of my item list are purchasable with FW-LP:

My business model needs a stable price: I purchase implants one by one from missioners and sell them to users on the same station or in another hub. The profit on an item is 10-15M and I sell a lot. The FW cashouts make the price hectic. When they push to T5 and cash out, the prices drop deep. Every subsequent cashout pushed deeper than the previous, as more and more people join the exploiters. The first T5 was practically invisible as most people remembered the initial exploit and that the perpetrators were negwalleted. The second T5 was visible but small as much more people were involved. The current one, a week ago pushed the prices below the highsec LP store costs. Despite I expected it, sold my items before it and set up buy orders for all-time low, I still lost serious profit, as I had to hold them for a week to sell them. While selling something for 110M that you got for 70M isn't bad profit, selling one every day for 10M profit is 2x more.

Thanks to this, since July 31 I made 40.7B, 1.2B/day, which is pretty bad. Losing 950M to a mistype didn't help either:

There goes my "50B/month laid back". I have to make significant changes to my item list if I was going to make 50B/month again. At first I have to find items that aren't affected by FW until CCP finally fixes it. It won't be easy as mostly I trade implants, but I'll manage. The bigger question is to dance once more with FW T5 cashout. I mean if I set up buy orders for 50-60M (for implants that cost 73M +73K LP in the highsec LP store), I might be able to sell them for 80-90M. After the last cash-out, it took a week for the price to regenerate. I'm not sure if it'll regenerate at all next time as the huge income of the previous T5 probably lured another bunch of players to FW and the original exploiters surely launched thousands of new accounts with AFK-orbiting frigates. The safe move would be completely liquidate the LP affected items and suck up the lower income (but lower time too). The risky way is to set up those 50-60M buy orders and hope. I'm not happy speculating, you might heard that. However it's a pretty safe one as the market will regenerate when they fix it. But keeping 30-40B locked down for 3 months, even for 100% profit is worse than character trading.

Anyway, while 1.2B/day is pretty bad for me, it would be still enough to stabilize the budget of the largest sov-holder alone, so maybe my disappointment is a bit Marie Antoinette-ish.

Tuesday morning report, which is still not really reliable: 159.6B (4.5 spent on main accounts, 3.1 spent on Logi/Carrier, 2.7 on Ragnarok, 2.1 on Rorqual, 1.9 on Nyx, 2.3 on Avatar, 2.6 received as gift)


Anonymous said...

I understand that it is temporary bad for traders, mission runners (they have to switch to different goods), but for other players it is ok - cheaper stuff and ships, ammo - it is really good, and market will "fix" this "exploit"

Anonymous said...

Explain how running fw plexes then organising a major cash out is exploiting? It's working with existing mechanics. Those mechanics are dumb given the amount of afk plexing one can do, but it isn't an exploit.

Ccp declared the deliberate manipulation of this an exploit, the first time time that I am aware of that such emergent gameplay was classified as such, but ignoring a design element and organising LP dumping cartels doesn't qualify in my opinion.

Again I will point our that your contention that your personal income even approaches the warning power of gsf or test based on a couple of spreadsheets indicating a small part of their business is manifestly incorrect.

Ben said...

Honestly, if you're not going to bother reading the devblogs about something, don't cry about "exploits".

CCP were pretty clear that the ISK costs were also affected:

"As such, at the lowest tier, LP store offers will be 4x times more expensive as they are now, while at the highest tier, they will be 4 times as cheap. This only applies to ISK and LP requirements for offers, not tags or items. It also only counts for the 4 Factional Warfare militia LP stores; no other corporation will be affected.

Emphasis mine.

Bobbins said...

'previous T5 probably lured another bunch of players to FW'
Yes that was me. However on the plus side it is the first real ship on ship interaction I have had in eve. I realise that I am being paid as bait and to continue being bait I need to be paid well.

'with AFK-orbiting frigates.'
Just how is that achieved while I am able to tank/mitigate the npc damage ok pvp players would easily be able to destroy my frigates at a rate >1 per hour if I went AFK. I am currently in Placid perhaps I need a quieter region.

'Now everyone and his mother are AFK-farming FW sites '
I have heard the big payout is doing lvl4 faction warfare missions not the frigate stuff can anyone expand on that?

Anonymous said...

It is not bad for traders. It is bad only for uninformed traders that have no clue what is goung on.

Why would you switch to different goods when the price is rising? Only if you made the error to buy high. If you managed to buy low it doesn't matter

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: are you from bizarro land where 1 day old char AFK making 200M/hour is not exploiting? The AFK domis farming mere 5M/hour was banned and then a devblog explicitly claiming that AFK farming is not OK, even if no botting is involved.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon: there is an obvious difference between AFK'ing cosmos plexes with MULTIPLE domis 23.5/7 for weeks on end, and orbiting a beacon and going to make a cup of tea while a timer runs down.

The KEY DIFFERENCE is that the above behavior was declared to be "botting" by CCP (botting, not exploiting) - and AFK'ing FW plexes has not been declared as such - most likely because there probably isn't the run away problem which you claim there to be.

Obviously AFK orbiting with a week old toon and making money is a *bad design* (and the bad design is being addressed), however until it is declared exploiting its not.

Nore is the organised cashout/FW cartel behavior. Players have min/maxed the mechanics and are working together to maximize payouts - this is one of the cornerstones of the sandbox - emergent game play.

You infer in your post that the act of operating as a cartel is in itself an exploit - as if all the faction warfare guys just orbit beacons until they have amassed enough LP to jump to L5 then cash out the remainder - ignoring the fact that many people are being exploded in faction warfare, fleet fights are happening and there are other plexes to run than "orbit this for X minutes and get rich on a 5 day old toon".

Your post smacks of "its hurting me therefore exploit" - which isn't suprising given your other illogical propositions such as "I make 1/5th of a major sov holding alliance and I base said assertion on a single spreadsheet and no additional sources to back up the claim".

tl;dr: until CCP declare it an exploit it isn't. Until CCP take action against the accounts doing this it is legitimate and within the allowed designs of the game.

Fade Toblack said...

You can't completely AFK FW plexes - whether in a one-day old character or not. Just because you've read the "OMG the worlds is about to end" posts about it, doesn't mean it's actually happening.

I mean, it's not like you've actually been out there and done it yourself is it?

The fact that this is open to relatively low-level players is good - there's no barrier to entry. Unlike changes to moon-mining which predominately benefit the existing large alliances.

At the end of the day, the ISK-generation from FW of individual players doesn't matter. The markets will self-right themselves to some new level - exactly the same as every other game-design change. The more stuff that's fed into the market from FW, the more the prices will reduce as supply out-strips demand, and the less profitable it will be. Eventually everything will re-adjust.

The best parallel to this is probably the introduction of w-space to the game. The people that moved in and setup POS early on were making billions of ISK per day - I can remember most of the T3 salvage items being worth millions of ISK per unit. The value of those items now? Mostly less than 1000 ISK each.

We're still somewhat in the gold-rush period following the FW changes.

As far as the effects on the overall Eve economy - it's still an ISK sink. Also, although the value of the sink per-item is reduced when a militia hits T5, I suspect the overall value of the sink has increased with more total ISK per month being sunk through the FW store than before the changes.

So all-in-all I don't think FW should be changed *purely* because a few players are getting rich. I mean my first response to anybody who has got a problem would be - if it's so easy/lucrative - then why aren't you doing it?

So what is wrong about FW - well in terms of the forever-war itself, the PvP part, the game has become unbalanced. The Minmatar are well on the way to claiming all their contested space, with the Caldari now following suit. Combine this with the other mechanics and joining the losing side is somewhat futile, which reduces the PvP opportunities for everybody. This is the real concern of CCP, and their proposed FW changes are mostly addressing this issue.

Anonymous said...

But you DO NOT AFK FARM FW. I have already stated this a few days ago. Maybe when it all started and only a few people were involved yet. Maybe in quiet regions in lull periods. Maybe. At peak time you definitely cannot afk, even getting to a beacon is fairly hard.
Once again, you should go outside and test it, so that you know what you are talking about.
BTW, I agree that it needs to be fixed.

Gevlon said...

@Fade: it IS the end of the World (of EVE) if it wouldn't be fixed, because it makes every other way of gaining LP or implants (COSMOS and Storyline missions give implants) seriously sub-optimal. It's like the Rokh being able to defeat any other battleship 1 v 4, making the game completely Rokh v Rokh.

The problem is not that I'm making about half as much money on FW implants than before (still billions), but that all sectors of the game becomes irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Are you seriously suggesting optimization is bad? If all ships were perfectly balanced then you might as well be flying Rokh vs Rokh since it'll be the exact same matchup as anything vs anything else. Same with payouts. If FW didn't offer more lucrative financial incentives then everyone might as well stick to security missions or ratting and not bother with the new content at all.

Hivemind said...

"are you from bizarro land where 1 day old char AFK making 200M/hour is not exploiting"

As has been said before, you cannot be completely AFK farming LP. At the very least you need to be at keyboard briefly every 10 minutes to find a new plex. You also need to have a significant amount of capital on hand to spend cashing the LP out (the ISK price is 1k/LP converted, the usual income figures I see for cash outs are 4-5k ISK/LP, so you need to have approx 20-25% of your final ISK on hand at the start).

Given those two requirements - brief, periodic interaction and significant investment capital - a 1 day old player could do exactly the same with market trading small amounts of high volume, high value items, periodically shepherding buy/sell orders.

Is that exploiting now?

Kaeda Maxwell said...

You should do your research a little better the original 'exploiters' weren't negwalleted like you claim, they simply had what profit they made from the exploit removed. They weren't 'punished' beyond that.

Gevlon said...

@Kaeda: that's called "negwalleting". CCP always remove the amount they assume you got illegally. If they want to punish you, they suspend or ban.

Kaeda Maxwell said...

@gevlon No it is not. Negative Walleting is when CCP reduces your wallet bellow 0 hence the term NEG(ative)Walleting. It's something they do to botters and if it's not a first time offence then yes they also ban.

Gevlon said...

They remove your illegal income and this can (and usually do) push you below zero as you probably spent it.

Fade Toblack said...

"it makes every other way of gaining LP or implants (COSMOS and Storyline missions give implants) seriously sub-optimal"

Yes FW is currently the best way of earning LP points, but trading in your LP for items to sell on the market isn't the only way of making ISK in the game.

Running missions also provides direct ISK rewards and bounties.

There's also need to consider that FW is entirely in low-sec, and has has been already said as low-sec gets busier with FW pilots, more pirates move in to shoot them.

So it's not a simple A|B decision.

Gevlon said...

It is, because with more hostiles you only lose an alpha clone with a T1 frig.

Fade Toblack said...

And how many LP have you earned whilst reshipping? How many LP are you earning whilst flying around system-to-system looking for somewhere quiet?

Meanwhile how many LPs has the missioner earnt?

From *my direct experience* of running low-sec exploration sites, you can get some fantastic faction loot drops. The *theoretical* ISK/hr is fantastic, beats every other type of PvE in the game. However the nights where I spent the entire time avoiding PvP - those nights I earnt nothing.

Kristopher said...


You don't afk farm FW sites.

You show up in a destroyer. If the person farming is on your side and using a gunless frigate, you laugh at him and take half his LP by just being near the button when he finishes. You get bonus tears if he calls you an LP thief in FW militia chat, and begs others to shoot you for him.

If the person farming with a gunless frigate is on the other side, you shoot his ass with your destroyer, get LP for killing him, and go find another victim.

Anonymous said...

@Gevlon: those caught "exploiting" the LP were some of the GSFs best financial minds - the kinds of people who turn over trillions of isk personally a month and manage the complex economic meta-strategy of the CFC. They had their profits removed in this instance however the impact hardly put them into negative wallets... These guys make you look "dirt poor" in the same way that you think (incorrectly) that you make the largest sov holding alliances look "dirt poor".

In fact, most of them were *rewarded* under the Plex for Snitches program (had their exploited money removed and then were gifted plex for reporting the exploit to CCP).

Anonymous said...

i think what your feeling here are the caldari cashouts

minmatar has been hitting t5 pretty regularly

not sure how much isk you have tied up all at once, but you could sit on a stack of implants?