Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Corporation size and "elite PvP"

"-A- is shit" became a common saying in EVE. They lost 2/3 of their Sov, they lost their staging systems without a fight, they are now living in NPC null, often undock-camped. Also, they are targeted by wide variations of hatred. HoneyBadger Coalition now attacks Esoteria, but I've seen no sign of hatred towards its denizens. There is more like a "they live in a space we want and also they are a nuisance so let's evict them" attitude towards them. HBC fleets also often combat N2S and CVA fleets without any sign of hate.

It seems -A- earned the hatred and despise of both its enemies and most spectators. They must be horrible. This is indeed the common opinion about them. However I think that the average -A- line members are coming from no different background than most EVE players and they are not worse people in real life. They are just random guys placed in a bad structure. Please read the experiment of Milgram: his totally normal test subject were ready to torture to death other innocent people just because they were told to. Social people are very much product of their surroundings and their behavior is coming from outside factors instead of their internal qualities.

What is responsible for turning average guys into "shit -A-"? Is it some evil leaders or "culture"? I also disagree with that. "OMG losses" posts come up all the time on the TEST forum, warning us the dangers of supercarrier ratting or calling out some expensive idiot fit, demanding rules to stop these "embarrassing losses". They are ridiculed and talked down of course. But the seed of "l33t PvP" that turns -A- into -A- is clearly present in TEST too. But for some reason it could consume -A- and TEST is immune to this disease.

I believe the main reason is corporate size. Before you'd say there isn't that big difference, let's get numbers. No, average corp size is not good. If there are two alliances with 1000 members, with 2 corporations both, the average corp size is 500 for both. However if one has two 500-men corps, then in this alliance everyone has 499 corpmates. If the other has 100+900 members, than 900 people have 899 corpmates and 100 have 99. The average corpmate number here is (900*899+100*99)/1000 = 819. Let's calculate average corpmate number for -A- and TEST and get 221 and 1830. The difference is 8.7x!

OK, it's clear that -A- has much smaller corps, but how does it make them bad? The key is in their October alliance meeting: "Leadership encourages that -A- is still the best alliance on eve-kill, however their Russian corps have been doing the shittiest job, and are asked to step up their game." The small corporations allow -A- to have intra-alliance competition. The -A- member is not embarrassing himself by having losses but his corporation. Even if he is ready to damn his kill/death ratio and undock to go down in flames taking a few hostiles with him, he can't without damning his friends. So anyone who'd suggest to change the "never undock" attitude of -A- is talked down by his close social circles, therefore there cannot be pioneers in -A- facilitating the change.

There is another reason that holds -A- back. Imagine that two fleets fight and both kill 10-10 equal ships. 1.0 Kill/Death and 50% ISK ratio. Now let's see what happens if one of the fleets had 10 different corporations, and each corporations lost one ship while they did damage in all killed enemy ships. Then their killboard will have 10 kills and only one loss, 10.0 K/D and 91% ISK ratio, despite we talk about the same battle. Generally the K/D_corp = K/D_fleet*fleet_size/corp_size. The smaller the corps are, the better their K/D is if they are fighting in a large-fleet setting. This problem causes that -A- members look at their corporation killboard and rightfully say "yes, we are absolutely elite" even if their fleet lost every battle. Obviously it's based on the error of the killboards that give one kill to all pilots who killed the same one ship instead of giving them 1/n kills. But killboards are the way they are and people are bad at maths. This gives them a very distorted perception of reality where they don't see why should they change anything at all.

The large-corp based TEST is immune to both effects. TEST corporations can't meaningfully compete with each other over killboard stats since Dreddit is 20-30x bigger then them, so they need to have 20-30x more kills/pilot to compete. Also, the large size of Dreddit ruins its killboard ratio (remember that it's fleet_size/corp_size), making the "greenness" competition trivial/meaningless. So TEST couldn't be a killboard worshipping alliance even if it wanted to, the irreparable "l33t PvP"-ers quit it in disgust, removing their harmful cultural effect.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your Waffle reader is back.

This sentence earns both a stylistic and a content complaint: "Let's calculate average corpmate number for -A- and TEST and get 221 and 1830. 8.7x difference!'

The numbers '1830' and '8.7' separated only by a period are quite unpleasant to read. Please consider adding some filler such as '1830. That is an 8.7x difference!' to make this easier to parse. I generally try (and fail) to avoid starting or ending a sentence with a computation to avoid these difficulties.

Have you removed outliers in your computation there? Dreddit and ENL are both enormous TEST corporations that may heavily skew the average. There are probably Executor corps containing 1-6 members (certainly for -A-, dunno about TEST) that increase the corporation count as well. Perhaps the same computation with the largest/smallest 10% of corporations removed from each Alliance would be more enlightening?

Also -A- has been kicked out of NPC Null. They now live in Sendaya in lowsec with one jump to Curse which is NPC null. If you wish to twist the knife you can now say they have been removed to Empire.

You may want to look into the 'Killboards are green!' issue a little more seriously. You can measure useful things off killboards, such as activity, quality of fits, and to a degree performance. K/D ratios are not particularly meaningful for the skill of the pilot and are generally only a rough tool. Often one should be suspicious of a pilot whose killboard has no red, as you do not want a pilot that is going to bug out in a challenging fight. Ideally you want to see pilots who are creating interesting/challenging fights and winning a fair proportion of them.

Do you know what -A- is looking at when they look at killboards from sources other than obvious propaganda? For example, I know the -A- forums have already been mirrored. Have you browsed them? Do you really know if/why -A- is shit from sources other than HBC propaganda? Pandemic Legion gave up SOV in Fountain with even less of a fight against an inferior opponent. PL also loves fights and kills of any kind. I promise you if you lose a carrier with a funky fit in PL your life will be far, far worse than the same loss in -A-. Have you investigated the difference between the two organizations?

I think there are a lot of dimensions to your investigation into the success of TEST that you have left unexplored. I think your understanding of -A-'s loss of several regions is incomplete. If you read a little more about the history of the game you will find that power in Eve goes beyond SOV. You may also want to ask simple questions such as 'what motivates -A- and what motivates TEST?'

Gevlon said...

The . 8.7 fixed.

The big "outlier" in TEST is Dreddit, which really shouldn't be removed. The 1-2 men altcorps no need to be removed as their effect in the result is 0.1% magnitude (an alliance with an 1000 and a 1-men corp has (999*1000+1*0)/1001 = average 998 corpmate number.

I know that killboards can be used intelligently, and the point is indeed that -A- doesn't do that but celebrate "killboard is green".

PL has no sov and doesn't want any. That's a choice everyone is entitled to, including -A-. If they were announcing that "we will not have sov", that would be a different situation.

Anonymous said...

I think you did not understand what Waffle was trying to say. His point was that your assumptions are based on HBC propaganda and that they are questionable at best. I do not see the whole of EVE saying '-A- is shit', I can see only those entities which are in some regard connected to HBC or have been enemies with -A- for a long while. He has rightfully pointed out that PL has behaved in the past exactly in the same way as -A- did, and that they would do the same again if necessary. As he has mentioned, power in EVE goes beyond SOV, and losing space in itself is not a problem, because conquering SOV is one thing, but holding it over longer periods is something entirely different.

Furthermore, he has also pointed out that PL is much more unforgiving of stupid losses then -A- is. This is an established fact, known by anyone with a bit of experience in nullsec life. While -A- people will troll you in such situations and forget about it in a few days, PL will do much, much worse. Also, PL is an alliance with relatively small corps, on -A- level as far as that is concerned. PL celebrates 'killboard is green' even more then -A-, indeed when their efficiency falls below 70% we have the famous 'Pathetic Legion' banner appearing. By all standards that you've laid down in your post, PL is 'more shit' then -A-.

I think you are seriously underestimating your opponent. Taking into consideration what -A- is subjected to (over 10:1 odds, an extensive metagame and propaganda machine) I would say that -A- is doing surprisingly well. It is no secret that PL has a hard-on on -A- because of some obscure reason, and this is IIRC the third time that they've tried to kill off -A-. Yet so far they have always survived and bounced back. Any other alliance subjected to such treatment by PL would have by now failcascaded. -A- is the only one that has survived such treatment. We will see whether they will survive it this time, but I would say that probably they will.

In conclusion, I would say the following: your analysis is extremely biased by HBC propaganda. You have failed to do any in depth investigation into the subject that you are discussing about, and you are basing it solely on propaganda and not on a well done study of the subject at hand. I think your lack of knowledge of the past of EVE is seriously impairing your ability to analyze the situation. It would therefore be my advice that you read up on it (without the HBC tinted glasses).

Gevlon said...

Not just HBC/CFC hates -A-, former allies like N2S, RA has bad opinion too. I don't think that they have other ally left than SOLAR and even SOLAR didn't defend them after they wanted to use them as meatshield.

PL had a huge difference from -A-, namely that they recognized that their attitude is incompatible with Sov holding and they became something like the SWAT squad of HBC, while -A- entertain itself to be a fully functional all-in-one sovholder. If -A- would declare that they will never have Sov again, move to SOLAR land and from now on do the "elite" jobs for SOLAR, that would be something similar and doable.

Anonymous said...

who is perceived as "shit" and not might be a bit of a filter issue here.

you believe test and goons are the good and cool kids who do everything right.

the culture you move in is mostly formed and based on points of views that in some extend fit towards their game.

however, you get filtered information there.

Just because Test and Goons are the largest entity, it doesn't mean their perception its how most of EVE perceives -A-.

Most people who are not affiliated with the testgoon blob hate it with a passion.

Ogopogo said...

"Please read the experiment of Milgram: his totally normal test subject were ready to torture to death other innocent people just because they were told to."

I wish people would stop drawing this conclusion. The real conclusion in the Milgram experiment was that people were willing to do awful things for the sake of a purpose (science), but had 100% refusal when actually ordered to continue the experiment when they didn't want to.

Anonymous said...

The Waffle is back.

I misread your 'average corpmates' as 'average members per corp' instead of 'average corpmates per individual.' Your method does indeed cut out the outliers on the low end. However, it emphasizes even more heavily the outliers on the high end. If you want to represent the population of the HBC instead of just the population of Dreddit I do not think you can restrict discussion to a metric that over represents them so heavily.

For example, what number do you get if you restrict the computation to PL vs restricting to TEST? You will undoubtedly get a much lower number. Then you must justify your claim that this metric predicts success accurately in light of the large variance among two successful entities. I would also be interested to know the numbers for Goons and some historical entities such as BoB, IT Alliance, and the Northern Coalition.

On -A- killboards: I claim that neither of us knows -A-'s attitude on killboards. -A- advertises itself as 'A PvP Alliance.' It makes sense for them to put focus on their PvP activity over their Sov holding. The 'killboards green' mockery is just that, people trivializing what -A- does for propaganda purposes. You claim that small corp size and intercorp competition discourages -A- from undocking to avoid losses. You claim that -A- measures performance by K/D ratio. I question both claims.

I repeat and expand; you need more information than the rage and drama PL spies feed HBC. We are very good at collecting that stuff and think it is hilarious. Find a complete mirror or find another way of getting at the information you need if you want to claim -A- is actually just sperging all day about K/D ratios.

I am unconvinced that a Dilbert-esque 'Middle Management is Evil' mantra explains the success of Test as an organization. I am also unconvinced that -A- is shit because of corp size. These seem to be tangential phenomena. I have given examples showing variance in corp size amongst successful entities and if you look at the corp size of Eve Uni (Which has been driven to brutal evacuations out of Null twice in its history) I can give you a large corp that was unsuccessful with Sov. There has to be more to it.

That said, I certainly don't care enough to do the work, so feel free to call me a slacker and move on.

I am not an -A- apologist, and the gentleman two posts down from my original comment has missed what I've said by a mile. I made the comparison because I needed an entity Gevlon believes 'is shit' and an entity Gevlon believes 'is not shit' to make my points. I don't care about -A- and I doubt PL does other than as targets. PL has never behaved 'exactly like -A-' with regards to its allies, how it handled losing SOV in Fountain, or how it handled the 'Headshot VFK' debacle. They are very different entities.

Furthermore, PL was far more abusive to Goons than it has been to -A-. Tracking Titans and Thundercats back before any of the Super nerfs, or the Dread buffs, and with Goons flying only Maelstroms and Drakes? Explain how that is gentler than going after the -A- Tengu fleets with subcaps.

Anonymous said...

..First off, before I decided to leave a comment I checked the generic chatcha to see if I had a reasonable chance to complete it. Why you don't pay $10 for your own site plus Wordpress blog I don't know.

Anyways, let me quote Theodore Roosevelt:


"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Gevlon, you are the critic, not the man who is actually in the arena.

On the topic of Eve, you have done nothing in your pod pilot career other then make pixel money (that is so easy to come by there are bots that can run fully automated and get the same isk/day as you) and criticize EVERY person to entity worth knowing.

I say it's time to put up or get out. Shit or get off the pot. Show some real results or stfu.

I mean everyone can criticize -A- or HBC or GW or Goons or any other big name organization. I can do that. Countless trolls on the Eve-O forums can do that.

Can I, or the trolls, or YOU make such a large and successful entity that you so criticize?

I know I can't. I know the trolls can't. And I am starting to think that you can't either.

Many months ago I posted here that I think that your (THE Gevlon!) success in Eve would not be your pixel money (that any bot can make) or your (THE Gevlon!) mastery of optimizing NPC gameplay.

Your success and legacy would be forming a corporation of like minded, asocial gamers who are set on throwing elebows and making waves DEMANDING and COMMANDING their own space by their own rules for their own benefit. And everything that comes with it.

Gevlon, you have disappointed me. I have read every post that you have made. I have tried to get on a EU WoW server to play WoW with you. I have shaped and changed my real life small business around your philosophy.

But on this topic, you have disappointed me, and I assume, many loyal readers. You could have taken Eve by storm and forced the nay-sayers to believe your philosophies. You have disapointed me.

Anonymous said...

The Anon Roosevelt quoting individual has my complete support and I feel that he brings up valid points.

The old saying consisting of: 'walk a mile in another man's shoes' is a very valid one. I myself run a small corporation (~110) in a much larger alliance (not a well known one) and I realize fully that I am 'middle management'. However all the points that you had made about them do not seem to apply to myself or really any other corp leader who is worth their shit. CEOs who act like you have described usually do not stay CEO for long. I have never been busier or worked harder in my entire EvE career.

I have also followed you for a while now, and really enjoyed your viewpoint and the observations that you have put forth. Unfortumately, lately the style and approach of your posts have drastically changed and you have been relying on arguments that are obviously biased or really off mark. I am not sure what has changed for you, but it is sad for at least one of your readers.

I think that you need to once again and push beyond your current boundaries and try and lead people. Try to wear the middle management hat, try to lead a corporation. I have a feeling that it would be a great learning experience for you.

As i finish this post I am left with the same feeling i had just a few months ago: you need more experience in EvE. Remember how most of your posters told you that when you first started?

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: I don't question that you work very hard to make your corp running. However don't you find it odd that you need to work very hard in a video game?

If you have to work that hard in a 110 men corp, then a 4200 men Dreddit leaders must work 40x harder, right? Except that's impossible. You are doing things that are done automatically here, simply because there is a critical mass of players.

It's like trying to run a small colony on an island. You need to do everything yourself. But in a city you can call professionals for everything.

I think it's you who need to walk in others shoe: try to get a clean alt to Dreddit/Goonwaffe and see how fluently it's run, not because the leaders are better than you, but because it runs itself.

Anyway, you gave me a great post idea!

Anonymous said...

@ Gevlon
Some good points there. Though, who says that I am not also in goons/test? Anon alts are a wonderful thing.

It is a nice system(s) that several alliances have, and I have automated numerous parts of my corp. There are some things though that cant be automated, and it isnt pure numbers that really determine the activity of a corporation. Though my corporation is small we do a lot and produce a lot. Such that there a lot of things that I or one of the directors must take care of. This all stems from the concept of trust in EvE and the difficulty of building it. (A whole post in itself)

Additionally, there are not many people who will take it upon themselves to organize others into events/ops. This dictates that the CEO or other management needs to step up and get things rolling for the enjoyment and betterment of the corp.

Just food for thought

Subscribe to the goblinish wisdom