Friday, November 2, 2012

The "problem" and the solution of the "failed" null industry

Breaking news for Orca pilots about winter changes:
- Corp hangars *on ships* are now fleet hangars
- Fleet hangars will now behave like normal cargo hold when it comes to ship scanners and loot drops (ie, will be scannable, and loot will drop from them)

Nullsec being a zone of wealth destruction instead of wealth creation is a central issue of EVE economy. While it creates a unique World where winning is harder and harder, it is also responsible for the small playerbase of the game. EVE is the direct opposite of the standard MMOs: as you "progress", your character and player group becomes weaker and weaker. The more Sov you want, the more time your highsec "alt" (with much more play time than your "main") must spend farming just to be able to pay your Sov bills and other costs. This game only appeal to players who like the (anti)social aspect of the game. To like EVE you must either use it as a human behavior simulator, or simply like griefing or helping people.

I'm absolutely sure that CCP did not plan the game this way. Every guide, intro, post they make has the mantra of "the more risky zone you go, the rewards are larger". It's even true on the surface: the lower the security status of the system, the more materials can come from a planetary extractor, the more valuable NPCs spawn and more valuable ore you can find.

The "problem" comes from the core design idea of EVE: "there is no absolute safety". The "owners" of the system don't own it at all. There is absolutely no tool for them to keep enemies out any more than shooting them with ships. But you have that without ownership too. The bonuses of ownership are rather convenience: jump bridges, stations to respawn/reship. There is a passive income source: moon mining, but that doesn't add to security.

This, combined with the "every ship is valuable" doctrine of EVE means that hostiles, literally in ships given by the newbie starter missions are able to get in and successfully attack the "owners". While their ship is no match to any combat ship the owners have, it can take down ratting (NPC farming), mining or hauling ships. His risks are near-zero as his ship has very low price. While his chances are slim against anyone cares to undock particularly to clear him up, he has a chance to catch valuable industrial ships. A multi billion ratting faction battleship can die to a stealth bomber or in a gatecamp set up by destroyers and frigates.

"Fixing" this is impossible without removing most PvP actions in EVE. However some players found the "fix" and their alliances, TEST and Goons are progressing well towards map domination. The fix is accepting newbies. Most alliances are elitist and accept only highly trained, skilled and rich players. Accepting newbies isn't just good for your fleet numbers. Accepting newbies is extremely helpful for your alliance economy.

This seems awkward. Why would newbies generate more income to the alliance then established players? Because of the different income vs skillpoints/knowledge/assets in highsec and nullsec. It is something like this:
After the nullsec ratter can fly a Naga or the nullsec miner can grab a Retreiver they are ready to make nice money. The equally fitted highsec counterparts are still doing L3 securities or mine Scordite. However as they earn power, the highsec ones can add more accounts, more expensive and effective ships. Two-three faction fit faction battleships and a Noctis can pull some serious ISK in level 4 missions or deadspace complexes. Of course the same group could pull even higher ISK in a sanctum, except if they try to, they soon end up on the killboard of some cloaky Loki. Similarly the 10 account Orca supported scordite miner has nothing to complain about (besides bumpers maybe) while a similar multibox miner team is likely to not even reach the stationless system it supposed to be mining if a few destroyers are camping a gate. Also good luck AFK-autopiloting multiboxed freighters in Stain like you do in The Forge.

While the potential in nullsec is larger for everyone, the experienced and rich player can't use it due to risks of loss. On the other hand the newbie is able to grab the full potential of nullsec since his losses are miniscule next to his gains. A ratting Naga can earn its pricetag in an hour. A ratting Tengu must work ten-something hours to pay for a loss. I don't want to calculate this time of return for a ratting Nyx.

The reason why CCP did not notice it at design is that during planning and testing phase everyone was newbie. Those who were there at the start tell stories about corporations roaming null. There wasn't even alliance interface. People just went out in whatever they had to mine, rat or fight. If you are at the keyboard and use one account, you still can pull in more money in nullsec than in high. I don't think CCP expected 10 account AFK mining fleets or 5B Machariel missioner bots when they planned the game. They simply underestimated how far one can go with multiple accounts and lot of money and maybe a keyboard script.

This isn't something that CCP can fix without banning multiple accounts or AFK-ing, that they will surely not do. However it's something that the players can fix. You must fill your land with battlecruiser ratting, Retreiver mining, P1 PI doing newbies. They want to be at the keyboard (Spaceships!!!) and they have just one account. The real problem is that in most player groups one cannot join before reaching a level where he has no reason to join. Someone with a 60M SP pilot could make much more ISK in highsec than in null. The future belongs to alliances that bring the few days old newbies to the resources of null, letting them zerg down the ores, rats and planets, leaving only special tasks (JF hauling, below-POS-shield Rorqual boost, P4 PI, escalation fleets) to experienced players. Experienced players doing the busywork of industry in null is simply waste of ISK. If they need money, they should pull out those mission Machariels or 10 Mackinaw fleets, obviously in highsec.

I still play WoW sometimes, but the utter incompetence of the average player, combined with Blizzards choice to force us to suffer them (instead of podding them like in EVE) reinforces my decision and my account will expire:

Will of the Emperor (the endboss) LFR, kill after a 1% wipe

Friday morning report: 183.4B (6.6 spent on main accounts, 7.1 spent on Logi/Carrier, 3.8 on Ragnarok, 3.3 on Rorqual, 3.4 on Nyx, 3.4 on Dread, 37.4 sent as gift)


Espoire said...

"Needing" LFR gear to contribute fully to my main raiding team is leading me to consider quitting WoW. 1-2 hours to kill the easy mode of a boss we've got on farm is very aggravating.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

I'm not sure how 1-2 hours of LFR a week is a problem, if you already raid 10+ hours a week.

If you don't raid 10+ hours a week than whatever meager contributions you can make with LFR gear over heroic gear are largely irrelevant to your progress. Your stumbling block in raiding is not lack of gear, but rather lack of practice on the dance.

You should spend less time in LFR and more time figuring out why your raidgroup (and you personally) is failing the dance and what can you do about it.

Obviously, if you feel that you can do nothing, then WoW probably isn't the game for you.

Curiously enough, approaching LFR as rehearsal for the dance is a good way to learn the raid dance outside of raid hours and is something you do to help both your performance in actual raid and your raiding team.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to make everything worse by pointing out that if you "need" ilvl 476 LFR gear so badly, then you definitely should cap conquest points for them ilvl 483 epics (pvp power and resilience don't count towards the stat budget anymore in case you missed that memo) - and that is going to make the 1-2h/week time investment for LFR look outright trivial.

Anonymous said...

You don't HAVE to do LFR to progress in Normal and Heroic modes. Its merely part of the upgrade path which COULD benefit to better performance. Theorycrafting, learning about tactics, getting the right composition, better players in team, doing dailies for charm and VP, getting CP cap to get epic PvP gear, getting exalted with Klaxxi and Golden Lotus, world bosses, correct gemming and enchanting of gear, doing multiple runs with mains and alts to gear up mains; these are all examples of ways which allow you to min-max your progression. There's various blue posts by Blizzard about this which boils down to LFR is a choice.

If you do not wish to play with randoms in LFG (LFD/LFR) make your 5m/25m premades just like you can do with 10m/25m N/HC raid except you can do the former x-realm, and the latter not yet x-realm (probably end of this tier you can).

Since there's only 1 upgrade for me in LFR (which I will get ASAP once it drops again in N/HC) I won't do LFR (MSV) anymore. It isn't worth my time, nor frustration. LFR (HoF), MSV HC, and HoF N/HC will provide upgrades instead.

Regardless there are also times where doing LFR will get you the better players, and if you queue with other good players you will be able to carry the bad, saving yourself time.

In short, why are you playing WoW with M&S? Wasn't The PuG designed to circumvent playing with scrubs?

Johnicholas Hines said...

This is an awesome post, thanks.

If nullsec was full of newbie renters, Sov-holding might become more profitable - do you think those curves would change?

Debra said...

Most alliance actually accept and welcome newbies : NC. do (at least several corp inside NC.), Ewoks, Nexus, and many more. The core problem is not the will to recruit but rather the difficulty to recruit.

I (as a Nexus member) have recruited at least 10 members, i am payed 30mil per recruit. New members are welcomed with free ships, hugs and much more. However i have had to spend approximetly one hour to recruit a single player... Whereas Goons and Test can rely on a large base of potential recruits outside the game and are also very vocal about their kindness towards new recruits.

Goons particulary often caricature NC. as 'elite pvp' whereas some goons'corps are 4mil+ sp or gtfo (namely ICE but some others too).

On the other hand i don't agree with the idea that high sec can provide higher income for the most skilled players : if you are willing to multibox 4 accounts to run lvl4s you are probably able to multibox 2-3 accounts to do exploration in null sec which is way more profitable. Check eve-fail blog ... exploration is pretty damn good in null sec.

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