Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Non-paying players must create content

There is a common misconception among those who pay their account via buying PLEX in Jita for ISK. It's best summarized by Jester. The idea is mostly "I'm a useful customer of CCP because someone else bought the PLEX for $15". It's completely wrong.

At first let's step aside from pixels and look at the real world. In the real world you are a player who plays a game provided by the developer. You should be paying for this service some way, it's obvious. You either do so by subscribing the game, paying the developer directly. The other is helping him creating content for other, paying players, increasing their likelihood of remaining subscribers. If you do neither, you are leeching and are a useless waste of server capacity for the developer.

CCP made a mistake, no doubt. They designed the game with the same assumption as the developers of World of Tanks: if you are a free player, you are cannonfodder for the paying players. In World of Tanks if you don't pay for the game, your tank upgrades very slowly, making you easy target. In EVE you must rat/mine/mission in a ship that is totally unfit for combat to get resources. If you don't pay for the game, you must rat/mine/mission about 10 hours/month extra to generate the ISK needed for your PLEX. During this 10 hours you are easy target for roaming gangs. If you die to them you have to re-farm your lost ship, providing them further hours of fun. In the original design "playing free = time spent as target".

The design failed when they made highsec way too profitable. The highsec player is neither playing in group, providing content to his groupmates, nor he is a target for anyone (assuming he is not an idiot and fly something that can be reasonably ganked). He is playing alone for free, wasting server capacity. Have you seen the TiDi and the "can't jump in because of traffic jam" in Jita? I'd guess 50% of the players who caused this annoyance haven't paid a single $ for CCP or provided any content for anyone. Due to imbalanced highsec "playing free = time spent playing alone".

OK, OK, but he still generates ISK, LP and minerals that paying players are ready to buy for $ via PLEX. Isn't it makes him useful to CCP? No, because CCP can generate ISK, LP and minerals from thin air. If a highsec miner would be replaced by an NPC who sells the same amount of minerals in Jita and buys PLEX from the ISK, no one would notice or care. Since the paying player would get the same thing for the same $, he would have no reason to stop paying.

The bottom line is that CCP could replace non-paying highsec PvE players by an item shop with no effect on anyone else besides less lag and keep the same $ for less server and tech support costs.

I'm not saying that highsec PvE players must be purged. I'm saying they must pay for the game they play with $ as they provide no content to anyone. Technically this can be implemented by stopping them being able to farm the cost of PLEX with normal play. Highsec income must be nerfed to the range of 5M/hour. Out with L4s, incursions and all ores besides veldspar!

Update: just found out the most trivial way to explain it: every in-game item is worthy only in comparison to the amount in the hands of other people. If you double the ISK in the hand of everyone, you just caused inflation. If highsec farmers would disappear, there would be less tritanium for sure, so less ships. But the amount of ships vs the amount of ships in the hand of your enemy won't change. Similarly if you pay $15 to buy a PLEX, from this PLEX you can buy less ships, that's true. But the amount of benefit you gain from the PLEX (compared to your enemy or the average gamer) will be the same, so you become no weaker nor stronger by the increase of ship prices.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just have a couple of questions.

So players who simply buy npc created items at one station and more to it another are not creating content and therefore have no place playing eve either?

After all they are simply moving an npc created item from one stations to another.

Or if CCP can make isk, LP and minerals out of thin air why not more content?

If CCP reduce their revenue to far (getting rid of leeches) there will come a point where they either wont be profitable or employees will need to be fired, server and tech support will need to be reduced, etc.

Ruby Porto said...

"You should be paying for this service some way, it's obvious. You either do so by subscribing the game, paying the developer directly."

And buying (and using) PLEX is paying the developer directly. Until a PLEX is redeemed (or destroyed) it is a liability on CCP's balance sheet. In essence, CCP doesn't get to have the money they're paid for a PLEX until someone redeems it for gametime.

"You're not really paying if you sub via PLEX" is a pretty terrible premise to base the rest of your argument on.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: players who simply buy npc created items at one station and more to it another are not creating content and therefore have no place playing eve FOR FREE.

If you are a subscribing player, you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn't alienate other players (like racist speech). The problem isn't that there are lot of players interacting only with NPCs, but that they play for free.

Creating minerals is a click. Creating meaningful content is much more complicated.

@Ruby Porto: and what stops CCP from destroying PLEX? If an NPC would go out in a mining barge, mine veldspar, sell it in Jita, buy a PLEX after it has enough ISK and destroy it, would it be any different from a highsec AFK miner account doing the same? I mean COULD any player notice if that barge is not player controlled (assuming it has the same look on the overview)?

Anonymous said...

"I'm not saying that highsec PvE players must be purged. I'm saying they must pay for the game they play with $ as they provide no content to anyone."

Where is the proof that they do not provide content afterall?

I myself am producing Capital Ship BPC packages which provides content for low/null/wh entities.
In adition to this I'm doing bulk T1/T2 ammo production which most likely gets used once again by low/null/wh entities.
This is done in highsec mostly solo.
I consider it solo since the production chain itself is handled by me.
Yes stuff is sold to other players chatting/mailing with them.
Though thats nothing else then another entity in the sandbox with eventually advanced AI.
And you seem to assume the same as those afk miners lvl4 runners you consider solo players.
Yet they have to buy their ships/mods/ammo from the market sold by other players since NPC corps do not seed them.
This is my personal way to escape the .01 lemmings without starting deep undercut fights untill we get bulk (min volume) sell orders.

What about "WTB 35k 425mm Railgun I in Jita 4-4 requests?". All built again in highsec eventually by a single player.
Provides content for low/null entities for a new SC/Titan.
Why you ask? Because its faster (12d single char 10 slots at a POS)
to build those Railguns and JF them up (1.750.000 m^3) and reprocess them at the target location
then chewing rocks with multiple players shifting ore/mineral to target location (~45m m^3 of minerals).

throwing everyone into the same pot is not the best thing to do. Not in EVE and not in real life.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if Im wrong you made very large proportion of your isk from buying and selling skills, etc (npc created items)?
You plex all your accounts?
So why are you still playing?

Or is by magic that you dont hold yourself to your own standards?

Yes you are doing your thing with the New Order, but that is well after you did all that non-content creating trading.

Cathfaern said...

"If an NPC would go out in a mining barge, mine veldspar, sell it in Jita, buy a PLEX after it has enough ISK and destroy it, would it be any different from a highsec AFK miner account doing the same?"
Yes, CCP's server have to run an AI, so it's more CPU time (more server load) than a player doing it. So it wouldn't help anything lowering their costs.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymouses: trading is content creation, direct interaction with players. A trader profit comes completely from other players. It's rather PvP than PvE. You neither have an idea what a highsec PvE player is so I break it down to you:
- flies to belt/mission site
- lock rock/rat
- presses F1
- redock
- sell ore/LP item

This is as bot-like as possible.

@Cathaern: absolutely not, server side simple AIs are much easier to run than a client connection. Just think how many rats are running around in an empty system without causing any lag.

Anonymous said...

You buy skill books, etc in high sec move them to another high sec station to resell. I would assume rarely would you enter low/null sec to do this. Why is it so different from ratting/mining in high sec?

At least a ratter actually kills something to get their products. While a skill book trader has an rather large if not unlimited supply of product.

So where does a ratters profit come from, if they are selling it to players?

Where is the interaction been a Trader and buyer/seller on the eve AH? I maybe wrong (Im relatively new to eve) but when you buy or sell on the AH you dont know anything about the other person, you dont communicate with them, etc.

Anonymous said...

"Until a PLEX is redeemed (or destroyed) it is a liability on CCP's balance sheet."

this is wrong, CCP sees PLEX as an in-game item (just like any other in.game item) and doesn't create any liabilities to off-set unconsumed PLEX.

Anonymous said...

"@Anonymouses: trading is content creation, direct interaction with players. A trader profit comes completely from other players. It's rather PvP than PvE. You neither have an idea what a highsec PvE player is so I break it down to you:"

But it doesn't hold to your own litmus test: it can easily be replaced by NPCs without anyone noticing, like hauling.

(actually I think your litmus test is broken)

Gevlon said...

Trading isn't PvE: you can't trade without other players. But you can do missions even if you are the only player in the server, buying faction items from LP and upgrading your ship. Similarly a miner-refiner-manufacturer can create himself ships and T1 modules. While I'm not claiming that such solo-EVE would be a great game, but it would be a game. On the other hand a lonely trader, PvP-er, corp leader could not do anything.

In other words: creating content is creating choices for other players. Do you buy it from me or do you take 10 jumps to buy it from the seeder NPC? Do you sell to the buy order instantly or undercut to sell orders?

PvE players create nothing but pixels for other players, their activity gives no (non-trivial) choice to anyone.

Anonymous said...

In other words: creating content is creating choices for other players. Do you buy it from me or do you take 10 jumps to buy it from the seeder NPC? Do you sell to the buy order instantly or undercut to sell orders?

So what are ratters/mission runners and miners doing with their loot/ore that they sell to other players? Arent they creating content?

Dàchéng said...

These PvE players aren't providing no content. They're providing you and the rest of the high-sec gankers with a LOT of content.

Bobbins said...

'Trading isn't PvE: you can't trade without other players.'

?? I'm puzzled. The income earnt from the missions , mining involve selling items to other players. The money earnt is from interacting with other players through the acting of selling and with a small amount of gank risk. Why are people who purely trade in total safety more active than the missioners and miners?

A person who undocks is giving other players the right to gank his ship at any time or otherwise spoil their day or has this changed recently.

mordis mydaddy said...

So the whole New Order thing isn't player created content? Would there be a New Order without bot-aspirant miners, AFKers, and bots to destroy? Do you think there would be a complex universe if there were only PvPers and market traders...you know the only ones who you claim create content? Whether you think so or not, there is value in knowing that every other ship is a real player and not an NPC, no matter how NPC-like they act. There is real value to CCP in having 35,000 real players logged on (even paying with PLEX or being bot-aspirants) versus 5,000 players and 30,000 extra NPCs.

Kinis Deren said...

I LOL'd when I read your post Goblin. I wonder how many null sec alts there are in high sec that "play for free and add no content"? Would you call for them to be hit with the nerf bat too or was your whole post aimed at hi-sec miners?

Hivemind said...

"CCP made a mistake, no doubt. They designed the game with the same assumption as the developers of World of Tanks: if you are a free player, you are cannonfodder for the paying players."

PLEX were never included in the original EVE design - they were added some 2 or 3 years after launch and were added to counter third party RMT, as a legitimate means for players to purchase ISK for real money without drastically disrupting the ingame economy. Their purpose was never to enforce some kind of predator/prey relationship between people paying subs and people using PLEX.

"In the original design "playing free = time spent as target""

Can you provide any proof to back that up? As opposed to "playing free = time spent obtaining ISK to finance someone else's content"?

The difference between a free player in EVE and a free player in WoT is that in EVE CCP still get paid for their free player's gametime, the money just comes from a different person to the account owner. In WoT the game is designed to encourage "free" players to spend their own IRL money on the item shop, but in neither case is a free player there purely to provide cannon fodder for the paying players.

"The highsec player is neither playing in group, providing content to his groupmates, nor he is a target for anyone (assuming he is not an idiot and fly something that can be reasonably ganked)."

First, as I have already pointed out, there is are players who prey on hisec mission runners, whether they like it or not - there are ninja salvagers, ninja looters, gankers who bait mission runners into limited engagements to either kill or ransom them and even players who dart in and steal mission objectives before the mission runner can get to them to ransom them back. Even if a player is in an NPC corp with all chat windows off, they are still providing content for all of those. In the case of miners, again they still provide content to suicide gankers like yourself and by your own argument a miner selling their minerals is creating content; everything you say about traders applies to them as well.

Second, I have to ask how many players there really are in this position; PvE in EVE is notoriously dull, repetitive and unengaging, so I have a hard time believing that there are that many players who play the game purely for the PvE experience to make money to continue playing PvE. It's normally the social aspect that retains players - my expectation would be that most players who focus on hisec ISK generation are doing so socially; in incursions, in player corps or just active in various chat channels, providing content to other players. I would expect most players in hisec purely to farm ISK and not interacting with others are doing so to finance another character who is generating content, often at the same time as they farm. That character might be nullsec blob pilot #3196 or maybe an elite solo PvPer or even a hisec ganker, but that main is still generating content thanks to the input from the alt.

"OK, OK, but he still generates ISK, LP and minerals that paying players are ready to buy for $ via PLEX. Isn't it makes him useful to CCP? No, because CCP can generate ISK, LP and minerals from thin air."

Except that the sandbox nature of EVE and its player-driven economy is one of its core features, which would be completely undone if CCP added an item shop or started generating materials from thin air. Being able to point to the Jita undock and explain that everything going on there is player driven is a major selling point for the game, especially for non-PvP focused players. Hell, look at the Incarna riots, which started just from the possibility that CCP were planning to add in an item shop as you suggest. CCP couldn't do that without crippling the existing EVE subscriber base.

Gevlon said...

Everyone provides SOME content, so everyone should play for free, right?

There must be a limit, if you are above that, you can play for free, if not, you must pay for your game time. Is there anyone seriously claim that "selling veldspar for buy orders" is enough content creation to let one play for free?

Kinis: highsec PvE pilots make little content. Them being alts of nullseccers is irrelevant.

About ganking: yes, gank targets provide content, but
- they could be replaced by NPCs and no one would notice
- only a small portion of highsec players provide content to gankers: the idiots. The smart ones can't be ganked and they are the ones who play for free, as the dumb ones are ganked.

Thoris said...

I'm sorry Gevlon but the hypocrisy and double standards in your newest blog post are staggering.

You are trading from and to PVE players. You gank their mining barges in large quantities. I would say they provide you with plenty content. And then you finance your own accounts on their backs and have the audacity to call them leeches. (neither of you are in my book)

That their activities can be replaced with AI is no valid argument. Everything can. Then you have a singleplayer game like Elite or the X-series. Don't even have to bother with subscriptions to play such a game.

The next fallacy is the assumption that paying via Plex is playing for free. It's not. You have to work for it and in the end provide a service to the players who can afford Plex with real money. It's your free time for their money.

Your assumption also seems to be that everyone except you has just this one carebear account and therefore "provides no content" but i think that's far from the truth.



Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: highsec aggression (missioner baiting, miner ganking) is an anomaly and not the rule. I'd say 90% of the highsec people are not stupid enough to become victims.

They might chat with each other while mining, but NONE OF THEM pays for the account. A bunch of free players creating content for each other is not a viable business model.

The highsec alts of content creators part is true. But the problem is that the guy can play for free NOT because he generates content on his main but because he has a farming alt. I want to fix exactly this: he should be able to farm more effectively on his main in nullsec.

The "pure sandbox" is a strong argument and an important selling point. And I do NOT want to introduce item shops. I want to introduce viable nullsec industry which can't be done without nerfing highsec to 5M/hour.

Bene El said...

First and foremost: Go read Jesters Blogpost again and make sure you understand it. Because what you are posting is completely against his reasoning.

Next: Do you really consider someone farming 10-20 hours for his plex to be playing for free? Because i call this work. It's not like the person is doing 'fun-stuff' while farming, therefor he is working to get his Plex, therefor not a freeloader because he earned the server capacity he needs from someone who does not want to spent that time and sells Plex instead.

@your comment that trading creates content: If your theory that NPC-orders should provide everything a high-sec miner or missioner provides, there will be no more trade. Because they provide practically everything in the entire game. Means no more 'free' Plex for you as well.

Get it into your head: No one at ALL (except for botters, who by definition are not playing anyway) gets to play for free, no matter weather you subscribe or use a Plex.

[Quote, Gevlon] About ganking: yes, gank targets provide content, but
- they could be replaced by NPCs and no one would notice
- only a small portion of highsec players provide content to gankers: the idiots. The smart ones can't be ganked and they are the ones who play for free, as the dumb ones are ganked.[/Quote]

So, what is ganking called where the targets are changed to NPCs: Ratting. Which according to your agenda should not sufficiently exist in high-sec anyway. Practically: Replace miners with NPCs and there will be no more gankers.

Von Keigai said...

"Content" is much more than "PVP and cooperative play". It is the entire structure of the virtual universe, including the price structure of most of the market, the fact that there are missions being run out in most systems, the fact that goods are being moved from point A to point B through space, etc.

You cannot replicate the effects of carebears on the game without simulating what they do. Do you think CCP has the programming chops to write an AI that can mine? That can run a freighter? Without any exploitable stupid-AI tricks? I doubt it very much. Your AI "sees" a ship in the same belt at 60km. That ship locks it for 10 sec. What does your AI do?

As for whether an NPC buy order "could", in some sense, replicate the market effect of a bear: yes, it "could". And in the exact same sense, a fully-socialist planned economy "could" work, providing a higher standard of living than capitalism. However, that "could" is the hypothetical "could" where humans are perfect.

In the real world with imperfect people and imperfect knowledge, the socialist experiment has been tried more than once, and failed miserably every time. (Don't you live in the ex-Warsaw Pact?) And if you think the apparatchiks of the old Soviet Union were economics-wise idiots or slackers, well: compared to the CCP devs, they were geniuses. I mean, really: these devs, whom you seem to be asserting can replicate the in-game market effects of ten thousand carebears, setting hundreds or thousands of prices via NPC buy orders... these are the same devs who, in the words of one critic, made "a serious design error" which "provided insane income for FW lowsec".

Fortunately, you are not a dev. Trying to jettison marginal-paying players for robots is a dumb idea. Dude, CPU is cheap. How much CPU do you imagine a marginal player costs CCP? A guy who logs in 20 hours per month and sits in a belt mining veldspar? 5 cents?

Rather CCP should go the opposite direction. They should purge every NPC payment in the game. Every NPC buy order every rat bounty, every seeded item. All of this stuff should be player-created, and if players cannot create it, they should think about revising the system entirely.

Gevlon said...

@Bene Eli: just because farming FEELS like work, it's still just playing a game. You provide no useful service to any other real life human.

The difference between a ganker and a ratter is merely his belief that the target is human player. If a CCP bot would fly a retriever and got ganked, no one would know it was a bot (actually it was likely a bot already).

@Von Keigai: you did not understand the point, a trader is very hard to simulate. The miner on the other hand can be extremely simply simulated, that's why it IS simulated already by a bot: warp to belt, target roid, start laser, dock when full.

Chris K. said...

"I'm puzzled. The income earnt from the missions , mining involve selling items to other players. The money earnt is from interacting with other players through the acting of selling and with a small amount of gank risk. Why are people who purely trade in total safety more active than the missioners and miners?

A person who undocks is giving other players the right to gank his ship at any time or otherwise spoil their day or has this changed recently."


Pretty much this.

You claim that as a trader, you were doing pvp and provided content. But someone who undocks, puts himself at risk and THEN trades on top of it, provides no content at all?

Hmm...

Von Keigai said...

Gevlon, a human miner is hard to simulate too. For example, how will your hypothetical robots tank their ships? Will every single one be programmed to be "smart" and fly a procurer or skiff? After all, it's not like they need the isk from mining.

No, they don't need the isk. So, how will you know how many robots to seed? Real human miners stop mining if they cannot make "enough" ISK mining. But you have to decide on "enough" for your bot-fleet. What is "enough"?

Let's say I pop into the same belt as your robot and sit right at zero on it. Will it get nervous and decide to move, or dock up?

Let's say your robot reads alerts and sees 10 of the "Badguy Ganker, you are not welcome here" type messages, suddenly. Does it attempt to warp out?

Does your robot read local? Can I warn it in plain English that there is a miner-ganker working in system?

Let's say your robot sees a ship warp into belt at 60, sit there for a while. Does it warp out? Does it warp out if that other ship locks?

Let say I set the only buy orders in the system where I see a robot miner. And I put the price at 1 isk cent for all highsec minerals. Does your robot sell me minerals for 1c?

Ah, no, of course not. Your robot has an idea of the "proper" market prices and holds out for it. But, "a trader is very hard to simulate". This is a trader.

Anonymous said...

What if we replace mining lasers with trade UI ? Miner flies to the belt, opens trade UI and buys some NPC sold ore very very cheap. There is also delay of 30mins after each trade transaction - he is frozen and vulnerable and just has to wait. After he fill his cargo - he carries his cargo somewhere and sells. Is he still a mire or a trader? Is he creating content or not? How different he is if compared to someone who is just hauling skillbooks around? They both are just getting something what is created from thin air and then carrying somewhere where it is mosre profitable to sell.

Von Keigai said...

Let me also reiterate my point on CPU, since you seem to have ignored.

A robot, an AI, if done at all well, takes up significant CPU. Even the sorts of robots that people use to cheat at EVE take up a certain amount -- and these, as I have just suggested, are nowhere near adequate replacements for humans, in terms of their in-game effect. (Call me when you see a robot venting tasty tears in local.)

But let's say that CCP is the first entity in the modern world to write a human-level AI. An AI so human that it whines about how poor it is and threatens to rage-quit when you gank its retriever. And they can fit 10 of them on one modern CPU.

Well, how many human miners do you think they can run on one CPU? We know they can run a thousand players in combat on a CPU, at 10% tidi. Miners sitting in one place hitting a rock take up much less CPU. So they can probably run several thousand, at least, per CPU. And not only that, miners by their nature are thinly distributed everywhere. So they are naturally load-balanced.

Why should CCP spend good money to develop their new robot AI? Why should they spend extra money to buy, run, and maintain CPUs to run that AI when they can get random people out on the internet to do that for them? And not only that, but a significant fraction of those random people are actually paying them to do it?

Economically speaking, attempting to replace even the most passive sort of player with a robot makes no sense at all.

Hivemind said...

@ Gevlon

"There must be a limit, if you are above that, you can play for free, if not, you must pay for your game time. Is there anyone seriously claim that "selling veldspar for buy orders" is enough content creation to let one play for free?"

Nobody in EVE “plays for free” - players who get their gametime from PLEX play because other players value their efforts enough to pay on their behalf. Those players set the bar for what is sufficient to earn that support, by placing PLEX on the market at whatever price they consider reasonable. In the case of selling Veldspar to buy orders it would take over 30 million Veld but yes, according to the players sponsoring others that would be sufficient content.

"highsec aggression (missioner baiting, miner ganking) is an anomaly and not the rule."

You're ignoring the examples I gave that don't rely on responses from the mission runner; ninja salvaging is far from uncommon and there isn't much a mission runner can do to prevent it.

"A bunch of free players creating content for each other is not a viable business model."

It is when those players' willingness to fund other players with ISK in exchange for gametime drives other players to pay additional subscription fees, which is effectively how the PLEX system works.

"But the problem is that the guy can play for free NOT because he generates content on his main but because he has a farming alt. I want to fix exactly this: he should be able to farm more effectively on his main in nullsec."

First, why is that a problem? He is generating content, and he is playing at someone else's expense. Why does the fact that these stem from different characters in different parts of the game matter? It's still the same player, and they probably wouldn't be generating as much content if they didn't have the option of playing at someone else's expense.

Second, he can already farm more effectively in Null, as I've pointed out previously; null farming is more effective in terms of ISK/hour than hisec, and more effective in ISK/effort for anything outside of AFK ice mining. He just chooses not to, and accepts that lower ISK/time and probably ISK/effort is the price he pays for it.

"The "pure sandbox" is a strong argument and an important selling point. And I do NOT want to introduce item shops."

You cannot simultaneously argue that mission running for ISK or mining for raw materials is not content generation because it could be done via NPCs or an item shop and argue that EVE benefits as a sandbox. If EVE benefits as a sandbox that means it needs players to provide those raw materials/ISK, even if that's all they do for the rest of the game.

"I want to introduce viable nullsec industry which can't be done without nerfing highsec to 5M/hour."

In terms of raw materials, nullsec industry is already viable - as I pointed out yesterday all officer mods, a large % of deadspace mods and the majority of megacyte, zydrine and morphite are generated in null or WH space. The only reason that the prices for null/wh ores are comparable to hisec ores is because of the amount of mining that goes on in null/wh space. The reason that nullsec industry primarily consists of resource generation rather than construction is twofold; the first reason is lack of factory slots in Null to support a robust manufacturing base. The second reason is the ease of transport between hisec and low/nullsec; it’s far more efficient for players in null to focus on overproducing the most valuable ores/minerals and then exporting them to hisec and importing finished products from hisec. With more manufacturing slots and greater cost associated with importing you would see greater independence from hisec, with nullsec players motivated to produce all minerals rather than cherrypicking highends and use them for on-site production.

Anonymous said...

so again you say that people who are having fun and fly with their freinds or B.S.ing on comms are creating no content? what you are saying is that players work with/against players create content? you've never seen miners go to war because someone stole their belt or was a rude !^*$&*! (like you). i rather hope that someone can help you get a clue.

Hivemind said...

@ Gevlon

RE: Your Update on the blog post

You can argue that the purchasing power of a PLEX relative to another player would remain the same, but in general players do not sell PLEX to get themselves ahead of competition, they do it to buy themselves access to a certain amount of content, which is a different thing entirely. For a lot of players, content access is measured in terms of how many ships they can afford to lose each month before they run out of ISK, because that dictates how much time they can spend on activities they enjoy (sov warfare, solo PvP, small gang PvP, FW, hisec wars, RvB, whatever).

If ship prices rise dramatically and PLEX prices do not follow suit, the value of 1 PLEX sale to the seller has decreased, or the cost in IRL money for their desired amount of content has just increased. Net result: Some players will quit because they find the new IRL money/content exchange rate unacceptable, some will accept the new exchange rate and partake in less content to remain within their budget. Overall, as a direct result of nerfing hisec, there is now less content for all players.

Ruby Porto said...

@Gevlon "and what stops CCP from destroying PLEX?"
The fact that one of EVE's primary selling points is the player driven market. And the fact that destroying your own liabilities in that way is ethically questionable at best.

@Anon "this is wrong, CCP sees PLEX as an in-game item (just like any other in.game item) and doesn't create any liabilities to off-set unconsumed PLEX."

Yes it does. Each PLEX in game represents 1 account/month of game time that they will have to provide without receiving new funding. That's a balance sheet liability. It's just like non-refundable gift cards; they represent goods/services that a firm will have to provide without any new income.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: the amount of ships lost by you is determined by the amount of ships your enemies can fly. If everyone can afford to buy half amount of ships, you lose ships half rate.

You are right that highsec farmers are useful to those who are ready to pay a PLEX for their materials. However the whole situation is a Red Queen problem: you must have a highsec farming alt because your enemies have a highsec farming alt.

The optimal way of getting items is farming in highsec and you must do it or be destroyed by enemies who do it and gain advantage.

Your only alternative is paying someone else with PLEX to do it for you.

My suggestion is to make highsec farming sub-optimal for nullsec players, therefore stop them being enforced to do so.

Nielas said...

Your final paraphraph ignores the problem that while "fewer ships for everyone" might preserve the balance of power, it will also mean fewer PvP fights. The rank-and-file PvPers want more PvP fights and want cheap ships.

The main issue with your reasoning is that while in the bigger picture things might look like they balance out, you are glossing over many of the smaller aspects of the game that really appeal to certain groups. If you streamline those aspects out of the game, the game will be a lot less appealing to many players.

Hivemind said...

@ Gevlon

"the amount of ships lost by you is determined by the amount of ships your enemies can fly. If everyone can afford to buy half amount of ships, you lose ships half rate."

Yes, because both I and my enemy can now only afford to put half as many ships at risk; either we both spend more time avoiding engagements and thus avoiding content or we play as we did before and burn through both our reduced allowances of ships/month in a shorter amount of time. Either way, content - generated when I and my enemies cross paths - is reduced for us both.

"However the whole situation is a Red Queen problem: you must have a highsec farming alt because your enemies have a highsec farming alt."

This is the part I disagree on; in my experience individual players are not motivated by external competition with other players, they are motivated by an internal desire to play the game at a particular level. In the event of a competition arising between two individual players they may both spend PLEX to purchase additional ships but the motive behind it is not "I cannot allow this person to get ahead of me", it's "I am enjoying this level of gameplay, I wish to ensure I can continue it".

"The optimal way of getting items is farming in highsec"

That depends on what you want to optimise; the optimal ISK/Effort method is definitely AFK ice mining in hisec, but it's also the worst for ISK/RL time. Best ISK/time is probably capital escalations in WHs, but the barrier for entry for that is very high. Best solo-accessible ISK/Time would be high end nullsec anomalies - sanctums and havens. Best ISK/time via mining is null or WH grav sites. The only thing hisec has going for it is ease of access and predictability of income, which really aren't things that you can adjust; it just turns out that a lot of players do in fact value ease and predictability over efficiency.

"you must do it or be destroyed by enemies who do it and gain advantage."

Again, on an individual player level the concern is usually "if I run out of ships I won't have anything to do". On a larger scale - at corporation and alliance level - concerns such as destruction of assets and loss of space become relevant, but corporations and alliances do not farm ISK in hisec, buy or sell PLEXes - their members do.

"My suggestion is to make highsec farming sub-optimal for nullsec players, therefore stop them being enforced to do so."

It's already sub-optimal and the only thing that "forces" nullsec players to farm in hisec is the desire for predictable/easy-access income, not because it's the only possible way to finance their nullsec lives. There are plenty of nullsec players who aren't supported by vast moongoo reserves who make ISK to support their nullsec gameplay via their nullsec gameplay.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: what highsec has is above all scaleability with skillpoints and capital. You can have a 10B missioning Marauder+Logi combo and have reasonable chance of not losing it. Such beast can blitz missions with 100M/hour. Ratting with an equally expensive carrier might provide more but "ratting carrier" is more or less a dead carrier.

Similarly you can safely run an Orca + freighter + 10 hulks farm in highsec. It's true that the same farm would earn more in nullsec but no sane man would try it.

Null is profitable only if you are at the level of battlecruiser ratting.

You mentioned predictability but - probably because you are an intelligent person - you don't see its importance for less intelligent people: they go farm when they are out of money. If he wants money NOW an AFK cloaker in his system is a disaster because he can't farm now which means he can't buy ships for tonight roam. The fact that you can go farm NOW is huge in their eyes.

Sabot said...

"so again you say that people who are having fun and fly with their freinds or B.S.ing on comms are creating no content?"

Gevlon has stated many times in previous posts he does not like engaging and playing with other people. He sees them as a tool for his own solo'ing goals in EVE.

I believe he spent some time in TEST but eventually they threw him out because of his posts in their forums. He isn't the most pleasant person to deal with and of course comes across to most people as being extremely abrasive (which is probably a language issue as he isn't a native english speaker).

But this is no secret and EVE being EVE encourages this type of narcissistic behavior and revels in it. If people can't cope with that then go and play Guild Wars 2. Or simply don't undock in EVE.

But don't discount everything Gevlon says. He is playing the game very successfully and his posts here prove that. There is a place for carebears and sharks in EVE. Both feed of each other. That is the EVE sandbox.

Eaten by a Grue said...

Whether the highsec player creates valuable content is not relevant. The entire premise is just wrong. Highsec players who PLEX bring in equal or more revenue to CCP as subscribing players, regardless of how they make their ISK, so long as they make it.

When a high sec player finances his playtime by buying PLEX, he creates a demand for PLEX. This causes other players to buy PLEX to sell to him. Essentially, the highsec player, through his gamestyle and the ISK generated by it, is able to get other players to pay for his playtime. But make no mistake, his playtime is paid for. He is not playing for free, it's just that someone else pays. In fact, since a PLEX costs a little more than a steady subscription, the highsec player is actually more valuable to CCP than a subscriber.

If these highsec players went away, would CCP's revenues sink? They clearly would.

Hivemind said...

"You can have a 10B missioning Marauder+Logi combo and have reasonable chance of not losing it. Such beast can blitz missions with 100M/hour."

Can you provide proof for that? Based on my own experience running missions in the past I would not expect that a single Marauder's dps would allow blitzing anywhere near fast enough for that level of income (in fact I would think you'd need to multibox multiple mission runners to make 100mil/hr from hisec L4s). Granted it would be very hard to kill, but I don't see it paying off the 1.5bn+ investment in that combo that quickly.

"Similarly you can safely run an Orca + freighter + 10 hulks farm in highsec. It's true that the same farm would earn more in nullsec but no sane man would try it."

I'm 99% sure that people do in fact multibox 10+ mining barges in nullsec, though most likely with Rorqual boosts from a safe POS. Personally I have multiboxed several mining ships in belts (as in normal asteroid belts, not grav sites) in nullsec with Orca support in the past; I used Hulks and jetcan mined, when I had sufficient jetcans to load the orca I switched a miner to a Noctis and gathered the cans away from the belt itself, then warped the orca in with tractor beams, aligned it to a safe POS and loaded it up. Scaling up the operation isn't difficult since you only need to watch local/intel on one character and you can safe the mining fleet up with a single squad warp, and using a Freighter rather than Orca to empty cans is only slightly more risky than what I was doing. For the record I still have the Hulks, Orca and Noctis.

"Null is profitable only if you are at the level of battlecruiser ratting."

I'm honestly not sure if that's a complaint that you need to be able to fly a PvE fit BC as the entry to profitable Null ratting or if you're saying that Null ratting doesn't scale well above using a BC. If it's the former, I don't really see how that's different to hisec - mission running income is negligible prior to being able to run L3s in a BC, and only gets to appreciable levels running L4s in a Faction or T2 BS or Tech 3 Cruiser, all of which have significantly higher training requirements than a PvE BC. If it's the latter then that's flat out untrue - Anomalies scale with tank and DPS even better than L4 missions do since it's always possible to cherry pick the best anoms that your ship(s) can survive and since they are entirely based around tanking and dealing damage.

"The fact that you can go farm [in hisec] NOW is huge in their eyes."

Yes, but that's a failiure on the part of the players and will not change if you nerf hisec income. Players in hisec who could be farming in Null are already placing greater value on predictable income than earning the maximum ISK/hour. What proof do you have that further reducing the ISK/hour would change that to persuade them to leave hisec rather than persuade them to quit the game?

Azuriel said...

[...] a trader is very hard to simulate.

Uh... no. It's called a vendor. Nobody buying your items from Jita has any indication that you aren't just a bot auto-buying/selling goods. Prices could be established on an algorithm of CCP's choice, perhaps modeled on past behavior.

In any case, your ultimate goal is even worse game design. Make null have 500M/hour and high-sec 5M. Now what? Existing Alliances get fabulously wealthy, and all players much choose amongst the 2-3 Alliances to join or starve. All solo content ceases to exist.

How many subscriptions do no-safe-zone, free-for-all PvP games have? Maybe 10% of EVE's current size, if they're lucky.

Rob said...

@Ruby Porto "Each PLEX in game represents 1 account/month of game time that they will have to provide without receiving new funding. That's a balance sheet liability. It's just like non-refundable gift cards; they represent goods/services that a firm will have to provide without any new income."

I disagree. This is an excellent example of an economic profit showing up as an accounting loss.

You're only considering the short-run, after the PLEX is sold to the user. Selling PLEX is strictly profitable to CCP in the long run:

When CCP sells a PLEX to a user, CCP receives $15 and the user receives an ingame item ostensibly worth $15, and redeemable for EVE time. Because of real-world inflation, the longer this PLEX sits around unused, the better off CCP is.

For example, assume a US-based player paid $15 for a PLEX that was activated 1 year later. At this point, that $15 the user paid for the PLEX is worth ~$14.70 (assuming 2% inflation). Had the user instead purchased game time when they wanted to renew the account (instead of using the PLEX), the $15 they NOW pay is worth ~$14.70 in "last year's money".

CCP essentially earned $.30 because they allowed the user to buy PLEX, since they get the money now instead of later.

Of course $.30 isn't really a lot of money. It adds up, but that's not where the bulk of the incentive for CCP comes from. This is where we get into:

@Gevlon "and what stops CCP from destroying PLEX?"

The money.

There's ~3300 PLEX in Jita every day according to eve-marketdata. Accounting for other trade hubs and market-external trades, and considering that every PLEX doesn't always sit on the market, it's conservative to say at least 10,000 PLEX exist ingame at any given time. This is great for CCP. This means they currently have at least $150,000 that they are not providing service in return for. Of course, once these PLEX are activated, they lose most of this value - but by that time more PLEX will have been bought, so the outstanding balance will remain similar.

Additionally, as I noted above, they keep some of the original price every time a PLEX is activated. In any case, CPP has a giant wad of free money at any given time because of the PLEX system.

All of this is to say nothing about the reason they probably adopted PLEX in the first place. Firstly, it circumvents psychological loss-aversion (dropping the perceived cost) by using time-pricing rather than money-pricing. It also allows users who aren't willing to pay quite $15 for EVE to start playing, because people can optimize their time/money tradeoffs to reduce the perceived cost of the game (math on this available if requested).
CCP still gets $15 for each subscription (of which there are now more), and people can now buy ISK for money. Everybody wins.

Johnicholas Hines said...

Note that "competitive" as you use it in this article is different from, say, MOBA games or, for that matter, RL sports.

Because Eve allows (encourages) accumulating capital, and (to a surprisingly small extent) capital is advantageous in gaining more capital, winning at Eve tends to lead to winning at Eve. This would be called "unfair" and "anticompetitive" in the context of MOBA games or RL sports.

There is an inevitable tension between allowing "social mobility" - that anyone can make their way to the top with enough talent - and the continuous / single-world / capital-accumulating style of play that Eve strives toward.

Samuel Cole said...

"Eaten by a Grue" nailed it.

1. People who play for free create in-game demand for Plexes.

2. Increased in-game demand for plexes drives up the price (in isk) of plexes.

3. Increased isk-value of plexes makes them more attractive to the people who purchase them with real money and sell them for isk. (i.e. a dedicated PvPer might consider blowing $15 for 400m isk, but not for 150m isk.)

4. The attractiveness of purchasing plexes (with dollars) is good for CCP because it increases revenue for them.

So, in short, people who play for free still contribute to putting money in CCP's pockets.

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