Friday, March 1, 2013

The influx of competitive players

There is a common fear that removing the ability to farm huge amount of ISK without risk or skill would remove large amount of subscribers. I've already mentioned that the highsec-only players don't pay for the game anyway and the others could move to farm in competitive areas. But it's indeed true that the game needs players to feel like a World and also there is a chance that the solo player will turn a content creator or a paying customer some day. So it's without doubt that losing players is a bad thing for an MMO.

However let's look at the other side: while any change alienate some, it is beneficial for others and these others can find the game worthy of playing. What kind of player could be lured to EVE if ISK could only be gained in competitive zones? Captain Obvious says: competitive players.

Let's face it, EVE isn't a competitive game. You can amass wealth and top the killboards without facing anyone who could fight back. EVE has a dark marketing that can lure competitive players who had enough of the WoW-clones where even AFK-autofollowing "players" are entitled to every reward and content is nerfed to the level of the braindead. I remember when I was hesitating about trying EVE out. I was afraid that maybe I'm not hardcore or have good enough reaction time to survive in this "cut-throat world". Then I gave a try and in half year I could afford a titan. In the first month I started shooting other players I got more kills than hundreds of "nullsec PvPers". I was disappointed and stayed only in lack of options. However those who don't just look for MMOs have options! There are several competitive e-sport-like games where they could - and probably did - move.

Now imagine if EVE would be just like it is marketed: a dark, unforgiving world where players fight for resources and power in an anything goes setting instead of "go to belt, target asteroid, go AFK, receive reward". EVE could be the competitive MMO where the players who want to test their skills against opponents could play.

EVE is in a perilous position: its marketing keeps the true "carebears" away, while those who are lured to try it leave disappointed. Practically the only way to get more players is word-of-mouth, the real life friends of current players can join. But seriously: how many real life friends does an average EVE player have?

EVE could have a unique selling point: the competitive MMO, where the skilled wins and the weak fails. Many-many players seek that game. Less than WoW sure, but more than the current EVE playerbase (which is likely around 150K humans). Instead of trying to keep those who'd fit WoW better anyway, let's keep those who fit nowhere else. I'm sure that making EVE competitive would increase subscriber count.



An example of players who is not competitive and the EVE community is probably better off replacing him with someone who is:

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've already mentioned that the highsec-only players don't pay for the game anyway and the others could move to farm in competitive areas.

And you have been shown to be demonstrably incorrect, on multiple accounts.

To recap, there are plenty of highsec only players who DO pay for the game. Furthermore, players that play with plex are in a sense paying for the game, trading time playing the game for game time purchased by those who do not have the time to dedicate. No matter how you slice this particular problem, the highsec players are indeed 'paying' for the game. Buying a plex is akin to having a friend use their credit card to pay for your game in exchange for services rendered.

Furthermore, in a sandbox you cannot state that people should be moved to 'competitive' areas. There are competitive portions of highsec which are suited to particular play styles. No amount of nerfing highsec and buffing other areas will create a mass highsec exodus - it will more likely create a mass exodus from the game, as trebor eluded to when he stated that CCP had run the numbers on these sorts of things, and chuckled knowingly when asked for results of these numbers.

Let's face it, EVE isn't a competitive game

I utterly reject this premise. If eve were not a competitive game then we wouldn't have enormous and near constant conflict in the 'competitive' areas of the game. Without competition factional warfare would not work at all. Sov nulsec would be even more broken then it is now, and nobody would bother doing the immensely hardwork of living in a wormhole. Your premise is based entirely on individual competitive nature, which has absolutely no place in a social, multi player game.

Never the less, amassing wealth and topping killboards with solo kills DOES appeal to some solo competitive types.

Your statement on the lack of competitive nature is demonstrably wrong. Competition is everywhere and you are either incredibly stupid or incredibly deceptive for stating otherwise.

Now imagine if EVE would be just like it is marketed: a dark, unforgiving world where players fight for resources and power in an anything goes setting instead of "go to belt, target asteroid, go AFK, receive reward". EVE could be the competitive MMO where the players who want to test their skills against opponents could play.

It largely is. Your "go to belt, target asteroid, go AFK, receive reward" argument has been systematically and utterly broken down every time you have made it. The game doesn't work this way outside of your own strawman.

Those skillful at the political metagame (and eve's primary 'player skill' exists primarily in the metagame) are tested every day they play this game.

EVE could have a unique selling point: the competitive MMO, where the skilled wins and the weak fails.

Eve already exists in this space. This is partly why it is not popular in the mainstream. Losses have consequence, and those who can skillful traverse the metagame will rise to levels of power which can only be dreamed of in other MMOs.


essentially, your post is completely wrong because it is built once again on unsubstantiated opinion passed off as fact. You are wrong. You are wrong every time you pen one of these articles. Your arguments are destroyed time and time again by your regular readers.



Gevlon said...

Highsec players don't pay for the game. Nullsec players pay for it. It IS true that it's like having a friend pay for them. However the friend provides content. The highseccer provides veldspar and LP. These things could be sold in an item shop. I don't think the paying player would give a damn if he buys veldspar from an AFK miner or CCP.


Nerfing highsec would surely make a mass exodus to nullsec: the alts of nullseccers would return to rat/mine/mission in nullsec. These people are already in nullsec as mains, they are farming in highsec because it's easier.


You mistake combativeness with competitiveness. "Let's see ships explode and have fun" isn't competitive. They just want to kick other peoples sandcastles and harvest tears. Unless you consider WoW battleground lolling competitive play, you can't call "gudfites" competitive play either.

The "go to belt, target asteroid, go AFK, receive reward" is unchallenged. No one actually TRIED to disprove it, they - just like you - say "itz wrong lol cuz i dun like it"

In EVE no one wins and only the braindead fails. Just like in WoW everyone is around the same level of kills and wealth, no one - besides braindead - has problems progressing.

Again: repeating "ur wrong" is not an argument. The above statements are not simply undefeated, they are UNCHALLENGED. Your lengthy comment contain only one argument, the "highsec players are paying because someone is paying for them", which I disproved. The rest is just "i dun like it so itz wrong" whining.

Anonymous said...

Even if EVE become a competitive game, it still lacks one very important factor to attract competitive players: fame and money in real world. The competitive players will go after a game with tournaments, such as LOL, in which they can gain something in real world. To do that, EVE needs to find a way to make people want to watch competitive players compete in the game.

I do agree that there should be more "mix-up" between high sec and low/null sec. Incursion should just turn the high sec system into a null sec one until it's done. On the other hand, there should be NPC fleets moving around low/null sec and removing players' structure everyday. The low/null sec system with NPC fleet in it will turn into a high sec one. That will be lots of fun.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, can you tell where exactly is the difference between:

1. "go to belt -> target asteroid -> receive reward"

and

2. "go to NPC station -> purchase skillbooks -> receive reward"

Gevlon said...

EVE already have some tournaments and it could be further expanded. It's not something that can't be easily fixed. The non-competitive nature of EVE itself is the problem

@Last Anon: did I ever said it's different? My income is indeed the proof of the overpoweredness of highsec carebearism. I shouldn't earn so much money so easily in a balanced game.

Anonymous said...

Mortal online, Darkfall....these are MMOs which are sandboxes without any fluffy safe zones..

Many many players say they want a true FFA pvp game, yet, not many many players turn up to play them.

Eve is competitive, it just is not competitive in the way you would like it to be currently, however, the way you want Eve to be may change in a few days/weeks/months.

Mining is competitive, just not in the way you want it to be. What do you think James' mission is about? What have you stated you want several times?

Increased prices for ships/ice/ore.
It is not liked that some people sell things too cheaply (as perceived by others).
The "Skillbooks I get are free" or the "Minerals I mine are free" crowd may be a problem to some, but nothing stops anyone relisting the items at a more competitive price..in fact, people make their money this way, buying up ships below build cost, or 10% above, and then relisting them 60 or 70% over.

Your isk income is only proof of high sec carebearism if you can show none of your money came from low/null-pvpers or high sec gankers.

If I choose to be an arms dealer, it does not prove that pacifism is the best way to make money..

Anonymous said...

Your income is trading. Period. This is an exception and should not be counted as "all high sec" income.

Mining is NOT more lucrative in high sec. It is more "efficient" only because you can afk it. It provides shittier income for less attention needed. Somewhat like afk missions before AI. If you mine in relatively safe area, you will beat high sec.

Missions give LESS awards in High Sec. I got guys who roll missions in carriers can earn up to 2-300mil/hour. Try doing that in high sec. Just because slackers can't be bothered to optimize isk flow from their activity or do some research it does not mean it can't be done.

Exploration gives LESS rewards than high sec. I could never go back. If you know your sites, you can run very efficiently. It takes me 15min to scan constellation with DSP and 30 min to do 6/10, which can drop to billion loot or more.

All these people complaining about HS being too rich are nothing more than morons and slackers. And you are one of them. Your comments on income strategies are all based on "general public experience" because you never did them yourself. Only thing you did, was optimize your trading and that's about it.

Nerfing high sec to the point where you can afford only t1 frig/cruiser, will drive many players away, who might later transform to "content creators" by moving to low sec. There are many pilots that move out after carebearing for a year.

CCP should make niche zones, where resources from Low Sec and Null would have HIGH DEMAND in HS daily life. For instance make better yeld in mining activities, make much better drop rates in missions and exploration.

Idea should be that people outside High Sec should be rich enough to fly semi shinies ships, while HS income should be enough to fuel very standard pvp activities.

bottom line. BUFF LOW and NULL, instead nerfing HS to the ground.

Gevlon said...

Human effort matters at "hour". Character hours matter only if something limits you from running more accounts. Mining is better ISK/human hour in highsec, hands down.

Sites are better in null, but you can't run them without risks. A single AFK cloaker can end your carrier ratting, while highsec missioning is completely safe (assuming you aren't flying a purple loot pinata). Highsec missioning also need no other effort. No need to take sov for the system, erect ihub, poses and so on. You don't have to join any player organization which will have costs (like hours wasted in CTAs)

Rob said...

@Gevlon "Highsec players don't pay for the game. Nullsec players pay for it. It IS true that it's like having a friend pay for them. However the friend provides content. The highseccer provides veldspar and LP."

As I elaborated on a bit in a comment to your previous post, highsec PLEX-buyers may not pay for the game directly, but they certainly generate demand for others to pay for the game. Without that demand, CCP would be making a bunch less money.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that when you label highseccers useless, it's based on the premise that what's "good for EVE" is content creation. By that I assume you mean things like creating emergent gameplay.
If this is true, a lot of the debate that's going on here is a fundamental disconnect between peoples' theories of "what's good for EVE", which is not something with a correct answer.

Under what seems to be your theory, I definitely agree with you about the value for players in a shift to more competition. It will almost certainly create more emergent gameplay, and will probably make the game a whole lot more fun for those who stick around for it.

I don't know that I agree with you that it will get more subscribers, though. As one Anon mentioned, a few games like Mortal Online and Darkfall already exist in this space. I think EVE's competitive advantage against games like these is its economy and its sci-fi theme, though the regrettably low level of market saturation could prove me wrong. In that case, CPP will get a lot more value out of more marketing than changing the game itself.

In keeping with the economy advantage, I wanted to address this:

@Gevlon "These things could be sold in an item shop. I don't think the paying player would give a damn if he buys veldspar from an AFK miner or CCP."

The player wouldn't give a damn because he's myopic and (possibly) ignorant. Since CCP "has" an unlimited supply of veldspar, setting a price for it in an item shop would be the same as setting the amount of veldspar that is traded every day. They're just choosing the spot on the demand curve where they want the equilibrium to be.

This could have catastrophic market implications. If the quantity and price of base materials like veldspar are fixed, other products will begin to settle into artificial equilibria because of their relative value to these materials. There will be some slight variation as evolving strategies call for different equipment, etc., but they will stay relatively close to a fixed price in the long run. After a while, it's quite possible that the entire economy of EVE settles into a manufactured equilibrium, which would ruin the free market of the game.

It is paramount that CCP doesn't fix prices for base materials, or any item with a strong role in the economy. Every time they do this for a specific item, it gets us closer and closer to a non-market economy.

Hivemind said...

"I've already mentioned that the highsec-only players don't pay for the game anyway and the others could move to farm in competitive areas."

Yes, and you've been shot down repeatedly when you mentioned it. At this point you're being outright dishonest as you imply that losing hisec players plus farming in competitive areas would not affect CCP's income, when it would actually cut all the money CCP get from PLEX sales. The consumers of PLEX items would be gone and you want the producers of PLEX items/consumers of timecodes to farm for themselves and thus not need to sell PLEX.

"But it's indeed true that the game needs players to feel like a World and also there is a chance that the solo player will turn a content creator or a paying customer some day."

Solo players who consume PLEX are better for CCP's bottom line than subscribers because their actions - making their ISK available to other players - prompt other players to spend more than a 1 month subscription to create PLEX. CCP's income is higher with the mixture of subscriptions and PLEX-supported accounts than it would be if it had the same number of accounts all paying subscriptions.

"What kind of player could be lured to EVE if ISK could only be gained in competitive zones? Captain Obvious says: competitive players."

I'm not so sure about this. Usually, competitive players want to demonstrate their success at the competition - global rankings, unique titles, ladders etc. I'm far from certain that success at ISK making would fulfil the same desire - wallets are private and EVE doesn't have an equivalent to Stormwind bank where a player can show off the shiny rewards of their success; players idly hanging around who might gawk are more likely to be docked up and unable to look, plus of course pimp ships are targets.

"Let's face it, EVE isn't a competitive game. You can amass wealth and top the killboards without facing anyone who could fight back."

I've said it before, players define their own field of competition in EVE. You can choose a single abstract field like ISK efficiency or ISK destroyed and you can effectively game the system, which you have done by focusing on high value targets that provide no challenge to kill. On the other hand there is not a lot of competition based purely on raw ISK destroyed because the system can be gamed. Players measuring themselves against others based on stats usually have some specific criteria in mind, spoken or otherwise - they may only consider kills in lowsec, nullsec or WHs, or kills in a specific war, or kills performed solo. Within those fields there is plenty of competition, it's just not a single field covering all of EVE.

If you need proof look at the likes of Kil2 for solo PVP competition, or the Alliance Tournament, NEO and SCL for small gang; Jester has blogged about the level of training that goes into those fights. You can see competition at a corporate level during alliance deployments - FA in Syndicate, FA and RAZOR in Great Wildlands/Dronelands for a couple of examples there and you can see it at an alliance level during Coalition deployments from the likes of CFC or HBC, where the spoils are divided up based on participation. None of the organisations/players involved there are likely to care about your performance ganking miners in hisec because you're not competing in their field.

[Continued below]

Hivemind said...

[Continued from above]
"Now imagine if EVE would be just like it is marketed: a dark, unforgiving world where players fight for resources and power in an anything goes setting"

You mean nullsec? Or maybe WH space? Or Faction Warfare? Hisec is still an unforgiving world - a player who loses their barge to you or gets killed on a mission doesn’t respawn 10 seconds later, they have to put in time and effort to replace it (before you say it, afk mining still requires effort; low-effort is not the same as no effort at all). It’s still an anything goes setting - you can continue to gank players in hisec even as a shoot-on-sight criminal. Players don’t often fight directly but they compete with one another over ISK - watch the Jita markets as a number of producers try to undercut each other so they get their goods sold quickly at the expense of everyone else. Wars have started over things like mining rights when a corporation is established in an area and doesn’t want to move. As for dark, the rich can use their wealth to crush the poor by sponsoring suicide ganking or hiring mercs and the strong prey on the weak for no reason other than their own amusement. Why, I even hear there are a group of players aggressively enforcing their views and code of conduct upon other players by violence and bloodshed and the victims have no recourse save military opposition or running.

"EVE could have a unique selling point: the competitive MMO, where the skilled wins and the weak fails."

Except that E-Sports games thrive primarily on player skill at the game itself whereas that's only a small part of EVE online competition. Games like Starcraft or League of Legends allow a sufficiently skilled player/team to win with any reasonable strategy based on their skill, whereas in EVE a ship fitting or fleet comp requires focus in some areas and weakness in others and is at an instant disadvantage if the opposing fleet is strong where it is weak. A good player can beat a bad player with a significant disadvantage but he is unlikely to beat an average player and will lose to another good player - but neither player can say the win came through their own skill in the fight itself. This is why so much of the competition in EVE is through the metagame - again look at AT10 with Rote Kappelle deliberately using conservative fleets and tactics and fleets for the easier early matches to bait their first serious opponents into exposing a weakness to them.

There are also additional unbalancing factors that skew EVE competition away from the personal skill favoured by e-sports games; skillpoints and available ISK can skew a battle in favour of a lower skill player against a higher skill one (certainly officer mods aren't cost-effective but the cumulative effect of a few % over T2/faction on each mod can stack up and win a close fight) and possibly most importantly outside of sanctioned tourneys like SCL and AT there is no restriction on bringing overwhelming numbers and wiping out most concerns over skill; with the partial exception of WH space EVE overwhelmingly favours a lot of average players over a few exceptional ones, which is counter to the design of popular e-sports games.

Anonymous said...

Super competitive games are niche games. You don't increase subscriptions with that. There needs to be a place for the more casual "carebear" players in Eve. What you propose is something like iRacing for MMO's. Millions play racing games but only a small elite subscribes to iRacing even tho it's perhaps the pinnacle of racing games.

Get real, the "bad" players arn't the problem. The problem is how the security levels and infrastructure is distributed across the map and how its so static. There is nothing on the outskirts of the map that would give a carebear a reason to travel through nullsec. Nullsec itself most stations are off limits if you're not part of it, many entrance systems are constantly bubbled bottlenecks. If you want carebears to take risks make the map way more diverse with shifts between security. Have some hisec enclaves on the outskirts with good facilities and ressources. have all the trade routes between enemy empires go through low or nullsec corridors, Have systems fluctuate their security level over time etc. stuff like that would be my idea.

Bene El said...

Let's face it, you Gevlon have a different value to things than more or less every other player in this game.

When you look at killboards for you all that counts is the number of kills and isk destroyed/lost, without caring at all what kind of kills those where. In your view a highsec ganker with his 99% isk-efficiency is better than an alliance tournament winner who doubles in solo roams having an over all 65% isk-efficiency. Just because the killboard said so. For most players it simply does not work this way. They look at the killboard and see the guy has soloed a talos and dramiel in an arbitrator and compare that to the masses of dead mining barges over catalysts. They value the former player a lot higher than the ganker. Why? Because they can look through numbers. You only care about those numbers.

Next Plex. Plex do not hold any value to you because you never had a problem earning one. You never had that box coming up that your acc runs out in 6 days while your wallet shows 30m. So you say, why doesn't everyone start trading right away to never care about Plex again, just like you? Pretty simple. There are different types of players. Some like doing the market game, some despise it, some just came home from work and wanna get drunk while shooting some red crosses, they had to work their head enough the whole day and want to do something more relaxing in their evening like ratting and mining. Yes, it does not require as much attention as other things or the same things in lower sec, but you want those players to no longer be able to be able to afford their accounts but instead buy more Plexes. But who will buy the Plexes if no one in high-sec can afford them anymore? (except for the traders ofc.)

Here's an example. A RL friend of mine started the game in Dec last, so he's just about to enter his 4th month. To keep both of his accounts running he's mining every das for 2 hours. That's just to keep them running, at this point he has not gotten anything yet to do stuff with he actually likes to do. This is the definition of work. You do something to earn money to be able to afford things you do for fun. I for sure wouldn't do that and am glad I make my iskies elsewhere and enough as well, but I respect that he is working to keep his accounts running while you on the other hand want him to go away, because in your view he adds no value to the game while mining. Could his mining be replaced by NPCs? yes. But it would also make him leave, because he does not have the skills to earn his Plexes elsewhere (again without going into the market, which not everybody wants and which would also not work if every single eve player did it).

So if you ask me High-Sec must stay viable for people to provide enough isk for Plex, cause I do not want those people to go away.

Marketing is the only high-sec profession which could be considered overpowered, but don't forget it's not the developers who make it like that, but the players.

Oh, and stop talking about carebearism as if it were only in highsec. The biggest carebears live in null and wh space. I consider myself one of them btw. Because I considered the risk vs reward and left high-sec long ago cause the reward was so little that I preferred some risk. My whole opperation could be shut down by a corp willing to do it in a matter of 2 days (which no one did in half a year, high risk huh?). My profit on the other hand is about 3b/month for needing less than 1 hour per day, netting a solid 100+m/man-hour. The rest of my time I can use to watch the stars, kill things, or whatever else I prefer to do at that moment.

Gevlon said...

Darkfall seems to be mentioned every time when someone talks against WoW-ifying. However, have you ever seen Darkfall? Its 1995 graphics? Its primitive skill system? Its lack of land (random generated land with kobolds everywhere). Darkfall fails not because it's competitive, but because it's BAD. A PvE Darkfall would fail even harder.

@Rob: there is no need to fix the price of Veldspar and such. They can be completely player-created prices, exactly right now, without actual highsec players. How? Simply for every quiting highsec miner account create a bot that buys a Retriever+fitting every month in Jita and a PLEX and sells enough minerals to cover his costs. Actually it could go out an mine in a barge as a bot and no one would notice ... because it's already a bot.

@Hivemind: see above. I don't say PLEX trading is bad for CCP. I'm saying it doesn't need actual highsec players.

I'm starting to get how the "dark unforgiving" is meant by many. Yes, some people (like the barges I gank) suffer. They might suffer IRL to the point they start raging. But with a minimal level of competence you can avoid losses. It's not that hard to put on that DCII and remain in 0.7+. Yes, it's darker than WoW where even the braindead can't lose anything. But compare it to chess where even the second best chess master gets beaten up.

I've never said EVE should or could be a "skill" based game, like the tournaments. It could be a game where spying, strategies and so on count. Like nullsec sov now. Nullsec sov IS competitive and COULD be a great game if it would MATTER. But everyone is at "we didn't want that space anyway" because they make their ISK in AFK barges and Vargur bots in highsec. Imagine the very same EVE as today except people caring about Sov!

Anonymous said...

Like nullsec sov now. Nullsec sov IS competitive and COULD be a great game if it would MATTER.

Hang on, didn't you say that it wasn't competitive before? Which is it?

But everyone is at "we didn't want that space anyway"

This is a typical reaction to attempt to make yourself feel better. Most people who drop this line are in fact hurt because their loss does matter. You put way to much stock in statements such as these.

because they make their ISK in AFK barges and Vargur bots in highsec. Imagine the very same EVE as today except people caring about Sov!

Ok, I'm going to only ask this one more time. Do you have any solid evidence for any of this?

That is to say, where is your evidence that most nulsec pilots have highsec alts that AFK mine (an activity you cannot detect from non-afk mining) or bot in Vagurs?

And I do not mean any kind of rediculous specious argument, passing off your own conclusions as fact, or circular reasoning. Where is your cold, hard, undeniable evidence that this happens...because if you do not have it then your entire argument falls apart like a house of cards.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: here is your solid evidence:
http://evemaps.dotlan.net/map/Delve#npc24 vs http://evemaps.dotlan.net/map/The_Forge#npc24

Anonymous said...

Sorry, not evidence of afk mining. Not evidence of bot vagur ratting either.

Not even evidence that these are in fact nulsec alts.

All you have shown is that most one cherry picked highsec region has more NPC kills than a cherry picked nulsec region and as such does not support any of your 3 assertions.

I will remind you of the 3 assertions:
1) that most nulsec pilots earn their money in highsec
2) that some of those nulsec pilots do so by afk mining in alts
3) that some of those nulsec pilots do so by bot ratting in vagurs with alts.

Your 2 maps do not prove any of these points at all. Care to try again - or will you concede that you cannot stand on an argument for which you have no evidence?

Rob said...

@Gevlon "there is no need to fix the price of Veldspar and such. They can be completely player-created prices, exactly right now, without actual highsec players. How? Simply for every quiting highsec miner account create a bot that buys a Retriever+fitting every month in Jita and a PLEX and sells enough minerals to cover his costs. Actually it could go out an mine in a barge as a bot and no one would notice ... because it's already a bot."

If we're discussing only highseccers that ACTUALLY use bots, this is true enough. It is, however, a bit of a moot point. Bots are already against the EULA, so CCP has "removed them from the game" pending their ability to actually enforce the rule.

If we're discussing highseccers that DON'T actually bot, the arrangement you proposed is basically equivalent to having an item shop. The only difference is that instead of choosing a fixed price and letting the supply get determined, it would be choosing the supply and letting the price get determined.

CCP would have to program these bots to mine specified amounts over specified time frames, and choose how many bots to send out. This is essentially the same as just deciding [BIGNUMBER]m3 is the supply of Veldspar today.

I suppose the price would be a little less stable due to ganking, bumping, etc. of the CCP bots by players, but heaps more stable than an entirely player-driven economy. Given the volume of Veldspar traded per day, the market settles into equilibrium pretty quickly, so the instability this adds (as opposed to the Item Shop) would probably be negligible.

Whatever. The far more important question I'd like to ask you is:

If we could theoretically create an AI-style bot that emulated a highsec miner well enough to be indistinguishable, why is it a better arrangement to have a ton of these running around than to just let the players do their thing? It's all the same to you either way.


By the way, good job with the blog. I don't play EVE anymore, but your posts are pretty consistently something interesting to think about, so I keep reading. Nicely done.

Gevlon said...

@Rob: the bots can be modeled after players, they mine/mission as many hours as an average player. The "motivation" of the bot is buying PLEX to fund his account. If the price of PLEX goes above 550M ISK, some bots "quit" the game, so the only price needed to be fixed is PLEX, everything else is market-driven

The CCP bot is better than the non-paying player simply by not filing petitions, not spamming the forum and not canceling its account when next WoW expansion comes out.

My point with these imaginary bots are to prove that highsec players who just farm ISK, play for free and solo are not needed for the game and game changes that makes them quit wouldn't be a disaster as they can be replaced by bots.

The ONLY players who can't be replaced by a CCP bot is:
* a paying player (CCP bot doesn't pay $ to CCP)
* someone who creates unique content to other players (a bot won't blog, won't run an alliance, won't organize a heist...)

Anonymous said...

Replacing these players with bots might not affect the game, but it would mostly likely lower the active subscription number. To CCP, these players don't really cost anything in term of maintenance: forum spam and petitions can be filtered, and cancelling the account? Well they might just cancel their accounts when they are replaced by bot.

I doubt CCP will do anything unless they find a way to convert these players into paying players, and replacing them with bots is probably not one.

Samus said...

You are ignoring EVE's key demographic: players who want to SAY their game is "hardcore," but who in truth want an easy game so they can "win" without much skill or effort.

You said yourself, everything you read about EVE claims it is "harsh and unforgiving." Even now, you are still the only one saying it is easy. They all play the same easy game you do, why are they still saying it is hard?

EVE makes money by selling fake e-peen (same as every other MMORPG). You should know by now this is what socials care most about. This is why the players are so hostile toward you, because you are exposing their phony status that they spent so much time and money on.

Druur Monakh said...

@Gevlon "highsec-only players don't pay for the game anyway"

False, as my own bank account statements can attest to. And since you made a categorical statement, a single counterexample is sufficient to refute it.

If you want to make an argument based on the fact that _some_ hisec-only players completely plex themselves, and address the thrust of that argument at those players, you need to state so. But then you would still have the burden of proving that you're talking about a significant percentage of the hi-sec player base.

And you can't either make the categorical statement that self-plexing hi-sec players are botters and AFKers: I do happen to know a hi-sec player who is plexing himself through mining, but he is not AFK'ing it.

Gevlon said...

@Druur: there are 90K PLEX sold in Jita, in a month so we can say about 100K accounts are PLEX-ed.

Since everything you do in highsec earns you ISK, it's not a big leap to say that most of the 100K PLEX go to highsec accounts, simply because what else can they spend on the ISK earned from mining and missioning,

Von Keigai said...

Goblin, you continue to wildly underestimate what it takes to write a decent robot, and also the economic effect of a player. All active players have economic effects; replicating these even moderately well requires a lot more programming than you think. AIs cost more than players. It would be irrational for CCP to spend resources replacing players with robots.

Players cost CCP very little, and yet we generate most of what CCP sells. How much does a marginal player cost? A small slice of one CPU; some customer support. Everything else amortizes over all players: developing the client, for example, costs the same regardless of how many players download it.

Now, how much would an AI to replace a miner cost to run? Quite a bit. Not only you have to develop, maintain, and update the code. It takes CPU to run; and unlike the situation for a (human) player, we are positing that CCP must run this hardware. AI is very CPU-intensive.

The only place AIs are definitely cheaper than players is customer support. But come on. The average player is not costing CCP much in customer support.

Gevlon said...

@Von Keigai: players are already largely replaced by robots, CCP needs a whole department getting rid of them.

There is one serious cost of players over robots: players can quit, risking bringing other players with them. Robots can't quit.

Sugar Kyle said...

I think most of those plex are just traded between the plex sellers and those who use plex as a secure currency.

Gevlon said...

@Sugar: trading PLEX isn't a really lucrative activity. Even with near-perfect 0.25% broker fee and 0.75% tax you lose 5M on every transaction and the difference between buy and sell orders aren't much higher.

Druur Monakh said...

@Gevlon "what else can they spend on the ISK"

Ships (some of which are hangar queens), modules, ammunition, monocles. Some losses are against the PvE rats; other losses are caused by gankers like yourself.

You also assume (or at least insinuate) that all hi-sec-only players mission and mine; and that those that mission and mine, do make enough to finance their accounts. Neither is true.

All we know is that 90k PLEX are sold in Jita in a month, and that some are going to support hi-sec accounts. But everything beyond that is mere conjecture in desperate need of supporting data.

Mick Cooney said...

Just looking at your post Gevlon, why do you think that any miner that does not fit a Damage Control II on his ship is dumb?

Sure it is rational to fit three Mining Laser Upgrade IIs in the three low slots as the extra yield will overcome the loss of the Retriever (since that is quite a rare event if you are paying attention).

Anonymous said...

players are already largely replaced by robots, CCP needs a whole department getting rid of them.

A very small department whos job it is to look after everything from fishing scams to account stealing to illicit isk trade to account security to exploits....

That is to say, it isn't an entire department whose job it is to just track down bots as you imply. Bot related activities are simply one of their many many tasks.

more sweeping generalizations presented as facts eh Gevlon?

Anonymous said...

"players are already largely replaced by robots, CCP needs a whole department getting rid of them.

There is one serious cost of players over robots: players can quit, risking bringing other players with them. Robots can't quit."

The problem is not "CCP can do it or not", but "why CCP want to do it?"

Indeed, players can quit. If CCP keeps everything as it is now, most of these players will just hanging around and will still be counted as "activate subscription". But if CCP replace them with robots, some of them might become other types of player while the rest will just quit. CCP is at a loss unless all of them become other types of player. Just like you say "player quitting is a serious cost", replacing these players with robots is exactly the way to realize that cost.

No doubt your suggestions can make EVE a better game, but what's in it for CCP? Getting rid of these players won't bring in more incomes for CCP, but just a smaller activate subscription number.

Anonymous said...

Yes, eve is not competitive game. Those kind of games needs to have several requirements to get success. First thing is being equal. Chess starts with equal set of pieces. Rated Battleground dont favor any team on start. Popular LoL fights start on same experience and gold amounts. Eve pvp is mostly non equal, one side either got better ship or fight against lover AI players called bots. Second requirement is, fight should last around 20-60 minutes to be fun to watch. If its shorter, its not much strategy in that game. If its getting longer, people get bored. LoL, WOW battlegrounds are good examples, But eve?

Third one is loss management. In competitive play, every time you loose, you should get stronger. On wow battlegrounds, on loss you lose some rating and in the end you get easier teams as your opponents. Same thing with LoL. In eve you lose mostly ISK or in other terms gametime. Its not soo harsh like in tibia, but its enough for people to avoid any pvp activity at all costs what ends up with poor pvp skills on same players. Bad ships are examples of it.

Anonymous said...

Every successful competitive game I have seen has one essential feature...a near 50% win ratio. It is therefore difficult to make a competitive game with a truly persistent universe, as losing the bottom 30% monthly shrinks the subscriber base a lot.

...unless winning players are segregated from losing players and awarded skill points marginally more rapidly.

Iliketurtles said...

@druu Your comment makes sense from my basic experience with college micro economic class. Gelvon currently is misinterpreting the data he gives to try and further his misguided view points.The data linked is to a system where alot of rats are killed compared to one of the hundreds of nullsec system. This indicates that this system is probably a missioning hub/area as these areas are were people are typically are killing rats. It does not describe the kind of rats being killed, what ships are being used, and how much isk they are making. It does not show which characters there are alts or mains, or whether they have null/lowsec accounts. More data would be needed to make a more sense of it however, this data would also have to gathered in a nonbias way and be able to be replicated. These numbers are subject to a bias as gelvon choose only 2 out of thousands of systems. A more accurate way to see how many rats are killed is to gather all the npc kills over multiple days per region and then compare them all to get a better idea of where people rat.

Ran into this problem with a knight as he did not prove that highsec had more botters than nullsec.

Also, If its so easy to bot, why dont you try it so you are not speaking from a bystander point of view? Or atleast come up with an original code/program that would work for eve to replace miners? No you can not use botting program already in existance since that would support

I would like to end with this,

BITCH, DO YOU EVEN MISSION?
and MINE? *

PS:astricks means i want a yes or no answer, explanations afterwords are ok as long as it remains ontopic.

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