Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The big EVE trick

What is an easy game: where everyone can achieve what he wants easily.
What is a hard game: where you can only advance by becoming better and if you suck, you can't advance.
EVE is known to be the hardest MMO, with the infamous learning curve image:

The forums are full of tears of defeated, scammed, ganked players. EVE players who stood their ground are proud of themselves and look deep down on everyone else, especially WoW players. On the other hand many amassed large wealth and good killboard without much effort, showing it's an easy game. What is going on here?

The trick is that EVE - unlike all other non-trivial games - is not competitive. In a competitive game you can only progress by defeating other players. It just gets harder as you progress. To get to 1200 ELO from 1100, you just have to defeat 1150 average ELO players. To get to 2200 from 2100, you have to defeat players with average rating of 2150. On the other hand in EVE, you are never ever forced to or even rewarded for facing other skilled players.

You can gain ISK by very simple market moves, capitalizing on the laziness and dumbness of the masses. You can gain lot of kills by slaughtering miners or dumb players jumping into your gatecamp. Most "elite PvP" videos are about someone roaming around killing ratters (mostly bots).

The game is punishing mistakes and winning is mostly using the mistakes of others. Two players who aren't making mistakes are practically unable to hurt each other. You can't gank me, but I can't gank you either. However we can easily gank those who orbit a piece of ice while AFK. So the game is punishing bad players, while it's not at all demanding on the good players. So everyone who invested enough time to learn the game and not a total moron can "master" EVE and feel a winner. It's like swimming: if you can't swim, it's pretty harsh thing to be in the water. But if you learned it, it isn't hard.

PS: Tomorrow comes a business post. I've found an imbalance of a PvE system which allows you to gain lot of ISK with little effort, similarly to the old FW imbalance. Considering that the devs aren't famous for fast fixes, I predict some serious price changes in several game items, especially ice products and some people getting their titans in a few months. The best thing is that it's totally newbie friendly, so even few days old newbies (not few days old alts of informed players but real newbies with no meta-game or game mechanics knowledge) can use it. Of course they won't get titans with their one account, but they will have their faction battleship before they can sit in it (hopefully they don't fly it lowsec on the day they can).


Anonymous said...

"To get to 1200 ELO from 1100, you just have to defeat 1150 average ELO players."

that's false.

a 1100 elo player can get to 1200 elo by only defeating 1100 elo opponents.

even at 1200 he will get points for defeating an 1100 elo player (how many depends on the k factor, using FIDE's k factor formula he would gain ~5 points).

remember that elo is a system designed to predict the outcome of matches - if you win more often than expected your elo goes up, if you win less often your elo goes down.

a 1200 elo player is expected to win about 64% of his games against an 1100 elo player. as long as he wins a higher percentage than that his elo will continue to rise.

greg said...

I predict you are manipulating ice market since 2 weeks with your pile of isk, and now you are making self fulfilling prophecy to exploit your readers :-P

Anonymous said...

Your post is the equivalent of saying playing a drum kit is easy because you repeatedly hit the bass drum and loud noises came out of it.

Eve is such a complex, multifacetted game. I've played for years and still learn a new thing every day.

How about you finaly set yourself a goal in Eve's sandbox that is outside of your comfort zone and field of expertise? That would actualy be interesting to read unlike the 100th post about your success in ganking miners.

Anonymous said...

yeah, his expertise was market trading, assuming you read properly. The ganking was new, same as sov warfare.

he's just like any other player, trying new things as he gets bored.

gallego said...

Since when is competition measured in ISK or in shallow kill mail stats? You're completely discounting something simply because you've chosen a very poor metric to measure it by.

Gevlon said...

@gallego: and what is the proper metric? "me and my friends consider it cool"?

Anonymous said...

Eve is hard is not a mantra seriously promoted by the new players. For one thing they have very little voice compared to the establishment media voices.

"Eve is hard" is a claim raised by older players, who will use such a claim to impress themselves. Look at me, I have a Nyx and Eve is hard, I must be a smart player!

As such, every time a player gets hurt and cries on local it is amplified ten million times across the galaxy. Look at it, this is what happens to bad players, and since it doesn't happen to me I must be good, with mental fortitude and skill!

There is largely silence to the fact that bots are more successful pve players then the median, and that most activity including pvp and incursions can be isboxed to hell. All things considered, the game mechanics is trivial to solve.

If there is anything that is somewhat hard about the game, it is other people: how do you predict and manipulate them for isk, killmails or tears.

>"me and my friends consider it cool"?

Yes, that is the most important metric. Eve does not make sense if you don't care about this.

gallego said...

It completely depends on what you're trying to get out of the game. If you're trying to be the most noteworthy skilled/elite/whatever pvper then using more advanced metrics that better reflect the concept. Such as comparative size of fleets, damage done, etc. and combinations of those statistics.

The same thing has happened in baseball recently where very simplistic statistics are being thrown out in favor of more complex ones because they're not measuring correctly the concept that's trying to be captured.

You're very statement that "elite" PvP is a joke or doesn't exist or however you've chosen to poo-poo it simply because your can whore up kill mails or isk value destroyed with your ganking or self killing only shows that those metrics you're using are far too simplistic and ill suited to measure that concept . It doesn't show that that concept doesn't exist.

Here's an example of competition in eve that's pretty easy to measure and fits right into your definition of a "hard" game; sov holding. Issues with mechanics of sov grinding aside the sov holding metrics are very straight forward and you can only advance by being better than the other sov holders and if you suck compared to them then you don't advance.

De'Vadder said...

"and what is the proper metric? "me and my friends consider it cool"?"

That is a very good metric indeed. Or if friends is too limiting, try peers. Gaining the respect of people who know what you are doing is obviously among the things humans value the most.
And there certainly are people who think you are badass for ganking miners.
But there are also a lot of people whose respect youd rather earn with winning in a pvp encounter with similar ships or even against the odds.
And as a matter of facts, most blogs and youtube videos about beeing good at pvp are centered around such things.
Just read Kane Rizzels blog and you will see how many people pay him deep respect, despite his efficience beeing less than 100% and his wealth beeing less than yours.
It is because he constantly engages enemies in similar or superiour ships who also know what they are doing and he more often than not comes out ahead.
And trust me: That IS hard.

Gevlon said...

@De'Vadder: I meant it as an irony. I couldn't imagine that anyone would seriously value "respect" coming from total strangers. You are working to impress people you don't even know or like.

You are a loser.

Anonymous said...

It seems you still struggle with the concept of a sandbox game Gevlon.
There is no fixed goal. You make your own story, set your own goals. The game is easy if you set yourself simple challenges like the miner ganking. The game is hard if you set yourself goals that actualy are challenging. For instance you could set yourself the goal to create a succesful wh corp from scratch. Thats not as easy as switching items in station or ganking miners for example. And you can set yourself even much harder to achieve goals.
Having isk is not the final goal in the game. It's just the beginning that enables focus on harder challenges. But you seem to dodge them. Case in point your disregard for proper pvp. Instead of setting yourself the hard to achieve goal to actualy become a skilled pvp pilot you gank some ships, some of your own to create some killmails and call it a day then tell everobody the game is so easy. It's intellectualy dishonest.