Friday, May 2, 2014

What is the true measure of a mercenary's worth?

As you know there are ISK doubling scammers in EVE. No, I won't go space-Goodwin and mention a certain specimen, let's just talk about ordinary, strictly in-game ISK doublers. They claim that if you send them ISK, you receive the double of it. It's most obviously a scam, as it couldn't be sustained as a decent business. However the interesting thing is how they do it.

They have complicated and contradicting set of rules, making sure that you violate one or two, making you "legally" at the wrong and ineligible for payout. This is the in-game version of the shady business some do, typically the "free service but if you don't unsubscribe in 30 days it will become a very expensive service".

There is a problem though, which makes them called "scammer" (if I'd call a shady businessman scammer in real life, I'd be sued for libel). The problem is that there are no courts in EVE. There is absolutely no organization where I can turn to to sue for damages when I believe Noir scammed me, nor Noir can turn to it when they believe they were just witty and I failed to follow the rules.

How can anyone make business in EVE when anyone can freely scam anyone? There are two systems to make it possible:
  • Return customers: if a business is mutually rewarding, neither side wishes to lose it. Imagine a manufacturer far from Jita (because soon there will be high taxes in Sobaseki) who buys minerals from a local miner. This way they save the price of hauling minerals to Jita and back and also the taxes and the margin between buy and sell orders. Let's say that the manufacturer saves 5% of his mineral costs this way. One week the miner mistypes the contract with one zero, requesting only 10% of the price he meant. If the manufacturer accepts it, he makes a one-time 90% savings. However if he does the "right thing" and upkeeps the cooperation, after 18 weeks he'll save more money.
  • Good business reputation: Chribba and a few others make huge profit of having the reputation of being reliable. A single event that would prove them scammers would put them out of business.
The first case is judged by the client himself. The miner might accepts that he was careless and keeps on with the cooperation. He might consider the manufacturer dishonest and stops the trade, it's his call and no other people can affect it.

The second case is judged by the future clients. Not blog commenters, not the "community". It doesn't matter what randomguy thinks about who is the scammer in the Noir-me debate. What matters is what future clients think. After what they saw, would they like to contract Noir and would they like to contract me? Again: this is their decision and only theirs. Space lawyering and public opinion has no weight here. They will vote with their money.

After Noir published our letters (saving me the trouble of deleting other mails and publishing my API key), you can see what I requested as a client. Also, you can see that I did not request the things below. It is up to you (meaning: future clients) to decide, if I rightfully expected them anyway:
  • My mercenaries shouldn't work for the target I've hired them against during the term of the contract
  • My mercenaries shouldn't officially ally (via the in-game ally joins war tool) with the target
  • My mercenaries shouldn't kill my own alt multiple times during the term of the contract actively saving targets of the contract
  • My mercenaries shouldn't disclose information about our contract with the target or ask their permission to accept it
  • My mercenaries should use methods that actually harms the target instead of just whoring on Concord kills, especially after I clearly explained them the GCC-jam mechanics and especially requested ECM ships
If these requests are unreasonable and overly controlling, then I'm in the wrong and you shouldn't do business with me. If they are things you'd request yourself too, then Noir are the wrong and you shouldn't do business with them. That's that simple. One of us will go out of business since future clients won't contract him. Time will tell which one of us.

But maybe I'm biased and we should turn to Noir's own site: "When NMG is hired to do a job, whatever that job may be, there are parameters. Those parameters differ with every contract. One time it may be that we're only allowed to count any kills made within a certain area. Maybe we're only able to count kills from a certain organization, or maybe we're simply hired to make life for the occupants as difficult as possible. To even have a hope of accomplishing any of these parameters, there is a ton of planning, coordination, and effort involved. The logistics of moving an entire alliance every few weeks to accomplish drastically different goals each time is not something to be taken for granted. Once the "boots hit the ground", the work hasn't just begun - it's simply one step in the process, and one of the last step, I might add. At the end of the contract, the true test of a mercenary's worth is how pleased the employer is."

But maybe there is a honest mistype on the page and they meant to write "the true test of a mercenary's worth is how pleased the target is." This case their record is perfect as every single CFC poster gave them complete support!

Finally, a positive example: On Sunday I got a convo from Tora Bushido, CEO of Marmite Collective, unexpectedly. He asked why did I sent him 500M out of the blue. It was Burn Jita day, I managed lot of things and took some time to figure out that we decided that the war against The Initiative (Goon servant) is a waste of ISK as only a frig was killed so it won't be renewed. But an hour before the war ended, a wild Rhea appeared. So I decided they worth deccing and sent the money for the war, and forgot to add a letter and even a note. I guess something interrupted me and after 5 minutes I forgot the whole stuff. Tora could have kept the money and I never figure it out (not like 0.5B shows up on my charts). But he still asked. You guessed it, I'll remain a customer here.

PS: Doesn't the highsec Goon servants has a rule against being podded in Jita? Not because being podded in Amarr is better!
I thought Goons keep their slaves in their coalition and not in their capsules!
lesser moron of the day: a random stranger out of the blue asked advice. I still gave the correct advice. He wasn't happy:


Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

You seem to think that "future clients" are not impacted by social mechanics. It seems to me that they very much are, especially reputation.


I understand there has been some legitimate damage to Goons, that would put you 2B's back according to the clauses of contract with Noir.

My problem with your behaviour in this situation is a combination of the following factors:
1 - you chose not to pay for things that were actually specified in the contract and done
2 - you didn't really explain this choice when it was made, beyond "i don't like the guys anymore"
3 - more than just not paying, you started actively going after Noir

If just one of these clauses were absent, i'd be okay with the whole thing.
F/ex if you paid them what you owe and went after them afterwards, it'd be ok.
If you made this post BEFORE declaring bounty on Titan (thus allowing us to actually see how you were hurt for more than 2B in this whole thing and why retribution is justified), it'd be ok.
If you just didn't pay them but didn't issue further "sanctions", it'd also be ok.

Instead what we saw was you embracing the lawlessness of Eve in which ego attacks ego and everyone's business suffers.

Gevlon said...

@Maxim: "they are filthy scammers who deserve bounty and not payment" is a bit beyond "I don't like these guys anymore"

Provi Miner said...

you're only partially right goblin. Eve is a wierd mixture of short term and long term memory. some will rember this situation and judge accordingly others will "meh" and move on.

I would do business with noir but under conditions I highly doubt they would accept, lol. I would do business with you but only at the trade the level which means no trust is involved.

Best of luck

Louis Robichaud said...

I think you've damaged your reputation a bit there... but Noir clearly failed in upholding the spirit of the law of their contract. Rather disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Harry Forever?

He is the guy who took the fight (However badly) to VFK, who decided to (try) to eradicate Goons.
He is slightly more dedicated to blowing up Goons than you, only slightly less adept at figuring out markets.

He is the guy who thought he could as a new player, buy up every procurer in Eve, to reset the prices, and cash in.

If nothing else, the guy has determination, and as such, has been suggested to you before as a potential useful resource.

Kaio said...

well, personally the whole thing made me clear Noir can't be trusted.

it's pretty simple really: if i hire a merc against someone, it's pretty obvious i don't want the merc talking to my target, or accept contracts from the target.

even if it's not written. it's just standard business practice.

what happened is a scam, pure and simple.

what i don't understand is why Noir did it: in EVE image and roleplay is much more important and valuable than ISK. I mean, a single player running incursions can easily make 3-4 bilion/month.

what's the point of playing the merc roleplay and then waste all that for some bilions ?

Anonymous said...

I think Gevlon did exactly what I would have done: tell Noir to go fuck themselves and not pay a single isk. They failed the contract big time and tried to fuck their client. And still have the nerve to ask isks .... seriously?! If it was up to me, they would be kicked from Merc Channel for it.

In Marmites :

* We do not fuck our clients.
* We do not take your contract and then accept a contract from your targets at the same time.
* We never ever tell anyone who our client is or what he paid. Not even if you pay me 10B (and yes, I have been offered billions many times before).
* When we accept a surrender, no one will know if it was paid. In most cases we surrender to them, as surrendering is hard enough for most alliances. And yes even big 00 alliances surrender. But thats between them and me.
* Our surrenders are handled as contracts. When you surrender, you will not be war decced for at least 2-3 months, in most cases even longer.
* We handle our targets with respect. First of all its a game and second, current targets are tomorrows clients.
* When we do your contract, we will not accept a contract from your enemy right after your contract. We will take it after a couple of weeks. We are still mercenaries.

And that's why we have so many returning clients! As Gevlon said, a happy client is a returning client.

Noir working for Goonies is fine, BUT not at the same time as they are being hired by Gevlon. They know they fucked up and just trying to damage control it now. Which they really are bad at.

There is no such thing as half pregnant, you are or you are not. Same go's for contracts.

Ps. Ignore my Engrish :)

Tora Bushido

Anonymous said...

Finally, Gevlon has cooled down a bit and has added explicitly why he is a disappointed customer. I would be too.

On the other hand, why would NOIR want payment or rather why do they expect payment at all? This is EVE! No one pays if game mechanics allow to not pay! That is the lesson we all learn.

Ironically enough, every EVE player submits to CCP's ToS before he can start to play EVE.
So far I haven't seen a lot of EVE in-game service providers that have bothered to wirte down their own ToS.

Do NOIR have ToS in a written or documentary form? If not, I would gladly help formulate for a reasonable fee.

Afain, why bother with ToS as there are no courts in EVE.

NOIR took the risk of not getting paid by Gevlon when they acted against the spirit of their NOIR-Gevlon contract.

All-in-all they just scammed themselves with lots of damage to their reputation. As mentioned before, NOIR is on my black list as THE merc group never to hire.

Their actions were short sighted and predictably enough, Gevlon couldn't be expected to pay when he felt being scammed. We all knew that right from the start.

Gevlon would never admit: yeah, right, you got me this time, next time I will be more precise...

I you mess with Gevlon, there is no second time.

Anonymous said...

As far as I am concerned Noir proved that they can not be trusted with any contract, and what is really striking is that they did it to a good long term customer that was developing a level of trust with them, which you can see by Goblins mails.

So they got laughs and a one of payment from/with Goons, but proved themselves as acting in bad faith, not a smart move.

Anonymous said...

I know i will never make the difference in the wallet of noir or Goblin, but if i had to choose between them for future contract, i wil choose Goblin. I think that Goblin are greatly more honest that Noir.

Who realy want to write a 250 pages contracts with ALL ''anti-loophole'' for be sure that the merc will follow the meaning of contract. No need to say that it will be a huge lost of time, it would be shorter to found a other merc corp.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon lays out a strong case as to why the agreement was violated. Typically in a meat space contract the points that Gevlon has made would be included as a contract "rep". Or a representation which is basically a set of facts or conditions that govern the agreement or the parties to the agreement. I submit that any LEGITIMATE mercenary group implies these things the minute they agree to take a customer.

Roman Hands said...

So happy to see Harry make an appearance! Gevlon, if you want to know all about Goon pets, ask Harry. He is one of the most famous.

Isabela Valentine said...

I'm going to put my money on neither of us going out of business. The only result from this is that we won't be dealing with eachother again on a business level.

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