Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

33B/month without skill, risk or investment

I wrote how no-life multiboxing should be limited by CCP charging subscription not by months but by logged on hours. It wasn't exactly popular, because the loud minority are those who play the most, so enjoy paying as much for their account as a casual who uses the server 1/10 as much.

Instead of more arguments, I prove my point by bringing the mining mission farm to the extreme. For those who don't want to read that long and detailed business post: there are level 4 missions in highsec that require you to warp to a deadspace complex, start your ice/gas harvester on one big resource, go AFK for 10/20 minutes, then dock up. No other player input needed, the pilot is perfect after 2 months of training, no investment is needed and there is no risk of losing ships to rats. In case of ganks you lose an empty pod and a 5M venture or 30M retriever, but no one ganks in mission deadspace areas due to having to scan it down then slowboat from the mission entrance to the barge, which is impossible if your sec status is below -5.

It's an extreme form of AFK-farming. You don't even need multiboxer software, you can just click on the window where input is needed. You can leave the computer at any moment, if you are away for long, you just find your ships full. This means that you can go nolifer without actually affecting your life. If you live or work near a computer, you can run such AFK farm without impacting your main activity. The question is how much you can earn with this. To measure it, I let the farm run whenever I was at home and awake and I checked on it when I had a few free minutes. The amount of LP can be calculated from the amount of ISK spent in the LP store, since all the implants I was buying needed 666.66x more ISK than LP:

I copied these journals from all 5 involved pilots to Excel, got the average implant prices from the Jita market history and got:

Oops! 32.7B income over a month. So an extremely easy, dumb, risk-free and solo activity provided more than a supercarrier a month. My trading income which is gained by understanding markets, investing hundreds of billions and taking risk by flying around with tens of billions is barely more.

You might also noticed that my pilots spent more than 25 hours a day doing this. This is possible by having 5 miner accounts (+1 for Orca boost). I have 5 because I had 5 accounts with slots available for this test. I didn't expect such numbers, so I didn't start more accounts. I mean I had the calculated income, but didn't expect to be able to run so many hours a day without it affecting my ability to work, do chores, write this blog and upkeep a relationship. Cliche nolifers can't do these, but that's because other games need constant player input. In order for your avatar to farm an hour in WoW, you must sit front of your computer and click buttons for an hour or risk banning for botting. To run the mentioned mission farm, you need to talk to an agents 4 times an hour, press the undock button 4 times, warp to the mission bookmark 4 times, approach gas 2 times (other 2 are ice, in range of the lasers), start mining 4 times and press dock 4 times. That's about 2 mins/hour/account activity.

While multiboxing is a plague in all games, the constant need of inputs in other games force (non-botting) multiboxers to be at the same location, so their income is diminishing. 2 WoW avatars kill mobs faster, but not twice faster. After 5, killing mobs is so fast that adding more avatars doesn't speed you up further. In EVE I could keep adding miners up to 30 (where they start idling as I can't do the mentioned clicks fast enough for all of them). They are all in their own missions, not affecting each other. So a cliche nolifer doing the mentioned mining mission farm with 30 pilots (+Orca), doing it 12 hours a day can earn 15.5B/day. Let me put this in perspective: that's 50% more ISK than Pandemic Legion makes (the alliance, not the individual members). Or 2x more than TEST on its peak. The price of a titan every week. If you want to buy the same money on the legitimate PLEX market, that's over $100K a year. All that by one guy, with beginner skills, without exploit or even a multiboxer software and without paying a dime to CCP.

Do you need any further proof how horribly broken it is? The obvious solution is charging after playing time. If you watch 2x more movies, you pay 2x more to the cinema. The subscription should allow X hours/month play, if you want to play more, you have to activate extra PLEX-es. This is needed to put a pricetag on pilot hours which are currently free (pilot existence is not free, but his hours are). This will decrease the farm income by PLEX_price/X ISK/hour. With the increase of PLEX prices, it would market out many farms, opening up niches for casual players. As they play less already than X, their income isn't taxed.

Other possible solution is making AFK-farming impossible. In WoW if your pet kills a mob, you can't loot it and your "kill 10" quest won't progress. You need to put at least one bit of weapon damage into the mob to claim it. The same could be implemented for drones and smartbombs in EVE: if no targeted module activation happened on the rat, it dies without leaving a wreck, giving no bounty nor standings. AFK mining can be killed without complete rewrite by breaking up asteroids into one-cycle chunks. Of course making mining engaging would be better. The point is that you need to perform actions front of the client to earn ISK, decreasing the income/effort ratio (which is over 1B/hour with the mining mission farm now). Of course, botting will still be a problem, but at least botters risk banning, while AFK-ers don't.


Anonymous said...

All the implants move 3 units/ long will the price hold if 30/day are put on the market?

Gevlon said...

Probably they'll drop somewhat. But even if they drop to the floor, you can always switch to standard industry implants that go for 1000/LP. If you count with 1000/LP, still half of the income can be achieved, which is still stupid.

Von Keigai said...

PLEX are currently ~789m. If you earn 43.3m/hour, then to PLEX the account you need to run your farm for 18.2 hours per month. Actually, counting the Orca, you'd need more (although it would amortize well with more miners). I.e. with 5 miners and one Orca, you'd need 21.8 hours.

Everything above that is profit. But it is a rather significant overhead. A lot of people don't want to work that hard. I doubt it is a huge problem for CCP.

Of course, I agree with you that it is exploitable for nolifers and CCP should close it up. But not via play limits -- the idea is absurd. I leave myself logged on accidentally when I add a skill, then I cannot play for the rest of the day? Players won't stand for that. It should be nerfed by making missions finite.

Gevlon said...

@Von Keigai: 18.2 hours a month is actually about half an hour of clicking. Also, after the pilot is perfect, you can train pilots for sale on that account.

Leaving yourself logged in by accident can be handled by an auto-logout after 10 mins of AFK. And why is it absurd if someone who uses a service 30 mins a day should play less than the guy using it 12 hours a day?

Anonymous said...

But as mentioned before, you don't earn ISK. you earn LP.
And while a single player at that rate won't affect the LP value immensely, a few players doing this will crash that LP market within a few months.
Switching implants will only stave off that by so much.
Have you researched the market in those implants? Not the cost per implant but the total amount sold per month?
Because my guess is that, regardless of what is sold in that LP store, no single thing will exceed 15B/month trade. Which means that even a single player doing this will begin saturating the market, and a group of players will end up with LP being worth maybe 50 ISK or so.

Gevlon said...

The "other implants" are common empire implants. So you are competing with the total empire missioning. That's a huge market.

Anonymous said...

So time should be limited so people can't make isk by being sad and dedicating all their time to it, and your method of making isk - trading - would remain unaffected as you need only a couple of hours a week to do that.

Anonymous said...

The "other implants" are common empire implants. So you are competing with the total empire missioning. That's a huge market.
I think he means that your conclusions are based off of the lp store being infinitely scalable, which it's not. A handful of people can choke the entire market if they work hard enough because the majority of empire missioners make hundreds of thousands of lp a month at the very most.

Anonymous said...

Paying for time played is not optimal. I want to be able to be afk ... I may have an alt on overwatch, or I may just want my account logged in and at the POS while I am cooking dinner.
There has got to be a more elegant fix.

Gevlon said...

Of course. Having skills should be rewarded. Having a gaming addiction should be treated.

No, even the total LP store market can be oversaturated. It happened with the FW unbalance. Implant prices were half of now. And then CCP had to intervene, because casual players couldn't even make a pitiful ISK, while mass farmers still made stupid money.

And I want to watch movies all day for free.

Anonymous said...

Of course. Having skills should be rewarded. Having a gaming addiction should be treated.
You realise yoru trading takes no more skill than mining missions right? And the degree to which you do it, the time you invest in it and the seriousness with which you take it guarantees that you would fall into the latter category. I don;t see why people should be punished for not playing the same way as you, just like nobody should be punished for not playing my way (for fun, one account, cash paid sub, nearly no isk).

And I want to watch movies all day for free.
I pay netflix one fee per month. For that I can watch a single movie, or even no movies. Or I can spend my every waking moment watching movies. What's the difference?

Gevlon said...

Watching movies doesn't decrease the ability of others to watch movies. Dumping the market with insane amount of products ruins income possibilities for everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Dumping the market with insane amount of products ruins income possibilities for everyone else.
Not once have I ever not been able to do something because someone mined too much. The economy will always have income possibilities, and "nolifers" don't change that. If anything they keep the prices down enough for us to not worry about rampant inflation.

Also, to be technical, if nolifers invaded netflix in the same way, they would soon either not be able to stream to more people ro have to buy more servers and bump up the price. So yeah, the same.

Gevlon said...

Not the same. Even the most nolifer movie watcher can't watch more than 16 hours a day. But it's pretty trivial to play EVE 100-200 hours a day, by running multiple accounts.

Nolifers are just annoying minority on Netflix or World of Warcraft. In EVE, they multiply via PLEX.

mugg said...

...and so does their money, a person playing 16 hours a day on five accounts is no different from five people playing 16 hours on one account. Server costs are trivial per character, stop making silly reasons for why you think it's a problem.

Can you confirm whether or not you no lifed mining missions for two months?

Basil said...

if nolifers invaded netflix in the same way, they would soon either not be able to stream to more people ro have to buy more servers and bump up the price.

Netflix's cost to deliver a video once goes down the more videos they deliver. And these streamers would represent an increase in their revenue, although a decrease in the ratio of people who pay for the service but barely use it.

In the end, I'd be surprised if any change to the average pattern of movie watching on their accounts could end up costing Netflix money.

Anonymous said...

You see a variant of this already in renter space.

At some point an extra account is effectively free as all it consists of is another isboxer controlled account on your PC, doing the same thing as your other accounts until you earn the PLEX for all of them - at which point everything else is extra.

Anonymous said...

this sounds great. thanks for your site!

do you skip storyline missions?
and. is this possible with any highsec mining corp mission angent?

I'm a newb. have good caldari frigate, support and small hybrid turret gunery skills. I don't think that I can do level 4 combat story missions. That's why I ask.

Gevlon said...

@muqq: nolifers are a tiny, ignorable majority everywhere else (from Netflix to WoW). In EVE, their effect is multiplied by their account number, up to the point where they represent serious part of EVE economy or average concurrent users.

No, I didn't nolife. That's the point. EVE - unlike any other game - doesn't require your constant clicking to progress. In WoW if you release the keyboard, your avatar finishes the last targeted mob with autoattack and then stops. Practically, he is frozen until you return. In EVE you can keep farming while away. I had 5 pilots spending 5 hours a day farming. *I* spent about half an hour.

Gevlon said...

As a newb you won't have Orca support, cutting your income half.

Yes, it works for any NPC corp having mining agents, but Empire LP worth less, cutting your income half again.

You have one account, so you're now looking at 15M/hour while you are bored to death. You are much better off if you spend an hour doing some real job, buying a PLEX and selling it for ISK.

Anonymous said...

So you're saying that highsec mining needs to be nerfed right into the ground? Ok.

"no one ganks in mission deadspace areas due to having to scan it down then slowboat from the mission entrance to the barge, which is impossible if your sec status is below -5."

Not true actually. You just need an alt in an Orca to trundle over to the deadspace AFK miner with the catas in the ship bay. Gank char shows up in pod and reships just before the gank.

Anonymous said...

Hello... I'm starting a project to test your theory ;). got the orca boost and training two alts to be able to mine gas and ice... The though part is to reach the lev 4 mining mission standings.

-Any tip to speed it up?...Security mission seems faster. I'm thinking about using my main to finish the missions faster to my alts...testing...
-You think that 2 miners and one orca boost is good to start?
-I'm working with QUAFE CORP 0.5 system... didn't like the LP store too much. You think I should move? Im getting 1.000/LP there...looks like it only has the regular implants.
-I really like your grr project. Keep The good work!


Gevlon said...

Use lower level mining missions, they give CORP standing. After you reached 5.0 with the target corp, you can start doing L4 missions, you just can't reject the ore ones that aren't profitable. But they keep the standings high and give L4 storylines.

Use Thukker Tribe for better LP.

Anonymous said...

> no investment is needed

I'm just going to note that, according to your numbers, this is pretty wrong.

5x 14-90 days training time (Cost: ~33mil/day with PLEX), Total:2.31-14.85b

1x Orca (Cost ~690mil) Total: 690mil

5x Retriever (Cost ~25mil) Total: 125mil

5x Gas Cloud Harvesting skill books (Cost 24mil) Total: 120mil

1x Mining Foreman Mindlink (Cost ~48mil) Total: 48mil

10x Gas Harvester II (Cost ~3.6mil) Total: 36mil

10x Ice Harvester II (Cost ~2.9mil) Total 29mil

Total startup costs: ~15.9bil

Ongoing costs (subs): ~5.7bil/month

Parkham said...

Is this still a viable thing to try?