Friday, August 1, 2014

Supers and the lack of bell curve

"Nerf Supers"/"Supers are fine, learn to play" is all over the place. I'm not going to argue for Supers today. I'd rather point to the fact that people talk about Supers. It's not so obvious as you think. There are other ships in the game with balance issues and no one talks about them. Normal capitals aren't targeted by "nerf/l2p" arguments since the drone assist fix (which was about drones and not the carriers as Dominixes and Ishtars were also involved). Phoenix dreads were considered joke for years without anyone caring. Dreads are obvious counters to Supers, you max-insure them, drop them, lose them, win the ISK war by large. People don't do that.

What people also don't do is dropping Marauders, despite they were rebalanced with the exact purpose to make them PvP capable. There are no pirate battleship fleets either. Station gamers and such "elite PvP" elements use them in small gang, but I've yet to seen a Nightmare fleet in a sov battle. Is anyone complaining? No. So on the one hand there are ships horribly underused without anyone caring and there are supercapitals that everyone care about. Why?

It's always the economy, stupid! We know that the real life household income distribution is not a bell curve. The average is much higher than the median, the "average guy" is much closer to the bottom 10% than to the top 10%. While we have no wealth distribution study in EVE, I have a loss distribution study for the CFC, 2014 May-June. It shows an extremely uneven distribution of ship value: half of the players lost less than 10% of the total value and the top 5% lost 40% of the value.

Since EVE is a game without welfare and with the ability to create "household members" out of thin air, we can assume the wealth distribution much more uneven than in real life. This means that the average losses aren't average. There are lots of people below average and a few above average. Due to the very uneven wealth distribution, there is a very small "pirate battleship PvP-er" and "capital PvP-er" class in EVE. Vast majority of players are flying cheap crap while the rich minority flies supers. No one cares about capitals and pirate battleships because barely anyone fly them. Those who do are likely alts of super owners doing some niche job like bumping titans with machariels or suicide triage carriers saving them.

I'm sure that CCP didn't have this in mind when they designed the ships. They planned supers to be alliance assets, power multipliers, not mainline combat ships. They looked at the averages and thought: if a ship cost 20x more than the yearly losses of the average guy (476T losses, 350K players), not many of them will be ever built. They didn't see that 1B isn't a sum that most people risk. It's a money that most people never see, they need SRP to lose cruisers and T1 battleships, while it's a pocket change for the top 5%.

Super fleets aren't a problem, they are a symptom of extreme wealth inequity. In order to make people be able to participate, CCP must ensure that a poor player has some use to the rich one, make him worth hiring instead of just throwing one more alt to the problem. This way wealth could go down.

On the player side, it is something that people should utilize. There are awful lot of players with very little money who could be hired to do chores for you. You shouldn't buy your fifth titan, you should be buying yourself an army.

PS: cute name and cute ship.
Orvy is a "special" kid. It takes a really dumb person to lose one, two, three multi-billion battleships and a 5B pod in RvB on a single day. By the way, is podding allowed now in RvB?


Sugar Kyle said...

You forget stuff like supply and demand. Them pirate ships a sov battle would consume vs their supply compared to another ship of near capabilities that will also be easier to fly.

You discount so much to splash your vision of what war should be and why it's not fought as you'd fight it.

Logistics matter too, Gevlon and they are more than using s jump freighter to refuel.

Anonymous said...

Nightmares have been used as a fleet concept. They're called 'Dreamcats.'

Anonymous said...

Pirate ships are being used all over the place - incursions (and yes, there is a ton of players doing them). They are not being talked about because they are mostly well balanced and people tend not to lose them often.

Lucas Kell said...

What sugar says is right. Pirate battleships aren't just to do with cost or skill, there simply isn't enough of them. It's like when we ran with TFIs early in the fountain war, aside from their clear lack of ability, the market couldn't sustain the losses. Within a few battles, prices were starting to spike all over, and we couldn't even really find anywhere to buy fleet volumes of them. That's why we moved to T1 battleships which can be run off in enormous volumes.

Watson Crick said...

Orvy isn't a super dumb kid, he was leaving EVE forever and allowed his RvB alliance mates to have fun, pad their killboards and to loot the shinies that fell out of his wrecks.

Gevlon said...

He is super dumb. He could have gifted them away.

Константин Скрябин said...

Sugar Kyle, surely it's difficult to supply players with pirate ships. Supers are obviously much easier to procure!

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, was that an altruistic streak there?
"He should have gifted them away"

Getting your corpmates/friends to exploderise you is a long standing tradition when you leave Eve, it ensures you have less incentive to come back.

Gevlon said...

If gifting away something you won't use is not altruistic, it's just not being an ass.

Anonymous said...

Константин Скрябин
30 supers are be pretty devastating. 30 battleships are not. Generally battleship fleets are larger, therefore the demand is higher.

Von Keigai said...

Marauders are an interesting case. They are little better than battleships except in bastion mode. Certainly not worth losing about 100x as much ISK value (after insurance). But in bastion mode they cannot receive remote reps, and are therefore worthless in the modern meta. This is a suggestion that remote reps are part of the problem. Buffer fleets ought to be a thing.

Jim L said...

Once again we have Gevlon calling people stupid and morons because they didn't spend their own money the way Gevlon wants them to spend it.

If someone called you stupid or a moron for giving away your money to fund Marmite's war dec costs you wouldn't even publish the comment and you would consider them a troll. Your comments are no different.

Since the guy is quitting the game, the ISK is worthless to him (unless he is willing to illegally RMT it). Why is it stupid to trade something that is worthless to you for a couple of minutes of challenging PvP fun?

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