Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The long march to Deklein: the birth of numbers

I asked in the starting piece why neither their enemies, nor themselves noticed how weak Goons were in reality. The answer is the lack of stats. While it's obvious that in any other game or any field of real life people and organizations are measured by various benchmarks, in EVE there were only a very rudimentary system used: PAPlinks, that measured mere activity. To make it worse, in the final years not even this was used as Goons got overconfident and considered themselves (and were considered by everyone else) unbeatable. If we'd want a date when Goonswarm faced the "adapt or die" challenge, it was Feb 3, 2014, when I posted my first de-inflated killboard analysis. Of course it was in EXCEL and it was lightyears away from the five thousand lines software monstrosity I'm using today for proper killboard analysises, it had the crucial part, the de-inflation.

For some reason, the game itself doesn't give out "points" for PvP performance like every other game. There is an API process to verify the kill itself and its participants, but that's all. From this came the "killboards", player written software to record these kills. For some reason or other, the writers of these killboards added the full value of the kill to every pilot on the kill. 100 players killed a ship? They got the same value like they were individually killing 1-1 ships each! This rendered the killboards totally useless: the average pilot had 14x more kills than losses, despite the average pilot must have 1:1 ratio. My method ended this nonsense and made the PvP performance measurable. It didn't fly well with those who were judged average or below-average and even today you can easily find a someone babbling about how he has "skill", despite no killboard results to prove it. That's normal, you can find such morons and slackers in every game.

What wasn't normal is that decision makers and opinion leaders didn't start to use my method (or developed something like that earlier). The second can be explained by the very closed thinking of EVE population, mostly because the leading communication platform, the subreddit r/eve punishes dissenting voices harshly. For leaders, I simply couldn't imagine that those intelligent people who lead empires don't use such methods silently. But cognitive dissonance is a nasty thing: it's hard to maintain a rational decision making when you are expected to give speeches about friendship, fun and good fights. Also, as long as the cart ran, there was no pressing reason to make changes. So they didn't make them. Not the Goons, not their enemies.

In the following two years I improved my data analysis methods and also increased the scope of the data I analyzed. The true PvP power of various groups were revealed in my posts but most people choose to ignore it as "tinfoil". They kept babbling their old mantras while the data clearly showed that
  • The monthly average PvP kill and loss of an Imperium pilot is a trivial sum, about 100M/month/pilot, so they must have very few PvP-ers
  • Most PvP losses of the Imperium are suffered to small gangs or solo pilots
  • The groups that consider themselves as "elite" are pretty mediocre
  • Some "no-name" groups are extremely effective in killing Goons
Without accepting and using measurable benchmarks, the normal competition for "being the best" turned into a bizarre popularity contest. Whoever could make the best propaganda, the best posts, the "coolest" videos, became "great", without any merit. In this bizarre Kardashian-dystopia simply no one saw the truth: the Imperium is weak and their enemies are strong. It's not that someone outgrew the Imperium in the last two years. It's not that someone weakened the Goons in the last two years, least of all, me. The Moneybadgers could crush the Imperium two years ago, just as easily as they are doing it today. But the Moneybadgers didn't exist, both because the members were sure that Goons are invincible and because many of them didn't have grudge against Goons. The second part was fixed by Goons themselves, who - in their blindness to their weakness - attacked them for no good reason.

Finally, my peace terms, my demands to Goons weren't really demands, they were good advises how to fix their empire. I - naively - thought that in their secret channels they are rationally thinking, see the same data, come to the same conclusions and implement them. Then I can act like they did it because I forced them. It was like "I command you to breath!". To my honest surprise, they didn't. Which lead us to the next part of the story.


Anonymous said...

Isn't the war going to stall, or even fizzle out, when the Citadel release goes live? I'd think that everyone will spend weeks/months screwing around with citadels and the major changes to caps/supercaps. Goons might even manage to roll everything back, if the war into Dek isn't completed before the release.

Gevlon said...

It will be. But it will count for nothing. Goons will be like SOLAR or Gclub: a bunch of guys who own sov in some corner and try to fly under the radar to avoid being evicted.

Rob said...

Benchmarks and statistics had nothing to do with what's currently happening. The only thing that matters is sheer numbers. There's nearly 60,000 pilots attacking goons, and no matter what kind of killboard analysis anyone did, that is what is winning the war. Goons aren;t any weaker than they ever have been, their enemies are just stronger. The problem is their enemies are only artificially strong, they can only sustain this attack for a short while and they have no intention of maintaining the coalition once it starts to break apart, and goons will still be alive at the end of that and will simply rebuild.

Anonymous said...

I was keeping an eye on the Goons for a long time and yes I realised that they were weaker over the last year, but my issue was seeing the same decline in people like NCDOT and PL which did not really happen to PL and in terms of NCDOT was largely reversed at the opportunity to blap Goons. The loss of certain key Goons is a major blow to the CFC, Bwarf being the main one.

I suggested that people hold off of attacking Goons until they had softened them up by reducing their numbers by camping their systems, then move in when they were weakened, I missed a key aspect in terms of the entosis defence negating the need for a coalition. But still it was the viceroy thing that got a reaction plus the move against low sec entities, both were stupid arrogant, but were part of the decline of the Goons as they were missing content, they made these errors because they needed to keep their PvP players interested.

Another thing, the Goons stats were heavily improved by the activities of Bat County, it was one player who fleet ganked freighters in hisec all under the Goon name, even in your improved assessment of PvP worth those kills were inflating their numbers in ISK terms. In fact their performance is even worse.

I think that he Goons will become a sole alliance in the near future without their meat shield which is Fozzie sov working as intended, they will lose all their carebears and will perhaps do what they did in previous years and the game will be better for it. They have too much ISK to die easily and that brand name is still important, the main question is what will happen to the current leadership?

We are seeing their fight back developing, however its the Stain Coalition Russians going after CO2 and the harressing of people who have moved in on abandoned sov. People need to concentrate on burning everything to the ground, all the moons and infrastructure, hunt those supers and Titans, however I would not really attempt to hold their space in the main, I would leave it with no owner and see how that works with the Goons who are desperate to revitalise their PvP players.

I re-subbed to go after the Goons sov, but perhaps I would be better off entosising Afterlife space...


Anonymous said...

Any basis for that prognostication? You know goons have been "defeated" before? What makes this different? What stops goons coming back strong again?

Gevlon said...

@Rob: that's obvious. The question is why the same 60000 pilots were crying in the forums that Goons already won EVE 3 months ago?

@Anon: do you really think that if Endie and Blarf would still be in GSF, they would win?

@Last anon: bad stats. Last time they had pilots fleeting up and getting kills. Now all they have is ratters.

dobablo said...

It doesn't matter how urgent, correct or rational your peace plan was. Goons could never act on any of your ideas because you presented them as demands. You effectively blocked them from implementing those changes because it would be portrayed as a defeat. For a group that project the image of unbeatable strength from ultimate political power, the harm done to their image could have been massively harmful.
Ultimately, getting crushed by a 60,000 coalition that allows them to claim "Everybody hates us" is far less damaging than having to sacrifice their core culture.

Anonymous said...

No I do not think they would win the current stage of the war (defending their sov) with Endie and Blarf still there, but here is the rub, their chances of effectively coming back would be much greater.

There key strategy has to get their PvP players to log in and start doing stuff, they are not going to do it for the Mittani and the current leadership, even Laz.

I am still a little unsure what the MBC want as a victory, removing Goon sov, seems like its happening, reduced their Super and Titan strength, seems to be happening, stripping away meat shield pets, seems to be happening. what more is there, fail cascade, could that really happen to the Goons.

Anonymous said...

> It will be. But it will count for nothing. Goons will be like SOLAR or Gclub: a bunch of guys who own sov in some corner and try to fly under the radar to avoid being evicted.

Well, I dunno if you are even aware, but SOLAR is currently #2 sov holder in the game by sheer systems count, second only to Shadow of xXDEATHXx (and if that "diplomatic tensions" in drone regions linger any longer it's about to become #1).

Speaking of Gclub, they hold an appropriate-sized constellation in Fountain under the Violence of Action banner, and I know that because, to my surprise, I have noticed Badboris in Local while logging for YA0 timer this morning, with him sitting in 5Z and being blue to MoA. That is hardly under the radar if you ask me, but that depends on a definition.

Would be nice if goonies learn to shut up, but I guess they are taking steps in the right direction, I already miss the fofofofofofofo in local they seem to have abandoned.

Rob said...

"that's obvious. The question is why the same 60000 pilots were crying in the forums that Goons already won EVE 3 months ago?"
Lack of organisation. Once they started realising they had a common enemy and could team up and be super space friends, they suddenly had the upper hand. Really all it shows is that to get anywhere in EVE you just need the biggest number of players on your side. If you don't have that anyone that does can steamroll you.

S Riojas said...

The questions this also addresses is: is the pen mightier than the sword? Yes, but only when you don't stab yourself with the pen; which CFC/Imp did.

Anonymous said...

> @Last anon: bad stats. Last time they had pilots fleeting up and getting kills. Now all they have is ratters.

Where are your stats on the last time Goons were defeated? or the time before that? or before that?

Or are you just saying this time it's different without any data to rest that assumption on?