Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Buffing low/null won't be enough

"Money is in highsec" is widely accepted in EVE, practically every null/low player has highsec alt(s) to make ISK. My recent results proved that even the "get fights" value of null/low is way below highsec leaving it no selling point. Those who are there are either mistaken or just want to fool around.

Still many resist the necessity of serious nerfing of highsec income, based on the idea of "buff null/low" instead, providing rewards to players for moving instead of punishing staying. This won't work. It's not an opinion, as it was tested recently and failed.

8 months ago CCP made a serious design error and provided insane income for FW lowsec in the form of LP print in complexes that could be completed in a one week old frigate while AFK. The LP could be cashed out at insane rates during level 5 zone control. Players participating in it got over hundred billion ISK a month running several of the AFK orbiting frigates. Even a single account could reach 2-300M/hour which was way out of reach for any other PvE activities. The result was devastating inflation, increasing the price of PLEX (practically the amount of ISK in the hands of players) by 20% over 3 months (185%/year inflation). The price of titan BPCs and slave implants doubled. Lot of people got very rich until CCP finally fixed it.

So CCP created the ultimate lowsec income buff. Yet only a few adventurous players responded. Most of the highsec dwellers remained in highsec. Missioning/AFK-mining alts were not replaced by FW orbiter alts in significant numbers, despite the huge income imbalance. Why?

Because highsec income is enough. If you do PvE in highsec, you gain enough money to PLEX your account and pay for your PvP costs. You don't need more income. Sure you could waste billions on never-logged-in titans and solo roaming Machariels and other forms of luxury but you don't need this money. So most people couldn't be bothered to learn how to operate in FW lowsec.

If the totally unbalanced FW rewards couldn't lure people out of their comfort zone, how could any form of balanced null/low income buff have any effect?

To have an effect, highsec PVE income must be nerfed to the point where no form of low/null life can be financed from it, nor PLEXing an account. The second is imperative: since the highsec PvE player provide no content for anyone, there is absolutely no reason for him to play for free. If he quits because he can't PLEX an account, CCP loses nothing. He didn't pay and he kept no one else playing. If his ore or LP is missing from the economy, NPCs selling them could replace it. No, they don't provide content for suicide gankers, since only small portion of highsec PvE players are gankable: the morons. However the first part is also necessary: no null PvP-er should be able to finance himself from highsec PvE, he must PvE in low/null or PLEX.

The above nerf could be done by removing L4s, incursions, complexes over L3 difficulty/reward and every ore but veldspar from highsec. While most fear a highsec exodus, it is neither relevant (they didn't pay for their account anyway) nor likely. Don't forget that highsec play will still remain an ever-increasing wealth. Even if slower, every highsec player would keep on eternally progressing. The fact that they will be blitzing L3s for 10M/hour instead of L4s for 100M/hour is completely irrelevant. And don't forget that a fixed competitive nullsec would gain new players.

The crucial point here is that a fixed nullsec is very newbie friendly while current highsec is not. Why? Because in nullsec blob warfare every pilot is valuable. The current newbie-unfriendliness comes from "we didn't want that space anyway". Many alliances prefer losing their space than giving up their "elite" status, because they really don't need that space as they make money in highsec by AFK retrievers and Vargur bots. If losing their space would mean losing income, they wouldn't treat new pilots like crap.


Anonymous said...

How is it that high sec players do not pay? Even if they PLEX, they buy it from somebody who paid real $ to CCP.

Anonymous said...

I believe you got the "why?" part wrong.

Even though I'm roaming lowsec regularly, I'm more oft a carebear than I care to admit. But I read the forums, devblogs and patchnotes. In my experience this is already more than the average HS-dweller does. I even read most of the top Eve online blogs. But I still missed it. All oft it. Only after CCP announced that there would be a fix I became aware. Too late obviously.

Now guess how much all those not too social small corp or solo players that dominante HS knew about the exploit...

Saying they were not interested in making billions with the investment of a referral, a plex and a couple of low cost ships. Yeah, right...

Anonymous said...

Two flaws I have to point out:

1. "Yet only a few adventurous players responded." - once again you talk about something you don't really know. I'm a FW pilot and I know how the situation looked. Plexes were swarmed by an army of alts. Lowsec never before seen so much activity. Unfortunately, this activity wasn't based on fighting, but on farming. Yet, players moved to lowsec to benefit from this broken system, even if the majority was only alts. When the FW got the nerfbat, many players remained, but obvious non-fighting farmes moved back, because there was no way for them to continue mindless farming. Unfortunately, we now see the rise of the cloacky stabbed farmers.
2. Nerfing hisec will mean massive player loses + nerfing the experience for new players. CCP and players know that hisec is too profitable, yet CCP keeps buffing hisec. Why? Because they are not stupid and they done their math. And the math shows that it's better to keep carebears paying. That's why CCP will not nerf hisec until the math shows it the better option. And everything suggests it won't.

You probably won't publish this comment because of what I'm about to say. You really have no deep understanding of this game except for trading, which you do really well. Your ideas don't take into account the broad perspective and you don't consider in- and out-of-game implications, whether you talk about hisec, PvP or mining. Stick to market posting and everyone will benefit from it. Now, you just lost another long time reader.

Sal said...

Hm... Choices, choices!

Keep the good stuff in Hi, or lure players into low/null with greater rewards. It's a design choice. How should the game feel.

Hi is dull, lo/null is optional.

Hi is a a safe heaven, lo/null is a place of griefs.

It's either farmville, or duck hunt (as either duck or hunter).


Anonymous said...

Most people I know - both in my corp and also out of corp friends - do pay for plex's. We also subscribe because subscribing is cheaper than buying a plex to extend our gametime.

It's the only way we can get the capital to buy ships. Most of us aren't interested in farming ore fields or farming the markets. That is fairly boring.

Your view is rather distorted of the average player. Most are dirt poor and losing a ship means another week of farming the boring stuff.

Effectively you are advocating alienation of a large section of the EVE community. The 50% of players who live in highsec, don't AFK, actually want to engage with other people, yet still do SOME of the fun things that the big blue donuts engage in.

Anonymous said...

Off topic

So now the new order has a ganking arm (new order logistics)
What happened to the holier than thou attitude of teaching ppl and punishing afkers and bots?
Now the new order r just gankers...

Anonymous said...

20% inflation over 3 months give a 207% yearly inflation.

Anonymous said...

I find your views on things occaisionally distrubing and right up worng, but in this matter I agree with your opinion.

Removing Incursions would be wrong(storywise) - but the income should be nerfed.
Max L3 Missions in Hi seems about right or just give the NPC a better AI/Fit (e.g. more scrams, more dmg) so Carebears would die more often or need to rally up like in Incursions.

Buffing Low does not work as we have seen. Certain people do not want to PvP (Hell a couple of months ago I did not want either).
So let them carebear. Nothing wrong with it.

Something I'd like to see would be lowsec borders between the Empirefactions, so you cant travel to Amarr from Jita without passing one or two LowSec-Systems.
Or things like dynamic securitychanges. Seeing Jita beeing a 0.4-System for 3 or 4 days would be absolutely fun. And think about all those precious tears <3.

Anyway, I dont think CCP will change anything about it. Carebears are providing the foundation for PvP(materials etc.) and the money for keepin up the servers and paying the staff. We should not treat carebears like shit and take away all their money, but make it just harder. If you can make 600m a month in high thats ok. You can buy a plex, sure, but you only have 100m to cover ammo and losses. Thats what I think should hi look like. Safe but 'poor' .

Bene El said...

There are two things ultimately wrong in this blogpost of yours:

1.: Plex. Players using Plex are paying customers just like any other, the simple difference being that someone else bought the Plex from CCP and they work it off. It's a service the carebears provide to those who do not wish to farm and buy Plexes for RL-cash. Lower the income of those carebears and they will either stop doing it, or need lower Plex prices to move on, therefor lowering the ISK they RL-buyers get for their money. So who benefits? It's not CCP, thats for sure...

2.: Did you eve-mail each and every one of the carebears about the FW-button-orbiting? Guess not. So assuming everyone knew about it but did not care to do it is wrong. Don't forget the vast majority of carebears do not read blogs and forums. They would only have known about it if they came across by chance, or someone else telling them. I sure didn't, did you?

Btw, I knew about it, still did not do it for long (less than one hour to be precise...). Why? Because I find it very very boring; and I got enough income to keep me running. Guess where (hint: it's not highsec ;)).

Von Keigai said...

since the highsec PvE player provide no content for anyone, there is absolutely no reason for him to play for free.

Wrong. The highsec PvEer who PLEXes generates content worth 500m ISK per month. This is why the person with the PLEX sold it to him.

Do you understand what markets do? It seems that for all your market acumen in earning money, you do not.

Consider a mission runner. Some of them run missions for only for bounty, mission payments, and LP. These are perhaps the best exemplars of what you are trying to get at. Yet even these guys add content. The bounty and mission payments add overall inflation; this is precisely tuned via the magic of the market to relate to PLEX supply. Similarly, by cashing out LP they make choices which shape the market for, i.e. implants, in ways that it would be impossible for CCP to predict. All of this content.

But they also directly add content. They trade in the markets for their ships and fittings. This creates demand which other players supply. And to run missions they do exist out in simulated space. You can scan down those mission sites, and interact with missioners. Many players ninja missions for salvage, loot, and tears. Content. Base of the food chain.

And even beyond that, they actually exist as actual players who can be talked to. They might eventually read a blog and decide they want to be something other than a mission runner. If you keep them in the game long enough, this becomes more likely.

Anonymous said...

In the two years or so before the revamp of fw the best missioning isk in the game was in quiet areas of lowsec which offers superior LP payouts for blitzing and enables easy multiboxing of 300m/hr/toon. It was perfectly possible for someone with a fairly old computer to pull in well over a billion an hour (and still is). Throughout that time exploration was also capable of making a 1b/hr if done correctly using several toons for probing and blitzing sites simultaneously. Again, lowsec was the area of choice because the sites were considerably easier to do, the space quieter and the cruiser size mods worth far more than their bs sized equivalents. An experienced prober could reliably make 10b or so in a weekend without much effort and the introduction of deadspace invulns buffed that further. Then, during the glory days of fw, the "worst offenders" (as dubbed them) were pulling in 1.2b/hr/toon in lowsec and running up to 8 clients simultaneously as it was largely afkable and multiboxable. Even after CCP "fixed" fw it is still possible to multibox at 300m/hr/toon very easily.

What you ought to be grasping from all this is the idea that the isk is in highsec is only true if for you the isk is full clearing l4 missions for the bounties and then coming back and salvaging it. For those who know what is up, it's in lowsec and always has been.

Hivemind said...

"To have an effect, highsec PVE income must be nerfed to the point where no form of low/null life can be financed from it, nor PLEXing an account. The second is imperative: since the highsec PvE player provide no content for anyone, there is absolutely no reason for him to play for free."

First off, this makes the massive assumption that hisec gameplay should not be a complete experience in its own right.

Second, it's an outright lie to say that even a pure ISK-seeking hisec bear generates no content; they generate content for ninja salvagers, ninja looters/aggression baiting, haulers, traders and ammo manufacturers at the very least. It's nearly impossible to do anything in EVE without generating some content for other players.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: I did not say that highsec gameplay isn't or shouldn't be a full experience. I said it should not be able to finance nullsec life or an account. It should be able to finance itself which isn't hard since you don't have losses in highsec.

"Create content" is more than just buying ammo. An NPC buy order can do that. It's something that that game developers (represented by NPCs) can't do: PvP and cooperative play and highsec players provide neither.

Hivemind said...

@ Gevlon

But saying that hisec gameplay should not be able to finance a PLEX (which, given the free market economy which sets PLEX prices, is a pretty difficult benchmark in the first place - if PLEX prices drop, does hisec income have to be lowered too?) is still assuming that hisec should not be able to provide a full experience, since I would hold that the potential to make enough ISK to support an account by buying PLEX is part of that full experience.

It's only your personal definition of "providing content" that stipulates that it must be something that couldn't be done via an NPC, but even there you're ignoring the other points I raised - even NPC corp mission runners still provide content to suicide gankers, ninja salvagers, ninja looters and aggression baiters, none of which could be simulated by an NPC buy order.

Personally I feel that it's a bad idea to try and force players into a playstyle they don't want, which is what you're trying to do here. Obviously when it comes to subscription numbers, this isn't a zero-sum game; the number of players who leave hisec if you drastically nerf it won't be equal to the numbers who move to low/nullsec because the players also have the option of quitting the game. There's also the fact that players who move to another area of the game purely for economic reasons are unlikely to participate in the gameplay in that area except for what they need to do to generate ISK; as Anon 09:39 pointed out, players who joined FW for the ISK only farmed complexes, they didn't join the other aspects of FW.

To put it another way, your bears will go from only providing content to players specifically preying on them in hisec to still only providing content to players who prey on them in low/nullsec, however there they actually have more advantages in avoiding other players and not providing content at all - local and intel channels, gatecamps manned by actual PvPers, simple remoteness from hostile space etc. From the perspective of the rest of EVE, what's the difference between a hisec mission runner in an NPC Corp who never interacts with other players and a nullsec anom runner in a renter alliance who never interacts with other players and safes up whenever others enter local?

IMO it's better to make sure that players in any area of space can support themselves, and then let them choose based on their own playstyle preferences how they make their ISK. Bear in mind before you say that will result in all of them going to hisec that all officer mods, most deadspace mods and nearly every unit of megacyte, zydrine and morphite on the market were produced by players in nullsec - with the choices open as they are now, players still choose to make ISK in null because it's more profitable than hisec and because they find the ISK making process there more enjoyable than in hisec.

Anonymous said...

While I think you've diagnosed the situation reasonably well, I'm not sure that any level of nerfing highsec income would move people to low or nullsec.

I think the reactions of the highsec bears/alts were their income nerfed would be one or more of:

a) no behavior change, just accepting lower income, for those, like your girlfriend, who play only in highsec

b) shift to selling PLEX to finance low/null PVP losses

c) quit the game