Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The failure of altruism

What went wrong with my ganking project? In one word: altruism.

It did not offer anything to the gankers in it. It did not give anything to me either as a ganker. It was started as an ambitious goal to change highsec. Had it succeeded it would still not give anything to the participants. The winners would have been those players who had learn the basics of ship fitting and the philosophy behind ganks (padding killboard), removing tears and easy targets from highsec.

Every action has opportunity cost. An hour spent ganking is an hour not spent trading. Since I've completely closed down my highsec trading for this project, it cost me more than 100B in opportunity cost. Other gankers also sacrificed some of their income for it. We got nothing for this money, just the thought that we might make something lasting in EVE, which is marketed exactly as the game where you can make difference. It was enough for me. Wasn't enough for them.

Am I somehow special to have more plans than simply fill my coffers and pad my killboard? Note: the best way to have a good personal killboard is not ganking, but whoring on blob kills. Those N3/PL pilots who were on the BL supercapital trap all got 7-800B kills in October. Practically if you were in NC. and you cared to log in, you got it, while NC. itself just had 1.45T in October. Are other people are OK with only personal goals? While most people are not on this level, claiming to be alone would be ridiculous when anyone can list names like Sindel Pellion, Chribba, there are people who spend lot of time teaching in E-UNI, those who caught SOMER doing RMT and so on. The problem is that these people obviously have different vision about what's right and what difference should be made. I never joined any of the mentioned guys for their goals, why should anyone join my goal?

Compare this with the blog which just passed 6 million visitors, individual pageviews focused on trading advices, the Undergeared project (back in WoW, WotLK I proved that the game went way too easy by doing endgame raiding in beginner gear) and the evidences that World of Tanks rigs the battles. Why does my blogging works if my ganking did not? Because it is a solo project. The blog needs no one but me. I can keep going if not a single man on the planet supports me. The ganking project needed other people to both agree with me and to be ready to do volunteer work for the idea. Now this intersection of groups proved to be too small.

There are two ways out of it: one is moving to ideas that are more mainstream. The Angel Project is a good example, it collects donations for newbies. Most people consider it a noble act. Anyone who had altruism in himself could easily find the project supportable. The other option is to make the next project non-altruist. If the participants are paid, everyone who can agree with the project can join without losing something. Hell, people who don't agree first can join for the money. This is what many commenters suggested with the ganking project too: pay the gankers in form of ships, transportation or whatever. Now, in an hour an average guy can earn about 30M ISK. A mediocre ganker can take out about 150M. So for every ISK ganked, I have to pay 0.2ISK "salary" (in some form). So to reach 2T ganks, I need to pay 400B ISK a month. I don't have that ISK. The only way if the project itself pays. If I could figure out a way to get the money as loot from the ganked miners, I would have an army under me already. But there is none, by design.

The limitation of altruism is the amount of people who both agree with a goal and willing to donate resources. A business-based idea on the other hand is self-paying. Whatever I do next, it must pay for itself.


Anonymous said...


Altruism: The principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism).

I submit to you the idea that perhaps you were not altruistic in your motives: You were looking for something in return be it killboard stats, praise (ego satisfaction), etc.

Behnid Arcani said...

How about moon goo raiding? The siphon units present an opportunity to cripple the Null-sec alliances dependence on Moon-goo. If you had enough raiders you could put a serious dent in the SRP of a null-sec entity.

It pays for itself, as you're stealing resources. People will join to irritate the Null-sec alliances. It also presents a good logistical challenge to make things interesting.

daniel said...

"The only way if the project itself pays." seed the market and contracts with cata's and fittings. 10 to 20 % over jita, into every system of 0.5 to 0.7.
yes, you won't seel them within a day, but over time.
your pilots could improve their ganking ratio, as from now on, they don't need an orca alt anymore, but have an acc free for a second cata.

let things run for a few months, don't give up too early.
next, get rid of those ridiculous corp.joining rules, like, minimum of gank amount.
some ppl have a life, or just simply perform not as good as you do.

third, start fleets, so ppl are encouraged to gank more often. they use more ships, you gain more profit. win - win.

think of a corp not as a sociel club for hanging out together, but as what the word "corporation" actually means.
a business.

Locust said...

As long as you are doing group projects I guess you will always fail.

WGBWC was made to teach highsec miners how to avoid ganks. Still, you never stopped talking about "killboard stats", comparing them to nullsec alliances or whatever.
Even if I blow up miners from time to time, I didn't join your corporation. I don't want to be forced to WORK in this game. Deadlines, return on investment, pushing numbers... that's not what a game should be.

I like the idea of a covops-corporation infiltrating nullsec by using wormholes and use siphons as much as possible.
I'm afraid you would, again, make some rules like "you have to steal xxx units of this and xxx units of that to stay in the corporation" while most players would like to do it "just for the fun of driving nullsec alliances mad". If there is a week they don't like to jump into nullsec they should be free to stay docked.
Maybe you dislike the idea because there are no "stealboards" where you could compare yourself to nullsec alliances ("see, I have stolen xxxxxxx units of moongoo y in one week, that's 20 times as much as whole CFC has stolen in a month...") - still, it is a very good idea... a locust corporation :D

Damn... I have to make a data/relic site blockade runner if possible... jumping to null, dropping the siphons, running sites while waiting...

daniel said...

cause u complained about ppl not taking this game too seriously, and that even in wow the pro.raiders are serious about taking the endboss.

if you are looking for content, i think incursions is for you.
organized, goal.driven and well paying.

or maybe you want to accept that most ppl dislike eve's pve content and substitute the pandaboss-raid with a titankill.
sometimes they win, sometimes they fail.

Anonymous said...

Don't get stuck on the idea that you have to necessarily pay followers with iskies, or tangible material or pixel benefits.

Anonymous said...

First off most people are lazy so trying to find someone not lazy for a teammate is the hardest part. Other things you could have done because come on people really don't learn, is just set up sell orders for the barges and equipment in system of the ships you are ganking, also you have to hit the barges who are nearly full, the hard part is getting your sec rate back up once it starts getting low so everyone e and their mom doesn't come for you. Could you make isk doing it? I bet you can but there are better things, but blowing the crap out of everything but producers to swing the market so producer prices go up was a cool idea.

Von Keigai said...

It did not give anything to me either as a ganker.

Which is exactly why I asked you in the last thread if you had fun. Your answer was evasive. Yes, you had fun in small bursts when you got a particularly nice gank, or almost anything out of the ordinary. But how often was that? Overall, hour after grinding hour, was it fun? (I don't imagine it was.) Let's pin this down a bit: compare it to other things you have done in the game. Was it as fun as running highsec missions? Was it as fun as bridging around your TEST-bros in a Titan? Was it as fun as moving around skillbooks in a blockade runner? Was it as fun as mining?

If you cannot honestly say it was at least moderately fun, then that's your explanation right there. And yes, altruism is part of it. But altruism is quite possible in EVE; the key is simply that it be fun. Showering cute newbies with ISK and advice is fun; geeks love to talk about the game. It's fun. Setting yourself up against human ignorance is not fun. It is infinite (or near enough), and stupidity is rampant.

Anonymous said...

I do like the idea of you siphoning army the entirety of CFC moongoo. granted they are getting larger portions of renter income (where your ganking might be better spent)

but if you were able to cripple more ISK than TEST... it would be rather funny

Gevlon said...

@Von Keigai: the bulk work was grinding. Like mining, missioning, shooting structures or grinding in any other game. Not worse, not better.

"The grind" is boring in EVERY MMO, by definition. It gains "fun" by being a mean to an end. The WoW raider who claims that the 50th wipe is fun is a liar. He does it for the kill and the moment of kill compensates him for the grind. Shooting structures is infamously hated in EVE. People do it for the moment when the enemy is finally routed and their hated empire crumbles.

I had fun while I see my plan of cleansing highsec from the "empire of stupid" progressed and lost fun when I saw the goal lost.

Anonymous said...

I'd argue that your goal was poorly set.

No, this isn't a case of, "Well we didn't want that region anyway." That's propaganda. It's a case of setting goals that are unreasonable.

Is "changing hi-sec" a reasonable, measurable goal? No. For two reasons. First, it would take, as you've pointed out, a phenomenal amount of man-hours. But second, and more importantly, player turnover. Once upon a time, CCP released subscription data (after the Reformation, they don't do that as much anymore), and one of the surprising stats was that the average subscription was only 4-5 months.

In all areas of the game, but especially pronounced in high sec, as there is zero barrier to entry there, you're going to have a high turnover. Those miners you ganked today aren't going to be playing in 6 months. They'll be replaced by fresh 10 day newbies in Retrievers, who have never encountered WGBWC, and don't know any better.

I'd also drop the killboard metric. It undermines your moral authority about teaching, and just riles up fights about what ratios mean and how to compare them.

Instead, set goals for yourself that can be achieved with effort. Goals that don't require some form of extra effort are worthless. Example: Completely patrol two constellations a day, slaughtering anything that you don't think meets your criteria. (n.b., I don't know if that's reasonable or challenging; I've never done high sec ganking.)

Altruism doesn't factor in. Your corporation's employees should get the satisfaction of achieving their goal, and should be able to share it with each other. That's their payment: A regularly-available, attainable-but-challenging, concrete success. There's no need to pay them or reimburse them with tangible goods if you provide a positive environment in which they can succeed and feel that success. Having some "change hi-sec" nebulous goal leads to an unending grind, which even the most dedicated players will eventually abandon.

Lucas Kell said...

"I do like the idea of you siphoning army the entirety of CFC moongoo. granted they are getting larger portions of renter income (where your ganking might be better spent)

but if you were able to cripple more ISK than TEST... it would be rather funny"
How likely do you really think it is that would actually happen? There's no point in setting unrealistic goals. If the CFC can survive being at war with entities proficient in null sec combat for this long, it's unlikely that a start-up alliance would be able to impact us.
These siphons are getting everyone excited, but once they get released there will be the realism that all they are is a method of attack, a weapon. There will still be the barrier of being able to actually used that weapon effectively, which is unlikely to happen. Basically, a bunch of high sec people will suicide into pos guns for a while, then give up.

Michael LeBlanc said...

@Gevlon '"The grind" is boring in EVERY MMO, by definition. It gains "fun" by being a mean to an end. The WoW raider who claims that the 50th wipe is fun is a liar.'

There have been plenty of times where I've been at 50+ wipes and still had plenty of fun, because the goal (for me) was never simply killing the boss. The goal was the challenge and improvement (and killing the boss and getting gear). Just like you stated above, your fun was contingent on people learning, not on whether or not the gank was successful.

There were also plenty of times that the 50th wipe was not fun at all, but that was when I had already mastered the fight and we died because of things outside my control (either RNG or other people failing). But as long as I could still do better, I continued to enjoy it. All of my 200+ attempts on Heroic Lich King were very enjoyable. Most of my 50+ attempts on Heroic Conclave of Air were utterly unfun as I had mastered my role after attempt 2 (people are bloody terrible at Rohash).

There were even times where successful kills weren't fun, because there was no challenge to them. Gunship was a great example. Any LFR raid as well.

What's always drawn me to games, and what makes things fun for me, is when the first time I try something I get absolutely destroyed, and as I go through it more and more, I get better and better at it. It's that improvement that is my 'fun'.

This is clearly not what you enjoy, and there's nothing wrong with that. You measure your fun purely by things that are easily measured, and that's admirable, but not universal. (And lots of other things can be measured, eg I can look at my HLK logs and see how many times my heals saved the tank on a Soul Reaper, so even when we wipe because someone failed and stood in Defile, I can still measure my own success. Also incidentally our first kill our tank died because I failed that, and so I wasn't particularly happy despite the kill)

Provi Miner said...

derp you need help, first off lets clear one thing up there is a word called altruism. it is a word it does not exist in RL or games, or any other content you can think of. Consider the angel project/red cross. Every single person thinks they are doing something worthwhile. at that exact moment you think your doing something good altruism disapears and self gratification arrives. mother teresah? she didn't do it for the poor she did it because she believed the lord wanted her to do it. in fact i submit she was selfish. She could have cashed in on her image and used those millions to help 10x the number the number she actually helped. So no gob altruism doesn't exists its a fiction pure and simple. Why do i hold the door open for people? because i am nice? because i am altruistic? or because i hope that by setting an example someday someone will hold the door for me.

Anders said...

here is a challange for you, try the chinese servers, see if you can do the same slacker moron allegory there? Do the gamers there have a different approach, do they set different goals or are they the "for fun" types?

am sure alot of ppl whould want to read about that

Anonymous said...

Gev you are spot on correct in identifying altruism as the cause of why you started the project.

Ive also been posting here that EVE should be about how the player can change the game.

If EVE does not do so then it is no better than any other MMORPG - farming and killing random people.

I had a wild post in your blog a year back about the true meaning of Burning Jita and I mean what I said:

Burn it to the ground as it the system would no longer serve any purpose to anybody - no markets, no POCOs, no mining belts or stations - ZIP, no more Jita.

Players must be able to make a change in EvE.