Greedy Goblin

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bots are responsible for the boring nullsec

Every time when an EVE site lacks a recent titan gank or a 100+ battle, yet another opinion piece comes forward about the boring nullsec. Or blue doughnut. Or how hard it is for a new alliance. Or risk aversion. Or how the small gang PvP is dying. Or some other version.

The assumed reasons are numerous, but of course none of them even mentions the core of everything: economy. The reason of the boring nullsec is economic, namely: bots. No, not in a political way, there is no secret botter conspiration where Goons and PL guys are meeting in dark corners to share botting money. The way is as mundane and primitive as it can be: bots make nullsec non-productive for players.

The original EVE philosophy is that the bigger risk you take, the bigger reward you get. Bringing an AFK retriever out for Kernite is much easier than conquering a region, building logistical chain and then mine while watching intel channels for incoming interceptors who can tackle you before you warp out. Yet the truth is this:
Why? Because of the large number of mining bots. Of course there are also anom ratting bots and NPC null missioning bots. These bots are flooding the market with the items that supposed to be rare jewels available only to the bravest and strongest. Their flooding reached the point when a player can earn more money in highsec than in nullsec, completely turning the design upside down.

How does it make nullsec boring? Because it takes away the reason to go there. There is no "leave the safe but impoverished highsec" drive. There is no "nice region, let's take it" either. Nullsec regions are just bragging rights, sources of pride without real value. This limits nullsec (and somewhat less lowsec and WH) playerbase to the competitive ones and the "let's have fun with explosions" crowd. Instead of endgame, nullsec became niche game. My own example: I fight Goons without wanting anything they have. If they collapse, I won't go to live in Deklein.

How can it be fixed: by removing botting. If bots no longer flood nullsec resources, they become rare, letting brave adventurers get rich. But it's easier to say than done. Catching botters isn't easy. However the extreme amount of botting in nullsec is caused by the following game design problems:
  • PvE is repetitive, trivial and usually not fun. This makes botting easy and preferred. There is no frigate PvP-ing bot that you can leave running to farm you some kills. Making PvE (especially mining) more engaging and less repetitive would make bot-making much harder and less people would say "I rather stop playing than PvE myself"
  • Avoiding PvP is trivial but mind-bogging: watch local, warp if anyone arrives. In WH space: spam scan for new signatures. This again prefers bots. A bot is better in this task than humans. The PvP-avoiding methods must be automated (like a switch next to the autopilot: warp if neuts in local) or removed (no local, nothing to watch). Same for new sigs and dscan: make spamming and watching unneeded or impossible.
  • Avoiding PvP is necessary for survival. If you are in a PvE ship, you are dead if anyone lands on your grid. So you must watch local. There is a consensus that removing local from nullsec would decrease null PvE to 1/10th or such. I'm not sure if it would be bad, but CCP wouldn't dare to try it out. The solution is changing ships, deployables and mechanics to give a chance to a PvE player to defend himself.
  • Hunting is zero risk activity. It's not unrelated from the previous problem: if you go to kill ratters, the worst thing that can happen to you is losing a few M ship. The best thing is solo killing a near-billion faction battleship. Those who are out to kill billion ISK faction battleships and capitals should risk more than a ship that is handed out by the newbie missions for free. If the hunters would have non-zero ISK value, the locals would form defensive gangs to kill them. Then fighting back (instead of running which is best done by bot) would be the preferred method for nullsec PvE pilots.
Anyway, until botting is the preferred method of making ISK in nullsec, players won't try to break in, so stagnation will remain.


Anonymous said...

PvE in PvP ships is very possible. The oracle and ishtar are both excellent examples of highly mobile high dps damage platforms with the ability to apply heavy damage to anyone challenging them in a site. There are numerous advantages to being in a deadspace site or mission when attacked too, even if probed down people can only warp to a fixed point where decloak cans can be left, slower ships can't warp to faster ships at 0, starting range is entirely dictated by the PvEer and isolating tackle couldn't be easier. People don't know how to do this but that is not an issue with EVE Online but rather a symptom of the general incompetence of its player base. There is absolutely no reason why you should PvE in a handicapped ship, even though people often do.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure it is a good idea to base this theory on ore prices. Null sec has a much greater demand for low end minerals then high sec. That's why you have a constant stream of jump freighters packed with 425mm rail guns and bastion modules.

You'd think that the null mining bots would be flooding the local markets with local low end ores instead of targeting high ends for export.

Louis Robichaud said...

The significant change in industry may completely rework how the economy works. Nullsec industry may be come viable, making it more busy and vibrant.

That being said... you are right on several point. PvE needs a *lot* of work. One way that would help would be to make missioning more PvP like, meaning the fits would be more viable in PvP.

Anonymous said...

Can we have your numbers for the assertion that bots are flooding the market, and responsible for highsec having higher earning potential than nullsec?

For the average player, highsec has always been more profitable, it is easy, you can afk the hell out of it, including missions, and the pay:effort ratio is much higher.

PvE definitely needs a lot of work, but it always has done.

Low end ore is cheap as anything, despite being used more heavily in null than in highsec because of the minerals I mine are free crowd. Go into any belt in highsec and see how many miners are sucking up veldspar, regardless of the market price. See how many newbies start out mining, and sit there in their venture, then right click sell the ore.

Anonymous said...

Go into any belt in highsec and see how many miners are sucking up veldspar, regardless of the market price. See how many newbies start out mining, and sit there in their venture, then right click sell the ore.

Can we have your numbers for your assertions? I spend a bit of time of mining across several hi-sec regions and I don't see much of what you describe. You might have run into a solo manufacturing guy who will mine veldspar for a production run, but I promise they weren't flying a venture.

That's just stuff you've been fed.

Lucas Kell said...

I'm not convinced that miner botting is as a big an issue in null as you'd think. Most of the large scale mining ops I've seen are run by players constantly there, not even using ISBoxer. The problem is turning ore into isk, it's not as simple in null, so mining bots tend to operate out of high sec, where they can mine all day every day and trivially convert product to isk.

By the way, your graph looks like isk/m3, but it looks like it has the usual mercoxit fallacy. Mercoxit has a higher isk/m3, but its mined in lower volume as deep core miners are less efficient. If you take into account isk/m3 and the ratio of mercoxit to other ore mined per cycle, mercoxit is in line with the others.

Anonymous said...

As others have said, there are a huge number of bots in high sec that mine away day after day and dump their ore on the market. There are also plenty of real players who do the same. I know this because I buy their ore in several areas of space and have been doing it for years. In some of those I have established myself as the market maker, IE there was no market there before I started buying. As soon as I start putting up orders, the bots follow. With all that said, I would bet the same thing happens in null sec. Once someone figures out how to get the ore out and puts up the orders, the bots will come.

Anonymous said...

Mining with bots is less efficient than "actively" mining. The only advantage the bot has is the time factor. While any sane person gets so frigging bored after 4 hours of stupidly mining, therefore closing the eve client and getting a life, a bot does not get bored. The script just goes on and on repeating itself.
While mining gives you about 20M/h play time, bot mining willl give you less. My estimate is that bots are only half efficient then human miners, so let us calculate 10M/h = 240M per day. In a well set Nulsec system a player should be able to do this by himself too.
Trouble is, that in most Nulsec alliances, players are not free to spend their time making money. Nulsec has much higher opportunity cost then Hisec.
In Hisec, no one can tell me to do anything. I hop in my macha or Vargur or Golem and run missions like a damn bot. Stupidly clicking on any red crosses, looting mission item, turn in mission, get reward...
As loot drop tabels got nerfed again, it is sometimes much more "cost efficient" to run multiple clients with alts that all can do Lv4s.
Mining bots operate in Hisec, Missiongrinding bots in Nulsec.
I have read about mission running bots in Hisec especially for distribution missions (Why??? standing???), but the most efficient bots are ratting bots in Nulsec and well programmed trade bots.

The reason why Nulsec isn't worth moving to is that player are no longer master of their time. They cannot rat or fly sigs when fleet ops are on schedule, CTAs have to be attended....

Only a few, the lucky few, can affrod to do whatever they want whenever they want without fearing consequences.

CCPs actions to boost Nulsec by crapnerfing Hisec are all doomed to fail. Why?
Because of those 90% who are livestock for slaughtering. The can and will live better off in hisec as they can mine or run missions as they see fit, not an FC or Alliancs leader sees fit.

On a personal scale, I would really like to know, how and how much Mittens transfers ISK into USD and why CCP only takes action against the buyers in RMT as I witnessed a case in my corp.

Making industry unprofitable in hisec is a laughable attempt. Now SMA will soon regret that they got rid of their shitty pbulord inactive industrial players...
I am convinced that the JF capacity is not sufficient for nulsec prodders to supply hisec demands in full...

If Titan bridges and jump bridges would finally get a limit or cap like WHs do, some entities might form anew to move into nul, but as it is right now?

Oh and by the way, there is an activity that is even more boring than mining:

PI and TRADING!!! (I do both and fell like I should get paid for it...)

Provi Miner said...

You can not bot min in providence you will die a horrible messy death. You can, and really should, join a mining fleet fly with the same people tell the same stories, share the same lore, and exchange information. That Providence is under constant assualt is no wonder where elese can you find a fleet of 50 people in the same system you just know some of them are AFK. And the NRDS status means you can kill before being killed.

Arrendis said...

Don't forget, though, that every time CCP has tried to buff nullsec PvE profits, high-sec miners have complained about being (comparatively) nerfed. 90% of players give no shits about the overall health of the game, they only care about their wallet/fun/experience/goals.

Anonymous said...

All CCP's efforts to boost Nul will fail because Gevlon already told us like zillion times.
99% of EVE's player base is risk averse and Nulsec will never be attractive enough to attract much more players.
Most people are not happy losing their ships, even most PVP players hate to see theirs ship burn even with reimbursement programs which are funded? Not by PVP.

As long as PVP is only profitable when ganking defenseless lolfit industrials or miners, there will be no large scale PVP.

As PVP in EVE is almost always and every where unfair as one party will only engage with offgrid boost, backup mates, triple cyno backups and so on, the majority of EVE players laughs at PVP and enjoys farming in hisec or even a minority enjoy farming in nul.

The reason why hisec mining is so lucrativ is not that it is fairly safe which it isn't as Gevlon proved, it is because ot is permanently accessible. One can ALWAYS whenever and wherever one wants to go mining or do missions.

Low-end/Hisec minerals give too much income? Is that the responsibility of miners? NO!!!!
It is because too much hisec minerals are needed for production.
reduce ther mineral need for tritanium and pyrite by 90% and replace them with minerals that can ONLY befound in Nul and maybe, long after the initial economic crash, maybe then will a couple hundred very togh miners go to nul and mine there, as long as it will be more profitable than running sanctums...
And that is the only point. It is not bots, it is crappy POS management and fucking outpost politics and shittily thought out game mechanics that ruin this game.

The only real good thing in this game is the ingenuity of some players who come up with supeb fittings or strategies that work for a time, or even work so good that CCP nerfs them...

Unknown said...

People don't go to Null sec because they're risk averse? The only place in eve less risky than Null is high sec. I base myself in High and go out looking for solo PvP, usually in a frigate or destroyer, and the place I can be sure of getting a fun fight is low sec, usually Faction Warfare space.

Clearly I'm part of the (apparantly) 1% who go out to fight for the fun of it, because it sure as hell isn't profitable, especially when I don't stop untill at least one of my ships has been destroyed.

Speaking for myself, the reason I don't go to Null is because it's boring. Most of the time you don't find anyone and when you do, they're in a fleet and you get blobbed. And the only fun in that is denying the fleet's fun by not qqing about it.