Greedy Goblin

Friday, July 11, 2014

Killboards and the illusion of the blue doughnut

Everyone and his mother are crying loud that no new players (read: smaller alliances) can do anything next to the big and established coalitions. The big bad blue doughnut brought lull into EVE. The reality is that most of the losses of the CFC is not coming from the other coalition. It comes from small independents. You know, the ones that don't have a chance.

You know what else have been lost since the "golden age"? Small gang fights. You need 200 men fleets or you are nothing. Except 3/4 of the losses of CFC happened from less than 10 killers.

When you have bad numbers, you have to change something. When you have good numbers and people whining, you have a PR problem. You can't open an EVE-site without seeing yet another weird idea how to fix what is not broken. However something must be broken, otherwise people wouldn't whine all day, or at least got told to shut up and learn to play. But it seems even the "big ones" accept that they are overpowered, when they are clearly not.

The reason for the PR problem is the importance and error of the public killboards. CCP created API for kills, but no killboard itself, leaving it to third parties. Since third parties want traffic to sell ads, they want their killboard to be visited often. How can you do that? By making the visitors feel good about themselves upon visit. Let's just tell everyone that he is winning, it worked for Blizzard!

How can you make it when for every kill, there must be a loss, so the average guy is around zero? Imagine a 9v9 battle of equal ships, where both sides lose all ships (last one died to a gate gun). The outcome for both groups is obviously 9 kills, 9 losses and 50% ISK ratio. However the killboard give the full kill to every killer, so every single guy in this battle now have 9 kills, 1 death and 90% ISK ratio.

Let's find a formula for that. You (a player or a group) have X kills for every unit of loss, providing X/(X+1) ISK ratio. Now you start to operate as part of an N times larger group, where you are an average member (not better, worse, nor picked by the enemy for some reason). Like all groups, this group battles with groups of its own size (as smaller groups run away, larger groups chase you away). Since you are now in N times larger battle, you will get on N times more kills. The crucial thing is that you won't lose more ships. Your fleet will lose N times more ships, but other people losing their ships won't change your loss record. So your ISK ratio will grow to X*N/(X*N+1). So while having the same win and survival rate, your observed kill number approaches infinity and your ISK ratio approaches 100% as fleet size approaches infinity.

What does it mean? For someone who just wants to play or has some goal, nothing. But for someone who wants to look successful and accomplished, it means that he must be in a large fleet. No matter how many kills you have, no matter how good you are, you will never have as many kills and as good ISK ratio displayed on the killboards as a braindead F1 pusher in the coalition fleets.

So the guy joins as a minion or whines all day about how he can't do anything against the blue doughnut. For him the truth "guys like you do most of the kills" doesn't help, as he is a social and the kills of these guys aren't booked to him, while the coalition member gets the kills of other coalition members booked. The blue doughnut is an illusion, existing only in his mind and on the killboard, so can't be fixed by game mechanics changes.

What could CCP do? Publish an official killboard with statistics that doesn't inflate kills. As they are CCP, they have much more detailed data, they could credit things like initial tackle, logi, ewar. They could have a much better de-whoring algorithm than my damage based one. But the point is that if one 1B ship dies, the killers must get one kill and 1B damage combined and not individually. What would it change in the game? Nothing, as it exists outside of the game (though it could be implemented into the client to quickly check the killboard of others).

What would it change in the head of he socials? When they look up the killboard, they wouldn't find themselves hopelessly behind the "big alliances". The individual player would see how much more kills and how much better ISK ratio he has than the F1 pusher. The small corp member would see how his corp has more kills and better ratio than a corp in the big alliance. They would enjoy themselves much more and seek ways to further improve instead of logging out and whining about the blue doughnut on the forum.

PS: moron with spectacular fit and pod.


Anonymous said...

"I was there" or "I'm part of the group that took down" x, seems to trump ISK efficiency and number of kills, yes?

Anonymous said...

Everyone was telling you killboards are not a reliable source of measurement and don't mean a thing. Glad you're slowly realizing that now. Should ccp ever make an official KB, they should not make any kind of artificial measures like efficiency. Just plain data of the kill.

Piter Presley said...

I think you should have mentioned in your post that the statistics work much better on corp and alliance level. In your 9v9 example, assuming all are in two corps or alliances, all the ratios were 50/50 on the killboard after the fight. And even if they are not in the same alliance, globaly all alliance + corp kill values even out.

Gevlon said...

@Piter: the error is smaller, but exist. If 10 corpies fly in a 100-man alliance fleet, then N is 1 for the alliance (no error) 10 for the corp and 100 for the individual.

But even alliances don't fly alone nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Everyone and his mother are crying loud that no new players (read: smaller alliances) can do anything next to the big and established coalitions.
And they don't. You talk about kills from these guys, which they get and is fine, but kills aren't everything. No new small group stands a chance of taking and holding sov without working out a deal with an existing coalition. That's what people complain about.

You know what else have been lost since the "golden age"? Small gang fights. You need 200 men fleets or you are nothing. Except 3/4 of the losses of CFC happened from less than 10 killers.
Small gang FIGHTS have been lost. What you are talking about is guerilla hit and run tactics, which are effective but boring. It used to be that you could roam around and find other small gangs roaming around and have some really good battles. These days you'll do that and one side will drop in a massive support fleet and blob you off of the field once committed.

And most people don;t care about killboards, not even in the slightest. They are a tool for pirates to pat themselves on the back about and nothing more. CCP shouldn't waste a bunch of time developing a killboard and destroying the work third parties have done on their killboards just because a handful of people take killboards too seriously.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: and why should they take Sov the hard way. If they want to rat, they can rent. If they don't want to rat, why would they want Sov? Not like it's good for anything. It's so not good that those who have it, rent it out.

The other comment is partially true. Fights in general got lost. It doesn't matter if you are roaming solo or riding 200 titans, someone will blob you after committed (or runs away if he can't blob you). There aren't any fights in EVE.

Anonymous said...

Reward the kill only to the guy with the killing Blow.
Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

> As they are CCP, they have much more detailed data

Actually, no, they don't. Yes, the cluster processes such actions as "first tackle" and the like, but it doesn't actually log it. Once the action is over, it exists only in the memories and videos of the players.

Such data collection would be expensive and not worthwhile. EVE runs on limited resources; even today, non-reinforced nodes crumble under a typical coalition fleet. 40% or higher TiDi is common just for moving a fleet through systems, let alone fighting. Adding in more disk I/O for data that, quite frankly, doesn't matter beyond some ape-subroutine to see who has the bigger e-peen, wouldn't help that situation at all.

CFC Grunt said...

Sov is good for many things more than ratting. Beacons and Bridges are very useful - be that when doing logistics work or chasing a hostile gang around.

As for "ye olde days" and "fights of a lost age" - most of it is, sadly, nostalgia goggles. Big fights of old usually ended with one side dying before they could fire back. The first person to blob a system would always win.

Fights still happen though, when both sides are willing to commit. Often when one side sees the other committed, they bail because they believe the enemy has something like triage on standby.

(While, more often than not, they don't.)

Gevlon said...

Booking only killing blow would make killboards useless. Shutting them down is easier.

Solving the largest whine of the playerbase worth some effort for CCP.

If you wouldn't live in nullsec, you wouldn't need bridges. And you live there because you rat there.

CFC Grunt said...

Well, I happen to live in nullsec. I also don't rat, and I do PvP.

I live here because I like the no-rules environment where you can use every weapon and module (bubbles, bombs), don't have to deal with restrictions like with FW plexes and gate guns. Just lock up the bad guys and fire, done.

York said...

Smaller groups can certainly come out ahead isk and kill-wise against larger entities. The larger groups simply offer more targets and the smaller outfits can better pick their fights. Groups like Pasta and Mordus excel in this sort of hit-and-run warfare.

Where small groups do get screwed, however, is when it comes to static assets. Specifically, sov and structures. Smaller outfits tend to do well because they can get in, shoot, and gtfo before the blob can fully mobilize. This doesn't work when you have one or multiple 12-36hr invincibility timers which give the larger group a massive amount of time to bring in reinforcements. Especially with the massive number of bridges and jump drives today, there is no reason a larger group should ever lose an asset to a smaller one unless they just don't care to defend it. Now, it makes sense that the larger, dug-in entity would have some chance/advantage to defending. I dislike the fact that it is trivially easy to defend something anywhere in the universe at the drop of a hat.

Gevlon, you always talk about how sov/structures are useless and why would anyone want it. First and foremost, it is a goal for many people. In any game, people like to be able to put their name on something and call it theirs. Is it always logical? No, but that is the reality. Sov does offer advantages to the holders. I think more importantly, however, it gives significant disadvantages to non-holders. The most significant is making it extremely difficult to operate in areas where you don’t have or are not friendly with the sovholders. In pretty much anywhere but Providence, no blue= no docking for you. You can try to drop a tower, but the sovholder gets an instant notification of where it is. Even the most self-sufficient and mobile groups need somewhere to safely refit, rearm, and logout. This is why independents operate almost exclusively out of NPC space. There are only 4 NPC regions and 3 NPC constellations in nullsec. That is a lot of space to be effectively locked out of.

The other half of static assets is your favorite, money. Moons, POCOs, and sov upgrades generate isk for the group or the individual members. All groups need some source of income, although the exact method can vary. IMO It can be simplified into two major categories, organization income and individual income. Moons and POCOs provide varying levels of income to the organization that owns them. Sov improvements increase the amount of income that individual pilots can make (and organization if they tax).
All the toasted ships need to be paid for somehow, either by the pilots themselves or by the organization through a ship replacement program. How a group does it can swing either way depending on their situation. I live in Syndicate which is garbage for making isk on an individual level, most of us rely on indy/trade alts for personal income. However, my alliance has a respectable number of moons and POCOS paying into our 80-100% SRP. So the alliance makes up for the shitty space by subsidizing the members’ losses. When we were in Curse it was the opposite. N3 owned all the valuable moons but ratting+plexes were better and we had access to good mission agents, so we could more easily afford to soak up personal losses.

Large sov-holders on the other hand, get to have both and then some. They have upgraded space for their members, moons for the alliance, and renters(the biggest earner) for the coalition. They also control moons and POCOs well outside their own areas, as it is easy for them to jump/bridge the distance and blob any local entities that might want them. Almost all R64s and most R32s in lowsec and NPC null are owned by the large coalitions because what the hell is the local pirate corp gonna do against 50 supercarriers?

Well that turned into quite the rambling novel. The weekend needs to start already.

Anonymous said...

Well, it is true that Killboard statistics are worth crap.
The more parties get involved in a single kill the more the KB gets inflated as EVERY SINGLE participating pilot gets the full worth of the ship loss.
What is the consequence? Flying in large enough fleets to get "easy" kills in order to polish up KB statistics. I know dozens of people who woudln't survive even a fair 1-1 duel as they are simply F1 pushers, but they live in lowsec and are proud to be "eevil piwates"... They have mission running and mining alts in highsec, in order to make up for the losses. They can't operate with their main chars in hisec as they have -10.00. But they laugh at "carebears" and link their killboard, where people who understand EVE mechanics see that those cowards operate in fleets of 15-50 nad kill inly fleets up to 5 ships. They even hunt T1 frigates in T3 fleets. How crappy is that?
They live in lowsec, but the most they can do there, besides roaming in zerg fleets, is belt ratting... lol, thwey don't even have the power to do Lv5 missions as they will be hotdropped by PL or TEST...

But, and Gevlon, there you come again to the wrong conclusion. Sov has its worth, simply because CCP made it that way. Some regions in Nul are so OP, it is unbelievable, as reaching it as non-blu is almost impossible. So, nulbrats can rat there 24/7 in blingy shinies without ever having to fear neuts. Intelchats work fine and deffleets are up.
So individuals can make a couple hundred million ISK a day in a few hours. Risk/reward? BS!!!

That is why everybody is whining! Once you get to this point, there is no way "newcomers" gonna take it away from you.
And inflicting losses on individuals doesn't effect that in any way. Sad, but true.