Greedy Goblin

Friday, March 18, 2016


"Having experience" or "being experienced" about EVE (and things in general) is considered important, but I dismissed it as "lame self-celebration for being old". After all, you need knowledge to solve problems and spending lot of time - while helps getting knowledge - doesn't replace or guarantee it. Best evidence: decade old players getting killed in ridiculous fits. Reading a good guide is probably helping more in ship fitting than years of trial and error. There are only a few viable fits and you know them or you don't. Same for getting ISK, evidenced by the billions I made a few months into the game, while several years old players are still running missions or anoms for hilarious ISK/hour.

My motto was: "read a good guide, practice the muscle-memory stuff and then pwn the morons and slackers with their experience". My definition of "experience" was "rudimentary and unorganized knowledge picked up the hard way" and organized learning beats that any day. However I can't dismiss how long it took to find the way to effectively fight Goons and affect EVE at all, despite I probably knew the falloff formula on day 3 better than most players after years. Experience clearly helps me and it bothered that I can't define it. Now I can: "experience is rudimentary and unorganized knowledge picked up the hard way about people".

Can you learn the falloff formula? Sure. Can you learn from PvP videos how to pilot? Sure. Can you calculate ISK per hour for various activities? Sure. Can you read strategy and politology books to understand how big empires work? Sure. You can learn, understand and predict every mechanics and effect in EVE. But nothing helps you understand or predict why does someone roams in a Rifter. It just does not compute. Not even for him, if you ask him, he'll say "it's fun", which isn't much help, as mining missions seem more fun for me. There is no book or completed, accepted theory how people behave in unstructured situations. Why do they roam, collect tearmail, camp a gate despite their last camp kills were only a couple of frigates, why does he gank a Venture with a Catalyst that cost 5x more, posts fofofo in local and so on.

Without these, you can't understand how EVE work. While experience is still rudimentary and low quality knowledge, it's all we got, since there are no books or guides that help understand why do people do actions which give them pitiful ISK and worthless kill reports when there are obvious ways to get more ISK and more kill reports.

Of course you can collect data about people to learn what they use to do. For example the CFC loss reports helped me find the facts that most CFC losses are in small gang. It's anti-intuitive and was generally considered totally wrong. "Solo is dead, you need a huge blob" they said, but they were wrong, exactly because they used logic instead of watching the irrational behavior of people: CFC optimized fleets to be very cost-effective to avoid combat losses. But the same pilot who shot a structure for hours in a bombless bomber goes out to rat in a ship costing 20x more than his bomber, yet easier to kill. Makes sense? No. But it is how it is, so I adapted and started supporting MoA and voila, #1 CFC killers.

Until someone creates the complete psychological theory that explains the behaviors of common people, experience and datamining is all we have.

PS: it doesn't need experience to know that NC. is shit. I mean the ship is bad enough, but losing it to SMA?!


Anonymous said...

It´s not really about people, but rather situations. In many situations, people are the factor, but not in all of them. Like you said, the falloff formula for example. You might learn it in 10 minutes, but experience with a certain ship and gun will make you know by experience when you are going to get those good hits, formula or not.

Anonymous said...

Experience is a very vague term. Reading a guide is basically absorbing some other dudes experiences. But you will not be able to apply that knowledge without experiencing it yourself. I mean, if all you needed was to read a guide, then anyone could learn to drive (or fly an airplane?) by reading a theory book, right?
On the other hand, spending time on the same "task" will stop yielding experience if you do not vary how you perform that task. For example I've met plenty of developers in the IT world who have tons of experience, who are utter crap, since they stay to languages they know well, and never try anything new - while some young developers who are "junior" can run circles around these veterans.
If you stay in an environment where you encounter no new challenges, then you gain no new experience. No matter how many years pass by, or how many guides you read. Like a wise man said, knowledge is not enough - you must apply it!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as to why people almost never perform in an optimal way.. it takes effort - and 95% of the populace is very scared of that it seems.. If you dont try hard, then when you fail you can just shrug about it. I never even tried anyways.

Halycon said...

There will never be such a theory. People find 'fun' in odd places. Eve players especially so compared to other MMOs. Goons may be the closest thing to Space Wow the game offers, but it's still a far cry from the catered content of Themeparks.

At the end of the day, no matter where you go, Eve still forces you to find your own fun. And previous experience in other games is not really a factor into what you may find enjoyable in Eve. They're just too foreign to each other. Part of the reason I keep coming back to Eve isn't that it's a good game. It's that what I find enjoyable in it is wholey divorced from any other game in the market. Previous experience tells me I should be a space priest, I hate it. Previous experience tells me I should find industry to be horrible, but for some reason the logistics of building things is fun in Eve. It's just a weird game. With people finding weird edge cases for what they consider fun all over the place because there's no catered content or signpost that tells you what you'll actually like. Unlike any other MMO on the market.

Anonymous said...

Experience is learning from your mistakes. Research is learning from the mistakes of others.

maxim said...

The difference between experience and knowledge is as follows.

Knowledge you learn from applying a known skill in a comfortable setting. This can involve learning new skills.
Experience you learn when your ass is on the line and something important to you will break if you don't produce results.

Your observation that experience is rudimentary and disorganized is correct. Most people's important things are not complicated to begin with, neither they put them on the line in any organized and routine sort of fashion.

Your observation that experience tends to be about people is also true, because for most people the most important things concern other people.

The practical difference between someone who knows, but has no experience, and someone who is experienced is the confidence with which they put their position at risk for the sake of further gain. Walking the tightrope is not really a knowledge-intensive task - anyone can do it. However, people with experience doing it are able to walk with some confidence, while people without experience know everything they need to do in theory, but are simply too afraid to make the next step in the correct way.

Some don't make the step. These people are too boring to talk about any further.
Some, however, make the step, but fail to do it correctly due to various emotions (despite knowing how to do it correctly). The second group then, of course, falls down. However, they now have experience and a better chance of actually making the right move later.

There are three reasons decades long players are flying in wrong fits
1) they don't have anything they particularily care about in the game (and thus, can be argued, never actually experienced Eve)
2) are making wrong steps for emotional reasons (OF COURSE i fit my shiny new mammoth with cargo expanders, DUH!)
3) have been until now actively protected from results of their own wrong steps by either dumb luck, or some higher power (like gamedevs try to make newbie areas more comfortable). And were blissfully unaware of this protection until disaster struck and they lost something valuable

Anonymous said...

""Solo is dead, you need a huge blob" they said, but they were wrong, exactly because they used logic instead of watching the irrational behavior of people: CFC optimized fleets to be very cost-effective to avoid combat losses. But the same pilot who shot a structure for hours in a bombless bomber goes out to rat in a ship costing 20x more than his bomber, yet easier to kill. "

You thought people didnt think that PvE ships are an order of magnitude more expensive than fleet pvp ships?
Ganking PvE ships has been a thing since combat probes were available in highsec. It is neither new, nor illogical.

Gevlon said...

What is illogical is to use a blinged ratting ship, especially for people who were indoctrinated with flying cheap.

Anonymous said...

Maxim, Experiences is as much about success as failure. For many people experiences success is a far greater motivator than experiencing a failure, which will just make them give up or quit the task.

maxim said...

You misunderstood. I didn't say that getting experience necessarily requires failure. You get experience through acting in a situation where important stuff is on the line, whether you succeed or fail.

You don't really experience success if you are in a situation where nothing is really on the line. Neither you experience success if the thing that is on the line is not all that important to you personally.

Halycon said...

@Maxim At a certain point, in some fields, knowledge becomes experience. It takes a mountain of it, but if you have enough you can actually do better at some things than people with first hand experience. Engineering especially is littered with examples of it.

Example, windmills. Back in the day they'd been built a certain way for hundreds of years. Then a dutch mathematician looked at them, decided they were wrong, redesigned the internal workings from first principle and increased power output by 300%. While also reducing breakdowns. Much to the consternation of the people actually building and servicing windmills to that point. How? He understood torque, they didn't.

Or Leibniz, the father of applied science. A mathematician who pretty much invented modern mining. Even though he was never a miner.

And on, and on, and on. People with no experience in what they did, but a boatload of knowledge.

Anonymous said...

In your analysis you neglect that EvE is a computer game ... people sometimes do irrational things in real life but much more often in games, because doing stupid things can be fun, it's recreation time, you don't need to follow an agenda, just fool around. It's a relief for a lot of people, escaping from reality. EvE is just pixels, nothing in New Eden really matters.

Oop said...

"...there are no books or guides that help understand why do people do actions..." - in this context, have you tried behavioral economy? It's not an all-explanatory theory of human stupidity, but then again, nothing is, and BE has some pretty amusing insights.

Provi Miner said...

@ anonymous? you sure I bet erotica would disagree I bet the guy the Russians had team ready to cut his power the moment he logged in would disagree (if you believe what mittens said in vegas a few summers ago)

Kelindia said...

Experience, and knowledge are connected because typically people continue to acquire knowledge the longer they do something. The reason is experience gives you more opportunity to acquire useful knowledge in a particular area.

There is no detailed complete theory on people behavior because the topic is open ended, and highly contextual. You can give a very general one that is complete; that people have free will. They choose among alternatives different courses. The answer to why they choose a particular course is either what they feel is right, or what they know is right. Hopefully they don't conflict. A good approach to steal is Toohey's line from The Fountainhead. "Don't bother to examine a folly - ask yourself only what it accomplishes."

For example, what does your "solo is dead, you need a huge blob" accomplish? It safeguards the largest coalitions from the most effective means of fighting them.

maxim said...

A counterexample are Wright brothers. They were not particularily brilliant engineers, just the only ones with the balls to actually fly their own creations - and an apparent talent for then-nonexistant piloting profession.

When it comes to your examples, i'd say that that these are examples of 2 things
1) people being trapped by experience of success, only being comfortable with the one pattern they found. This is the advantage of knowledge vs experience
2) Experience with handling abstract concepts being a workable substitute for practical experience in specific fields.

I wouldn't say that these are examples of knowledge replacing experience. I know plenty of math people who have mountains of knowledge and are unable to apply it to anything. Because these people do not really put themselves out there.

Provi Miner said...

the biggest problem with guides and vids the quality of the information and its timeliness. Lets say two months ago I joined eve and was looking for a cool ship to mine in. I would find on CCP's own pedia that the skiff is warp stabbed. or say I was looking for a cool pvp ship I would find more articles on flying a drake then pretty much any other ship.