Friday, November 28, 2014

Premade group of strangers is better than randoms

The worst feature of WoW, the one that made me leave the game two years ago was clearly pushing players to team up with morons and slackers. While you could form a group from your guild for any activities, doing so had a large overhead. If you just logged in with no one online, you were stuck with the group finder features for dungeons, entry mode raids, battlegrounds. And these players are just horrible. No, I don't mean "a bit behind", I mean:

While this screenshot isn't the best, you can add their damage percents to see that the three damage dealers combined were equal to the tank and the lowest DPS one, the rogue was probably a bot. We left. Now what? Are we locked out from the daily 50 garrison resources and the random drops?

That point I remembered why I returned. In the previous expansion my girlfriend found that by using third party sites, you could find "friends" to form cross-server groups and she managed to kill the then-normal (second highest difficulty) endboss before the 6.0 patch. In that patch they implemented this group finder into the game. So I fired it up and in minutes we had a group. They weren't stellar, but were leagues away from the M&S polluting the random group finder:

These players were just as "random" and "stranger" as the ones given by the random feature. But they had two qualities: they had 630 ilvl (which is trivial to get, due to the welfare legendary questline) and they used the group finder tool instead of the default tool. These very weak checks were enough to find an OK group instead of those bots, AFK-ers and failures.

I suggest everyone to use this feature and remove himself from the M&S pool. Because without M&S, WoW isn't a bad game.

On a different note, the follower mission code is messed up. There are barely any missions for lvl 100 followers. At the start it was the opposite, if you had just one lvl 100 follower, you got lot of lvl 100 missions. I wonder why they had a beta if basic features aren't working (at least it doesn't crash the server). Anyway, instead of waiting for that 1-2 mission per day, I reactivated a lvl 98 follower and now I'm swarmed by lvl 98 missions. I don't do them with that follower, but with the bored lvl 100 ones for salvage and little XP. The salvage contains item level upgrades for the followers. I hope the missions get fixed soon.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Oh poor people

This isn't game related, but I just had to share this with you. This is a Hungarian article, so don't bother clicking. It's about a poor woman being evicted with her 3 kids from her rent because she didn't pay. Activists protested for the "victim". She stays with relatives, her stuff were transported to a warehouse:

Yes. That television screen is part of her stuff. I'd love to have such display for games, but I don't think that a fragile, quickly obsoleting piece of technology would be a good investment and my current 23" main and 21" secondary screen are serving me well. So it would be irresponsible to waste the money on that. She - with no other income than welfare - disagreed and bought it. After all, she deserves full HD entertainment.

And activists gathered to protect this woman and demand the city to give her a place to stay. Sometimes I wonder if social people are capable of understanding "being responsible".

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Guildbound items

Let me present a pretty wild idea for changing how in-game markets work. First, let's see the problem: the straightforward solution of in-game market is the open, free market like it's implemented in EVE. You can buy, farm, create and sell anything. Why is it a problem? Because the optimal decision of a player is RMT. Since others have perfected making ISK, either by complicated market schemes or simply by brute-force multiboxing (not to mention botting), the best course of action is buying ISK from them for real money.

To somewhat control the black market and all the account hacking and botting involved, CCP introduced time codes and PLEX as a sanctioned market. The result is a constantly rising PLEX price, reaching 1B. A real newbie who has no market wizard aspiration can't earn more than 10-20M/hour. So he'd need to farm 50-100 hours to earn as much money as he'd earn by paying $15, equal to the money he is already paying for a monthly subscription. So for the "normal" players RMT buying (pay-to-win) becomes mandatory in an open market system.

The Blizzard solution is "no economy". Everything meaningful is soulbound. While there is a market, it is only populated by vanity and convenience items. Consumables exist, but they are so abundant, that their price is trivial. Gear comes already from dungeon runs and can't be traded. While there is crafted gear, but crafting itself needs soulbound reagents, so you can't just buy 10000 ore and build 100 axes. Ore pours out from your personal mine (I'm blacksmith without mining and I'm selling leftover ore). While this got rid of the rampart goldselling (no one buys gold if he can't use it), it also got rid of player interactions. Why care about the other guy if everything is handled to you by NPCs?

I think I have a better solution that fosters player interaction: everything you create or gain from NPCs is guild-bound, you can freely trade it with guild members, but only with them. Of course once you equip an item, it becomes soulbound as it's the only item destruction mechanic in WoW and most games: old gear need to be disenchanted or sold to an NPC. This allows a group of players to cooperate in a non-combat way, allowing non-raiders to be useful and desired members of a raiding guild. Raiders would sell raid drop for consumables, crafted gear and gold of the industrialists. On the other hand it wouldn't allow pay-to-win (besides for extreme cases), since you can only receive items from your guild members.

Of course the latter needs handling guild hopping, or the goldseller just jumps in a guild, gives the members items for real money and quits. The solution is somewhat rigid, but actually very anti-griefing, preventing ragequits and ragekicks: the items in your possession are either guildbound or souldbound. Currency itself also have two "accounts": guildbound and soulbound. When you farm ore, that becomes guildbound. When you craft an axe from it, that's guildbound too, you can trade it on the instanced auction house of the guild or via direct trade. When you equip it, it becomes soulbound and it's fully yours. Same for gold, the gold you get from quests are in your "guildbound account". Still, everything in your possession is fully under your control, your guild can't take or manipulate it.

What happens when you'd quit or be kicked? You can't while you have a single guildbound item. You'll become suspended, which means you can't see the guild chat or access the guild features (like guild bank or guild achievements), you are shown as guildless, but can't join a new guild. How can you get rid of the guildbound items?
  • You can still craft from materials, but the product is still guildbound.
  • You can equip guildbound items, making them soulbound.
  • You can sell guildbound items to NPCs, getting guildbound gold.
  • You can turn "guildbound gold" into "soulbound gold" at will. You can only pay to NPCs with this gold, only for personal services (skills, repairs, taxi, garrison upgrade, followers, mounts). You can also purchase gear from NPCs, but that becomes soulbound instantly.
  • You can still freely trade with your old guild. This is the preferred method of fixing the situation, you give them guildbound items they can use and they give you items and gold that you can turn into soulbound.
  • You can turn consumables into soulbound. You can't trade them anymore, but can consume them later.
  • You can send them to your guildless alts.
  • Finally you can destroy items.
So the suspended player can (and has to) liquidate his assets before fully leaving. The guild can only "grief" him by not using the auction house and not doing direct trading with him, since the suspended player can purchase items for himself at will, and sell his guildbound items for gold. If just one old member breaks the embargo (and the guild leadership can't see that), the trades will be made. Players are very much encouraged to do so, since the leaving player surely gives discount. Of course, the suspended period gives everyone time to think it over and undo hasty decisions.

This system would only allow one form of RMT: if the RMT-er is permanently living in the guild, constantly selling his farmed items and gold for the members. When someone newly joins, everything he has is soulbound, so he can't give anything to the members, just what he farmed while being with them. Guildless players are in an invisible 1-man guild, everything they earn is bound to that guild, so they must soulbound everything before joining. Account hacking becomes pointless: you can't leave the guild with your loot and the guild of the stolen character will surely not RMT with you.

PS: I've seen ships with wrong tank type, but this beats them all. I'm speechless.

PS2: Christmas is here! With lot of bonus Goon tears.

PS3: Now a real battle report between Marmite and the minions of Evil, not a freighter gank. The result is the same though.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bad tank > good damage dealer

When we started running heroics, we were bad. Both in gear and in encounter knowledge. That's normal, everyone has to learn the new things. The problem comes when someone stays bad after weeks. But that's not the point here.

The point is that while we could easily kick bad damage dealers, there were no "damage dealer mutiny". Some very good players (who had top available gear and very good damage) whined on our - often laughable - mistakes, but when they were reminded that they can leave and find better tank and healer, they stayed and actually helped with advices. Hell, one guy who whined all run actually asked if we queue another because he'd come along. Why?

Because there are much more available damage dealers than tanks and healers. If you check the random group finder, it always offers extra rewards for those who join as tank and healer. For this reason we (tank+healer) get in instantly. The queue for damage dealers is hours long. Because of this, if the tank and healer is not hopeless, the damage dealer need to consider himself lucky to have them. On the other hand the bad damage dealer can be instantly replaced as there are thousands wanting their spot.

What would happen if the queue wouldn't be first-come-first-served, but give everyone what he wants: the best available teammates. Then the best tank, the best healer and the first 3 DD would form a team. Letting anyone else in would make the other 4 unhappy. After they left, the best tank, the best healer and the first 3 DD from the remaining people would from a team. Then the next batch. Then the next, until all tanks are gone and the remaining people (about the bottom 20-40% of the healers and the bottom 60-80% would never get a tank.

What does it tell us? That simply being competitive and being good is not the best strategy. You should be in a needed position. Being a mediocre tank increases not only your chances but the "player GDP" (measured in dungeon boss kills), since every new and acceptable tank opens up another team. On the other hand a good damage dealer simply pushes out a worse one and increases GDP only marginally (by making his team work faster).

This is - yet again - a real world phenomena manifesting in a game, and an important advice for all people looking for profession. Don't just look what you like and what you are good at. Look for fields that have worker shortages!

PS: I wonder why people keep 30B in a ship maintenance array. I also wonder why don't they unanchor it if they can't defend it to deny the killers loot and bragging rights.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The betrayal of CODE.

You might read the news, CODE. is no longer the highsec ganker group it was, but a mere minion in the hand of the Evil Goons. CODE was one of the unique "emergent gameplay" groups in EVE. They were a "space religious fanatic" group that had an actually noble goal: to fight AFK leeching on the game. They ganked AFK miners and autopiloting haulers.

This is about to end. They cease wardecs on failcorps, since it might get mercenary (read: Marmite) attention. Their members are banned from attacking CFC in turn of ratting rights: the definition of "renter". They will take POCOs, like the other highsec CFC minion: RvB. "Any non-cfc jump freighter" is a clear violation of the Code, that makes it clear that no one in highsec is above their rules.

But the most betraying part of their new SotA is "running positive sec status". CODE gankers were proud of their -10.0 security status, and handled the faction police with perfect warpins. It worked well, since it's easy to warp on an AFK miner, or an autopiloting freighter. Positive security status is needed only if the target is not AFK, but travels as fast as possible, with escort, with webbers and so on. This case you need to approach the target while the initial tackler holds it or sit on the gate before it lands.

I've seen no reply from the spiritual leader of CODE, James 315, but since he is a poster on the Goon propaganda site, it's likely that he sold his movement for 15 minutes fame.

However they will regret this betrayal. Ganked carebears tried to hire Marmite Collective hundreds of times against CODE, but they refused due to "ethical reasons": didn't want to protect the dumbest of carebears against this funny and quite successful group. This is already over. Marmite will fight CODE now, which - just like their own statement says is posing a serious threat to their operations.

I'd like to clarify, that I'm not behind this, though I'll likely support this war if it brings results.

PS: I guess most EVE players have different priorities in skills:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekend minipost: What is worse than a Molten Core farmraid?

For the 10 years anniversary of WoW, Blizzard renewed the first raid instance Molten Core. While nostalgia fixed lot of things, MC is still remembered for its looooong farmraids.

But there is worse: farming MC with LFR people. But luckily we can't farm it, as it has one loot that is given at the first run. And doing it once was actually fun.

... despite it took 5 wipes before people finally learned why old players use the meme "pull it back to Garr's room" for all kind of raids.

Weekend minipost: damage control and good business

After I pointed out that their earlier post is actually a confession that the monument vandals were Goons, they went into damage control.

On a different note: a minion of evil had pleasure doing business with me. He bought my trained Nyx pilot. His billions will feed the SRP of MoA and the wardec costs of Marmite.

Oh, and please kill the Nyx!

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