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.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Morlocks and Eloi: the dark secret of EVE Online

A few weeks ago I wrote a post named Morlocks and Eloi: the dark secret of RvB. I've found that Red versus Blue could be distributed into three groups that did equal PvP damage. The first group has 0.7% of the pilots in it, the second group has 3.3% and the remaining 96.0% also done 1/3 damage.

I attributed that to RvB being a scam that is designed this way, to feed "elite PvP-ers" with kills while they do their duty. I received the kill and loss data of Brave Collective for the last 6 months (2013 Oct - 2014 March) to show how a really newbie friendly alliance performs. Well, they don't do much better. The top group has 1.1% of the pilots, the second group has 3.6% and the remaining 95.3% also done 1/3 damage.

Oops. Almost identical numbers. So I turned to the last data I had, GSF 2013 kills and losses. The results are practically identical: The top group is 1.0% of the pilots, the second group has 4.2% and the remaining 94.8% also done 1/3 damage.

I've found back then that the top group has good ISK ratio, the middle group loses as much as kills and the bottom group is slaughtered. There isn't much difference here either if you look at the charts of RvB, BNI and GSF:

What does this mean? Two things: the first is that "elite PvP" is alive and well even in the alliances that claim to be the most newbie friendly and consider "elite PvP" a curseword. Secondly, it proves that PvP-ing is mostly irrelevant in the Sov scene. I mean it's obvious that the 87 pilots that form the "top 1/3" group of GSF, couldn't fight sov battles. Most sov battles have relatively low kills or no kills at all, because the enemy runs away. Sov warfare is rather PvE than PvP, fleet attendance and not PvP performance matters. Carebears are better for a Nullsec empire than PvP-ers.

What is the "dark secret of EVE Online"? That 95% of those who participate in PvP are slaughtered like sheep and even the most "newbie friendly" and "community based" alliances can't help them at all. Those who don't have the dedication and skill to get into at least the top 2-5% of the players are better off avoiding PvP completely and focus on making money, and flying "click broadcast, press F1" fleets. There is no such thing as "average PvP-er", just a 1% elite, a few % elite aspirants and 95% sheep.

Of course I'm not saying that PvP-ing is worthless. Hundreds of billions of ISK can be destroyed and even more stopped from being earned by hunting farmers and haulers. But this is a job available only to the top 1% elite.

Below you can see the elite PvP-ers of Brave Collective: Santo Trafficante, Seth Goa'Uld, Plask Arthie, Ripley Kaga, Nippery Slipple, Malphas Inanis, Leahcim Vinjen, Axandrias Darkstar, Janne Harkala, Black Bart Pirate, Andi Onthatop, Lumpymayo, Riper Dennom, Mattisen Arcanth, Mikey Ormand, Dardanos Herakles, Jack Heisenburg, Arik Alabel, Anna niedostepny, Sgtchronic, Toros Culzean, Le Petite More, Caprice Ohtar, Lefty Leftfield, chopper1k, Tyr Dolorem, Richard roarimlions, Larss Tivianne, Crazy HybridChick, Altrue, Nancy Crow, OriginalName IV, FricktheTurtle, Keesha Echerie, Vikkiman001, Verak Padecain, Braldye Sinma, pretty hair, Malik Fett, Calfis, Blue Ice, Dom Arilio, Drumin Cloud, Ryvarant, Thandion, watch yoself, Madison Madeveda, Skylif Beria, Bishop Halifax, Scrymjaw Dazai, Jobe Delaar, Nicholas Aideronne, Charles Wu-Wong, Revolt Sklor, Elena Cassidy, Forgione, dreamertt, D Montesquieu, Ayanamii Ikari, Alistair Chromewell, Andr Katelo, Nour Aerilon, Denae Soarus, Thirtyone Organism, Seb Solo, Nxtg3n, Socco, Laokoon Firetail, Clearly Knott, Panic Mangeiri, Motre, a DAMN PATRIOT, Chuck Fiinley, BrotherNick Tranquil, PillowFluffer, Xyvos, Janet Sukarala, Rae Kusoni, Moomincake, Colonel O'neil Tauri, Gullron, Tessa Gatria, Svana Shaishi, User Offline, ScentDeLaPwnage Loutte, Merling Erquilenne.

And the most ironic list: the elite PvP-ers of Goonswarm Federation: Warr Akini, Nina Hayashi, roaritron, Alex Gianturco, eC Cade, Rehtom Lamina, Ikolo, Benchab Mas, Aaron eVega, Mittani Alexander Gianturco, Proud Brother, rackarns, Unfortunate Uncle, Alexander Mittani Gianturco, JohnCrichton, shelly's Jihad, CowWarrior, Gad'ui, Silin Vespula, oodell, Furious Father, Vatek, ooeall, ooaell, Beryozka, Bubbles9001, Futility 101, LifesAbitch, ooeell, Mikalar, kaldarinka, kyrie1eison, Sipphakta en Gravonere, Durjaya Hemadri, Garnoo, 3Better, Cyber Yeti, Issabella, ooiell, Grizzly Baddums, Colosus blade, Bob Haldeman, Dungar's Sister, Gennel, Tamirr U'tath, Kasa Shadowman, Ministerial Duties, Aranorn, GubkaBob Mrazish, Blacklyche, M3AN FOOKER, sakhan Bravo, Alex Ribblestraib, FlamingLips, Gorn Arming, Sensei Chilinata, Gaara's sniper, sakhan Alpha, DaShmoo, AleksLuc, WildIRISH, PellePlutt, Forsaken Skipper, Lazei, Angel Logisticus, Dark Sn1p3r, ginmushi, Terminal Adtur, Agentile, Chikotilnik, Eliza d'Alikchi, Castle Sevas, Tiberizzle, Guuldan, Braygo Khallazar, Hentai-san Daivis, Monster Dude, Ymka Gotovcev, Gluttony the Voracious, Gilles de Rais, Lust the Lascivious, Wrath the Furious, Sloth the Indolent, Ebony Sniper, Seamus McLove, Jeanne D' Arc, Hassan- i Sabbah.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Opportunity cost

I was badly ill in Sunday-Tuesday. You can guess how badly from the fact that for the first time since 2007 there was no blogpost on a workday (yesterday, the Monday post was pre-written). I'm still ill of course but now I'm capable of both playing EVE and blogging. Why is it interesting? Because this unscheduled 2 days stop in trading cost me twice as much as losing my wormhole, serving as a good lesson on opportunity cost.

Dumb people believe that their property is in their hangar and losing it demands a previously existing item to be destroyed. Accordingly, the appearance of a new item in their hangar is gain. Smart - therefore rich - people know that most of their assets are their abilities. I was stopped from using my ISK making abilities by being unable to be away from my bed for longer than a few minutes. If I could play, I could run my usual trading routine, earning ISK. So far, it's clear to all.

However you can avoid using your abilities by using them on something less than optimal. For example if I'd go mining in my trading time, using all my accounts (assuming proper pilot skills), I could earn about 0.4-0.5B, instead of 3.5 what was expected from a Sunday and a Monday. That's losing 3B in opportunity cost, while a moron would claim 0.5B free ISK. I hope the interpretation "opportunity cost = cost of underutilizing your abilities" is more clear than the exact definition.

As advanced course let's consider the cost of running missions in highsec under wardec instead of using a neutral alt or "saving" the fee of the JF transport services of your alliance by using a wardecced inty or a terrifit covops hauler. Finally, you can save mony by not having a neutral alt who drives your JF in highsec.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Goonswarm Federation in Burn Jita 2013

Despite I had the complete 2013 Goon kill and loss database, I did not look up the last Burn Jita. Better late than never.

First I de-whored the kills (if X got 0.1% damage on a 100B titan, he got credited with 100M damage and not 100B) and plotted the highsec kills of GSF for the months of 2013, to see how much Burn Jita shines out of the average GSF highsec activity:
Something shines out, but that's not Burn Jita. Burn Jita was in April, not March. April was a pretty ordinary month kill-wise for GSF, barely above average. On the loss front, it was pretty significant, providing 37% of the total 2013 highsec GSF loss. Let's see the daily damage and loss distribution (lines are 3-day moving averages):

Oops: while Burn Jita is indeed the highest kill spike, it's not dwarfing everything (like the loss spike). In that 3 days (April 19-21, Fri-Sun) GSF killed 240B ISK, which is indeed high, but provides only 7% of the total 2013 GSF highsec kills. The 146B lost provided 21% of the 2013 GSF highsec losses. In other words, GSF had 62% ISK ratio during Burn Jita, while outside of it, they had 86% in highsec. Some gankers! They are barely better off than their victims, despite they caught some horribly overfilled freighters. This is what I meant by griefing them with troll freighters.

Some more statistics:
  • 189B kills, 120B losses happened in Jita, 26-15 in Perimiter, 6-4 in Sobaseki, 6-1 in Ikuchi, 5-4 in New Caldari and 8-2 everywhere else in highsec.
  • GSF did 51% of the damage of the 469B kills they got on, their biggest co-killers were: Fatal Ascension 44B, Tactical Narcotics Team 37B, SpaceMonkey's Alliance 27B, Gentlemen's Agreement 25B, Test Alliance Please Ignore 24B, Get Off My Lawn 12B, Li3 Federation 11B. Of course there were Burn Jita kills with no GSF on it.
  • 681 GSF pilots got on highsec kills during Burn Jita. Half of the damage was done by the top 88 pilots. The combined result of the bottom 100 pilots were 0.118B kills, 9.05B losses. The best pilots were: Dimmak Long, Shepard Wong Ogeko, Ke'Daar, Terminal Adtur, Ted McManfist, CuteKitten, Jenara Vaya, Meltmind2, BushiFox, Xayder, Stiraks, DarkSoul Z, Raging Darkness, ektony, Links Lynx, Captain Ichimaru, Major Lee Awsome, ORena Ishii, Etanoll, La Nidalee.
  • Top GSF corps: GoonWaffe: 80B kills and 51B losses, NED-Clan 22-16, Wildly Inappropriate 16-10, Bat Country 15-6, Eternity INC, 12-5, Thunderwaffe 10-5, Raging Ducks 9-7, Merch Industrial 9-4, Amok. 9-5, Kriegsmarinewerft 8-4.
So Burn Jita isn't an extraordinary event in terms of ISK destroyed, nor a massacre where Goons inflict huge damage with little losses. I would guess that the real purpose is to hide their highsec presence. Their killboard has lot of highsec kills, but everyone gladly accepted their narrative: we don't go to highsec, except in Burn Jita when we kill trillions. Lies! 93% of their highsec kills in 2013 had nothing to do with Burn Jita!

For the anti-Burn Jita people, this is hilarious! Goons advertise it as a massacre of highsec pubbies by the unstoppable Goons. For suicide gankers 90% ISK ratio is bad. 62% is just unspeakable. They suffered nearly as much as their "victims". I hate to break it down to them, but the point of suicide ganking is to destroy an expensive ship with cheap ones, not the other way!

Finally, shame on me for not checking it earlier, but shame on all of you too, for eating Goon propaganda for years. "Unstoppable menace from nullsec, destroying anything they want, especially your game". How could we believe it for a second when in reality, these terribads barely could break even against autopiloting freighters?!

Time to end this false propaganda! Come and join, slay these overhyped excuses of gankers before they bring more shame to the prestigious suicide ganker community!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekend hilarity post

If you go to the zkillboard main page, you are presented a hall of shame of the 5 most expensive losses of the last 3 days. At the moment of creating this post, this is the collection of fools:
What is so funny about them? Let's look at them in order of price (from left to right):
  1. Standard highsec purple missioner idiot, nothing to see here, move along.
  2. Horrifit transport covops flowb by a Goon servant, killed by a Marmite.
  3. Jump freighter flown by a Goon servant, killed by a Lemmings.
  4. Another jump freigher flown by a Goon inner slave, soloed by a Lemmings.
  5. One more JF, flown by a true blood Goon, killed by Mordus Angels (who are blue to Lemmings) and Noir. (who participated in GRR project this last month).
So besides the first kill, all of the hall of shame were Goons and their slaves, killed by GRR related forces. Some would say it's coincidence, but I see a sign from Bob, a prophecy about Burn Jita!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why am I still not bored with the GRR project?

Boredom or burnout is the main enemy of any projects. When I started ganking miners, I got great results. If I kept doing it, employing a third ganker char, with the natural improvement of my reflexes I'd be over 1T solo/dualbox kills by now. But - just like the commenter predicted - I stopped after 3 months. The point was already proven, reaching any arbitrary kill number was only a matter of time. It was no longer interesting.

The GRR project is over its 3 months. Why am I not bored already, despite the the point was equally proven by evicting Goons from highsec?

Because I have nothing to be bored with. The whole project was designed from the start to demand nothing from me than ISK. I could be sure that I won't get bored of ISK making, considering that I've been doing that for two years now, with a 3 months interruption during the ganking project. I'm not flying ships regularly in the project. I don't discuss, post or talk about it regularly. All I have to do to keep it running is doing what I was always doing: making ISK.

Of course the project could fail if others burn out. But they were also selected for doing something that were always doing. Do you really expect Marmite to get bored of farming kills? Or the people who like highsec PvP will stop shooting war targets one day? The project demands nobody to go out of their way. This is the very idea behind capitalism: you do what you are good at and buy everything else from the market. I could force myself to reinforce Goon POCOs at the start, but I couldn't keep it up. But paying for it is something I can keep up forever.

In a sense, the commenters were right: I'm already working on another project, a business one. I put my effort and time there, and not into the GRR project. I just channel the by-product of that project into GRR: the ISK. Unless I stop playing EVE, I'll be able to make ISK, therefore upkeep the GRR project without any further effort.

While I was making money, this Goon servant tried to play station games on Jita. Shouldn't have.
This one wasn't a Goon servant and has nothing to do with GRR project. But he was so dumb that I must list him, along with his pod.
This Goon inner slave has a funny corp name. His fate is also funny.
Look, another Goon servant met his expensive end!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Having social skills vs being social

Would you help this handsome gentleman to put his boat on the water?
You have doubts about him? How about adding that he works for a crisis hotline, talking to callers with emotional and relationship problems, even with suicidal thoughts and he is one of the best employees, due to being very sensitive and compassionate. Would you seriously reject to help this model citizen, especially when his arm is in a sling due to an injury?

Janice Anne Ott didn't reject him. She should have. This man was Ted Bundy, a psychopathic serial killer, who kidnapped her, then kidnapped another young woman because he wanted audience for the act of killing her. They were among the at least 30 people he killed. How did he come up with the crisis hotline story? He didn't.

He came to my mind when Tegiminis, a Goon propagandist assigned to troll my blog wrote: "Nobody accomplishes something alone. If anything, social behavior is the only rational behavior. You talk of people who made the big difference in society as being asocial, but those people only wielded power because of social links with other humans... You are asocial. The Mittani is very much social. Which of you wields more influence?"

He purposefully mixes two things that are honestly mixed by socials: being social and having social skills. The funniest member of the Bundy family had much higher social skills than most of the people. I mean working on a crisis hotline is probably the hardest social task existing. OK, maybe being a child entertainer like Pogo the Clown needs similar amount of emotional sensitivity. Caring for sick children in hospitals is also known to be very stressing emotionally.

Having social skills means the ability to understand and manipulate the feelings of others. On the other hand being social is valuing social interactions and the feelings coming from this interactions. Ted Bundy wasn't social at all, his victims were. He understood how their brain works and could create artificial interactions where they felt positively and were drawn to Ted like moths to the flame. As the old saying says: being anti-social is considering people objects, being social is being one of those objects.

I've never said that social skills are useless or not needed. But mixing them with being social is a dumb mistake at best. For some unlucky people, it's the last mistake of their life. Model socials use their social skills honestly: they convey the emotions they feel. Of course even socials learn to use social manipulation, as it's considered bad to convey negative emotions. The children are taught to show gratitude for the bad gift given to them by relatives. Some people get this into the next level and become salesmen, politicians, journalists and such legal manipulators who trade positive interactions for money. And some people don't have to learn to disconnect their social interactions from their feelings as they have none: the psychopaths.

For clarification: having social skills and being social are two different, unconnected (though not uncorrelated) things:
  • Having social skills is being able to produce positive human interactions and emotions.
  • Being social is valuing positive human interaction and emotions. Socials are "consumers" of positive human interaction and emotions, ready to give material rewards for it.
Is social Is not social
Has social skills Friendly, nice person Psychopath/manipulator
Has no social skills Outcast/depressed/"loser" Autist/Asperger/"geek"

The Mittani has larger influence in EVE not because he is any more social than me. I legally can't say "he is a psychopathic manipulator", but after his fanfest presentation I can have my opinion. His influence comes from his social skills, his ability to manipulate people to get into bombless bombers without salary, loot or even killmails. On the other hand we can be absolutely sure that his communication is not coming from true feelings: if he'd honestly believe that flying bombless bombers is a huge fun event due to bonding and solidarity and such, he'd join the fun. I think his true feelings (if he has any) about the line members are closer to Mynnna's (context):

I'm fully aware how much power social skills give over the socials. The whole blog is about informing people about how they can be manipulated by others abusing their sociality. These abusers are usually morons and slackers who beg for help. Psychopathic manipulators are less common, but more dangerous. You can avoid both if you act by rational self-interest instead of "for fun" or "for Karma" or "feeling good". I probably had more influence in the game if I'd be a manipulator like The Mittani. But I gladly trade that for influencing people in real life to notice where being social leads. If only a few percent of the people who did the almost seven million visits on this blog recognized that they don't need to respond to the whining of the M&S and "playing for fun" means "being a scrub", I'm more than happy with my results. These results are permanent. Someone liberated from sociality will never ever be the tool of manipulators or the host of leeching M&S. The Mittani on the other hand must constantly upkeep his manipulation. As soon as he stop banging the drums, his social minions stop fighting and return to their natural state: ape-grooming, losing the regions he made them gain.

PS: Lemmings is a wonderful place where solo PvP is still alive. Look at this prime example of pilot skill prevailing in cut-throat 1v1 combat.
Less expensive kill, but I was told PvP is not about ISK. We have to give kudos to this Goon servant who came to highsec to do solo PvP. His skills were so high that Marmite had to blob him.

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