Posts Tagged ‘Blood Money’

resource rebalance round table

This is just the first step
Choice on where you produce
Advantages and disadvantages to null vs high
Refining arrays changing too, although not sure how yet
Should be better than an npc station
With the changes highsec can no longer produce all the isotopes of eve
Previously produced 800% (4 belts)
Now 80%
Null and low can produce 500%
Ring mining concept still alive, these changes are a platform for the next step

The new Icelandic Bank

 Note: this is a bit late comming out as I am currently having a very busy time IRL (I know priorities right). Pretty sure it all still applies though. I’ll be trying to get a couple of posts out before fanfest hits (*squee*).
Its been simultaneously busy and quiet this month. On the playing eve front things have been very quiet, few fleets and fewer kills. I wrote recently on the first release of information about the odyssey expansion, and mentioned specifically that I didn’t think it looked like a nullsec expansion.  Boy do I hope I am wrong: For whatever reason, nullsec has become deathly quiet at the moment and I have never felt so strongly that it requires a gigantic shakeup. A snow globe with all the snow settled is just a small bulb of water; put it on an earthquake simulator and we’ll talk.
On the alt I have been indulging in some faction warfare and really enjoying it. Now that I have proved you can make serious money even in the worst circumstances, I have settled into an even balance of making money and making wrecks (my own and others). I have even gone so far as to be invited to join a solo pvp channel: which has resulted in some excellent fights and helped me learn the game even better.
Arian has gone even deeper into FW, as far as I can tell he has invested some serious hours into some of the fleet warfare going on… I don’t care for the politics of it, but when a Nullsec pilots have to go to Lowsec for fleets…well, I’ve made that point already.
Some of my more passive characters have also become more active this month, after a concerted effort to
re commence my trading account. Its gone well with an average 0.21%  increase in wealth per day and growing. My increased activity has lead me to discover however that I have not got enough ISK to cover everything I want, and so have opened up an investment plan to the Dirties, no idea if anyone will take it up yet, I just hope we can keep things clearly defined. As a saying goes “There are two sure ways to loose a friend; one is to borrow, the other is to lend”.
Anyway, onto the busier side of things. The blog has changed quite a bit since my last monthly post. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Blogger default themes, way to clutterd and way to little excitement. So using some of my web developer skillset, the jQuery library and a good dash of the web equivalent of a rubber mallet: I have managed to create a theme I am pretty happy with. There are still a few lacking areas, but I hope to address them over the next few days leading up to fanfest. I am expecting to do a lot of writing over the fanfest period (*squeee*), so I am hoping this clean and striking layout might help us in the campaign to spread the good word of Dirty.
Skills wise, this month I have been mostly covering areas I should have covered a LONG time ago. The main has finally trained T2 drones of races other than Caldari (I know, I know), and I have started to catch up with the newer skills added to the game last year. Going forwards I have hoping to add to the CV appeal of the Hark with the addition of Starbase defence management (watch as CCP remove that from the game in Odyssey), and generally continue brushing up on stuff. The alt on the other had has been skilling for pure fun, with Rocket launchers hitting Specialist IV she is so close to read for The Hookbill (just in time for its nerf). It also means I can add the Breacher to my hanger stock. She will stick with the fun theme for a good while now, with tracking disruption opening up even more options for frigate fittings, and a further investment into overheating (which is also on Harks list as a thing she should have done by now).
Ah well, fly like a special snowflake in a static pool of water ,
Hark

Blood Money: Bigging up the Top Down

It seems to me that lately one of the hottest topics in eve (at least within the 0.0 community) has been that of economics. Within that topic the current whipping boy has been the Top down economic model. Currently it is very out of favour and people are claiming that eves current “Top down” economic model should be replaced by a bottom up equivalent.  So being the rebel that I am I intend to not only give a stout defence to the Top Down model, but also attempt to show that currently eves economics could work (quite easily) with a true top down model (which we currently don’t have).

What’s good about Top Down?
With the current top down model a good amount of cash made by the alliance is funnelled down the ranks to its members in the form of SRP (at least in any good alliance). This means that because of the amount of money earned by the alliance pilots don’t have to worry about resupplying themselves with ships. This means that pilots have one less logistical hassle on their hands, and one less financial pressure. Further more a lot of alliance use their power to purchase and subsidise modules and equipment for their pilots. For example Capital fuel and Strontium are often supplied for pilots on operations. If we move away from a Top down model we would soon see the end of this. Because Alliances would become poor, and player rich, they would be expected to resupply their own ships and modules.
Furthermore because the alliance has is hands on the tap the provides these bonuses to their pilots, they can indirectly control when and if pilots are rewarded for their efforts. If for example you die in the wrong ship on an operation, the alliance can choose to punish your incompetence by not replacing your ship. Although it would please some of the more rebellious pilots, if we were to end Top Down, the alliance would lose this level of control over its members. Because pilots would be replacing their own ships, they would have the ability to claim that it was their own business what they bring of CTA’s. We could expect to see a lot more of “That Drake“.
What’s bad about Top Down?
Of course its not all sunshine and ponies in top down (or we wouldn’t be bashing it so much). Under the top down model the fear of losses fall to the alliance (assuming it is committed to SRP), as a whelped fleets cost is shouldered by the alliance wallet. This means that the people who make the tactical commitments (and can see how badly the odds are stacked) are the ones who might be risk adverse to a risky fight. If the pressure of replacing lost ships were spread across the entire fleet, we might begin to see risk aversion appearing in the more hoarding members of alliances, but the leadership would be less likely to pull a punch because of the fear of bruising a knuckle.
There are of course also issues, not so much with top down in general, but certainly with the implementation of it which we have at the moment. Firstly there is the lack of transparency in the system. Line members like you and me have no idea what alliance finances really look like. Oh sure alliances publish their books every so often, but any one with a healthy level of paranoia is going to be sceptical of any self published books. There are no independent bodies in eve, no government legislation, or prisons to discourage book cooking. I maybe I am part of the tin foil hat brigade, but I don’t believe any of the self published finances.
We also have the issue that even though we have a “Top Down” economic model in eve, in order to actually pass money downwards alliances have to go to a lot of efforts. I have run an SRP programme for an alliance in the past, and I can promise you that it is one hell of a hard and complicated job.
Of course both of these issues with the current implementation could be solved by the addition of mitigating features. If Alliances could publish “official” in game finance reports (with some changes to keep them honest) I might actually believe them. Or if CCP were to give alliances official and easy ways to pass alliance funds downwards we could eradicate these idiosyncrasies in the system, and unblock the channels through which money can flow downwards.
Some examples of how we could do this include the concept of salaries. Lets say that alliances can pay all of its members a salary for their employment in the corporation (you know like a real corporation would). Further more if we could then associate salary increase with certain roles and maybe even awards, we could allow alliances to properly reward the people who put in the effort.
CCP could also implement an official SRP method, allowing the alliance to set locations, times and approved fittings for their pilots which, when the criteria is met, automatically pays the cost of the loss to the alliance member. Bonus points if the alliance automatically contracts any fittings and hulls from the Alliance hanger to bereaved players.
If alliances really want to only reward active and engaged players, how about a reverse bounty system? Rather than rewarding for the death of a specific enemy, reward for killing. Allow the alliance to create a pot of cash from which money is paid to its pilots when they make a kill.
Finally there should also be a way for prospective members to view an alliances reward systems, so that they can be picky about only working for the alliance with the best pay-outs. Want the best pilots? We you’d better have the best pay!
This is all very well talking about but how will alliances get the money with which to pay all these fees and rewards? Were talking about getting alliances to push out much more cash than they currently do. Well firstly we need to ensure that all the money an Alliance makes goes through the official books to keep them honest. In order to do this we need to  add more to the game to make raising funds easier for an alliance. For example creating official “Renter” contracts would be a good start (assuming they have to be paid directly into an alliance wallet).
Moon Goo could also be changed to not only earn the alliance more money quicker, but also force the cash it generates through an accountable system. Lets say that to remove any moon goo from an alliance silo, you have to pay the alliance a fee, which is logged and published.
I should emphasise that these are just examples of how we could do things, not necessarily how we should do it. Basically we would need to give alliances better ways to raise money, but force them to account for these methods to the player base.
 
The current economic model in eve is broken, there is no denying that. But at the same time I don’t think we should write off the Top Down method. It does and can work, but CCP need to give it more support.

Peace in Our Time

Regular readers will already know that I both love and hate the Sovereignty system by which 0.0 alliances live and die by. On the one hand I hate the Imbalance of Money between the Alliance and the Pilot and I hate going on structure grinds. But at the same time, what draws me so deep into eve is a thirst for supermassivebattles between entities represented by us, its members in our Star ships.
But here is the clincher… of the last few large scale fights I have been involved in, all but one were generated by either Moon Mining or Structure Bashing. So if the things I hate generate the thing I love, surely I must love the things I hate? Or is it that because the thing I love defends and supports the things I hate I must hate the things I love? I don’t know about you, but I’m getting dizzy. The problem is that the good and bad of 0.0 are deeply intertwined together, and its about time that’s changed.
A lot of people, up to and including CCP have started talking about replacing the Sovereignty system with something new and one of the big crowd pleasers at the moment is that of the tug of war, also known as the Bottom Up Sov mechanic. The basic idea of this is that the individual actions of members of the alliance directly affect the alliances control of their sovereignty in the systems which those actions take place. For example, running an anomaly boosts your alliances control in that system. Now I agree with a lot of the goals this concept sets out to solve. Large sprawling alliance  couldn’t maintain hold over more systems than their members can actually use. Small Alliances could be pains in the royal proverbial of large alliances. Control of the Alliance would be placed more in the hands of its member than the elite select of its directors. And these are all great. Except for one big issue.
Glorious Space battles. The problem with the new system is that it has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Yes the Sovereignty system sucked, and yes it caused more hassle that it did fights, but when the system did work, on that rare time when things slotted together in the right order; It was glorious. By emphasising the individual we would lose the drivers for alliance sized conflict. 500 on 500 man fights wont happen over an anomaly. Three opposing fleets wont vie for control of a magnometic site.  Who is going to hot drop a hauler spawn?
I’m sure some would argue that if CCP made some of the “control sites” large enough (say 500 pilots needed to complete) we would get these huge fights, but even then, we are talking about forcing PvP players to PvE, and that’s a bad thing in my books. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that individual contributions have no place in a new Sovereignty system, but I really disagree with using them as a basis to build our entire structure on.
My opinion is that any new Sovereignty should complete four main goals:
  1. Get more money to members (ether forcing the top to hand it down, or starting it at the bottom and forcing members to feed it upwards)
  2. Stop Blue-balling (in other words generate massive fights)
  3. Allow cross timezone combat
  4. Allow smaller alliances to be smaller pains in the side (amount of pain size relative)
Now I don’t have a magic answer to how we complete all of these, especially stopping blueballs in this current climate of risk aversion. But I do know what a good solution looks like, and I don’t think this is it. That’s said, I believe it could be a small part in a bigger solution.
Fly in big fleets
Hark

Ctrl-Alt: The Splinter Cell

Money is a massive restriction on every Character in eve. Without money, we cannot do anything in this game, even skills (which you would think were the greatest limiter to what you can and cannot fly) require you to have ISK before you can purchase them. As a result most players, myself included, have at least one alt; The money maker.

Its always important in eve to have multiple sources of ISK generation funding whatever activity’s you want to enjoy. This is because in the eve sandbox, your income source, like your ships, are never safe. Miners never know when the next Hulkageddon/Ice Interdiction will be, traders don’t know when the market will crash, Mission runners cant tell what will happen next patch. In my recent history I have invested and profited from 6 other income streams, all of which have since been abandoned (and replaced) due to external pressures reducing my profits, a few more have stayed constant, but they are a minority. I have explored a further 3 possible sources, and either rejected them, or placed them as a backup plan should a current method begin to fail. My money maker has only very occasionally engaged in PvP because its just not profitable; Well, until now that is.

My alt, and its corporation (with my friends alts as members), have joined Factional Warfare; we missed the “Gold Rush” I know, since CCP have nerfed the ability to make money for nothing out of FW, but we were interested to see if FW could become at least a minor income source to fund our mains while simultaneously supplying frequent PvP. We didn’t exactly make it easy on ourselves either, joining the Caldari fight on pretty much the same day they lost their last system.

So the Golden Question: “can you make money doing PvP in FW?”. Short answer: Yes. Our corporation has been in FW for 18 days (at time of writing), and our least active member has made 480m ISK, our highest money maker (me) has made 1.2bn ISK. Lets look at some details. Firstly I should confess: I have not so far treated FW as a PvP activity. Lets take a look at my fitting:

 


Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
3x 200mm AutoCannon II (Hail S)
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster (Cap Booster 50)
Small Shield Extender II
2x Nanofiber Internal Structure II
2x Small Polycarbon Engine Housing ISmall Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I

I made the early decision to begin my FW experience with the intent of seeing how much money I could make as quickly as possible and then, once I had built up a nest egg (and paid back the startup costs) I would start to be more aggressive in my plexing. I soon decided that the best way to do this, would be to run complexes and avoid combat. Step 1 was to take the fastest ship I could create (a 3900m/s variant of the above fitting) and make safes all around FW low sec; off gates, sun safes tactical points. With these spread around our hunting ground, I begun to farm everything and anything I could find. The process goes something like this: Find a small or novice plex in a system you feel safe entering (ideally empty!), trigger the plex, and kill the NPC inside. Fly to the edge of the activation sphere (furthest away from the entry point) and jettison a can to orbit. Watch local for 10-15 minuets. Doing this even at Teir 1 of FW control earns you 5,000-8,750 loyalty points (double this at Tier 2); and for reference 1000 loyalty point earns you roughly 1.2m ISK if you are smart about how you spend it. Now like I said, this isn’t really PvP money making, I have several layers of safety between me and non-consensual PvP.

 

Look I’m sorry FW players, but I wanted to make cash, is that really so bad? I expect people like me piss you off, but half the time the ship I am warping away from is a Navy Comet/Hookbill. Even if I was PvP fit, your just looking for a cheap kill, and I am just looking not to die, so that’s life. Now I’ve made a billion, I do intend to switch to a more PvP centric ship.

Before you get too angry with us as a collective, you should know that I am the anomaly in our little group. Arian, Lore and Minijack have all been PvPing. They have informed me that FW is a bit like a solo low sec roam, except that if you don’t find anyone to fight, you get paid, rather than going home empty handed, I believe that Arian at least intends to write about his PvP experience soon. They do (and I intend to start) FW in a different way. Flying to a plex, and using the same steps I use above to judge any potential opponent, and engage if they feel it’s a fair fight. If they win they get some LP, if they loose they fly home and start again. By my calculations at Teir 2, you need only do 1-2 novice sites (10 mins each) or 1 Small site (15 mins) to earn the value of a T1 frigate fully fitted and insured.

Strangely enough the fair fights happen more than you might expect as well! This is because Faction War has a tiny element which makes a world of difference. The plex sizes. By placing restrictions on what can enter certain plexes one major factor which makes for “bad fights” has been removed: Up-shipping. If I am in a novice the worst thing I have to fear, is a faction frigate (and I’ve heard talk of even restricting these), even better if I am in a faction frigate, there is nothing in a novice plex which I can at least attempt to engage. Of course unfortunately “blobbing” (can you really call 2-3 ships a blob?) can still happen, but as FW tends to be the realm of small 2-5 man gangs, so even that is a relatively minor issue.

Its not all sunshine and ponies though, FW, in my opinion does still need some tweaks. Mostly its around the concept for teamwork. Teamwork is required in FW, else you would never take and hold the space. However in the actual plex’s, very little is required at all. It has always amazed me that as a Massively multiplayer Game, eve have very little PvE content which requires you to group up. I was kind of hoping FW might be the exception to this. Sadly I don’t really think thats the case. As a solo player you are perfectly capable of doing FW sites, however, you will spend more time in-between plexs looking for a system where its safe to do one, you will also frequently be chased out of a PLEX (this happens more to me than some one in a PvP fit ship, because I am a yellow bellied bastard). The answer of course it to bring friends. Unfortunately plex rewards are split between every one within the sphere of influence at the time of completion. This means that if you do bring a friend to help dominate the plex and hopefully kill/scare and solo war targets, your only going to be getting half the profit.

This means that as a solo coward farmer you need to spend 50% of your time not in a plex, to be less profitable than having a friend join you, and that assumes your gang of two never gets chased away, and goes directly from plex to plex. This is unlikely but lets assume you might increase your efficacy occasionally by splitting up in a system to do two plexs at once. As a result its much more profitable to go it alone, and that disappoints me. In my ideal world, FW would be something that you could do solo, but at a far lesser profit rate as if you were to bring some friends along, but perhaps that is a pipe dream.

My only other complaint is that FW is only slightly more interesting than missioning running. It is true that killing lots of  red crosses is less interesting, than killing one and then doing nothing (with the fear of being killed). But any game activity which can require you to do literally nothing for 10-25 minutes, is going to bore you fast.

We are loving Faction Warfare, and its proving to be a very profitable source of income for my main account. Further more getting paid to PvP is a refreshing change in eve (even if I haven’t really being PvPing), and something I wish could be applied to nullsec. My final thought is that FW is a great way to introduce new players to PvP, in my opinions new characters should get the option to start in the FW corporations of their choses faction as their starter corp… It would need some extra tutorials, but my goodness could we bread a new line of combat hardened pilots fast.

Fly like a coward

Hark

 

From <http://extra-vehicular.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=91&action=edit>

Stimulus Package for Null

Today I want to take a look at the economic situation in nullsec and what we could do to encourage industrialists to dive into the big bad world of nullsec. It should note that I really am no an economist, nor am I by any means an expert on, well pretty much anything, but this is merely attempt to expose and analyses (perhaps more for me than anyone else) the issues facing nullsec as it currently stands. It should also be observed that I am attempting to hold CCP true to their statements about nullsec producing more, and indeed will analyze this from the point of view that this is not working. I will be ignoring LowSec during this analysis as I honestly don’t know it well enough to be anything other than insulting to its residents.

My opinion on the current situation of nullsec (lists are ordered by volumes involved):
Imports: Ships, Modules, Static Structures, Fuel, Ammo
Industrial Products: Wrecks, Corpses, Super Capitals, fuel, ammo
Natural resources (ordered by amount harvested): ISK (bounties), Faction Modules, ABC minerals, normal minerals
Exports: Moon goo, Faction Modules, ABC minerals

My opinion on where we should be based on this dev blog(lists are ordered by volumes involved):
Imports: T1 ships, T1 Modules, Static Structures, Ammo
Industrial Products: Wrecks, Corpses, T2 ships, T2 Modules, Fuel, Super Capitals, ammo
Natural Resources (ordered by perceived amounts harvested): ISK (bounties), ABC minerals, normal minerals, Faction Modules
Exports: T2 ships, T2 Modules, Faction Modules, Moon goo, ABC minerals

The biggest difference between these two lists is the T2 conundrum. Currently to produce T2 ships and modules there are several direct inputs to the production line;
– Minerals (high volume, high mass)
– T2 products (high volume, high mass)
– Blueprints (low volume, low mass)
– Production slots (immovable, but available in stations)

During the Industrial Age, Sheffield was the heart of British production. Why? Because it was situated in the center of the mineral deposits needed to produce the Steel (mainly Coal and Iron Ore) and had excellent transport links to its buyers and export centers (Canals and rivers).  The comparison to a nullsec station is uncanny; i.e They are population and production hubs located right next to the Moon goo and ABC mineral (un-minable in any other place), and with jump bridge networks able to export the products much faster than a highsec freighter run. Yet our industrialists still insist on moving the raw materials light-years out of nullsec (where the light, non-volume materials are), manufacturing the product, and then shipping a large percentage of it back out to null sec. Lunacy, shear unadulterated lunacy.

So why? What is different between the real world and eve?

My first thought was towards the shipping costs of heavier materials in the real world; there steel as the end product is easier to transport than moving the raw materials  most of which will become waste product(coal 100% waste, Iron ore 30-50% waste): why pay to ship something you’re only going to throw away at the other end. Similarly in eve we do have “waste product” from in some parts of the industrial process (we don’t ship ore, we ship minerals). However unlike the real world, in eve the transport cost of an item is based around its volume rather than it’s mass. Volume becomes a secondary consideration.
So although we use “size reduction” to force us to refine minerals before we consider shipping them, we cannot use the same method to force us to produce items near to their source. As we would either have to make minerals incredibly large (a nightmare for the actual extraction process, a mackinaws bays would need to be bigger than a jump freighters), or we would end up with hundreds of ships being able to fit in a single hauler.
As a result, the guardian (for example) has to be, and is, bigger (and thus less efficient to haul) than the equivalent amount in minerals. The exact numbers assuming PE4 is 2652.456 m3 for its raw materials vs 115,000 (un-packaged) or 10,000 (packaged), in layman’s terms you can get 3.7 times more guardians in a cargo hold if you just take the minerals.
This seems like a very likely candidate for the difference to me, especially when you consider the mentality of the parties involved. Nullsec dwellers, are by and large not industrialists (there are exceptions to this). They don’t welcome industrialists into their folds, as they are preceded as “Carebears”. All they care about is finding the most efficient and quick method of creating money from their harvested goods i.e. shipping them to high sec and selling them. Industrialists only care about getting their raw materials (as cheap as they can) and selling them preferably quickly. As a result, as the least powerful of the chain, the customer is lumped with putting up with the least efficient part, buying the product miles away from its material source and shipping it back in its  least efficient form.
Nobody cares about the inefficiency of the customer’s part of this transaction. The Alliances don’t care enough to start mining ores and bringing in other highsec materials to produce them for their members (and likely don’t want to bring in carebears to do it for them, so as to not cause resentment against “the guys who don’t help defend our space”). Industrialists don’t care enough to go out to nullsec and produce items, they don’t like it and they don’t feel welcome there, the profit isn’t worth the risk.
In my opinion the only way to move tech 2 production to nullsec is to make it such a pain to move the raw materials out (i.e. like meat space where weight affects transport…). This would force 0.0 alliances to bring industrialists in to their space instead. Food for thought? Or just my ramblings? Who knows.

Hark industriously¬

Blood Money (Short): RMT & Alliances

As you should know from all my posts labelled “Blood Money” I believe that too much money is currently in the hands of too few people. Yesterday CCP announced that they have begun reversing RMT transactions and that a truly massive amount of ISK has effectivly been removed from the market:
  • Around 105 accounts with direct ties to RMT (Real Money Trade) operations banned permanently
  • Between 1-3 trillion ISK in assets siezed permanently
  • Around 500 billion ISK in RMT transactions reversed
Now according to the dev blog, most of these accounts were banned with no warning because they were in some way directly involved in a RMT racket. However what’s interesting is that CCP has committed to not only countering the RMT rackets themselves but also using that data to trace and reverse transactions with these RMT characters. This is where it ties in with my Blood Money posts, it goes both ways. That is, both people who bought ISK and people who sold ISK to the rackets for re-sale. The question is, what will happen to the people who sold the ISK to the RMTer’s in the first place? are they counted as part of the racket and banned without warning? Because I believe that a lot of these will be directly linked to Alliances. I’m not so naive as to think that they would be so stupid as to use their main characters, nor that alliances are the main source of money flowing into RMT, but I think its going to be interesting watching dynamic of 0.0 over the next few weeks, and indeed the prices of Moon Goo. Will we see some alliances crumble as the interest in their space wanes? Could we even see a headless alliance as core members of leadership are linked to RMT rackets and banned without forewarning? Even if nothing happens in the immediate future, will we see an increase of money flowing out of NullSec as it becomes too risk to just sell it off. Or am I just a paranoid blogger with an over-active imagination?
Time will tell…

Blood Money: Rogue Drone Special Edition

This series of posts is intended as a discussion and my thoughts in how ISK affects PvP and how PvP Affects ISK; further entrys can be found here.

A few days ago I posted a quick and dirty commentary on the Micro Jump Drive module possibly being added in either crucible 1.5 or Inferno. Within the same “leaked” document, a large chunk of information was also given on the soon to be changes to drone bounties, which I very briefly touched on. I want to now go a little deeper in to what the drone changes mean for us as players. First a short explanation for those not acquainted with our artificial brethren.

Rogue Drones, which can be found in the Eastern Low/null regions of New Eden, are in essence Drones which have developed an AI and gone all “Virus” on us.  Unlike the human pirate factions, the drones don’t have a bounty on them, but instead drop Alloys and Compounds (sometimes called drone poo), which can be refined into minerals. Now CCP has begun to acknowledge that this needs to be changed so that Drones begin to give bounties like the other factions.

Drone poo has been a thorn in the side of industrialists for quiet some while now, with miners unable to compete with the speed and efficiency of killing drones for minerals instead of mining ‘roids. Some have even gone so far as to state that the primary source of minerals in New Eden is not the humble hulk; but instead these devious drones. I’m not sure I would go so far, but it does show the level of the problem. Now this is no new issue, and people have been complaining about Drones for some while*, so why has it suddenly changed?

It seems to me entirely possible that CCP has been planning this for a long time and just never gotten around to it. After all changing an entire faction’s (races?)’ bounty is probably no easy thing. But it seems quite likely that the catalyst for the change has been the Russian Civil war. For quite some while the Eastern provinces of New Eden have been quite in terms of war. Sure the citizens have shipped out and attacked other seventy, and some fringe space has changed hands, but until the Russian Civil War, Conflict hadn’t really been seen in the Drone Lands since the dawn of EvE. Then, a few months ago several big Russian Alliances drew a line in the sand and started picking fights. Along with this came an internal change, Minerals which were bound for high-sec were re-routed to fuel the War Machine in preparation for the long drawn out fight to come. With the majority of Null-Sec minerals now not leaving 0.0, the control of the markets returned to the industrialists overnight, and we all saw the price of minerals skyrocket as a result. I suspect this realisation of just how much the Drone Poo was changing the balance of the markets is what finally tipped the balance for CCP, who at the time were looking for balancing changes to fit in with their new attitude. But this is just the start, the real market changes will happen when the Drone Poo dries up entirely.

Anyone familiar with the laws of supply and demand (or indeed anyone who can open the market window) knows what happens when this hits. With demand for minerals staying the same (or indeed likely increasing) but let’s say 40% of Supply disappearing, it’s now a sellers’ market for minerals. Mineral buyers will be forced to increase their buying prices to ensure they get a chunk of the (mineral) pie, meaning more profits to the miners. In the short term prices of anything made from minerals will increase as the increased costs of mineral is passed on by industrialists to customers, along with the increase in profit margins (most margins are calculated by a percentage of the base price). However before miners break open the Cava and start forming conga lines, the spike will likely be short lived, as more miners join their bejewelled playing fraternity in the form of both industrialists looking to cut costs, and money seekers jumping on the band wagon. That said; when the prices do finally settle they will likely be higher than the previous average.

In short, things are going to get very very very expensive and then drop down to just very expensive as supply begins to meet demand.

But what does this mean for the variety of the game? I do agree that low-end minerals should be controlled by High-Sec & its miners. But I disagree that bounties for drones were the right way to go. I believe that eve’s un-uniformity is its lifeblood, and this smoothing of the rough is detrimental to the game. Indeed I would argue that other faction bounties should be changed instead. I would advocate that every Ratting faction should supply a different way of rewarding the player. We will keep one faction with the “press button get reward” system we know and love (let’s say the sansha so we don’t mess up Incursions). Each other faction gets a new method below are just a couple of rough and ready suggestions (aren’t they always with me):

– Loyalty: A new Corporation is founded opposed to the faction in question. Every Faction rat gives loyalty points with the faction, which can be saved or spent on items.

– Standings: A new sub corporation of concord is founded. Each rat you kill increases your standings with the corp. Every week a payout calculated on your standings is given, and your standing is reset with the corporation.

– Fertiliser Pellets: Really throwing the boat out here, let’s make drones drop a fertiliser which increases an asteroids yield (each is set to a type and rarity.. i.e “Minor Veldspar enrichment” and “Glacial Golden Omber deployment”. 0.0 players can sell this roid’ manure to High Sec miners so they can increase their asteroid pools. Hell while I’m on this trip, let’s say we remove the refilling of belts during downtime, and make it reliant on the fertiliser to keep minerals.

Again, I’ll emphasise here that I don’t want ALL rats to follow a single, different system; but for EACH rat to have a different system of profit. A usual this is pulled from my arse as I write, and only intended to give a gist of what I mean (although I do quite like the fertiliser one).

TLDR;

    – Drones will be giving bounties
    – Minerals are going to spike in price
    – Items will also spike
    – I think the change is bad for eve, because it doesn’t go far enough

Thanks for reading,

Hark

*including the people who farm them. The Russian Alliances who have traditionally held drone space have always complained that drones are less profitable and more risky than bounties due to the need for logistics to ship them to High-Sec. Although I always hear it in the same tone my father says “Oh no this is awful, urg no horrid, you wouldn’t like this at all!” while tucking into a cake. Except of course the Russians are Building titans, not eating cake.

Blood Money: Part 2 the Income Gap

This series of posts is intended as a discussion and my thoughts in how ISK affects PvP and how PvP Affects ISK; further entrys can be found here.

As I discussed in my last post as an individual pilot in 0.0 income directly through PvP is almost non-existent for the majority. But there are plenty of money faucets in 0.0; so where is the money going? The simple answer is “To a select few leaders”. Most people are well aware of the RMT trade, and the accusations (and indeed evidence) that most large Alliance Leaders are earning a real life wage from their ISK profits. Assuming that this is the case (Alliances aren’t in the habit of giving out API account access to the public), what’s gone wrong. Why is there such a gap between the “wage” of the 0.0 pilot and a 0.0 Alliance leader?

My simple brain tells me that there are two basic ways for money to flow in a hierarchical system such as EvE:

Bottom Up (Socialist)
Where the pilots earn the money and pay a (small) fee to those above them for the privilege of using their money making system. The current Corporation Tax system would be the foundation for such a system. A pilot makes money by running PLEXs & a small percentage of this money goes to the corporation. But we would need to extend this to the alliance level with a percentage of the corporation’s profits being paid to the alliance. In this system every pilot would be able to make a profit, those who take on roles in corporations or Alliances would be able to draw an additional wage from the coffers of their employers.

Top Down (Capitalist)
This is where wealth is gained by the Alliance and distributed downwards through wages and subsidisation. For example an Alliance gets money from Moon Goo, and pays its Corporations and Leaders for their contributions to the cause. Corporations then in turn pay their Leaders and active members and/or subsidize the cost of helping to hold this space i.e ship replacement programs.

Of course this is a polarization, and a mix of systems can also exist.

As we can see both systems already have some supporting functionality within EvE. However it’s very rare to experience either in the wild. So what is happening? To me it would at least appear that simple human greed means the money rarely flows up or down the systems. Pilots don’t want to share the rewards of solo pursuits through huge tax rates, and Alliance leaders don’t want to distribute the Moon Goo wealth downwards to subordinates.

This is what makes the Income Gap so large in 0.0 Alliances. Pilots are left to earn what they can to survive, while Alliance High Commands earn wealth intended to fund entire Alliances.

So how can we fix the System? If CCP wanted to fix the current system without adding new features, they would need to greatly increase the rewards of Solo 0.0 money spinners (Plex, mining & anomalies), while reducing the Organised Money making opportunities until they could support only a few people (Roughly the number of people needed to run the schemes and their equipment).

But what about in a dream world; how could we close this gap?

The first step I think would be to implement a “wage” system into the game. Allowing CEO’s, Alliance leaders, Diplomats and other alliance positions (right down to Player) to draw a wage would go a long way to allowing both top down and bottom up systems to work. We would also need CCP to recognize Alliances as an entity in itself, allowing a wallet and API to be given for it.

– In a top down system this would allow Active players to draw a regular wage for their efforts.
– In a bottom up system the CEO and other official positions would be able to draw a wage from the funds for their additional efforts.

Once this is in place we need to make a choice between systems and Bias the income streams towards those methods. To either make the individuals dependent on the group or the group dependent on the individuals. As we are talking about a dream world here, adjust the Sov mechanics a bit. In order to place TCUs an alliance must first place a capital TCU in a system. These function exactly the same as normal units (for a higher price) except they have a toggle switch*:

Socialist Government Infrastructure Node
– Moons can now be mined using Crust Buster Lasers
– Each player using a Crust buster laser is charged a fee linked to the market price of the Goo
– All Plex and Ratting bounties are increased by 20%
– All Corporation, POCO & Alliance tax rates cannot be set above 20%

Nomadic Infrastructure Node
– Alliance wallet disabled
– Moon Goo yield reduced by 50%
– Plex and anomaly bounty increased by 40%

Capitalist Government Infrastructure Node
– Corporation, POCO & Alliance tax rates cannot be set lower than 80%
– Moons can now only be mined by Moon Harvesting Arrays
– All players are paid a basic wage for being (active) in the alliance (active requirements set by the alliance)
– Bonuses can be automated for activity’s such as joining fleets
– Bonuses can also be paid out manually by Alliance Directors

By forcing a single revenue stream either at the top or the bottom of an alliance the members would be forced to move wealth up and down the levels. A Socialist Alliance would soon keel over if members stopped passing money up the chain of command. After all who would go to the effort of running an alliance for no money what so ever? Equally if the Alliance earned all the money and passed none to its members (who could no longer earn any independently) they would soon quit (or go bankrupt).

This all ties in quite nicely with my last post. Is this where that middle ground lies? If Alliances and Corporations were forced to provide for their members (or vice versa) we wouldn’t not be opening a new ISK faucet, but instead redistributing wealth to the masses. By stopping the accumulation of vast wealth we may even be so bold as to suggest that the RMT issue might be reduced. Of course for those who hold capitalism dear, using the capitalist methodology would still allow for vast accumulation of wealth by Alliance leaders, but only if they can persuade their members to put up with it.

I won’t sit on the fence on this one like I did the last post. Instead I’m going to straight up admit that I would love to see this system implemented; but I doubt it will. CCP have said they intend to adjust how players make money in 0.0, and even mentioned moons becoming player mined so who knows maybe something is in the works.

Thanks for reading

Hark¬

*Disclaimer, all numbers and figures pulled from my arse, but you should get the gist.

Blood Money: Part 1 Income for the Troops

This series of posts is intended as a discussion and my thoughts in how ISK affects PvP and how PvP Affects ISK; further entrys can be found here.
Losing ships is expensive. “No shit Sherlock” right? But have you ever stopped to think what that actually means? I can’t think of many other games where (arguably) what is the “End Game Content” actually costs in game money to do. Even in the dreaded WoW (I’ve been clean for 3 years now), the “End Game” Raids can earn anywhere between some and significant amounts of money, dependent on how good your Raid Group is. Can you imagine if Call of Duty or Battlefield required you to earn money (or maybe respect points) by performing Drill, Peeling Potatoes and “Cleaning the Head” (whatever that means) before you could afford to play a PvP match? Yet in EvE this is effectively what you have to do.

Now some might argue that 0.0 (Wormholes too, and to some extent Low Sec) PvP does earn you money, as winning in PvP dictates who holds sovereignty over the systems. Yet, the only income available as individuals is through Plex, Anomalies and mining. To draw back on the FPS analogy, we are now able to perform Parades, peel New Potatoes (without the horrid sprouty bits), and Sprucing up the Officers Powder Room. The actions are the same as High Sec, we just earn more for them.

The only people who do earn money directly PvP, are Alliance/Corporation leaders (Moon Goo), Mercenary Groups (Contracts), Small Gang/Solo PvP’ers (loot) and that guy who always seems to be able to scoop loot before I do at gate camps (wanker). That’s a pretty small percentage of PvP players.

Don’t get me wrong here I’m not rallying for change, nor incandescent with rage at this indecency. No I find this an interesting study in our psychology as gamers, and perhaps as an insight into the level of grip EvE PvP has on us.

Now I will admit that as someone who really doesn’t enjoy extended periods of Mission running or mining; my first thought on this subject was “Wouldn’t it be nice if PvP earned me money”. Perhaps with each killer earning a percentage of the market value of the victim’s ship and its fittings? Or a mechanism for Corporations/Alliances to automatically distribute funds to pilots when they participate in fleets. This could aid the currently inhibited top down money flow (a topic I will discuss in the next in this series).

We might also see an increase in numbers flocking to the more lawless areas of space. In the head of a Carebear (I was one once) acquisition of money is often the key motivator, perhaps if PvP were a real money spinner, we might see a bigger migration flow to Null/Low Sec. Furthermore if PvP paid money we could also see more wars, and more people in fleets (that’s a good thing right?).

It sounds wonderful but how would it affect those of us already PvPing, and indeed the landscape of PvP space? Currently the people who are in Null Sec are the people who really want to be there. Because of the cost of entry we have invested time and money into our position, and we are dedicated to our causes. Would an influx of money seekers begin to muddy the waters? To water down that passion? PvP for profit would herald an entire new mentality in Null/Low Sec. Wars would be fought by entrepreneurs rather than Zealots (not the ship). We already see blobs more and more every month in eve, and with the current effectiveness of Super Capitals, and other Low Risk PvP methods (improbable Tengus et al) we might also see the decline of “Gud Fights” in favor of “No risk PvP”.

As a note here; I’m not a fan of the argument “I had to go through it so why shouldn’t you HTFU”. It’s a little bit too close to the British Boarding School mentality which brought us Fagging. The point I’m trying to make is that maybe we shouldn’t work too hard to bring High Sec dwellers into Null/Low Sec; if they don’t want to be out here, and we shouldn’t change our game to make room for them.

We would also have to consider the economy. Every Carebear that moves to Null/Low Sec is one less mining our jump fuel and building our ships, even mission runners source the faction modules we love so much. Economy speculation is not really my strong point, but my feeling is that if an ISK faucet opened in Null/Low Sec opened up, the exodus of Carebears would hitch the prices of our trade’s tools until the profits we made were nullified. And even if they didn’t the economy of EvE would require CCP to develop even more ISK sinks for us (something they are teetering on doing any way).

Making PvP profitable would change how we as PvPers in any form view combat. Right now life in Null is a wonderful lesson in self-support, and risk. If we were making money hand over fist, the risk/reward ratio would shift furthermore we might not get the same buzz from our kills, and the “ISK war” would become far more important that it already is.

I think as with most things there is a middle ground to be had with this. I do feel that Null Sec profits rest in the hands of too few, encouraging a trickle down of funds (or indeed trickle up) is a great idea (the next topic in the series). But equally too much profit in PvP would be a bad thing for our landscape in the long run.

Of course equally, should someone wish to give me a chunk of cash for PvPing, I would not complain.

Thanks for reading,

Hark¬