Archive for September, 2012


Ancillary Shield Boosters: An in-depth analysis

From Reddit:

Hi all, Over the last two weeks I have been taken a serious look in to ASB balance as a whole, as I feel while there has been a large volume of debate of the ASB module little of it has been of substance. My aim in writing this paper is educate and hopeful foster a more enlightened look at ASB balance

Here is a link to the the Google document which contains the report as it is to long to post here.

TLDR; A single ASB is balanced, Two ASBs are not.

Obviously, it’s a bit more in-depth than that 🙂

edit: looks like CCP is moving on this, although the changes are, I believe, too harsh on the smaller classes of ASB.


James 315 on lowsec

Following on from the recent theme of low sec, a very long post, but worth reading. Just in case, here’s some quotes:

On the risk/reward balance:

On a superficial level, EVE follows this principle. Take mining, for example. High value ores are found in lowsec and nullsec, where risk is higher. But the question isn’t whether the ore is more valuable, the question is whether the risk/reward balance is properly set. If it’s much more dangerous to mine in lowsec than highsec, the ore needs to be much more valuable. If it’s only slightly more valuable, then the risk/reward calculation favors highsec. The same goes for any other isk-making PvE in the game.

I’m probably not being too controversial when I say that the rewards of lowsec and nullsec mining are not sufficiently more valuable than highsec mining to offset the risk. The same goes for other forms of PvE.

Why isn’t it controversial to say this? Because EVE players, by the tens of thousands, have independently reached the same conclusion. And they went to live in highsec where they could make plenty of isk without the risk. That, I believe, is the reason why highsec is so populous. Not because EVE players are all carebears who won’t take risks, but because the risks of leaving highsec are not properly incentivized with higher rewards.

On industrialists in the PvP foodchain:

Highsec miners do provide minerals so that things can be built. But that’s only one of the jobs they perform in EVE. The most important thing miners provide is not minerals–it’s targets. Miners act as soft targets for PvP’ers. They are the base of the PvP foodchain.

You’ve probably heard it described before: Industrialists get targeted by solo pirates and protected by small defense gangs, who then come under attack by larger pirate gangs, which, in turn, are chased by larger defense fleets, and so on. Take away the soft targets at the base of the foodchain, and there’s nothing for the solo pirates to kill, so solo PvP dries up, small-gang PvP dries up, and all the way up the foodchain. You’re left with consensual PvP, and the structure shot/defense ops of the big nullsec alliances.

All of it depends on the industrialists putting themselves at risk. Why should they do that, though? If risk/reward is properly balanced, they’ll do it for the greater rewards. If, however, risk/reward is stacked in favor of highsec, there’s no need for a miner to put himself at risk. Simply mine all the money you want in highsec. Goodbye, lowsec mining. Goodbye, lowsec PvP. Goodbye, lowsec.

On the absurdity of null players making ISK on high sec alts.

Consider the common nullsec-dweller’s observation, which I mentioned earlier: Highsec has a big population, but a lot of those highsec residents are actually alts from lowsec and nullsec. Why do nullsec players put alts in highsec to make money? Because highsec is that profitable. The dirty little secret is, for many players, in many situations, highsec is already more profitable than nullsec.

And just as we saw in lowsec, every time a PvE’er moves from nullsec to highsec, a soft target is lost. Take away enough of those targets, and the predators of nullsec disappear, and the PvP foodchain rolls right up. This process is well underway. People have been complaining about it for quite some time. But if highsec is buffed further, things can get worse. A lot worse.


Quote of the day: Pandas

Seen in the comments of Gevlon’s blog, where he talks about World of Warcraft:

Don’t let the packaging (OMG pandas) fool you – look at the actual changes and you’ll see that Blizzard is redesigning WoW to make it much more accessible to people who cannot commit to a certain timetable in advance or to long stretches of gaming at a time.

And if you knew anything about gamers then you’d be well aware that this perfectly describes the 30+ crowd – has a professional life, is married, has children, social obligations, other hobbies, … significant disposable income(!) and keeps MMOs around as a guilty pleasure but can no longer commit the same hours as he/she used to in college.

Old-style raiding works great for the kids (who have more time than anything else, most notably more time than money) but doesn’t work at all for adults who actually have a life – they want WoW in handy half-an-hour chunks and are willing to pay for it (collectors’ editions, pets, TCG mounts, …).

[00:44:42] CCP Zinfandel > Some people treat EVE Online not as a video game but as a hobby. They enjoy investing in their hobby and find that it makes them feel more connected with their hobby. We want to support that for those players who want it.

^ this guy puts his money where his mouth is and bought a Spectral Tiger TGC mount for at least $500 via Ebay.

The “we want EVE to be a high value hobby comparable to golf, fashion, …” strategy is not as ridiculous as some players made it out to be (but imo it is at least 10 years early).

CCP’s grave mistake approached this issue in the wrong order – if you want to future-proof your game against demographical change and “cheap” competition you first have to accommodate adult players with a busy life through game mechanics and then you can start to sell them $80 monocles.

Someone who plays EVE for only half an hour at a time can either engage in mindless PvE (mission, mining) or go solo roaming (most likely without getting a single kill).

The only activities Mr. Busy Adult can engage in are isk-making activities!
The only thing he has no shortage of is real-life money to buy PLEX/ISK with!
What an absurdity!

The signature feature of EVE (large-scale fleet battles in an emergent context of player politics) requires at least 3-4 hours at a time – during which you have to listen on comms and can’t go afk for 10 minutes to change your baby’s diapers.

In contrast to CCP Blizzard is working hard to make their signature feature (raiding) available to a very busy audience by the introduction of LFR – which cuts the raids into handy slices, removes the need to do extensive research on tactics, rotations (priority systems^^), talent builds, … and is tuned so you don’t have to feel guilty if you have to go afk half-way through the fight.

Once Blizzard feels that they got the future-proofing of gameplay right, the monetization will follow.

Sad to say, but this fits me to a tee. You know you’re time-poor when you literally don’t even have enough uninterrupted time to safely orbit a button for ten minutes.

And yet, I do get snippets of time here and there at odd moments, and if there were a way to interact with Eve on my phone, I’d be all over it.

Heck, I might even start up my planetary processing again 🙂


On Lowsec

There has been a bit of talk about low-sec lately, what with Mabrick, Jester, Syncaine, Mabrick, Jester, Jester again and then more Mabrick.
I’m no stranger to this discussion; I have been collecting good posts on this subject since last year, so it’s good that this subject has become more visible.
My thoughts can be distilled down to this:

Eve’s economy has evolved to be much like that of the real world, so why not use real world tools to manipulate it?

Let’s break it down into the two components.

Eve economy = earth economy

  • high-sec = Europe. Trade is easy and life is safe, but everything is expensive.
  • low-sec = Asia. Factories everywhere, but safety from a contract, personal or intellectual property standpoint is not assured.
  • null-sec = africa. Resources abound, but the infrastructure is very much ‘start from scratch’. Subject to warlords burning everything. Incidence of bad things is possibly lower than low-sec, but if bad things happen your losses will be catastrophic.

Real-world tools to fix it

Obviously, both macro- and micro-economic tools can be used to change the landscape of Eve

  • Tariffs. Currently, I can buy anything I want in Rens and ship it to Jita without paying extra. Imagine if the customs officers at the border checkpoint imposed import duties, but only in highsec. Instant smuggling/gun running profession in low-sec.
  • Higher fees and slower industry in highsec. At present, the protection of CONCORD is a large externality that should be addressed. I do industry in high-sec because, quite frankly, there’s no incentive for me to go anywhere else.
  • At the same time, increased congestion fees for industry jobs would also work well.
  • Resource Rent Taxes. Currently, perfect refining can be done in high-sec once standings get high enough. What if yield were capped at 97.5%? Mineral prices will rise, but those who can mine outside highsec gain more profit.
  • Transport of goods. The modern container ship has drastically increased the volume of trade on Earth. The Jump Freighter has done likewise for Eve. Perhaps it’s time to revisit this.
  • Resource extraction rates: perhaps a capital mining barge would work here, to underscore the relative paucity of resources that (I believe) should exist in high-sec.

I aten’t dead

As usually happens, I do something intending to get more Eve play time, then get blindsided by real life. In this case, my entire family came down with illness, necessitating a lot of settling of small children.

Case in point: last night it took three hours to go eight jumps due to interruptions (never autopilot ever when you’re in faction war). In the mean time, I managed to miss a massive dust-up in Syndicate, which put the icing on the cake.

Here’s hoping that I’ll be able to undock in anger some time this week.


Now following: Mary Titor

You may have heard about the player who calls themselves Mary Titor, who wrote an analysis on how to game the Faction Warfare system before it became widespread.

Mary now has a blog:

I’m a sociologist, or at least my diploma says so. I’m not affiliated with any significant group in Eve, national or otherwise, or at least I don’t feel about the affiliations I do have strongly enough to compromise my scientific integrity. So in that sense I’m just about as neutral as they get. There’s a certain chance you might have heard about me elsewhere, though, which is one of the reasons I prefer to stay anonymous — or pseudonymous, to be more precise. I got my PhD (or rather, the roughly equivalent Russian title) in studying online gaming communities in 2004. I have been playing Eve on and off since late 2006. (Everything I do for fun eventually turns out to have been science all along, this is incredibly annoying.)

What I do most in Eve is not playing as such, but listening to the clash of ideologies, interests, and watching Eve develop over the years.

And here, I’m going analyse all that to bits. For Science.

I have read all the posts so far, and I have to say I’m impressed at the insight displayed so far about such topics as risk vs reward, mistrust in Eve, customer retention and what is the endgame.

I cannot recommend this blog enough.