Friday, August 22, 2014

Dotlan help needed

This is how the Sov wwnership was in Fountain at 2013-01-01:

This is how many player ships and pods were killed that day:

And this is how many rats died:

Did I find some 20 months old screenshots? No. Dotlan keeps this information, and you can see it yourself, now (Sov, Ship kills, NPC kills). This data is available for every region, every day for years back.

Needless to say how valuable this information is. But I don't know how to get it besides clicking on the various regions and days and copying the information into EXCEL, which would probably make the most patient person mad.

The last resort is making screenshots and getting a picture-reading software. But there must be some more intelligent way of accessing this data. It should be available in chart form somewhere. Does anyone know how to get it? Please write it in a comment.

PS: ironic comment of the day: "... is certainly not running out of ideas any time soon, the planning document is around six pages long at this point and includes years of work." (source)

PS2: It surprises even me that the forum topic about finally banning that filthy RMT site somehow turned into a Goon hate, despite Goons are innocent in this (and their propaganda site isn't involved in any form of RMT). If someone finds a way to channel this Goon hate into a form that is more productive than posting, Goons will be evicted in a week.

PS3: I really hope it was a Pasta fisher. I mean if it's legit, the incursion community is doomed:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I won on the roller coaster!

I was in a theme park and tried out the roller coaster. There were lots of other players with me, but I could easily see that they are n00bs. Despite I never played this particular ride, due to my overall gaming skills I didn't fail like them and left the round victorious. My only problem with this was that they did not give out some kind of achievement to show off my l33t skillz.

Bizarre, isn't it? You can't win on the roller coaster. There is no challenge, the actions you need to perform are trivial, the enjoyment comes from the experience of speed and acceleration that you don't get in your daily traffic. Roller coasters aren't games, they are toys, entertainment tools.

It's telling that "theme park" became a label for certain kind of video "games". Winning or losing is just as impossible in WoW than on the roller coaster. Everyone who pays the fee is entitled to experience a ride.

As always with toys, people are capable of creating game rules that uses the toy in a game. For example you can make a "who can eat more spaghetti before getting sick on the roller coaster" game. It's stupid, but it's indeed a game. So is "who can clear WoW raid encounters faster". It's telling that such games are managed by third party sites and not Blizzard.

Bowling on the other hand is a game. You have to pay to secure a lane, but the fee doesn't include any kind of results. If you fail to hit a single pin, too bad. If a bowling club would make pins fall on their own to entertain "casual players", it would be soon blacklisted for cheating.

Game developers should actually be called toy developers. A pixel orc or a pixel spaceship is not a game, it's a toy. The interactions between toys (how fireball damages orc) is still a toy. The game emerges with creating a ruleset for winning using the toys. WoW arena is a game, using WoW toys. Raiding is not a game. Getting higher on the third-party raider toplist is a game, using WoW raids as toys.

The reason for Wildstar and many other new MMOs failed is that they aren't at all different games than WoW. They are the very same game, just with different toys. To make a different game, you have to imagine it with WoW toys: the same spells, graphics. Wildstar would be identical game, while EVE Online would be different. "EVE using WoW toys" is a great example for this design criteria, so I provide it as an example:
  • The gamespace is divided into thousands of islands.
  • You can travel between these islands using fixed portals.
  • In the central islands there are NPC guards killing those who engage in PvP without declaring war between guilds or the target being a marked criminal.
  • In the other islands there are no such NPCs and warlock players can summon raid members from nearby islands.
  • Most gear is crafted, rare gear is available from doing daily quests for NPCs, epic gear drops from bosses spawning.
  • If a player is killed by another player or NPC, half of his gear gets destroyed, the other half drops. Anyone can loot his corpse.
  • Players can build forts that can only be sieged in certain times and hundreds of man-hours worth of damage needed to break its walls.
Despite this game would use WoW graphics, WoW avatars and WoW spell mechanics, it would be much more similar to EVE Online than WoW and EVE players would rate it higher than WoW players.

The point is when you evaluate a game, you should look at the game rules and not the toys used in the game. Toys can be upgraded and fixed. The game rules on the other hand make or break the success. Wildstar is WoW, just with different toys, and necessarily worse toys due to Blizzard having 10 years and about half billion dollar development in them. No wonder it went down. But indie games published with horrible toys (10-20 years outdated graphics) are successful due to their original ruleset. Even simpler: design a game instead of upgrading toys!

PS: Solo PvP is called the most skilled activity. If so, then bravely solo engaging a capital ship must be the pinnacle of gaming.
On the other hand I keep telling that engaging a 100+ CFC fleet is a dumb idea.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Somer Blink RMT steals from CCP and legitimate affiliates

Update, the RMT-ers are dead! Anyway the post is still interesting about affiliate business and why they were bad:

Somer Blink, the infamous RMT site used to be is out again, offering 45M ISK bonus for buying PLEX via their affiliate link, similar to their old scheme That scheme was banned, the new one is not, but it's essentially the same, if you buy PLEX from Somer, you get more ISK than buying from CCP.

At first let's see how affiliates work everywhere in the business. For example a T-shirt maker hires a blogger to be his affiliate and gives him percentage after every T-shirt sold via the link of the blog. Why does he do it? Because the blogger with his visibility gets him new customers, more customers than he'd get by simply offering a discount. The blogger is performs a marketing service for the T-shirt maker.

CCP runs his affiliate program for the same reason: if you bring new customers for CCP, you can get a percentage for every sale. The good examples are alliance affiliate links. If you are in alliance X, you are asked to buy your PLEX via the alliance affiliate link, earning money for the alliance leadership. The reasoning of CCP is that the alliance leader creates content that keeps people playing and these people would quit if the alliance leader would have to get a job and couldn't create content all day.

For simplicity, let's say you can buy PLEX for $15 and the alliance leader gets $2 for everyone who buys via his link. To continue, we have to see that there are two kinds of customers:
  1. those would indeed quit without the content created by the alliance leader (or whatever affiliate creates them content)
  2. those who would not
Since PLEX cost them the same, they are both likely buying PLEX clicking the affiliate link to help someone who creates them content. On these two groups, running the affiliate program CCP gets:
  1. $15-$2 = $13. Thanks to the content created by the affiliate, these players remained customers or joined as new ones (for example TEST recruitment drive on Reddit).
  2. $-2: they would be playing anyway, so CCP pays the affiliate for nothing.
The size of the two groups are unknown, but the marketing department guesses the second isn't 7x bigger than the first to make the scheme unprofitable for CCP.

Enters Somer Blink with its RMT scheme: "if you buy PLEX from our link, we give you extra ISK". It seems the same as any other affiliate scheme, except this time we know exactly how big the first group is: zero. There isn't a single man on the planet who would quit playing EVE if he couldn't play SOMER Blink, since you can only win in-game items and it's worthless to you if you wouldn't play. So every $ CCP pays to SOMER as affiliate is a waste.

On the other hand the second group is largely inflated. No random people click on the affiliate link of some alliance leader, but every EVE player has the reason to click the SOMER link, even if he doesn't even know what SOMER Blink is: the bonus money. Using the T-shirt affiliate example, imagine that the blogger wouldn't even have a blog, just stand front of the T-shirt shop and give 50c coins to people entering the shop if they claim inside the shop that they were sent by the blogger (despite they came to the shop anyway).

This is why the "community" is outraged on something that gives extra ISK to the players. If the players do what's good for them in the short run, they click on the link of SOMER instead of the link of the affiliates who actually give them content. So SOMER takes the affiliate money of opinion leaders who are genuinely outraged over that and make their followers shoot monuments. Below you can see the real reason why the propaganda site of the Evil publishes multiple posts over the topic:

One obvious question rises: how could CCP not notice that SOMER is stealing money from them and make their community figures mad? That weasel Somer answered it: he scammed a salesperson (screenshot) by telling he is just offering a buyback service to save people the effort to sell it on Jita for the best price, while he clearly buys it much higher than that. True, the salesperson could notice "You can only sell 2 PLEX at this rate for each ETC you purchased (so you can't just go buy PLEX in Jita and resell them to Blink for more than you paid)" which is explicit proof that he is aware that Blink rate is above Jita best price enough to motivate people to buy PLEX in Jita and resell it to Blink.

If CCP doesn't ban him after publishing this they openly challenge every scammer out there "go and get us if you can"! But besides that, if CCP wants to keep its affiliate business, they must ban all SOMER-related accounts (not the clients, the organizers) and cancel business with Markee Dragon (financial enabler for SOMER). This would scare off future exploiters from investing into yet another RMT scheme, since they have one weak point: they must advertise themselves to a large player community to get clients, so they can't fly under the radar. Knowing that being caught is losing business would make resellers careful when picking their affiliates.

Finally: even if CCP wants to give another chance to SOMER for whatever reason, they have to understand that this scandal will not go away. A player clicking on the SOMER PLEX link is a player not clicking the link of EN24, Zkillboard, or the link of whatever content creator he used to click. If SOMER stays, they will go bankrupt and have to get a real job instead of living from playing EVE. They will fight till their last bullet as they are fighting for their (no)life here.

PS: I'm not having a PLEX link (just a 51-days tryout link) since I'm talking about making ISK, so my followers probably haven't paid a cent to CCP after the first 1-2 months earning their first billion. So I have no dog in the race, I just hate RMT-ers more than even Goons.

PS2: CO2 is bad. TNT ditto. Finally, look at this beautiful report about a Battlement Coalition + Ev0ke + VEGA fleet bravely up-engaging a Goon capital fleet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Battlement Coalition in July

The title is misleading, since there was no Battlement Coalition in July. It was created in mid August. However its members existed and fought against CFC. I did a complete analysis on CFC PvP activity in July, so I redid it with the assumption that Battlement Coalition existed.

It isn't fair as the whole is always larger than the sum of its parts and also some of these alliances weren't deployed against CFC, so their main PvP activity could not be seen on the CFC killboard. For example Never Look Back didn't kill a single CFC in July, while their recent killboard is full of them. Still, the July data is more than nothing. As always, the data is de-whored, if you did 1% damage of a 100B titan, you get 1B kills booked, not 100B.

This is the redid summary, with Battlement inserted, along with Marmite Collective which does coalition level damage alone. The problem is that "coalition level" is actually "around 5%". An average enemy coalition has this magnitude of activity (kills + losses) alone. The soon-to-be-Battlement wasn't different. They did 248B damage to CFC and had 115B from CFC losses which isn't bad, but still just 6% of the CFC activity. The good thing is that their ISK ratio is much better than of the other coalitions, since they weren't (and aren't) Sov-holders facing the blob, but pirates massacring ratters.

The list of the individual members show problems. The members after the #3 combined had as much activity as #3 alone and their ISK ratio is plain bad. I repeat that this can be because of not being deployed against the CFC, but still this doesn't look promising. The first 3 members on the other hand are long-standing anti-CFC pirates, so we can hope that the rest learn from them in combined gangs and get to their level.

However these results pose a serious risk for the newly formed coalition. I've found that MoA killboard ratio and CFC overall ratio strongly depend on fleet sizes. In short: CFC gets massacred in small-gang engagements but wins most of its large-fleet battles. So if Battlement forms up with 100+ pilots for various timers, they will indeed do nothing but provide entertainment to CFC pilots. I hope they'll stick to small gangs, destroying CFC ratting, industry and renters. The risk is coming from the alliances with large-fleet background in the coalition who can act as bad influence.

Of course if they want to grow, they need income, and CFC moons are an obvious source. However they need timer battles, so I'd rather let individual members siphon the towers and base the alliance finances on donations. The CFC earned hatred all around New Eden, it won't be hard to find donators.

Finally, a teaser image from our recent campaign with MoA (and now coalition members help, you can see when they jumped on the boat) against the Evil. This is going to be huge, official results will be published on Sept 1:
PS: Don't make guesses in comments, I'll moderate them out. Just watch and laugh!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Entering Nullsec was never easier

OK, maybe when the servers first started and all nullsec was empty, it was easier. But ever since, if you wanted to carve out some space, there was never a better time to start it.

What? Everyone whines how it's very hard and the "little guys have no chance" and how "nullsec is broken" and that CCP must fix it or EVE dies and so on and so on. But I believe in numbers instead:
What is it if not the most dynamic growth EVE ever seen? BRAVE, TEST and GSF in their finest days couldn't grow that fast. And to make it even better, it's totally inclusive. You, yes you with your few-men real-life friend missioning corp can join today.

What alliance I'm talking about? The renters: NA., BoT and PBLRD. They are (or rather, the first two are) the future of nullsec entry. You don't need doctrines, don't need thousands of "friends", you don't need hundred supercapitals, you don't need nullsec expertise, all you need is what you can easily earn in highsec: ISK. Once you are in, you can earn even more from utilizing your space.

It's amazing how problems are solved within the playerbase, using mutually beneficial trades. Of course there are oldschool moralists who say that the "true" method would be uphill in the snow, grinding multi-million HP structures in subcaps like they did, and what you rent isn't "real". Well, it'll be pretty real when you anchor your tower and start to live in it. Ignore their whining and get to work!

What? You need to sign a treaty to have space? News bulletin: even the largest and strongest has to. Anyone goes maverick and "I do what I want" will end up in lowsec faster than a renter not paying his rent. Everyone has to negotiate, sign treaties, build blue lists on top of having a thousand battleships and hundred supers. Your treaty is no different from theirs. So check the alternatives, sign the best and plant your tower today!

PS: FA is still bad.
Important ratting advice: totally safe for CFC!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend minipost: the coalition of Good

You might heard that several "pirate" alliances joined into a coalition called "Battlement". You can see that their mission statement, is pure Good. They don't fight for land or a nice killboard, just for the good of New Eden, to crush the Evil that corrupted this World, taking the control from pilots flying spaceships to liars plotting on some Jabber channel.

The members are:
The Scourge.
Psychotic Alliance
Mordus Angels
Never Look Back
Unkind Initiative
Intrepid Crossing
Negative Waves
The Serenity Initiative

I'll obviously run some numbers, but it's a weekend minipost, so I merely welcome this turn of events. You can see that there are no coalition level finances, every alliance pays SRP for its own members. It makes Goon spying much less effective, as they can only steal the money of one alliance. I did and will keep financially support Mordus Angels, the strongest member of this coalition. We also cooked up something really nasty for the Evil Ones: the idea and the financing is mine (didn't want that 20B anyway), the execution is theirs. The results are already looking good, you'll see it at the end of August.

Finally I suggested to make a donation board for the coalition of Good. There are countless "carebears" who were abused by the evil Goons, they will surely jump on the idea that they can get their revenge on their tormentors by donating the fruits of "carebearing". It'll be up soonTM.

VFK by spring! GRR!

PS: Goons didn't want that tower and fleet anyway.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekend minipost: big bad Goon ganks innocent mining barge

Sort of.

Breaking news: FCON is still bad.

On another note: highsec titan down. I think it was RMT, because one tornado couldn't kill it with hardeners on. Also, pretty retarded fit, the pilot has no other killboard activity, despite being almost 2 years old, he was in NPC corp and in his corp history the only player corp has no WH activity, despite he was stuffed with WH loot. His killer is even more suspicious, he did nothing but expensive, stupid fit ship ganks, but way less than you'd expect from a ganker and only very expensive ones. It's like every other week he undocks once and the first thing coming his way has 10B in the hold. Either very lucky, or regular buyer of illicit ISK sellers.

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