Friday, March 27, 2015

To lasthit AND not to lasthit (and Zkillboard help request)

At first the help request, the real post will be below the line. Skip, if you have no clue about kill API management.

The Zkillboard main page looked like this when I made this post:
Clicking on a kill report leads to its page. The kill is identified with a numerical ID. For example the top kill is identified as I wrote these IDs on the picture. You can see that they aren't random, they are increasing in order in time (older kill has lower number). However they are neither a Zkillboard assigned serial number, as you can see holes (45514167 is after 45514158 and not 45514166). So I can only think that the number is provided by CCP and the holes are because Zkillboard doesn't have all kills just those which are uploaded by players. As this is the front page, many kills are not yet updated and will appear later (or never).

So far, so good. Now comes the problem! 43517157 is a kill in 2015 January 1, 00:00. The previous kill, 43517156 is still at the very end of December 2014. 42763723 is at the very end of November 2014 and the next kill, 42763724 is at the beginning of December. This means that the 2014 December kill reports are all in the 42763724-43517156 range. This contains 753433 positions for kills. Not all slots have kills uploaded, for example 42763726 leads to an error page. The problem is that Dotlan says that in December there were "Highsec ShipKills: 430738, PodKills: 56724, Lowsec ShipKills: 323728, PodKills: 86013, Nullsec ShipKills: 323028, PodKills: 182785". That's 1.4M kills without WH kills. That's more than two times more than the 753K slots on Zkillboard.

One of them must be wrong. How many kills there were in December? Any ideas?

SynCaine wrote his piece protecting the last-hitting mechanic in MOBAs. This means that all rewards from a mob go to the player who lands the killing blow, even if someone else did all the other damage. He and others thinks this is a very good skill-check. The other party claims that it's a dumb gimmick that rewards only reflexes and "muscle memory" instead of decision making.

I won't decide who is right. I played League of Legends only a bit. I hereby suggest a solution that satisfy both sides: auto-lasthit function. If it's turned on with a hotkey, the avatar doesn't attack any player and hits minions only if that hit will likely land a killing blow. Movement is still managed by the player, the auto-lasthit function only attacks minions in range. If you manually attack a player or minion, the function turns off and the avatar keeps attacking that target as usual.

This way those who hate lasthitting can just turn this on and focus only on movement, while those who consider it a skill-mechanic can hit as they wish. If they were right, they will still beat the "autohitter noobs", especially as auto-lasthit only uses autoattack and doesn't lasthit with skills.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Denying "gudfites" and pirates

There is a pastebin circulating on EVE related sites. It's an alleged chatlog from CFC Fleet Commander chat, where a new FC wanted to bring out a fleet to kill hostiles, but was ordered to stand down as no timer was at risk, so it's best to not provide fun fights to the opponents, even if the friendly pilots also get bored. "blue ball or blob is the order" - no doubt from the highest CFC leadership.

Since CFC isn't attacking anything and they actually abandoned 3 regions when Phoebe hit to avoid defending it, we can conclude that CFC pilots got used to not fighting. They are ratting like there was no tomorrow, so they found "content" fitting to their skills. So the strategy of CFC to defeat N3 by blueballing/blobbing will likely work. The "elitePvP" alliances will get bored and leave.

This means CFC is undefeatable, but fear not, because the pirates are here. They don't want "gudfites" any more than CFC members and they love ganking ratting ships just as much as Goons love ratting. The various "enemies" of Goons are making complicated strategy plans that always fail. On the other hand this strategy works and will destroy Goons:

While this flowchart doesn't look serious, it is. I really believe that the way to stop CFC is to kill them one by one while ratting, hauling, mining. If they stop making ISK, they'll switch to highsec alts and won't bother fleeting up for "blue ball or blob".

Quick business tip: everyone received a Luxury Yacht BPC. Build the ship and sell it, even in Jita!

PS: why does someone AFK rat in a 900M pod?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

200B collected for MoA

The Mordus Angels donation board was created in 2014 September. Since then, 200.6B ISK was collected for the noble cause of killing the minions of Evil. And MoA did:
  • September: 112B
  • October: 161B
  • November: 112B
  • December: 166B
  • January: 198B
  • February: 155B
  • March so far estimate: 120B
All together 1024B destroyed, so for every ISK donated, 5 ISK worth of minions of Evil were slain. Well, that's not exactly news, the 1 year GRR report shown the same.

What is new, is that "only" 159B of this money came from me. Another 41B were donated by other people. While I expected other rich people to race me and expected much more donations from others, 41B is still not to be ignored. It isn't just a non-trivial sum and lot of help for the MoA SRP but also shows that people are ready to give some money for the noble cause of killing the Evil!

You should donate too!
You can also check out the forum post about this for Goon tears. (there are many)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gank for better player retention?

The following statistics provided in Fanfest are circulating among forums and blogs:
You didn't see this coming, did you?

The No1 EVE-killer is "what am I supposed to do in the sandbox?". Being ganked provides an instant reason: "get revenge" or maybe "become as strong as him". I'm a good example myself: the evil idea of Goons to take highsec POCOs just to give "carebears" a finger started something that keeps me busy (and lots of PvP-ers in ships) for more than a year now. Had the game disallow such griefing (it was obvious that Goons won't do PI in highsec), I never come to the idea of attacking CFC all by myself.

Now it's the very opposite of what "carebear prophets" claim, actually "being griefed" is making players to stay and play. By the way I've been preaching the importance of pwning Morons and Slackers since ever. This provides an obvious direction for further design changes both in nullsec (remove local) and highsec (make attacking others easier). Increasing CONCORD response time would be an obvious choice, both to increase ganking and the power of ECM anti-ganking.

However what I wrote about non-wardeccable highsec corps are still true. The problem with wardec isn't that it forces PvP on the target, it's that These problems must be solved one way or another, even if the end goal is to decrease the options to avoid legal PvP. Simply decreasing wardec costs will make more players retreat to NPC corps. Simply kicking out players from NPC corps will make them be in 1-man corps. Locking players into wardecced corps simply lead to hiding to avoid wardeccers. As long as there is a practical way to avoid a wardec, people will go that way. If you close all ways, people will go to lowsec/WH/NPC nullsec as there is nothing beneficial in highsec.

It would be a better way to get rid of wardecs completely and replace it with a new scheme to legally attack players in the unified Empire space. For example by default you are open to attacks (suspect flag), but you can turn on and off CONCORD protection while docked and CONCORD would charge you for every minute spent in space depending on ship size and security status of the system. So hiring CONCORD would be affordable for a 1 hour newbie in a frig in 0.8+ while would be around 200M/hour for a capital ship in 0.1. This system would make no difference if you are in corp or not, famous or hiding and would scale with sec status, providing reason to use higher security space.

PS: for some time the pictures were different and trollish. The reason is that I linked them from a third party site and Goons could somehow change them there. I uploaded them properly now. Luckily the Goons are dumb and didn't change the pictures to Nazi or porn stuff and then reported them to Blogger. That could get my blog down for a day or two until I sort it out. Lesson learned: save everything and upload it to my provider. At least they got me a nice traffic spike.

Monday, March 23, 2015

How could Wormholers take revenge for Corbexx?

As you probably know, the Goon propaganda site proudly announced that Corbexx, the former WH CSM, who was re-elected with WH votes abandoned his voters and will represent Goons instead. It's not like I didn't warn everyone when he signed the Document of Shame.

But there is nothing to do about it now, right? Goons just took the representation and votes from WH space and the WH people can't do anything to hit back, right?

Wrong! Goons are extremely vulnerable to small-gangs. Just in the last few days multiple expensive ships died to the "NPC trash" Mordus Angels. In February - just like in the previous months - the top CFC killers were such small groups.

WH people could do the same, using nothing but few months old alts capable of flying interceptors, assault frigates, stealth bombers, with a few Black Ops pilots. Just create an anti-CFC altcorp, collecting alst of bloodthirsty WH players and move to a K346 system. These are C3 WHs with static nullsec connection, 300Gg (battleship) mass limit, 3000Gg total maximum. With MWD battleships you can roll the static until you get into a back-end CFC constellation. Then unleash the scouts, tackle the ratters and Black Ops bridge the rest of the fleet. When finished with them or a response fleet forms, just return to the hole, roll it and do it again few regions away. No intel channel and spying could help the Goons against this. After the new Sov mechanics, the whole constellation can be reinforced as bonus, since the locals won't be prepared to defend something deep behind the lines. If they form a fleet and do the 30+ jumps to the assaulted constellation, the attackers disappear - or welcome them with a T3 fleet that WH PvP-ers are famous for and destroy their T1 cruiser-frig crap.

With such tactics the life of CFC could be made hell and lots of kills could be achieved with little effort. The system can easily be supplied by rolling the hole to an NPC null system with a station and jump-freighting supplies to that station, then carrying everything inside in deep space transports. It's needless to say that if such corp would get decent (40B+) monthly CFC kills, I'd gladly add them to my support list with about 3B/week, but they could get money from the mains who are fat from capital escalations.

WH people! Show the Goons that one don't just steal your votes and walk away with it! Kill them all!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Weekend minipost: CSM 10

So the CSM 10 results are out. Calling it anything but a serious defeat would be ridiculous damage control. This will be probably the most hostile CSM towards PvE, small-gang PvP, economy and the game overall. Let me copy the lines of the winners from my the CSM recommendation table:
Name Affiliation Quick decision
Cagali Cagali Brave Newbies Harmless
Chance Ravinne Some small group Troll
corbexx No Holes Barred Document of Shame
corebloodbrothers Proviblock Document of Shame
Endie von Posts Goonswarm Evil
Gorga Nulli Secunda Populist
Jayne Fillon Spectre Fleet Document of Shame
Manfred Sideous Pandemic Legion Document of Shame
Mike Azariah Higsec corp Passed
Sion Kumitomo Goonswarm Evil
Sort Dragon Darkness Document of Shame
Steve Ronuken His own corp Passed
Sugar Kyle Snuff Box Passed
Thoric Frosthammer Get of my Lawn Evil

We have Sugar, we have 2 "meh, OK", one "not hostile, not friendly", 9 openly hostile and one "who the hell is Chance Ravinne and why did anyone vote for him"? CCP went against the consensus of the blue doughnut expressed in the Document of Shame, so it's not "all is lost", but CSM 10 will be a stronger-than-ever voice for those whose only purpose with the game is to earn money from it.

There were 37K votes cast, that's less accounts than online in an average Saturday evening, so most players still didn't bother to vote. While CCP is somewhat to blame for letting 75, mostly troll candidates to the starting line, we have to face it that most players simply can't be bothered to lift a finger for themselves. I don't know if the situation would be different if players in highsec wouldn't be forced to play alone by the wardecs. After all, I'm also playing alone and voted.

Currently neither NPC nullsec, WH space nor highsec has a representative (Mike might provides good criticism, but he voices no opinion on anything and Steve is more about API tools than actual gameplay). The fate of WH space on the other hand made me smile: not like I didn't tell on every possible forum that anyone signing the Document of Shame is working for The Mittani!

Anyway, if you had hopes to rally "the people" against the blue doughnut, you must get rid of it. You can only count on yourself, your own ability to kill CFC with your own hands or by financially supporting those who do.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Why doesn't democracy work in EVE?

"Democracy doesn't work in EVE" is one of the most often reiterated cliches. Every successful alliance is clearly a dictatorship with a top-down command structure, providing the lower guy no other option to change the course of the alliance than leaving it (and maybe awoxing on the way out). Any attempt to form democracy, even in the slightest form: a small council of equals, ends in nothing but drama and embarrassing chatlogs.

This is pretty interesting considering that most rich and powerful real world countries are democracies and it's widely accepted that autocracies are worse performers. Why does something that fails in real life succeed well in EVE?

The solution is that the aim of a real world government is very different from an EVE corp. A real world government wants to provide safety and economic growth to the people. These are numerically measurable, objectively existing quantities. Therefore you can have a fruitful discussion over them: if you convince me that a new policy provides more GDP, I'll be happy to change my position. The more people are included into the discussion, the more ideas and more critical views will be presented, contributing to a better way to our common goal.

Theoretically an EVE alliance is the same: a group existing for a common goal, be that topping the killboars, getting trillions or capturing land. The way to these goals could be discussed in a democratic process. And it often is. CODE, formed to farm highsec ganks is pretty democratic: you can pretty much do whatever you want as long as it provides kills and tears. While I was in CODE, I ganked miners all by myself and no one told me that I'm doing it wrong and should fleet up.

However most alliances aren't like this. Their goal is to have fun in a video game. Now "fun" is the most unmeasurable and person-specific thing out there. There is no way in hell you can implement a change in my fun that would provide me more fun. Any "suggestion" is made for the sole purpose of increasing your fun at the expense of mine. Since there aren't any numbers to work with, any discussion devolves to drama. There is simply no point talking about fun: you do what's fun for you, end of story.

On the other hand the idea of fun is pretty stable in a person after maturation. If someone finds it fun to camp titan logout points today, he'll likely have fun doing it years from now. So if you join his corp dedicated to such activity and like being there, you'll likely have fun later too. This isn't really dictatorship, since the "underlinks" join willingly. It's rather that the personality of the leader defines the "fun" for the group. This definition is threatened by any change, so any argument against the leader is an assault on the fun of everyone.

It's no miracle that the most drama-driven group in EVE is BRAVE: their sole reason of existence is "most fun per hour", which gives no directions to anyone joining (while the reputation of PL gives you pretty good impression what kind of activity they consider fun). They are also new to the game, unaware what activity they'll find fun. For example a newbie might find flying $1500 ships against similar ships awesome, but when inside, he'll realize that Asakai and B-R are a once a year-or-two events and not something that he can count on every time he logs in. Had BRAVE switched to a clear dictatorship, with a visible and outspoken dictator, everyone who agree with him about "fun" would actually have fun and everyone else would leave BRAVE and seek fun elsewhere. Now they are all stuck, fighting over what to do in every level of the organization.

PS: we can agree in one thing, watching dumb minions of Evil die in expensive things pointlessly is fun.

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