Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kills of 2013 #1: Introduction

Every game (or any activity) needs performance evaluation. In a PvP game it's customary to look at kill-loss statistics. These series of posts are created because the usual tool for this in EVE - zkillboard.com - is extremely faulty. The individual kills are reliable - though suffering from being a third party tool depending on players uploading APIs - but the statistics are horrible. If we add the losses of all pilots on Zkillboard, we get 349T, if we add their kills, we get 4902T. So an average EVE pilot has 14:1 damage:loss ratio. Wonderful, everyone is awesome here.

Before proceeding, we must address the data itself. It's coming from a zkillboard dump published somewhere on Reddit that Hanura H'arasch found and converted it into human-readable format that even an IT-rookie like myself can process. The kills start from 2008 and end around July 2014. I grabbed the 2013 kills for these posts. 230K kills are listed among them with -1 damage. Most of them are just errors, having no zkillboard page. Few of them (remember, few % of 230K is a lot) link to valid kills with NPC killers only. So this database is not a perfect mirror of what Zkillboard has and Zkillboard is not a perfect mirror of EVE Online. But, 349T damage is 73% of 477T reported by CCP for 2013, so most kills are here. We shall also consider that Zkillboard uses CCP kill IDs, and the lowest ID in the database is 27500776, the largest is 35611169, leaving space fore 8110394 kills, we can assume that many kills stored by CCP. The database contains 5325174 API verified, not -1 damage kills, which is 66% of the total kills are listed. As 73 is bigger than 66, we can conclude that mostly low ISK kills are missing (like the ship losses of newbies to rats).

Now, back to the problem. It is much bigger than simply inflating the damage of everyone 14 times. Below you can see a chart plotting two resonable damage distributions (everyone on the kill gets 1/N part of it and everyone gets credited according to damage done) against inflated (whored) damage of pilots in 2013:
0.14-0.15 R2 means useless correlation. This is because damage inflation happens very differently among pilots: solo PvP-ers (leftmost dots) have none, someone who flies a blob has extreme. Because of this low correlation the pilot "kill numbers" are useless and do not help comparing two pilots.

Since corps are bigger than players, the inflation effect is smaller. From the linear coefficient you can see that corps make 14-15% of the damage Zkillboard gives them (which is an improvement from the 3-4% pilots do), and the correlation coefficient is also higher, 0.53, which is still pretty bad. We can tell something about a corp, but not much. A corp with smaller Zkillboard kill number can be easily more active, just not blob-flyer.

Alliances on average do 45% of the damage Zkillboard gives them and the correlation coefficient is almost decent, so you can compare two alliances, just get a largely inflated data.

Now you can see that pilots, corps and alliances using their killboard data are self-deluding idiots or lying propagandists. Many built inflated egos over the years. It's time to see the truth. Or at least what the truth was two years ago. Hopefully I'll be able to get more recent data.

Distributing a kill report among the participants is necessarily arbitrary. I compare equal (where everyone on the kill gets 1/N damage) and damage contribution based distributions:
As you can see the two distributions are practically the same, with PL being the most unusual, due to bringing big guns and getting higher damage contribution than most. The point is that no matter how you distribute the kill, you get very similar results, so the "we fly tackle and logi, that's why we don't have damage on your charts" is a lie.

This will be a long series of posts, as there is extreme amount of data was processed. The parts:
  1. Introduction
  2. Places, ships, times, battles
  3. Pilots
  4. Alliances overview
  5. The "elite" of Sov-nullsec
  6. Nullsec pirates and mercs
  7. The CFC
  8. The hunters of lowsec
  9. The gankers of highsec
  10. The big WH groups
  11. The biggest mistake of CCP.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Business post: Selling for non-traders

So, you aren't particularly interested in trading and don't want to spend too much time in the market, because you are missing ratting ticks or mining cycles or whatever, so you just sell to buy orders. Congratulation, you are a moron who makes traders have 20x higher ISK/hour than you.

Of course some 0.01M meta drop or leftover fitting from your old ship can be dumped to buy orders. It is also true that spending an hour babysitting 1B worth of orders to sell 2% higher doesn't worth it. So below I show how can you sell your wares high with little effort. Of course there is always a catch: you won't sell fast, it can take a few days while you finally sell.

At first, you need a trading alt in the hub you are selling in. Training accounting, broker relations and retail to 4 takes a few days. Getting 3-4 standings with the faction and the corporation holding the station are trivial tasks. Your market alt can later find you prices and buy fittings and ships too.

Once a day log to this alt. Accept the contracts from your main that contain new wares, and start with the old orders. Just open wallet/orders, right-click every order, select modify:
Decrease their value by 1%, rounded to 3 non-zero digits. So from 139M in the picture make 137M. From 210M make 207M, from 308M make 304 and from a 910M order make 900M. No, you don't have to check the actual price, you did that when you created the order. Just blindly decrease it by about 1%. Ignore the 0.01-ers, sooner or later they either stop following you or simply get bought out with your order.

Finally create the new orders, after you dumped the low worth and odd items. Select every item one by one, select sell, click on the icon on the right side that brings up the detailed market window. Set the order below the lowest sell order, rounded to 3 digits (so if the lowest sell is 142999999.99 then set it to 142M).

You're done, see your alt tomorrow, bye!

PS: Out of Sight and Mordus Angels once again massacred the minions of Evil.
SMA remains SMA.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend minipost: moron day in the CFC

There are morons everywhere in New Eden, but in some places people are dumber than others. Being a mindless minion of an Evil probably qualify you as one. Yesterday they proved it at large:
  • Hey, let's fly a JF to highsec, no one will notice!
  • Hey, those guys surely finished camping the same system, let's try it again!
  • Scouting is for sissies!
  • There are dumb people. There are morons. There are institutionalized retards. Finally, there is SMA.
  • The evacuation of Fountain continues!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weekend minipost: the day the Evil outsmarted me

You probably seen that I support 3 groups killing CFC: Mordus Angels (based in Pure Blind), Sorry we're in your space EH (Fountain Core) and Space Warriors (Highsec wardeccer).

Space Warriors failcascaded a few days ago, losing 3/4 of their members over yet another drama in the highsec deccer community. Ouch. I needed to recalculate the distribution of the 12B/week support based on the March loss data. MoA did 198, EH did 96B, so the support is:

-EH- is doing great, but they are Fountain Core, and Fountain will be abandoned by the Evil Imperium. I planned to persuade them with money to make frequent hunting trips against the Evil. But the Evil One was smarter and installed BRAVE in Fountain. This will mean two things: at first -EH- will likely be the top killer alliance in nullsec, secondly they won't do hunting Evil, since why bother when they can pwn BRAVEs while watching TV. Damnit!

I'll make up some new plans to replace the missing numbers as the blood of the minions of Evil must flow! However their evacuation will involve lot of dumbasses flying their ships alone, haulers, JFs jumping to beacons and such, making the upcoming months a massacre for -EH-.

PS: even in the darkest days there is light.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Trading vs just selling or buying

Everyone trades. People sell drops, mined ore, spare ships and buy ammo, ships, modules. This means that everyone is a trader. Which is a meaningless statement, just like claiming that "everyone is a ratter" as practically everyone shoots NPCs at some point. Or that Goons are PvP-ers because they get on kill reports. However "ratter" specifically means someone who kills NPCs for their loot and bounty for the living. Missioners who kill as few rats as possible to complete the mission or miners who kill belt rats are not considered ratters.

But then what separates traders from those who trade as part of their everyday life. No, not setting sell orders instead of dumping your stuff into buy orders, that just make you non-moron. Any ratter with more than 2 brain cells will set a 4-800M sell order for his deadspace loot, instead of selling it for a 1M ISK buy order. No, not everyone has 2 brain cells, otherwise no one would bother to set those buy orders.

No, the defining step is investing your liquid capital into some item you don't need and will re-sale for profit. Money is called "liquid" for a reason: it can go into practically any item. You can buy ships, modules, materials, implants or even PLEX. Items have much less ways to go: they have one specific use and they can be sold for ISK. You can barter maybe, but good luck finding a partner who trades your Estamel's Modified Adaptive Invulnerability field for Nanoribbons.

By converting your money into an item, you commit to that item. If its price goes down, you'll have loss. Maybe you'll even have trouble liquidating the item. For non-traders, this step is missing. The miner is stuck with ore. The missioner is stuck with LP store items. Anyone who farms any item is stuck with it and forced to sell. They would all prefer if the ore would magically turn into ISK. Many prefer it so much, that he chooses the not so magical way of dumping it into a buy order.

The trader already has ISK, yet he buys items he doesn't need - for the hope of profit. While he holds that item, he has less ISK. Setting a buy order, waiting and setting a sell order aren't particularly hard tasks. Having the capital and the will to use it makes one a trader.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

NPE suggestion: give them missiles and drones!

Yes, I remember what I told about NPE. And it still stands. The idea below isn't an exception, merely one option worth exploring in the way I mentioned: give half of the newbies this update, the other half get the old style and see which side has better retention!

The idea came from being surprised that the wife of Rixx Javix struggles killing rats meant to be killed by newbies. I remember how I also struggled with the final NPE missions when I first did them.

The reason isn't low skillpoints or general fitting dumbness. Those rats are weak enough that it needs serious trollfit to fail to kill them. The problem is damage application aka "optimal, falloff, tracking". These are completely alien concepts to a new player and he is surprised when he hits noting because the target is either out of range or can't be tracked. When I was a newbie, I "solved" this the dumbest way as possible: mixed guns. One of them always managed to do damage and it was an improvement over "damn I'm already in structure and they aren't even scratched". Needless to say how bad it was that I "learned" that mixed guns are good.

If found the solution for this problem in a Crossing Zebras theorycrafting post about missiles. The missile damage projection formula is even more complicated than the gun formula, but it's irrelevant in the case of light missiles, as they project 100% of their paper damage on everything except afterburning frigates and even on those they project over 50%. The only way for not projecting damage with a light missile is that the target is out of its paper range, which case you can see in space how the missile loses power before reaching the target.

So the suggestion is to replace the weapon systems on the noobships and the ships offered in NPE missions of Caldari, Amarr and Minmatar to light missile launchers. Since missiles are alien to Gallente, give them drones. I mean change their noobship and one of the frigates to have no turret or launcher hardpoint but drone bay and bonuses to be on par in DPS with the noobship and basic frig of other races just by drone damage. While drones sometimes have damage projection problems, newbie rats can be tuned to be properly trackable by T1 hobgoblins. Similarly to missiles, drones give a visual feedback for out of range: they stop chasing the target.

I think more newbies would stay if CCP would remove the burden understanding damage projection mechanics at the start.

Everyone knows that the Goons are masters of spying and sowing mistrust, drama and hate among their enemies. SMA trying the same is just hilarious. I hope they never try to commit a crime (like Goons vandalizing the monument) because that would end like this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

PvE fatigue: skill and PvP over grind

I wrote that PvE activity should be time-limited (per account). However I only explained it by showing how no-lifer and bot activity drives out casuals, newbies and general bad players. These are all valid reasons, as a game which cannot be played - not won but played and enjoyed - by bad and uninvested players is a dead game.

Now I present a different approach: how such limitation enhances the gameplay of involved and veteran players. To start, I tell my own experience with PvE: I am a trader, making lots of ISK on good deals, by understanding the markets, having 300B capital invested and by taking risks of moving 10-20B on a predictable schedule trough Uedama and Niarja in my Tengus. I make enough money to literally give away two supercarrier worth every month.

Or more precisely, I make 1/2-2/3 of my ISK by trading implants between hubs with all that capital and risk and skill. What about the rest? No, not experimental and niche markets, not patch-swing-investments or price manipulation. Mining. Yes, the most lowly and baddie-friendly activity: warp to rock, press F1-F2, wait, dock. Precisely, I'm running mining missions in Hodrold. Zero skill required, no risk (if I get ganked, I shrug and grab replacement ship), capital is about a hundred replacement retrievers and a few replacement orcas, about 5-6B. How do I get about 20B/month with such lowly activity? By insane hours of my pilots. Not me, all I have to do is dock, pick new mission, undock, warp every 10-20 minutes. So when I'm home, there is no reason not to keep them logged in and and rotate them between doing my usual activities.

The problem is that to get more ISK, one doesn't have to play better or defeat competitors. He just have to be online longer. Sure, I could do more ISK by trading better. But why bother, when ISK is just rolling in while I'm not even at the computer? Without this activity I would have to improve if I wanted to get more ISK.

The point of limiting PvE time is to force players to optimize and compete instead of just throwing more accounts and semi-AFK hours on the problem. EVE supposed to be a PvP game, stellar rewards should come from dominating other players, not from running a dozen bots (or behave like a bot). I would very much prefer to find new markets and compete cunning opponents instead of just alt-tabbing back to my miners every 15 minutes. But why should I bother when there is an easy way?

I say close this easy but grindy way! Force players to interact and compete instead!

PS: I think Vince Draken should get the Francesco Schettino medal of valor!

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