Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New crawl

I was always interested in politics, but kept this to myself. But 10 months ago I took a deep breath and endorsed Trump. Form there, my blog had more and more politics posts, mirroring more and more time spent on politics. This was a very exciting and thought provoking journey. What it wasn't is productive.

The problem isn't that Trump didn't turn out the historic figure he looked in August. He still doesn't have a wall, there aren't mass deportations of migrants and - even if lesser extent than Obama - he still upkeeps the wars in Afganistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. He didn't break ties with Saudi-Arabia and the rest of the terrorism financing countries. He did not end the unwinnable and pointless proxy war with Russia in Ukraine.

The problem is that I don't and can't contribute to these goals. Unless you join an armed revolutionary group and fight the government, your actions are limited to voting and dragging others to vote. I did my part with campaigning. I can and will do it in further elections where illiberal, "my nation first" candidates stand against globalist liberals. But pondering about details, making plans and analysis is a waste of time. I cannot carry out these plans. I cannot act on the conclusions of the analysis.

On the other hand I can change the thinking of people taking part of my projects. Awful lot of people realized that "you must carry your lazy and stupid friends" is a social bullshit, thanks to my WoW projects. I have a collection of "thank you" letters from back then. I'm not getting new ones, because I'm not doing anything that people can be thankful for. I've joined the endless ranks of pundits babbling about politics instead. The WoT project was also largely successful. EVE was mostly a failure but at least I revealed how deep corruption can go among developers - against the interest of the company. Considering I had the highest traffic EVE fansite after the big 3 (En24, Themittani, Zebra), I'm sure that my posts took hundreds of players from them and I watch the EVE-Offline graph with vindication ever since. My BDO page still generates awful lot of traffic as I figured out how to make stupid amount of money there while AFK. Too bad that I couldn't figure out any point to spend it. My LoL project was far from that successful, and I keep making promises about redoing it - but I babbled about politics instead of actually taking action. Albion was a short detour as the corruption became obvious soon enough. Archeage was a flat out alibi project: I knew from the start that I won't stay in this game, but it filled my blog and allowed me to continue with the guilty pleasure of Huffpo + Breitbart + 20 political social media channels + r/thedonald.

Not anymore. I will use my time finding and building my next project where people can participate and act instead of talking and wishing and hoping. I went cold turkey on reading any politics-related in English (I still reading local news but that's not interesting for anyone outside of my small country and there aren't much news to read here).

Not doing something else is needed to do something, but insufficient. The reason why this post is called " new crawl" is because I start to crawl over the blogroll of my remaining 4!!! (added some since) blogs I follow and add them to my own blogroll and keep crawling. I'll spend my time researching the gaming scene instead of the political.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The one case where democracy really matters (and that's enough)

Maxim is still not convinced that it's enough that the Western people don't hate Russia at all. "The only thing you need to convince me of is that what the West actually does is consistent with the will of its people."

He has a point. Many things happened recently in the West that the people did not approve. Migrants, multiculturalism, international trade, bank bailouts and the abolishing of death penalty are things where the popular opinion is strongly opposing the view of the elites. And we have to see that in most Western countries these things were successfully forced on the people. So why should he be comforted that the Trump voters are openly pro-Russian?

Because there is one thing that needs democratic support, even in the most bizarre dictatorships: war. Oppression is based on indifference. The ordinary guy keeps his mouth shut as long as he has his home, his food and his booze. So he won't do anything when journalists or politicians are arrested, when women are forced to wear burka or everyone must march on May 1. He can be upset, but he won't risk his pitiful life by resisting the oppressors. But war takes all of it anyway. He isn't at home, he is in the trenches while back his family is in danger of bombs. He can't just close the door and ignore politics while getting drunk front of the TV. Politics came to his life and he has to participate.

When the Nation agrees on the war - even if they don't agree on other things with the leadership - they fight. When they don't, they revolt. The best example is World War 1 Russia where the czar ordered the people to attack the Axis because the Axis attacked Serbia. The people weren't happy about that and soon communist agitators gained power among them. The result is that the soldiers turned their guns on their officers and the pro-war government failed. The new one signed the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty.

While open World War 3 was always very unlikely, the Western elite initiated multiple wars against smaller non-west countries, many that can be considered Russian proxies, mostly Syria. But they cannot win them because the people aren't committed to it. Sure, they can do some bombings and missile launches but nothing that requires sacrifice. It's not that "Trump won't attack". It's that if Hillary could send a couple ten thousand more noncitizens to vote in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania she couldn't attack either. Her war would fail on the national outrage when the coffins start to arrive, when the various US utilities are shut down by hackers, when the ISIS (with some help) start to blow up buildings in the mainland. Don't get me wrong, none of these could stop the USA if it was committed. But it's not. These attacks would merely force the people to get out of their chairs and do something. And "something" can be signing up for the army if he believes in the war or marching "Hell no, we won't go!" if he doesn't.

The "deep state" can upkeep the sanctions for a while. They can throw some random bombs. They can make coups in weak countries. But they lost the ability to fight a war when they lost the support of the Western people.

Also, something is changing. For ages "spending more money = winning election" was a triviality, since money equaled media coverage and tone and these equaled independent votes. Democrats just lost the single most spent special election (Georgia 6th district), with Dems outspending Reps badly. Why? Because most independents (people who care little about politics) are now getting their (mis)information from social media. The TV can lie all day if his friends spread an opposite lie. Therefore elites are losing their ability to decide elections, so truly people's candidates can win, who do what they say. I of course don't mean that Handel or even Trump is such candidate, but their wins show that such candidate at least can exist, while it couldn't 5 years ago.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weekend minipost: Goons will never change

I've just wrote that the crazy supercarrier ratting started with the Goon-led coalition signing the "document of shame".

They didn't change a bit. In this piece on their propaganda site they declare that ratting income shouldn't be limited because "what will happen with the little guy"?

If this doesn't open the eyes of those who still bug me to go back to EVE, I don't know what.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Archeage project is almost done

I'll soon post the "how to make gold in Archeage" page, though I have doubts if many people care. I don't blame them. Archeage doesn't contain any feature that BDO doesn't and that game has better graphics and more "skill" based combat. I've found worthy results, mainly the "pay-for-less-than-zero" pricing method.

The moneymaking method I'll outline is simple, zero-brain and "per account". I make about 600G/day on top of APEX for subscription with a few clicks, zero risk and I could increase it by starting up more accounts. This is a problem alone and deserves a post.

However I've also faced that such projects are neither engaging, nor interesting for more than a small core following. I reached much more people in my EVE years, because I was interacting with other projects. Here I buy from the anonymous AH and sell back the products. If I'd be replaced by a bot, no one would notice. In the Archeage community (assuming there is any) I'm totally irrelevant and even if I'd run 30 accounts instead of 3, making 5K/day (takes $70/day to P2W such money), I would still be totally irrelevant. I have to admit that I miss the days when a dozen Goons yelled me that I'm irrelevant.

The reason of this project was the hope that one of the then-beta games grow up to at least "beta but release date set" state. It didn't happen. There is no such news about Life is Feudal, Crowfall and co. If you know of such game, by all means, tell me! I also hoped that some miracle happens with Albion, but no, the final patch before release arrived with no removal of the premium currency speculation.

I also realized, both in game and by spending way too much time on Huffington post and Breitbart that talking changes nothing. I need a project where people can get involved, practicing the ideas instead of talking about it. Only action helps improvement. Also, I'm even more sure that the next project must be creative instead of destructive. Sure, those who are contesting our goals must be slain, but finding an "evil" and going out of my way to fight it is something I won't do again.

So I'm out again looking for a "home", a game which I can play together with others, building something. I still suffer from the "compare it to EVE" syndrome, but at least I know it's false and EVE never had what I attributed to it. But I'm also leaving Archeage with renewed confidence that there can be games where the developers aren't manipulating things silently. Everything here works as it supposed to work. It's maybe shallow, but it's giving what it's offering.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The weirdo clash theory

I've written about it multiple times, but - thanks to lots of reading and thinking - I can show exactly why different cultures can't live together. At first, let's look at the World:

The little blue guy is me, sitting in the center of my universe. The green zone are people close enough so they can be my friends. Maybe some family too, because our common upbringing helps with having things in common. In the orange zone, there are the "strange ones". People who are different enough to not be my friends, but close enough that we have common grounds. Coworkers, "internet friends", guys I say hello to. In the red zone there are the "bad ones". I don't like them, because their ways are too far from mine, and as my ways are perfect - by definition - they are wrong. Islamists, communists and people who spam anal jokes while standing in the fire.

Secondly, let's understand why I agree with my friend that Joe from marketing is a dumbass:

As you can see, Joe is in the "weird" zone for both of us, far from us, while we are close. But let's see something nastier, why my best friend and girlfriend can't get along:
While both of them are in my green zone, they are not in each other's green zones. I can't fix that, because neither one is "wrong" (much different from me). I can't yell at either one of them to change, because they aren't doing things very wrong. The only smart thing I can do is keeping them away from each other. Most people experience it as "mother-in-law" problem.

Let's move to a more interesting topic: society. In this case, I'm not in the center. The stereotypical "real countryman" is. As socials are products of their culture, they are mostly close to this norm:

Those who get close enough to the norm are the "decent guys". Those who are in the "weird-zone" of the ideal are ... the weird ones: punks, vegans, followers of some 5% party, very fat guys, people with many piercings and tattoos and so on. The red zone is for criminals. They are so far from the norm that there are formal laws against them. You can be a communist party member (weird), but you can't steal from the rich (criminal). You can babble about animal rights, but you can't break into a farm to liberate the pigs.

It would be nice and shiny, if we wouldn't have the best friend-girlfriend problem again:
This is the viewpoint of Fiona about the same society. On the previous picture you could see her as weird according to the society for being a tree-hugging animal rights activists. In her views, the meat-eater mainstream is weird. So far, so good. Mike is considered flat out criminal by the society for attacking slaughterhouses. But look that Mike is just weird in the eyes of Fiona. While she doesn't support the attacks, she doesn't consider them worse than working in the slaughterhouse, which is considered a normal job by the society. She finds it unjust that Mike is getting jail time while those who "murder" animals are getting salary and welcomed to parties and have friends. Actually more friends than Fiona herself, as she has less people in her range due to being different from the society norm.

It's crucial to understand that Fiona is not responsible for her "distorted" viewpoint and her viewpoint is actually not more distorted than the viewpoint of any of us. After all, she is a law-abiding citizen like every one of us and her distance from the imaginary blue guy is not measurable. It's not like there is an office that give out "cultural conformity badges". While a bunch of people might tell her she is weird, but that's not an objective position and their argument is not more valid than the opinion of Fiona. Still, Fiona is out of luck, merely because she is not conforming to an unwritten, somewhat fluid norm. Mike is flat out breaking the written law (that's an objective thing, regardless of the morality of the law), so he deserves his jail time, but that doesn't help Fiona coping with the perceived injustice.

However there is nothing she can do about it. She is just one person against the system if she stands up for Mike. Besides changing her position (radicalizing or giving up and conforming) she only have the option of becoming more political: she learns to condemn Mike (despite she considers this unfair) and try to persuade people in her green zone to come closer to her and further from the blue guy. Save puppies, petition against slaughterhouses and farm where animals are in pain, things that are both mainstream and Fiona-ish.

Let's see now Fatima, who is an enlightened and educated Muslim and Mohammad who is an extremist:
Oh wait, it's the same picture. So the solution is the same, as before, right? Mohammad will be the new cellmate of Mike and Fatima just has to live with it, like Fiona. Except, there are awful lot of Muslims in the country:

If you didn't notice, it's simply the original picture copy-pasted on itself with the blue guy placed on Fatima (in accordance with my belief that they aren't having more extremists than we do). Please note that the green zones are pretty close to each other, just as a liberal would say "we are not so apart from each other". Indeed not. But there are the two sections next to the intersection. On the Muslim side there are people - lots of people - who are considered somewhat weird by mainstream Muslims, but outright criminal by mainstream Westerns. For example those who perform child marriage, female genital mutilation, cover their whole face disallowing identification, want to ban women from public places and so on. On the Western side, there are people - lots of people - who are considered weird by mainstream Westerns but outright criminal by Muslims: those who make offensive cartoons, openly gays, pot-smokers, slutwalker feminists and so on (please note that none of these are anti-Muslim per se, yet completely unacceptable to Muslims). Both sides will move against the opposite weirdos with force, considering them criminals and they have the force to do it. Both sides will protect their own weirdos since they are just weird, but OK people and they have the force tho do it. This creates a violent conflict. When cops go to the Muslim district to arrest a husband of a child as rapist, Muslims will be out with force to stop it. When Muslim activists vandalize a gay bar, the police will come out with force to stop it.

There can be only two solutions for that:
  • Deportation: the bigger and stronger sides evict the weaker one from the common living space
  • Melting pot: a new, common identity is created (like when "American" identity was made from the various European migrants of the colonies) and all people are accepting this new identity.
Either way a singular culture will exist in the land, not multiculturalism. Members of two cultures will always violently clash, not because of the two mainstreams (they can get along), but because both of them will defend people who they consider "somewhat weird" but considered "hateful criminals" by the other group.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Free play with loyalty and the next generation of game pricing

There are loyalty points in Archeage. You get 5 every day for logging in with subscription. You get 1 more per hour, 3 maximum for being logged in. Yes, just logged in, you can idle with a level 1 character and get it. You can spend these points in the marketplace, "award" section.

My favorite item is Lucid Synthium Stone. I have no idea what it's good for. All I know is that it costs 40 loyalty and sells for 160 gold on the marketplace, so 4G/pt. Other stuff sells for bit less if it's obvious, while items that needs lots of points at once like rare gems, sell for more. For now, let's run with 4G/pt.

Every day you can get 8 pt just for being subscribed and logged in, without any in-game activity, just like skillpoints in EVE. Subscription gives 30 days and you can collect points on both EU and NA realms. So you get 30*8*2 = 480pt. You can sell it for 1920 Gold. You can buy 2x APEX (token) for 1500 gold and be subscribed.

You probably see the point now: you can be infinitely subscribed after subscribing once, just by cashing out your loyalty points that you get for being subscribed. It's crucial to note that it's not the decision of the game designers. They give out loyalty points and set up the store. They did not tell people to value loyalty store items so high. They also set no gold value for APEX. You can buy APEX for fix $10 in the item shop, but nothing forces other players to give only 750 gold for it and nothing forces an APEX owner to sell for so little. These prices are all player accepted. I wrote "accepted" because I can't prove that the price isn't manipulated by the dev. But while the dev can set any price (by spawning items or gold and making sales or buys), they can't make players accept it. If players would value $10 higher than 750 gold, they wouldn't buy tokens in the shop and there is nothing the dev could do about it (the price needs to be higher to allow people going infinite).

In another game we got the same result, despite here there is no "community" and no sign of corruption. What I've found in EVE isn't EVE specific, but industry-specific: players value in-game advantage and pay for it so much that if it's bundled with game time, the game time portion is valued below zero.

I'd like to stress the "below" part. I can keep some gold every month after selling my loyalty points. In EVE there were huge SP farms printing money after subscription, used usually for RMT. What does that mean? That the proper pricing of games is not zero (free to play, pay to win), but negative. I believe soon a game dev realizes this truth and implements the new pricing scheme: paid to play. Yes, I believe the players will be offered a small sum, like $3-5 per month to play a game and be somewhat active - and totally uncompetitive, serving as food for the pay-to-win players.

Laugh all the way you want that it won't ever happen, ignoring that it's already happening: the RMT-ers are literally paid to "play". Sure, it's illicit and the devs hunt it. But why ban it when you can control and tax it? Instead of letting a few guys get rich, damaging game balance, let lots of guys get little money in exchange to playing the way you want them to play, creating content.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

If only someone could predict crazy supercarrier ratting 3 years ago

CCP announced a nerf for fighters (the weapons of supercarriers and attack carriers in EVE Online) based on the data that about 1/4 of the ratting was done by 1.4% of the players, using supercarriers and another 1/4 by 5% of the players using carriers. They mention that an extreme increase of ISK influx from ratting warranted the change.

Extreme, indeed. I left EVE just when it started, noticing that from that point not even the best play can compete with the advantages given out to "the right people" in the Citadel expansion. But it's not when I knew it's coming. It was in Sept 30 2014. I wrote a post that was copied to EN24 (proving that I didn't stealth edit some old post to look perfect match). It was about the "document of shame", an open letter written by most "leaders of nullsec" demanding boosts to ratting and removal of conflict drivers. I wrote:
I urge CCP to realize that the signatories are personally depending on Nullsec being stagnant and would go great length to prevent any conflict. The best event that ever happened in EVE – B-R – which brought unprecedented player influx to EVE is their worst nightmare. Where we see a spectacular battle, they see $300000 lost income! The ISK they have to give to their pilots to reimburse the losses is an ISK they can’t keep for themselves for “purposes”. Remember when Montolio lost his coalition overnight for trying to play EVE instead of Jabber or when Nulli was reseted for trying to remove Providence that serves as a distraction for all to prevent a N3-CFC conflict.

The crucial point is “We believe that vast swathes of conquerable nullsec are essentially worthless to our line members and can only support the activity of a handful of players in each system. We would like to see the value of individual systems increased to support a dense ecosystem of players undocked and interacting within single system.” In short: “we need solar systems to allow more ratters”. This is numerically provable lie. Let’s look at the Dotlan toplist of August. Best ratting system: RQNF-9 with 578665 rat kills. So you can surely kill at least this amount of rats in a single system. If we assume that it’s the theoretical maximum (it’s not), than in all 3295 nullsec systems people could kill 1900 million rats in a month. Number of rats killed in August in Nullsec: 97M. Yes, that’s about 5% utilization and these shameless liars claim that nullsec is full and ratting should be made easier.

Why do they do it? Let me translate “a dense ecosystem of players undocked and interacting within single system”: “50+ Nyxes ratting in the same system in fleet under cynojam.” Each is farming in its own anom, if one is tackled, the rest warp to it and no small gang can break the spider tank of 50+ Nyxes! Currently such farm is impossible as a system can’t support more than 4-6 Nyxes, that is too small number to tank BL, Snuff Box, MoA, Tri or Hard Knocks (they didn’t sign, surprise!).
Well, they are using Hels, my bad. Since CCP accepted their demand, every change pointed to this direction: less conflicts, more anoms, stronger ratting ships and as a bonus, market control via citadels. Needless to say that for a game that sells itself as "PvP", this is suicide. But the devs pressed on, because they are not loyal to CCP nor care for the survival of the game, they are loyal to their "content creator friends". Their loyalty is so strong that they'd cover up a real world crime, run a cyberbully campaign on any player daring to shoot their spaceships in a spaceship shooter game or give them IP and marketing for free to bank $150K from CCP customers.

And this won't end with the nerf. While the nerfs will decrease the 140M ticks to 100M, someone running 17 supercarrier bots will still make 4-5 Billion ISK per hour, while not even at the keyboard. What would end this? Let's consult that 3 years old post:
What should CCP do instead? What they did with ice belts! Anoms spawn and if you rat them out, they won’t respawn in X hours, you must move to another system. Make the spawn rate so high that perfect ratting would allow a bit less than what’s killed today. This would make the space used, as ratters would need to move around. It would also force PvP as safeing up and waiting for local to clear would mean that others kill the limited anoms.
Will this happen? Don't hold your breath!

PS: please link it to r/eve. Or even better, link the old EN24 article with something like "Gevlon told it 3 years ago".