Thursday, February 5, 2009

It seemed it wasn't in the cards

Well, due to real life concerns it looks like my current hiatus is now officially indefinite. I have disabled my account for the time being and will likely not be posting in the relative future until some personal situations get corrected.

Real life trumps games. Hopefully, I'll be back before too long. Later all.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Piracy or PvP

Disclaimer: This post is directed toward Pirates, PvP'ers and people that confuse these groups with pirates. This post is not meant as an insult or slight to any particular group.

Anyone who feels I have insulted their playstyle, play how you want. I am not insulting what you find fun in.

For those who get an idea to change their playstyle because of this post, remember who gave you the idea when I'm tackled by your fleet. :)

* * *

Many people seem to have a misconception on what a pirate is. So first, let me go over what does not necessarily make a pirate.
- Someone with negative reputation or a bounty. This is an outlaw.
- Someone that enjoys PvP, regardless of location. This is a PvP'er.
- Someone that kills ships using massive fleets usually overpowering targets or outnumbering them. These are gankers.
- Someone that kills easy targets solely to revel in the targets grief. This is a griefer.
- Someone that kills targets by guarding a gate. This is a camper... or a Nulsec Corp guard.

Although pirates may use these tactics, not everyone who uses these tactics are pirates.

So, what is a pirate?

Piracy is robbery committed without permission from a nation. As most PvP is based around killing, not robbery, most PvP'ers that are not attempting to commit theft are not pirates. Furthermore, PvP'ers that are killing targets to loot the remains may be pirate-like, but they are not committed pirates.

How can you tell a pirate vs. a PvP'er?

Piracy in the Caribbeans was very close to a democratic environment. The Captain remained as long as he is trusted (or feared) by the crew. If the crew felt the captain was no longer worthy or if the Captain died they would vote a new captain into place (Black Bart became a pirate by force and became captain by vote when the previous captain died)

Pirates had two flags they used. The most common flag was the black and white flag. This flag designated that the pirates would take prisoners (or allow those that surrender free). When the target is generally hostile (naval ships) or the vessel is part of a group the pirates don't like (British East India Trading Company) the pirates will use the black and red flag. This flag means "No quarter, none expected" (all will be killed and the pirates expect the same in return), this flag is flown normally because the target is either a group that has broken "pirate code" or to ward away targets with little value (naval vessels are normally not worth combating due to it's massive firepower and little cargo).

PvP'ers in contrast are closer to the concept of murderers. They would "in essence" only fly the black and red flag. Earnings are gained only through collecting undamaged items found in the wreckage of ships instead of attempting to give terms to the target that is more beneficial to both the pirates and the targets.

What does this have to do with piracy in Eve?

Proper piracy means thinking less like a murderer and more like a corporation. You are attempting to get as much profit as possible with as little cost as possible. So a good pirate is not looking for a kill, but an easy target. The idea is to get the most profit by having the target surrender and provide for the pirates demands vs. having their ship and potentially their cyberware destroyed. This gives the pirates their profit without the potential loss from a fire-fight. Also, this means the pirate can ask for something less tragic from the target to entice a non-combative outcome.

Therefore, piracy is more about blackmail than PvP. Remember this the next time you call that ganker a pirate.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MMOGconomics 3: Player Interdependency

In this installment, we'll discuss how different players and play styles effect others in an economic sense.

First lets start where it all begins: Gatherers
Miners/Scavengers/Researchers gather materials that are the building blocks of the major items. Miners and scavengers gather raw components and Researchers create the blueprints for the final product.

Next is the creators of the products: Builders
Ship Builders/Module Builders/Riggers use the raw materials to create the final products used by all pilots.

And our final group of players: Consumers
Combat Pilots use the Builders items to earn money and in turn buy better items.

So, how do these groups interconnect?

Gatherers and Builders
The most obvious connection. Gatherers sell raw materials to Builders and Builders sell gathering items to Gatherers (making gatherers Consumers as well)

Builders and Consumers
Again very obvious. Builders sell completed materials to Consumers and Consumers give Builders ISK for more raw materials.

Simple, right? Now lets look at the last connection within this web.

Consumers and Gatherers
Depending on the Consumer, this group will either protect or attack gatherers. This will cause the worth of the materials either go up (harder to get because of combat) or lower (easier to get because of protection).

So let's go through a few scenarios to get a feel as to how these connections effect the market.

Scenario Base
- Several miners find some prime real estate to mine Zydrine. An item needed for many items to be made.
- The price dictates how many can be bought by the Builder that will be used to make a line of Thoraxes.
- The builder prices his Thoraxes to earn money back from expenses for the raw materials and to make some profit for himself.

Basic, right? Let's start the first chain of events:

Scenario #1
- The Thoraxes are bought by pirates (Consumer), and begins to terrorize Zydrine miners.
- The miners increase the price of Zydrine to pay for mercenaries (Consumer).
- The price for Thoraxes goes up to compensate for the rise in Zydrine.
- The pirates fight the mercenaries.
- The pirates and the mercenaries have to pay more for new Thoraxes.

So, because pirates attacked miners all consumers inevitably had to pay more for their new Thoraxes.

Let's change who buys the Thoraxes and see the results.

Scenario #2
The Thoraxes are bought by a NulSec Corporation (Consumer), and begins a NulSec war creating more demand because of ship losses.
- The price of Thoraxes goes up as demand does to afford more Zydrine.
- The price of Zydrine goes up as demand does.
- More miners try to mine Zydrine causing supply to increase and decreasing the price of Zydrine.
- The price of Thoraxes drops with the price of Zydrine.

Here is a basic example of economic rebound caused by an increase in demand. Obviously, a drop in demand (the NulSec War ends) would rebound the opposite way with a drop in price and less miners mining. How about the recent "Eve Economic crisis" regarding dupe* raw materials?

Scenario #3
- Several miners learn how to dupe* Zydrine.
- An increase of Zydrine enters the market dropping the price dramatically.
- Because people who do not exploit Zydrine are not getting a fair price they mine other materials, increasing the price slightly.
- As more Thoraxes can be made cheaper, the price drops as well.
- CCP discovers the dupe* process and begins banning and cleaning up the exploit.
- The excess Zydrine is removed from the market leaving very little supply (all the miners left remember) exponentially increasing the price.
- The price of Thoraxes jumps in line with Zydrine.
- More miners move in to mine Zydrine. This reestablishes the Zydrine market and lowers the price.
- Thoraxes drop in relation to the Zydrine.

In Closing
Markets are, by default, a reestablishing system. External forces can destroy a market, but markets will reestablish themselves as long as the basic economic rules remain. Also, events caused by any member of the system, including pirates and CCP, effect the economy. The economy also inevitably creates a chain of events that will effect every player.

So remember, regardless of your position in the game, the economics of your actions will effect you.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Bad Luck

Thanks to work, various external projects, my personal exercise plan and a long running technical issue I still have not been in game recently (except to swap out skills). Luckily, I think the computer issue is solved, so I should be back and running soon.

Also, I haven't played FPSes since the first Half-Life, so Fallout is much more difficult than I expected.

See you all in game soon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

MMOGconomics 2: Money Sinks, Spawn Time and PvP

In this installment of MMOconomics, we'll discuss how artificial resource maintenance can stabilize MMO economy.

Money Sinks
To decrease flowing currency (currency is a resource too), developers add items that are purchased from NPC's. Giving the NPC's money decreases the amount in the player base and effectively removes it from circulation (Eve: Skill books, WoW: Mounts, ect.). In Eve, items are bought by NPC's as well to maintain their worth. Other methods similar to this are repair costs.

Spawn Time
In order to decrease resources from being constantly fluxing in, games limit the amount of resources are obtainable at a given time. Although this does not make resources infinite, it does make only a finite available for a given period of time. This artificial limit decreases overall influx of resources making the supply stable.

PvP is another excellent way to remove resources from the market. If a player's ship is destroyed, the ship and all unlootable items are removed from the market. This also forces combat players to constantly input more into the market then just getting upgrades.

Monday, January 5, 2009

MMOGconomics 1: Economics 101 and MMO's

A lot of individuals seem confused how MMO's and economics work. A lot of people have very odd questions that seem to be answered through basic economics. So over the course of the next three weeks I plan to go through some MMO economics and how that applies to the average MMO player. Hopefully, these three installments will open more people's eyes to the effects of economy and the cause & effect systems surrounding it. Make a note that most of these apply to any MMO and not exclusively Eve Online.

This week, we'll go over basic economic theory and how that applies and doesn't apply to MMO's.

Basic Economics

All economics is based off of the basic concept of supply and demand. The more supply that is available the less an item is worth, also the more people demand an item the more it's worth.

Image credited to

This basic concept has one important keynote to keep a collapse of the system from occurring:

There is only a finite amount of resources.

In reality, there is always a finite amount of everything and therefore this rule will always be maintained.

MMO Economics
In MMO's, this law of economics is broken by default, because every resource would inevitably deplete leaving nothing for players. As such, other artificial methods are implemented to remove resources from the player's and the game. Usually referred to as "money sinks" and "spawn time", MMO's require these artificial methods to maintain an unbroken economy in the game itself.

MMO Resources
In every MMO, some resources are broken. Here is the list of every common MMO resource and it's status.

Construction items - Items used to build useful items and tools are
commonly infinite. There will always be a place to mine or wreak/body to use a skill to remove resources that can be used to make useful equipment.

Currency - Due to missions/quests, bounties, ect. there is an infinite amount of monetary gain available.

Time - This is one of the key resources that is not infinite.

Effort - Human effort also is finite. As such, an infinite amount of ore may be available, but human effort limits the amount of usable resources.

MMO's utilize time and effort (as finite resources) and create artificial economic controls centered around these items to stimulate the worth of these items.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Projects, I have a few

I have been so busy with holiday stuff and work that I still can't really play EvE. The time isn't there and I have new toys from Christmas I need to use or else my wife will kill me ;P.

So, after working on Smackdown vs Raw 2009, Fallout 3 and I can get a break from work I'll be back.

Since I don't have any real informative posts planned this Monday I'll tell everyone what I have been doing lately. To pass the time at work, I have been working on two projects:

- My Training plan. I'm moving back to focusing on core skills to improve my overall combat piloting. I lost track of my goals in pushing toward Interceptors which, although fun, needs to be below the priority of my common core skills. Luckily, I'll have some time off soon, so I can get those "babysitting levels" that I've been putting off up to reasonable numbers.

- EvEosphere. After really looking at the amount of information that we, the EvE Bloggers, have published, I figure we have probably the most comprehensive EvE Guides collectively. As such, I think that if we merged our collective information in one central location we can become a one-stop for every guide that CCP should have made, but never did. I also foresee this making CrazyKinux's job a little easier as the self-proclaimed EvE Blog manager ;P

Also, from looking at the EvE Blog community I learned something very interesting. The most informative demographic is the most cutthroat. Pirates have more blogs than any other demographic. Which is kind of odd since they are the ones who profit the least from knowledgeable EvE players. Any ideas why that is?