Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Quote of the Week: Trivia

I'm torn.  The quote of the week should definitely be one of the many tweets sent out this past week by CCP Diagoras.  But which one?

This one is tempting:
43.74% of Tornadoes destroyed this year so far were destroyed by CONCORD or sentry guns. 1,219 of 2,787 total. Criminal. #tweetfleet
But so is this one:
54,991 capitals built in 2011 in total; Carriers being the single largest group with 24,028. #tweetfleet
But I think I'll actually go with this one, which is the answer to "what percentage of active characters with more than 5 million skill points are in high-sec?":
And the answer to the % of >5m SP chars in high sec is... 67%! Lower than any of the guesses. See the pic! #tweetfleet

CCP Diagoras has been an absolute fountain of information this past week.  Go check out his tweets this week, as reported by EN24.  In fact, there's only one common thread linking all the information that Diagoras has shared with us in the last week: all of it is trivial and useless.  It's completely pointless!  It's roughly as useful to the average EVE player as knowing exactly what percentage of Americans put honey in their oatmeal.  Actually, no.  It's less useful than that because at least a honey manufacturer might find that last fact useful to his business.

Transparency in business is defined as openness, communication, and accountability in the business information being communicated.  When you are being transparent, you are removing all barriers to the free public access of information.  Put simply, a clerk at a check-out counter ringing up the purchase of your groceries is being transparent: you know exactly how much each item costs and can make business decisions based on those costs whether you really want to buy those bananas or not.  An appliance repairman presenting a non-itemized bill for $300 to fix your dishwasher is not being transparent: you don't know how much the parts are costing compared to the labor or how that amount was arrived at.  True data is information produced that you can make business decisions based on.

As someone who closely followed and reported on the data produced by CCP's Quarterly Economic Newsletters and could make economic decisions about my EVE play based on the data contained in them, I find this "data" from Diagoras not only useless but actively insulting.  It presents the illusion of transparency when really, it's anything but.  Over the last six months or so, there's been a clear and conscious direction on CCP's part to limit the EVE player's access to useful in-game data.

And this stuff from Diagoras is a lovely example: it's trivia.

This came to a head for me when in the past six weeks, Diagoras has had time to produce not one, not two, but three devblogs full of this crap.  There's time to produce this trivial garbage, but not a true QEN or even an annual economic newsletter?  Really?

I've chatted with Diagoras a few times in e-mail and he strikes me as a really smart guy who has his act together.  He's clearly organized, professional, and thinks things through.  His actions and statements during the Fearless debacle last summer were similarly above reproach.  But this stuff is not only wasting my time, it's wasting his.

How about dumping the trivia and giving us some real data, Diagoras?  How would that be?


  1. Where are market dumps they promise us? That would be more useful then this constant stream of interesting but useless information.

  2. "There's time to produce this trivial garbage, but not a true QEN or even an annual economic newsletter? Really?"

    Exactly! CCP, bring back the QEN!!

    1. Seems that in this instance CCP learned their lesson all too well.

      Exposing important raw data may be a nice little marketing boost when things are going well (hey, look! Our game have been growing steadily during these many years, see?), but when things turn around they come back and bite you, and with an iron jaw no less.

      When asking for serious raw data we aren't met with a negative answer, we aren't met with any answer at all.
      A few blogs here and there won't change that, nor half a dozen posts in the forums.

  3. This post is equally vapid and useless. You rail on and tear up your shirt over how he's not telling you anything interesting.

    I ask you, what the hell DO you want to know? I have no idea, and apparently neither do you. This data DOES have applications, maybe not in making money for a player, but from a gameplay balancing and game management standpoint.

    I'm really sorry if you ran out of coffee this morning, but this post is exactly the kind of useless vitriolic crap I wouldn't waste my time reading if I could help it. If you have some interesting perspectives on gameplay or, for example, ANYTHING AT ALL to say about the massive list of important changes CCP has announced in their Crucible 1.1 patch notes, it might be worth reading.

    I don't know if you're feeling a bit 'over' this whole EVE thing, but maybe you could use a breather until you have real content for your readers.

    1. I thought I made it clear enough: the data from the prior QENs. But sure. Here are ten things that I'd like to see:
      * the number of subscribed accounts;
      * the population distribution between high-sec, low-sec, null-sec, and wormhole space;
      * the ten most active systems in the game now that agent quality was removed;
      * the number of super-capital ships in the game, and the growth of them in 2011;
      * the amount of ISK paid in rat bounties in 2011, divided by quarter;
      * the amount of ISK paid in incursion bounties in 2011, divided by quarter;
      * the break-out of ISK sinks used in 2011, divided by quarter;
      * the prices of the seven basic minerals in 2011, divided by quarter;
      * the distribution of sourcing of the seven basic minerals (reprocessed loot, mining, drone alloys) in 2011, divided by quarter;
      * the average price of PLEXs in 2011, divided by month; and,
      * the distribution of produced ships, modules, and ammo, broken out by high-sec, low-sec, and null-sec.

      Wait. That's eleven. I think.

    2. Well, that's better, but that's definitely material that's entirely under the purview of the QEN when it is released. I'm sure Diagoras would be amenable to ensuring this kind of information in the next report.

      The kind of information he's reporting is interesting and, while it possibly doesn't have a direct application for you personally, important and useful information for EVE's future. If you really wanted to know these things right now, it probably wouldn't hurt to try asking him.

    3. I did. He ignored the request.

    4. as per order, I presume.

  4. you do realize that it probably didnt even take 3 minutes to produce each of these statistics? and altough stuff like this may not be useful for trading or other ingame economic decisions, it is useful for the playerbase as in, many people like to read that stuff and are interested in statistics like these. since it doesnt take much time to produce that stuff i see nothing wrong in him posting it.

    i have to agree though that i liked the economic stuff that got published jn the past and i liked the old format a lot more than these new short dev blogs about the economy of each month (like the november one). i really liked the old huge pdfs with lots of info a lot more. (sorry i forgot what these were called)

  5. More complete and useful economic data would be a good thing, but I don't know why you're railing against Diagoras' little side project. He's not providing this info because it's useful (in fact he's probably allowed to provide this info without IA oversight simply because it is not valuable) he's providing it because it's fun.

    A lot of us are really enjoying these threads and tweets, and it does help provide texture and background to the world of eve without giving anyone a strategic advantage.

    In short, stop hating on my trivia fix bro. ;)

    1. Eating ice cream and chips all day without SOME members of the four basic food groups is not good for you. ;-)

    2. I'm not saying they shouldn't improve their data sharing tools. The QENs were amusingly out of touch with eve on quite a few points, but they were still much better than what we have now. I'm in favour of doing data dumps of most key economic data in as much detail as possible.

      But you seem to be viewing these trivia tidbits as a replacement for CCP's old QEN strategy. I see them as an extension of the initiative that includes the influx of CCP devs on twitter, the CCP "let's try to pvp" fleets and the croudsourcing of new low hanging fruit ideas. They are about engaging the community, providing entertaining events, and encouraging CCPers do some side work in areas of eve they are the most enthusiastic about.

      So basically I agree with you on what CCP is missing, but I disagree with your opinion about what they are currently doing. They should do both, and there's nothing about this trivia explosion that prevents them from doing the more serious work as well.

    3. These little tid-bits and the even-more-useless tid-bits around the "consumer price index" are all we have, so it's hard NOT to view them as the replacement.

      The larger issue I wanted to put focus on with my post is the lack of transparency at CCP.

      Let's take subscriber numbers alone. This used to be something that CCP took a fierce pride in making public. We haven't seen that data all year. Granted, I'm sure some of this is due to embarrassment about unsubs over the summer. But it's going to be VERY interesting to see if CCP releases this data at Fanfest, where they traditionally show off this number.

    4. I think the CPI blogs are what CCP saw as the replacement for the QENs. These tidbits seem like an entirely different thing to me. They're obviously aimed at the general eve populace instead of the Market Discussion forum for instance.

      I'm completely with you in your interest in what metrics CCP will show off at fanfest btw, especially considering how they have loved to show the employee numbers at the same time and those would be a bit depressing for everyone involved this year.

    5. Just going to join my voice to Raivi's and add one more thing - Diagoras is actually a pretty busy guy but, more importantly:

      The amount of effort it takes him to pull up any one of these 'useless facts' is much less that it took you to write this blog. Building to tools to do it (which are used for a lot of other things) was hard, but pulling the data is literally a matter of 30 seconds of effort and then sending out a tweet.

      Secondly, a year ago he would possibly have been fired for releasing some of this information. Yes, CCP was just that bad and I'm not even joking. :)

    6. It's rather depressing that I believe you (on both points). And in terms of effort, I was looking more at those three devblogs.

      But if it takes so little effort to generate trivial data, then how about generating useful data instead?

      Still, I nudged him a few times today and sent in some requests and he said he'd look into them tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

  6. Do you the data being released is really Diagoras' decision? Of course not. CCP is not going back down the road of any statistics that have a potential to blow up in their faces. Your blog of all places can attest to that.

    Your intention was to highlight the willful neglect of QEN-style data, and there are better ways to do that than single out someone just doing there job.

  7. Geez, Jester, did your evil twin pee into your cereals? I love your blog and your mostly balanced view but this one was a bit much. CCP is an _entertainment_ corporation with shareholders and has no requirement to release _any_ of that data to players. The tweets are fun, entertaining to the masses and an amusing break from work. That's all.

    Now, if you want a real dialogue, propose to the Devs / GMs / Marketing folks how releasing more actual data can make them more dollars. Not ISK. Hard money. And then they will listen.

  8. EVE is a game we play. CCP is not obliged to release anything, especially what they may consider to be business orientated statistics, that a rivel might find useful.

    I liked your blog much better when you concentrated on the game itself, i.e. FOTW, Missions, Incursions, and gameplay, that sort of thing. I don't like the politics side of your blog at all. And I don't think you,or anyone for that matter should berate CCP employees. It's just plain rude.

    Let's get back to gameplay, and remember we are not all 0.0 players or have huge amounts of skill points, or huge amounts of ISK.

  9. This did come across as a bit vitriolic. I don't think it's a question of QEN or Diagoras's tweets/blogs so much as Diagoras's tweets/blogs or nothing at all. The difference between this and the transparency examples you gave being that we all know how much CCP charges us to play. That's really the only statistic you should be expecting as a customer.

    Also, if you'd like some idea of the subs, Hilmar and David Reid (first thing I've seen from him btw) gave an interview to Develop. In it, they're asked about subs. The answer being that overall 2011 saw growth, but they have yet to reach the same numbers they had just prior to summer.

  10. What information would be useful, Jester? And to whom?

    The list you've given would only be of interest to people managing the game, or to people running massive industrial operations. There's nothing in there that would actually be useful to "the little guy" (i.e.: the people playing casually trying to make a profit from a few hundred manufacturing runs a week).

    The market prices you're after are right there in the client - why does CCP Diagoras need to provide that information for you? If you need help, head over to EVE Central or similar sites.

    Why does CCP Diagoras need to provide "useful" information when he's posting his trivia? The stuff he's posting is enough to get the intelligent people thinking. There are ways to get the information you're after that isn't commercial sensitive to CCP.

  11. You got 1 meaningful number: 67% of 5M+ SP peoples live in hisec. Easy inference: 67% of CCPs paying subscribers want safety and security, even in a damned video game.
    Less easy but still not difficult conclusion: expect to see hisec buffing and pandering to care/Yogibears.

  12. "You got 1 meaningful number: 67% of 5M+ SP peoples live in hisec. Easy inference: 67% of CCPs paying subscribers want safety and security, even in a damned video game.
    Less easy but still not difficult conclusion: expect to see hisec buffing and pandering to care/Yogibears."

    That's characters, not accounts. Given that the number of accounts with characters in nullsec is a number available to CCP and given that CCP is running around trying to appease the null crowd as of late, I think it's a safe guess that a large portion of the playerbase resides, at least some of the time, outside of highsec.

    1. Yep. I have three characters with >5m SP that reside full-time in high-sec. One has never left high-sec. Yet I don't consider myself a high-sec player.

    2. Ah, right. I forgot, I'm the only schmuck who only has 3 characters between 2 accounts and NEVER dualboxes them. Must be why I fail at EVE. :-/ Derp.

  13. I highly doubt CCP would release that information. It is too easily taken advantage of and used for manipulative purposes. CCP always like the players being manipulative, but they always had to do hard work for it and no easy way in.

    Is kind of highly interesting data you wanted, but I highly doubt CCP would trust the players enough to release it or so.

  14. A blog post about how someone's tweets are meaningless? Have you lost all perspective?


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