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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Quote of the Week: I broke EVE

Again, I'm not doing my job with this feature unless I pick this one for QOTW (edited slightly):
It's me.  I broke EvE.  TL;DR: I got rich and forced CCP to change their bad game design.
This week's quote comes from FHC member Postradamus, who was good enough to explain, in detail, why CCP Sreegs was forced to put out this dev blog.  As I said on Thursday, there's nearly always some mechanic within EVE that you can abuse for massive profit, and Postradamus just discovered a new one and took advantage of it.

The full post is definitely worth your time, but as is my custom, I'll summarize.

According to Postradamus, there is a particular COSMOS mission in a 0.5 system that contains nine rooms.  Each of the nine rooms spawns a rat battleship and cruiser on a schedule frequent enough to make 5 million ISK/hour per room.  Using drone aggression mechanics, Postradamus worked out a means to AFK farm these nine rooms with a pair of Dominixes per room.  Each ship in the pair used sentry drones (repped up by the Domis themselves) at a specific distance from the other ship in the pair to manage aggression and tracking issues.  The ships could do their work without human intervention.  As a result, using this system, he was making some 29 billion ISK/month AFK farming these nine rooms.

Later, finding the actual work part of the equation boring, he then farmed out the process to nine "renters" and taxed the proceeds.  According to him, this went on for about a year during which time he made 9.6 billion ISK/month doing nearly nothing.

It's a glorious demonstration of EVE emergent game play, and yet another example of the lengths that EVE players will go to to avoid EVE's sub-par PvE.  CCP will "fix" this "abuse", maybe or maybe not understanding that they're fixing a symptom of the problem instead of the cause (EVE PvE is boring).  Even more amusing is the note in the post indicating that a GM thought he had encountered bots and banned all the accounts involved.  CCP only learned how this mechanic worked when Postradamus explained that he was not botting (as such) and how his mechanic worked.

Kudos, Postradamus!  And as promised, I'll be continuing the discussion of the interaction between EVE players and ISK in the next few days.


  1. My understanding was that he used 1 Dommy per room - dropping the drones in 2 groups (2+3), but the gist of it is, nonetheless, AWESOME! XD

  2. Looks to me the sub par PvE is a problem which CCP higher ups don't recognize as a problem:

    CCP Unifex actually crows about how there are only 4 game designers. The big population boosts we had from the Incursions release over any subsequent release should show the error of his thoughts IMHO

  3. As much as I agree that pve in Eve isn't fun, can anyone point a case of pve in any online game that is still fun after X amount of weeks?

    We complain a lot about this, but I'd like some concrete examples that this can be improved.

    1. huh. yah know, Jester, this anon's got a point there. lol

    2. Action RPGs tend to keep you playing long time. Procedural generated pve content has a tendency to stay interesting for a long time. In this regard I have actually no idea why ccp is not using procedural pve content for missions and plex.

      Even the infamous wow keep people playing for years, mind you their base for was to release new pve encounters every 3 months. But still, 3 Months lasting pve content is a good number and more than your x weeks Some players actually played even 6 months on some of those content patches and complained to blizzard about all that pve content they were missing.

  4. Incoming wall of text:

    As I read your site, and other EVE related sites, I can only wonder how much longer I'm going to play this game. I have 5 accounts that I pay RL money with, and the boring, eye bleeding hi-sec PvE, boring structure grinding in 0.0, accompanied by blob warfare, and the *cough* "pvp" in this game is terrible.

    As you have mentioned on a previous post, the cost of pvp, and the time it takes to get the resources for a ship only to lose it in a matter of moments, makes me wonder about the future of EVE. You also mentioned in a previous post that the best way to make isk in EVE is to find a game design flaw and exploit it. It appears that you have been right on the money with that too.

    With that said, unless CCP makes some serious changes with the game mechanics, including tech moons, super capitals, pve, encouraging small gang or solo pvp, etc...EVE quite possibly may die a very slow death. It's a known fact that it's difficult to attract and keep new players. *Cough* PvP has gotten to the point where "awoxing" makes people nearly commit suicide. Other *Cough* PvP consists of gatecamping, jumping the lone strategic cruiser in a wormhole, or just a straight-up 40+ pilot roaming blob killing 1-2 hurricanes. That's lame.

    There is also the "I'm not risk-adverse because I'm in 0.0/low-sec player". That elitist mentality is not good for the game either. I've lived in 0.0, and it's a joke. I'm in more danger in the wormhole that I inhabit (which is the only reason I still play).

    CCP needs to fix these issues and quickly. Otherwise the game will increasingly become veteran heavy (already is), boring (already is), and worst of all...people won't log in and eventuallly un-sub.

    *steps off soapbox*

    1. In wormholes I can easily earn 250m ISK in an hour solo'ing C3 sites with two accounts. That is one hour of PvE to earn the ISK for 3-4 battlecruisers, a premium battleship or a recon or HAC with some change left.

      And while it's possible to lose those ships within seconds, it doesn't usually happen if you're pvp'ing sensibly. I at least do not lose a ship every day.

      Pvp in EVE is my primary activity and yet I have not spent more than about 15 hours on pve this entire year, to replace my losses. Wormhole pvp in particular is actually profitable.

      TL;DR: People who are grinding for hours to afford even modest pvp ships are just doing it wrong. If you aren't smart, you have to work harder than the smart guys to get by. Just like in the real world.

    2. Your TL;DR has just one small problem. Your targets are players as well. So you pvp every day, and do not lose everyday a ship. That is nice, but do you kill everyday a ship? ;-)

  5. Well, now that the cat is out of the bag....

    There have always been static complexes and COSMOS missions which can be AFK farmed, ever since those features were first added, in a manner similar to what Postradamus discovered, and totally within the EULA.

    CCP Sreegs' devblog is just absurd. Several of the CCP devs who worked on those features categorically stated that there was nothing wrong with farming those complexes/missions, if you were clever enough to figure out how to do it, without using bots. Per the devs, it was no more wrong than AFK mining. We know because we asked.

    Funny, though... Postradamus' COSMOS mission is actually one of the lower value ones, which is why no one else was AFK farming it already when he set up his protection scheme. The more profitable complexes/missions have been continuously AFK farmed since release, years ago, generating hundreds of billions of ISK per month, with minimal effort and no risk of a banhammer.

    And, people wonder why we laugh when they tell us how running Incursions is more profitable than running missions or complexes... lol.

    Will CCP really fix this? Doubtful, at least, not anytime soon. They would need to redesign and recode a serious buttload of PVE content, and they don't have the dev resources to do so, without dumping all of their current projects. Ofc, they could just pull out all of the static complexes and COSMOS missions, lol.

    As for Sreegs' botting teams catching anyone else? It was only bad luck, on Postradamus' part, that brought this to light. They really weren't botting - that was a false positive (which Sreegs claims never happens, incidentally).

    How do you distinguish between a player who is AFK farming and one who is just boringly plowing through a mission, occasionally clicking the mouse, in a semi-AFK fashion? Answer: you can't. In most cases, there just isn't really that much difference between running complexes/missions, and running them AFK.

  6. if in that case I agree with CCP, i really don't like their current policy of lowering all passive incomes... hey I play EVE ONLY because I can pay by PLEXes. and I want my money for these to be automatic, cause if I NEED TO farm, then my will to play if lowered. So I always go to passive incomes, after all these are the bonus of old players who have lots of choice and enough knowledge... you have to farm your standing to be able to use datacores incomes, you need lots of knowledge, skills and money to use POS mining, and you need a bit also to be able to PI on null/WH planets.
    I always considered PLEX as the abilities to play for free [for old players], and I don't want them to limit my options on the sandbox to market, industry or ratting...
    nerfing passive incomes means nerfing PvE that we can support as it doesn't take much time when set up, they shouldn't nerf that, they should BUFF it... the less time doing things we don't like (earning money), the more time we'll spent doing things we like, and so promoting EVE to others players.

    1. Buffing the ISK payout of PvE, due to inflationary pressures, makes PvP ships more expensive.

    2. If you really want this, than the simple solution should be to decrease all production materials dramatically. BAM: cheap ships. (I disagree btw)

  7. i think it was just one dominix per room. he'd drop two groups of drones spread apart and then "keep at range" on one pair...apparently that worked since the drones would take turns approaching HIM then approaching their target at 1m/s

  8. and as for 'fixing' it i think they should make that labyrinth instanced and none re-spawny...in fact, if they do that won't the price of the cosmos books skyrocket?
    But that'll only happen if that's the simplest fix for CCP to get away with.

    As for pve being boring in eve? I think it more frustrating that anything, really. so much effort with so many mouse clicks...i'd rather relax in front of a clear icicle and take advantage of the chat function this screensaver game offers.

  9. Postradamous had a thread up on FHC about "what to do when accused of botting" that inevitably turned into "you're botting, just admit it!", which I admit I took part in and was (thusly shown to be) wrong.

    To be fair, he was stating a lot of arguments that botters have used and eventually yielded to a confession, "yeah, I was botting...but just a little!". A mildly interesting read in light of the new information that he (finally) posted about what he was doing.

  10. Your articles are the best!

    My friends and I started playing a few weeks ago, and we were having trouble making enough isk to afford any new ships, after they get blown up. We tried mining, but it was very boring and we did not make much isk. We also tried running missions, but they do not pay very well, either. We even tried to do incursions, but no one would let us join their fleet in frigates or even cruisers.

    After reading your article on making isk in faction warfare, we joined the militias and you were right about how easy it is to make isk, even in a frigate. We have all put our two extra characters into the other militias, so we can now benefit whenever the tier level goes up.

    Thank you! You rock, man!

    1. Gj you're about to exploit an obviously broken game mechanic! :D

  11. Credit where credit's due. Implementing a solution to a problem solely described as "PVE is boring" is quite a different animal than it is for a problem described as "this specific site can be farmed in this specific way."

    If this is in fact the route CCP wants to take, maybe they could learn something from the IRS. Dr Eyog could make a list of the top X ISK making players and a couple of GMs could be tasked with investigating these players in regards to finding out which funky new "exploits" the playerbase might've come with next. Anyone making 9+ bill a month has definitely found a trick that I for one haven't :-) Also this way they could even encourage players to get creative since anything they'd come up with would be adjusted far sooner.

    1. 9+ billions is not a big deal, everyone can do this in high sec, it just boring to do. At least if you do the obvious thing: Grind ISK.

  12. You don't seem to realize that EVE PvE is MEANT to be boring (besides to newbies and 2hr/week casuals who are still under the "woot spaceships" effect)

    The boring PvE motivates you to skip it by buying PLEX-es, outsourcing the work to poor Eastern people who finance their accounts by selling you ISK. This way CCP can increase their paying customer count greatly as without PLEX trade the poor people couldn't play the game.

  13. This is all rather funny. I don't think I know anyone who does NOT farm some PVE thing AFK, or semi-AFK, while they are at work, or sleeping.

    At work, our favorite is to farm belt rats AFK in a quiet part of null sec. One of us will check the accumulated wrecks every hour or so. These days, a cheap 2-3 Domi spider tank can perma-tank any NPC rats indefinitely, while drones do the auto-killing. On top of the usual rat bounties, virtually all of our officer mods were obtained this way.

    We get all of our low-end minerals this way, too, via module reprocessing, esp. before the NPC T1 module drop nerf. If someone needs minerals, they just loot the wrecks for modules. Beats mining any day of the week.

    At night, most of us just park the Domis in a static complex, and let the drones grind bounties while we sleep.

    What else is this PVE content used for anyways, besides grinding ISK? No one I know thinks that any of it is fun - we'd much rather spend our in-game time shooting other players.


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