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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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

See if it sticks

I want to write one more post with regard to the coming change to low truesec anomaly ratting, and then I'll move on to other things.  I know I've written on this once, and Garth has weighed in once (::grins::).  And there really are other things in EVE I want to talk about.  ;-)  But this is an important change, and I want to make sure my opinion is covered.  And of course, in a few months, after we see how things are going with this, I might chime in again, who knows.  :-P

But once more this week, then new topics, I promise.

Yesterday, CCP Greyscale weighed in on the huge reaction on the EVE Online forums regarding this change.
Hi again,

Update on the above post: we've looked at the concerns brought up here, and done another evaluation pass as mentioned above. The outcome of this is that, while we understand and appreciate that these changes will negatively impact residents in some areas of space in the short term, we feel that on balance they are still likely to result in a noticeably positive overall outcome in the long run. This decision is mainly predicated on the fact that we still have a sufficient degree of confidence in our models of nullsec causality.

We understand that many players have alternate models that predict negative outcomes; we will of course be monitoring developments post-deployment to confirm whether or not things are developing in the way we are predicting, with an eye to modifying the proposed system if we see unexpected negative outcomes occurring, but we don't believe that the arguments raised by players in this thread weaken our model sufficiently to justify changing our plans at this stage.

We appreciate that this decision is not going to be regarded as a positive one by most participants of this thread, and we of course respect your right to continue to express your previously-noted disapproval here in a civil manner.

That's all for today,
In other words, "HTFU, and STFU", plus a rather large implied insult to people who actually LIVE in 0.0 about how poor our collective "models of nullsec causality" are.  A few days back, you'll recall I linked to a previous devblog where the very same CCP Greyscale said this:
Firstly, let people upgrade their space, and in particular its resource density. By increasing the resource density, you increase the potential population density, and by letting players do it rather than simply seeding more resources, you open up more decisions and more emergence.  (snip)  It gets more people into nullsec - one of our objectives - by making big alliances want more people in their space. It makes it much harder to be a big, rich, military alliance...
That was :18months: ago.  How quickly they forget.

Check your e-mail today, and you'll find that in your inbox is the announcement that this change is going to be implemented in a little over six days as part of Incursion 1.4.  So if you (like me) are impacted by this change, you've got six more days to prepare.  Six days.

When the original devblog came out five days ago, there was a round-table at Fanfest that very day regarding 0.0 living.  That very day.  This change didn't come up.  Wasn't mentioned!  Seleene's reaction to this is amusing.  Go give it a read.  It's only a few dozen words.  My own reaction was a bit more snarky.  Paraphrased slightly, it was "CCP are fearless programmer Vikings... except when the possibility exists to be beaten up in real life by pissed off 0.0 residents."

So, let's make two things completely clear:
  1. CCP Greyscale has now said, in public, that Dominion's stated goal for 0.0 was a total failure.
  2. CCP has now shown, through direct empirical evidence, that their development "strategy" of "throw things against the wall to see if they stick" is also a total failure.
Those are strong statements.  I'll repeat them.  When a company, in less than 18 months, makes a 180 degree turn in a major development strategy?  That's an admission of total failure of that strategy.  The man that apparently invented "let them upgrade their space!" is now essentially dis-inventing it.  There's going to be "good" 0.0 space, and "bad" 0.0 space.  Lest we forget, this is also the man that invented jump bridges, and would apparently be very happy to dis-invent those, too.

Whether you think or I think these are good ideas or bad ideas is irrelevant to the point that "throwing things against the wall to see if they stick" is not a development strategy.  Let me say it again: even if you think this is the greatest change to the game since sliced bread, and you think this post is nothing but "tears", this strategy impacts you.  Because next time CCP throws something against the wall to see if it sticks, it's going to be your sacred cow and your tears.  This is not a business strategy.  It's just a way to piss your customers off when you reverse yourselves 180 degrees 18 months later.

Let's make one other thing clear, and then -- as promised -- I'll shut up on this topic.

This change is going to do nothing to reduce the blob, or to hurt large alliances in EVE Online.  Large alliances, even those in poor space, could care less about ratting income.  It'll be a blip on their radar, nothing more.  This change hurts two entities in EVE Online:
  1. the small 0.0 corp that relies on ratting taxes to pay for sov upgrades, towers, and reimbursements; and,
  2. the individual pilot, new to 0.0 and PvP, who uses ratting to pay for their own ship losses early in their PvP career.
Those small 0.0 corps and new 0.0 players are going to respond in the only way they can: by looking for new sources of funding.  In some cases, those new sources of funding will come from joining larger 0.0 alliances with better ratting space.  In others, those new 0.0 players are going to fall back to jump clones and Level 4 missioning in Empire.  Either way, the small 0.0 alliance and the small 0.0 gang is who CCP Greyscale is hurting here.

But maybe my "model of nullsec causality" is just flawed.  Then again, when people break out big, impressive-sounding phrases to justify their positions rather than explaining them in plain language, I have a tendency to automatically feel those positions are bullshit.

For him to predict that this change is going to somehow help these smaller, newer entities is deranged.

For the change to go in with 11 days of warning (between his blog and implementation) is unnecessary and cruel.

And for the change to go in without even being discussed at Fanfest or before the CSM -- old or new -- is cowardly.

For me, that's what stuck to the wall.


  1. I agree with your programmer Vikings thing. He was most likely unwilling to bring it up do to the ire it would have sparked.

    That is one think I noticed about FanFest: everyone is so civil. On the forums, it is easy to rage and hate CCP for how they ruin your game, but once you see that they're actual people, expressing those same emotions because much more difficult and uncomfortable.

  2. Except when you're at a Summit, LOL. Just kidding...discussions there are usually quite civilized. But Jester, you're right on and this is another one of those WTF moments. Also your own quote should be your next QOTD: "...the point that "throwing things against the wall to see if they stick" is not a fucking development strategy." It was a true double-WTF moment to hear Hilmar actually say with a little proud/apologetic smile that this is how they like to do things. That might work when you're seven guys in a basement, but not when 5-600 people depend on such decisions for their livelihoods.

  3. So how is a single change from dominion a "180 degree turn on development strategy"

    I fail to see how this is constructive, If you have better ideas why don't you share them, instead of merely complaining.

    Personally I think some kind of dynamic trusec system would result in better "macro scale outcomes"

  4. I spoke to Greyscale about this in Iceland and his response was, "I've been following it all and I will probably take more of a middle road." Well, I guess that didn't happen! lol

  5. Jester said: "Large alliances, even those in poor space, could care less about ratting income. It'll be a blip on their radar, nothing more"

    I have to disagree with you, it is a bit more than a blip. If you have 10% tax and maybe 5% of your pilots are online at any one time. Sanctums make 60m/hr or 7.3m/pilot/hr. Perhaps a bit generous, halve it for inactives, lower skilled etc. But that still is potentially, for a 1000 pilot alliance 90 billion per month. Just in tax. That doesn't even count the resources those pilots can buy for themselves with all that income.

    Both for the alliance itself, corps and most definitely the pilots sanctum income is important. Happy wealthy pilots is a big bonus on its own. While big alliances have other income their size makes for more ratting income too. Those numbers are not chickenfeed.


  6. "This change hurts two entities in EVE Online: [...] the individual pilot, new to 0.0 and PvP, who uses ratting to pay for their own ship losses early in their PvP career."

    This describes my situation perfectly. I recently joined an corp based in NPC 0.0 space, and recently lost my ratting BC (I thought that neutral was afk cloaked; I guessed wrong). I'm poor, so I really had no good way to get cash to replace my BC (don't fly what you can't afford to lose!), so I ended up slinking back to empire for a couple of weeks to run L3s to get my bankroll back up.

    I know NPC 0.0 is paying in "hard mode", but it's incredibly difficult to make money ratting fast enough to replace pew-pew losses...

  7. @Mynxee: I deleted the profanity there. On rereading, it came off as a bit hostile, heh. But yeah, that's the key point to this blog post. Not gonna QOTW myself, though. You may feel free to on YOUR blog, if you like. ;-)

    @zordon: It's a 180 degree change because it reverses the major stated goal of Dominion, the ability to improve 0.0 space for ratters. Read the CCP Greyscale devblog I linked to. I consider it a cowardly 180 because it tries to hide this reversing of the major stated goal of Dominion as a "minor change" hidden among other minor changes. It's not minor. It's easily the biggest change to 0.0 sov mechanics in more than a year.

    @Seleene: Be sure to give Greyscale a hug for me when you see him in May. ;-)

    @John: You're right for *corps*. Alliances don't take in taxes, typically. And a 1000 player corp presumably has a lot of other income sources. Still, you make a good point.

    @Anon0730: Yep, that's going to be common, and those 24 hour jump clone timers are a bitch. That's 24 hours that you're out of 0.0, multiplied by the number of pilots in your situation.

  8. Give them free ISK, they all end up flying super carriers. Don't give them free ISK, it's the end of nullsec as we know it.

  9. Well, its the only the only change to sov mechanics in the last year, of course its the biggest. I think you're ignoring the fact that you can still upgrade space, that you can still run ded complexes, that there is plenty of good ore available, that there is still gonna be plenty of ISK to pay sov costs. Run some numbers.

    Sure they've changed heading, but the destination isn't back to where they were pre-dominion. Maybe some of the other system upgrades will get a look in now.

  10. Okay, just and FYI/Full Disclosure thing here, in Eve I'm former IT Alliance/GBC, so keep in mind no love lost here regarding the NC, DC, and their various allies....

    But regarding your two points I'd go even further. They were working! With the Dominion changes people were/are fighting over regions that prior to Dominion were considered mostly shit and most alliances wouldn't give a pile of dog turds for. Now we are going back to 2007 and doubling down on the old system.

    CCP isn't cowardly or stupid it is almost like they are schizophrenic...i.e. mentally unbalanced. Time for somebody in senior management to punt Grayscale to the curb, IMO.

  11. @Mara Rinn: Yipe! Don't take THAT away from my post. The ISK isn't free. It costs time. The pilots affected by this are going to make the ISK regardless. My fear is that they're going to do it either in bigger alliances, or outside of 0.0 thanks to jump clones or wormholes. Either way, the small 0.0 PvP gang loses, as do the people that like them (including myself).

    @zordon: Yeah, I'm interested in the DED complex change. We'll see how it goes. As for mining, I and many others just don't have any interest in it. Are we being forced into it?

    @Steve: Yes to all. I'm definitely, definitely going to revisit Provi in six months to see what impact this change had.


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