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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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Comment of the Week: Official word

Earlier in the week, I gently bitched about CCP Fozzie publishing a graph of ship use without giving us numbers to go with it.  I compared a graph without numbers to a map without street names: you might know the general direction you have to go, but that's it.  Fozzie encouraged me on Twitter to post my concerns directly into his EVE-O forum thread, so I did so:
Hi Fozzie,

Great work compiling all the stuff from the F&I thread into one dev-blog, and I commend you for that! Also, thanks for taking player input so seriously during this process. I am still annoyed at my beloved Canes getting nerfed so hard, but at least you provided good explanations at each step why you were doing it. :-P

I do have some questions about this dev-blog though, as I blogged about yesterday:
  1. Why did you guys publish a graph with no indication of where zero is and no scale? Is the bottom of the graph zero?
  2. As a result, how many more Drakes are there than Feroxes, and how far has Drake and Cane use dropped (in percent) since their respective nerfs?
  3. Will you be providing another updated copy of this graph before the summer release?
I was a big big fan of the former CCP Diagoras and the stats that he published on ship use, number of ships destroyed in PvP versus PvE, and decreasing and increasing use of ships. These same sorts of stats also used to (in the ancient past of two years ago) be published in QENs. Today, the players have do not receive these sorts of stats at all.
Fozzie was good enough to reply, and I quote his reply in full.  It's effectively the "comment of the week":
Excellent question about the graph, and it is something I should have noted in the blog.
The bottom of the graph is 0, and the scale is linear. I am however going to take a pass on providing exact numbers at this time.

I've been intentionally careful when it comes to distributing statistics that have significant potential economic value. When possible I'm trying to keep any such information to the official forums and dev blogs, and when in doubt I'm leaning on the side of caution. I know that can be frustrating for people who are used to the huge amounts of information that used to be distributed via twitter, and there's nothing wrong with patch speculation aided by cleverly following public CCP communication (that used to be one of my best income sources) but I don't have the time or education that a dedicated researcher like Diagoras could bring to bear on this kind of communication so I'll be fairly conservative in the foreseeable future.

It's very possible that we may provide some updated graphs as the results of our ship balance changes settle over time, but I can't make promises to that effect right now.
Those are about as gentle a pair of "no"s as I've ever read, but that doesn't stop them from being "no."  And honestly, I haven't decided yet how I feel about it.  I do absolutely remember at some point, somewhere, Fozzie saying exactly how much Drake and Cane usage has slipped in percent since the nerfs.  I just can't find the reference.  So taking a pass on the question was rather unfortunate.  However, it doesn't much matter because knowing the bottom of that graph is zero and the scale is linear, we can use a little :scary math: and solve for the answer to my second question.

From November 25 to February 8, Drake use dropped 10% and Cane use dropped 12%.

We can also solve for a few other things.  On February 8, there were more than twice as many Drakes as there were Canes, and there were ten times as many Drakes as there were Brutixes.  There were more than 20 times as many Drakes as there were Prophecies.  And I expect both of those numbers to change dramatically because Brutixes and Prophecies are now pretty damn awesome.  ;-)

But we may or may not ever know, because Fozzie won't commit to telling us.

I ask again: why is CCP so afraid to share information with players?  Fozzie effectively admits right in this post that using economic reasons to not do so, while safely conservative, ultimately hurts players.  After all, this information was the source of his own income when he was playing!  By blocking that information, CCP is effectively blocking the next generation of Fozzies out there.  ;-)  Isn't it kind of ironic that he himself argues that way?


  1. Drakes and Canes will stay ultra nerfed until Fozzie's PL and friends stomp the Goons.

  2. On August 31, 2011 I posted "An Ode to the Hurricane", in which I described how awesome this ship was, how I rarely wanted to fly other ships, and all the myriad fantastic fits I used with it.

    I wonder if I sealed my own fate.

    Over the course of the last 2 months, I have taken them one by one on suicide roams, and not replaced them. I have one left, and my goal is to roam it into a glorious death before month-end.

    Yesterday I pulled all my battlecruisers out of our wormhole. I bought and fitted a Prophecy - my first Amarrian boat ever (with autocannons and drones!). I refit my buffer armor Brutix to shield gank. And I refit my buffer armor bait Myrm to active armor. I suppose this is what Fozzie wanted.

    But I will miss my favorite ship.

    1. RIP Hurricane it was a great run and u will be missed. At least its still the best looking bc they cant take that from her

  3. I imagine it's just the change in perspective from being on the other side.

    It's the same as Mynnna's argument that his ability to twist EVE mechanics into caricature will serve him well on CSM, because he'll be able to find exploits and warn CCP about them before they're released. FWIW, I agree with that logic: The best security consultants are veteran hackers.

  4. I'm going to take a hilarious and most likely undue amount of credit here and say that they're more cagey about sharing details with players lately because of what people like me do with a few numbers.

    But, really, to be more serious, while this may or may not have been a simple query to do, some of the things Diagoras used to do were probably neither simple nor fast and he probably spent a goodly portion of his time on it. I mean, if you check Diagoras' page on eve-o (it's still there, http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=author&p=CCP%20Diagoras) his title and department was "Assistant Researcher, Research & Statistics"

    I don't know what Fozzie's title and department are (he doesn't look to have filled them in on his bio page) but I'm going to guess that they are neither "Asst. Researcher" nor "Research & Statistics", respectively. So, I'm willing to give Fozzie a pass on this one. But not CCP... they need to hire another Diagoras.

    1. I look forward to your friends making more untold riches as you now work from the "inside" and pass key future changes to your "economic cabal". I imagine that is partially how you have always done it, with past goons on the CSM distributing that info. The NDA is unenforceable in that manner. Any of the sociopaths on the CSM can very quietly tell a very small group within goons about upcoming changes, and that small group even more quietly makes moves on the market or in production to capitalize on it. CCP neither has the resources, nor the inclination, to track down players who use inside information for personal economic gain within Eve.

      Something like "Guys, CCP has confirmed they are moving T2 production out of high sec in December, Buy up as many DCII's and Nano's as you can, and start making as many as you can and stockpile. We are going to make a mint!" To suggest a group that prides itself on scamming people ingame, and prides itself on its subterfuge and meta-gaming, would NOT use inside information for an advantage goes beyond naivete.

      And as for CCP Diagoras not being replaced, that goes hand in hand with the null sec zealot propaganda teams' goals and needs. If CCP released hard data, many of the lies your crew spreads would be made to look ludicrous very very quickly. Can't have facts messing up a campaign based on plausible sounding lies. The null sec zealots within CCP has made sure that the information that Diagoras used to release is not allowed out again.

  5. Is Diagoras no longer with CCP? If not, what happened to him?

    1. He's definitely left CCP. My understanding is that he left voluntarily to return to school.

  6. Usually I agree with you or at least give you the benefit of the doubt. Here I think you're wrong :-)

    CCP Fozzie clearly states *he's* not comfortable giving actual numbers. He states he's not in the economics department and won't do actual numbers. And I agree. Or do you want fozzy to pull a greyscale on you?

  7. There's been a dramatic clampdown on perfect information in Eve since I first started 2+ years ago and was especially exacerbated since CCP Diagoras left.
    Dr E's Dev blogs are few & far between... in the CSM notes a DEV blog concerning the PLEX intervention was promised for Jaruary which I'm still waiting for. I think the obscuration is to hide missteps CCP has made which would be better handled in the light of day.

  8. The issue is concentration of wealth. If a very small handful of very rich players are using stats to get richer it hurts everyone who isn't doing it.

    Eve is a zero sum economy in which one guy getting more means everyone else has less.

    1. Eve is not a zero sum economy thats why bots are dangerous.....isk is printed out of thin air and destroyed everyday, kinda like the US dollar.

  9. I would submit that the graph in question tells us all it really needs to. Knowing that the scale is linear and the vertical axes is at 0 (which would've both been perfectly reasonable assumptions anyway) is all we needed to know to make the data meaningful, if not *useful* in the way some would like it to be. You've derived in this post exactly the information I believe the graph was meant to convey- the relative level of usage of different battlecruisers. In the context of a qualitative analysis of the effects of the balance change, the exact numbers are irrelevant, so this relative usage metric is all we need to know to make that analysis.

    I'm also happy to give Fozzie a pass on this one. I don't agree that the omission hurts players at all. To state as such assumes that they are being denied data that they would otherwise have had. Fozzie has indicated an awareness of the meta forces in the market and has erred on the side of caution. While this may at first seem to be overly cautious, it isn't so much if you drop the idea that any harm has been done to players by not including exact numbers. Then the risk equation ends up with "unknown effects on market by releasing information VS no harm done by not releasing specifics" and the decision to not release the data becomes a no-brainer. It's a matter of perspective, I guess. Again, I don't see how specific numbers of ships in use is a valuable statistic in the context of evaluating the effects of ship balancing.

    Please excuse any waffling, I've had a long, hot day at work doing (wait for it...) data analysis and discussing the relevance and conversion of various quantitative and relative data for testing purposes.

  10. Don't we want the next generation of Fozzies to be the guys that mined killboards, statistically analysed null fleet doctrines, spreadsheeted market movement and, all in all, generated those stats themselves?

    OMG Fozzie is trying to force evolve Fozzie mk2!

  11. The biggest difference is that its less of a "whoever reads the devblog first can buy out the market" thing now then it was in the Past. There is a limited amount of Cash that can be made by changes like this and SOMEONE will make it.

    Now it might be the one who looks at Killboards/Market History and so on to figure out the next big thing instead of the first Trader who can log in at the time the Devblog is published.

    The chances of speculation are by far not lost because of this. They simply favour other Players now :)

  12. A gentle "no" yes, but Seagulls "no" is still out of competition as the nicest "no" ever. ;-)

    I really like your blog jester but the fact that fozzie has to kick you in twitter to go to the forums is the one big thing I don't like in your "work flow". Yes the forums are hard to read with lots of waste in between but the devs actually read them (especially those from dev blogs).

    Your communication on this blog is really good and your stuff is worked out good. Would be nice to see you a bit more often on the e-o forums if you talk about opinions on dev posts.
    Searching for post from you in the forum: 3 Pages results, 1 1/3 pages for 2013, the rest for 2012 AND 2011 ;-)
    Quiet an increase in Forum activity. Would be nice to see that frequency stay high or at least not dropping that low again.

    1. I do *read* the forums. I just rarely *write* in them. Partially it's the signal-to-noise ratio, partially it's the fact that anything I write in the forums only gets seen by a small number of players, and partially it's the fact that even players that read the forums don't *read* the forums.

      Think about it: when you read the forums, do you read each post, or do you skim past most of them?

  13. I think the true reason is that CCP Dr.Eyjog is currently behind something big conducting research and writing papers that could net him the Nobel Prize. Because of that he wants to have external factors on the sandbox limited to what's necessary.

  14. zKillBoard has an API. If you're truly that thirsty for data, you could DIY a trend-level report of your own.

    Or wait 30d, and I'll send you the script I'm writing for the job.

  15. " I ask again: why is CCP so afraid to share information with players? "

    Because then when they are wrong then the info can't so easily be thrown back at them (or actually proved to them). Its much like why they don't allow GM correspndence quoted in the Eve O forums.

    This hubris is unfortuneate because it undoubtedly lets issues linger & fuster far longer then they should when players could help CCP point out problems. The expoighters like Mynnna or Fozie are more then worth the price topay for a better game.


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