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Sunday, April 29, 2012

My good deed for the day.

Corelin over at Mad Haberdashers wondered about the stupidity of Eve players now that Hulkageddon has started. I can't say that I disagree with him on that one - except it's ignorance if they don't realize something. It's stupidity if they know and do it anyway.

Fortunately ignorance is easily dispelled. It just takes a little effort on the part of the informed.
[ 2012.04.29 18:48:23 ] P**** > Hello Mabrick
[ 2012.04.29 18:48:25 ] Mabrick > Hi. U Bait?
[ 2012.04.29 18:48:34 ] P**** > for what
[ 2012.04.29 18:48:52 ] Mabrick > Hulkageddon started yesterday.
[ 2012.04.29 18:49:07 ] P**** > yipes
[ 2012.04.29 18:49:19 ] P**** > thank you
[ 2012.04.29 18:49:26 ] Mabrick > My pleasure. Good luck!
He warped out of the belt immediately. Interestingly enough, he's been a capsuleer as long as I have. I'm glad I found him first.

BTW, I've set Fancy Hats to bad standing in my contacts Corelin. There'll be no sneaking up on this industrialist. *GRIN*

Fly careful.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is hi-sec mining worth it again?

"Behold, as a wild ass in the desert, go I forth to my work." - Gurney Halleck

Like every other industrialist, I've been watching mineral prices climb with hope and trepidation. On the one hand, making a profit when commodity prices are going through the roof is tough. Customers never start paying more for anything as fast as the cost of making that "anything" rises. Commodity upswings eat into profit margins and how.

But if you're in a position to supply those commodities you're in the mint! Mining is an ages old method of doing just that. Before humans could read or write, we were mining. We did it  before we even grew our own food. Flint is a rock after all. Mining is an ancient profession and an honorable one.

Unfortunately events conspired to make hi-sec mining a waste of time. I could buy meta zero items and reprocess them into ore far more efficiently than I could mine the ore. Others bought tags and reprocessed them to minerals. Still others destroyed drones and reprocessed their alloys into minerals - the so called mining by gun. All taken together, this pretty much ruined mining in hi-sec.

Are those days over? Escalation brought drones that no longer drop alloys, rats that no longer drop meta zero modules and no one can buy an unending supply of tags to convert into nocxium. Is it a good day for miners all over New Eden - Hulkageddon not withstanding?

Today I decided to find out. What better day to do so than the start of Hulkageddon? Discovering a small gravimetric anomaly on my morning scans gave me a target. It was loaded with Kernite and Omber. Kernite would be an excellent 'roid to see if mining is once again time versus ISK profitable. Here were the conditions of my test.
  • Tank fitted Hulk (standard 8000 m3 cargo hold) with Strip Miner II turrets and T2 Kernite Mining Crystals.
  • No jet cans! Mine and return to station only.
  • No mining drones to speed up cargo hold fill.
  • Lone wolf mining (no Orca boosts or other helpers.)
  • Time limit of one hour.
I un-docked at 19:30 and began the test. Soon I was happily rocking out both auditorily and professionally. You know, mining can be one of the loveliest experiences in the entire universe.
Within 10 minutes, I had my first cargo hold full of Luminous Kernite.
I headed back to the station, refined to the hanger and launched again. In the space of just under an hour I made four runs total. At 20:29 I docked for the fourth and last time. I checked the sell price for my haul of Mexallon and Isogen.
My profit in 59 minutes actual time was 6 million ISK (there was a small amount of tritanium that put me over.)  That's not Incursion level ISK making, but I didn't have to beg into a fleet or sit around waiting for some logistic pilot to make 18 jumps. It's more ISK than I make a day with PI since the taxes went sky high. It's obviously more ISK than mining made pre-Escalation. And I was a lone wolf miner! A small fleet with some Orca boosting and a couple haulers to take the ore away and strip mining asteroid belts could be serious ISK again for hi-sec corporations. Now, if only the rumors of ring mining come true...

tl:dr - mining is once again a viable way to make hi-sec ISK in New Eden.

Fly careful.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Will the Technetium Cartel work? (Part 2)


Paul Atreides: "What's in the box?"

Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam: "Pain."
In my last post, I suggested that after a few months of market turmoil life in New Eden will normalize. To be sure, it will be not be the normal we have all grown accustomed to, but capsuleers will adjust. Prices will be higher, but we will adjust. Space travel will not come to an end any more than people stop taking vacations when gas prices spike. They may alter their plans, but they take vacation nonetheless. They adjust. We will adjust.

However, do not let my easy words sway you into thinking I am saying this will be a painless transition. It will not! Change never is. Change like this has not been seen in New Eden since before I took to my pod. It is something all will have to endure.

In  my post about Photon Microprocessors and market manipulations, I alluded to one of the worst pains we will face. Read question #2 towards the bottom. Of all the many things that depend on Nanotransitors, Covert Ops Cloaking Device IIs are perhaps one of the most critical. The alternatives to that one module are limited in their capabilities. The only alternative commiserate in capability is the faction "Smokescreen" Covert Ops Cloaking Device II. They require Talocan technology. I've never even seen one fitted to a ship though there is one on contract in Essence.
That's a painful price for certain. That makes the current price for the non-faction cloak seem painless by comparison even when it is not.
Not very long ago, there were many hundreds of cloaks on the market in essence. Now we are down to  less than 200. I don't believe those will last long. Even if there are hidden stocks out there (because some wily trader bought them a month ago,) and even if the owner were willing to part with them, the prices are already steadily climbing. To be sure, there were at least 4 separate days of speculation-driven buying in the past month, but by and large this is not a speculation curve. This is a supply and demand curve: less supply, same demand, higher prices - inflation pricing volatility [1].

This will continue to happen for T2 items over the next few months. But this particular item is different. It is unique in what it does. The T1 models won't even let a ship reach half speed while cloaked and forget about a target lock after de-cloaking. That's significantly different than say the gain of a T2 MWD over its T1 predecessor. There is no replacement for what the T2 cloak does.

So where does that leave us? Will we pay the higher prices? Will we be less willing to lose a cloaked ship? Will our game play change? Will capsuleers who rely on cloaks become more cautious? Will PvP suffer because of this? Will Worm Hole existence come to an end?

Probably nothing quite as melodramatic as all that. But the noob pilots of EvE University will feel the pain. Pirates more concerned with tears than loot will feel the pain. Incursion runners will feel the pain. Corporations not allied with the Goons will feel the pain. There will be a strong urge to join the Goons to avoid all this pain.
Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam: "You've heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There's an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind."
I trust you can read between the lines. So, do we react as an animal or as free and independent capsuleers?

Fly careful.

[1] Edited 5/1/12 to use the correct term since their manipulations don't effect the cost of everything in the economy which is the root definition of inflation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Will the Technetium Cartel work?

"I'll miss the sea, but a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Duke Leto Atreides
The news is all over the EvE blog-o-sphere so I won't re-quote it here. The question is, will the Technetium Cartel work? Is this a well calculated move on the market that will make Goonswarm Federation even richer? Will it attain their goals - market domination? Or, is it an amateurishly naive ploy doomed to fail because Goonswarm cannot grasp the true scope and complexity of the EvE economy?

At face value, having an overwhelming monopoly on Technetium seems to be an unassailable position. It goes into the production of so many things, virtually all Tech 2 (T2) items, that it seems the EvE universe must capitulate or die. What melodramatic bumblebee shit!

They are not eliminating the Technetium from the market. They are only driving the prices up. They are exerting monopolistic pressures on the market that, in the short term, will be painful to bare. But as prices adjust to the new supply level the market will normalize. Production of T2 items will not cease. They will only become more expensive.

The rising expense of Tech 2 items will cause them to loose their luster so to speak. Pilots will begin to look elsewhere to achieve their fits. Some will call T1 items good enough and pick their fights more carefully. In fact, it is my understanding that many PvPers already do this to a degree. It simply makes sense to reduce the cost of one's at-risk assets when you know they are going to be put at severe risk.

Other players will turn to faction modules. How many of you noted this item in the Escalation to Inferno details?
"A lot of modules have been added to the market that previously could only be found in Contracts. Mostly these are officer, deadspace, faction and storyline modules. Note that this only means that players can now buy and sell them between themselves."
This will make the move to faction modules very easy. An increase in T2 prices will make faction modules even more desirable. T2 is currently the poor man's faction module if you would. They are used because they are cost effective. Take away that cost effectiveness and many pilots won't have to make the choice. They'll go faction every time.

Lastly, there is Tech 3 (T3.) It depends entirely on Worm Hole derived materials. T3 cruisers are not cheap and a lot of players pass them up for the more cost effective T2 ships and fits. When those ships no longer are cost effective alternatives, those pilots will no longer have such a hard choice to make. Faction fit T3 cruisers for everyone!

So all the fears of doom and gloom are completely unfounded. We have alternatives and, just like in the real world, when the cost of a commodity exceeds the cost of its alternatives, the alternatives will see higher adoption rates. If you'd like a real world example, look to the tar sands of Canada. Extracting oil from the medium was, for a very long time, cost prohibitive. Then the price of crude oil went over $100 a barrel. Ask a Canadian what they're doing now, hey.

So kick back and enjoy the show. Make some wise market buys and reap the rewards. In a few months it will all be over and life in New Eden will have its new normal - whether that's T1, faction or T3 based is a guessing game at this point. One thing's for certain though, the Goons have miscalculated once again and the sleeper[1] will awaken.

Fly careful.

[1] That's a hint of where I think this will go. *wink*

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I told you minerals weren't the only thing to worry about.

Thanks to Stabs' post, Eve: The Technetium Cartel, on his blog Stabbed Up, we now have confirmation of the massive market manipulation that's been going on for months. The Goons are behind it - of course.
Die Schei├če Hummel
Thanks Stabs!

Fly careful.

Monday, April 23, 2012

BB35: Capsuleers are not special snowflakes.


Now approaching its tenth year, the EVE Online player community has matured into an intricate and multi-faceted society viewed with envy by other game developers, but is frequently regarded with suspicion by the wider gaming community.

Is this perception deserved? Should "The Nation of EVE" be concerned by its public identity and if so how might that be improved? What influence will the integration of the DUST 514 community have on this culture in the future?

I'll start by answering the questions asked. That seems like a fair place to begin.

Q. Is this perception deserved.
A. Yes.

Q. Should "The Nation of EVE" be concerned by it's public identity?
A. No.

Q. If so, how might that (public identity) be improved?
A. Not applicable.

Q. What influence will the integration of the DUST 514 community have on this culture in the future.
A. The DUST 514 community will have virtually influence on the EvE community.

Now, those answers need some justification, especially that last one I think. I've given it considerable thought and I stand by my decisions. Here is why I answered as I did and why I believe this is all a non-issue. It's seems to go tangential but I promise it's relevant.

In 1997 Electronics Arts release Ultima Online (UO.) It was the first MMO to reach over 100,000 players. It was a trend setter in many ways, won gads of awards, and is actually still running today - see for yourself: Ultima Online Website.

So why bring this up? Because many of the bad behaviors EvE players are accused of exercising today happened as far back as UO. Take a look for yourself. I know this Wiki is true. I "lived" through those days. Here is a list of EvE related "bad" behavior and its UO counterpart:
  • Ganking - In UO, characters who knew the fireball spell would torch noobs for loot and tears and they would also camp respawn points where everyone had to go to "un-ghost."
  • Gate Camps - In UO, those same characters would stand at choke points going into town and arbitrarily  fireball anyone who ran down the road.
  • Scammers - There were loads of scams involving the trading system, where faulty trading code allowed gold to change hands while products were yanked back into inventory.
  • Isk Traders - money sellers made their debut in UO if memory serves. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  • Dupers - Duping was rampant in the early years of UO. It ruined the in-game economy and forced a reset of the whole thing.
  • Bots - I can only say two words about this and then I plead the 5th: Easy Macro.
  • Hi-sec War Decs - This is not an easy comparison. Everyplace in UO was the equivalent of null-sec. I was in Crusaders of the Realms and we had a standing kill-on-site list of enemies - like an NRDS. We did this even in towns - even in their own houses via exploits. I think that qualifies as bad behavior does it not?
  • Roams - In Crusaders of the Realms we went on many, many raids and general roams through the countryside - and killed everyone we came across.
The reputation of UO 15 years ago was every bit as bad as EvE Online today. This is no big deal. Unless the developers specifically wrote artificial restrictions to preclude it, I have witnessed all the despicable behaviors with my own eyes in every single MMO I have ever played. EvE Online is no worse than all those other games and in some regards much better. Our economy works for instance. And frankly, so does our security status system compared to other MMOs I've been in. 

Being concerned because players in EvE have done what players in MMOs have always done is absurd. We are no different as a group of players than any other MMO community that has ever existed. Why do we feel we are so different? We just aren't. We are the logical evolution of the player community. We are far more active and interconnected with each other than UO players were 15 years ago. That has more to do with technology and the 24-hour news cycle than values. The only difference between then and now is the reports of the badness circulate immediately and nothing goes unnoticed in today's techno-drenched, multimedia-fixated world. Our hearts differ very little from those earlier pioneers. In fact, we are the same people in many instances. Think about that a bit. How many of you played UO? Did you ever fireball anyone, go on a search-and-destroy raid or macro crossbow crafting?

Now, on to that fourth question and why DUST 514 won't influence the EvE community. We are different sorts of players frankly. FPS players, and I know a few personally, are in it for the quick gratification. Even the most ardent EvE gankers are more long term minded than FPS players. If you don't believe me look at all the preparations going into Hulkgeddon. Read Corelin's blog about their SiSi preparations. If this happens in DUST 514, it will be because EvE players do it. Corporations who need to control planets will create alts in DUST 514 to further their EvE empires. Let me say that again in a slightly different way. The mercenaries who take contracts from EvE players will be EvE alts.

With that prediction firmly stated, it will be EvE that influences DUST 514, but not in any long term, meaningful way. The EvE alts will remain in DUST 514 but will be a significant minority. They will serve a very specialized roll. The other players, the non-EvE players, will do the quick fights and then turn on the football game. Their time commitment will pale in comparison to the time most EvE players invest in the game. Their impact will be non-existent. As far as planetary conquest goes, DUST 514 will be more like an EvE expansion than an EvE competitor.

All this in mind, I encourage all of you to go out and do whatever makes EvE fun for you and don't worry about perceptions. Try to be considerate of the fun of others but remember, you're doing nothing that millions before you haven't already done. The world didn't condemn them. It won't condemn you - or our community.

Fly careful.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Final take on PI tax increase - CPP gave us malarkey.

This has been sitting in my drafts folder for over a week and it's time I got it finished. At the bottom (no, I won't make you scroll through it if you don't want to) are the 1st quarter financials for Mabrick Mining and Manufacturing.

In last quarter's financial post, the higher PI taxes due to the Crucible changes were just kicking in. It was hard to get an idea of their overall impact on profit margin.  This quarter I think I can. However, I had to run numbers for the three months pre-Crucible for a proper comparison.

For the faux-quarter September 4, 2011 (first day I still have data) through November 28, 2011, my Planetary Import and Export taxes combined were 52,881,015.79 ISK. Compare that with the combined 323,797,494.25 ISK I paid this last quarter and I think that sums up the impact fairly well. That's more than a six fold increase - over 600%.

Back in December, I stated that CCP's portrayal of a simple doubling of taxes was misleading in the extreme. I predicted that it would be more like a six fold increase. I was right. To be fair, the price of Wetware Mainframes, my PI product, did go up over 80% for a few months. Now prices are down again to a more normal 1.1 to 1.2 million ISK apiece. The higher prices account for some of the percentages in that increase since the tax is now value based. However, backing the price increase out does not drop it down to a mere doubling. That was pure malarkey. Bottom line though, I still made plenty of ISK.

Income & Expenditure Report
from Sunday, January 01, 2012 to Saturday, March 31, 2012


INCOME
Insurance
1,191,300.00
Market Transaction
1,281,037,972.48
Agent Mission Collateral Refunded
100,030.85
Agent Mission Reward
3,586,000.00
Agent Mission Time Bonus Reward
4,635,400.00
Market Escrow
36,847,817.59
Bounty Prizes
30,535,568.00
Corporate Reward Payout
250,000.00
INCOME TOTAL
1,358,184,088.92


EXPENDITURE
Player Donation
-1,000,000.00
Repair Bill
-3,893,446.00
Insurance
-20,827,487.40
Agent Mission Collateral Paid
-100,030.85
CSPA
-5,900.00
Market Escrow
-541,189,548.84
Brokers Fee
-9,791,385.29
Transaction Tax
-6,405,189.94
Manufacturing
-28,227.18
Researching Technology
-842,010.66
Researching Material Productivity
-9,207,627.02
Copying
-107,055.30
Contract Brokers Fee
-20,000.00
Bounty Prize Corporation Tax
-1,513,097.15
Agent Mission Reward Corporation Tax
-160,750.00
Agent Mission Time Bonus Reward Corporation Tax
-208,550.00
Planetary Import Tax
-72,964,967.25
Planetary Export Tax
-250,832,527.00
Planetary Construction
-23,745,000.00
EXPENDITURE TOTAL
-942,842,799.88


CASH FLOW
Income Total
1,358,184,088.92
Expenditure Total
-942,842,799.88
NET CASH INFLOW
415,341,289.04


OWNER MOVEMENTS
Start Balance
End Balance
Movement
Mabrick
2,833,374,944.02
3,248,716,233.07
415,341,289.05
TOTAL MOVEMENT
415,341,289.05

Fly careful.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Followup on Moon Goo manipulation possibility - another industrialist weighs in.

I said in my Thursday post, Minerals might not be the only thing to worry about, that I could not see any definitive evidence either way as to whether or not some entity was manipulating the moon goo components used in manufacturing Photon Microprocessors. I think that today we do. Over on A Scientist's Life in Eve, a fellow industrialist noticed the decidedly decreased volume of Nanotransistors available at Jita. Have a look for yourself:


Fly careful.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Followup to Photon Microprocessor Problem

Last night I jumped into Keiko to make my PI rounds and couldn't resist taking a quick peek at the market to see if anything had change with Photon Microprocessors. Sure enough, someone had dumped about120k of them into the hub a Oursulaert. To make matters worse, they were selling them for about 45k ISK each. That was about 80% of what I'd paid the night before. Needless to say, I was wondering if my observation and theory concerning the Photon Microprocessors might have been a bit of over reaction.

I'd need more followup though before I was willing to admit I'd read things incorrectly. So tonight, I logged in to see what happened to that large uptick in supply.
They were all gone, every last single microprocessor. Purchased at 45k ISK apiece. That was nearly 5b ISK (that's b for a billion) worth of them - snapped up like they were a light snack. The Covert Ops Cloaking Device II uses 20 of them in its construction. When you have 5b ISK worth of microprocessors, that's a lot of cloaking devices. It would take months to run out of stock. Of course, the Helios requires considerably more to manufacture - 110 to be exact. That'll use them up faster but how many Helios can the market absorb? There'd be no margin left with an over supply like that. In fact, wouldn't that be the issue with any ship production? And if these were for ship production, wouldn't we see more purchasing in the other Gallente ship components? That isn't happening. I am pretty certain it isn't about ship production.

Of course, this was only one large buy in one small region and surely things aren't what they seem. I am certain more than a few of you are asking that question. I mean, there is a bit of skeptic in all of us and "who's this Mabrick fellow anyway" I can hear a lot of you asking. If I were in your pod, I might ask the same thing. Fortunately, I have more evidence.

Aura, by Aideron Robotics, is an awesome tool. If you've an Android phone and don't use this app do yourself a favor and install it. Then do us all a favor and donate! Anyway, back to the topic at hand. One of the things I love about Aura is it tracks the market - all regions, at once. The lists can get long and they aren't always 100% up to date (what is?) but it's all there. That and a handy screen capture app named No Root Screen Shot It and you can now see what I see right now (or at least 30 minutes ago or so.)
Now, check my math here, but aren't there fewer Photon Microprocessors on the market everywhere than were purchased in the last 24 hours in Essence alone? Oh, and the sellers are catching on fast. You see that last price in Jufvitte? That's where I sourced Photon Microprocessors two days ago - for less than a third that price. Are you still skeptical?

Fly careful.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Minerals might not be the only thing to worry about.

"He who controls the spice, controls the universe!"  - Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

At the start of the year, I fired up my Helios production line again. There isn't much of a margin in it, but after losing Space Ghost in a wormhole, I needed a new covert ops frigate. It was as good an excuse as any. As I pointed out in my last post, I like the idea that my ships contribute to who knows what mayhem.

I recently completed four Helios blue prints via invention, Since I needed to make a Jita run anyway (and before April 28,) I decided to bring back the needed modules - at least the ones that were cheaper at Jita - and start the runs with on hand minerals. All but three components were cheaper at Jita. Of those three, two were cheaper in Oursulaert, which was on my way home. That is when I first started to really pay attention to what had happened to the market for the final component I needed.

After stopping at Oursulaert III, I still needed a quantity of Photon Microprocessors. There were none in the entire region. There had been some in Jita, but their price was four to five times "normal." That should have been my first clue. I eventually sourced them in Verge Vendor - at a lower price than Jita but still at a considerable price increase over just a couple months ago. But it was late and I had to get the manufacturing runs set up so I headed for the factory and resolved to look into it later.

Yesterday was later. I jumped in my shuttle, the John B., and made a round of the neighboring regions. In all, I visited Essence, Genesis, Sing Liaison, Verge Vendor, The Citadel, The Forge and Everyshore. Though my journey didn't cover all of Empire space, I think it's fair to say I got to the heart of the matter. What I discovered was very interesting and somewhat alarming. The next section shows the Photon Microprocessor markets in each region as of approximately 0300 hours yesterday.

First of all, notice that all the regions show severely depleted supplies (I say this from past experience buying this component.) There are no sellers in at least two regions. What is available in the others is at much lower quantity than historically available and at considerably more cost. On each historical graph, large purchases of Photon Microprocessors began last weekend, and in The Forge and Everyshore have continued. Because of these purchases supply of this component is extremely low. Prices of the remaining components of the market are growing exponentially. This has to be market manipulations 101 on a vast scale.

It certainly is not speculation related to the looming mineral changes, which was my first thought. The three components required to manufacture Photon Microprocessors (Crystalline Carbonide, Phenolic Composites, and Nanotransistors) are all derived from moon materials. Now there's a happy coincidence. I looked at the 3-month history for each component in all seven regions but could find no conclusive indication of manipulation. That does not mean there isn't. I just can't say there positively is a correlation. Still, is it such a hard thing to believe that a large enough alliance, with control over vast quantities of rare materials and a track record of massive market manipulation, might not want to exercise their free-trade muscles, or lack thereof?

But this is a Gallente ship building component. As much as I am proud to be Gallente, I cannot say our Tech II ships are the most desired in New Eden. So why would anyone make such large and costly purchases of such a component? Something else must be the motivating factor.

It's not easily obtained from standard databases, but it is possible to find out everything a particular component, even one made from moon goo, goes into. At the bottom of that list I discovered two interesting possibilities.
Ask these two questions:

  1. With Hulkageddon running through all of May, how many Strip Miners will need replaced?
  2. What would happen in New Eden if suddenly there were no cloaking devices available?
I imagine the profit margins if #1 happened would be gigantic. What would miners pay to get in on the new asteroid rush? That's a good question. An even better question is how good are the lulz if you know that the carebears you blow up are paying for the bounties on their own ships? We'll need to pay attention to the Strip Miner market throughout April to get a good read on this one.

As for question #2, that's an extremely scary scenario. How much do we rely on covert ops? Scouts out would have an entirely new meaning in such a universe.

Fly careful.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reward for my hard work is all I ever wanted.

Earlier today I read CCP Affinity's post titled Carebearing 2.0. It was a very gratifying read. I also had an email from Ophilia IV (read her alter-ego's adventures here) not long ago asking if I had any thoughts on the Drone region changes. Why yes, yes I have. Thank you for asking. I should start from the beginning with this one. Please bare with me. There is a point to the non-sequitur seeming blather.

(tl;dr: The coming changes to Drones, T1 drops, and bots are good for carebears - period.)

I know from my own experience that many of the pew-pew players just don't understand what motivates a Carebear. Fortunately I understand them... mostly. Hopefully I can explain carebearing in a way they'll understand.

In the pew-pew world, a kill is an affirmation of worth. Kill-mails are the proof of that worth. With kill-mails come all sorts of public statistics that define the capability of the pew-pew pilot. How many times have you read a Kill-of-the-Week post by one blogger or another and applauded the pilot? I know I do all the time. Pew-pew pilots' psyche, I believe, are primed to need such public reinforcing. That is not a bad thing. We all want positive reinforcement of our self-worth. That is the nature of being human. I would never have it otherwise. In fact, many of the most interesting things going on in New Eden at this very moment are driven by this need. I think you all know of what I speak so I won't belabor those details. There are many other bloggers who have happily covered it in great detail - and I say that in both meanings of the word great.

A carebear though does not need that sort of external indication of our worth. Our sense of self is highly internalized. Our private bank balance is one indicator of our worth but is usually only known to us. Another is the less tangible idea that the things we make are used throughout New Eden. Our efforts are reflected in the world itself. Our hard work is seen in everything around us. When I undock and see another ship, I know that I am at least partially responsible for making that other ship possible. It is the source of carebear pride if you would. Me and my ilk build those ships. We also manufacture the modules, the weapons, the ammunition. We mine the raw materials from which everything in New Eden is made... or do we?

Hasn't that been the problem for a long time? In 4 years there has only been one expansion that bolstered my carebear feeling of self-worth. PI gave us one more reason to be proud. To feel like we contribute to our chosen society in a meaningful way. Every other expansion has catered to the pew-pew need for more things to blow up; to more public cries of, "see how valuable I am!"

To make matters worse, many of the things done to bolster pew-pew had the unintended consequence of reducing the worth of what carebears value. Rogue Drones are just one incident of several. Meta 0 Tech 1 drops have long been worth more in minerals than market value. "Mining with guns" as I read recently supplanted true mining long ago. I myself gave up on mining last year. Here is what I told Ophilia IV about it in my reply,
"It's a better use of my time turning 1MN MWDs into resources than mining in hi-sec right now. They cost less than their resources' value. I sell what I need to break even and keep the remainder. What's better yet, I don't have to spend hours drifting in a belt. Buy orders are automatic. That's terrible in more ways than I can count but it is efficient and frees me up to do other things."
Those "other things" I mentioned are the activities that bolster my own sense of self-worth. It's mostly taken the form of PI. I've also restarted my Helios production line. But recycling, though profitable, was never very fulfilling. It only served to increase my Helios production margins, which were thin to begin with. But all in all, it was better than spending hours mining for little or no gain.

And to make a bad situation worse, there are the bots. They cheapen everything a carebear cares about. In my early days I spent a lot of time in asteroid belts. Even as a noob, I could tell many of the ships in the belts of Cistuveart were bots. You know the ones, those Iteron V transports that seemed to just drift around all the time. Bots have always been "illegal." However, I came to believe that CCP would rather take the monthly subscription than enforce their own EULA and make my gaming better for it. I cannot express the joy I feel at being proven wrong on that score.

In conclusion (and finally,) I look forward to the coming changes with great anticipation. The higher prices are just another variable in the the economic equation of profitability. Any industrialist worthy of the designation can handle cost swings. It's margin that matters and passing costs on is a part of business. The markets will bare it. These changes will be good for New Eden as a whole. It'll hopefully put the mining back into Mabrick Mining and Manufacturing. Reward for my hard work is all I ever wanted.

Fly careful.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Crime really doesn't pay!

"So, the tl;dr of this is:
  • We're going to take all your stuff if you cheat
  • Buy PLEX, don't be a space butt
  • We're keeping an eye on all sorts of fun places to pull numbers and graphs from and we'll provide them in a separate blog
  • We love you if you don't cheat"
- CCP Sreegs
Awesome!

It's easy to mistake someone else's game play style for a crime against our beloved EvE. Whether your a ganker, carebear, PvPer or whatnot - I've no doubt nearly everyone reading this has had mean thoughts concerning players of diametrically opposed styles. It's only human. It's okay.

The true crime against our beloved game comes from those that would subvert it for their own selfish reasons. By this I mean those who use bots, those that sell ISK for real money (RTM) and those that support them. The same deleterious effects Ponzi schemers and counterfeiters have on the real world economy, BOT users and Real Money Traders visit upon honest, hard working capsuleers in the New Eden.

I am very happy that CCP takes the elimination of these parasites seriously. CCP Sreegs' blog post from today leaves no doubt about that!
"We fully intend to twist the knife on these kinds of operations and will utilize whichever mechanism we believe will cause them the most pain."
He went on to discuss reported false positives from their identification process.
"While there were reports of false positives related to this event, thus far every single valid "false" positive we've investigated was tagged because they had actually done something wrong, in most cases purchasing an account illegally or enabling RMT sellers via providing them with "loans". This is completely unacceptable behavior and in each instance thus far the purchased accounts were left closed and the loaned isk remained frozen."
I especially like the statement to which I've added emphasis. I couldn't have said it better. Just because EvE is a no-holds-barred gaming environment, behavior that can demolish the game itself is completely unacceptable. I make my EvE livelihood relying on a fair and balanced economy. So do every one of you. We all buy and sell on the same market. If it suffers hyperinflation we all lose. I applaud CCP's actions. Well done!

To outline what CCP is doing for all those that haven't read CCP Sreeg's blog:
  • Identified accounts can never be legally traded or sold
  • The banning process will occur daily
  • All illicit gains will be confiscated
  • Perma-bans for all ISK sellers and supporters without warning
  • ISK buyers will have all illicit ISK confiscated even if it leaves them with a negative balance
In summary, CCP Sreegs had this to say,
"Neither RMT nor bot-related activity have any place in New Eden any longer and the security team is willing to play chicken as long as it takes to get that message across."
Go get 'em security team! Don't forget to overheat!

Fly careful.