Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Direction

After the rousing fun of being part of a pair of triage carriers in Bring Me The Head of Kirith Kodachi 3 last month, I made a couple decisions.

First, I wanted to train up Tactical Logistics Reconfiguration V so I could fit the Triage Module II for even better repping goodness.

Then, I decided it was time to break from my long held Caldari Only tradition for capital ships:

Training Gallente Carrier skill to unlock the Thanatos, my next big purchase. I also need Capital Armour Repair Systems skill trained up so those both will take a while. After that, Gallente Dreadnought and Capital Hybrid weapons.

Perhaps BMTHOKK4 will need a new poster...

Don't worry about my old faithful Chimera, the good ship Ninveah. It will find service with my alt who is skilled up for Caldari carrier as well.

Development 101

One of the most important things in any complex application is enabling the user to find things that are relevant and important to them. Its development 101.

I was playing with the industrial changes and explored the teams interface. I figured out the difference between teams already at work and teams up for auction, saw how to bid on them (not a fan that you *have* to hit enter after typing a solar system name, but not a big deal), and decided to throw a bid on a team as an experiment.

Note: not pleased the bid had to come out of my alt's personal wallet instead of a corporate wallet, but again not a big deal.

I log off and logged back on the next day and decided to check out that bid I made.

And I would if I can find it. 

I don't know if the auction finished and I was outbid or if its still running. I simply cannot find it as I did not explicitly write down the team name as I made the bid. That's crap, CCP, that is unacceptable. It should be simple as a check box to see the teams I've made a bid on, or at least that have a bid from my system / a specified system. This is a big deal.

Seriously, can you tell which one I've bid on?
The interface knows my bids because if I hover over the right one in the auction column it tells me my bid amount! It should be obvious at a glance which one it is, and ideally if my system I bid for is the current winning bid or not.

(And no, I do not think this is a good spot for the API and a third party developer to step in. This is a good spot for CCP to develop a new feature properly. Their QA department should have caught this.)

On a positive note, I'm pleased with how many active teams there are and how easy it is to browse for the ones that impact a certain blueprint. Still need time to tell how feasible it is to get a team I want though.

* * * * *

In other news, the first of two pre-Crius Archon builds comes out in two days, so after I get back from a long weekend family trip I'll evaluate what changes to my Archon build there will be. Look for that post Monday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Selling My Soul, Piece by Piece

Fighting a Doom Cold inflicted upon me by my spawn, coupled with a crazy work schedule, has me lacking energy for a deep and meaningful post.

So you get this instead.

I last played any type of Warhammer 40K game two weeks before the twins were born, over 6 years ago. This year I finally resolved to sell my massive collection of models and this past few weeks I finally got the gumption to go into the dark corner of the crawlspace and pull some cases out. After futzing with the camera and slowly recalling how to take decent pictures of models, I started posting auctions on Ebay.

You know, when I decided to start doing this, I thought it would be easy. I thought the nostalgia had been sweated out after not touching the stuff for 6 years. But once a Warhammer addict, always a Warhammer addict.

Each auction I created was accompanied by a series of memories of how that squad or that character performed heroically in one battle or another. Each model lovingly converted and painted, cared for and repaired when the inevitable accident happens. And now... its gone, someone else's property.

I feel like I'm selling a forgotten part of my soul, piece by piece.

I started with my Chaos marine army, my second Warhammer army. I feel I might slip into depression when I break open the Eldar cases. Some of those Eldar models I've had for over 25 years.

To be fair, I'm keeping a handful of models that I'm particularly fond of. I won't be soulless when this is all done.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fear and Loathing in Los Crius

Over at The Nosy Gamer blog the author was talking about how he was going to stick it out in Low Sec with his industrial adventures despite the upcoming changes in Crius expansion tomorrow:
I seriously considered moving back to high sec. Quite frankly, with the changes coming tomorrow, staying in low sec is pretty stupid. But a low sec base is more convenient for my faction ammunition business. Most of the cost of that is the time I take acquiring loyalty points, not manufacturing.

With all of the tears flowing from high sec, I figure I'll do something really stupid. That's right, I'm going to double-down on low. Can a casual industrialist not only survive, but thrive, in low sec operating against the high sec industrialists and all of the advantages they'll enjoy once Crius goes live. The only way to really know is to try, right?
I admit I have not delved seriously into the Crius changes on Sisi prefering to simply evaluate them once they hit Tranquility and how they will impact my casual capital building enterprise. So I commented:
I'm with you Noisy! I'm going to continue to operate my small cap building venture in low sec and we'll see how much things change for me.

Casual Low Sec Producers Unite!
To which a commenter self-identifying as the infamous Dinsdale responded: might want to get onto Singularity and have a good hard look at your "small cap building venture".
I am on Sisi, right now, with my Archon BPO, looking at all the combinations and permutations, and calculating the disastrous changes to the "casual low sec producer".

I used to build Archons, Thannies, and Moros in Carrou, one jump from high sec. It will be utterly impossible to compete with the big boys starting tomorrow. The wastage on a 1 run job is insurmountable compared to a 3 run job, and that is BEFORE the use of the teams, which will be used by null sec, not low sec.
And BTW, high sec is even more screwed than anyone else, regardless of what Noisy thinks.
Am I worried? Yeah, I have concerns and I will be documenting here how much hit my margins take after tomorrow. So on Crius Eve, let's record the numbers of the old way of doing things.

The main cost for me right now is raw materials. Here is my chart of mineral requirements:
Click for full size.
Crius is going to change those numbers, probably upwards. The second change of Crius is that the charge for using factories will probably no longer be insignificant digits compared to the materials.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Visit To War Museum In Ottawa

With the popularity of World of Tanks and World of Warplanes around the house these days, we decided to take a quick trip into Ottawa to visit the War Museum. There we went right away to the Lebreton Gallery and checked out all the tanks and other military hardware.
Panzer II


My favourite, Panzer V Panther

Um, forget.

Who's that handsome devil?

Rare sighting of Mrs Kodachi!

The M3 Sherman is Twin B's favourite tank.

I got a picture with my favourite in the gallery, the Panther. No Tigers sadly.

Rookie tank found!

A tankette!
This was only a sampling of the tanks there, there was at least 10 more that I didn't get pictures of, as well as a host of other vehicles and equipment. Definitely worth the trip.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Imitation is the Sincerest Form...

Aw shucks...

PLEX Prices

Recently PLEX prices on the market have climbed through the roof and have gone over 800 million ISK per unit. The lowest sell prices in Jita today are at the 810 million point with the highest buy order at 803 million ISK. When faced with the decreased amount of player activity observed recently it seems rather counter-intuitive as one would expect there to be a correlating reduction in demand which should lead to lower prices, right?

Click for full size. Provided by @Sidrat2011, thanks!

Well, let's do an Economics 101 class and see if we can't make heads of tails of this a bit more.

Supply and Demand...

We are all probably well familiarized with the concept of supply and demand. In a perfectly competitive market with all other factors being ignored and the assumption that the sellers want the best price for their goods and the buyers want to pay as little as possible but neither side wants to wait very long (i.e. they do what it takes to sell / buy as quickly as possible), then supply and demand impact the price point at which a product will sell. As supply increases, the price will decrease and vice versa; as demand increases, price will increase and vice versa.

Example of demand increasing from D1 to D2 and therefore price increasing from P1 to P2 and quantity changing from Q1 to Q2.
The less well known part of that concept is that changes in supply and demand affect the quantity moved as well, so keep that in mind as I think it may come up later.

So as stated in the intro, since there are fewer people logged in there must be lower demand for PLEX and therefore shouldn't the price decrease? Well, there may be fewer logged in players but there is no current knowledge that the number of subscriptions funded through PLEX has decreased the same amount; the volume of PLEX sold has decreased over the past few months but not as much as the PCU has fell, I'm guessing only about 10% from a glance.

Nevertheless, prices are rising and not decreasing! Something is a play here. Is it possible that demand has increased against our initial assumptions? Could the changed New Eden Store and ship paint jobs that require PLEX converted into Aurum to purchase be increasing demand? If this was true, we'd expect to see that quantity sold increasing or at least holding steady but that is not the case.

Perhaps the pressure is coming from the other side of the equation. As discussed above, when supply increases prices will decrease and quantity sold will increase, and when supply decreases then prices will increase and quantity sold will decrease. Interesting. 

Let's do a scenario so see if my adhoc hypothesis holds up. Let's say both demand and supply have fallen. The lower demand means prices will fall but the lower supply could counteract that fall, and even reverse it if the supply drops off enough. Note that we don't have an easy graph to see how much the supply is at any given point, only the volume of goods sold and the price they sold at. On the other axis, if demand and supply both decrease then the quantity sold will decrease as well, which fits (albeit not as easily) with what we see.

TLDR: its possible based on my simplistic understanding of economics and the current state of the PLEX market that both demand and supply have fallen, leading to an increase in prices and decrease in overall volume.

If correct, and that's a big if, we can postulate that if the concurrent users logged in numbers correlate positively with supply and demand, then PLEX prices could decrease if the PCU count recovers and climbs to higher levels again.

* * * * *

I was going to talk about Price Elasticity of Demand / Supply but I'm already feeling way out on a limb here. Basically from what I remember the idea is that the elasticity is a measure of how much a buyer will tolerate a changing price before they decide to not buy the product. A lot of factors plays into the elasticity like how much the item is needed, how much it costs compared to the buying power of the purchaser, etc. I'm going to wildly guess that the price elasticity of PLEX is pretty high, i.e. the price can increase quite a bit before a buyer will opt out of the market, hence why the volume sold has decreased so little in comparison to the price increases.

But that is even more of a wild guess than the rest of the post so take it with a grain of salt.

UPDATE: EVE Altoholic has better analysis with lots of graphs and expertise behind it. Go check it out!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CCP: Its Almost Too Late

I read this excellent article by The Mittani on about super capitals:

You ever wonder why you don't hear stories about scrappy groups from NPC 0.0 trying to take sov space and getting smacked down by the blocs who attempt to defend their territory? In theory this should happen all the time. In practice, it almost never does.

There's a 'You must be this high to ride' bar in front of sov null. Unless you are a bloc or are backed explicitly or implicitly by a bloc you're not going to get to get a slice of sov - and supercapitals are entirely to blame.

Whoever has the biggest supercapital group near a quadrant can ensure that an organization trying to gain entrance into sov null or build up any real capital fleet in NPC 0.0 gets utterly splattered. You want to try to build up a capital group in lowsec? Good luck deploying against a tower without someone in a bloc finding out and dropping a pile of bored supercarrier pilots on you. You want to build up or buy enough supers that you can take down sov structures without seriously questioning your life choices? You need to have more than a bloc can destroy to prevent them dropping on you - which means you essentially must be a bloc already.

I agree with everything written in there because I've been saying the same things here for nearly four fucking years (post Capitals Online, Oct 2010):
4) There is no effective counter-measure to supercaps other than other supercaps. While it is possible to destroy a Titan or supercarrier with only sub-cap ships, you need effectively a perfect storm of conditions to do so: a tackled ship, a few hundred of your allies, hope your opponent does have a hundred or so of their sub-cap ships, and enough DPS to kill the ship in 15 minutes if he logs off. On the other hand, a small handful of supercaps can hotdrop a tackled titan and kill it in a few minutes.
But beyond that, a fleet of enemy supercaps can't be stopped by anything outside of a fleet of your own supercaps. Or a hell of a lot of regular capitals or metric shitton of well coordinated sub-caps, neither option which is very feasible for your average every day operation. Thus "supercap blobs" are well nigh un-counterable, and POS defenses are inadequate to deter these fleets.
Fundamentally, you need supercaps to deal with enemy supercaps.
The stagnation in null sec is killing the game CCP, and its really starting to show. You're running out of time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tank Tuesday : A Funny Story

* * * * *

So one of the twins, Twin B we'll call him, loves himself some World of Warplanes right now and is not half bad at playing in matches. I have a second account set up for him to use so I can play World of Tanks on one machine while he plays World of Warplanes on another.

* * * * *

On my account, I have about 1700 gold saved up from last year when I was playing a lot and bought some. I've been using it periodically for miscellaneous purposes such as getting new crew at 100% when I buy a tank or removing specialized equipment when selling an old tank. As I got closer to unlocking the Panther II medium tank, I was considering splurging and converting some of it to credits to afford the beast. Possibilities.

* * * * *

My youngest son, who we'll call K, also likes gaming. He's two years younger than the twins (i.e. twins are 6, little bro is 4) and has recently decided to try World of Warplanes like his big brother. I don't let him play much because, at 4, he's not that good, but letting him bomb around with the mouse in tier I and II matches is not a big deal. I let him use my account since his brother is using the spare account already (and thinks of it as 'his account' with 'his planes').

* * * * *

I showed Twin B how to tell if he can buy planes by looking at the number of available hanger slots and how to filter in the store to researched and affordable planes. He likes to manage his own garage and since there is no real money invested on that account, I'm fine to let him do what he wants with minor guidance from me.

* * * * *

You don't have separate World of Tanks and World of Warplanes accounts. You have a account and use the same credentials to log into either game (and World of Warships will be using the same thing when it goes live). The upshot of this design is that any gold you have to use in World of Tanks is also available in World of Warplanes for use there.

* * * * *

You see where this is going, right?

* * * * *

There I was, playing some World of Tanks while Twin B was playing World of Warplanes beside me. K comes down and wants to play too, so I relinquish my seat and log into World of Warplanes on my computer for K and he happily starts to play. I sit down beside them and pull out my phone for some Bubble Burst.

At this point Twin A, hereto unmentioned in this story as he's not a big World of Tanks/Warplanes fanatic, calls for help from another room with a Pocket Minecraft issue on his tablet. I go to assist him and while I'm gone Twin B decides to buy a new plane. K sees this and decides he wants to buy a new play too! He knows how to select a plane and how to queue up for the next battle but he does not know how to buy a new plane. But big brother Twin B is there to help and gladly shows him what to click on to bring up the store.

I come back a few minutes later and K proudly proclaims, "Look daddy! I bought a new plane!"

"Oh, that's nice dear."

... wait-a-minute...

Sure enough, he bought a premium plane with my carefully hoarded gold. I went from 1700 gold to 300.

Yeah, its only about $8 worth of gold but I was nursing that stockpile for so long! I had dreams for that gold, I tell you, designs, plans, ambitions! And all lost with a click of a four year old's mouse button.

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