Monday, January 22, 2018

EVE's Premise Failure: Its Easier to Build Than Destroy

The side with the most soldiers wins. Until the other side brings a tank or two. Then the side with the most tanks wins... until the other side shows up with some aircraft. Then air superiority is the winning condition... until you start flinging nukes.

 * * * * *

EVE has been built from almost day one on bad assumptions or unintended consequences, and EVE's playerbase has been tenacious in their ferreting out every advantage and optimal solution to every game mechanic the developers can envision.

The most basic premise of EVE is that players create and players destroy. It is the flow of raw materials through the hands of the producers to create weapons for the hands of the warriors so that the warriors may destroy each other's weapons in their wars of conquest that ultimately drives the game. Where goods flow one direction, wealth flows the other; as long as there is balance, the game can progress forever.

But there is a failure in this premise, a fundamental flaw in the architecture that not even the Architect of the Matrix could have foreseen: human nature.



For all the talk that EVE is a world filled with psychopaths and trolls and thieves and criminals, we are very good at cooperation, especially in regards to accumulating wealth and building empires. While alliances and coalitions come and go, for the most part the players part of these organizations build wealth comprised of assets and capital. An alliance may lose everything as the pilots flee to low sec or a couch in a neighbouring region, but generally speaking players don't. Their wealth grows over time and the next alliance is stronger for it.

And this has created a problem.

The coalitions of today would absolutely crush the coalitions of a few years ago. Not because of pilot quality or tactics or anything else, but simply because of the sheer aggregate wealth of these organizations and their ability to put battle winning ships on the field.

For example, let's take a look at some things from a recent coalition level battle: BATTLE REPORT: SECOND 9-4RP2 TIMER PRELUDES THE START OF THE NEXT GREAT WAR.

The sub-capital composition was of the same theme for both the GSF led attackers and the NCDOT/PL/HORDE defenders; armor Machariels with logistic support. For the capital and super capital side of things NCDOT and co. use only armor based capital, and supercapital, doctrines; the attackers fielded a mix of shield, and armor, based capitals. From what I heard, GSF forces’ titans outnumbered NCDOT/HORDE ones for about a 30/40+ advantage.
 [...]
Supercarrier 0 / 154 [Lost / Fielded]
The Goons had about 30-40 more titans than their enemies. Back when I was in the Northern Coalition which was one of the largest coalitions at the time, our largest supercarrier fleets were that size. Fielding 154 supercarriers was not even conceivable, and that was just the Goons Super Carrier fleet. As a whole, EVE players are better at building than destroying wealth.

This creates a problem because as the top of the organization tree in EVE gets so overwhelmingly powerful and wealthy, new alliances or coalitions have to bend the knee to the existing powers that be or try to scurry like mice around hoping to avoid the notice of these elephants.

And still the power accumulates.

EVE cannot exists forever on this paradigm. Its remarkable, really, how long has survived with this flow of power to the top. Only the Bittervet disease reducing the ranks of the obscenely rich have slowed the top heavy accumulation of power enough to give EVE hope for over a decade, but as the battle at 9-4RP2 demonstrates, the imbalance is reaching critical levels.

What will CCP do?



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Changes to Structures

The dev blog about Upwell Structures 2.0 is a great read full of some good changes. My absolute favourite is this:
A new icon has been added to structure brackets in the overview and space scene to indicate whether you currently have permission to dock in that structure. This indication will make it much easier to determine which of the structures on a grid are open to you. It is however important to remember that even if one of your characters has permission to dock in a structure, that doesn’t mean that your other characters necessarily have the same permissions.

Finally!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Stagnation

As I logged in Sunday night and put up my fleet advert and welcomed old faces and new faces into a small roam around the warzone, I was struck by how even though I had been afk for the month of December, everything still felt familiar in my low sec hunting grounds.

Cal Mil fleets and gangs occasionally sighted; pirate gangs here and there; solo pilots either chased off or foolish enough to try and engage; and so on. We hit up the usual spots, got the usual fights and kills, and moved back home.

Its all so routine.

Although EVE itself has gone through a lot of changes in the past year with Citadels, Engineering Complexes, and most recently Refinery structures changing the landscape of space, and especially refineries changing the way moons are owned and fought over, the gameplay in low sec and faction warfare has overall stagnated. It stagnated so much that Gal Mil as an alliance took over sov in Cloud Ring as a lark and an exercise and still hold it.

This is part of the issue with my malaise in blogging recently: despite EVE development plugging along with The Agency, structures, and lots of PvE content, none of it directly affects my PvP gameplay in Black Rise and Essence. No new ships or tactics have emerged in the past year, and faction warfare mechanics have been left on the shelf in a box marked "good enough" in CCP's headquarters.

Despite my lack of blogging output, I'm still playing and enjoying the game, just my enthusiasm has decreased. I want to know the next big thing that will impact me, I want CCP to dust off FW plex mechanics, I want a serious go around on structures in low sec. And I want to know about the promised player owned stargates  and "new space".

Come on CCP, give me something to blog for.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Rebooting...

December was a rough month for me.

Nothing serious, just a constant stress machine of minor colds and flues, trying to get Christmas shopping done, trying to stay on budget, trying to keep wife from going insane, while still working and taking kids to their activities. On top of it all my son Wilmick7 was training for his jiu-jitsu green belt and as a Sensei at the dojo I was helping him at open mats and in class and at home as I want him to succeed even more so as I feel my reputation is on the line as well. All minor shit on their own, but combined together in a compressed few weeks it was exhausting.

The pressure was off for one glorious day on the 23rd as work was done, green belt earned, activities we done, presents bought and wrapped.

Then the 24th came and we traveled to my wife's parent's place for two nights, then my parent's place for one night, then back home exhausted and tired.

A few days of peace and quiet, right? Hell no, it was -30 outside so kids were stuck inside and coming down from Christmas high and while they are well behaved kids it was a challenge keeping our sanity. I'm a bit of an extrovert, I need my quiet alone time with a good video game and I did not get that. By the time New Year's Eve rolled around, I was on edge and ready to murder someone. And with work looming again in two days, I was not in a good place.

Fortunately, I finally did get some decent video gaming time and the stress eased off a bit.

Needless to say, EVE has been on the back burner. The back back burner. I'm a half introvert/half extrovert kind of guy; I like social interaction and visiting and playing with people... up to a point. Then I need quiet alone time. Logging into EVE requires my introvert batteries to be fully charged to handle the social interactions of fleets and operations.

Now with the holidays over I hope to get back into a normal routine (including eating right and exercise which are both important parts of mental health) and find my center again.

Expect blogging and EVE playing to resume this week.

Hope everyone had a good holiday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

SWAMPED

I'm sure regular readers of my blog are familiar with Mrs Kodachi's frequent non-life threatening (and sometimes even life threatening) health issues. Well, the past week has been a perfect storm of factors limiting my free time and thus blogging output:

1) Mrs Kodachi got the cold that went through the family and whereas everyone else needed a day to recover, she required a week.

2) Point 1 meant I was working two jobs, my regular job and then taking care of the kids to ballet exams, school, and other appointments/activitites.

3) Work was super busy with an important feature we were trying to wrap up that I was integral in working on.

4) And all of this while trying to get ready for the rushing locomotive and unstoppable force of Christmas less than two weeks away.

Stressed and lacking time have led me to be a little more reclusive than normal and less attentive than called for in the warzone. Thank goodness I hold a lot of shares in my corporation and got a big ISK dividend last week.

I'm hoping that with my wife on the mend and today being demo day and the end of the stories I was pushing the body on, I will have more time to partake in my hobbies.

Cheers!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Project Vulcan Phase IV - November Audit Complete

I completed the asset audit on November 30, last day according to my own rules, and was too busy to decide on a dividend payout and write up a report since then.

Real life can be a time suck, you know?

Anyways, here is the report.

The value of the corp at the May audit was approximately 64.6 billion ISK, and as of Nov 30 audit the value increased to ~79.4 billion ISK, a modest 14.8 billion ISK increase. I admit I was disappointed in this result. I figure the decrease in Azbel/Astraus/Raitaru demand as the consumer base has its needs filled coupled with the durability of these products and the saturation of the supply contributed to poor sales volumes. Capital production has been as consistent as last period but contributes not a lot to the bottom line.

I was hoping to make up a lot of ground with Athanor sales but outside of the first few the profit margins were modest. Still, I suspect that a large portion of the 14.8 billion increase came from Athanors.

End result: I've decided on a dividend payout of 10 billion ISK to shareholders which means that shares increase in value a small 7.41% (compared to 28.45%) last audit. The divident payout will be made within 24 hours.

Next week, I'll ruminate on next steps.

Friday, December 01, 2017

CCP Its Time: Tell Us The Future Vision

The age of structures is well and truly upon us.

The twilight of Player Owned Stations has begun. The sticks will fall completely as soon as niggling little functionality of Cyno beacons, Cyno jammers, and jump bridges are dealt with.

We're ready.

CCP, tell us the future plan. What's next? What is the next big thing?

We need to know. We're dying to know. We want to know because right now, after the moon mining shakeup has settled and we are living in the future of moon fracking, this seems like it. We're at the end of the known plan and in order to keep us veterans engaged for the long term, we need to know what's next.

New space? Stargates? New Drifter threats?

Tell us CCP; its time. Time for a new public roadmap.

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