Karma

A few years ago one of our friends divorced her husband for a work colleague she had been having an affair with. By the time the husband learnt of the affair (which was well after us) she had already irreparably checked out of their marriage. I was discomforted at the time as I had a (ridiculous) preconceived idea on the type of person who might have an affair, and she was the opposite of it. She was – is – the loveliest of people.

Fast forward a few years and she is still with her work colleague, still a lovely person, and still a close friend. Her father suffers from Alzheimer’s – and she was discussing yesterday how every time they catch up he is confused by the strange man she arrives with. She has to repeatedly explain to him that she is divorced and what happened. I know it is childish, but I quietly applauded the karma of the situation.

Christmas has been tremendously busy in the Hermit household. Being jobless, I indicated to my wife that I would be willing to partake in more social events than normal. She then busily set about abusing my momentary niceness, filling every day with travel and happenings. I won’t make that mistake again. I am finding it exhausting – made worse as my wife has come down with the flu a week ago, and has done little but look and sound miserable, shuffle from one chair to another, and sleep.

That has meant very little time for EVE. When I have found a spare 15 minutes here or 30 minutes there to log in, I have mostly just been running anomalies and exploration sites. Those frostline sites have still been very elusive.

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday period.

Quiet

I haven’t felt inclined to suffer the competitiveness and conflict of EVE over the last week, so I’ve spent a couple sessions undocked mining in the relative safety of a Skiff. On and off I had the company of an industrious new player who came and went in a Venture mining frigate. I carefully placed myself at the opposite end of the belt we shared, and we spoke no words, but I felt more of a connection to that unknown person than I do to the more boisterous and conceited of the power players.

This morning I had the pleasure of reading CCP’s latest (and in my opinion fantastic) Chronicle:

http://community.eveonline.com/backstory/chronicles/inheritance/

I’m not a lore aficionado, but it was one of those documents which nicely pulled together information from books, previous chronicles and the in game storylines. A Jove cruiser generating its own wormhole, discussions of the Talocan, the Jove Stasis Faction, and the nature of Anoikis. Well worth a read if EVE is more than just a bunch of game mechanics to you.

A Cold Zerg

I haven’t found many Operation Frostline sites. I’m not sure if they spawn less frequently than the Blood Raider Gauntlets sites, or if I have just been particularly unlucky.

For the Blood Raider sites I used a Zealot Heavy Assault Cruiser ( here ), which worked well in clearing the sites quickly and gave me an edge over Drone boats in beating them to the final killing shot / loot drop.

For this new event I put together a Legion version of my Zealot.

ehimg522

[Legion, Event Site]
Damage Control II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Corelum C-Type Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Corpum B-Type Medium Armor Repairer

10MN Afterburner II
Dark Blood Stasis Webifier
Tracking Computer II, Tracking Speed Script
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script

Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency M

Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump II
Medium Energy Metastasis Adjuster II

Legion Defensive – Nanobot Injector
Legion Electronics – Tactical Targeting Network
Legion Engineering – Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
Legion Offensive – Liquid Crystal Magnifiers
Legion Propulsion – Fuel Catalyst

This provides 31.4K vs 18K EHP, 390 vs 184dps Tank, and 525 vs 415dps. The range of its guns is lower, but they track a little better. It felt like it cleared the sites from first shot to final shot in about 5 minutes, which the logs backed up.

09:48:02
09:53:00

ehimg521

The zealot was similar, although there were less ships to shoot. I’m not sure I need the Web, and I should change from AB to MWD. So far it is a fun little ship to use for this particular purpose.

BB70 – I’ve been good this year

BB 70 – Dear CCP Santa, All I want for my EVE Christmas is..

A variety of things flew across my mind when I first saw this Blog Banter – a reason for me to use the Rorqual, a reason to use the Bowhead, a reason to open the captain’s quarters, or any one of the dozens of things I’ve mentioned over the years in this blog.

But in the end it came down to a simple and oft repeated request. I would like more tabs for my overview. Please. I know it should be possible – there were ways you could do it yourself in earlier years.

ehimg519

If CCP Santa thought I was really good this year, I wouldn’t mind also being able to colour code the overview tabs. Again I know that is possible as I see other players doing it on YouTube videos. It would be nice if it was supported within the client.

*EDIT* This is actually easy enough to do – Google is your friend.  You just use the HTML color tag around the tab names.  You can also use bold, italic and underline, possibly more.

Last of all, if CCP Santa thought I was really, really good this year, I wouldn’t mind the notion of inheritance being introduced to Tab Presets. Currently it is painful maintaining every tab preset individually, such as when new ships are introduced. It would be nice to be able to set up a template which other tabs automatically inherit from, so that for things I want to see on every tab, I only need to make the change once.

ehimg520

Wishing you a merry EVEmas.

Other Blog Banter posts on this topic can be found here

Uncanny Valley

Non-EVE

If you haven’t seen this yet, it is an interesting short Sci-Fi film on VR Junkies.

https://vimeo.com/147365861

While I am not contemplating the issues shown in the film, I do suspect VR, particularly realistic FPS’s, will ruin some lives.

I’m now an unemployed bum. I finished up my job on Friday. It was an odd final month.

My boss since July was inexperienced in her role and did not understand what I did. While she had an admirable quality of doggedly working through issues, she tended to be passive aggressive and disinclined to ask for advice from underlings.

While I produced the hand over documents she asked for, I had worked some long hours to get more than 7 years of documentation and email history sorted and ordered into an easily searched repository. It was a sort of legacy to help my boss. She would be able to see every client issue I had come across – how it was reported, what advice was given, and what work was done. It should have helped her greatly after I had gone.  However, she seemed dismissive of it – instead putting all her faith into the couple hours I spent talking to the (mostly silent) Off-Shore team who were organised at the last minute to cover my work.

I departed without a word of thanks for the years of service or an appreciation of the diligent handover.  While I had no doubt about my decision to leave, that reinforced it.

After working for more than 20 years straight without an appreciable break, I am taking three-months off before I start to contemplate what my next move is. I am not by nature the type who likes uncertainty, so I am going to have to work at keeping my mind focused on enjoying the downtime instead of stressing about next year.  I should get some more EVE time in.

The relation with cancer I mentioned recently passed away. My father spoke at her funeral last week. You don’t know how long you are going to be here for, so it pays to work towards the future while enjoying today.  I hope she is finally at rest.

Easy ISK – Part 2 of 2

A major aspect of EVE and how people play the game is the concept of meaningful loss. In my last post I surmised that it (obviously) ties in with how easy players find it to earn ISK.

If you follow the EVE related media, you will regularly come across posts and articles on how it is too easy to earn ISK.

As with my last post, when CCP releases figures however on the average wallet of each EVE character, it seems they are relatively poor.

Even accounting for what I suggested – how the ISK held by each character does not really reflect how much ISK each player might have, there still seems to be a disparity between the statement and the statistics.

Yesterday I said I was atrocious at this game because my net worth increased on average by only 20M ISK a day. That is the sort of level of losses I could sustain. I am ok with the reality of that. I play a solo, casual game and spend comparatively little time directly earning ISK. That 20M ISK a day equates to 140M ISK a week, earnt over only a couple hours of play.

At the moment I average 30 to 70M ISK each hour from PVE content. It depends on the luck of the drops and if I am in Hi-Sec or Null-Sec. It would be valid to round it out to 50M ISK an hour.  My characters are highly skilled and my ships moderately expensive, and while I don’t tend to zerg content, I am usually somewhat efficient.  I could earn more but I lean towards flying safe.

Looking at the latest kills on zkillboard, it would take me an hour to cover the loss of a couple T2 or Faction Navy Frigates or a well fitted cruiser. In two hours I could afford a reasonably fitted Battlecruiser, four hours for a T1 Battleship, five or six hours for a Faction cruiser or Recon. If I lost one of my carriers, it would take up to 40 hours of grinding to cover the entire cost. On my current play time, that would be around 20 weeks.

At my income level ISK almost always has meaning to me.

As a very rough guide the average player can earn / grind between 10 and 100M ISK per hour doing relatively available PVE content. It depends on where you are in space, what you are doing, and how much risk you take.

That doesn’t seem like “too much ISK” to me. Even at 100M ISK an hour, assuming you suffer no costs or losses, it would still require some 250 hours to grind up a reasonably fitted Super Carrier.

I believe you can earn between 100 to 150M ISK per hour in incursions and C5/C6 wormholes. This upper level PVE content requires a team of skilled pilots in expensive ships flying to set procedures, but comes with a greater risk of loss if things go wrong.

(I know some people suggest 200M+ an hour, but that seems to generally ignore the time spent forming fleets, moving around, and the amount of content available to clear in each session.)

I don’t begrudge that level of ISK earning because I know it takes time, effort and risk before someone might consider it to be “easy”, and they still need to be out flying space ships and interacting with the game for a substantial amount of RL time to earn each billion ISK.

So when it comes to being too easy to earn ISK, I assume it doesn’t relate to the PVE content the average pilot like you and me has access to. Or do people think otherwise? Are my figures wrong?  Are they basing their views on players that spend 10, 20, 40+ hours a week grinding ISK? Do I need my 140M ISK per week cut to 70M ISK, and my carrier blown out to 40 weeks – so that the wallet balance of someone playing EVE as a full time job can be halved?

Or are they talking about those who earn serious ISK?

Trading is often referred to as the easiest way of generating large amounts of ISK. There are bloggers who earn billions a day with only a 10 to 20-minute time investment, and tell you exactly what they do and what they trade. If it was so easy however, why do very few people successfully match them?

It varies, but if you want to emulate them tomorrow you would probably need 6 to a dozen or more accounts, with 3 well trained characters on each, spread across most empire regions, quick access to quality knowledge on trade values and trends, be able to purchase and hold substantial values in stock, and have efficient and safe methods to move it all around. If you then do all of that for long enough so that you operate on semi autopilot, you too can make lots of that easy ISK.

If your credit card doesn’t have a high enough limit to allow you to set that up tomorrow? Well, you can always start small – and compete along with the masses in trading. And compete you will.

Even with all the knowledge available online, trading still takes trial, error and effort to start. Margins in many items are very low, and you need to turn over large volumes to make decent profits, which you might simply not have the seed ISK to initially do. If you identify profitable items with good turn over and high margins, other people will be able to find them to. You might find within days the market is flooded and the profits gone. If you step into the turf of those traders who turn over 100’s of billions, you might find they deliberately sell at cost price to get rid of you. They can wait you out for months, leaving you with too much collateral in stock you will only be able to sell at a loss. The day you sell out the margins shoot back up again. You can lose a hauler that cuts deeply into the ISK you have worked hard to amass. CCP can announce a game change which rips value out of your stock. You can come up against bots or a no-lifer, and simply be unable to keep your stock exposed long enough on the market.

All the while you end up logging into a couple accounts a dozen times each day, making tens of minor price changes each time, going two steps forward, one step back, working extremely hard to get yourself into a position so that it all becomes easy. And at some point in time you come to the same realisation that most people seem to – that it is all terribly boring.

But that’s the problem about easy ISK. It generally takes a whole lot of time and effort before it becomes easy.

I know there are individuals and groups within the game that hold trillions of ISK. They can manipulate markets and thousands of players on a whim. To them ISK might well be truly meaningless. How many are we actually talking about though? 20? 30?

Are they instead complaining about the fact people can amass enough wealth over time that they can cop a few losses without finding it an issue? Or are they complaining because they don’t have the fortitude or nous to earn lots of ISK for themselves? Or do they assume they are losing their PVP battles because their opponents must be earning too much ISK instead of just being better than them?

I don’t think the vast majority of average EVE players earning between 10 and 100M ISK per hour find it so easy that loss becomes meaningless to them. Even if they amass wealth due to avoiding PVP, their reserves are not limitless. I am not sure why there has been such a public focus on this topic. Or am I thinking too much on the individual, and this is about something else?

Meaningless ISK – Part 1 of 2

If you follow the EVE related media, you will regularly come across posts and articles on how ISK loss has become meaningless.

The simplest method to judge this might be to look at how much liquid ISK you have as a rough measurement on if you can dock in Jita 4-4 and immediately replace any losses.

When CCP releases statistics however on the average wallet of each EVE character, it seems they are relatively poor. They would certainly be hurt by the loss of a bling fitted ship.

So why the disparity?

I expect the average active player has more ISK than the statistics initially suggest.

I have six characters in game – 1 main and 5 alts. Generally, my Alts have less than 100M ISK in their wallets while my main hovers around the 5B ISK mark. Statistical that averages to 920M ISK per character, but in reality there is one player with 5.5B ISK.

I actually keep most of my ISK in my Corporations. Checking then, it would only take a minute to have 70+B ISK deposited in my main’s wallet. So instead of six characters with an average of 920M ISK, in reality you have one player with 70+B. That is certainly enough that the loss of a normal ship won’t financially bother me.

Obviously we must nerf the hell out of the ISK I can casually generate, and make me lose stuff more often.

But then the measurement becomes unstuck. I could lose a great deal of T1 Rifters before their loss felt meaningful, but only a couple of fitted Nyx. I might run out of ISK in years, or it might just take a couple of game sessions.

Statistics don’t lie – they just tell many versions of the truth.

A better measurement for how meaningful ISK is would be to work out what sort of losses the average EVE player can sustain.

I roughly calculated my overall worth with assets, subtracted the sizeable donation a reader gave me, and then divided it across the more than 9 years I’ve played EVE. It is not completely accurate, but after subtracting donations, the occasional poor trade and the rare ship loss and what not, my net worth in game increased on average by around 600M ISK a month. Per account, that is 300M ISK a month, 69M a week, or less than 10M ISK per day. I mean, 10M ISK is, err, well, not very much at all.

Realistically, if I took up daily PVP I could sustain around 20M ISK of losses a day across my two accounts without going backwards. Hello to the world of T1 Frigate combat – but anything bigger would become a lot more meaningful.

I recently spent 727M ISK on a Legion to zerg those Operation Frostline sites. If I lost that through a gank or a silly mistake, it would take me on average 36 days to recover the cost. That feels like it would be meaningful.

So my wallet balance reflects that I have played the game for a very long time and been able to avoid loss.  It does not reflect how meaningful ISK is.  To work out how accurate the statement “ISK loss has become meaningless” is, we need to figure out how easy the average player finds it to earn ISK.  For me, apparently not so much.