Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The ISK Tank

ISK is also the motivation for many ganks. ISK is lost and ISK is gained during these ganks.  The ISK is as tangable as any space pixiel can be. The ISK is trackable. The ISK is a stat. In the end the ISK is often the most harped upon point in the discussion about ganking.
It is an ‘everyone throw in their ideas’ arena. People who are losing things or who have the potential to lose things do not wish to. People who are enjoying creating that loss, continue to enjoy creating that loss. The two are rarely going to meet in the center or even around the edges of the center or even a bit outside of it and to the left.
There is a rift that is really only crossed by experience. The thing is the experience is remarkably unpleasant for some. I don’t tell people to try ganking. It is the easiest course to seeing the other side, yes. However, if someone is truly against that type of game play they are not going to derive pleasure from the attempt and may just wind up miserable.  The same goes for the other side. While many in Eve started in some type of basic new player mining and mission running asking htem to go and set up a T2 production chain or a Capital Ship Building setup is not a feasible way to ask them to see the view point of the ganker.
In regular and I will even say "acceptable" PvP ISK is often measured in efficiency. However, ISK does not messure effectiveness or end abilities. While the player that loses his ship to a much smaller and physical (in a space pixiel physical way) ship may be a bit offended and scoff over cheap, throw away ships, it is generally understood that ISK is a tool in PvP just as ammo selection is. For some that understanding is slower to be reached than for others but it often happens.
Once the spaceship violence moved into high security space the aspects and understanding of ISK change. For some reason high security space has created a type of person that believe in an ISK tank. An ISK tank appears to be a tank on a ship dictated solely by the current market value of the target ship (plus modules and cargo) and of the ganker ship (plus cargo and modules). An equation is quickly done when the ganker hits F1 and the ISK tank automatically activates invalidating the gank if the ganker ship value is not equal to or greater than the victim ship. When this tank then fails (due to ISK having poor resistances and 0 EHP) the gankee may become deeply offended at the loss to a much cheaper ship. I say may, because not everyone runs to the forums and petitions CCP about the imbalance of the game and the fact that people should not be allowed to make ISK off of other people's spaceship losses in high sec because it is the safe, lawful zone.
This has been going on for years. Even after CCP introduced Concord to help manage the amount of blood loss in high sec space. Note the use of manage not stop. Concord was once tankable and even before that did not exist. I have been told of these dark times in history by monks tucked deep in Jita 4-4.
 I can understand where the argument for ISK vs gankability comes from. It may be a bad argument in my opinion and terribly shallow but I can see and understand it. It makes a strange, lopsided sense for those that do not engage in combat. They do not get to participate in situations where a 20m ISK frigate locks down a billion ISK worth of ship. Without that background mixed with a situation where loss in general is to be avoided, ISK tanks seem like a rational, intuitive argument.
Outside of the moral and gameplay aspects of ganking another common song is the one about the cost of ISK.  The introduction of Tags 4 Sec was seen as a great boon for the active PvPer and a great plague for those that felt themselves their victims. It was believed that every pirate would immediately regain security status and flood high sec like a plague of locust pewpewing everything in their path. So far that does not appear to have happened. Yet, even without it happening the fear of it is so great that people are reacting as if it has.
And in the ISK focused arguments about ganking I have witnessed a new entry enter the field. “People have too much money so the cost of tags/ship/loss does not matter and ganking is to easy because they have ISK.” At this point, I can only rub my head and try to puzzle out the logic stated here. In a way this surpasses the ISK tank for irrational use of sensible things to create an illogical argument.
I will try to use myself as an example. I have five billion ISK in my main liquid ISK wallet. If I go and gank a hauler with a Tornado let us say that Tornado, fully fit, costs 100 million ISK. The hauler I gank was carrying 500 million ISK in cargo and modules. The gank gives me a clean 50% drop and I successfully loot 250 million ISK worth of items from the wreck. I then go and sell them and make exactly 250 million ISK because this is the land of magic and taxes, broker fees, travel time, and time in general don’t count. My net profit is 150 million ISK. Now, I have lost sec status. I go and spend… let’s say… 100 million ISK correcting my sec loss to return to high sec (really no one is doing this for ganking) and I am back in high sec in fifteen minutes. My profit is now 50 million ISK. I have made a profit.

Now, let me use the same above equation but I get a 50 million ISK drop which I sell for 50 million ISK. If I use Too Rich in ISK logic, because I have five billion ISK in the wallet, the loss that I suffered as a ganker does not matter. I can change the equation to missing the gank and having a profit of negative as I replace my ship and buy my sec status back up. According to Too Rich in ISK logic this still is unfair because I have five billion ISK in the wallet. 

That means that the loss does not hurt me with Too Rich in ISK logic activated. I will give that people define facial inconvenience differently. It is why so many games have balances in them to bring everyone onto the same level. A newbie looses 100 experience points and a veteran loses 1,000. But has Eve ever been about direct 1 to 1 balance? The arguments over ganking and what is an acceptable gank value are endless. While many are amusing and more stand upon emotion more than thought the volatility of the subject matter bears a certain amount of watching. The mining barge buff last year created a precedent and one that people on both sides of the topic will keep their eyes on. It is oft quoted already. I'd love to sit and go, "Things are fine, move on" but the past has taught me change does happen and ignoring the mood of the masses may cause much to be missed.

Brought to you by yet another, terrible forum post. I got to stop reading these things.


  1. Your argument also has a few holes in it, Sugar.

    What if you were ganking in a catalyst, not a tornado? You could easily afford 10 of them for every tornado. And it's not like ganking would be your only source of income. I'd bet most, or at least many, gankers are in the same boat; they have PI alts and incursion alts, etc, so they don't live or die on the ganking profit alone.

    Like it or not, at a certain point, players become so rich that price checks and balances don't apply. Look at all the supers floating around. CCP thought the sheer cost would limit them, but that hasn't worked. Ganking is the same way.

    The only thing is, I'm not sure what can be done. Or, if something can be done, should it? I think the mining barge rebalance was dead on the money - make it a little less easier to gank mining barges, but not impossible. Haulers need some of the same love, too, and in the same way.

    I don't actually think the ISK argument is invalid when it comes to ganking. I also don't think there should be a 1-1 correlation. If my non-combat ship costs 100 mil, someone should not have to get into a 100 mil hull just to gank me. But should they be able to do it in something that costs a tenth? That's the real question. Complicating that kind of comparison, of course, is that one cannot just compare isk. A non-combat, non-military ship just cannot stand up to the pounding a military combat ship can. Both sides are correct and both sides are wrong.

    I'm actually happy, or more happy, anyway, with the state of ganking now than before the rebalances.

    So I guess while I find some merit in the isk argument, I do agree that it cannot be used as the sole determinant as to "ganking is broken". I guess I fall somewhere in the middle :)

    1. I'm not really making an argument so much as being a bit silly and poking at the topic. Its something I seem to fail at with my shitty sense of humor. Sorry about that.

    2. Poking fun or not, it's an interesting discussion, and I'm glad you posted about it. It's always good to get more points of view out there on these topics. Normally, all I hear from one side is HTFU, and from the other it's 'you cost me money' :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you officer. I have corrected them.