Monday, October 13, 2014

Now or When?

This morning, I decided to be a tiny bit productive in game. I've been trying to put my markets back together. The other weekend, when I had my glorious adventure, I got one of my alts stuck in the station with Sugar. She was going to be the in cyno for my great escape that I wound up not needing.

Today, I extracted her when I got up from work. The corporation that lives in that station is USTZ. My days off are scattered through the week so I logged in, noted that local was at zero instead of seventy five, and warped out to freedom.

I absolutely love the danger and I love avoiding the danger. I like that thinking and planning and a bit of patience can allow me to just step out of a bad situation. Hopefully. It may not work. I might have left that and jumped into an instalocking spammy camp and lost the ship a jump later. That is also something I adore. And I love and adore the possibility while not actually wanting to be the one that falls victim to it. But, I know that it will happen at times.

Was I at risk because I mitigated the bulk of the risks? I'd say yes but I am quite curious to know how many people would say no.

Is the risk that we, the players, want to define the game by immediate and unavoidable or is it a potential future that can be avoided? The second, I feel, is good gameplay. The first, I believe is good that it does happen. I do not think it has to be absolute.

I bring this up because I've been in a lot of discussions of late where someone throws down, "100% risk free," when criticizing a behavior. This may be using jump freighters to jump to a station or double wrapping so that a clear cargo scan cannot be had. Others will use it for the ganker themselves. It is applied to null sec. It is applied to high sec. It is applied to absolutely everything to defend or argue a point.

But it is not such a straight black and white line.


  1. The nice thing about EVE is that there is a nearly direct correlation between $ and ISK. While you didn't lose your precious ship, you did lose time. A day in EVE costs about 25m ISK, not including opportunity costs. In a solid day, you can make 1b ISK running incursions. If you're camped for the day that you scheduled your incursion marathon, you've lost the equivalent of your faction BS hull.

    If, while camped in station in your only incursion ship, you decide to undock and make a run for it and are unlucky, you've set yourself back not only the cost of the ship and mods, but also the amount of time it will take to replace the ship, and its associated opportunity costs (the hourly ISK difference between running incursions and running level 4 missions, for example).

    Risk isn't really all that hard to calculate.

    1. I almost forgot a part of the equation. Suppose you undock in a hostile system. The odds of losing your ship are, lets say arbitrarily, 90%. That means that there is a 10% chance of escape. So you compare 90% of your loss (and opportunity costs if any) to 10% of the loss and opportunity costs (those are two different sets of opportunities at risk) and make the decision to stay docked or make a run for it.

      Risk vs. Reward is a similar calculation...If you have a 10% risk of losing your ship, then you have a 90% chance of realizing the reward. If you compare 10% of the value of your ship to 90% of the value of the reward and the ratio is favorable, take the bet.

      Look at null sec mining for a moment and compare the risk of losing an expensive mining barge to high sec mining in the same barge. I suspect the risk/reward ratios are similar, wouldn't you?

    2. Yeah. No :P

      See in EVE you can convert € (or $) to ISK but not the other way around (not within the terms of the EULA anyway).

      $30 = +/-1.6 Billion ISK currently. You may have to run incursions for 1.5 days (12 hours) to get 1.6 Billion ISK. You could work a minimum wage job where I am for 3.5 hours and make the same (after taxes). For quite a few EVE players with well paying IT jobs $30 is probably less then an hour of work in real life. An hour of overtime probably pays for multiple billions.
      And since the $->ISK exchange is one way it could be argued working an hour of overtime from which the revenue can spend on ISK but also on something else is far more efficient then playing EVE for 12 hours (at least 3 times as efficient even at minimum wage).

      So the real life time equivalent of 'risk' is far lower for somebody that sells PLEX for ISK the somebody that grinds the hours in EVE.

      Just sayin ;-)

    3. So, I never sit there and calculate my time that way. I log in and play Eve as I please and stop when I no longer wish to. I'm often idle doing something on my other screens and using Eve to chat in. If I used isk and time equations I'd be god knows what.

      But I feel productive and happy and not like my time was lost.

  2. Nothing in Eve is 100% risk free. There may be a few 80%'s, but there is always a chance that things will not go according to plan. Those that claim something is 100% risk free seem to really mean that they can't figure out a way to interfere with the said activity...

  3. [quote]Is the risk that we, the players, want to define the game by immediate and unavoidable or is it a potential future that can be avoided? The second, I feel, is good gameplay. The first, I believe is good that it does happen. I do not think it has to be absolute.[/quote]

    I see that Uedama continues to be a blockade to game logistics. The risk vs reward mantra is coupled with the objectivity that there are alternative actions. (such as tank vs yield for a mining barge). Here there is no option, this system is unavoidable. (an additional 38 gate flight around is not an alternative). As I recall, CCP did introduce additional gate paths for Faction Wars in the past. Perhaps it is time for high-sec to be a true network instead of a string between the cans of Jita and Amarr. Otherwise my argument would be the removal of being able to jump from high-sec.

    Why? Because either Risk vs Reward applies to everybody or it does not. If goods are imported into Jita through bottlenecks, then goods should be exported out through the same bottlenecks.

    Can I now call the experiment of Eve a failure? The opening core idea is that criminals and good guys or white knights. (call it what you like). Yet no one seems to be interested here in being good or white. The blockade of Uedama operates with impunity. When an experiment does not work, then it is time CCP tried something else.

    1. I think this is wrong-headed. It is not a failure of EVE to not provide you with someone who wants to clear the freighter lanes for you simply because you hope for it. You are just leaving it up to chance. If you want the lanes clear, take action: declare war, hire mercs, do *something*. I'm not sure why you assume that a white knight will always come to your rescue when someone in game is "mean" to you, or why you should be guaranteed safe passage.

      I think what is happening in Uedama is awesome -- people are moving sand in the sandbox. This creates risk for you, and you don't like that, but risk is part of the game, like it or not. I happen to like it, so I think it's wonderful. Meaningful risk is largely what distinguishes EVE from other games, and what makes accomplishments in EVE mean something to us.

    2. To be clear here, I don't truck through Uedema. You mention hiring mercs or declaring war. Yes, valid options I agree. But see, no one is bothered to do it. There has been a lot of noise about "being the villain". But it is worthless if there are no heroes.

      Null and low put in a vested interested case for the exemption for logistics from jump limits. Yet this concern does not reach to goods to the market, only from the market.

    3. The Uedema thing brings up the entire defense vs offense in high sec. There is little to no offense. In this particular thread of thought, is this something to be solved or simply part of what makes things good or bad?

    4. It is part of what makes things good or bad. I just perceive that there is a lacking incentive for good.

      This is somewhat interesting as a reaction, and understandable.

  4. It’s difficult to explore this subject without referring back to Friday 10/10’s “Barely Casual” post. A “100% risk free” disparagement can mean two different things. First the obvious sense that, if adequate precautions are taken odds of things going wrong are slim. Second, a disparaging sense that taking actions to mitigate risk (like alarm clocking for safe exit) means “You’re not Macho, you’re not Hardcore, you’re not Thrillingly Dangerous”. Turning the second sense gaze on Anonymous 6:06 PM above yields, “You fight like an accountant.” Directing the same gaze at suicide gankers delivers a, “You’re not gambling anything. You already know exactly and precisely what you are going to lose, what that loss will cost and you’ve already accepted that expense. You’re not undertaking thrilling adventure, no you’re calibrating acceptable loss. Unlike you, you’re prey is bold. Their loss will hurt them but you, you’re penny-pinching.”

    “100% risk free” is as often as not about posturing and one-upmanship, not game mechanics.

    1. Yet people insist on using 100% risk free if people mitigate the risks. So, is risk only unavoidable?

    2. And so we’ve whittled down to the crux of the matter. If “Risk” is to be restricted down to that which cannot be mitigated by skill and effort the only response that comes to my mind is to mock the person insisting on using such emaciated definition. “Fine, you go play Russian Roulette. That’s a high risk, low effort, no skill game for a soon to be, no brainer like you. I’m confident you’ll enjoy your hardcore gaming for a short while. Meanwhile the rest of us, who prefer having some active input in results, will proceed to other games.”

  5. Sug, it seems to me that you were not at risk here, or at least no more than every day in lowsec. You waited until there was negligible risk, or baseline lowsec risk. Is it possible that what you felt as risk was actually the thrill of having avoided risk unexpectedly? I ask this curiously, not disparagingly. I've felt the same thrill, but I'm not sure it is risk.

    1. It is not that I thought I was at some great risk. I mitigated them which was the point. The argument floats back around into the push that one must have risk in the arguments used over why so and so should or should not happen.

      If I am in low sec, in a ship, mitigating my risk, does that mean risk does not exist? If the potential of risk is not enough how can there always be enough risk for anyone to be allowed to do anything?

      Right now risk seems to be used more as leverage to adjust an argument towards a particular viewpoint.

    2. Of course risk still existed in your situation, just not an unusual amount. We understand that in low sec, risk is always present, and can go from negligible to off the charts instantly at any gate. But this is the baseline that you have chosen, presumably because you think the rewards of living in low sec are worth the inherent risks.

      My belief is that risk, effort, and reward should be balanced. Effort can very often be used to reduce risk -- more time spent scouting or escorting, more time waiting for safer conditions, more trips in smaller/more secure ships.

      But, in the recent discussions around increasing the effort involved in logistics in low and null security space, I do come down on the side of those who feel that this is in-line with creating balance: the potential ISK rewards for trade and industry in low and especially in null are greater than are warranted by the effort and risk. Frankly, it is too easy for the rewards. Not that all those orders and doing the hauling isn't quite a bit of effort -- it is; but it's really almost no risk. I

      You are in the somewhat curious position of seeming to do high-effort industrial things for low/intangible rewards, such as personal satisfaction, rather than seeking to maximize ISK rewards. However, I would suggest that you are able to do this only because the ISK rewards for trade and industry in low sec are so out of balance with effort and risk that you can practically ignore it and still come out ahead.

      I don't think that everyone needs to be forced into risk, but that actual risk needs to be kept in balance with potential reward.

    3. But I am not arguing about usual amounts. I'm simply discussing the basics of what is this thing that we are using to justify and balance against. It seems to be a goal post that moves around depending on what the user can or cannot do.

      How do you balance risk, effort, and reward against tenacity, thought, and flexibility against risk? Risk itself is not a static thing. It is a flexible situation. If those who would or that which does create the risk, does not. Is the risk not there? Does it invalidate everything else? Does the task now become to easy because someone else has not stepped to the other side? is it a simple matter of two sides?

      I think the word is to easy to use as a justification in and of itself.

      Why can not it be effort vs reward? And planning and thought vs reward? Where sloppiness, haste, and lack of planning create a situation which immediately spirals out of control.

      The other day Grarr and I caught a Charon that had a support fleet and was trying to make a quick run to high sec. They failed on the last gate. I died to a fleet that would not have caught the Charon in time but did because Grarr and I interfered.

      When the pieces are all put together they do not create an image said image happens.

      As for my rewards, my rewards are not tangible by the popular and common models. I refuse to accept that I must play Eve because of ISK per hour or any tangible method of measurement someone else has come up with.

      Basically, I reject that I have to define my game around ISK.

  6. I feel as if you are eager to argue on this topic rather hearing perspectives and discussing. It has been very interesting to see how affected you have been by this issue -- unlike anything else you have ever written about, I think. Is it because you feel like your own way of playing is being threatened, which, because it is somewhat non-traditional, is usually safe from the usual tradewinds?

    I have absolutely no wish to force you to define your game around ISK. But you must be aware that ISK matters to others, and, critically, that ISK is the core of the problems with null sovereignty that CCP is trying to fix. What CCP is threatening with the jump changes, *especially* those that might affect logistics, is the centralization of ISK. At the level where decisions about sov are made, the current major sov holders are holding all the space that they do for ISK alone, not for pride, not to have places for their members to play EVE, not for satisfaction or for love of flying through that space -- only for ISK. Empty system after empty system that they "own", only for ISK. And all the logistics people in these player empires "need" all this empty space, either for passage or for resources to generate that ISK, and they "need" low effort ways to transit it.

    I have read your words for long enough that I can feel the way in which these changes impact your way of playing. I'm not suggesting that there is a simple formula that can be used to create balance, or that by saying "risk" I either validate or invalidate any particular view. I absolutely think it *can* be effort vs reward -- as I said, effort can almost always reduce risk. And all the things you mention -- planning, thought, flexibility, tenacity, luck -- are key ways to overcome risk and/or reduce effort. It is obviously very, very complex. But unfortunately I do not think the current level of reward for effort in null sec industry and trade is sustainable, and that some of the things that must be done to fix it will also affect low sec. Even though it is nor your measure or your goal, ISK enables many of your intangible rewards. Most of the things that you write about enjoying in EVE actually involve significant quantities of ISK, whether you think of it in those terms or not. If CCP reduces your ISK/effort or ISK/hour, whether you care to measure it that way or not, your personal rewards may not go unaffected. I can see how this would be upsetting. And again, please don't think about it this way if you don't want to. I'm only commenting because I find your ideas about and reaction to these changes and their relationship to the ways that people play to be compelling. I *like* your way of playing, and approve of it wholeheartedly and don't want to see it threatened. But I can see where CCP is going, and I think it is necessary, but I can't see how they can do it without some players games disrupted.

    1. I am argued with a lot. I'm not surprised that it is coming out in my place to think. Its a side effect of the things said to me not meshing with me.

      To argue a point and disagree is not the same as ignoring.

      The funny thing is that my way of playing is not that affected. I'm reacting to what has happened the minute the door opened. I'm not thinking about my personal rewards and if I will have less ISK. I can and will adapt to change.

      This isn't about CCP. It is about the ideas and arguments I have with players over the changes and potential changes. It may simply be that I'm fighting over concepts and not exact issues that leave me thrashing around and seemingly deaf.

      But yup, sometimes I'm argumentative and fractious.

  7. Well, arguing is OK, too. I wouldn't be here if I didn't find your ideas and arguments worthwhile.

    I see mostly good in the CCP changes, or at least the intentions, aimed at steering sov in a different direction. I perceived you as finding them (or the conversations you were having about them) troublesome, and, because your opinion interests me, I want to poke around at what you think about it. I should stop cluttering up your comments and just try to catch you in between arguments in game. As ever, thanks for doing this.

    1. Comment cluttering is fine. Never worry about it.

      I can understand how the connection is made. It is a hot topic among we players at the moment. But its the player on player discussions that tend to capture my interest.

  8. I own a motorcycle.  I ride wearing a full face helmet, gloves, long pants, boots and a motorcycle jacket.

    I've a friend who occasionally rides in flip flops, shorts and a T-shirt. 

    He doesn't see how I can enjoy the ride all bundled up in my gear.   I don't see how he can safely ride without it.

    I mitigate my risk of injury.  He accepts his.  We each have our point of view.  We each have a rational argument to justify our choice.  We each think the other guy is stupid, but we agree to disagree and move on.

    In between us are people who use various levels of personal protection.  Some might call me Risk Adverse.  Some might call him Reckless. 

    The problem with risk in Eve Online is that Eve players, in general, don't agree to disagree.

    They'd much rather adhere to their point of view and tell you you're doing it wrong, rather than appreciate the fact that you're doing it at all.

  9. High sec Incursions are 100% riskfree.