Monday, March 30, 2015

Cold Hard Cash?

I'll have to beg forgiveness for chewing on this topic. I'm probably asking questions out of order. Yesterday I dove into the center of a very complex question. At the end of it, I wound up with a lot of side questions to ask. As I sit here, stocking my market before I go to wheeze and gurgle my congested head upon my pillow, I cannot help but think of profit.

Why do a run a market? I don't run a market for the reason most people assume, which is making ISK. I do make ISK with the market but I've never considered it my personal ISK. The market is a project that has become part of my life. It's one of those things i randomly attempted that accidentally set me up to learn about parts of Eve I didn't know existed. But, I run it to help out other people because that's something I enjoy int he game. I play a weird game where I do most of my things alone but with the focus on helping those around me.

I've never considered myself an altruist. Sometimes I give people things but I do it for the same reason I give any gift, because I want to. I did try some altruist things at one point and I've never much discussed them. I didn't like the outcome at all. I may have picked the wrong path but when I look back on that entire situation I rather regret it.

Be that as it may, most of my actions in Eve gravitate around making ISK or gaining something. I'm not keen on losing ISK. I'm okay with breaking even. But, I don't like to lose even when my goal is to help and worth with others. At the same time, I don't function under any particular equation to give a cost or value to my time and energy. This makes me rather frustrating for those who want to measure out quantifiable sums for everything.

I don't mind donating to a cause. I've become a bit more picky over what causes I will donate to, but when I do I don't mind. But, that isn't everything. And yesterday, when I was wondering if Eve can actually support the independent industrial machines that it would need I skipped over the entire part where people got some type of payment for what they do. That went for everyone.

PvPers might be easy to pay. Give them what they need to go off and destroy things and they pay themselves with destroying things or making that effort. Yet, they still have subscriptions to pay. They may want to pay those with PLEX and free spaceships for ops and patrol are not PLEX.

An industrialist may get a major dose of satisfaction out of building things. I do. But I don't think that the joy on my corp mates faces is enough to pay for the mining and building everything that they destroy. An industrialist may also want to use PLEX.

Then there are all the little things. Skillbooks. Ships just because. Implants. And personal projects of every shape and size. All of these things have to be gained in some way and that way is normally ISK.

And there is that whole thing where many people do more then one thing with themselves. We have all of these 'careers' but many of us are jacks of multiple trades that occupy our attention and satasfy our goals and wants. We make a profit. We make a profit off of each other. We make it off of those who are willing to make less of a profit. Sometimes it is a matter of convince. Sometimes it is a matter of superior knowledge. Whatever it is, a lot of Eve rotates around making ISK and spending ISK.

And that will involve a lot of people. A lot of neutral people that consume and produce.

There are plenty of things that motivate someone beyond profit. Are they great enough to keep players a cog in a machine?


  1. If I merely wanted isk I would run Incursions. I have logi5 across the four cruiser hulls.

    I mine, PI, harvest gas, mission - I am as put by CCP Quant, a traditional. Having a back-log of stock, because I am a lousy trader. I enjoy these things I do, and isk generation is not the primary raison d'ĂȘtre. Sure I need to replace hulls. (lost five ships of various classes in a very narrow time-frame recently - and alcohol was not a factor). Adaptation remains its own motivation.

    Above all I am a subscriber. Believing the product and company behind it, I sign up for Internet Spaceships one year at a time.

  2. I see you’re chewing on motivation. While motivation can be a murky thing, I will hazard the observation that one highly appealing thing underneath long term endeavors is the ability to measure results.

    PvPers get killmails. Detailed killmails. Lifelong records. And PvPers pay attention to those records. Not just to boast, but to learn, to evolve, to measure progress.

    To date, despite being an intimate part of fleet PvP, logi pilots don’t receive similar information. Lacking measure of long term results almost certainly limits the long term appeal of this endeavor. Imagine if killmails included not only damage received but damaged healed, and by whom. Now we could discern if the Logi pilot made the difference and if so, by how much. For many, that would be highly motivating. They’d pay attention to it, not just to boast, but to learn and evolve. (This is not a new point, and I understand the request is no little thing, but you get the gist.)

    To date, long term PvE/market/industrial projects are handed one, enduringly solid measure – ISK balance. Little wonder so many of those players obsessively calculate where things are at via ISK results. Total expense, total income, net profit, profit per hour, accumulated wealth. If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem get treated like a nail.

    Now let’s look at your situation Sugar. You build local markets in difficult locations. I suspect there are at least two things about such endeavor that appeal to you. 1) It’s a challenge. 2) It builds community. Sadly, ISK isn’t a very good measure of community building. But . . . compared to ISK, Null-Sec’s Occupancy Defense Bonuses now under review are good measure of community building (especially if they increase what’s being measured beyond just mining to include things like industrial jobs and market transactions).

    Perhaps, once the null-sec test case gets worked out, CCP could consider expanding the measurements to other areas of space. IMPORTANT CAVEAT – I don’t mean that the mechanic of Defense Bonuses should be expanded to other areas of space (though it could be toyed with), rather I merely mean publishing the aggregate information underlying the mechanic. Given enough specificity, community activity measurement could be highly motivating to community builders like you. 2ND IMPORTANT CAVEAT – Much careful thought would have to be expended on which space locations get publicly published (wormholes?) since there’s numerous groups who’d prefer to such info under wraps.

    Thus ends today’s Modest Proposal.

    Super important aside - you’re a great community builder Sugar. The mayor of Sugarville. We like it that way.

  3. The problem with isk is that it can become the only focus someone has. Instead, I find my motivation as the overall 'happiness' of my friends in game. This often means that I forget the isk profit and instead enjoy the profit of friendship instead. The exciting stories we get to tell later is probably the greatest profit of all. (And I'll earn my plexes if I want them doing other things when they're not online and in great need of anything. $14.95 really isn't that expensive for a whole month of entertainment, considering that's about what it would cost to go to the movies or dinner.)

  4. I have 2 motivations: PLEXing and fun. If I don't PLEX, I can't play; I just don't have the spare cash to pay for my subscription ATM. But back before PLEXing, one of my former corps ran a corp industry project.

    It was hard to tell if they were making money, because they were using corp fund and plowing most of it back into production, but the people doing it were active and having fun and didn't seem to mind that they weren't seeing immediate profit from the exercise.

  5. I really think the ultimate motivation underlying each of these ends is "satisfaction". It's unquantifiable. To the mathematical, it's calculated by a ledger or spreadsheet. To the PvPer, it's measured by the adrenaline rush and subsequent dopamine drip. To the industrialist, it's hitting that "Deliver" button. To the miner, seeing your caroghold fill up and having to ship it to a station or a waiting hauler.

    But whatever it's form, "satisfaction" seems to be common thread.