Monday, October 7, 2013

Ishukone Watch Scorpions

I haven't been very active with Eve for a couple months now.  I pulled back from doing news earlier this year, then completely ceased doing the news shortly after fan fest.  There were several reasons.  Reasons that varied from in-game to meta-game to real life.  Not really pertinent to this blog post, but I figured I would mention this in case people weren't aware.  Anyway, on to recent developments!

If you hadn't heard, a bit of a debate has begun over some gifts CCP gave to a group of players.  There's a lot of emotion over it all and what seems to me a dearth of facts.  So, I started hunting around for some facts about the Ishukone Watch Scorpions.

Ishukone Watch Scorpions (hereafter referred to as I-Scorps for brevity) were first spawned into the game during Fan Fest 2013.  They were given to each of the people who competed in the pvp tournament that year, a total of 80 ships.  Additionally, one I-Scorp was included in the prize pack for the winner of the poker tournament.  PLEX and other prizes were also given away.  So, at the end of April 2013, there were 81 I-Scorps in the game.

Somerblink were given 4 I-Scorps to give away around the same time as part of the Q1 2013 celebrations.  I tried looking for a link, but when you search for somerblink and ishukone scorpion... you get pages of results that are not about those four.

SCL was given I-Scorps for the people who made it happen.  There wasn't an announcement, but several commentators made public thank yous for the ships.  There are six people who run SCL, there were a few others who were commentators.  I don't have an exact figure, but the total given out was around 10 ships.

Somerblink staff were recently given 30 I-Scorps as gifts for their work in feeding Eve players' gambling habits.  There was an email that was leaked, leading to the outcry.

I don't see any reference to further ships being given out, but that doesn't necessarily mean they weren't.  When there were only 81 ships in the game, there were three sale posts on the forums that went up within a few days of each other - 1 2 3.  More probably have changed hands, but those are the three I found.  The first one sold for 25b.  The second one sold for an unspecified amount that was higher than the 15b top bid in the thread.  The third one did not sell, left at a high bid of 19b.

Assuming only those 44 (Somer prizes, SCL, Somer gifts) are the only additional ships that have been added to the game (and that is unlikely), the total number of ships has increased by 54%.  This has the effect of driving down the value of the ships.  Adding to that value is the simple fact that very few who have received the ships have been willing to part with them so far.  So, the next one to sell probably would struggle to make 15b.  However, if CCP continues to hand these out at the rate they are going, the value will continue to drop.  

I had initially done a bit of digging to find some numbers to compare this to the well known t20 incident.  Since both T2 BPOs and these I-Scorps do not sell regularly, pinning a price on all of this is fairly difficult.  Here's what I came up with.

From Kugu's post listing the BPOs that were given to BoB, here's my estimation on their values (I used similar BPO sales when I couldn't find the exact ones):

Flameburst Precision Light Missile Blueprint - 750m then - 8b now
Phalanx Rage Rocket Blueprint - 1.1b then - 13b now
Havoc Fury Heavy Missile Blueprint - 950m then - 6b now

Spike L Blueprint - 3b then - 26.5b now
Quake L Blueprint - 1.15b then - 11b now
Barrage L Blueprint - 2.15b then - 32b now

Malediction Blueprint - 5b then - 21b in 2009 - 50b now
Sabre Blueprint - 14.5b then - 100b now

So, the total value of the t20 incident in 2007 was roughly 28.6 billion isk.  The current value of those T2 BPOs is roughly 246.5 billion isk.  Not as shocking a number now, but invention has put a pretty impressive damper on the value of those BPOs, to the point where they didn't keep up with isk inflation.

Now, the value of the Ishukone Watch Scorpions is obviously harder to pin down.  The only sales we have were when the total in game was 81, now the total is at least 125.  So, we're going to go with a simple supply/demand curve (which will give us a pretty generous number for this) for the point where price meets demand.  While the very next sale of the ship might well reach 15b, the ship after that wouldn't sell for as much.  Dusting off my calc skills, I get a number a bit under 70 billion isk.  That's a very rough estimate of what Somer's crew would net if they dumped their ships on the market tomorrow (assuming people didn't purposefully not enter the bidding war to spite them).  So, that's a rough guess at the actual value of the ships that were gifted to them.  There is obviously an increased risk that more ships are introduced by CCP into the game, further driving down the price.  So, the longer they keep them, the less valuable they will be, which is contrary to all other limited release ships, simply because CCP has not put a limit to the number of ships they will introduce into the game.

If you've been watching my tweets, you'll know I'm not terribly happy about this gift.  There are reasons.  After an initial glut of them being released, CCP got stingy with them, until now.  If CCP gets stingy again and/or forgets they need to keep handing these out, then there is enough time for the price to stabilize or rise again.  If that happens, then that 70 billion isk value I quoted can go way up.  That is part of my worry, the other part of my annoyance is the fact that these gifts were given covertly.  When they were given out at Fan Fest, there was fanfare.  Why is this suddenly different?  When CCP goes into secret mode with its dealings with players, it rarely ends up looking good for them.

CCP had suggested at one point that they might put these onto the market in the Aurum store or, perhaps, the LP store.  This would put a fixed upper limit on the value of the ships, as well as set it in stone the value of the gift being given out.  This, coupled with giving these away in announcements, rather than in secret, would be the proper way of handling this situation in my opinion.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blog Banter 45: Propaganda

First off, let me say that as much as I love reading the blog banters, I very rarely participate in them.  That said, this one is a bit more near and dear to my heart.  Propaganda!

Eve is a social game with spaceships.  I realize some people want to focus on the spaceships aspect.   However, I strongly believe that we are still playing this game today and this game continues to exist because it doesn't focus on pixels as much as interpersonal interactions.

Killing Dabigredboat's titan in Asakai wasn't amazingly fun because we were shooting a collection of pixels.  People shooting him knew him.  They had been in his fleets before.  Heard him talk.  Some may have argued with him at one point or another.  Some may have lost things because of him over the years.  It wasn't some random collection of people thrown into an arena battle where you only spend a handful of minutes learning about your opponent through fighting with him, then likely never see him/her again.  Because people know other people in Eve, loss and success is much more amplified.  

There are egos on the line.

Between egos, staggering losses, and the +1 carrot dangled in front of players at all times rewarding them for gaining friends/friendlies in Eve, it should come as no surprise that propaganda and the written word play a huge role in the game.  I write.  I write a lot.  I write for both Eve related things as well as real world things.  In both cases, I am writing both to convey my view of what has/is happening as well as to convince others that my view is the right view.

Propaganda and marketing go hand in hand with any conflict.  Whether it be a war of bullets or a financial war.  Keeping people with you as well as convincing people that your cause is just, your product/service is superior, that you are right and your opponent is wrong is central to large scale interpersonal relations.

It is all about building the narrative.

In Eve, I attempt to be as unbiased as possible in my reporting of events.  However, my selection of what to write about is not removed from bias, whether consciously or otherwise.  I will admit, this is a form of propaganda.  If no one else reports on events or does a poor job of reporting on those events that show me or the people I am allies with in a bad light, it is to my benefit.  Alternately, knowing the steamroller is coming, but heading off what could be a propaganda win for opponents with a clear, unbiased take on the events that make me or my allies look bad is as close to a win as can be achieved in a situation.  Either way, minimizing loss of face or maximizing exposure of your success is to your benefit.

Of course, in Eve, like in the real world, everything is not clear cut.  Your enemy today could be your ally tomorrow.  While doing your best to rally people to your cause, you also have to be building bridges to your opponent.  Worthy opponents can make worthy allies, after all.

Words are some of the most potent weapons in conflict.  In Eve, like it or not, propaganda has a huge influence on all of us.  The pen is mightier than the sword, after all.  So, for me, propaganda is at the center of Eve.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's In Your Hanger?

I'm reviving this blog long enough to respond to Rix Javixx' What's In Your Hanger?.  So, without further adieu...
1 Chimera (travel fit, because it is my suitcase)
1 Phoenix (torp fit because sometimes I help shoot towers)
1 Manticore (bombing is fun, traveling cloaked is good)
3 Tornadoes (1 is a Jita Burn leftover to be used for hulkaggedon, two are snipers)
1 Naga and 1 Talos (one is blaster and the other rail fit)
1 Oracle (TiDicat)
3 Maelstroms (because CFC deployments)
1 Curse (currently heavy neut, as we were trying to pick off kiting frigates)
1 Ashimmu
1 Gila (stolen from a WH POS)
1 Cynabal
1 Phantasm
1 Vigilant
2 Falcons (one is combat, one is for cynos)
1 Daredevil
2 Dramiels (one is stuck in a red station)
1 Comet
1 Cerberus
2 Zealots
1 Eagle (Beagle)
1 Basilisk (standard issue)
2 Guardians (standard issue with a backup)
4 Scimitars (again, CFC deployments)
2 Tengu
1 Flabber (was asked to fit it for a fleet... then they switched ship types... not fit)
1 Fleet Vexor (got it for free from a guy who was leaving the game)
1 Navy Armageddon (a truly silly tank)
1 Rattlesnake (once upon a time, I ran missions)
1 Golem (once upon a time, I ran missions)
1 Machariel
1 Bhaalgorn
1 Nighthawk
1 Vulture
1 Claymore

Then, there are my alts.  They have less exciting hangars though.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dominion and 0.0

Several major changes came to 0.0 with the new Dominion expansion. Some good, some bad. Having now spent time claiming sov with the new system as well as taking part in a war to take sov from another alliance, I now have a good idea of how the system now works.

The idea that the POS slog is gone from Eve is not true. High end moons are still the bread and butter of alliances, so removing POSs from those moons is still the focus of wars of aggression. Wars move a little faster and there are less POSs to kill. In Dominion, alliances do not end up in a race to see who can place the most deathstars and resistars (and who can kill the most). This had been the single biggest problem with the old sov mechanic. It was the Eve equivalent to trench warfare. It led to static wars where the only way to win was by attrition (corps leaving, players not playing, or meta gaming to break apart the alliance).

However, something crept in that now tips the scales heavily to the aggressor. It makes defense near impossible in major conflicts. Fleet lag. When the numbers swell to a few hundred on a grid, ships entering the grid will sometimes wait tens of minutes to load the grid, let alone the half hour or more when a thousand man fleet moves. This means an attacker need only bring a few hundred ships and get on grid before the defense fleet shows up to turn the game into shooting fish in a barrel.

This is obviously a problem CCP is trying to fix, but at this time, the attacker is favored, so sov is changing hands at a rapid rate.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

CVA and the need for disband reform

Ever since the BoB-Haargoth wtfbbq, there has been discussion about the horrible design of the disband alliance function. With the recent CVA disband by way of hacked account, I would hope that this would light a fire under CCP's butt to repair the system.

At the very least, having a notification sent to the alliance that a person clicked the "disband" button would solve many of these problems. CCP has a ton of timers, warning popups, and email notifications for any number of trivial events, but nothing for disband alliance? There should be emails at the very least, if not onscreen notifications and a countdown timer to match the rest of the game. Why the death of an alliance is a silent thing until after it is gone is a mystery.

If there was some basic notification of an event like this, the CVA disband would not have ended up being a petition as it would have simply been sorted out internally.