Sunday, March 11, 2012

You're not just stupid, you're wrong. Also, fuck Incursions.

"You see? The tyrannosaur doesn't obey set patterns or park schedules. The essence of Chaos.

It simply deals with unpredictability in complex systems. The shorthand is the Butterfly Effect. A butterfly can flap its wings in Peking and in Central Park you get rain instead of sunshine."

-Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

So last night I was browsing the interbutts, unable to sleep, and came across this gem on reddit.  I've been wanting to rant about this for quite some time, but i've been putting it off because it irritates me that much.  The reddit thread started with the OP asking why CCP hasn't "fixed" Incursions yet.  I'll tell you why.

*puts tinfoil hat on*

CCP hasn't fully recovered from the mass unsubs from last summer and with DUST514 coming out and WoD still moving full steam ahead (Yes, do a google search if you don't believe me) they can't afford to have people un-sub from EVE.

People have gotten used to making 100m+ isk/hr running Incursions and reducing the payouts in any way will make the EVE community rage.  Regardless of whether or not this would actually cause people to quit, judging by how the EVE community reacts to pretty much any change, i'm inclined to believe that there would at least be some rage and CCP is being conservative on this one, especially considering the failure of their past couple expansions to bring in new players and retain old ones.

*takes tinfoil hat off*

You would think that more people within the EVE community would be in uproar regarding the lack of action by CCP regarding Incursions, but EVE mirrors real life in many ways and the mind's ability to perform mental gymnastics to create the illusion of moral ambiguity or straight up denial is no different here.  Lets face it, the people milking tons of ISK from Incursions want to keep milking as much ISK as long as they can even if they know its ultimately bad for the EVE economy.  Just look at the outrage when BrIcK SqUaD was "griefing" Incursions by preventing their farming by killing the mothership right as it spawned, as was originally intended by CCP.

Inflation is normal when its at a steady rate, but when inflation in EVE jumps to a whopping 10% petr month theres something seriously wrong.  Look at the price for just about any item in the game and look at the yearly trend and its pretty obvious the direct effect Incursions have had on inflation in EVE.  Many people argue that Incursions aren't pumping as much ISK into the game as people think they are and the reason for inflation is largely due to other factors, and i'm inclined to agree and disagree with this statement.

Someone in the reddit thread posted this.
"Incursions are not as big as you think they are.
This is about 2 weeks old:
From CCP_Diagoras Twitter: * "Another Sunday passed; so yesterday in EVE: 11.73tn market transactions, 1,123,350 individual transactions."
"More totals for yesterday: 1.292tn bounties, 368.9bn Incursion payouts.
"ISK earnt from NPC bounties in Feb: 32,083,329,999,805 ISK"
"Mission rewards paid out in Feb: 2,470,815,985,076 ISK. Mission bonuses: 2,346,410,541,970 ISK."
"8,566,015,400,900 ISK paid out in Incursion rewards in February."
So bounty payouts are still about 4 times as much as Incursion payouts. Also remember that the people running Incursions would usually have another way to fund whatever they are doing (missions/ratting)."
Its wrong and is a perfect example of how people think its easy to lie with statistics, when in reality most people just aren't smart enough to decipher what many statistics really mean and the above poster attempts to prove his point by saying nothing of value.

Rounding the numbers to make them easier, roughly 37 trillion ISK was made from NPC bounties, mission rewards, and mission bonuses.  8.5 trillion ISK was made from Incursion rewards.  Why does this mean nothing to us at first glance and why does the above poster say absolutely nothing of value?  Because all he does is tells us is the ratio of ISK made via incursions compared to the ISK made not through Incursions.  In fact, he disproves his point in his own statement, because Incursions representing 1/5th of all bounty/reward payouts is not an insignificant percentage.  It would actually be useful if we had data telling us how much ISK was generated from missions/bounties before Incursions were introduced, but sadly we don't get this.

We can guess to some degree how much extra ISK Incursions are dumping into the game by assuming that if everyone who is making ISK running Incursions would have still engaged in some sort of money making activity anyways.  The poster even points this out, but he fails to mention that they would generally only be making half the isk/hr doing missions or ratting.  Assuming that everyone who runs Incursions at 100m isk/hr would have spent the same time missioning or ratting, making an average of 50m isk/hr that means that means that Incursions dumped an extra 4 trillion into the EVE economy for Februrary.  Thats almost 10% more ISK being introduced to New Eden each month because of Incursions.  This is also ignoring the fact that for shiny fleets 150m isk/hr is not uncommon.

Now I have to stop to point out that these are all rough numbers and without pre-Incursion data, these are all rough estimates, but reading between the lines paints an even more grim picture.

Start pondering the fact that many of these Incursion runners used to make ISK doing things other than missions and ratting so the true number is probably a bit higher...

Start pondering the fact that many of these Incursion runners used to mine, but quit mining to run Incursions because they make so much more ISK/hr.  Now in addition to a huge ISK faucet, there are fewer minerals being supplied so demand increases...

Start pondering the fact that some of the Incursion runners used to run sleeper sites or mine ABC, but quit because the logistics behind Incursions are easier...

Start pondering the fact that people generally care less about market manipulations because they can in their minds "afford not to care" so now when an item gets manipulated the price point does a better job of sticking because the price point that people will psychologically accept has changed...

Start pondering the fact that many manufacturers now find that Incursions are better paying and easier to do, pushing demand up even more.  I know someone that recently sold their T2 BPO because compared to the hassle of buying up materials, moving said minerals, and keeping spreadsheets updated, Incursions are just that much easier.

The combination of all the above factors are why Incursions have had such a broad reaching impact on the EVE economy and why people who only look at the ISK faucet impact of Incursions have a hard time accepting this.  Anyone who disagrees needs to go rewatch the movie Jurassic Park.  CCP really should consider hiring a chaos theorist instead of just an economist.

tl;dr Jeff Goldbum should be hired by CCP because he would make awesome video dev blogs.  Also, you can't just look at the impact that Incursions have as an ISK faucet to evaluate their impact.  For example, miners running Incursion sites instead of running mining fleets is also going to impact mineral prices.


  1. lol Jeff should be hired, I'd love to watch those devblogs.

  2. Just because I'm :thatguy:, I have to ask from a 'story' perspective: how many moms does Sansha fucking have anyways? So far Incursion-runners, even in their 'take time and farm it' mode of operation, have killed enough Sansha motherships to put a huge dent in PL's stockpile. So...naturally one would think that these Incursions would slow down eventually...

    How I would "DoItRightBro": Don't nerf payouts, etc, just slowly reduce the spawn rates... give em a reason to farm, and the griefers to actually kill moms faster: kill a hisec mom, it's going to be a day, two, three til the next hisec Incursion starts.
    Slowly decrease the spawn rate til they're virtually gone. Sansha can't keep it up forever, and will eventually realize hey, this isn't working -- they'll go back to the drawing board, or maybe someone else will make a play for hisec, and hopefully a more impactful one. ;-)