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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Player Interactions

The topic of “player interactions” comes up quite a bit on this blog and in the game as whole.  Most people agree that Eve is about fostering player interactions, but no one – myself included – takes the time to sit down and define the term we throw about so often.  The definition we use is all the more important following Fozzie's comment that CCP wants to "put players in contact with each other," in the devblog announcing the revised changes to null-sec sovereignty.

But before we can do that, we need to understand the necessary components of a good definition.  The purpose of a definition is to bundle up a set of ideas into a single “thing” that people can easily conceive of and apply in future thinking.  The definition of a “meeting”, for instance, is necessary because it sets certain expectations about how the “thing” you’re about to attend is supposed to go, and sets some baselines for the standards of behavior.  Specific instances have different applications of the expectations incorporated within the definition “meeting”, but the essential nature of it is the same.

So, definitions have to be vague enough to account for some variation in specific instances.  But they cannot be so vague that they cease to have meaning.  This is particularly noticeable in the trend over the past fifty years.  In the desire to be inclusive of all things, words are becoming less precise.  Consider the fact that people will make many claims about what “freedom”, “right”, and “truth” mean, to the point that it seems they can mean anything.  This is intentional, and its purpose is to undercut the value of those terms in argument.  Yet, the fact that most of us can feel a sense of awkwardness when people invoke one of those terms for something that we know, in our hearts, it clearly does not mean.

So, definitions cannot be inclusive of every fringe case, but they must not be so precise that they provide no value to us on a daily basis.

That said, what is the definition of a “player interaction” in Eve?  (Ed. Note: tl;dr at the bottom.)

At its core, this would seem to be a simple answer… “a player interaction is a situation in which two players experience the effect of each other in some fashion”.  But this definition falls into the “too vague to mean anything” category.  It fails where so many starting points fail… it seeks to be everything at the start, instead of being the result of careful analysis.

So let’s go one deeper.  What are the essential elements of a player interaction?  Now we’re getting somewhere.

First and foremost, player interactions require players to be in direct contact with each other.  In terms of a sentence, you should be able to make a “subject-verb-object” relationship between them.  “I scrammed you,” is a player interaction.  One player is taking an action that directly influences the activity and state of another.  But that’s an easy one.

Is it essential that the player have a “direct” effect on another?  What about indirect actions?  The challenge with this adjustment to the definition is a question of scope.  Where do you stop?  If you open the definition to actions that are one step removed (Player A sells an item on the market, market allocates item to highest-priced buyer Player B), then you need to open them to actions that are fifteen steps removed (Player A mines in system A, Player B shoots Player C twenty five jumps away).  And that reduces the relationship to the point of absurdity.

Plus, we already have a definition for that, called “effect”.  We have to be careful not to conflate our terms.  Direct interaction seems important for our definition to have any meaning at all.  Otherwise, why are we defining it and using it in the first place?

Many people argue that a solo miner interacts with players who build ships because one sells to the market and the other buys from it.  Or that mission runners plugging away blinging out their ship are interacting with people who sell faction and deadspace materials.  Are those mission runners seeking out modules, haggling on a price with the sellers, and directly contracting?  In most cases, they aren’t. Instead, they buy from a pool (the market) that they view as a source of modules.  Their intention is not to interact, but to simply acquire.  They have no connection to the seller, and the entire process is done through an intermediary, the market.  A player has no option to sell a module to the 2nd highest buyer… it is always the top buyer.  This is a process, not an interaction, and processes could be replaced with a random calculator (the old text-based game Federation had a tremendous market that was governed by fluctuating buy/sell prices which could also be influenced by player actions).

Player interactions in Eve in particular also seems to require intentional agency.  I say this is specific to Eve because you cannot inflict an effect on another player without a keystroke or mouse click.  The natural state of Eve is inactivity.  If you don’t enter commands, your ship will do nothing, affect a change on nothing.  In fact, it won’t undock, won’t be fitted, won’t be unpackaged, indeed, won’t exist.  We players must first enter commands to take actions.

Sometimes, those commands are accidents.  When they directly affect others, these are still interactions, albeit mistaken actions.  Just as you can accidentally hit someone with a baseball bat without intending to do so, you can accidentally hit F1 instead of F2 when you’re in your Scimi and activate your whore gun, killing the friendly you meant to repair.  The effect wasn’t intentional, but the action was.

So, so far, we have, “Player interactions require one player to take an action that has a direct impact on another.”  Is that enough, or is there more involved in the process?

What about recognition; does an action need to be observed and recognized as a player interaction to be considered such?  Conversely, what if a player isn’t noticed; is it still a player interaction?  For instance, let’s consider two scenarios. 

Scenario A: Player A finds Player B mining in an asteroid belt.  Player A immediately points and targets Player B and begins to shoot, but didn’t realize he was in high-sec and is CONCORDed quickly.  Throughout this exchange, Player B was eating dinner with his family.  By the time Player B returns, CONCORD has left and his shields have completely regenerated from Player B’s attack.  Because he’s mining, Player A doesn’t even see the wreck on his overview, finished mining, and leaves.

Does this scenario result in a player interaction?  Player A had no idea that player B was trying to interact with him, and experienced no effects from the interaction.  Yet, an interaction definitely took place.  But, was it a player interaction?

Though Player B took an action he might have taken against a red cross, the fact that Player B was logged in, mining just at that spot created a unique set of effects that Player B experienced.  Player A’s decision to mine, his decision to fit his ship the way he did, his decision to be stationary instead of orbiting something… these all potentially affected the result.  Regardless of Player A’s awareness of the interaction, Player A’s presence affected player B’s actions in a very real way, through a direct effect applied by one player on another.  The fact that Player A didn’t realize it had happened changed nothing.  A player interaction clearly took place.

And let’s look at Scenario B: Player C is traveling cloaked through a wormhole and finds two Vexors working a sleeper site.  He is patient and waits for the chance to catch one of them alone.  However, they’re smart and remain aligned the whole time, warp in and out together, and remain in range to defend each other.  Player C decides to move on without attacking.

Here, you could argue that no interaction occurred.  After all, Player C moved on without engaging the two Vexors, no modules were activated against them, and the Vexors in fact never even knew he was present.  No player interaction took place, right?

Or did it?  The Vexors offered no opportunity for Player C to slide in and kill one of them, which meant that they coordinated their actions in a way to mutually support each other.  Their decision to stay aligned, to stay together, and to huddle all resulted in them surviving.  Player C performed a risk/benefit analysis and decided not to engage, but he still did complete that analysis, incorporating the decisions those two Vexors were making into his calculations.  In this case, I’d argue that a player interaction did exist; each side took actions, and those actions directly impacted the decision-making process of at least one player.  This was definitely an interaction, albeit one with a negative result – the lack of a thing, instead of the presence of a thing.

TL;DR: And now we have a definition we can be proud of.  “Player interactions require one player to take an action that has a direct effect on another’s actions, state, or decision-making, regardless of whether both sides are aware of this effect.”

So, when CCP states that their goal is to “enable player interactions”, I interpret it as CCP wanting to encourage activities that put players in situations where they have to make choices, take actions, and use their judgments to respond to the direct activities of other players.  Tossing people into the soup to see how the mix tastes, if you will. 

Because yielding on these points results in “player interaction” and “effect” having virtually the same meaning, which they clearly do not.  Player interactions result in effects, but not all effects are player interactions.  A solo miner or mission runner  clearly affects other players, but he is not interacting with other players when he mines solo.

Nor, would I argue, do market traders; they’re interacting with a market.  The actions of other players are only one step removed from their own actions, but they are still “removed” by the mechanism of the market.  And this will be true unless Eve shuts down the market and converts to a barter and trade-exclusive system.  As an interesting result, you can have a form of PvP (market PvP) which requires no player interactions at all (players can respond to market conditions in a removed way, without ever interacting with buyers or sellers directly).  And even more interestingly, market PvP can instigate real player interactions (“Stop 0.01 isking my orders!”).

Talk about confusing… No wonder no two people can agree!

27 comments:

  1. Nice Meditation. If I may comment . . .

    You’re such an essentialist Tal. Right from the get-go you declare your meditation is going in search of that single thing bundling a set of ideas together to create a working definition. Mind you, looking for single things (essences) can be an appealing approach to definition. If nothing else, such approach sets the arena for a good round of rhetorical PvP since follow up comments will almost certainly be arguments about the adequacy of that one definition presented (is it thorough, do stunning counter examples smash it to pieces, is it internally consistent, etc . . .). As you’re aware, I’ve been known to partake in rhetorical PvP. The activity has its pleasures. That said, there’s a whole different approach to the language taxonomy (definition) game we might call ‘Family Resemblances’.

    The Family Resemblances approach argues that things which we may wish to be connected by one essential common feature may in fact be connected only by a series of overlapping similarities where no one feature is common to all. To illustrate this consider a family of four siblings: Jane, John, Sally and Tim.

    Jane, Sally and Tim all have red hair, while John’s is brown.

    Jane and Tim both have tall, wide foreheads.

    Tim, Sally and John all have very distinctive, elongated noses.

    John and Jane both have numerous freckles.

    None of the features mentioned are common to all members of the family but all siblings resemble each other in some (often multiple) ways – they share assorted family traits.

    I suppose one could be clever and say a DNA test would reveal the essential truth underlying the whole matter but such a rhetorical move would be a red herring. We’re talking language taxonomy (definitions) and humans have been doing decent language taxonomy (definitions) a lot longer than they’ve known about DNA.

    So why bring up this alternative approach? Well, because as best I can tell, your painstaking definitional work appears to my eyes merely to shift the whole discussion from what counts as ‘interaction’ to what counts as ‘direct effect’. For the life of my I don’t understand why ‘direct’ must be at the very beating heart of Eve except that it feels very immediate, very present, very PvPish and that feeling happens to match what you enjoy.

    If you ask me, I’m inclined to believe that Eve’s ship on ship PvP should be very direct. Sans that directness it won’t be heart accelerating exciting. Fortunately, due to the magic of Family Resemblances we’re under no obligation to expand that type of directness onto Eve as a whole. Eve can be bigger than that. A whole lot bigger. Eve’s majesty doesn’t arise out of some essential purity, no it arises out of a mind-bendingly large assembly of bits and bobs that somehow, just barely, cohere together into a single shard sandbox MMO game. Blind yourself to that majesty if you wish Tal. Purity is a demanding mistress.

    >>><<<

    Special Note #1) Fozzie Sov is, of course, all about making sov disputes settable via exciting ship on ship PvP meaning, of course, that the more direct the dispute resolution method, the more fun the contest is likely to be. But Fozzie Sov isn’t all of Eve. It’s not even the essence of Eve. It’s just one thing in Eve players will be able to do.

    Special Note #2) If you look up ‘Family Resemblances’ you’ll discover Wittgenstein using the term ‘game’ as example. My space soul claps its hands and sings!

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    1. I'm certainly not saying "Direct, or nothing worth!". But it's all fine and good to say, "all interactions - direct, indirect, or imaginary - are valuable to Eve." That's absolutely true.

      But it's a weak, cowardly statement. It avoids the key issue that anyone who has a stance should address, which is, "Which is most important, most valuable, most desired?" Without that statement, a person isn't really saying anything at all.

      And yeah, you're dead right... the point of this post was to spur some discussion. :)

      But you're also playing a word conflation game, too. I did say, "Direct interaction", not "direct effect". :) Subtle, but important!

      I'd rather have indirect effects than no effects. I'd rather have direct effects than indirect effects. I'd rather have direct interaction than direct effects.

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    2. "But it's a weak, cowardly statement. It avoids the key issue that anyone who has a stance should address, which is, "Which is most important, most valuable, most desired?" Without that statement, a person isn't really saying anything at all."

      OK Tal, on a three legged stool which leg is most important, most valuable, most desired? Don't be a coward now, there *must* be only one, this is the key issue. Anything less is really saying nothing at all.

      I admire your attempt at prescriptive definition. I really do. But don't pretend prescriptive definition is anything other than enforcement by erasing that which you disdain. Despite all the subtle preparatory hand waving, prestidigitation is still prestidigitation.

      Now I won't speak for others, but I can juggle a little. Three balls in the air ain't that tough. I've even tried the maneuver sitting on a three legged stool all the while believing none of the legs was most beloved (shameful of me, I know). A&B&C are equally important *is* a stance. Something it seems you’re incapable of accepting (or even seeing for that matter).

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    3. Oh, and one more thing Tal (so you'll want to approve these in proper order). You very much said 'direct effect'. In fact the term is crucial to your whole endeavor. I quote *your* definition (emphasis mine), "Player interactions require one player to take an action that has a *direct effect* on another’s actions, state, or decision-making, regardless of whether both sides are aware of this effect."

      Pointing such out, however, is a mere game of gotcha. A sideshow maneuver stepping away from the issues I'm exploring, though, I must admit, still an enjoyable rhetorical move (and I have been know to partake it rhetorical PvP).

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    4. In the specific example of a three-legged stool, you're right. But that example differs from Eve for one very clear reason: Eve is a business, with its own considerations:

      1) Which element will take the primary focus in a marketing campaign? You can certainly cover multiple ones, but if you leave them all equal, the campaign gives no overriding conclusion. Marketing NEEDS to convey a single thought. Based on the strengths of the game, if I was doing the marketing, it would include examples of how players can engage in the various activities in the game (industry, politics, warfare, organization/leadership, market trading), but the single guiding thought would be, "Your actions influence and dominate others; they matter." And indirect, weak causal relationships (A butterfly flaps its wings and a storm rages in New York) doesn't fit into that.

      2) Likewise, what if you were pitching the game to an investor? "People can do all sorts of things" doesn't suffice to convince them to put their money where their mouth is. But, "Players inflict their will on the universe, resulting in intensely emotional and engaging player emotions that keep players involved and subscribing," would.

      I get that players engage with the game for multiple reasons, and that each player has an entirely different level of priority. And that's fine. But that doesn't mean that each set of priorities equally results in engaged, long-term customers or the kinds of players that so deeply engage with the world that they generate a telescoping influence.

      And that's what CCP really wants both to enrich and improve their offering and to make them money.

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    5. Re-reading your point about "direct effect", you're right on that element. Good catch! Mea culpa.

      Keep in mind that the goal I propose is player engagement. I want players with very strong, immediate, passionate connections with the game, and that doesn't happen with diffuse, indirect methods. I want players to convert from "eh, I log in occassionally," to, "Eve is the best game ever, it's awesome, I play every day. Let me tell you about this thing that happened yesterday..." Direct accomplishes that much better.

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  2. My take on Your definition...
    “Player Interaction is the result of one player to taking any action that has a direct or indirect effect on another’s actions, state, or decision-making, regardless of whether both sides are aware of this effect.”

    And you say...
    "A solo miner or mission runner clearly affects other players, but he is not interacting with other players when he mines solo."
    and...
    "Nor, would I argue, do market traders; they’re interacting with a market."

    Here's the weird part for me... by your own definition both the solo Miner and the Market trader ARE deeply involved in Player Interaction...

    Because you said, "...regardless of whether both sides are aware of this effect.”

    And in this light, I agree with your definition but not your caveat... What you want is Direct Engagement... you are unwilling to accept that the Butterfly Effect is CCP's definitive definition of Player Interaction... and THAT is what they want and have been working for for 12 years now, and it is what 'most' of us really think of when we say Player Interaction... Both the Direct and Indirect interactions we all experience in our shared 'verse... these are the definition of Player Interaction.

    Ripples in a pond interact... as do we who fly the deadly skies of New Eden... regardless of whether we are aware of it or not. =]

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    1. Ripples in the pond absolutely do interact. And it's valuable. But I think that in the hierarchy of values, the golden prize for Eve is direct engagement. Effects are nice. Butterfly effects are nice. But if CCP codes something that replaces direct engagement with indirect engagement, they're doing something wrong.

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    2. One "It avoids the key issue that anyone who has a stance should address, which is, "Which is most important, most valuable, most desired?""

      'Most desired'... by who's definition?

      Two "...in the hierarchy of values, the golden prize for Eve is direct engagement."

      'Hierarchy of values'... again, who's values?

      This is where we always end up Tal... with you making definitive blanket all encompassing statements (on your blog on in comments on others...) about the value and worth of this or that in EVE. Subjective 'values'... subjective 'worth'... your perception of what YOU feel is best, highest, most valuable... IE YOUR Golden Prize... and you do not speak for me.

      And I guess that’s what chaps my ass just a twee bit… that your statements are sweeping and final. Not stated as one man's opinion... one man's desire... one's mans Golden Prize.

      You even go so far as to state, unequivocally... "...if CCP codes something that replaces direct engagement with indirect engagement, they're doing something wrong."

      Really?? I say in the context of the game as a WHOLE, which you make very clear is what you are talking about... in that context, YOU are the one who is wrong... The whole game is HUGE and has room in it for an amazing amount of variety in gameplay and immersion and enjoyment... and PvP is great... but damn bro, it really aint everything... if it was this would not be EVE, it'd be RVB with no market, mining, industry, PI, missions, FacWar, exploration... no need for Hisec of Lowsec... just permanent nullsec with NO PvP restrictions anywhere ever.

      But it’s not… It’s EVE with an enormous variety of gameplay and playstyles… different ways of enjoying this shared verse… and not all of them are the way YOU want o play… and that is the way it is SUPPOSED to be.

      I do not play the game for your enjoyment any more than you do so for mine or anyone else's... It's the way you make blanket definitive statements about THE game that gets me... ‘cause YOUR game is not mine... (though actually without the nullsuc part it kinda is, both of us being small gang PvPers at heart n all… ) =]

      But many many others play a very different EVE than you do, and I'd like you to believe you respect that... and I don't. Yes, you say you do... but everything else you say after that little caveat, says you really don't… Proof? Statements like… "Effects are nice. Butterfly effects are nice." "...if CCP codes something that replaces direct engagement with indirect engagement, they're doing something wrong." These things are not just 'nice' they define the game... and no, they really aren’t doing anything wrong for the whole game, just for the eay you want the game to be.

      I know a few guys who log in everyday... possibly more than you do (I know they are on more than I am ...) for whom "Eve is the best game ever, it's awesome, I play every day. and they are industry and market guys who rarely if ever undock... yet they play every single day for hours, and they love this game just as much as we do... just in a very different way... and that's my point...

      You have some very strange, and very wrong, idea's about people who play differently than you do man... seriously.

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    3. You're right. This is completely my perspective. Many times, I've stated that I don't believe in universal truth. But when you're presenting a position, you've got to speak with definitiveness. While I don't speak for you in dictating how people should play, I also don't have the responsibility of defending or arguing in favor of your perspective. That's your job. And you do it well.

      But it means that my responsibility is to my view of things, to fight for adherents and make persuasive arguments. I'm arguing a piece - you're absolutely right!

      We each attempt to make our will manifest on the world. My responsibility is to present mine; I look to your comments and your blog to represent yours (btw...you're on my blog feed in blogger, so I always see yours pop up and read them eagerly!)

      I could be entirely wrong. If I am, I'll change my perspective to be closer to being right. :) Above, I'm already kinda changing my perspective on low-sec and null-sec market PvP!

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  3. All toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads....?

    A couple of things wrong with the post (in my opinion, at least!), but I'll pick out the most obvious. A player does have an option to sell to the second highest buyer. trading. Not exactly common, but it happens. Perhaps a player cannot interact through a system (the market) with the second buyer, but they can interact. I can't really fathom why CCP created such a market, (perhaps ease of use), but complete anonymity and market alts create a system that is probably quite hard to code for.

    Overall, I see this post as taking an extremely reductive view of player interaction, ignoring both what CCP talks about, and what the players actually do. Trying to write off solo players, whatever their stripe, seems to be your aim, no matter the illogic. If I would suspect one thing, it is that you started this post with the conclusion, and constructed an argument to fill the space above it.

    To work off your own definition: "“Player interactions require one player to take an action that has a direct effect on another’s actions, state, or decision-making, regardless of whether both sides are aware of this effect.”".

    I list my ships on the market. Player B sees my sell-price, decides it is too high, and lists his ships below mine.

    I took an action. It had a direct effect on a player. He took an action.

    But because I using a system, it is apparently an effect and not an interaction. To me, this leads to the ludicrous idea that using POS defences do not create player interaction, because I am not interacting directly with another player, What about fleets? I am interacting with a fleet interface, not with other players, so it is not an interaction.... what about.. what about... etc.

    EVE is built around interacting with systems. You've just forgotten that the systems represent other players too.

    Rob K.

    (Apologies for spelling and grammar problems, it is getting late here)

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    1. Great response! Let me answer some of the questions you asked.

      First, to clarify, if you try to sell to the 2nd highest, it will automatically sell to the highest bidder at the lower price. The market does not permit you to choose the 2nd best option.

      As to how I wrote it, yeah, I had a general intention of what I wanted to conclude, but I let my thoughts follow their course. I actually hadn't anticipated the "if one party isn't aware, it's still a direct interaction" result... I certainly didn't believe that prior to going through this exercise, but it seemed to fit and I've changed my mind as I wrote.

      I'd like to address some of your examples, too. When you sell to a character on the market, do you think to yourself, "I, Rob K, am selling to Talvorian Dex," as you do it? No, likely you are not. After all, you don't even know the name of the person who you're selling to until after-the-fact. But if you're using the tool of a POS gun to shoot another player, do you know who that player is? You betcha.

      If you join a fleet, do you do so intentionally? Do you know which fleet you're joining? Likely, you're on comms as well, and are speaking with someone (or at least listening). You can identify a specific object of your actions. And for me, that's the difference.

      Awesome points!

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    2. "...the ludicrous idea that using POS defenses do not create player interaction, because I am not interacting directly with another player"

      Tal, and Rob correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the "using" of POS defenses Rob meant was setting up and onlining the automated POS defenses et al... which in turn kill a unlucky scout inna Helios while Rob & Co. are not logged on...

      The defenses were onlined in the expectation that they WOULD deter and if not deter, KILL if possible anyone interfering with Rob & Co.'s POS.

      The end effect is a player experiencing Direct Interaction with an automated system set in place by the Direct Action of another player... end result is the Indirect Interaction between these players via their actions... IE assploded Helios with attendant real loss of ship and mods etc., and a pilot inna pod heading back out to reship...

      Indirect Interactions can be PvP also... =]

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  4. Your bias is showing, I'm afraid.

    As an industrialist, I can assure you that solo miners and other market traders can and do take actions which have "a direct effect on [my] actions, state or decision-making". In both cases the market acts as an intermediary, but in much the same way as D-scan does in your second example - it's the tool by which I gain information on what the other person is doing. The key factor isn't just 'what is the current state of the market', it's 'what is that guy going to do next'.

    (Interestingly, I'd argue that the same criteria you're using to claim that mining/mission running have 'effects' but are not 'interactions' can be applied to line-members in fleet fights - you could replace them with NPCs under the command of the FC in much the same way as you can replace the player market with a statistical algorithm. They're meaningful only as a mass, not as individuals...)

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    1. And yet, when playing the market, do you even know where the other guy is? Are you on grid with him? Can you say, "That's the person, right there, that I'm interacting with"?

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  5. Reading you comments, I can see that you place a direct action on personal knowledge of the character you are interacting with. I therefore present this idea:

    Market orders are de-anonymised.

    According to what I can read of your comments, this should have a much higher interactional value, and thus be more engaging than the pseudo-anonymous market we have now.

    In reality, I do not think that this change adds any value. Players will go on buying and selling as they do right now, and (despite scuppering a number of market trading scams) very little has actually changed. Players are able to organise and work the market already. Giving names before, instead of after, the transaction is done will change very little.

    What you're really looking for, in my opinion, is a barter economy. In a barter economy, personal relationships become the essential route for trading on large scale. Remove the market, and "I need to buy 20 navy megathrons" becomes "I need to talk to Susan, (who obtains the blueprints) and talk to Mike (who represents the mining corporation) and get them to co-ordinate with Steve (who builds the ships)." Then, of course, you have to gather the isk from your line-members to buy the ships from Steve, who pays Mike and Susan (and their sub-ordinates).

    Look at all that player interaction! Rather tiring, of course, but so much value added!

    Incidentally, personal interaction already happens in the anonymous market we have now. I know that if I buy an item in Siseide or Bosena, I am likely to be interacting with 2 or 3 of my alliance mates (names withheld :P), and Sugar Kyle's alts respectively. This way, I can co-ordinate what items to buy, what ships to sell, what things they might want shipped in, and more.

    Rob K.

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    1. Okay, I admit that sounds pretty ridiculous. But your example raises a good point. Is the experience of market interaction different in Jita than in YA0 or a low-sec system "owned" by a specific alliance?

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    2. Jita's an interesting choice, because the sheer volume of players interacting with each other has a compounding anonymous effect.

      Jita is, if you will, a vast bazaar, filled with hundreds (possibly thousands) of people buying, selling and hawking their wares. You can browse a hundred different stalls and see a hundred different people. No-one orchestrates the market, no-one controls it. It just is.

      Siseide is different. The market is smaller, a warehouse with a group of proprietors. People come and go, but they are all familiar. Hunting for a rare item? Check the market, then your friends. That which the market doesn't possess, your friends may. Run a small market, and what is and isn't available becomes acutely visible.

      Interactions in Jita are mere scratches on the surface. There is no depth of past purchases, no width of personal relationships. It is trading boiled down to the one essential: profit. Interactions in Siseide are at once meaningful and meaningless. The name of the seller changes, but the name of the player remains. It isn't just for profit, it is for creating a group, an alliance that function together, even when they're apart. The instancy of a transaction masks the permanency of a relationship.

      Markets in EVE are like players in EVE. They're microcosms of chaos, order, profit and loss.

      Rob K.

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  6. And in the very best form, I now want to reply to my own previous post. (Bare with me, I insist).


    "Market orders are de-anonymised. "

    Such a simple idea, so many vast reaching implications, and I glossed right over them.

    De-anonymising market orders cause so many changes, I can't even fathom how to describe the game after this change. I'm literally stuck on what to start with.

    It isn't just the crushing of margin trading scams, in their simplest form, that this would change. The great marketeers in EVE don't have their fingers in a few pies, they have their fingers in hundreds of them. This change would lift the lid on competition, corruption and cooperation on a scale never before seen.

    The market is revealed in its bloated glory. Markets dominated by the old guard are besieged by newer industrialists, cognizant of over-exposed positions. This change would herald a bloodbath of the Marketeers, accompanied by floods of ISK spent.

    (The Communist in me is howling with anticipation.)

    But it is more than that. Suddenly, capital producers are vulnerable. Solo builders are by far the rule, and not the exception. Now, their secret is out. People like Kirith are visible, all over New Eden. Billions of ISK in POSes everywhere, just waiting to be destroyed.

    It isn't just them, either. Industrial Corps, holding positions in hundreds of markets, are vulnerable. Secrecy was their refuge, and it has been stripped. But what about Alliance supplies? They're not spared. Gouging on alliance contracts is always a bone of contention, and if it is revealed that alliance suppliers have operated as a cartel... CEOs won't be happy.

    But let us not just focus on the negative. Suddenly, you can choose to buy within your own alliance, constantly. Home grown industrialists can spring up to create alliance supplies, and focus their efforts all in house. It isn't just "Buy British" or "Buy Local", it is "grow your own, buy your own". You can finally build your community, growing, building, living as a group. Strengths are developed and channelled, and the best groups have impacts far beyond their own weight.

    Every action's effects are revealed, and the typhoon of chaos that follows is glorious.

    Rob K.

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    1. Chaos is effective if you have a plan for what follows.

      I'm still trying to wrap my brain around a communist playing Eve, which in many critical ways is a libertarian's dream.

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    2. Chaos is effective if you have a plan for what follows.

      I'm still trying to wrap my brain around a communist playing Eve, which in many critical ways is a libertarian's dream.

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    3. Ah, I said "the communist in me". That doesn't mean I don't keep them quiet via various opiates... :P

      Considering the existence of SRP, I think EVE is a libertarians's dream, played by non-Libertarians. Applying philosophy to games is always an interesting task though.

      Rob K.

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    4. Rob I am TOTALLY on-board with this!!!! I have always wanted to know who I was buying from... but the market doesn't allow you to so I accepted the proletariat status quo and consumed as I was told...

      FREEDOM FOR THE WORKERS!!!!!

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    5. Another factor this gives rise to is standings-based buy/sell orders. You could set a mark-up or discount based on standings (similar to Corp POCO taxes currently)...Or maybe even have a mechanic that allows you to block -5/-10 standings from buying your sell orders (useful more in low/NPC null), or yourself from buying from them (because who wants to give their enemy their hard-earned/ill-gotten ISK?).
      THAT would open up a ton of interesting choices, "interaction", & market PvP options.

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  7. There are undeniably massive barriers to player interaction. This is especially true if you want engagement with other players over economic power.

    For example, I believe that if people want timely, efficient refining, they should have to have assets. Assets owned by corps that we can pursue as a war objective. In this case, it would be refineries.

    Right now, players can work very hard to have something that approaches the usefulness of an npc station, but which also requires a large amount of force to dismantle. To an industrialist's perspective, these are entry costs to interaction. They exclude the small scale organized entity, seemingly by intent, but they also reserve profitability to the individual instead of to the organized entity.

    Consequently, wars are usually pointless. If they were fought constellation by constellation, instead of everywhere or nowhere, things would make more sense. There would be a natural flow to wars. There would be contingency plans rather than just failure and success. Even if you can have them, and all parties show up to play, they have little or no effect on economic competition.

    What's the point of a freedom simulator if you can't fight over the things that really matter?

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