Thursday, May 21, 2009

Online Debat Post 1

Recently I stumbled upon a debate hosted at Fly Reckless. Linky. I've decided to spend some posts dedicated to answering the questions there for myself. I figure it'll be interesting and, if not, at least fill my writing quota for a week or so!

Question 1, from Finnegan

What level of economic damage would you and other cheaters have to do to non-cheating miners before you agreed that it was too much? If you devalued their mining efforts by five percent, 25%, 50%, 90%, at any point would you stop cheating or does the state of the profession not bother you? Likewise, how much damage to your chosen macroing profession would it take before you chose another aspect of EVE to macro?

There are three things that converge to make mining the AFK Gamers’ choice activity. The first is the ease with which it can be done, on a technical level. Technically speaking, AFK Mining is a simple problem with a simple solution. That’s kind of why it is so boring for humans to do – there’s not much to think about.

The second factor is how difficult it is to be caught, either by another player or CCP, and again this is related to just how simple the activity is – because it is SO simple, there is little to no variety in how it is done. Thus, how do you differentiate between an At Keyboard (AK) miner and an AFK miner? The easier it is to hide, the more AFK Gamers will be there.

The last factor is profitability and, as The Evil Macroer stated, AFK Mining brings in between two and three million ISK per hour. That’s really not that much, in the grand scheme of things, but it’s sufficient reward for me to bother writing and maintaining my application. I can say that if it dropped to 1 million ISK per hour I would stop doing it and would focus my attention elsewhere, but before I did I’d have to take a look at what else I could do. If nothing else presented itself, 1 million ISK an hour would be what I did until another avenue opened up.

For a comparison lets look at ratting in high-sec. It would be facile to create a program that was capable of ratting in high security systems, and the likelihood of being caught is slightly less than that with mining. However, the profitability is damn near zero, so I wouldn’t even consider it an option.

However, profitability isn’t EVERYTHING. I did tinker with the idea of writing an AFK Pirating program but only saw a reason to do so if the Security Status reward was useful. For me, now, it’s just not.

So, I want to caution the reader away from seeing the AFK Gaming motivation as being about mining, per se – there’s a reason why AFK Gaming in EVE is connected with mining and not, for example, exploring wormholes.

So, this was a longwinded way of saying that the state of the mining economy does bother me, but not from a moral standpoint. It’s far more calculated and pragmatic because I am part of the same community that AK Miners are, and thus I’m impacted by their actions, as well as my own.

Further, as evidenced by the fact that The Evil Macroer does not still macro, it’s a means to an end, not an end unto itself. Having a lot of money is great, and all, but at some point you really do have enough. There’s only so much you need before the motivation to continue playing the AFK Mining game reaches zero. When that happens I personally will begin looking at other things to AFK with. Probably low-sec ratting.

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