March 10, 2014

Shiny Modules: Value for Money

I've become curious about shiny module value and pricing.  There is a lot of art and ego as to when to use a shiny module, but I wondered if I could get something closer to a science.  I'll present here a means for analysis for comment and critique, and there are some good finds here.

I want to acknowledge the art up front.  If you're fitting out a Rapier, you may be looking for a webifier with the greatest range to be bonused up.  If you're fitting out a blaster Thorax, the sig bloom of the MWD may not be considered an issue because you're only going to run it long enough to scram the target.  But I think this analysis potentially gives us a way to find good value in general.  What you do with it from there still will need your best judgment.

Starting simple - Explosive Plating

Here is a simple module.  There are only two attributes we care about: price and resists.  All Explosive Plating has the same fitting attributes.  From the Resist value I derive the "Module Value", which is the ratio of the shiny module to the base module (in this case, the T2 module).  From the Price value I derive the "Price Pow" value - this is a bit more complicated.  The idea here comes from the guideline given in the ship rebalancing rationale from CCP that an incrementally more powerful ship should be exponentially more expensive.  So the Price Pow is that exponent (i.e. I'm using the log function).  The Shiny Ratio is the ratio of the Price to the Value.

Explosive PlatingShiny RatioModule ValuePrice PowJita Sell PriceResist
Explosive Plating II1.001.001.00300,25026.40
Imperial Navy Explosive Plating0.861.141.3217,999,00030.00
True Sansha Explosive Plating1.151.140.99250,00030.00
Shadow Serpentis Explosive Plating1.111.000.9089,00026.40
Domination Explosive Plating0.971.001.03425,00026.40
Centii C-type Explosive Plating1.071.201.121,379,99131.75
Coreli C-type Explosive Plating1.111.201.09889,67431.75
Corpii C-type Explosive Plating1.081.201.111,208,52031.75

So - if True Sansha and Imperial Navy have equal values why do they have radically different prices?  And since the True Sansha module has a better resist than the T2 module, why does it cost less?  If all of the C-types have the same value, then why do they have different costs?

The reason why they have different prices has to do with the cost of producing and the perceived value of the units.  Ideally in an economy that shouldn't matter - we should see nobody producing T2 explosive plating if it cannot be made at a price that competes with faction drops.  But since a lot of people will never open up the Faction / Deadspace submenus on the market, they never notice this.

These are differences that you as the smart consumer can exploit.

This continues into the higher range of the modules too:
Coreli B-type Explosive Plating1.101.271.151,988,88933.50
Centii A-type Explosive Plating1.101.341.224,550,00035.25
Coreli A-type Explosive Plating1.111.341.214,000,00035.25
Corpii A-type Explosive Plating1.111.341.203,900,00035.25

I'm guessing many of you wouldn't think anything of spending 2M ISK on a module for your ship.  You spend that for many of your T2 modules already.  4M ISK isn't even particularly shiny in terms of cost.

Now, this price to value gap is also showing here because of the limited use of these modules.  I've had an alliance-mate tell me he has dozens of faction drops like this in his hangar, but since they have a low demand they aren't worth taking to market.

I've seen some Gallente T2 fits that use these explosive platings - when you only have two rig slots, you may not want to use one to plug your explosive resist hole.  There is a similar price discrepancy for Thermal membranes that might be of use for people with Amarr T2 ships.

More Complicated - 10MN Microwarpdrives

I fly a lot of cruisers with 10MN MWDs.  When should I go shiny?  Only for T2s? For T3s?  The analysis here gets more complicated.  Let's consider three factors for value: Cap Penalty, Sig Bloom, and PG Fit.

10MN MicrowarpdrivesShiny RatioModule ValuePrice PowJita Sell PriceCap PenaltySig RadiusPG Fit
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I1.001.001.0017,1390.81500150
10MN Microwarpdrive II0.640.991.543,403,9000.86500165
10MN Digital Booster Rockets0.521.052.01328,999,8000.83500135
Domination 10MN Microwarpdrive0.531.011.8996,985,4890.89467175
Shadow Serpentis 10MN Microwarpdrive0.561.031.8462,000,0000.86489150
Federation Navy 10MN Microwarpdrive0.541.031.90115,993,0000.86489150
Corelum C-Type 10MN Microwarpdrive0.591.101.8671,811,9990.92433150
Corelum A-Type 10MN Microwarpdrive0.571.142.01334,489,7440.97411150

I've equally weighted these three factors for this publication after playing with it a lot.  If I was flying a blaster ships I might change the weighting to emphasize the value of reducing the cap penalty.  I would expect that a projectile/missile kiting cruiser might want to increase the weighting of the sig radius benefit.  This is getting back to the art vs science again.  But what do we see here?

Why would you buy the Shadow Serpentis when you could get the Corelum C-type for a fraction more money, but dramatically better cap impact and sig radius?  Why would you ever buy the Federation Navy MWD?  Why would you buy the Digital Booster Rocket over the Coreulm A-type?  (Granted, I don't expect I'll ever buy either of those)

Bottom Line

So audience out there - what did I miss?  What should I tweak?  Do you have a favorite hidden shiny gem that you're willing to share?

I may come back to this topic in the future if there are good finds I see, but the message I want to put out is that people should take a peek at the faction and deadspace submenus on the market.  Sometimes you don't even need to be looking to spend 100M ISK to make a real savings.   I do admit that I'll be hitting the market before I publish, but I'm not trying to set up a real trade in these.  If you do and make a killing, I'd appreciate a tip in the old ISK jar. :)

So buy wisely!  Maybe it well help make sure that the next explosion is not your own.

p.s. Blogger's non-handling of tables is a pain.  Anyone have advice on that?

March 6, 2014

Get yer Whoop Whoop here - the future of Eve?

We've been teased about it for a while, but now it has been disclosed. CCP is piloting a program for alternative ship skins. First off the block is the famed Federation Navy Comet. How much would you pay to give your ship that Whoop Whoop Space Police action?  And did CCP make the right call on the ships for this pilot program?

The Program

First off, here's a link to the DevBlog if you haven't already read it. Here's the important part for this: "The Police Pursuit Comet blueprint will cost 3,000 CONCORD LP and 3,000,000 ISK and can be purchased in any station with a CONCORD LP store."  Note: This does not come with sound effects.

Second, so what are the costs?  This special skin blueprint will be applied to an existing Comet.  So the base cost there is about 18M ISK (Eve-Central).  Then the skin blueprint let's generously price at 6M ISK (3M in ISK and 3,000 CONCORD LP at 1000 ISK per LP).  So you will be increasing the cost of your Comet by a third.

Third, what happens when my Comet dies?  It dies.  The skin doesn't stick around.  This is Eve after all. Hmm - what if there was a chance the "skin" would drop, represented in game logic by salvaging the outer panels and special accessories (police lights).

The Analysis

So I'm predicting there will be two customer use cases long-term for this:

PVE ships.  Many people will be willing to spend 30-40% of the hull cost for a PVE ship.  First, your ship is expected to have a longer lifespan than a PVP ship.  Second, the skin cost will be small compared to the nice modules and rigs you're going to put on the thing.  On the other hand, nothing is going to scream "gank target" like showing up on the overview and D-scan as being a reskinned ship.

PVP ships flown by the space-rich.  Some people won't mind throwing away 30% on their PVP ships because they have so much ISK.  These may be the people who also don't mind putting deadspace modules on their PVP ships.  So once again, the skin is a target, an invitation to "Come At Me Bro."  For some of the top-end solo players, this might be an advantage.  I expect people may also quickly learn that Punisher Kador Edition means Bait Punisher.

Now long term CCP is saying that these skills will be available using Aurum and they show nine pilot program ships - four frigates and four battleships.  So in the short term "space rich" will also include people who have Aurum from years ago that they didn't spend on monocles and pretty blouses for their avatars.  I would have guessed that CCP did this analysis and was picking the frigates as the PVP case and battleships as the PVE case, but if so I'm a bit surprised at the battleship choices.  If you wanted PVE battleships I would have expected to see a Domi, for instance, rather than a Hyperion.  I'm not as familiar with what the ratting choices are for the other races.

We'll see.  I enjoy flying the Comet, but I think the only reason I'd get the Police Pursuit skin would be as a one-off if there was a themed roam.

Edit: Given this analysis, I'd argue that CCP would have been more successful if the small ship target had been Assault Frigates, but the skin cost was the same as we're seeing for the Comet.  People probably could accept a 10%-15% additional cost better than a 33% cost.

The Future of Eve

The most interesting part might be the end of the DevBlog. I'll quote here:
"If this pilot program reveals that the painting of internet spaceships is indeed popular and we are able to gather enough data and thoughtful feedback, we will put some very eager programmers and designers on the task of creating a system that allows us to change the skins of ships without us having to create a new TypeID to get a different color variant."

That expansion of the structure of Eve is potentially hugely powerful.  Don't think about just the skin, but what flexibility it could mean from there.  Today a TypeID 587 object (Rifter) has a fixed set of attributes.  If tomorrow a TypeID 587 object could vary in attributes then we open the door to thing such as custom manufacturing that I've discussed before (last paragraph of this blog entry).  That could be a very different, much more expandable Eve.  If skins are a means to open the door, I might be more than willing to spend a few million ISK (or Aurum) to encourage it.

March 3, 2014

Candymen drop a Capital, and other Shiny Explosions

This weekend there were two Alliance shiny roams, both to celebrate the anniversary of the CandyMan Cartel's formation.  Shiny is the opposite of most of the Rifterlings / Point Blank Alliance gangs, so I was curious how it would go.  I was only able to make the second of the roams (titled "Fuck Your Killboard"), which was planned to be Faction BS, Faction BC, T3 Cruisers... and once we found something to fight there was an Archon to be dropped.

How it Went

We stumbled around a bit to get people together.  Most of the corp/alliance fleets I've been in have been more standing fleets, so it doesn't surprise me that as a group we weren't well coordinated for go-time.  From what I read this is normal for many groups for whom scheduled ops are a more regular thing.  We ended up with the majority of the fleet undocked (including the Archon) and doing a conga line around the Sosala station with neutral ships on grid watching us.  Opsec wasn't really a goal though - apparently word had been put out that we were going to be bringing out a bigger fleet than usual to try to make sure we could find a fight.  I'm not sure if the fact that we had an Archon to drop was intentionally leaked or not.

We didn't get too many gates out before we had word of a Shadow Cartel gang of Absolutions and Guardians.  Can you think of a tankier opponent composition?  We landed on a gate with them and bailed back to a FW plex for a moment while we got people together, then jumped right back into them.  As soon as we engaged the cyno went up and our Archon dropped in.  My memory gets fuzzy fast here, but I think we tried to break a Guardian and failed, switched to a Pilgrim and killed it, and then never killed anything else.  After our Archon came in an enemy cyno went up and Shadow Cartel dropped in two Moros.  The Moros as called primary and we piled it on.  We drove the Moros into structure before we had lost so many ships that it started coming back up through our dps.  The Archon went down and we scattered to the winds.  Fortunately I only was pointed at the end, so after some overheated MWDing I broke tackle and warped off.  Comms was a happy jumble at that point.  A lot of people were exicted about the whole thing - I think most of us hadn't been involved in even seriously trying to take down a dread before so just hearing "J-A-Y in the Moros is Primary" and "Overheat all guns on the Moros" was pretty cool. (Battle Report)

I headed back towards home station and heard there was a small flashy gang on the gate in Frerstorn.  I saw Rupture, Rupture, Crow, Comet and piled in to attack.  I thought there were other people coming down the way behind me, but mostly I was thinking that since I expected the Proteus to die about 5 minutes ago I was willing to engage anything for fun.  Turns out that the people behind me were much farther out than I thought and the Sentinel soon had my turrets ineffective and my cap draining fast.  On counsel of the nearest friendly guy I tried to deaggress to take the gate and get closer to reinforcements, but I didn't make it.  Sadly I also didn't get my shiny pod out either.  (Proteus, Pod)  Congrats to Blind Warp, and I'm glad to see that two of my shiny mid-slot modules dropped so they got a nice loot out of it.


I thought it was fun, though I wish that we'd had a chance to kill some more before Shadow Cartel smacked into us.  I'm not surprised we got jumped so fast since this was done pretty much the opposite of opsec before the roam.  Though if I'd know that we were going to leak about it so much I probably would have let some of my non-alliance friends know so they could come join the fun.

True to the name of the op, my ISK Efficiency dropped by 5% or something.  But as everybody knows, killboards are nonsense anyway - mine is really only high because I'd gotten in on a supercarrier kill in a FrigFest sometime back, so by killboard logic that is as good as if I'd solo'd it personally.

Lessons Learned

  • If I'd known that we were pretty much going to go straight to a gate and then brawl a logi-heavy fleet I probably wouldn't have bothered with the shiny scram and web, since they weren't relevant to my ship's contribution in the fight.  For the same money I could have contributed more by putting on another shiny magstab perhaps.
  • Given how T3 cruisers can stand up to overheating, I probably should have been overheating my guns on the Moros long before the command went out on comms, and should have been overheating early on the later gang that killed me.  Once I was capped out of course there wasn't much to do.  Which is also a good reminder about the difference between a buffer-fleet ship and a roaming ship - if the Proteus had been meant to fight solo I probably would have gone with a configuration with the fourth mid slot, a cap booster, and a drone bay so I could have tried to get ECM drones on that Crucifier.
  • Leroying my Proteus into the gang on the gate heading home afterwards is all on my own head.  I've noticed this before - I think that when I'm on an op when I expect to lose a ship, there is a mental coasting effect that makes me throw away the ship too easily.  That could have been a good ship to have a more fun shiny moment with than dying to a cruiser gang on a gate with no kills to show for it.
  • This was a good reminder that one shiny ship can get taken down by a cheap gang when that gang can do things like apply scram, neut, and TD - and especially good lesson since usually I'm going to be on the cheap gang side of things.
  • I found that losing the ISK value of the Proteus didn't affect me emotionally.  Losing the pod was annoying.  But having to queue up Gallente Propulsion Systems V at 3d 8h 44m is a real bummer.  I could have gotten my Medium Autocannon Specialization from 2 to 4 in that time.  This makes me more likely to want to fly HACs when doing something shiny, and saving my surviving Proteus for more PVEish things.

BTW, Point Blank Alliance went into AWOX event week as soon as the last shiny roam finished, so if you're looking at our killboards and wondering why there is suddenly so much blue on blue violence then that's why.