Monday, March 29, 2010

Rest insured, dear players…

…wow, that was a nasty one ! Let's move on, quick.

There has been a bit of excitement lately about a possible insurance tweak/nerf to come (maybe), and while I didn't bother go and check for myself on SiSi, it's not hard to believe and agree with this guy when he claims to be appalled.
"I ran the numbers on this, and I must say I am appalled. Instead of refining the insurance formula, they simply reduced the base price of the ships by 31.7%. The net insurance rates are identical."
…told you he was — appalled.

Insurance has been a bone of contention for a while, and more so since CCP went out of its way to progressively phase out the sale of reprocess-able goods by NPC corporations.

Like almost everybody in EVE, I have an opinion on the matter, and you won't be surprised to find out I think insurance is broken.

State-endorsed civilian sociopaths ?

From a RP standpoint, the notion of a unique, worldwide insurance company seemingly running at a loss seriously lacks a justification in the pretend-Objectivist, dog-eats-dog setting of New Eden. Beyond RP, insurance Base Prices, computed from NPC Mineral Values constitute an artificial price-fixing device for minerals, which gets in the way of the much-hyped player-driven, hardcore capitalistic model of EVE's universe.

More importantly, the ability to repeatedly abuse insurance to lose ships at little or no cost in kamikaze attacks (regardless of high or lowsec) seems ludicrous and detracts from the tactical depth of the game - waging war and losing ships should always be expensive, if not prohibitively so.

I'm well-aware insurance typically covers only a fraction of a total ship's worth, once fitting and rigs are accounted for: most PvP kits and almost all PvE fittings pack way more ISK value in modules than in hull, with the notable exception of some fleet capitals and battleships, but speaking of ISK worth…

Isn't currency getting in the way ?

One interesting trait of insurance payouts is how they constitute the only entirely risk-free PvE ISK extracting source in EVE — making ISK usually involves exchanging with other players who have it, as the only direct sources of ISK from the CCP bank are NPC rewards (bounties, NPC trade or missions).

Even while mining roids, hauling trade goods, or running lowbie missions in high sec, there's a chance to get attacked by NPC or players and lose a ship, but what is losing his ship within docking range of a station to a pilot who undocked for the sole purpose of self-destructing ?

In extreme cases, self-destructing is the ATM of forlorn 0.0: need a few dozen millions real quick an no juicy NPC or player to ransom or scam in sight ? Just undock and crash a spare BS on the station's hull, and presto ! You got ca$h !

Play on less-easy mode ?

From a broader view, PvE resource distribution is in serious need of an overhaul, but just for starters, in the narrow perspective of insurance:
  • Reduce the duration of insurance policies to 4 weeks, divide the cost of premiums by as much.
  • Make insurance premiums payment a regular, auto-payable bill.
  • Add a steep incremental % penalty on premiums for frequent-crashers (with a decay, ofc).
  • Deny or halve insurance payoff in the event of self-destruction or Concord-kills.
  • Make wrecks salvageable for 10% to 50% of the original materials of the ship (random)*.
  • Remove meta 0 drops from tables, nerf reprocessing yield/recipes on Meta 1+ (except T2-3).
  • Adjust Base Prices for the purposes of premiums and payoffs calculations every day during dt for the next 23h, based on NPC Mineral Values (see below).
  • Compute daily NPC Mineral Values on the universe-wide market history for this mineral/material, based on actual transactions average for the last 4 weeks.
  • Remove (or nerf by half) NPC insurance on capitals.
[* just make the salvaged debris bulky enough not to offer more than 1/20 compression ratio over raw minerals.]

Sounds harsh ?

Well, it should be: those who currently benefit most from the insurance nanny-state are the internet tough men, so let'em suck it up, and watch the market sort out the worthy from the meek. ;)

Seriously though, player-driven insurance is not only possible, it's already there, more or less: many corps and alliances have (in)formal replacement programs in place for ships lost during wars or corp ops.
Taking the training wheels off is a chance for corps and new businesses to step up: EVE has player-driven banks precisely because CCP doesn't provide NPC ones, and look at all the cool drama they've supplied us with over the years…
I can't wait to see player-operated insurance companies.


1 comment:

  1. EVE is broken. By horrible lag on the gates and entering grid before real fight commends. Insurance is being looked at, while I dislike the fact of extra more ratting/plexing to make it up, I can live with it. But I wish to add my point on the list. Make Level4 missions just half-profitable as a plex in 0.0.