Instead of more arguments, I prove my point by bringing the mining mission farm to the extreme. For those who don’t want to read that long and detailed business post: there are level 4 missions in highsec that require you to warp to a deadspace complex, start your ice/gas harvester on one big resource, go AFK for 10/20 minutes, then dock up. No other player input needed, the pilot is perfect after 2 months of training, no investment is needed and there is no risk of losing ships to rats. In case of ganks you lose an empty pod and a 5M venture or 30M retriever, but no one ganks in mission deadspace areas due to having to scan it down then slowboat from the mission entrance to the barge, which is impossible if your sec status is below -5.
It’s an extreme form of AFK-farming. You don’t even need multiboxer software, you can just click on the window where input is needed. You can leave the computer at any moment, if you are away for long, you just find your ships full. This means that you can go nolifer without actually affecting your life. If you live or work near a computer, you can run such AFK farm without impacting your main activity. The question is how much you can earn with this. To measure it, I let the farm run whenever I was at home and awake and I checked on it when I had a few free minutes. The amount of LP can be calculated from the amount of ISK spent in the LP store, since all the implants I was buying needed 666.66x more ISK than LP:
I copied these journals from all 5 involved pilots to Excel, got the average implant prices from the Jita market history and got:
Oops! 32.7B income over a month. So an extremely easy, dumb, risk-free and solo activity provided more than a supercarrier a month. My trading income which is gained by understanding markets, investing hundreds of billions and taking risk by flying around with tens of billions is barely more.
You might also noticed that my pilots spent more than 25 hours a day doing this. This is possible by having 5 miner accounts (+1 for Orca boost). I have 5 because I had 5 accounts with slots available for this test. I didn’t expect such numbers, so I didn’t start more accounts. I mean I had the calculated income, but didn’t expect to be able to run so many hours a day without it affecting my ability to work, do chores, write this blog and upkeep a relationship. Cliche nolifers can’t do these, but that’s because other games need constant player input. In order for your avatar to farm an hour in WoW, you must sit front of your computer and click buttons for an hour or risk banning for botting. To run the mentioned mission farm, you need to talk to an agents 4 times an hour, press the undock button 4 times, warp to the mission bookmark 4 times, approach gas 2 times (other 2 are ice, in range of the lasers), start mining 4 times and press dock 4 times. That’s about 2 mins/hour/account activity.
While multiboxing is a plague in all games, the constant need of inputs in other games force (non-botting) multiboxers to be at the same location, so their income is diminishing. 2 WoW avatars kill mobs faster, but not twice faster. After 5, killing mobs is so fast that adding more avatars doesn’t speed you up further. In EVE I could keep adding miners up to 30 (where they start idling as I can’t do the mentioned clicks fast enough for all of them). They are all in their own missions, not affecting each other. So a cliche nolifer doing the mentioned mining mission farm with 30 pilots (+Orca), doing it 12 hours a day can earn 15.5B/day. Let me put this in perspective: that’s 50% more ISK than Pandemic Legion makes (the alliance, not the individual members). Or 2x more than TEST on its peak. The price of a titan every week. If you want to buy the same money on the legitimate PLEX market, that’s over $100K a year. All that by one guy, with beginner skills, without exploit or even a multiboxer software and without paying a dime to CCP.
Do you need any further proof how horribly broken it is? The obvious solution is charging after playing time. If you watch 2x more movies, you pay 2x more to the cinema. The subscription should allow X hours/month play, if you want to play more, you have to activate extra PLEX-es. This is needed to put a pricetag on pilot hours which are currently free (pilot existence is not free, but his hours are). This will decrease the farm income by PLEX_price/X ISK/hour. With the increase of PLEX prices, it would market out many farms, opening up niches for casual players. As they play less already than X, their income isn’t taxed.
Other possible solution is making AFK-farming impossible. In WoW if your pet kills a mob, you can’t loot it and your “kill 10″ quest won’t progress. You need to put at least one bit of weapon damage into the mob to claim it. The same could be implemented for drones and smartbombs in EVE: if no targeted module activation happened on the rat, it dies without leaving a wreck, giving no bounty nor standings. AFK mining can be killed without complete rewrite by breaking up asteroids into one-cycle chunks. Of course making mining engaging would be better. The point is that you need to perform actions front of the client to earn ISK, decreasing the income/effort ratio (which is over 1B/hour with the mining mission farm now). Of course, botting will still be a problem, but at least botters risk banning, while AFK-ers don’t.
- Gevlon Goblin
If you would like to read more Gevlon Goblin articles, we invite you to visits his Greedy Goblin blog.