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Market PVP In Crius - Index Bombing and New Reasons for High-Sec War

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Author
Plleasure Hub
Municorn
#1 - 2014-07-24 00:53:48 UTC  |  Edited by: Plleasure Hub
As I learn about some of the underlying formulas now at play in Crius, I am seeing some possibilities for emergent gameplay. A player or group of players could wreak havoc in new, creative ways.

What emergent market PVP do you see happening in Crius?

Here is what I have so far:

2 stats can now be manipulated through player activity to great effect:
  • adjustedPrice
  • System Cost Index


Adjusted Price

"adjustedPrice" is a mysterious, internal value assigned to every item in the game. It is used to calculate the "base cost" of an item in the formula:

The sum of the "base cost" of each material used to create an item, where the base cost of each material is
adjustedPrice * base material quantity = base cost.

The derived value is then used directly as a multiplier in the formula to determine a job's installation cost.

It is mysterious in that it seems to be some type of average price, but it is modified in an undisclosed way. CCP FoxFour alludes to the mysterious nature of this value in a forum post from June of this year (2014):

CCP FoxFour wrote:
Um... it just is that. It's an adjusted price, adjusted in what way we have not said publicly, that we use for things internally. One of those things we use it for is industry cost calculations. Due to that we chose to expose it to you guys since you will need it to calculate industrial costs.

It's use may grow over time so we have simply called it adjustedPrice.


I assume that this value must be dynamic, since it is called from the CREST API, and is therefore based upon market activity. That means that players can potentially increase or decrease job installation costs by manipulating the markets of materials used to create an item.


System Cost Index

This is a value assigned to every solar system in the game, but it is separated into each activity type: manufacturing, ME research, TE research, invention, and copying.

It does not matter whether a system has NPC stations or outposts with these types of slots. Job activities from player starbases also affect this value.

Index Bombing

Players can make it more or less expensive to install a specific type of job in a system by influencing how many jobs are there currently. Players can increase costs by installing more jobs of that type in a system, which will increase the cost index for that job's category. There may be affordable ways to "index bomb" a system, flooding it with new jobs and spiking the cost index in order to damage the profits of your competitors.

An interesting thing to consider about index bombing is that for manufacturing jobs, installation cost is not tied to job duration. It is tied to base cost of the item. A potential strategy might involve installing manufacturing jobs with low base costs and long build times. This would artificially inflate the system's number of job hours for manufacturing while minimizing the cost of the manipulation. In other words, there might be a way to cheaply inflate a system's cost index.

New Incentives for High-Sec Warfare

Inversely, players can stop installing jobs and/or blow up and chase away other players performing those jobs, which will lower costs. This provides a new incentive for POS warfare and war declarations in high-sec. Want to lower your manufacturing and research costs? Declare war on other industrialist corps operating in your system, blow up their starbases, and kill their ships to keep them from running as many jobs. Consider blowing up their customs gantries while you are at it. There is also old-fashioned ganking, which now has a new type of compensation to consider: cheaper installation costs.

As a lover of danger, I am very excited about these new incentives.

I would love to hear what you think of these ideas and other emergent gameplay that Crius may bring about.

"There's no meaningful difference between a real and a virtual world. It's pointless to ask anyone who they really are. All you can do is accept and believe in them, because whoever they are in your mind, is their true identity." — Kazuto Kirigaya

Vaerah Vahrokha
Vahrokh Consulting
#2 - 2014-07-24 01:20:39 UTC
Plleasure Hub wrote:


Adjusted Price

"adjustedPrice" is a mysterious, internal value assigned to every item in the game. It is used to calculate the "base cost" of an item in the formula:

The sum of the "base cost" of each material used to create an item, where the base cost of each material is
adjustedPrice * base material quantity = base cost.

The derived value is then used directly as a multiplier in the formula to determine a job's installation cost.

It is mysterious in that it seems to be some type of average price, but it is modified in an undisclosed way. CCP FoxFour alludes to the mysterious nature of this value in a forum post from June of this year (2014):

CCP FoxFour wrote:
Um... it just is that. It's an adjusted price, adjusted in what way we have not said publicly, that we use for things internally. One of those things we use it for is industry cost calculations. Due to that we chose to expose it to you guys since you will need it to calculate industrial costs.

It's use may grow over time so we have simply called it adjustedPrice.




Security (in this case, index anti-tampering) through obscurity has proven to be far from a good idea in a number of situations. Glad to see there's still some who try to achieve it. Their fall will just taste sweeter! Pirate
Plleasure Hub
Municorn
#3 - 2014-07-24 01:23:23 UTC
Okay, I have an idea...

Design for an Index Bomb

  1. Determine which item has the lowest base cost to build time ratio in the game.
  2. Then, everyone go to Jita and start building as many of those items as possible with every slot they have. You can use alts if you desire.

That will create a huge spike in system job hours there, which will increase the cost index for manufacturing.

I am not currently aware of any upper limit on a system's cost index, so in theory, we could make it impossible to profit by manufacturing in a system using this strategy.

"There's no meaningful difference between a real and a virtual world. It's pointless to ask anyone who they really are. All you can do is accept and believe in them, because whoever they are in your mind, is their true identity." — Kazuto Kirigaya

Plleasure Hub
Municorn
#4 - 2014-07-24 01:25:41 UTC
Vaerah Vahrokha wrote:
Security (in this case, index anti-tampering) through obscurity has proven to be far from a good idea in a number of situations. Glad to see there's still some who try to achieve it. Their fall will just taste sweeter! Pirate

I must admit that I found that obscurity to be very strange. Every manufacturing job in the game now has a cost factor determined by a value that is impossible to understand, because its definition is not revealed by the game designers.

"There's no meaningful difference between a real and a virtual world. It's pointless to ask anyone who they really are. All you can do is accept and believe in them, because whoever they are in your mind, is their true identity." — Kazuto Kirigaya

Vaerah Vahrokha
Vahrokh Consulting
#5 - 2014-07-24 01:31:44 UTC  |  Edited by: Vaerah Vahrokha
Plleasure Hub wrote:
Vaerah Vahrokha wrote:
Security (in this case, index anti-tampering) through obscurity has proven to be far from a good idea in a number of situations. Glad to see there's still some who try to achieve it. Their fall will just taste sweeter! Pirate

I must admit that I found that obscurity to be very strange. Every manufacturing job in the game now has a cost factor determined by a value that is impossible to understand, because its definition is not revealed by the game designers.


And like every security through obscurity system, sooner or later there'll be a leak and the unknown will become less unknown.

The weakest link, in the end, is the weakest human in the security chain.

Facilitating factors for this leak to happen are the multiple-side interests involved: CSM are not saints and CCP employees don't necessarily drop their years old preferences towards this or that organization. And the more ideology based the organization, the higher the easier to feel motivation enough to "leak".
Adunh Slavy
#6 - 2014-07-24 01:59:46 UTC
Seems like a lot of effort and expense just to mess with someone, when shooting at them is easier and more fun.

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.  - William Pitt

Plleasure Hub
Municorn
#7 - 2014-07-24 02:08:01 UTC
Adunh Slavy wrote:
Seems like a lot of effort and expense just to mess with someone, when shooting at them is easier and more fun.

Maybe, but there have been plenty of "New Jita" expeditions that have failed because not enough people joined in creating new hubs. Now there is way to directly attack Jita's viability as a hub through in-game mechanics to achieve the same goal. You might have to go after not just Jita, but also surrounding manufacturing systems, but eventually, you could (in theory) break up the monopoly and spread out manufacturing by inflating their costs using this type of manipulation.

"There's no meaningful difference between a real and a virtual world. It's pointless to ask anyone who they really are. All you can do is accept and believe in them, because whoever they are in your mind, is their true identity." — Kazuto Kirigaya

mynnna
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
#8 - 2014-07-24 02:32:41 UTC  |  Edited by: mynnna
So you're planning to try to abuse the adjusted price to manipulate things? Good luck with that. Adjusted price exists literally because someone did just that.



Oh hey that was me.



Anyway, estimated price (the thing on your tooltip) is just a more or less straight 30 day rolling average of the transaction value for that item eve-wide. That made it very easy to abuse it in the above shenanigans - find an item with a super low market volume, ideally one also sold in the FW store, inflate it's price, blow some seed stuff up for LP, buy that item en masse, blow it up, repeat.

This won't work anymore, because adjusted price was implemented as a result, and it takes the estimated price and, well, adjusts it. No, I'm not telling you how. The adjusted price is what now feeds into bounties and FW kills. You'll notice, if you've gotten such a kill since sometime in late 2012, that it doesn't quite come out as expected.


Beyond that minor problem, because of how estimated price is calculated, it's somewhat questionable whether they need to use the adjusted price as a security measure anyway. If you want to move the price of something, you're competing with 30 days worth of volume, which is an astronomical amount of isk for common building materials. Suppose you wanted to trick the game into thinking Tritanium was worth 50 isk per unit, when it currently believes it to be worth 5.5. Now, on the Jita volume of Tritanium alone you're looking at around 635m units of trit behind that 5.5 per unit estimated price. If you want the game to think that Trit is worth 50 isk per unit, you'll essentially have to sell 635m units of trit at 94.5 isk per unit, moving a modest 59.9 trillion isk through the market to yourself. Even when selling to your own buy order, though, you still sink the broker fees and market taxes, so by the time you've finally plowed through that order, your wallet will be 561 billion isk lighter.

So yeah. That approach won't work.


The rest of it, sure, probably would work, but I don't expect to see all that much of it.


e: Shipping costs are trivial and are not much of a disincentive to spreading out, so even if you drove the production away from the area surrounding Jita, goods would continue to come to it.

Member of the Goonswarm Economic Warfare Cabal

Tulber
#9 - 2014-07-24 02:35:15 UTC
Plleasure Hub wrote:
eventually, you could (in theory) break up the monopoly and spread out manufacturing by inflating their costs using this type of manipulation.


What monopoly?
Plleasure Hub
Municorn
#10 - 2014-07-24 02:53:39 UTC
mynnna wrote:
So you're planning to try to abuse the adjusted price to manipulate things?

No, I am not currently planning to do any of these strategies, myself. I am only presenting them as possibilities. Do you think either one would be considered an exploit? The mechanics for index bombing are very straight forward. If it is not intended to work the way it does, that is a major problem, but I do not know what the intentions are. It seems like it could be perfectly fine behavior or an exploit, depending on your perspective.

mynnna wrote:
This won't work anymore, because adjusted price was implemented as a result, and it takes the estimated price and, well, adjusts it. No, I'm not telling you how. The adjusted price is what now feeds into bounties and FW kills. You'll notice, if you've gotten such a kill since sometime in late 2012, that it doesn't quite come out as expected.

Wow, so you know how it works? Interesting.. I will not even attempt to persuade you to say. Obviously, if the devs wanted us to know, they would have published the information. It gives me a slightly uneasy feeling that most players are left in the dark about this important variable, considering its now wide-spread impact on their gameplay. At least we can understand how the system cost index is derived.

mynnna wrote:
If you want to move the price of something, you're competing with 30 days worth of volume, which is an astronomical amount of isk for common building materials.
...
So yeah. That approach won't work.

I agree with you there. For many items, this type of market manipulation would be incredibly difficult to achieve. It is compounded by the fact that adjustedPrice appears to be a global value. So your manipulation would be much harder than messing with prices within a regional market, a practice that occurs all the time. Nonetheless, there may be some lower-volume items out there where this could be possible. Again, I have to wonder whether trying to influence prices is considered acceptable player action or an exploit. With the type of cut-throat game EVE is supposed to be, it seems like that sort of activity is on par with the theme.

Tulber wrote:
Plleasure Hub wrote:
eventually, you could (in theory) break up the monopoly and spread out manufacturing by inflating their costs using this type of manipulation.

What monopoly?

I am referring to the monopoly Jita holds as the most desirable place to buy and sell. Traders and producers are attracted to it because they can buy and sell more quickly than anywhere else. And the reason they can do that is because so many people are buying and selling there. So more come there, and the cycle continues. People don't stray outward because other systems don't offer anywhere near the same volume. And because they don't, no one goes to those systems, so they stay that way. That is sort of the main problem that Crius was released to solve and why the system cost index was invented.

"There's no meaningful difference between a real and a virtual world. It's pointless to ask anyone who they really are. All you can do is accept and believe in them, because whoever they are in your mind, is their true identity." — Kazuto Kirigaya

Adunh Slavy
#11 - 2014-07-24 03:06:43 UTC
Plleasure Hub wrote:
I am referring to the monopoly Jita holds as the most desirable place to buy and sell. Traders and producers are attracted to it because they can buy and sell more quickly than anywhere else.


Abusing the word monopoly does not make it a monopoly. Jita, and all the other hubs exist because there is no monopoly. There is no rule that says where players must go to trade, there is no edict from CCP or any laughable attempt from a player organization that says "trade here or we shoot you".

The closest thing Eve has ever had to a monopoly was the Tech Cartel and it suffered all the same problems as real cartels. The only thing that kept it going was CCP's relative incompetence at fixing moon goo distribution and build costs.

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.  - William Pitt

mynnna
GoonWaffe
Goonswarm Federation
#12 - 2014-07-24 03:07:10 UTC
Plleasure Hub wrote:
Wow, so you know how it works?


I don't know how it works, I merely have my suspicions after looking over a bunch of different kills with bounties on them and making some comparisons. If I'm right, it should be fairly bombproof as far as manipulation goes.

Member of the Goonswarm Economic Warfare Cabal

Plleasure Hub
Municorn
#13 - 2014-07-24 03:20:23 UTC
Adunh Slavy wrote:
Plleasure Hub wrote:
I am referring to the monopoly Jita holds as the most desirable place to buy and sell. Traders and producers are attracted to it because they can buy and sell more quickly than anywhere else.


Abusing the word monopoly does not make it a monopoly. Jita, and all the other hubs exist because there is no monopoly. There is no rule that says where players must go to trade, there is no edict from CCP or any laughable attempt from a player organization that says "trade here or we shoot you".

The closest thing Eve has ever had to a monopoly was the Tech Cartel and it suffered all the same problems as real cartels. The only thing that kept it going was CCP's relative incompetence at fixing moon goo distribution and build costs.

I stand by my use of the word monopoly to describe Jita's status as one of the few viable trade hubs and the only high-quality one.

From Dictionary.com:
"monopoly, the exclusive possession or control of something."

In this context, Jita exclusively possesses trade volume on a vast number of common items in the game. No other system comes close to offering the ability to acquire vast amounts of well-priced raw goods, quickly sell finished items, and trade in general.

There is also Amarr, a decent hub. But for many items, even Amarr lacks the volume and favorable prices on raw materials.

So yes, Jita has a monopoly on high-volume market activity as well as the best prices in the game for many items.

mynnna wrote:
I don't know how it works, I merely have my suspicions after looking over a bunch of different kills with bounties on them and making some comparisons. If I'm right, it should be fairly bombproof as far as manipulation goes.

Are you able to elaborate on how you think it works? Or is that not allowed for CSM members? Are we even allowed, as players, to try to figure out how adjustedPrice works? It is frustrating to understand every single formula and variable except this one.

"There's no meaningful difference between a real and a virtual world. It's pointless to ask anyone who they really are. All you can do is accept and believe in them, because whoever they are in your mind, is their true identity." — Kazuto Kirigaya

Steve Ronuken
Fuzzwork Enterprises
Vote Steve Ronuken for CSM
#14 - 2014-07-24 03:20:35 UTC
Jita is Jita, because it's Jita.

From the position of a manufacturer buying materials, I go to Jita as I'll be able to get everything I need from there, at an acceptable price. Some things I'll pick up more locally, but it's good enough.

I sell in Jita (and my local hub), because my goods will move there at an acceptable speed.

That's it.

Woo! CSM XI!

Fuzzwork Enterprises

Twitter: @fuzzysteve on Twitter

Steve Ronuken
Fuzzwork Enterprises
Vote Steve Ronuken for CSM
#15 - 2014-07-24 03:25:17 UTC
My suspicion (and it's nothing but a suspicion) is that adjusted price has a human element in it.

People specifically watching for changes and trends. And blocking ones which are anomalous.

Woo! CSM XI!

Fuzzwork Enterprises

Twitter: @fuzzysteve on Twitter

Plleasure Hub
Municorn
#16 - 2014-07-24 03:27:28 UTC
Steve Ronuken wrote:
Jita is Jita, because it's Jita.

From the position of a manufacturer buying materials, I go to Jita as I'll be able to get everything I need from there, at an acceptable price. Some things I'll pick up more locally, but it's good enough.

I sell in Jita (and my local hub), because my goods will move there at an acceptable speed.

That's it.

Exactly. It is not a forced monopoly by any means, but rather a natural one kept in place by player behavior. The idea behind the cost index system is to try to move some of that activity elsewhere not through a hard rule, but as a natural consequence of increased manufacturing prices in highly-congested areas.

The idea is that by giving a new incentive to build, and therefore, live further from Jita, economies elsewhere in the galaxy may have a greater chance to flourish. Whether this idea will be realized or altogether sidestepped by player ingenuity remains to be seen.

"There's no meaningful difference between a real and a virtual world. It's pointless to ask anyone who they really are. All you can do is accept and believe in them, because whoever they are in your mind, is their true identity." — Kazuto Kirigaya

Tulber
#17 - 2014-07-24 03:37:36 UTC
What does Jita "exclusively," posses or control? And how does a station "control," anything for that matter?
Plleasure Hub
Municorn
#18 - 2014-07-24 03:50:16 UTC
Tulber wrote:
What does Jita "exclusively," posses or control? And how does a station "control," anything for that matter?

As I said, Jita possesses high trading volume and good prices. Jita has more trade volume than every other major hub combined.

It is not the station that is doing the controlling. Rather, it is the culmination of game mechanics, player behavior, and psychology all working together to maintain's Jita's superior position above all other systems.

The player base could move to another system or split up and form several additional hubs with all that activity at any time. But they do not, and will not, because there is no good enough reason to do so.

Hence the introduction of a new game mechanic, the cost index system, specifically designed to provide a penalty to players hyper-congregating to a single system, as well as a benefit to those who move their operations to lower-populated areas. And as I described in my original post, this mechanic may even provide a way for players to directly influence the destruction and formation of new trade hubs.

"There's no meaningful difference between a real and a virtual world. It's pointless to ask anyone who they really are. All you can do is accept and believe in them, because whoever they are in your mind, is their true identity." — Kazuto Kirigaya

Tulber
#19 - 2014-07-24 04:03:41 UTC
I don't think people are going to walk away from the huge convenience of centralized trade hubs because they've got to ship things a few more jumps.

Oh and Jita still doesn't have a "monopoly," on anything. You should stick with "most popular," hth.
Adunh Slavy
#20 - 2014-07-24 04:12:53 UTC
Plleasure Hub wrote:

I stand by my use of the word monopoly to describe Jita's status as one of the few viable trade hubs and the only high-quality one.

From Dictionary.com:
"monopoly, the exclusive possession or control of something."

In this context, Jita exclusively possesses trade volume on a vast number of common items in the game. No other system comes close to offering the ability to acquire vast amounts of well-priced raw goods, quickly sell finished items, and trade in general.


Oh, the context of poetic license, aka fluff.

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.  - William Pitt

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