Category Archives: I was RIGHT!

Didn’t Think of That. Should Have.

Thanks to yesterday’s ANON posting the link to some more current financials.

Ok so CCP’s cash situation is a little weird.  Quite a bit weird actually.  CCP took about 40 million in loans and bond issues (the bonds at a 7% for a 5 year note) 8 million of which they haven’t touched.  At the end of the year they were down 18 million from where they started in cash.  That’s not fun.

I understand why they are at where they are.  They are spending a bunch on R&D for existing products, and a bunch MORE on development for other products, (in 2012 this would have been Dust and WoD) and they have a lot overhead on their admin expenses, but they aren’t out of line for the number of employees they have.  The problem is they are trying to become a bigger company, and borrowing money to get there.

The problem is I still don’t like their cash situation.  Last year Dec 31 they had 3.6 million.  This year they borrowed 32 million, had an operating profit of 2.8 million, and ended up with 20 million in cash.  A lot of the other 18.4 million probably went into Dust.  That amount *should* be dropping off some, and will be tempered somewhat by the 5 people now paying for Dust.  The problem is CCP is putting themselves in a bind.  The note rate is hardly friendly, and they will have to have 20 million on hand when they come due to pay them off, not to mention the 7% per annum.  That hit will come in 2017.  In 2016 they have to pay back the rather friendlier 20 million (of which they haven’t touched 8 mill) which they should be current on in interest.  

So where they stand right now is problematic.  They have to cut costs quite a bit, mostly in R&D, which limits future growth, in Admin expenses, which just seem high when laid against the revenue they are generating, and in development costs, which ran them another $24 million this year.  At the bottom line they lost 1.5 million dollars a month in 2012.  If they hadn’t borrowed money in 2012 they’d have been out of money before the end of March.  I’m guessing they actually spent a lot less in the first half of the year, and put up some big bills towards the end of the year after figuring out their financing, but still, averaging at a loss of 1.5 million a month before figuring in the money you borrowed isn’t a good way to pay your bills.  Especially when gross profit for the YEAR came up only $800,000.  

CCP has to begin operating at a profit without relying on financing.  And they have to do it soon.  They need to come up with a way to increase cash on hand quite a bit in the next 4 years, they also have to operate, and decide how they will operate in the future, and frankly it looks like they stink at it.  They have to either get Dust working at a profit or put it out of its misery.  They have to take a serious look at WoD and decide if they can do it without killing what they have right now.  I’ll say again what I said a couple years ago.  EvE makes money.  It doesn’t make a lot, it isn’t terribly sexy, but it makes money.  It would make more even on paper with a reduced staff (I imagine a lot of the overhead goes away without the teams working on Dust and WoD) and while I don’t doubt that these are good people doing their best, the company doesn’t look like it can afford them.  Not unless they can get Dust making money NOW and/or get WoD out the door and making money before 2016.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

I Was Right. I Think

So Mittens has declared that CFC won’t be invading Delve with the goal of killing TEST.  At least not for now.  They will certainly defend Fountain.  They will almost certainly raid Delve.  They probably won’t kick TEST out.  In that regard I believe myself to be right and Ripard to be wrong.  Don’t worry I won’t get used to it.  He’s too sharp and too well connected to be wrong very often, I just read my tea leaves a bit better this time.

Moreover, it doesn’t look like CFC will have to lift a finger to make TEST collapse.  Their leadership is a raging inferno, awoxers are driving corps out, lack of leadership is driving out others, and there’s so many knives out for TEST that they look like Goons at low tide.  All those they’ve wronged, slighted, or who imagine themselves wronged or slighted are ready for revenge.  Possibly pre-emptive revenge.

I’m not worried for TEST.  This will hurt.  Probably a lot.  They may travel quite a distance before they hit rock bottom.  This wont kill them.  TEST is too heavily anchored outside the game to lose out.  They share that quality with Goonswarm.  It’s not a bad one either.  However this meta-invulnerability doesn’t translate to actual invulnerability.  They might lose Delve.  They will almost certainly lose systems.  They are already losing members and corps.  Maybe not weeping blood, but losing a lot of cogs from the machine.  They’ve lost their cachet as the credible alternative to the CFC.  They’ve lost most of their leadership, and frankly they’ve lost their direction.  Right now they are in Delve frantically trying to not lose more… everything.

CFC meanwhile just declared Caldari Ice Interdiction time.  They are moving on.  They have something fun and zany to do to keep the masses busy and keep them from blowing up things they probably shouldn’t.  Like shooting sov structures in Delve.  CFC has friends, they have victories to rest on, they have activities to keep them busy, and a leadership structure that is humming along keeping everything moving as best as it can.

Goons don’t need Delve.  They don’t need the win, and they certainly don’t want to risk breaking momentum shooting structures for another two months.  TEST is safe from Goons.  They might not be safe from themselves.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Take it to the Limit One Less Time

So CCP had an interesting interview regarding the battle of 6V.  Especially with regards to the technical side and TiDi.  As many people (myself included) have said; the bottom line is we’ve passed the point where the EvE game client + the current technology can handle loads players are putting on it.  The inability to take advantage of multithreaded cores and the way that technology has developed away from CCP’s needs has brought us to the point where nearly any coalition can bring more ships than any server can handle.  

I’ve already talked about how CCP needs to develop the technology and the programming to handle this, but it looks like it’s very basic architecture level.  That’s a lot of work to fix.  A ridiculous lot.  The bottom line is they really don’t have the ability to fix things at that level in any kind of timely fashion.  Especially as CCP Veritas said (cribbing in the whole interview bit)

TMC: With this battle, do you think that EVE has reached a limit of what TiDi can do for it? Is it time to look for new hardware or new ideas?

CCP Veritas: I’m going to say an answer, and you’re not going to like it. Then I’m going to say some more words, and you’re going to like it. Ready? The answer to your question is no. That’s because the answer for it was nine months ago, and that’s when I started looking at performance again.

So I’m guessing CCP has made progress, and has gotten themselves to where they at least have the project going.  The problem is they are chasing a community that has passed them.  This is not a good strategy, this was a forseeable problem, and there should be a nearly constant team working on it to bring solutions about before they are needed, not 9 months after the fact.  Fleets will expand to fill the infrastructure that the game contains, and then go +1.  That’s the EvE way.  

So there’s two kinds of infrastructure, the nuts and bolts of the actual game, that is, the code and hardware that runs the code which we’ve clearly overrun and then there’s the actual gameplay mechanics that bring fleets together.  

Fleets can jump using Titan Bridges to Cynos skipping intervening gates, arriving rapidly straight onto the battlefield.  The most powerful ships in the game are frequently relegated to the role of Taxis.  The Erebus should be in interbus colors for all the ferrying it does.  I’m all for the Titan having it’s bridge sharply limited.  Have an upper mass limit of what can go through, then a cooldown equivalent to the old Titan Doomsday cooldown.  Sure they can use more titans to get fleets moving, but how many Titans do you want sitting crippled even in the safety of a POS?  This would make it harder to move numerous fleets around.  It’s a brute-force solution, but it’s better than watching 4k people struggle with the client for 6 hours.  

The other big thing is looking at the objectives and strategy.  Right now there’s huge timers for big structures that attract massive fleets.  There’s no incentive to split your fleet as it A) runs counter to strategy by splitting your offensive and defensive power, and B) slows down your actual attack and completion of the objectives.  But what if we could change B?  What if there were smaller objectives in every constellation, rather like FW bunkers, that gave the controller an advantage in fights elsewhere?  Having secondary objectives for every battle would be fantastic.  Perhaps a nerf or buff to structure hitpoints, added or subtracted range to capital jumps/bridges.  Make each battle a series of interconnected parts, rather than dueling steamrollers.  

Anything other than “+1″

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Good Points and Big Prizes

First off the Prize.  I like Bubble Wrap.  Anyone who submitted a serious suggestion to a blog written by the founder of the “Fancy Hats Corporation” was at a disadvantage.  I like the sound of “Fancy Hats just Bubble-Wrapped our wormhole… we’re hosed.”

Second I am amazed and humbled by the reaction my blog post garnered.  Amazed by how quickly it spread and how many views and comments it received between here and EN24.  Humbled by the support I have received, and the large number of rational, sensitive people able to perceive the difference between “Decent behavior” and “PC GESTAPO” they also managed to raise several points that I particularly thought should be further discussed.

1st – A large number of people pointed out that “Rape” has a lot of meanings.  No… no it doesn’t.  Not in modern culture.  No one has used “rapine” outside a history book about the vikings for a long time.  Rape is taken to mean forcing someone sexually, against their will.  While it may not include penetration, it is an abhorrent and scarring act, the (slowly) growing acknowledgement of the damage it does has been a main cause of the term’s other definitions falling into disuse.

2nd -

Nikki· 1 day ago

I hate it when people speak for the entire gender .. But here another perspective:

You start about a gender imbalance, can’t argue there: completely true, although I would like to see some comparisons made with other MMORPG. You name the reason for this imbalance the hostile environment for women. In the entire article you name one example of this hostility, which is shaky at best.

Have you thought about the fact that for one… less women play games and therefore Eve? Have you considered that perhaps less women play eve because playing Eve because it’s a technical game and doesn’t just ‘look pretty’? Your statement of the hostile environment could be true if a lot of women started a trial account, but stopped playing because of the dreadful behavior they encounter.

I am almost ashamed to say: I am a woman, playing eve and no I am not offended by terms like rape-cage. I think I’ll go back to the kitchen and make corpies sammiches…

To which I responded
There are certainly other reasons than misogyny that keep women away from EvE Online. I can’t control the theme of the game. I can’t change that fewer women play EvE than other MMOs. I *CAN* hopefully make people aware of a dangerous cultural trend in-game that they might want to change to increase the appeal of the game to many, many women.

I picked one example because I didn’t want to go through the litany of potentially offensive things, and because I have an axe to grind with rape culture in general. Far too many women I know have been forced to endure rape for me to find it funny in the slightest bit. I know it doesn’t offend all women, just as it doesn’t offend all men, but there’s a difference between “not offensive” and “funny.”

I’ve heard statistics for WoW placing the balance anywhere from 20-40% female. EvE is usually quoted around 5% or less. Even at 10% that means fewer than 40,000 female players of EvE worldwide. Giving up a term like “rape cage” would make the game more attractive to women, giving up the culture that espouses the term rape cage would as well.

Tomato, Turkey and vinegar on wheat please!

To which Alita responded

Alita· 21 hours ago

Corelin, I see whre you are coming from, but I think you got it wrong. If there is something that might put women (as far as I can speak for them) off EVE, it’s the ridiculously shallow HTFU macho culture. It takes dedication and delving into things to notice, that this is just a vocal minority.

I myself, I decided that I will play this game before I knew about statistics. I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to the stupidity of immature men online. (i.e. i simpy do not take them seriously, as it should be). One thing I do not understand is, why women will tolerate this sort of crap from the people they fly with. If I would be subjected to sexist crap every other day, I’d rip off the corp, shoot whoever is within range and then leave.

To quote my Rabbi “I told you that story so I could make sense of my sermon”
The HTFU culture is a result of essential EvE mechanics.  Ships are lost permanently, the wrecks looted and destroyed, scams are rewarded, not punished, PvP pervades all aspects of the game with “real” permanent consequences.  In EvE you HTFU or GTFO.  This may or may not be sexist in itself.  After all “The female of the species is more deadly than the male.”  I know for a fact there are women in EvE that would gladly abuse you in-game as thoroughly as any guy.  Rape Culture has nothing to do with game mechanics.  It has nothing to do with PvP, it has nothing to do with markets, it has nothing to do with PvE.  To eliminate HTFU the basic mechanics of the game would have to change.  A lot.  To the point where many people would quit.  To eliminate Rape Culture, players would have to be more polite, less sickeningly misogynistic, and “be excellent to each other” in the words of Theodore Logan and William S Preston (Esq).  Rather simpler, it might still make people quit the game, but I wont miss them.  Incidentally many of them would leave the game if we got rid of HTFU as well.
3rd and last – There’s a difference between being a “Political Correctness Jerk” and a decent human being.  Especially on the internet.  Are you nitpicking about small points that 90% of people hardly care about?  Are you using euphemisms to avoid talking about a real problem?  If you are dancing around the point, or picking on something so small everyone is ignoring you, it’s being a politically correct jerk.  Well Tuesday I certainly wasn’t hiding what I was saying.  I threw down a challenge to the community.  That solves the “dancing around the point” problem.  I am looking at EN24 and seeing how many comments were made, how many hits my website received, the e-mails, evemails and comments on my blog and I can say that people care about the issue.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is because I wasn’t nitpicking, I wasn’t hiding, I was calling attention to a serious problem in the community that plays EvE Online.  I was doing it in a very public, and open way.  I challenged people to hold themselves to the same standards I try to hold myself to.  Am I proud of myself?  You’re goddamn right I am.  Have I dislocated my arm patting myself on the back?  Maybe.  X-Rays are on the schedule tomorrow.  Am I finished?  No.
I’m going to continue this series.  I’m going to take a long look at EvE.  I’m going to look at its gameplay.  I’m going to look at its culture.  I am going to look at the women that do play it, the women that have played it and didn’t like it and women that have never heard of it.  I’m going to do interviews and see if I can find ideas for how we as a community can be more welcoming to women, and how CCP can adjust the game to make it more appealing to women without killing our sacred cows.
I would like to offer special thanks to Jen Allen whose courage in telling her story has inspired me to be a better person, and whose courage in editing my writing has made my points clearer, Riverini, Mynxee Poetic Stan, and Hans Jagerblizten for their high-profile comments, support, and in general all of the commenters for drawing more attention to this issue.  Even the trolls helped on this.

I'm using it every time I can

THIS! This is what I was talking about!

So EN24 put up a story today, that would have been interpreted as part of it’s rather normal anti-goon bent and more or less chuckled at or ignored.

http://www.evenews24.com/2012/02/23/dirty-csm7-war-heat-up-in-the-twitters/

Look at the byline.  Well, now it’s something else.  It is political propaganda between The Mittani and Riverini because both are competing for CSM seats.  However their seats of power differ significantly.  Any news source has a duty to be open and transparent if not in their reporting, than in their bias.  I don’t have a problem with people who are biased one way or the other, it is when they attempt to be disingenuous about it that it bugs me.  At the end of the piece Riverini links the following bit of propoganda

http://www.whiteroseconventicle.com/politics/csm-7/1185-one-eve-one-vote-one-chairman.html

Now I myself am Jewish, and certainly am no great supporter of Mittani, but hyperbole tends to curve back on itself.  This is a case where a legitimate point is brought up not by someone offended on a deep, personal basis, in which case they’d have brought it up last year, or upon first encountering goonwaffe, but by a political opponent during the campaign season.  Nowhere in the article does Riverini give any disclaimer that he and Mittani are competitors for a CSM seat.

There is legitimacy to Mittens using an alliance he has helped to build and led to acquire a CSM seat.  He is open about it and even open that he will use that seat to better himself and the goons.  Riverini has built a news site for EvE.  I happen to think it’s a good one and I have even contributed in the past.  However to use it as a political tool for his own aggrandizement is fundamentally different from using an alliance.  It ruins the credibility of the site, especially when Riverini himself posts articles attacking other CSM candidates.  When he wasn’t a candidate they were merely part of his bias against the candidate, now they are attempts to raise his own flag.

Riverini is destroying his campaign, and the credibility of the site he has built.  I hope he stops this kind of attack, especially on an alleged news site.  I hope he withdraws from the campaign and uses his ability to create a news site to establish himself in a position as a respected source of information, not a screaming supporter/detractor buried in bias.

I'm using it every time I can

I Hate to say “I Told you So,” No… Wait… I LOVE to. It’s part of why I Blog.

Ninja Edit:  http://www.sobaseki.com/wordpress/2011/09/02/ccp-in-desperate-need-of-cash/ published first.

http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=4717&tid=1

Hmmm…..

http://madhaberdashers.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/the-slow-burn-continues/

Wait.  They’ve been losing money since who knows when.  They need to pay back $11.8 Million (which might be monopoly money by October but hey whose counting) and in April they has $11.2 and were losing about 500 grand a month.  Let’s see… carry the 2… Let’s be generous and say $9.2 Million.  Take away the $11.8 million they owe, assuming they lose nothing in Sept or Oct.  -$2.6 Million. 

So the solution is to sell 13 months of plexes for the price of roughly 11.5.  Actually not a terrible deal for CCP, since that’s about what a sub costs paid for well in advance.  Still.  I can smell the desperation here in Iowa. 

It smells like Flop Sweat.

I do hope CCP can right the sinking ship they’ve created financially.  As I said in the past EvE is a successful busines venture.  EvE is not what is killing CCP.  What is killing CCP is trying to use a niche-market game like EvE and use it to finance a “persistant” FPS that will be lucky to last 18 months if that, while simultaneously producing a Theme-Park MMO to throw into the competition of “who get’s to kill WoW” (Hint:  Blizzard will kill WoW.  Someone else will just be there to scoop loot)

 

I'm using it every time I can

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers