Friday, October 19, 2012

Why Payment Is Economically Rational

Does it make economic sense for miners to make their annual 10 million isk payment for a mining indulgence, as required by the Code? Yes, of course. But why? And how much sense? We've discussed some of the ways payment benefits the miners, but today we'll look at the subject strictly from the view of economic rationality.

Kamio miner Airon Taiyou will be our guide today. Airon is best known for pioneering the use of a loyalty pledge in his bio to notify Agents of the New Order that he's already paid. As the number of Agents grows, this is becoming a popular option for miners in New Order territory.

On a side note, the loyalty pledge has inspired some miners to get creative. Agent Nanatoa recently informed me of a miner who used her corporation title to declare support for the New Order, since she didn't want to have a bio. Very clever!

Back to the story. Airon was debating a fellow ice miner on the subject of whether it made sense to pay.

The most economically successful miners are people who know their numbers. Airon ran the numbers and quickly discovered that payment refusal just doesn't add up. But what about the principle of not wanting to pay to mine, period?

Airon had the better of the argument once again. All over the EVE galaxy, people pay to mine. A common carebear retort is that the New Order does not technically hold sovereignty over its territory. But that argument doesn't stand up when we look at how renting is done elsewhere. In nullsec, renters often hold the sovereignty themselves, but still pay rent to their coalition overlords. But more to the point, no one holds sovereignty in lowsec or NPC nullsec. Yet territory is still held and recognized.

The New Order does not need to camp gates or even blow up offending ships in order to hold territory. For miners, force is the ability to stop someone from mining. Agents of the New Order wield that power every day. There aren't enough Agents to bump every non-compliant miner every hour of every day, but it's also true that lowsec and nullsec systems aren't permacamped. They are held because the owners can inflict costs upon those who defy them.

Let's briefly consider how this is done to miners in New Order territory. If a bumper can force a miner to lose 10 million isk or more, payment is the only economically rational option. In the past, this wasn't difficult: Knock a miner out of range enough times, prevent him from mining long enough, break enough mining cycles. But the Agents of the New Order gained even greater power when the mining ships got changed. AFK mining skyrocketed, and so did the ability of bumpers to have an impact--no pun intended.

The typical AFK Mackinaw pilot takes about an hour to fill his ship with ice. Suppose he goes AFK right after firing up his lasers. If he's bumped out of range, his mining cycle will be broken, and it cannot restart--even if the ship automatically orbits back into range--until he returns to keyboard and manually reactivates the lasers.

Thus, an AFK miner who checks in on his Mackinaw once per hour can lose an entire hour's worth of mining from a single bump. (For botters it can be even worse: Some botting programs don't take further action until the orebay is full, so if bumped out of range, they'll just sit there for the whole day.)

Most likely, a bumper won't bump an AFK'er immediately after he's left his keyboard. Most of the time it will be in the middle of the hourly routine. Still, on average that's 30 minutes of lost mining time from one bump. If the miner returns and gets back into range, he can easily be sent out of range again. Or perhaps the bumper will leave him alone for ten minutes, and the miner, satisfied, goes AFK; the bumper returns and costs him another 50 minutes worth of mining.

What I've just described is one bumper on one day. Suppose another Agent happens by the ice field and knocks the miner out of range? The number of active bumpers has skyrocketed, and is likely to continue rising. On busy bumping days, some miners have observed Agents unintentionally serving in shifts, with one showing up just after another leaves.

We're still not done--not by a long shot. A mining permit lasts for 365 days. Therefore, the cost of refusal must be measured by the amount of bumping inflicted over an entire year. Maybe a miner will be annoyed by the lost isk today, but still pleased with his own defiance. Failure to pay the mining fee also means potential bumps tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. Every time he loses ice next week, next month, and all the way until the summer and autumn of 2013--it's all a cost of his refusal to pay the 10 million.

Some miners will say it's worth all the lost money, because their rebellion is done out of principle. I don't buy it. If you're mining ice in highsec, you've already surrendered your pride. And there's no such thing as AFK dignity. If you mine ice in highsec, you're in it for the isk. Paying your dues to the New Order means you get more isk. It's the rational choice.


  1. Screw all this 'justification'. You just do it cause its fun. What about Ba'Ba who has still paid...and willing to pay on behalf of a realtive and you hypcrites are voting if you should paint a bullseye on her ship...then again I've given up expecting logic...plenty of other ice fields you can;t touch.

    Still...maybe they should will CCP react when the reason for the lost subscription is 'Because of the New Order'? They already know James 315 thanks to the petition...they'll look at you from an economical point of view...and kick you out.

    1. On the other hand, James 315's emergent gameplay might make people subscribe who otherwise wouldn't. The only reason I have an active subscription at the moment is so I can participate in the New Order of Highsec.
      On a macro-level, many people are subscribed because they love EVE's emergent gameplay. If CCP were to get a reputation of kicking out those who contribute most to emergent gameplay, they'd lose subscribers.

    2. Thbis is based on the assumption that paying to mine is the equivalent to pay to undock, what lowsec pirates are known for. This is NOT true! Reread what the article says. It'll come to you. Maybe even revisit the Code.

      You are also assuming people are going to quit their subscription because of the inability to afk mine. Why pay for a game you only want to mine in? Facebook doesn't cost a thing. Miners mine for money. Pure and simple. That money goes to something. I will not presume to know what that is beyond my own desires for money.

      I for one came BACK to mining because of the Sacrifice James has made over the months bringing civility and creating a cosmopolitan Oasis out of bot-ridden wasteland.

      Yes, I mine, and I am an Agent.


  2. There are only 3 rational choices:

    1. Economically rational choice: pretend to have paid, list your own alt as the agent who you paid.

    2. Rational choice of dignity: make a ganker alt, kill those who attempt to extort money from you.

    3. Rational choice of the busy man: move systems to get away from the New Order, wait for CCP to change bumping mechanics from their current exploit-laden state.

    1. Agreed...the first bunch of sense I've ever seen here. I will be making an alt to send that youtube vid to James315

    2. > 2. Rational choice of dignity: make a ganker alt, kill those who attempt to extort money from you.

      Humiliating failure is hardly the first step on the path to dignity.

    3. To make an alt to say its an Agent, to put in the bio that you Support James, and to continue to declare support to the Code in local at any given time... in order to AVOID paying 10mil ISK?

      That's a lot of effort to deceive... whoever it is you are trying to deceive don't you think?

      You also forgot to list choice 4, Rational choice of a HUMAN, pay the stipend, embrace the Code, continue to enjoy Eve conscious free.

      Otherwise your lists are very similiar to a robot's. Please see the Light soon!


    4. Woops, I need to amend, deception by pretending to be an Agent, that's 30mil, not 10mil. Apologies. Truly you can see how spinning the web doesn't make things better?


  3. People tends to forget that we adjust the economy of EVE by bumping out of range bots.

    We are making ISK for miners, not in a direct manner.

    1. and what about the people whp just turned blink off on Local to avoid all the spammers when they visit Jita or another trade hub? What about the people that your overzealous agents gank? Don;t believe me?

    2. Said gankee was dumb enough to fall for a can flip, they deserved it. If a can ain't blue or white and you take from it, you willingly take the risk of getting exploded, working as intended.

  4. What I see from reading this site is that for some miners the rational mathematical argument just doesn't compute. I did the math, as any good industrialist should do.

    Salute to James 315

    Death to Bots!

  5. I think it’s important to point out that by simply coming to this site or responding in local and conversing with agents of the New Order you are already more engaged in EVE than you would be by AFK mining.

  6. The equation of human rational behavior with instrumentalist, especially economic, rationality represents the hallmark of the economic or rational choice approach. Free PPI Claims


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