How Wright STV Works

There is way too much confusion over this, so I’m going to do my best to explain it. I hope CCP explains it too, and does it well, but nevertheless, here’s my crack at it.

First, the actual casting of the vote. This part is easy. You have X candidates – 35 this year, minus whoever gets knocked out by the preliminary voting. From those, you select up to 14, ranking them by preference. So another goon, perhaps, would have a list that looked like this.

  1. Mynnna
  2. Kesper North
  3. Kaleb Rysode
  4. Artctura
  5. Unforgiven Storm

And so on, whereas a wormhole dweller would no doubt rank all five wormhole candidates in his preferred order, followed by whoever else.

Let’s create a real example to go forward with. In this example, we have five candidates for two seats, and 80 people voted. The ballots look like this:

19 C D A B E
15 E D B C A
14 D E A B C
12 A C D B E
9 C B E A D
9 A E C B D
2 B

In other words 19 people cast a ballot declaring that they preferred C as their first choice, followed by D, A, B and E. And yes, that last pair of ballots does have just one candidate on them. You can do that if you want – there is no requirement to fill your ballot – but it’s unwise to do so, as we’ll soon see!

The first step in a round is to determine the quota – the number of votes a candidate needs to get elected. This is simply quota = (Total Votes/(seats+1))+1, with any remainder discarded. So at the start of this mock election, we have 80 ballots for two seats. The quota is 27 votes.

Next, the first choices on each ballot are added up, and ranked in a list.

28 C
21 A
15 E
14 D
2 B

Candidate C has exceeded the threshold necessary to get elected, and so is declared provisionally elected. The quota was 27 votes, so his overage or surplus vote is one vote. Those votes will be distributed to the second choice candidates on ballots listing him as the first choice. A total of 28 voters chose C as their first choice, and so the overage is split evenly amongst all of them, thereby eliminating randomness. That means each of those second choices receives 1/28 ~= 0.035714… votes per ballot. Candidate D was a second to C 19 times, and so receives 19*0.035714 = 0.678571 votes, bringing his total to 14.678571. Candidate B was a second to C 9 times, and gets 9*0.035714 = 0.321426, so he now has 2.321426 votes.

At this point, no other candidate has any surplus votes, but we also have not filled all of our seats yet, and the election must be re-run. But first, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated – that’s B. Candidate B is removed from any ballots, which gives us this.

19 C D A E
15 E D C A
14 D E A C
12 A C D E
9 C E A D
9 A E C D
2 (no preference)

Now here’s a twist! Those two die-hard B supporters who refused to vote for anyone else now are effectively voting for no one! As a result, their ballots are declared exhausted and removed from the count, which can lower the threshold to get elected. In this example, I’ve chosen my arbitrary numbers poorly and it actually changes nothing – (78/3)+1 turns out to be 27 exactly. But in a larger election, the elimination of ballots over several rounds can reduce the quota, making it an important mechanic for bringing things to a close.

In any case, at this point the election is re-run with the parameters changed as described. Round two plays out very much like round one did. The first choices look like this:

28 C
21 A
15 E
14 D

As before, there is one overage, and 0.035714 votes are distributed to the candidates listed as seconds to C. But B is gone, no longer a valid candidate! So, 9 of the surplus votes go to candidate E, and his total is 15.321426. As before, candidate D now has 14.678571 votes after the surplus was distributed. No other candidate has met the quota, and so another candidate must be eliminated and the election re-run. As candidate D has the fewest votes, he is struck from the ballots.

And it continues like this. As all ballots still have valid candidates listed, the quota is unchanged. But the elimination of D has changed what the ballots look like significantly!

19 C A E
15 E C A
14 E A C
12 A C E
9 C A D
9 A E C

That generates this list of first choices.

29 E
28 C
21 A

Counting begins, and candidates C and E have met the quota. The election is over and the winners, in order of preference, are E and C.

If you want to look at what this can look like in practice, Trebor put together a simulation using the vote totals from CSM7, making some assumptions about what the ballots cast would look like. The actual ballots themselves are not available, but you can follow the process as I described above through a much more “realistic” election. Unless, of course, Trebor changed it to an ASCII penis as he indicated he might do, in which case I apologize. Don’t open it at work, just to be safe.

Hopefully my explanation helps clear up some of the confusion over this voting system. It is more complicated than the First-Past-The-Post used last year, but not grossly so – I feel much of the confusion stems from the poor explanations available on Wikipedia & elsewhere. The key thing to take away is this: Vote as close to a full ballot as you can or want to, ranked in the order you prefer.

Advertisements

About those Live Events

At least to some players, the Battle of Caldari Prime had an awful reception. “The population cap was awful!” “They screwed up with CONCORD!” “It was in Euro time, why does CCP hate USTZ players?” “The outcome was predetermined!”

And so on.

So let’s back up a moment here and inject some reality into the discussion. Think back to the CSM 7 Winter minutes. It’s abundantly clear from them that the existing Live Events team, as recently as around a year ago, was basically a “one guy in his spare time” affair. It’s equally clear that the team is growing and getting more resources, becoming “Team Illuminati”, but that they’re got plenty of room to grow. And perhaps less abundantly clear, a ‘between the lines’ sort of thing, is the assumption that the only reason the team exists at all is because of the efforts of CCP employees who enjoy the story and enjoy the RP to prove to the rest of the company that, fiascos of the past aside, it’s worth doing. And so far they’ve been rather successful, I’d say.

Even today. Maybe even especially today. All the problems aside, CCP’s official stream of the event got some fairly substantial viewership, apparently peaking just shy of 9000 people. And, oh yes, did we forget that a certain major gaming event is on this weekend, which CCP is attending? No doubt they were showing off both EVE and DUST there. Anyone want to bet they had the battle streaming? Anyone want also want to bet that they had stations setup to play DUST at, and that the players playing at those stations were actively participating in the battle on the ground? Oh and, for that matter, those DUST players probably had more of an effect on the outcome of the battle than we did in space. It may take some time for that to manifest itself, but you can bet they’ll call attention to it when it does.

So, yeah. From a marketing perspective, today was probably a success, which makes a certain blogger’s joke at the expense of David Reid, aka CCP Pokethulhu, aka chief marketing officer of CCP, sort of amusing. (And yes, Ripard, we all know you were just trying to demonstrate how activist you can be. Spare us the indignant blog post, please.) And that means it will be that much easier for CCP Falcon and CCP Goliath to get more resources to do bigger and better things.

What sort of things? Things like expanding the team to the Atlanta office to allow for more USTZ events. And do more events, and borrow assets (like, say, time from the CCP Shanghai art team to make two skyboxes for a certain new map…) outside the team to create events without predetermined outcomes. And further improve their netcode and tidi and whatnot so as to allow these events to get even bigger. Well, okay, that last one is more of a general interest than a specific live event thing. But all three are things CCP Falcon said they want to be able to do. Hell, he said them again on the stream today.

Back to the intro, yes, there were some issues with this event. It was predetermined… but they don’t yet have the assets to do something this large in an undetermined way, something that will hopefully change sooner rather than later. Their mistake there, if anything, was the accidental leak of the DUST map, advertising its predetermined nature. And the player cap sucked… but then again, so would something like restricting it to FW pilots only (if that’s even possible.) So they’d have complaints there regardless. And there was that little glitch with CONCORD. Not sure what was behind that, though from an RP perspective the real mistake there was turning them back off. After all, why would CONCORD have backed off after apparently re-establishing control?

Besides, the tears if virtually every person in the system had been CONCORDed would have been awesome.

But I digress. I don’t really roleplay (much) but the story & lore are of interest to me, so I like the live events. And mishaps aside, CCP has been learning, and expanding, and getting better, so I’m not going to hold their feet to the fire over it. Even if I did, I don’t think I’d blame Team Illuminati. They want to do cool things too. I’d blame the people who aren’t giving them resources fast enough!

Just another day in the Somalia of Eve

The existince of Goonswarm’s “Ministry of Love” or “miniluv” for short is not exactly a secret. And how can it be, when they decide to see if it’s possible to destroy a hundred billion isk worth of shipping in a day?

As it turns out, you can.

kb

Nothing more to say about it than that, really. Oh… other than the fact that they were able to loot the majority of the drops.

Econ Chat: Inflation in EVE, Part II

In my last post (hardly worth linking to, since it’s the one below this…) I looked at inflation in EVE; specifically, how inflation as most people think of it (price inflation, eg the increase of the cost of goods, typically as a result of the increase in money supply) is not a noticeable factor in EVE. I wrapped up by writing a bit about monetary inflation (eg, the increase in the money supply, something that is undeniably happening), speculating as to whether it’s actually a problem or not (it needs to happen but if it happens too fast, it probably is), and then posing a question that must be answered before attempting to fix it. That question was, “Where (or with whom) does all the isk from these faucets end up?

First off, why is that question important at all? The answer is that the means of curbing monetary inflation in EVE are to either reduce the faucets, increase the sinks, or both. And, while faucets are easy to identify and adjust as necessary, increasing the sinks in the right place would be a little harder. Thus, you follow the money.

So, first. Where does the money come from? The two definitive primary sources are bounties on rats and payouts from NPC buy orders; Incursions were a very large source once upon a time as well, but we’ve had no data on them since their nerf, so it’s hard to say. Other sources include insurance and mission rewards. Meanwhile, isk leaves the game through (in no particular order) clone expenses, NPC sell orders (especially skillbooks), market fees and taxes, PI fees, and a host of others.

And finally, who does the isk end up with? I’d venture to guess that a significant portion winds up with manufacturers and traders. Manufacturers pay miners for minerals, nullsec alliances for moon minerals, and people performing PI for planetary goods, but in all three cases, players pay it right back to them to buy ships and equipment. Traders grease the wheels in all directions.

Where, then, to make adjustments? A combo of sinks and faucets is best, so as to have a minimal impact in any given area. I’ve had a few ideas for each. Some are new, some are less so.

Faucets

  • Axing bounties is a common proposal; however, care must be taken to ensure the income remains acceptable, and if not, it’s necessary to either look elsewhere or replace some of the lost income with non-faucet sources. Similar caveats apply to Incursion payouts (although it can definitely be argued that they’re too high in Highsec) and Wormhole “bluebooks” (which comprise the majority of the ‘NPC buy order’ faucet)
  • A less common idea: Refactoring mission rewards. Currently, the isk paid out in the form of mission rewards and time bonuses is more or less cancelled out by the cost to redeem that LP in the LP store. Awarding more LP and less isk in L4 missions would get you double the effect, simultaneously reducing a faucet and increasing a sink.
  • Nerf insurance. It’s a contentious proposal. Default insurance at the very least ought to go away, though – the very idea is absurd. I suspect that were default insurance to be eliminated, the insurance program overall would be much closer to isk-neutral.

Sinks

  • The single largest place CCP could increase sinks is manufacturing fees. Manufacturing fees may as well be non-existent; 333 isk per hour, and while that can increase, even the slots in Jita 4-4 are a mere 807 isk per hour to use, plus the default 1000 isk install fee. A frigate costs just a third of a percent of its sale price to build. A cruiser costs just 0.03%, a Tier 2 battlecruiser just .006%, a Tier 2 battleship barely .003%. This translates, gamewide, into roughly a 12b isk per month sink at most (the day referenced in the tweet was a Sunday, so odds are good the job install rate was higher than the daily norm that day.) And yet, imagine if that were a flat rate, calculated as a percentage of the input value for the build job instead. Battleships and battlecruisers account for nearly half of all mineral consumption in EVE1. Factor in Tech II items, and assume that the result is that BS and BC construction accounts for a quarter of that 12b isk per month sink, and then do the math on the resulting sink if the fee were instead a flat quarter of a percent on the value of the inputs. You get a sink of almost 190b isk per month, from just those ship classes. The fees for blueprint research could be similarly set, perhaps a fee per level based on the NPC value of the blueprint itself.
  • Market fees and taxes are already substantial sink. Last January, for example, 1.75 trillion isk was spent on taxes, and just shy of 2 trillion isk on broker fees, of which we can assume 5% or so went to player owned stations. CCP has already increased market taxes in the past, bumping the base rate from 1% to 1.5%. I’d like to see them do it again, but this time to broker fees. This serves a twofold purpose – it increases the sink, but also increases the amount that goes to player owned stations. That’s a valuable goal, since the broker fees earned in those stations are valuable and potentially very large source of bottom up income for the station owners who foster enough development in their space to warrant a market. Although, that said, I’d like those station owners to be able to set that fee as well, just like they can all the other station fees.
  • As mentioned above, replace mission rewards and time bonuses with LP for L4 missions. This has a magnified effect, in that you lower or eliminate a faucet and increase the sink. Suppose for example that 5% of the combined mission reward/time bonus faucet – around 300 billion per month, in other words – were replaced at a 500:1 rate with extra LP instead, adding an additional 600 million LP per month. The LP store charges to redeem LP, upwards of 1000 isk/LP for items such as implants, so that translates back into a 600 billion isk per month sink. The total net change to the balance, then, would be 900 billion isk a month. Tweak the percentage of the reward replaced with LP, and you tweak the size of the sink.

Just a few ideas. More exist. The other, often overlooked aspect of this discussion is, what is our target? The economics involved in determining that exactly are beyond me. However, monetary inflation is necessary to some degree. At the very least, the amount of isk in the game needs to, at a minimum, keep pace with the number of players. Otherwise, players are battling it out for a piece of the pie that is, relatively speaking, shrinking.

And now, rather abruptly, I’ve run out of words. I’m sure this post and the last will change nothing, and all the misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding inflation will continue. But hey, can’t change everything…

 

1: Awhile back I painstakingly collected every reference to ship production I could find and filled in the gaps with careful assumptions based on other information I could find. The result was an estimate of EVE-wide mineral consumption.

Econ Chat: Inflation in EVE

Just a brief point on a topic that annoys the hell out of me: Inflation and its role in EVE. To start, a brief citation of Wikipedia on the topic:

In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. […] A chief measure of price inflation is the inflation rate, the annualized percentage change in a general price index (normally the Consumer Price Index) over time.

[…]

Economists generally agree that high rates of inflation and hyperinflation are caused by an excessive growth of the money supply. […] However, the consensus view is that a long sustained period of inflation is caused by money supply growing faster than the rate of economic growth.

Further on in the article, it distinguishes “price inflation” (which is what was being talked about in the above snippet) and “monetary inflation”, which refers to the increase in the money supply in an economy. While the original meaning of the word referred to monetary inflation, these days most economists use it to mean price inflation.

So let’s take a look at this in EVE, then. Most players, or at least anyone who has read devblogs or used to follow CCP Diagoras’ Twitter feed, are aware that the amount of money in the game is increasing at a rather significant pace, with a net faucet of something like 20-30 trillion isk per month1. In other words, EVE is undeniably experiencing monetary inflation, and has been for years. The increase in supply is something like 5% a month right now 2 which sounds awfully high. Surely we should be experiencing some hyperinflation?

Well, no, not really.

While CCP’s in-house economist, Doc E, is mostly quiet on the devblog front these days, CCP Recurve (who I assume to be his minion) is not, and occasionally posts devblogs with price indices and other interesting numbers. His last was back in December, and helpfully includes those indices clear back to the beginning of the game, in 2003.

The number we’d be concerned with is in purple; it’s the Consumer Price Index and is what Doc E always refers to when he’s talking about inflation. That’s not really the graph you’d expect if we were experiencing hyperinflation driven by a balooning money supply, is it? Of course, there’s movement there, but my feeling is that it has little or nothing to do with the amount of money in the game. Let’s just add a few annotations to that graph…

Indices_2012-10

The point is that you can identify several major events that contribute to the rise or fall of one index or another, all of which ultimately feed into the Consumer Price Index by affecting the cost of the goods that it’s made up of. In a market where anyone can get into manufacturing with only very low barriers, and where almost anyone can collect almost any raw material, and demand is driven by constant war and destruction, whatever inflationary effects may be there are fairly well drowned out.

As an interlude, it’s worth noting that the CPI does not and, to the best of my knowledge, never has included PLEX. And PLEX, certainly, appear to be a strong argument that inflation matters somewhere. Except, you know, for the part where they’ve spent the past few months falling, after previously having spent a couple of months on the single largest and fastest rise in the history of the game. Coincidentally, the start of the rise coincided with the revamp of faction warfare, which allowed pilots to earn an income that dwarfed anything Incursions ever offered, but with much less effort. Equally coincidentally, their fall started with the nerf of that very same system. I’ll elaborate more about PLEX prices another time, but I’d like to point out that the FW system was (and still is) an isk sink.

Back to price inflation, specifically, how it isn’t significant. There’s very little reason to worry about it, very little reason to care. The question, then, is do we really care about monetary inflation? That’s probably a yes. So what to do about it? I’ll leave proposals for where to add sinks or remove faucets for another article. Instead, I’m going to pose a question, the answer to which is necessary to make such changes effective.

Where (or with whom) does all the isk from these faucets end up?

I’ll answer that one a little later.

 
1: An isk faucet is something that adds new isk to the game, such as bounties, mission rewards, incursion rewards, NPC buy orders, and insurance payouts. An isk sink is something that removes isk from the game, such as skillbooks, NPC sell orders, insurance, market fees and taxes, and clones (to name a few). If you lose your ship, that’s not a sink, it’s a faucet – isk is created from the insurance payout.

2: Page 103 of the CSM Summit Minutes cites 600T isk in the game, “a little over” 400T of which is on active accounts. While the minutes do not extensively document the faucets and sinks, the numbers that are quoted (30T/mo faucet from bounties versus 6T/mo from skillbooks) are similar to those found in CCP Diagoras’ old tweets. I conclude from this that it’s a fairly static number and 20-30T/mo net remains accurate.

FAPT: Rogue Drone Faction Loot

Feature of the Arbitrary Period of Time is a look at an idea from the forums, good or bad, that I feel merits further exploration or derision. It’s arbitrary instead of weekly because I said so.

Our first entry here comes from… myself! Yeah yeah, give me a break – I’ve wanted to start this series for almost a week now, but have struggled to find an idea I felt was worth the time to write about. And yes, I know how arrogant that sounds; on with the post.

In my CSM candidacy thread (by the way, I’m running for CSM8, but odds are you’re one of my ten readers and you already knew that), I was asked by a former drone regions resident how I thought the space should be fixed and whether CCP is paying enough attention to them (the answer to the latter, by the way, is “no not really”). In my reply, I voiced my opinion that of all the issues CCP has yet to address on his list, faction loot is the hardest one to tackle. The problem has a lot to do with the laughably shallow pool of candidates for faction loot. There are five drone oriented modules in the game. All have officer variants now, but there’s only reason to use four of them (because who’s going to use an officer Drone Control Unit, really?) and worse yet, only faction Drone Damage Amplifiers would likely see any heavy use. Compare that to Guristas, who have (by my count) 37 regular items, plus a full range of officer and deadspace loot, plus faction ships.

By the way – infested ships, please.

So, part of the problem can be solved by making the faction drones not suck. Right now the best of them deal damage equal to Tech II (albeit split; an Augmented Hammerhead deals thermal primary, kinetic secondary, for example), with 10% higher velocity and an admittedly impressive 50% higher EHP. Now that’s not terrible, if the price were right. I could see using a flight of Augmented Warriors in my PvP ships if they cost, say, 1.5-2m isk apiece.

Unfortunately, they cost 55m. Each.

So that’s one problem. The faction drones cost too much and, frankly, are only barely worth it even if they were reasonably priced. So, rework them to drop the cost and give them a damage boost to bring them in line with the idea of faction ammo.

That’s the boring part of the idea though. Even if the drones were worth using, they are themselves still only the rough analogue to faction ammo, so the actual item pool remains far too shallow. Thinking about fixing that is where the fun began. The lightbulb moment was when it occurred to me that there is no good reason to limit Drone faction loot to drone items. After all, to quote myself, “thematically speaking, the rogue drones are a sentient AI with advanced computer technology that are constantly evolving by assimilation of whatever technology they come across, and thus are a hilarious hodgepodge mix of technology.”

Take it and run with it. Start with the things that don’t have any faction equivalent right now. Faction (and officer!) tractor beams and salvagers. Tell me with a straight face that those wouldn’t sell like hotcakes to carebears in Empire and I’ll tell you you’re a liar. Faction versions of the Inferno modules, like the ancillary reppers and boosters, the Micro Jump Drive, and anything else they add in the future (I hope they do continue to expand that theme, incidentally). Faction Warfare Links… with queens and hives and whatnot, wouldn’t it make sense that links based on or modified by drone tech would be even more effective?

Maybe save that last one for after (if) boosters are ever forced to stay on grid…

Anyway, if we still don’t have an adequately large enough pool of items at that point, so what? Expand into the existing faction item turf. “Hilarious hodgepodge of all kinds of random tech”, right? Just put a rogue drone spin on things. For example, a Stasis Webifier with considerably longer range, but a much lower web factor. A line of Cap Boosters with 200-300% normal capacity, but a 50% longer cycle time. A Power Diagnostic System optimized for capacitor recharge, or capacity, or shields, at the expense of the other stats. I’m just spitballing here – there are all kinds of ways CCP could run with the idea, and while they are not endless, they are (I think) rather interesting.

And that’s that. Next time I’ll use someone else’s idea, I promise. If you stumble across something you’d like commented on, shoot me a tweet at @mynnna_eve or evemail it to me and I’ll take a look!