Irrational Actors

Quoth pi to i: “Get real!”
Retorteth i: “Be rational!”

Brian Green left this comment on my Hulkageddon post. Bravo to him for reading through that. I was feeling enthusiastic, what can I say?

I don’t really understand why people aren’t “rational” economic actors in EVE.

For a lot of the same reasons they’re not in offline life. Plus, for some people “it’s just a game” so it doesn’t make sense for them to do something they may not really enjoy to get a bit of extra cash. I suspect this isn’t quite so common in EVE, though.

I have a friend who just doesn’t like to use the AH in games. I think a large part of it is that he doesn’t want to bother to learn how to maximize profits even in this simple case; yet, he’s happy grinding out daily quests at an alarming rate. :P

Too true, too true. This reminds me of a story. I had found a nice little profitable venture in EQ2. With one of the class/skill revisions, it turned out that Rangers, a very popular class at the time got their only backstab ability at about level 6 or 7, and it never upgraded, due to the class tree branching.

So, I discovered I could make Adept 3′s (they were then called) using the T1 rares, which could be bought cheaply, and sell them for a nice little profit. I don’t remember how much, but it was enough to get my attention, though not enough to get me rich on its own. The market seemed to support the sale of maybe one of these a day or so.

A guildie of mine noticed that I was doing this and decided that he would do it too. With great energy and enthusiasm he brought to every venture he began cranking them out, under the theory that more is better.

He completely flooded the market and destroyed the value of the item. I stopped making them. I never mentioned it to him because well, it was clear that there was no malice involved.

Another case is when we could go out and harvest deer meat in a T1 zone and sell it on the broker for 1g each to people trying to complete a HQ. I’ve come to realize that that was just a difference in opportunity cost. If you’re high level, 1g is easier to get than deer meat, as easy as it is. But if you’re low level, the deer meat is easier. Thus, trade enriches both parties. Adam Smith for the win. This sort of thing is really good for game economies, where low levels can get something that high level toons want but don’t want to spend the time getting. Things that flow money from high levels to low levels are very good.

Here’s the kind of thing that doesn’t make any sense to me in EVE, though. A miner goes out and mines ore and then makes stuff with it when that miner would make more money and spend less time by simply selling the ore.

Or another example is why people would mine tritanium, which is stagnant in price, when thy could be mining pyerite, which has doubled in price recently, and shows no sign of abating. Do people really see themselves as “I’m a tritanium miner, I can’t stand those snobby pyerite miners?”

Actually, I think it’s just habits, and unexamined behaviors.

One of my favorite things about Eve is the situation is always fluid. It’s never the same game twice. Even anomalies and missions will have some variation in spawns. And yes, I am bored with running shard dungeons that have exactly the same mobs in exactly the same places.

2 thoughts on “Irrational Actors

  1. interesting post. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you guys know that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.

  2. Irrational actions? In a Fantasy setting? Who would have guessed.This is just a game, people are less concerned with their actions than if it were, say, investing in the sub-prime mortgage market….

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