Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Risk Management 101

To my mind, one of the things which separates a "good" EVE player (or the appearance thereof) from a "bad" EVE player, is not so much the ability to orbit a BS at 200m manually in an assault frig - managing capacitor, keeping point, minimising inbound DPS and maximising transversal - it is being thorough with your risk management.

There are guys with sterling killboards who do nothing more complex than anchoring on the FC and shooting broadcasts. Put these guys in a 1v1 - organised of course - and the guy who is better at PVP will win (this being the dude from the AF piloting crowd).

There are guys who have old, ossified toons, and they win in PVP via sheer skillpoint accumulation, or using expensive ships, or using off-grid boosting or neutral RR. This all helps you in a potted 1v1 or a situation where these attributes can be fuly exploited in your favour.

There are also guys, and here I risk hubris by including myself, who have reasonable killboard efficiency because they manage risk well. I will admit, you put me in a frigate 1v1 and half the time I will die in a fire and probably learn a thing or two. I could definitely use brushing up on some of the actual skill of flying a ship in PVP. This has nothing to do with managing risk.

What am I talking about? Well, if you live in a wormhole with no local, you have to assume that there is someone cloaked in your hole 23.5/7 watching you. You have to engage in certain behaviours and certain rigorous, methodical ways of doing things which counters the risks of being ganked by cloaker and campers, otherwise you start losing ships in totally avoidable ways.

I work in the mining industry, and if any industry is safety conscious it is mining, or construction, or indeed the military. The appreciation of risk, and managing it, is integral to running a business or conducting a war; oddly enough some SAS guys who I encountered in the mines are perhaps better at assessing risks than anyone else I know. This is all training.

EVE is, of course, just a game. We play games to have fun, or to solve puzzles (like why are Goons so annoying) or achieve a goal (highscore!) or compete. Arguably, treating EVE like a mining company treats safety would make the game totally un-fun. However, there are some things which spill over, and result in avoidable losses going down, and one of these is intimately related to the rigorous manner you learn to identify risks, isolate them, and then eliminate them.

Managing risk in a wormhole relies on developing habits. One of the first you learn is to bookmark your exit. You also learn to spam d-scan like a ferret on meth. You learn to always be moving while cloaked. To orbit a wormhole cloaked at 3500m. Never warp to zero. All of these are habits and behaviours which reduce the risk of losing a ship - much like people who live in nullsec learn to align out when in a nano gang, etcetera.

However, the greatest risk is intelligence leaks. The habits of flying in wormholes are easily learned (spam d-scan, etc) but there's a few which aren't quite so obvious, such as maintaining silence in local; always checking your enemy's corp size, toon age, killboard proficiency so you can form a view of the risk they pose assuming the toons you don't see online are cloaked in T3's.

Further risk is encapsulated in what ships you fly (eg, flying marauders or pirate faction BS's attracts PVP like flies to shit), how you fit your POS (no scrams, bitch it's on!) and how much candy is on display. This then drills down into how you manage your POS and your shit; if you run a lean operation without assloads of assembly arrays on show, you attract less fishing expeditons or people bashing to get at the candy. And if you don't hoard crap in the POS, the eventual loss is lowered, reducing the cnsequences of risky behaviour.

One of the biggest risks is letting in spies, campers and so on. Oddly enough, you can only mitigate this risk via instinct during recruitment (or full API's, but even this only catches sloppy habitual AWOXers), never loitering in your hisec system and never divulging the hisec location in public.

The most important? Being disciplined with these things always. You slip up once, and people mark your corp as a bunch of idiots and noobs, and they think they can get cheap, easy kills. You begin attracting war decs and campers cloaking in your wormhole.  Suddenly, you find it a pain in the arse to cycle a static or run a site and you have to set traps.

Like I said, I am only good because I manage risks. I don't get into fights I know I can't win, I fly cheapish ships reasonably well, the corp has difficult and annoying POSs confronting people looking for candy, I manage my recruitment reasonably well (a couple of AWOXers and one thief in 12 months), and I at least try to pass this culture on to my members - with variable success. It never helps when people just simply don't show any discipline and do retarded shit.

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