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Thread: Mercs of Mikunn: Breakdown of the Local Community Goal - What can YOUR group accomplish?

  1. #1

    Mercs of Mikunn: Breakdown of the Local Community Goal - What can YOUR group accomplish?

    The Mercs of Mikunn bring you another wall of text

    Really Relevant References:





    The Price of Peace: Local Community Goal In-Depth Analysis - What can your group accomplish?

    As you may or may not be aware, the Mercs of Mikunn recently had the honor of testing a type of community goal I have been calling the "Local Community Goal" due to its nature of only being broadcast in the local station news rather than the far-reaching galnet. In an LCG, it is up to the players to run and grab as many Commanders as possible to help the ambitions of the NPC faction offering the LCG. LCG’s may or may not be something Frontier decides to continue doing. This is an experiment, not necessarily a feature of a future update.

    Upon learning that we would be getting to test out an LCG, which happens to be the first colonization attempt of a player backed NPC faction, I hastily made up an experiment which would hopefully help Frontier better understand the capabilities of various sized groups that could possibly participate in an LCG assuming they are implemented. At the very least, it should help you, the random player, understand your own groups capabilities. Use our data to extrapolate.

    I decided to break the experiment up into three sections as follows:
    • Phase 1: Mercs pushing the community goal only – What can a dedicated and active group of 40 do?
    • Phase 2: Alert allied factions – What can a small group of 40 push with some allied support?
    • Phase 3: Attempt to mobilize reddit – What can a small group with allies, reddit, and frontier forums accomplish.


    First phase occurred over the first 28.5 hours, the second phase lasted to the 53.5 hour mark, and phase three lasted for the following five days. I gave phase three larger time period because I assumed it would take that group a longer time to ramp up and “plateau”. I assumed that each phase would have sign-ups that would gradually taper off as the possible pool of CMDR’s dried up.

    Obviously, a LCG where I tested each group individually would have the most accurate results; however, I wasn’t sure if I would have this opportunity again so I tried my best to squeeze the different groups into one event the best way I could. The data is included in the references above.


    The Tiers – based off a series of info and very educated guesses and may be off slightly but not much
    • First tier: Success (Station Built): 100k
    • Second Tier: Repair Refuel: 500k
    • Third Tier: Economy/Market : 1 million
    • Fourth Tier: Better Economy and Market : 5 million
    • Fifth Tier: Bestest Economy and Market : 10 million
    • Sixth Tier: Standard Outfitting : 20 million
    • Seventh Tier: Better Outfitter : 40 million
    • Eighth Tier: Standard Shipyard : 80 million




    Phase 1: What can your small group achieve?

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    Over the first 28.5 hours we had 40 commanders sign up. You can see where we start to plateau as we start to drain the pool of possible commanders that could sign up from our small group. The interruption and small burst later in the plateau comes from people signing up in our most active time zone who missed the first day. You can see where our active time zones take place by looking at the oscillating line in “Total Tonnage Collected”.

    At the 28.5 hour, we collected 171,648 tons; however, judging from the trend line a total of 173,150 tons would be collected at the 30 hour mark. The entire event lasted for 170 hours, just barely over a week. Following that same trend line out to 170 hours, we hit 981,183 tons. That is just unfortunately just under 1 million tons collected (Tier 3), but close enough for it to be possible for a group of 40 people. In addition, if we had let phase 1 run for one more day, with all 40 people working the trend line would probably hit 1 million. After all, we were under 20 players for the first 8 hours. So I think one million is possible, and a good benchmark of a group this size with a high level of dedication.

    The good news is that we managed to acquire enough materials to build the station shortly after the 16 hour mark, with 6 and a half days of our week left. Most people might not like this, but I feel they are setting the bar low here. Keep in mind this is an entire station – an outpost would be far less effort. One Merc of Mikunn player who has a full time job managed to transport around 90k tons and certainly could have hit the 100k tons required all by himself. He stopped the before the last day though once we realized the 1 million mark.

    With a benchmark of 1 million for an invested group of 40 players as seen in Phase 1:
    • Tier 1: Can be completed with 4 players of same commitment
    • Tier 2: Can be completed with 20 players of same commitment
    • Tier 3: Possible (but a grind) with 40 players of same commitment
    • Tier 4: Possible with 200 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 5: Possible with 400 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 6: Possible with 800 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 7: Possible with 1600 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 8: Possible with 3200 players of same commitment (extrapolated)


    *Note Phase 1 occurred over a work day for the United states, and a Friday night and Saturday morning and afternoon for Europe.



    Phase 2: What can a small dedicated group of 40 with allies accomplish?

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    Starting at the 28.5 hour mark to the 53.5 hour mark, phase 2 was implemented. And I must admit here I botched this one up a bit with false expectations. I assumed allies would be able to jump to task as quickly as my group can. Instead we had them join in at various times throughout phase 2… and some throughout phase three. This doesn’t ruin phase three data as each phase is meant to include the groups from the previous phases plus the new phase. In addition, perhaps this is accurate data. Your allies won’t be as invested as YOU are in seeing YOUR project succeed. They may very well come in halfway through, and that’s fine and probably realistic. Notice the sporadic plateaus/ boosts we get during phase 2. That’s different player groups coming in - a total of four during phase 2, plus one that arrived during phase 3.

    At the end of phase 2 we collected 342996 tons; however, judging from the trend line a total of 375,299 tons would be collected by hour 60. Extrapolating out to 170 hours we hit 1,063,347 tons. This places us just barely past phase three. Not that much of a difference – notice how a linear trend line still accurately fits the data. Let’s take a look:

    We were able to bolster our numbers by 40 % but only saw an increase of 80,000 tons by the end of the week. Essentially the 40% boost in player count gave about a total 8% increase, which would have been slightly over 9% accounting for the missed day. This begins what I have come to call the “invested player”. The more invested you are, the more you pull. Makes sense, and I’ll go over more of this at the end.

    With a benchmark of 1 million + for a small group plus a 40% boost in player numbers from allies:
    • Tier 1: Can be completed with 5.6 players of same commitment
    • Tier 2: Can be completed with 28 players of same commitment
    • Tier 3: Possible with 53 players of same commitment (56 players in phase 2, but only 53 needed to hit this tier at that rate: 38.2 invested players, 14.8 allied players)
    • Tier 4: Possible with 265 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 5: Possible with 530 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 6: Possible with 1060 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 7: Possible with 2120 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 8: Possible with 4240 players of same commitment (extrapolated)


    Hey wait! According to that the number of players you need to hit the same tier increases when you add allies even though you have the same base as in phase 1. Well, no. I’m basing this off the average player rate so technically when I reduced the number from 56 to 53, 1.8 of those players were the valuable invested, "phase 1 players" so it takes more phase two players to keep up at the same ratio.

    Also keep in mind, the more players you see, the less you feel like you need to push. Cmdr Samwise Gamgee over there will share the load…. I don’t need to push as hard. That being said you will certainly hit that tier more comfortably than with just the phase 1 player base; however, it is hard to calculate this effect.

    *Note Phase two happened on a Saturday so the allied contribution is probably overly optimistic. Worse performance when calculated over a work week should be expected



    Phase 3: What can a small group accomplish that has attempted to mobilized the community

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    Phase three which lasted the rest of the LCG saw 493 commanders sign up. With these 493 commanders we hit a realized total tonnage of 1,151,222. This is an increase of about 8% from the results of phase 2, just like phase 2 was an 8% increase from phase 1. Mind you, we increased our numbers by 780% to get that 8%, so you see the “invested player” trend even more exaggerated here. Hell, the trendline is so accurate it hides between almost all three phases perfectly. Also interesting to note is that the top 5 of the 40 invested players from phase 1 ended up pulling about 30% of the combined total from all the groups.

    Also this is not a jab at the unaffiliated players from reddit or frontier who helped us. We greatly appreciate it. Some of those players pulled quite a bit of weight. If you are one of those players, good on you! (Join the mercs already please). The reality is though, you are few and far between. As for the little guys, we appreciate you too! Even if you feel it didn't amount to much, you helped bring everyone this data.

    With a benchmark of 1 million + for a small group plus a 40% boost in player numbers from allies, and a 760% increase with players from the swarm:
    • Tier 1: Can be completed with 49.3 (4 invested, 1.6 allied, 49.3 swarm) players of same commitment ratio
    • Tier 2: Can be completed with 246.5 (20 invested, 8 allied, 218.5 swarm) players of same commitment
    • Tier 3: Possible with 428 (use same 40,16,437 ratio) players of same commitment (56 players in phase 2, but only 53 needed to hit this tier at that rate: 38.2 invested players, 14.8 allied players)
    • Tier 4: Possible with 2140 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 5: Possible with 4280 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 6: Possible with 8560 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 7: Possible with 17,120 players of same commitment (extrapolated)
    • Tier 8: Possible with 34,240 players (2778 invested, 1111.237 allied, 30,350 swarm)of same commitment and ratio(extrapolated)


    *The ratio used for the above is 40, 16, 437 for invested, allied, swarm respectively



    Nice… How do I use this?:

    Well think about the group size you play with. Use the data here and the various groups sizes and ratio of player types listed to find out what type of station level your group can accomplish. For example, if you have a group thats massive enough and can pump out tonnage all at the same rate as shown in Phase 1, and you don't need help from the swarm, by all means, use phase one benchmarks as an example. If you want to use varying mixes use the other examples. You might find the graph below useful as well.

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    More graphs, far more descriptive than what I have shown here, are available in the reference link a the top called "A Copy of the Data Collected". Want to learn more for some ungodly reason? Think you can improve on it? Have at it, by all means.

    Think the bar is set a little high? Think it’s set a little low? Or both? Think my data is a load of old fashioned fertilizer? (too optimistic or pessimistic?) I’ve already given my opinion to Frontier. So before I put words in your mouth, you tell me. What do you think?


    Things to remember, or consider:
    This was no Lugh. No galaxy wide galnet for LCG’s by definition. If LCG’s are ever triggered automatically it is unlikely you will get warning. If Frontier opts to manually do it for all of eternity you might get warning. Ideally many LCG’s would be triggered at once, unless only the most vocal groups on the forum are getting paid attention to. How many allies can you expect to drop their LCG and aid you? How many random people from the swarm will drop what they are doing and aid you in your LCG and why would they pick yours from the multitude? Also you may get the chance to upgrade a station later through further community goals, though this is speculation and I have not seen it. This could give you a second chance at adding another module.

    In addition, profits were low and few incentives were given, also unlike Lugh.

    Also quick opinion piece:
    If Frontier doesn’t have these LCG’s automatically generated there is no way they will be able to cater to all the player groups in the same way and only the most vocal will get their goals. This is why the background sim is vitally important!!eleventyone!11!! (And why I spend so much time poking it with a stick) The devs playing tabletop DND as dungeon master with hundreds of thousands of players to cater to will probably turn into a shouting match. Which would be a shame because this whole thing was fun, and I want everyone to experience it.

    Per usual I have a solution; however I know some will not like it so, rather than distract from the content I want to impart above, I will post it later.

    Despite the slight grind, the knowledge that I was actually expanding the colonized space in game of my chosen faction made the whole thing highly enjoyable! Would recommend taking LCG's home to meet your family! I like the idea of local community goals and had fun.

    And again: LCG’s may or may not be something Frontier decides to continue doing. This is an experiment, not necessarily a feature of a future update. Nor are the values set in stone. Keep your concerns polite. Thank you for reading.


    Do you like our lame attempts to inform the community? Want to help make the game better through stress testing the background sim? Then join the Mercs! We could use you. This data is brought to you because I have a dedicated team behind me. Links in my sig and the references.

  2. #2
    Nice summary. I got only two questions:

    1. What will be the station name and what was the way for chosing one?
    2. What rewards did the community goal offered? I mean what was the incentive for "freelancers" to join?

    Great job, Mercs! I sincerely hope the LCG will be introduced for all of us. Congrats!

  3. #3
    Originally Posted by Raf von Thorn View Post (Source)
    Nice summary. I got only two questions:

    1. What will be the station name and what was the way for chosing one?
    2. What rewards did the community goal offered? I mean what was the incentive for "freelancers" to join?

    Great job, Mercs! I sincerely hope the LCG will be introduced for all of us. Congrats!
    We handed a couple of them off to Frontier. I opted for the democratic process on our forums, but that was set up entirely by me. I could have lied but that ain't me.

    Now the rewards were horrible and they warned me it would be. The profits from trade were bad too. You have to want that station to be built. Its not Lugh where a bunch of religious fanatics were screaming TAKE MY MONEY. This is why people signed on, dabbled a bit, said NEAT then left. Nothing wrong with that, and it makes a nice challenge.

    So to answer your question, few incentives to free lancers. The reward is the station.

  4. #4
    Being a Merc taking part in this and looking at the numbers as we went I had a couple concerns, all of the speculative of course.

    IF this is to become a common place automated thing it needs to be scaled properly. Our 40 players would have been able to move 1mil tons by the end of the week I'm pretty confident.
    I moved about 36k tons and that was a bit above average. But help from outside group is something that I fully believe later in the game will not be able to be relied upon. IF/When your group has to vie for the attention of other CMDRs when there might be... Other LCGs, Galaxy Wide CGs, Fighting for their favorite Minor/Major Faction in a War or Defending their "Home System", or just better credits to be made elsewhere most CMDRs will be too busy or find no reason to come and help because they will be taking care of their own issues.

    I believe whole heatedly that have a dedicated, active, and organized group of over 50 will be unheard of in the near future. I've played many many MMOs and typlicly groups end up have a small active group 10-20 players. It's important to note when the Mercs are referring to active dedicated players we are talking about players who log on every single day, after work, on days off, not a couple times a week. Most online groups may have a roster of 100 Players or more but most only log on on days of or could have quit playing all together(or worse never check the forums). That number can't be taken into account when judging the proper scale for LCGs. Large Active player groups do not last forever. One fight, one disagreement or misunderstanding can slit a group in half in an instant. I've seen it happen more times than I can count. Large groups get broken down and split into smaller and smaller groups until the active group average winds down to somewhere between 10- 50 players at most.

    I do not consider some of the large player groups I hear about here on ED for a few reasons. Most are in private groups with very broad associations and little to no organization. No offence at all indented but most of the large groups I've seen are grouped by Playstyle, Time Zone, Or Language/Nationality. They might have large numbers in their groups but they are by no means an organized force that can be counted on to even know if there is a LCG is a particular area.Most are off doing their own thing or are a part of sub groups within that larger group that make up more realistic Organized, Active Player Groups.

    I am NOT trying to sling mud at the larger groups I'm just pointing out that most to all of them do not have the organization or structure that most games could call a "guild" with all attention on One common goal. Having 5,000 Players in a group is great but when you can only get 40 of them on the same LCG it all comes out in the wash.

  5. #5
    Nice summary.

    And BTW I agree 100% with Beauseant above me. This game also happens to have some of the most super-casual player bases I've seen in a while (and it will still be that way, even more), so I hope things are scaled properly when time it's due (things should be hard, but not impossible).

  6. #6
    It's an interesting challenge. I also agree that the average player group size is going to be (effectively) quite small. And if the game-rewards are mostly benefiting that groups chosen faction (station built rather than global discounts etc) then gaining traction from outside the group will be a challenge. Some groups will embrace that challenge (player created Galnet articles for instance) and some may even offer to reward players who haul a lot by dropping them palladium - but that doesn't easily scale, and you have the difficulties of getting into the same instance to do it.

    So one possible avenue is for these 'donation' type BB missions to get used to help provide funds which can be translated into LCG rewards for participants. Indeed a starting LCG might be to donate a certain amount - after which another LCG is created to build the station (or whatever) using that fund to attract outside CMDRs to participate. You have plenty of fudge factor when considering NPC contributions, and indeed the wealth of the systems themselves. If the local faction controls a wealthy system, then the ability for it to provide funds in such a way would justifiably be greater. etc.

    Some food for thought.

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post (Source)
    Some groups will embrace that challenge (player created Galnet articles for instance) and some may even offer to reward players who haul a lot by dropping them palladium - but that doesn't easily scale, and you have the difficulties of getting into the same instance to do it.

    So one possible avenue is for these 'donation' type BB missions to get used to help provide funds which can be translated into LCG rewards for participants. Indeed a starting LCG might be to donate a certain amount - after which another LCG is created to build the station (or whatever) using that fund to attract outside CMDRs to participate. You have plenty of fudge factor when considering NPC contributions, and indeed the wealth of the systems themselves. If the local faction controls a wealthy system, then the ability for it to provide funds in such a way would justifiably be greater. etc.
    Good thoughts and very close to some points I have been pondering. I do think that a combination of group funded goal reward in combination with a factor based on the wealth / importance / influence of the in-game faction being addressed sounds like a very promising approach. Yes we could have had a side pot for the top-10 non-Mercs contributing and that would have gone some way but to have that functionality built-in by donating to the goal would make more sense.

    And to add to the OP - what also needs to be considered is that for the average player out there our system is quite far out. If a local community goal were posted in Lave, Sol or the like, you'd have much more instantaneous walk-ins contributing just for fun.

    At least the nature of our goal - "bring <any> metal to Herreshoff Station in Kwatee" - limited the interest of pirates in taking their share. By the time most pirates showed up a lot of contributors had switched to hauling Aluminium and similar metals, not very rewarding cargo to take. This combined with the progress of the community goal also meant that quite a few of the Mercs of Mikunn could actually stop hauling metals and start patrolling and securing the trade routes. Also a very nice activitiy.

  8. #8
    Great summary Walt!

    More of a logic / lore point I wanted to make concerning the Tiers (in other words, not gameplay). 100,000 tons to make a space station, and another 900,000 tons to make a commodity market. So that means 90% of the mass of the space station is the commodity market?

    Out of curiosity, I calculated the density of the station. The station is 2km in diameter (assuming Coriolis), which is 4.2e9 cubic meters internal volume. The hangar is about 700 meters wide by maybe 2km (assuming the hanger extends mostly through the station) - so 2.5e8 cubic meters. So a final volume of 4e9 cubic meters. 100,000 tons / 4e9 cubic meters = 25 g/cubic meter. With a commodity market, that's 250 g/m^3. That of course includes all the internal living space / ducting / etc.

    Tier 8 with 80,000,000 tons would be 20kg / m^2, which sounds more reasonable, but is an 800 fold increase in density.

    From a lore point of view, it may make more sense to have the lowest tier be a bit higher. Maybe have the higher tiers involve bringing in more expensive metals, but fewer in tonnage. It would make more sense, I think and be a more realistic goal.

    Walt pointed out, we'd need 34,000 commanders to hit Tier 8 if drawing from the general population. That seems like a substantial percentage of the player base (maybe 5%, I'm guessing). Or 3200 Mercs, of which we have 40.

    Note: In order to justify the relatively low tonnage required to build such a massive station was brought in mostly by NPC traffic.
    Speaking of which, here's a video of the traffic at Herreshoff during the LCG.
    It was actually during a bit of a lull, as I was AFK recording while asleep for the night.

  9. #9
    Great feedback. I couldn't agree more with all of the posts so far.

    I also speculated that even if the LCG rewards aren't high, the demand for the metals in this case should be during the LCG.

    This LCG asked for 80m tons of metal. If the demand price for all metals during the LCG was fixed at a price higher then the Galatic Average it would drastically improve the appeal of the LCG.

    It's hard to convince anyone to take part where they stand to lose lots of credits the more they are involved. Fixing the demand price over the GA by a few hundred credits would allow CMDRs to at the least break even if not stand to make a bit of credits if they find a good supply or travel a bit further to get their goods so they make a better profit.

    Asking for 80m tons (or hopefully more realistically 1m) the market should reflect it.

  10. #10
    Just realized I made a mistake on the last part. I forgot to account for the two days skipped in phase 3 as if it had all seven days to run rather than five. The difference isn't much, nor does it change the point; however I'll have a crack at it later tonight and fix it.

  11. #11
    Nice work and followup. This helps gain some insight into what groups can do and the necessity for some kind of in game group messaging/group management. It also shows how the game is expected to be played, i.e. low player interaction level (read PvP) with high PvE interaction. This does not negate the need for large group communications, but actually supports it (small groups working daily together with capabilities to bring in many small groups working in an allied fashion). I hope FDev sees the necessity for this as they continue to create these types of goals.

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by Walt Kerman View Post (Source)
    Also quick opinion piece:
    If Frontier doesn’t have these LCG’s automatically generated there is no way they will be able to cater to all the player groups in the same way and only the most vocal will get their goals. This is why the background sim is vitally important!!eleventyone!11!! (And why I spend so much time poking it with a stick) The devs playing tabletop DND as dungeon master with hundreds of thousands of players to cater to will probably turn into a shouting match. Which would be a shame because this whole thing was fun, and I want everyone to experience it.

    Per usual I have a solution; however I know some will not like it so, rather than distract from the content I want to impart above, I will post it later.

    Despite the slight grind, the knowledge that I was actually expanding the colonized space in game of my chosen faction made the whole thing highly enjoyable! Would recommend taking LCG's home to meet your family! I like the idea of local community goals and had fun.

    And again: LCG’s may or may not be something Frontier decides to continue doing. This is an experiment, not necessarily a feature of a future update. Nor are the values set in stone. Keep your concerns polite. Thank you for reading.


    Do you like our lame attempts to inform the community? Want to help make the game better through stress testing the background sim? Then join the Mercs! We could use you. This data is brought to you because I have a dedicated team behind me. Links in my sig and the references.
    Great post, very informative and greatly appreciated by this casual CMDR who's eagerly anticipating more 'group play' mechanics.
    Couldn't agree more with your 'Opinion Piece'.
    .
    Great work Mercs! and Excellent leadership Walt!
    .

    Cheers,
    CMRD -Jericho-

  13. #13
    Lets hope for automated LCGs.

    Bring some flesh to the .

  14. #14
    Originally Posted by _Flin_ View Post (Source)
    Lets hope for automated LCGs.

    Bring some flesh to the .
    More automation, less curation. Should be the mantra of everyone in this game. ;P

  15. #15
    Thanks Mercs! I appreciate your hard work!

    CMDR Poet Starwind

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