You can get a pretty good idea if you put in some effort. For example, zipping around system and between systems in an epithal with zero response is a good indicator that he is indeed AFK. You can use Bayesian probabilities for this. I detailed it in on the old forums awhile ago, but instead of looking for it I’ll provide the analysis again. There are a number of Bayesian probability calculators out there but I like this one because it has a revise to priors options.
Define the follow probabilities:
P(AFK) our prior probability the guy is AFK.
P(ATK) our prior probability the guy is ATK.
Note that P(AFK) + P(ATK) = 1.
Now we want to know P(AFK|Response) and also P(ATK|Respones) where Response is how the guy responds to our squishy target. To this we need to know:
Prob((Response|X) is where X is either ATK or AFK.
So, if the guy is AFK we can set
Prob(No Response|AFK) = 1 and
Prob(Response|AFk) = 0.
That is there is no way for the guy to go after our epithal if he is AFK.
Now ATK is different, and here we’ll need to use some guesses. Suppose we set the probilities thusly,
Prob(No Response|ATK) = 0.35 and
Prob(Response|ATk) = 0.65.
That is there is a 65% chance the guy will “take the bait”. Suppose further that we have things looking very much not like a trap. All we want to know is, is he AFK or not. So we don’t have a buddy login and then go next door in a interdictor or interceptor or the like. Or if they do, they start in a different system so as to now arouse any suspicion.
We also need our prior probabilities, one school of thought is when you don’t know go with an “uninformative” prior, in this case we’d set the priors to
P(ATK) = P(AFK) = 0.5.
We don’t have to start here we could set them to:
P(ATK) = 0.05 and
P(AFK) = 0.95, for example.
But lets start with our uninformative prior. So our first trip out to draw out the cloaker we get…no response.
Our posterior probabilities–i.e. after updating with our new information, yes a lack of response is informatin–we get:
Prob(AFK|No respones) = 0.606
Prob(ATK|No response) = 0.394
That is, we should now assign a higher probability to AFK than ATK. Suppse we do this 4 more times with no response. Now our probabilities are:
Prob(AFK|No respones) = 0.896
Prob(ATK|No response) = 0.104
That is we should revise our beliefs that he is most likely AFK.
Now, the way this has been set up, if we get a response then we get,
Prob(AFK|No respones) = 0
Prob(ATK|No response) = 1.
That is we are now certain he is ATK. We are never fully certain he is AFK, but our beliefs, as expressed via subjective probabilities, is that he is most likely AFK.
This kind of analysis can also be augmented by looking at corp information and killboards as well. If you are say, Mountain TZ and he is in a Euro TZ based on KBs chances are when you login he is AFK. And if you do the above test that should revise your beliefs/probabilities even higher towards AFK.
This is a more detailed and fleshed out argument that Scipio has been making. Note if you do it right you can combine it with others as an actual trap, but like I said, best to do that by having people come from another system than the one you are starting in so as to not arouse suspicion.
Because it is totally and completely illogical.
Consider this point. If the guy is ATK, and he does have a cyno, they will only come through and engage when they think they can win. That is all you are going to see are those instances when the odds were much more in their favor than not. As such, looking at Killboards will give you a biased view.
Another point is that this argument hinges on this every growing fleet at an instance notice. So if we have 4 guys undock in ishtars and start ratting as a group, maybe with some alt logi and which are PVP fit, your argument is that the hostile fleet simple increases in size instantly so that they can curb stomp us. That is just patent nonsense. That is, to destroy 4 ishtars and a 2-3 alt logi they’ll bring in 24 guys. But if we add another ishtar because one of our buddies log in and joins us then that hostile fleet instantly grows to 27 guys…never mind that they are in hostile territory and that their buddies are 23 jumps away. And so the calculus goes. If our little ratting fleet grows to 7 why now they have 35 guys. They always have enough to destroy our fleet. If this is the case I have really bad news. You have just lost your space and the AFK cloaking argument is moot because soon it won’t be your space and you’ll be either in NPC space or HS.
There are few certainties in EVE and that is a feature not a bug. Yes, it could be a 40 man fleet. But then again why are you not patrolling your space? They can’t be that far away anymore. Heck, even the in game map can help you by giving you an idea of average active pilots. If there are alot of pilots in a nearby system (i.e. within cyno range) that you know has no station, outpost or citadel…go look.
For example, if a group of hot droppers want to drop on people in say Delve, many of the “good systems” are fairly heavily occupied. So a BLOPS group will most likley “hideout” in a “bad” system. There are only so many of those. So if you see something suspicous there…go look. With the JB network and using a cloaky industrial you could get there quick. If you see 40 hostiles sitting there in local and nobody else…well there you go. More information.
In short, I see much of the “nerf cloaks” argument as more of an “I don’t want to expend effort” argument.
[Queue up Mike talking about the lack of effort on the part of a guy using a cloak…never mind the effort to get there in that system.]
Risk is based on your actions and those of others. It is not some thing that exists independent of your actions and those of others. So if you can take action to mitigate your risk, there is not a problem unless the risk is so large that it is still excessively large even after you take action. I do not believe that is the case at all with AFK cloaking. Why doesn’t AFK cloaking work that well with Goons? Because Goons have a pretty good culture (regarding other Goons and allies). Dropping on a carrier who is doing it right will likely draw a quick and heavy response. This isn’t to say that Goons do not die in carriers or rorqauls or other blingy ships…but chances are they were doing it wrong. Which also helps explain the huge amount of ratting ISK coming out of Delve.
It will go just fine until there are enough guys to take down such a fleet rapidly. I have seen guys in Delve ratting in pretty sizable fleets. Granted it is probably one guy multi-boxing, but still, coming in and taking him down would be difficult and if he started fighting back and had a more PvP oriented fit ti could very easily go badly for the dropping fleet. If you are multi-boxing a group of ishtars and they abandon their heavies and pop sentries…it could go bad for the in coming fleet.
If a group is faces “low risk” because of effort or actions they are taking that is not a problem at all for CCP. Player groups that look at the game environment and take necessary steps to mitigate that risk should not be punished unless there is an overall game balance problem due to faulty mechanics–e.g. tracking titans. If a group faces low risk because guys with alts who are ATK also park faxes on citadels ready to jump to people in trouble…that is not a problem for CCP.
My point is risk is not something that CCP should be concerned with. If a player is dumb and takes excessive risk that is on him. If another player (or group of players) are not dumb and mitigate their risk that is fine. Working as intended.
There is a larger point here. People often think that risk-reward is something CCP should and can tinker with. This is wrong. Risk is based on a persons actions and often those of other players. The classic example is a freighter pilot.
A freighter pilot who:
- Anti-tanks his freigther.
- Over fills it in terms of cargo value.
- Does not use a scout.
- Does not use a webber.
That player is practically begging for trouble. That he does not know it does not change the fact that his actions were very, very imprudent and have dramatically increased his risk.
There is absolutely nothing for CCP to do here. Nothing at all. You can’t patch out stupid, and with a game like EVE you don’t want too. That is anti-thetical to the very core philosophy of the game.
The same goes with most other things in game. Jumping through a NS gate in a slow cumbersome ship will probably not end well. Doing so without at least a scout is very risky. Maybe you have few options, and have to take that risk, but you could try to mitigate that risk by doing right after down time. But again, this merely high lights that risk is not some “thing” in game that CCP can generally fiddle with like it can, does and often should with modules and ships.
But people often write posts as if risk-reward is something that exists out there independent of their and other’s actions.