Monday, December 11, 2023

Record Active ISK Delta On Tranquility In November 2023

I'm a little late on the news about the monthly economic report (MER) in EVE Online for November 2023. I don't cover the MER like I used to, but a statistic did jump out at me. The Active ISK Delta hit a record high of 104.5 trillion ISK for the Alpha/Omega period in EVE Online going back to December 2017.

The Active ISK Delta is the amount of in-game currency entering or leaving the game due to players either leaving or returning to New Eden. The figure usually is a good measure if players are coming back to play EVE Online, as brand new players count as zero for the metric. In other words, the Active ISK Delta is not affected by the increased interest in EVE due to the Down The Rabbit Hole documentary by Fredrik Knudsen published in November.

The Active ISK Delta has been extremely volatile over the past 13 months. Last month's 104.5 trillion ISK broke the record associated with the launch of the Uprising expansion in November 2022. Since the return of expansions last year, the Active ISK Delta has averaged -5.36 trillion ISK per month, indicating players really aren't leaving the game. Or if they are, many are returning. Another good sign for the health of EVE going forward.

Friday, December 8, 2023

EVE: Havoc Patch Notes For The Week Of 4-8 December 2023

I'm not sure how I feel about all the patch notes published for EVE Online this week. Should I feel happiness the developers are jumping on problems, or that the issues weren't discovered until noticed by players on Tranquility global shard? In fairness, not all of the patch notes fixed defects. The final seasonal event of the year, Winter Nexus, came out on Tuesday. Other features received some enhancements to improve usability. One thing I feel confident in saying is the game has come a long way from when I started playing. Back then, if a problem wound up on Tranquility, we'd have to live with the issue until the next expansion in six months.

As I've done a couple of times before during Havoc I'm going to post multiple days of patch notes together, if only to help out everyone logging in over the weekend know what's changed since last Sunday. I'm also going to lump subjects together in an attempt to make finding some of the changes easier.

Features & Changes:


Winter Nexus Patch Notes And YouTube Guides - I added some YouTube guides to the Winter Nexus event created by some EVE Partners on YouTube.

Winter Nexus Themed Character Select and Wreck Icons [2023-12-04.1]

  • In preparation for Winter Nexus, the Character Select Screen is updated, and present icons tagging wrecks of your helpless victims as you claim your bounties! [2023-12-04.1]

  • The EVE Vanguard: First Strike event begins today [December 7th] and runs until December 11th! [2023-12-07.1]

  • During the First Strike event players in Vanguard will add corruption to the Guristas insurgency that is centered in Hevrice whenever they complete contracts. Players logged into the EVE Online client can see the effect of the Vanguard on the corruption levels within this Guristas insurgency through the insurgency UI. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Insurgency systems will now use a triangle instead of square at Corruption level 5 in the autopilot route display. [2023-12-07.1]

AIR Opportunities:
  • AIR Opportunities now opens by default when a player is docked for the first time after downtime. [2023-12-07.1]

  • The Opportunity Details page of Pirate Insurgencies now displays Corruption and Suppression information. [2023-12-07.1]

  • The search/filter/sort header now sticks to the top of the page when scrolling. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Feature pages now include an info icon with a tooltip explaining which opportunities are listed there. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Feature tags now include their feature icon. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Factional Warfare and Pirate Insurgencies opportunities no longer show non-relevant faction sites. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Rewards tab introduced with one unified area to claim all unclaimed rewards for opportunities. [2023-12-07.1]

  • AIR Opportunities now displays how many opportunities the player has in their Active and Rewards tabs. [2023-12-07.1]

  • The claim button in the Opportunity Details page of Corporation Projects now plays an animation when players claim their reward. [2023-12-07.1]

Corporation Projects:
  • New Project Hangars role. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Corporation members with this role will have access to their corporation's Project Hangars. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Project Creation summary. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Each collapsed subsection of the project creation form will now display a summary of what was authored in that section. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Updated the details page for Corporation Projects to include a section that shows the ISK value per contribution. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Info panel entries for corporation projects now show their progress even when collapsed. [2023-12-07.1]
Factional Warfare:
  • Fixed an unintended interaction with direct enlistment where you could remote repair or provide remote assistance to someone who is directly enlisted with a militia with a PVP timer in the same corp as you, while you are not direct enlisted in the same faction as them. This is now treated as a criminal action in high security space.
Homefront Operations:
  • Unique Transmissions will no longer appear after a character has first viewed it. [2023-12-07.1]

  • The cost of Domination Ballistic Control System in the Malakim Zealots Loyalty Store has been increased to 64,000 LP´s and 25,714,300 ISK to match the same price as the Dread Guristas Ballistic Control Systems. [2023-12-07.1]
  • The support for Windows 7 and Windows 8 has ended and it is no longer possible to start the client on those operating systems.
  • CONCORD has updated the security ratings of Villore, Bereye, Hek, and Parchanier to 0.9, 0.9, 0.8, and 0.9, respectively, following another security audit in these systems. CONCORD does not expect further updates in the foreseeable future. [2023-12-05.1]

  • Several empire intelligence networks have been alerted to reported sightings of high-profile members of Arkombine arriving at The Fulcrum in Zarzakh. [2023-12-05.1]
User Interface:
  • Insurgency systems experiencing Level 5 Corruption will show up as triangles in the route instead of squares. Waypoints will still be crosses. [2023-12-07.1]

  • The updated Settings Menu introduced in Havoc is no longer full-screen. It now opens windowed and center aligned. [2023-12-07.1]

  • If players skip the character select screen when logging in and have unclaimed daily gifts, the Daily Login Campaigns Neocom icon will now blink blue momentarily when a player is docked for the first time in a session. [2023-12-07.1]

Defect Fixes:

AIR Opportunities:
  • Agent missions that are in the offered state (not accepted) are no longer auto-tracked after settings are cleared. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Horizontal card scrolling is no longer misaligned for the Epic Arcs and Introductions sections of the Opportunities home page. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Update Post Downtime - We have disabled AIR Opportunities ore anomalies temporarily while we investigate an ongoing issue. [2023-12-08.1]

  • AIR Opportunities ore anomalies were temporarily disabled while we investigated an ongoing issue. They have since been re-enabled. [2023-12-08.2]

  • Disabled opening AIR Opportunities on first dock. [2023-12-08.2]
Corporation Projects:
  • Fixed an issue where some players were unable to claim their contribution rewards for Corporation Projects. [2023-12-07.1]
  • Ship decals no longer misbehave when zooming in and out. [2023-12-06.1]

  • Addressed multiple issues with applying SKINs and switching ships in Upwell hangars. [2023-12-06.1]

  • Faction emblems no longer appear on traitor NPC hulls. [2023-12-06.1]

  • Fixed multiple issues with errant VFX, decals, and blinkies on various SKINs. [2023-12-06.1]

  • Metamorphosis blueprint no longer has an image of the Sunesis. [2023-12-06.1]

  • Minor tweak to audio triggers when other capsuleers enter/exit wormholes. [2023-12-06.1]

  • Fixed an issue where new Alliance Tournament VFX were erroneously appearing on older Alliance Tournament ship models. [2023-12-06.1]

New Player Experience:
  • Improved off-path handling throughout the experience. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Added additional highlight banners to make instructions clearer. [2023-12-07.1]

  • The Dock button in Selected Items will now stop blinking when warping to the station following the mining experience. [2023-12-07.1]
  • Skipping the tutorial during a camera animation will no longer disable camera controls for the remainder of the session. [2023-12-07.1]

User Interface:

  • Fixed an exception which prevented the corruption score from updating in the info panel for the solarsystem whenever pirates captured an insurgency site. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Fixed an issue where several words were divided in the Settings Window for the German language. [2023-12-07.1]

  • Fixed a defect and exception where the stage value in the guristas FOB system could show an incorrect, very large number after a vanguard contract completed. [2023-12-08.1]

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Winter Nexus Patch Notes And YouTube Guides

I am two days late on delivering news about EVE Online's last seasonal event for 2023, Winter Nexus. The event, running from last Tuesday through 4 January 2024, offers 30 days of login rewards. Alpha accounts can obtain up to 125,000 skill points and Omega accounts up to 650,000 skill points for logging in 23 of the 30 days of the event.  In addition to a selection of boosters, filaments, the login rewards also include Aurora Universalis SKINs. Alpha accounts can receive the festive SKINs for the following ships:

  • Tormentor (Day 3)
  • Incursus (Day 6)
  • Vigil (Day 9)
  • Harpy (Day 11)
  • Pontifex (Day 13)
  • Stork (Day 17)
  • Bellicose (Day 19)
  • Lachesis (Day 21)

Omega accounts receive the Alpha SKINs plus a few others:

  • Merlin (Day 3)
  • Algos (Day 5)
  • Kikimora (Day 8)
  • Arbitrator (Day 10)
  • Rook (Day 12)
  • Rapier (Day 14)
  • Barghest (Day 17)
  • Chimera (Day 19)
  • Nidhoggur (Day 21)

For those collecting event points, in addition to boosters, crates and filaments, another 9 SKINs are available:

  • Ishkur (50 pts)
  • Dragoon (150 pts)
  • Talwar (300 pts)
  • Magus (350 pts)
  • Blackbird (450 pts)
  • Arazu (600 pts)
  • Huginn (700 pts)
  • Nestor (800 pts)
  • Thanatos (900 pts)

I included a list of all the SKINs available from the login and event tracks because a lot of people like to decorate their ships. But since I didn't see a description of the event in The Agency (I could have missed it), I thought posting the patch notes might help out.

Winter Nexus Event!

  • The Winter Nexus event has returned to New Eden! This in-game event will run until downtime on January 4th 2024.

  • Volatile Ice Storms have begun to appear across highsec, lowsec, and nullsec space. These ice storms spread out across the stargate network two jumps from a central system, and occasionally move from system to system just like metaliminal storms. These storms provide bonuses to ship thermal resistances and module overheating for all capsuleers flying within them. Sansha's Nation and Outer Ring Excavations have both mobilized to take advantage of the novel forms of stellar ice found within these storms.

    • Wightstorm combat anomalies have begun appearing within the Volatile Ice Storms. These sites are full of hostile Sansha's nation vessels, and CONCORD advises capsuleers bring a battlecruiser ship or better when attempting to engage with these forces. The Wightstorm Forward Base site found within storms that originate in highsec space appears to be guarded by the weakest Sansha fleets, with the nullsec Wightstorm Transit Site posing an intermediate challenge and the lowsec-based Wightstorm Muster Point offering the greatest challenge for the greatest rewards.

    • Wightstorm data signatures can also be found within Volatile Ice Storms. These Sansha's Nation data sites can be hacked by enterprising capsuleers equipped with scan probes and data analyzer modules.

    • Volatile Ice Field anomalies can also be discovered within Volatile Ice Storms. These fields of newly discovered stellar ice have recently been captured by ORE and Mordu's Legion forces who have driven away the Sansha harvesting fleets. These ice fields can be accessed through a special ORE-commandeered acceleration gate that only allows medium and small mining and hauling ships to enter (Expedition Frigates, Mining Barges, Exhumers, Industrial Ships, Blockade Runners, Deep Space Transports, and the Porpoise). The volatile ice found within these fields cannot be reprocessed by standard facilities, however Outer Ring Excavations has set up mobile ice collection operations within each of these ice fields and is willing to trade with capsuleers who contribute to their mining operation. Capsuleers can trade seven units of volatile ice with the ORE representatives in the ice fields to receive a package of valuable salvage and items that ORE forces collected from the wrecks of Sansha ships. Rumors suggest that other valuable Sansha salvage has frozen directly into some of the ice chunks and can be occasionally picked up along with the ice by normal mining activities.

    • Rewards that can be found by capsuleers within all of these sites include valuable Overseers' Effects, hundreds of festive ship SKINs, limited-time Cerebral Accelerators, character apparel, special Sansha's nation combat boosters, Sansha's Nation pirate implant blueprints, and rare faction modules. 

  • Limited-time Ice Storm filaments are now available that will instantly transport capsuleers into one of these volatile ice storms. Each filament clearly states in its description how many capsuleers it can transport and whether it will take them to a highsec, lowsec, or nullsec storm.

  • A new Yoiul Festival seasonal challenge track can be found within the Agency. These challenges can be completed over the course of the event by engaging with the combat, hacking, and ice mining sites within the Volatile Ice Storms. Completing these challenges will provide players with points that will progress them along a reward track consisting of new exclusive Aurora Universalis skins, Sansha combat boosters, and ice storm filaments.

  • A new set of daily login gifts are available over the course of the Winter Nexus event including snowballs, ice storm filaments, new Aurora Universalis skins, Sansha combat boosters, EverMarks and up to 650.000 skill points. Players can receive all of these rewards by logging in everyday between now and January 4th.

  • An expert system has been included which will allow all players, including alpha accounts, the ability to fly an Endurance and fit an Ice Mining Laser to mine ice for 4 days. 

I also decided to include some guides made by YouTubers in the EVE Partner Program. These content creators received exclusive access to the Singularity test shard to give them the opportunity to create videos for release when events begin. Here are some of the guides I managed to find:

Loru Gaming

Captain Benzie

Torvald Uruz

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Killing Is Just A Means To Communicate Activity In EVE Online

Another month is in the books. November was a bit special in EVE Online due to the launch of the Havoc expansion on the 14th. For the launch of Havoc, people seem to downplay the number of players logging into the game. Even Jester wrote a cautionary post on the EVE sub-Reddit and hasn't posted the November average concurrent user numbers to his website like normal. The month ended with an average ACU of approximately 24,000 players logged in at any one time according to what Jester posted to Reddit.

If logins are not a reliable statistic, then how about the number of explosions players create in the game? Dotlan Maps only provides statistics for the three main security bands, high sec, low sec, and null security space. For most of the categories provided, New Eden saw numbers not posted for years in most cases.

High sec in an interesting study. Player ships that explode are in large part inflated because the tutorials and career agents send new players into situations in which they lose their ships. The 403,064 player owned ships exploding in high sec last month hasn't been seen since the pandemic days of August 2020. And while the number of NPCs players destroyed is still drastically down compared to 2013-2014, the 108,326,826 killed is the most in two years.

One of the constants in CCP's three expansions over the past 13 months is a focus on low security space. The number of ships players managed to lose in the security band, at 294,946, fell just short of 300 thousand. Still, players managed to die at the highest rate since January 2017, or in almost 7 years. The draw back at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 was the introduction of the free-to-play Alpha character option. 

Finally, the number of ships exploding in null security space almost reached 300 thousand for the first time since January 2022. The 297,582 ships players lost in November was the most in almost three years. Players still feel the effects of the Scarcity Era, but the 166,606,543 NPCs killed by players last month was the most since players destroyed over 205 thousand in October 2020.

Perhaps all the cynics are right. Perhaps in the long run Havoc will fail to attract and hold players interest. But so far the return of the expansion release schedule is rebuilding the player base after some questionable decisions by the upper management of CCP Games over the past few years. Hopefully players will continue to communicate their approval of the current direction of the game in the most EVE way possible: blowing each other up.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Cloud Imperium Games Posts Record Sales Of $28.4 Million In November 2023

Cloud Imperium Games recorded a record amount in sales in November 2023. Last month the makers of Star Citizen and Squadron 42 set a single-month sales record of $28.4 million in sales according to the CCU Game - Star Citizen dashboard. The total surpassed the year-over-year sales compared to November 2022 by $5.3 million, or 23.2%. Overall, CIG's sales total for 2023 so far is $109.1 million, a 3.4% increase from the first eleven months of 2022's total of $105.5 million.

Overall, CIG has raised $731.0 million from confirmed sources (the funding page & the 2021 financial report). The income breaks down as follows:

  • Sales/Pledges: $649.0 million (through 30 November 2023)
  • Subscriptions: $27.8 million (through 31 December 2021)
  • All other sources: $54.2 million (through 31 December 2021)

In addition, CIG received $63.25 million in investor funding in 2018 and 2019, bringing the total confirmed funding of the project up to $794.2 million. Of the total through the end of 2021, $1.4 million was paid out to investors as dividends.

With the monster sales powered by the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo in the final 2 weeks of the month, CIG will most assuredly surpass 2022's sales figure of $113.6 million. If the company matches the December sales of 2019, the possibility exists of reaching $120 million in sales for 2023. 

Next month is a big month for those watching Cloud Imperium's finances. The company will publish its financial report for 2022, giving observers a look at spending and income other than the sale of virtual goods. The amount displayed on the funding tracker does not cover the day-to-day operations so the report will show exactly how healthy CIG's financial situation truly is. 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

A Quick Gripe About The Corporation Projects UI

Over the weekend I did a little mining in EVE Online. I want to build a Porpoise, a ship designed to support mining operations.

When new lower-mass wormhole connections began appearing across Anoikis in late YC116, ORE tasked the engineers at its advanced Outer Ring Development labs with creating a mining foreman vessel capable of passing through these gateways and exploiting the unspoiled riches available within. Creating such a compact ship while preserving much of the utility of the larger Orca and Rorqual designs proved a significant challenge, but the end result was a ship that had great potential for capsuleer mining operations in all areas of space.

The Porpoise can use a medium industrial core to substantially increase its industrial capabilities, while empowering its defenses during deployment in a static configuration. A key element of the industrial capacity unlocked by activating an industrial core is the ability to use compressor modules, with the Porpoise also having this capability, although limited to using medium gas and asteroid ore compressors.

The Porpoise is a smaller, more mobile and more affordable mining foreman platform that is perfect for supporting mining operations in dangerous space. It is capable of providing support to its allies through mining foreman bursts, remote shield boosters and survey scanners. The Porpoise also enjoys strong bonuses to mining drones, allowing it to pull in its own share of the ore in any mining operation.

The ship isn't really that expensive. I just want to build the ship to say I built one. Because I don't play very consistently, I used the corporation projects feature released in the Viridian expansion to help keep track of my progress. I refined my ore and wound up having enough tritanium and pyerite to complete my orders for those minerals.

Working to complete a corporation order

I couldn't deposit the minerals because I had too many and needed to deposit the exact amount to complete the order. No problem, right? Just split the stack and copy the number remaining into the split stack window. Only one problem. I couldn't copy the number from the order into the clipboard. I wound up opening up Notepad, typing the number into the app, and then did a copy and paste into the split stack window to create the new stack. After doing so I was able to complete the order.

I know, high sec problems, right? The pie-in-the-sky solution is for the developers to just automatically determine the maximum amount needed to complete the order and autofill the information where needed. I'm not sure how much work that would take so I won't ask for that. But if anyone from CCP reads this, could someone please make a straight copy from the "Remaining amount" field possible? 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Why CCP Continues To Push FPS Play In The EVE Universe

Back during Fanfest this year, CCP announced a new, first person shooter module for EVE Online. Instead of pulling up footage from the keynote address, I'll pull up the press release instead.

In a surprise announcement, CCP Games also presented a first look at EVE Vanguard, an upcoming multiplayer FPS module for EVE Online being developed using Unreal Engine 5. In this dynamic and evolving shooter, players will take on the role of the Vanguard, a new generation of war clones fighting for their survival and to free their consciousness as they undertake hazardous contracts on the planets of New Eden.

In squads or solo, players will deploy onto the surface of planets wracked with turmoil and littered with opportunity. To advance their clone, suit and equipment, players will need to complete missions, acquire resources and engage in tactical combat with rival Vanguard squads as well as hostile forces, each with their own agenda. EVE Vanguard will be connected to EVE Online from day one, starting with Vanguard players being able to impact EVE Online through Frontline Corruption. Over time, new gameplay, content and interoperability with EVE Online will be added, deepening the immersion for players and the living universe of New Eden.

If the websites I visit are any indication, people are puzzled as to why CCP continues to not only push another FPS game onto the market but link the game to the EVE Universe as well. Hasn't CCP tried before and always failed? Isn't the definition of insanity, “...doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”?

As a semi-retired practitioner of Texas Space Law, I don't have the time to play psychologist. But I have paid for at least two EVE Online subscriptions for over 14 years. I've also written about EVE for over 14 years, posting slightly over 1700 blog posts with the EVE tag during that time. In addition, I have attended 13 major EVE conventions, including 7 in Reykjavik, Iceland, in which EVE game devs and CCP community staff attended. So let me try to explain why I think plans to attach EVE: Vanguard directly to EVE Online.

1. EVE Forever. When I first heard the phrase "EVE Forever" at Fanfest in 2013, I thought, "Oh great, another lame marketing campaign." But a funny thing happened. CCP's Chief Marketing Director at the time, David Reid, left the company with the closing of the San Francisco office in 2014, I thought the phrase would leave with him. But a funny thing happened. The phrase is brought up at least once in every keynote address. At this point, a skeptical observer has to admit the concept has some deeper meaning than a marketing tagline. And if the EVE intellectual property is to last for decades, then some sort of growth needs to come to the franchise and its flagship game.

2. Redemption for DUST 514. I'm not sure redemption is quite the correct term, but I get the feeling the staff at CCP believes adding FPS play to gameplay on the global Tranquility shard is a reasonable proposition. In September Director of Product Snorri  "CCP Rattati" Árnason gave an interview to PC Gamer:

But Dust had problems, and not the least among them was CCP's unusual decision to make it a PlayStation 3 exclusive (Sony co-published the game and doubtless provided a financial incentive for doing so). That always felt so odd to me because, of all the PC-ass PC games, surely EVE Online is one of the most singular: You cannot imagine it being possible on any other platform, yet this linked experience was never on PC itself. I ask Árnason how he felt about that exclusivity and the decision to close the game in 2016.

"I was a part of making that decision," says Árnason. "So it was hard but needed to happen, because we simply couldn't continue on the platform. Then I personally went through all of the motions of trying to evolve it: so moving from PS3 to PC, updating, I went through all of these internal phases, we had Legion [a successor announced at EVE Fanfest 2014], various internal codenames etcetera. So it was hard but at that time I really thought we would do it, and it kind of felt that if we would come back to it we would be able to deliver and put it back on PC where it kind of belongs. Looking at, like, Warframe was big at the time. And I always wanted it to work and I think if we had been on PC the whole time the game would literally be alive. Like, it would just be growing and still be a part of EVE."

3. Redemption for The Summer of Rage. Back in June 2011 CCP launched the Incarna expansion. The events surrounding that expansion, from ridiculously priced items in the new cash shop to players experiencing their video cards melting, is a low point in the history of EVE Online.  One of the most egregious was the state "Walking in Stations" content came out. Initially labeled "The Minmatar closet", players not only experienced hardware issues but the removal of UI elements making the game harder to play. All in order to introduce avatars to New Eden.

Fast forward to today. By adding an FPS module to Tranquility, CCP will add fully functioning avatar gameplay to the game world. Better yet, by using Unreal Engine 5 instead of the internally developed Carbon engine designed for World of Darkness, players shouldn't have to worry about system performance or the software damaging computers. I eventually see all avatar related content in EVE switched over to Unreal Engine 5 to simplify maintaining the software. When that happens, CCP will finally deliver on the Ambulation promise first made back at Fanfest in November 2007.

4. Increased cash shop sales. Now we get into the more business related reasons. EVE Online and the EVE IP does well for a 20-year old game and franchise. But I believe when Pearl Abyss purchased CCP Games in 2018 they expected a little more than level sales. Our overlords in Anyang also operate Black Desert Online, a game rather notorious for its monetization model.

Personally, I believe the beancounters are a little disappointed in sales. Having played BDO, I can say I spent a lot more on items for my character in a couple of months playing BDO than I have in 14 years playing EVE.  But do you know which game I've probably spent $200-$300 over four years making my character look good? Final Fantasy XIV. As I mentioned before, I am not a psychologist, but my experience tells me video game players, on average, will spend more on their avatars than on their equipment (Forza players excepted).

5. Competition with Plan 8. With the long delay in the release of Crimson Desert, development of two other games, DokeV and Plan 8, were put on hold. Regular readers of my coverage of Pearl Abyss' quarterly earnings calls probably recognize the name DokeV, but what about Plan 8?

Plan 8 was originally introduced to investors as Project K back in August 2019. Pearl Abyss hired Counterstrike co-creator Minh Le as the technical director for the new project. With Plan 8 in the development queue, Pearl Abyss probably did not want CCP to compete with a new property, especially given the development problems involving Crimson Desert. Those problems are neatly skirted by adding the FPS gameplay of Vanguard directly into EVE. After all, no one will ever confuse EVE for an FPS game. 

6. Star Citizen. Some will think the idea of Star Citizen and EVE competing for the same audience is preposterous and I need to undergo drug testing. But please hear me out. For each of the last two years Cloud Imperium Games has brought in twice the revenue as the EVE IP. That's right. A game still in pre-alpha is handily brushing CCP to the side financially. Just as Elite Dangerous did with its Odyssey expansion, I believe CCP sees having some sort of avatar play in its game as a requirement to compete with Star Citizen when it finally reaches a point the developers announce the final server wipe. CCP still has a few years before that happens. 

7. Project Awakening. Until CCP finally releases more information on its play-to-earn/blockchain game, I will link developments in EVE to Project Awakening. The information released at the announcement of the $40 million funding round definitely makes Project Awakening sound like EVE 3.0

Tacking on an FPS module to a 20-year old game sounds crazy. Taking on FPS play to a brand new game sounds like Star Citizen or Starfield. I can see CCP using Tranquility as the model for Project Awakening. After all, developing two games with the same updates is an efficient use of money. As long at EVE looks as pretty as Project Awakening with lots of new ships and improved game systems, I don't really mind.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Tis The Season For EVE Online Sales

I'm one of those people who looks at the offerings in CCP Games' EVE Online store and usually says, "Thanks, but no thanks." Buying PLEX has no attraction as I have 2717 PLEX I obtained years ago. I just keep the PLEX around because at today's prices, my PLEX is worth around 13 billion ISK after taxes. Buying skill points never interested me and now my main characters have 298 million and 276 million skill points respectively. As for multiple character training, I have my alts trained up well enough for planetary interaction and hauling. They can even do a fair bit of mining and mineral reprocessing. 

The EVE Store on Cyber Monday 2023

In Final Fantasy XIV I am a bit of a fashionista. I spent way too much on eastern-style glamour pieces (think transmog if you play World of Warcraft) when I started out and try to limit myself to purchases under $7. But in EVE, the SKINs system never tempted me. If CCP hadn't made non-store bought SKINs automatically apply to a character when redeemed, I probably still would not have a single SKIN on any of my characters. I mean, one way to get through the sense of loss in EVE is to treat ships like ammunition. Who decorates their ammunition?

Okay, so some people do decorate ammunition in the real world

But, I did find something worth handing over my real world dollars for. The store had 12 months of Omega time marked 20% off. With my two accounts due to expire in February and August next year, I figured I wouldn't see a lower price. So yesterday I spent $239.84 on two years of gametime (one year for each account). The total comes out to just under $20/month for both accounts, or a shade under $10/month. Each character also now has Alligator, Khizriel, Mamba, and Mekubal Arkombine Arisen SKINs, but like I am going to own one of the new pirate ships that came out with the Havoc expansion.

Now, I do have to admit CCP came up with a way to make SKINs sound somewhat appealing. The PLEX sales now on through 4 December at 2359 UTC include SKINs designed by T'Amber. Here is the Cyber Monday sale offer:
  • 1,000 PLEX + Gila Empyrean Outlaws SKIN - 20% discount

  • 1,500 PLEX + Cynabal & Gila Empyrean Outlaws SKINs - 20% discount

  • 3,000 PLEX + Gila, Cynabal, Alligator Empyrean Outlaws SKINs - 23% discount

  • 6,000 PLEX + Alligator, Gila, Cynabal, Khizriel Empyrean Outlaws SKINs - 23% discount

  • 12,000 PLEX + Alligator, Gila, Cynabal, Rattlesnake Empyrean Outlaws SKINs - 23% discount

  • 20,000 PLEX + Alligator, Khizriel, Gila, Cynabal, Rattlesnake, Azariel Empyrean Outlaws SKINs - 25% discount
I would like to know who came up with that time to end the sale. Back in my day, sales always ended at the daily downtime, and we liked it!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

EVE Havoc Patch Notes: Pirate Insurgency Changes 20-23 November 2023

Has anyone else noticed the pirates are doing very well during the first week of EVE Online's pirate insurgency system? Looking at the patch notes, I don't think that result was intended. Over the last few days the developers implemented several changes, with some fairly significant changes going live today. Just because Icelanders tend to speak American English doesn't mean they get to celebrate U.S. holidays like Thanksgiving.

Instead of just doing a copy and paste of all the patch notes, I thought I would do something a little different today. I'll just make a blog post with the changes affecting the insurgency system. I'm pretty sure someone will want to look at the history of the system if insurgencies become a staple of EVE content. Maybe today's post will come in handy someday. I've put the actual patch note the change/fix appeared in at the end of the description.

Features & Changes:

Pirate Insurgencies:

  • Increased the amount suppression gained when the empire militias complete insurgency sites by 33%. [2023-11-23.1]

  • Decreased forecasting time for future insurgencies from 48h to 24h. [2023-11-23.1]

  • When a former insurgency FOB system ends the period of pirate occupancy after a pirate victory, it will now start at 100 points over the victory point threshold required to make the IHub vulnerable, instead of 500 points over the threshold. [2023-11-23.1]

  • Pirate insurgencies will now only spread within the empire space controlled by their primary insurgency enemies. This means that the Angel insurgency will no longer spread into Caldari/Gallente regions, and the Guristas insurgency will no longer spread into Amarr/Minmatar regions. [2023-11-23.1]

  • The factional warfare HQ systems for each empire (Onnamon, Intaki, Mehatoor, and Amo) have a base suppression level of 2 and can never drop below that level. [2023-11-23.1]

  • Insurgency Sites will now give suspect timers to neutral players who are not enlisted with an appropriate militia for the campaign, similar to existing Factional Warfare complexes. [2023-11-21.1]
    • For Angel Insurgencies, players who are not in the Minmatar Militia, Amarr Militia or Angel Cartel will get a suspect timer for entering outpost raid sites.
    • For Guristas Insurgencies, players who are not in the Caldari Militia, Gallente Militia or Guristas Pirates will get a suspect timer for entering outpost raid sites.
    • It’s no longer possible to enter a gated insurgency site with a Warp Core Stabilizer fitted.

  • When a system is at corruption or suppression level 5, more sites will now spawn aside from the Open ADV-1 and Open ADV-5. [2023-11-20.1]

  • Added a note that says “There currently are no active Insurgencies” for the Insurgency Systems agency page if no insurgencies are in the active state. [2023-11-21.1]

  • There is now a pop-up warning when activating a stargate which would take you to a corruption 5 pirate insurgency system. [2023-11-21.1]

  • Insurgencies will now display “LAWLESS” next to the security status in the solarsystem info panel when corruption 5 has been reached. [2023-11-21.1]

  • Corruption 5 High and Low Security systems will now appear in bright red on the autopilot route, and Lawless is included in the tooltip. [2023-11-21.1]


  • The dramatic appearance of the pirate insurgencies has caused the Gallente Federation to begin a security audit of some potentially vulnerable key systems. The Federation Senate headquarters system of Villore has been deemed insufficiently secure given its proximity to the warzone and relatively low security levels. Multiple new Federation Navy facilities have begun appearing in the Villore system and this increased Navy presence has caused the security status of Villore to increase from 0.5 to 0.6.  [2023-11-23.1]

Defect Fixes:


  • Faction NPC police will no longer block capture timers for pirate players if they are spawned inside Highsec complexes. [2023-11-21.1]


  • The Mining Ambush dungeon will no-longer send misleading chatter if the site is contested by both sides fairly equally and one side wins shortly before the other side kills enough cruisers and battleships to cause them to flee. [2023-11-21.1]

  • The evemail message you receive for capturing a dungeon while under the effects of suppression will now correctly contain the bonus LP you got and not just the flat value. [2023-11-21.1]

User Interface:

  • Fixed a rare issue where solarsystem info panel would fail to display if the corruption/suppression service timed out when a client was trying to connect. [2023-11-22.1]

  • Fixed an Issue where the enlistment window could appear blank if a player has stacked it or docked it in another window. [2023-11-21.1]

  • Fixed text being obscured by the icons to swap factions and to the insurgency dashboard in the FW Map window. [2023-11-21.1]

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

What Players Of Two Sci-Fi MMOs Can Be Thankful For

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States. The holiday celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. But in the case of two video games, Star Citizen and EVE Online, fans of each game are celebrating different things. 

First for Star Citizen. In March 2023 CIG released patch Alpha 3.18, a very buggy and unoptimized bit of software I believe was pushed onto the Persistent Universe to avoid complains of 10 months of a content drought. Players showed their dissatisfaction by holding onto their wallets in both the second and third quarters of 2023. By the end of September revenue recorded by the CIG API showing sales from the cash shop was down 11.5% for the first 9 months of the year.

But then October and CitizenCon came around. Two big pieces of news came out of the event. The first was the debut of server meshing which apparently was theoretically solved two weeks before CitizenCon. The other is the news Squadron 42 is feature complete. The idea that Cloud Imperium is on the cusp of launching a finished product in the next year or so had to come as a big relief to those who purchased the game years ago. What they purchased isn't a scam and the gaming press had to report as such.

Will the solution scale to handle the hundreds of characters Star Citizen's loyal player base longs to see? Is the gameplay in Squadron 42 as good as the game looked in the trailer? While we won't know the answers to those questions for at least a year, players have to give thanks the questions are realistic and can't be brushed off as copium.

Perhaps players of EVE Online had even more good news whether their game was concerned. Following talk of adding NFTs and play-to-earn technology followed by a 25% subscription increase, the average number of players logged onto Tranquility during October 2022 fell to under 16,000. 

Then, something extrodinary happened. The leadership of CCP stopped chasing after flavor-of-the-month get rich quick schemes in EVE and set the developers to producing solid expansions like they did during the first decade of EVE's existence. The Uprising expansion in November 2022 produced the first boost to the number of accounts logged onto Tranquility. The Viridian expansion launched in the summer of 2023 and kept the traditional summer from slump from cutting deep into player counts. 

And Havoc? The past weekend was the busiest in terms of players logged in since October 2020 at the beginning of the Beeitnam War/World War Bee 2. Over the first week of Havoc, the average concurrent number of users was approximately 25,000, a more than 50% increase over October 2022.

As both Star Citizen and EVE Online go through November, they each are holding a major event that sums up why each player base should feel thankful. Currently Star Citizen is holding the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo 2953, an in-game event promoting the sales of expensive equipment for real world money. Between the ship sales surrounding CitizenCon last month and the sales during the IAE, Star Citizen sales are actually ahead of last year's sales at this point of the year. If the revenue continues at the current pace, the likelihood of layoffs slowing down the development of the project decrease significantly. If for no other reason, the Star Citizen fan base should at least give thanks that development time won't slow even more.

As for EVE, the launch of the Havoc expansion occurred 10 days ago. The measurement of choice to determine the health of the game is average and peak concurrent users. As of today Tranquility has experienced a daily peak concurrent user number over 30,000 for 12 consecutive days, with over 40,000 on Sunday. Players, at least for now, are excited about pirate insurgencies. New ones often attract more players and generate more player deaths than anywhere else in EVE. As mentioned before, the average concurrent user mark for the week is around 25,000. The more players logging in and flying around in space, the more interactions occur, including PvP. Something I think a lot of players are thankful for.