Monday, August 19, 2019

CCP Rise On Why Make The Cyno Change

I have to admit the "Chaos Era" in EVE Online, like most major changes, is passing me by. But the complaints from the null sec whales are so loud I can here them all the way out in Heimatar. The latest outrage concerns the upcoming changes to the capital ship bridging mechanic. 

Talking in Stations broadcast an interview with CCP Rise, a senior game designer on EVE Online discussing the upcoming changes to the game. I figured I'd at least get one answer about the changes posted to the blog, namely, why? What follows below is a cleaned-up transcript of one of the first questions in the interview. I took out some of the verbal missteps, such as the use of the word "like", in order not to trigger Brisc if he happens upon this blog post.

Brisc Rubal: Starting in the September release, cynos will only be able to be fitted on recon ships and Black Ops battleships. That's a major change in the game. One of the big questions we've been hearing from a lot of people, what's the design goal with this change? What kind of behavior are you hoping to alter by making a change this big?

CCP Rise: There's a few different pieces to it. I've actually been thinking about the best way to talk about this because it has goals coming from a few different directions. One of them that's actually really important is just that cynos on their own have been in this really inflexible place where we don't have the usual leverage to balance them. They are sort of separate from the way balance works in a lot of other areas. If you think of other powerful, really powerful abilities to influence large scale fights -- influence small scale fights -- something like dictor bubbles for instance. They're class-confined, they're expensive, they have a clear set of levers and trade-offs that we can use to find a good place for them in balance.

Cynos don't have that. Cynos have been, for some reason, even though its one of the most powerful abilities we can give a ship, they have complete free reign to use whatever cost risk they want and whatever survivability and sort of tactical application they want. So, things like using interceptors is possible. Things using titans or FAX that can't be killed is possible. And that's just super problematic. I've been talking with people at player events or internally for years and years about how this is an issue. So that's one thing. Is just get them into a sensible place that looks like how we have other powerful abilities in the game balance. That's a big goal.

Second thing, which is something we talked about more in the post, is that part of "Chaos Era" and part of the current strategy is just be more disruptive. Especially for supercap umbrellas, especially for capital game play in general. Make it harder, give better risk/reward trade-offs, make it more dynamic.

Cynos are a huge piece of that. There could have been tons of options for that goal on its own. That's a big thing I'm seeing in feedback. If you just wanted to hit the response time for capitals to PvEers, there would have been other alternatives. That's actually totally true, and we considered a lot of those. But then the last goal, or the last big area goal, is what Hilmar talked about with you guys a ton the last time he was on here. I'm just going to take the opportunity to read his direct quote, which is:

"We want you on your toes. We want you to feel like the blanket is being pulled out from under your feet every single week. Your heart rate is going up. You need to take stress medicine to keep focused."

While that didn't on its own drive -- that's not why we made a change to cynos -- but that's why we chose a really extreme solution. Is that the overall strategic goal right now is to lean towards bigger changes, lean towards more disruption. And so, with all those combined, we wind up with this change.

And as far as behavior we expect to change, that's another whole complicated question. There's parts of it are pretty easy to anticipate. The simplest one is that we don't want Rorquals to be able to cyno freely a fleet in to defend them anytime they are attacked. It's pretty obvious that won't be possible now. You'll either have to have an alt there that is vulnerable to being killed, or a friend. Hopefully not an alt. So that behavior definitely changes.

But when you start talking about how escalations work, or how logistics work, it's much harder to say exactly what will happen or what we expect or want. I think mostly we want a shifting meta where people have to solve these problems and where we have new things we have to figure out and fix afterwards. 
I may transcribe one or two more of CCP Rise's answers to some of the questions asked. I thought the interview with CCP Rise was better and more informative than the one conducted with Hilmar back in July. Given some of what I'm reading and hearing, I think I may want to do so just so I have something to link back to.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Novator Partners, Hilmar Pétursson Invest In Lockwood Publishing

I thought with the sale of CCP Games to Pearl Abyss, I was finished writing about Novator Partners. The English private corporation, owned by Iceland's richest man, Thor Bjorgolfsson, specializes in telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and financial services.  Novator was also the largest investor in CCP Games, with the Icelandic game company being one of the few assets Thor retained following his bankruptcy as a result of his role in the Icelandic banking collapse in 2008.

According to published reports, Novator is back in the gaming business. Lockwood Publishing, makers of the social mobile game Avakin Life, recently completed a round of investment funding which disclosed some interesting investors. In addition to Novator, CCP Games' current CEO, Hilmar Pétursson, also invested in the company. According to Gameindustry.biz, Former Unity CEO and co-founder David Helgason was also named at chairman of the board. Pocketgamer.biz reported that Helgason invested additional money on top of his initial investment made in 2017.

What is Avakin Life? From the little I know, it looks like Second Life. The description on the Avakin Life website:
Avakin life is free to play 3D mobile app with a huge online virtual community where you can customise your avatar with the hottest fashion trends and hairstyles, make friends, chat, customise your own apartments, visit amazing social spots, listen to your favourite music and own the dance floor with hundreds of dances and poses right at your fingertips!
I was looking for a video to explain Avakin Life more. I think the video for the official Avakin Life YouTube channel might explain the game best.


I'm not advertising the game, as I not only do my best to avoid all things Facebook, but urge everyone else to do the same. But I do think that the largest institutional and individual shareholders in CCP Games before the sale to Pearl Abyss, a studio known for producing a hardcore sandbox MMORPG, putting their money into a studio that produces a social, Second Life-type game is quite amusing. Then again, with over 1 million daily average users, I can't really blame them.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Making EVE A More Dangerous Place - August 2019 Edition

Once again, CCP is shaking up the sandbox we call EVE Online. Some may call the recent round of changes "The Chaos Era", but that's just marketing talk. I'd call the moves a correction for some changes made over the course of time. Every so often, MMORPG developers evaluate the direction of a game and nerf some things. EVE is no different. What some players may consider different is that the devs are bringing change to all parts of the game.

High sec experienced a change Tuesday with the introduction of Triglavian recon ships roaming outside of invasion zones in high sec. Fortunately for high sec dwellers, Triglavian recon ships are not the same as the tech 2 cruisers capsuleers fly.

Damaviks are Triglavian frigates for those unfamiliar with the terminology. The two plain recon ships will bring DPS while the others are set up for logistics (Renewing), energy neutralization (Starving), and sensor damping (Blinding). Just be careful because, unlike normal belt rats, the Triglavian AI will target drones if the ship does not present a big enough threat. But with no Anchoring Recons present, players are free to just warp off. Assuming they are not AFK.

Triglavians Ate My Drones
Apparently, botters are not happy the Triglavians like to attack drones. The above post was from a disgruntled Orca botter who, while he didn't lose his ship to the Triglavians, lost all his drones as the bot released combat drones in order to take care of the threat. The Triglavian recon ships basically ate his drones for breakfast. Now, he refuses to undock and bot until the bot maker releases a new version that handles the situation. But is that any reason to call the Triglavians names?

Also on Tuesday, CCP Rise announced on Twitter a change long requested by players in factional warfare.

Back in the Into The Abyss expansion in May 2018, CCP removed the ability of ships fit with warp core stabilizers to enter factional warfare complexes. Those pilots wishing to have the effect of the WCS would then fly the Venture, which has a built-in +2 bonus to warp core strength. Instead of nerfing the ship's bonuses, CCP is making a change next month to the ship's ability to capture FW complexes. Hopefully, we will find out in CCP Rise's interview on Talking In Stations if the change will lock the Venture out of complexes. I imagine not, as large FW complexes do not have acceleration gates.

The final bit of news affects both low and null security space. I imagine null sec will see the biggest change in everyday game play. CCP Rise posted yesterday on the official forums:
This September we are planning two large changes for Cynosural Fields:
  • Cynosural Field Generator I can only be fit by Force Recon Ships and Black Ops Battleships (note: these classes can still fit covert cynos)
  • Jump Freighters can jump to Covert Cynosural Fields
During this era of chaos we are eager to introduce new challenges for veteran pilots while working towards a deeper and more balanced capital meta. Historically, cynos have been extremely flexible. They can be used on flocks of alts at nearly no risk or used by the largest and strongest ships in the game. With few options for cyno disruption, capital response time and power has grown to the point that it’s oppressing activity. This change will make it more complex and demanding to get capitals to the field quickly and give more strategic options for those wishing to disrupt capital response.

While most of the impact from this change is on combat, we are sensitive to the effect on Jump Freighters and logistics overall. Jump Freighters will be allowed to use Covert Cynos which can be activated by cheaper hulls like Covert Ops Frigates. This may need further attention and we will be watching this area very closely.

Fly safe o/
I wouldn't consider the cyno change an element of chaos so much as fixing a problem introduced in the expansion of the Alpha skill set in December 2017. In addition to giving free-to-play characters the ability to fly battlecruisers and battleships and train into pirate faction ships, CCP made what I consider a mistake. The change of the level of CPU Management an Alpha could use from level 4 to level 5 meant Alpha characters could now fit a Cynosural Field Generator I.

Oh good. Free cyno alts for everyone. Yes, CCP set up a system that prevented Alpha and Omega accounts from running on the same computer. I've even accidentally tested the feature. However, the feature doesn't work if a player uses multiple computers. VPNs anyone? Considering how often, and for how long, the problem has appeared on the EVE Online sub-Reddit, I think I'm safe mentioning the exploit. Also, since it is an exploit, DON'T DO IT!

UPDATE: Alphas cannot train Cynosural Field Theory. All the change meant was that you didn't need to be subscribed in order to train CPU Management to 5.

Perhaps I'm a bit too cynical. The change does give Force Recons and Black Ops battleships a required role, especially in null sec. After all, the blackout gave a boost to Combat Recon ships, so why not give a couple of other ship classes some love? I'm not sure how much the change will affect Rorquals. Sure, they won't fit cynos themselves, but with the panic module timer, can a group get the proper ship into position to light a cyno in time to save the huge ship if it comes under attack?

Some would say a nerf to the Rorqual's abiltiy to protect itself by lighting its own cyno would help correct another problem. When the ship was massively buffed in the Ascension expansion (which also introduced Alpha accounts) in November 2016, many players pointed out how overpowered the Rorqual became. CCP has steadily nerfed the ship ever since.

I guess I should also mention that the price of cyno ships will go up tremendously, as tech 2 cruisers and battleships are not cheap. Expect cargo transportation prices to go up accordingly.

The above are just my thoughts on the current and upcoming changes. I thought I should put my thoughts down now as Matterall is interviewing CCP Rise today for the Talking in Stations podcast, with the release probably tomorrow. This way, we can see how wrong (or right) I really am before hearing the official answers to everyone's questions.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

EVE Online Financial Performance In Relation To Other Games

A long-standing meme amongst EVE Online players is that EVE is dying. But a funny thing happened when Pearl Abyss purchased CCP. We now get to see how well the EVE IP is performing financially. Since Pearl Abyss breaks out financial information by intellectual property, we get to see how well (or poorly) EVE Online is doing, at least until the mobile game EVE: Echoes launches.
Q2 2019 earnings from the NCSoft

I saw Jason Winter, a games journalist who currently writes for, among other places, MMOBomb.com, tweeting about the revenues for Guild Wars 2 and EVE. I've followed Jason's work since his Gamebreaker days and thought I'd take his idea in a slightly different direction. Instead of comparing casual vs hard core games, how about revenue generated by games run by two Korean companies.

I took all of the NCSoft games, with the exception of Lineage, and converted their revenue from the Korean won to the U.S. dollar. That might give some idea of the health of EVE, right?

EVE vs NCSoft (minus Lineage)
Yes, EVE only beats Aion in revenue for the first half of 2019. But I can't help but think if CCP and NetEase had managed to get Serenity up and running in China again, EVE would actually beat Guild Wars 2's performance. If anyone had said that, outside of China, EVE was performing financially as well as GW2, would anyone have believed that statement?

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Pearl Abyss Q2 2019 Investors Call

In Pearl Abyss' Quarter 2 investors call held Friday morning, the developer of Black Desert Online announced record revenues for the second consecutive quarter. Operating profit jumped 212.6% in Q2 over Q1, and 3.8% over Q2 2018. Net profit also jumped 266% quarter-over-quarter, but fell 1.1% compared to Q2 2018.


Pearl Abyss credited a couple of developments for their increased revenue. In May, the company took over direct publishing of Black Desert Online in Korea. Since taking over the publishing duties, the number of daily users from Korea has doubled. The company also mentioned the introduction of the Shai class as another reason.

On mobile, Pearl Abyss continues to see greater penetration into the Japanese market, which apparently is unusual for a Korean mobile game. One of the analysts on the call questioned the strength of the game in South Korea, but PA claimed steady revenue from the game and that any slippage in game rankings is due to new games jumping up upon initial hype.

The jump in profits came from two main sources. The first was the drop off in advertising by 49% in Q2 as Q1 saw marketing pushes for Black Desert Mobile in Japan and the introduction of Black Desert Online on the XBox One. The second was in labor expenses. While employee headcount increased to 1,074 in Q2, the first quarter saw the payout of ₩ 9.4 billion ($775,000) in incentive payments. While not reporting on the number of employees at CCP as they had the past two quarters, PA reported that 635 of their employees are actual game developers and not support personal. In reply to an analyst's question, PA indicated they planned to continue to hire additional staff.


Pearl Abyss also reported growth in all IPs. EVE Online saw an increase of 3% in revenues over Q1, growing by ₩400 million ($330,000). When Pearl Abyss looks at their business, they do so by intellectual property. If everything goes according to plan, EVE Online will see its revenue added to by the upcoming mobile game EVE Echoes. The status of the Singularity server in China was not addressed. According to one of the analysts on the call, NetEase is putting a lot of effort into getting Echoes published.

Pearl Abyss also mentioned EVE: Aether Wars a few times during the call. Currently, PA is interested in game engine development, with all it's upcoming games using a newer engine than the one that runs Black Desert Online. PA not only indicated it liked CCP's efforts with Hadean to improve, but if successful could lead to a spin-off game. PA also left the impression it would like to use the technology in all its upcoming games.

EVE Echoes is not the only game under development for one of the existing IPs. Pearl Abyss also plans on introducing a battle royale game, Shadow Arena, to the market. The company stated it would show game play for the title sometime this year. In a related note, PA is also bringing BDO to the Playstation 4 on 23 August. PA claimed that sales of the PS4 version are up 30% over the XBox One version at the same time in the launch schedule.

Pearl Abyss has three yet unnamed IPs that the analysts were very interested to learn more about. The first is Project K, an online shooter under development led by a team headed by Counterstrike creator Minh Le. The next is Project V, a game described as a casual title.


The third IP is new and had all the analysts on the call asking questions. All Pearl Abyss would acknowledge is it is an online role playing game. While CCP has job openings listed for an unnamed MMO, the impression left from the call is that Pearl Abyss is developing its own engine and not making a move to Unreal Engine 4.

For all three projects, Pearl Abyss declined to give more details than those already announced. PA indicated they would announce more details when the projects were closer to launch.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The EVE Online Blackout: PLEX Trading In The Forge

So far, I've looked at ratting activity in regions held by the game's major powers and overall kill numbers to evaluate how the implementation of delayed local in null sec has affected EVE Online. At the end of the day, CCP is a business and needs to make money. While players do not have access to financial information concerning the game outside the quarterly Pearl Abyss investor calls, we do have access to player-to-player trading information concerning CCP's main real money trading currency: the PLEX.


The PLEX, or 30 Day CONCORD License Extension, is a virtual currency sold by CCP and authorized third-party PLEX resellers that is redeemable for items such as Omega game time, multiple character training, and items such as SKINs and skill extractors from the in-game New Eden Store. Players may also choose to trade the item on the in-game markets for EVE's main currency, the Interstellar Kredit. Since a lot of players choose to purchase ISK with their real life wallets instead of playing the game to obtain ISK, we can get a sense of direction of PLEX sales. Are they going up? Or are they going down?


A look at the amount of ISK players are using to purchase PLEX from other players might lend the idea that CCP is making a lot more money from PLEX sales in 2019 vs 2018. Apart from January, players have visited The Forge, the location of New Eden's main trade hub, and traded more ISK for PLEX every month.

But looking at the amount of ISK traded is deceiving. Looking at the amount of PLEX traded, one sees large drop-offs in the daily amount of PLEX traded for ISK. Since players are handing over real world currency to CCP for PLEX, one can infer, but not conclusively state, CCP is not making as much money from microtransactions like PLEX sales in 2019 as it did in 2018.

One of the problems facing CCP is the devaluation of the ISK against both the U.S. dollar and the euro. In the chart above, while the units are labeled in USD, the exact same figures apply to the euro.
Theoretically, as players become older, they want to buy bigger toys to play with. Or, in the case of EVE, bigger ships with fancier fittings. But if the price of ISK, after converting from PLEX, is a lot less, CCP doesn't make as much money, even if the player is purchasing more ISK on the in-game markets than before. In May, we saw the ISK fall in value 32.8% compared to May 2018.

Following the launch of the Invasion expansion and follow-up changes to EVE, the ISK in July had rebounded 13% in value against both the dollar and euro. However, in the same time, the daily amount of PLEX traded in The Forge dropped by 5.9%. From May to July 2018, the PLEX amount traded stayed flat.

Of course, CCP conducted a large amount of sales in 2018 leading up to the sale of CCP to Pearl Abyss in September 2018. The sales stopped shortly thereafter. So we may need to wait until September to see the true effects of the Invasion expansion and the null sec communications blackout. Assuming, of course, CCP doesn't rescind the blackout in the next major software release.

Friday, August 2, 2019

The EVE Online Blackout: Player Activity June vs July

I'll admit that some of the claims made by CCP's CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson and CCP's Senior Community Manager CCP Falcon in the interview on the Talking in Stations podcast left me scratching my head. My first look at activity was how major player blocs were affected in 5 major regions. In particular, I looked at ratting numbers. With the arrival of August, I now have the numbers for July. After reviewing the data, I think my previous judgments on the effects of the changes to local in null sec were a bit too pessimistic.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Taxman Cometh

I know that CCP would like everyone to use the phrase "Chaos Era", but I don't see the chaos yet. Plus, if the development of EVE goes sideways over the next few months, players may begin using the term to describe the developers and not the game. In order to avoid the low-hanging fruit, I'll practice using more descriptive, but wordier, terminology.

One change that is long overdue is an increase in taxes in New Eden. Before getting into some history, first let's look at the lore. Leading up to the announced change, Triglavian invasions of high sec had led to a shortage of Quantum-Entangled 4-Helium to run the FTL communications network and talk of InnerBus ceasing operations into null sec. CONCORD held an emergency summit over the weekend and decided it needed more money.
Yulai, Genesis – Substantially increased tax and broker fees are to be levied on interstellar market transactions by the Secure Commerce Commission, following today's passage in the CONCORD Assembly of the "New Eden Defense Fund Act YC121" (NEDFA). SCC markets will see base transaction tax increase from 2.00% to 5.00%, while the base brokerage fee will rise from 3.00% to 5.00%.

While the core empires supported the New Eden Defense Fund Act's goals, they were keen to arrive at a means of raising the funds that would spread the load across the New Eden economy and focused on interstellar trade taxes as a means to achieve this. Welcoming the passage of the NEDFA legislation, the DED's Star Marshal Kjersidur Elladall was again keen to emphasize that funding for capsuleer loyalty programs and improved training will be maintained due to the contributions to New Eden's defense of capsuleer fighters.

Capsuleer efforts in the struggle against the Triglavians have been acknowledged with preferential tax and brokerage levels made possible through skilled accounting and the continuing benefit of collecting broker fees when operating Upwell structures. Improvements to the SCC tax code will allow efficient accounting and brokerage negotiations to gain improved savings relative to the increased base tax and fess. However, minimum tax and brokerage fees will still be above levels currently achievable through skilled accountancy and good relations with market operators.
I have to admit getting a chuckle out of the last sentence of the main article.
The Scope understands that the SCC will run market stability simulations imminently and plans to implement the new tax and brokerage fee regime within days.
That's lore-speak for, "We've put the changes on the test server and plan to roll them out with the next content release," which I believe is 13 August.

While CCP hit us with the stick of tax increases, the lore team earlier had teased players with the prospect of receiving goodies as well.
AEGIS Provost Marshal Kasiha Valkanir reiterated in her statements to the Assembly the importance of survival technology for military personnel, advocating augmentation and personality backup wherever feasible. The DED's Star Marshal Kjersidur Elladall emphasized the importance of continuing to support capsuleer efforts through loyalty programs and support for accelerated training for those combating threats such as the Triglavians and Drifters.
I'm not really sure that the implementation of tax increases, combined with a new loyalty point store that may include cerebral accelerators, constitutes chaos. CCP Ytterbium floated the idea of higher taxes in NPC stations back in 2016.
Market: markets currently have two taxes, transaction's tax, applied for sold items, and broker's fee for non immediate orders, which are set at 1.5% and 1% respectively. To create an environment more competitive for Citadels, we plan on increasing the transaction tax to 2.5% and the broker's fee to 5-6%. Players trading in citadels will still receive the transaction tax, but the broker's fee will be at the complete discretion of the owner. To avoid confusion for the owner, the broker relations skill will not affect player set broker's fee in Citadels.
Those changes never took place, thus resulting in a decrease in EVE's ISK sinks as trade moved from NPC stations to the new player-owned citadels. CCP didn't go as far as the original trial balloon, but they came close.
Changes to sales taxes and broker fees:
  • Maximum Sales Tax increase from 2% to 5%.
  • Minimum Sales Tax increase from 1% to 2.25%.
  • Maximum Brokers Fee increase for NPC stations from 3% to 5%.
  • Double the total maximum taxation from 5% to 10%.
  • Increased total minimum taxation on NPC structures from 3% to 5.25%.
  • Increase the minimum taxation on player owned structures by 125% from 1% to 2.25%.
At the same time, the tax associated skills Accounting and Broker Relations are receiving buffs.
Changes to tax associated skills:
  • Accounting – Increase in reduction of sales tax from 10% per level to 11% per level.
  • Brokers Relations – Increase in reduction of costs associated with setting up a market order from 0.1% per level to 0.3% per level.
The total benefit from skills will increase from 2% (current benefit) to 4.75%, which translates to a total tax reduction (including standings benefits) of 47.5% instead of the current 40%.
While many on the forums are decrying the fact the changes will shift trade to player-run stations, those using masses of Alpha accounts to conduct trading may see the biggest hits. Alpha characters can only train Broker Relations to level 2. Accounting? Training the Accounting skill requires Trade IV, and Alpha characters can only train the skill to 3.

I have the feeling that CCP has had a change of heart concerning Alpha accounts in general, and the expansion of Alpha clone skills back in November 2017 in particular. In addition to moves like limiting Alpha accounts to level 3 and under missions, CCP nerfed the Alpha drone skill set while rebalancing the Vexor Navy Issue to discourage the cruiser's use as an AFK ratting platform.
We are also planning a set of targeted changes to somewhat reduce the levels of drone skills available to alpha clones. These changes are focused on our ongoing anti-botting efforts, since large scale parallelized farming of nullsec anomalies with alpha clones is a popular tactic among botters. Our planned changes to the alpha clone skill caps are:
  • Reducing Heavy Drone Operation from level IV to level III
  • Reducing Medium Drone Operation from level V to level IV
  • Reducing Drone Interfacing from level IV to level III
After these changes alpha clone characters will still be able to use drones quite effectively, but their total damage per second will be reduced compared to its current levels. Alpha clones will also no longer have access to Tech Two and 'Augmented' medium drones, although they will still be able to use Navy Faction and 'Integrated' medium drones.
Just as changes like blackout and the VNI rebalance affected botters in null sec, I can't help but think the tax changes will affect market bots in Jita, especially those utilizing throw-a-way Alpha accounts.

I'm still not convinced that a "Chaos Age" has come to EVE Online. When we are talking about long-discussed issues like taxes and fees in the Citadel era, I don't see anything radical happening in New Eden. All I see is the developers attempting to correct problems in the economy, just like they've talked about for awhile now. We are just seeing the results of those efforts.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Another Look At Blackout Maps - 3 Weeks In



I have to admit, the Talking in Stations interview with CCP's CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson, CCP's Senior Community Manager CCP Falcon, and CCP Goodfella, Senior Brand Manager of EVE Online, left me scratching my head almost immediately. According to Hilmar, EVE Online had experienced it's best daily active user (DAU) and monthly active user (MAU) in five years. But when I looked at Eve-Offline.net, I saw that the average number of users had declined from 22,000 during June down to 20,000 over the last two weeks. Something isn't quite right.

Everyone seems to jump on the PvP activity bandwagon with the communications blackout. The impression I get is, if you like to PvE, "Suck it up, buttercup. Harden the fuck up, or go back to high sec." And that impression isn't just from players. I was left with the impression that PvE players don't really count.

I shouldn't really take too much offense. I don't live in null sec, after all. But I was interested in how blackout affected PvE, since Hilmar ducked the question when asked about the subject near the beginning of the interview. What follows is a look at five regions owned by major coalitions: Dead Coalition, Legacy, Winter, PanFam, and the Imperium. On 7 July, the final Sunday before the blackout began, players killed over 2 million NPCs in these five regions. What I found might surprise some people.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

A Low Effort Day

Yesterday I went in for a surgery to take care of a sinus problem. Apparently I max'd when I should have min'd and I'm out of work until next Tuesday. The doctor prescribing a narcotic kind of lends to not going into work.

I wasn't really in shape to sit in a chair until late last night. But I had an incentive to log into EVE. Not just log into the client to receive the final cerebral accelerator from the first 7 day givaway, but to do the first day of Skilling Spree as well.

I have three accounts with characters I want to advance. The problem is, I don't fly a lot of combat ships. The first pilot I logged into, Rosewalker, usually splits his time between Stratios and Cheetahs, depending on how I feel. Fortunately, I was in the Sisters' cruiser, so I could just go out and kill one rat and receive 10,000 skill points. I flew over to a system that usually is quiet, warped to a belt, dropped a flight of sentries, and dropped two cruiser rats within a minute. Flew back. Easy peasy.

Next, I logged into Wandering Rose. I was going to swap over from her Procurer to the Stiletto I use to create bookmarks and pop a rat in a belt. Only one problem. No ammunition. So I hopped into the third ship in the station, a Prowler, and went to pick up a ship in high sec. Also, to transfer a ship to my third account.

The Jaguar is a ship I love to fly, and I had one in the station. I hopped in the Thukker-designed ship and went looking for rats to shoot, not only for Wandering Rose, but for the third account as well. An abandoned mining complex was in the system, and I found it full of targets. A Jaguar is more than a match for a handful of high sec rats, but I only killed one because I needed targets for my third account.

I logged in the last account and planned to transfer over an Arbitrator to use. Only one problem. Wandering Rose didn't have an Arbitrator in the station. Also, the event my non-combat account received was to kill five rats to collect 25,000 skill points.

I thought to myself, "Isn't the Skiff a better drone boat anyway?" Not only does the Skiff have bonused drones (50% bonus to drone damage and hit points), but a battleship-class tank as well. So I just undocked the Skiff, warped to the site, and allowed the rats to try to gank me. Stupid NPCs. The fact the combat occurred in a mining related site was an amusing end to my play session.

I'm feeling better today, but I'm still not sure I want to do much more in EVE than get my skill points over the next couple of days. Something about not wanting to lose a ship while under the influence. Although, if I pick my fights right, I shouldn't lose my ship to any rats. Killing a rat in low sec though? What can go wrong?