Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Preparing For My First Themepark Expansion Experience

I've had very few chances to play an MMORPG expansion at launch when I was at the end game. Sentinel's Fate in EverQuest II. Rise of the Hut Cartel in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Heart of Thorns in Guild Wars 2. And I guess I need to add The Burning Crusade in World of Warcraft. But by the time the expansions rolled around, I was off playing other games. 

Friday is different. Early access for Final Fantasy XIV's Endwalker expansion is Friday and I reached the end of the main story questline months ago. Not only am I at level 80 as a white mage, I also have scholar and summoner at max level as well. My crafting and harvesting classes are all at level 80 and my equipment, when not best in slot, is close. In other words, I'm ready to join the stampede toward the new content.

I've played MMORPGs for over 16 years and written about them for almost 13, so I know everything won't go smoothly. Spending hours in a login queue is almost assured. Bugs are guaranteed. But 12 years of EVE Online expansions has let me know to prepare as best I can for the changes in game mechanics. The best way to do that is to read the patch notes.

For example, the first thing I do won't involve adventuring. Instead, I will begin crafting. According to the patch notes:

Players above level 80 will receive a maximum of 1,000 EXP when submitting items to the House of Splendors or Ishgardian Restoration.

That means I have one more level of nice experience point gains for turn-ins. I spent Tuesday making sure I had enough materials to make 30 items for each crafting class to turn in. I'm going to stock up on the scrips from the Ishardian Restoration at the same time I reach level 81 in each crafting class. After all, the true endgame of FFXIV is glamour, and I'll be able to stock up on really good dyes.

Another trick I plan to use is using levequests to raise my fishing from 80 to 81. My retainers keep catching fish for levequests, so I plan to use up my allotment of 100 levequests on fishing. Once I ding 81, I'll stop.

I have also spent a lot of time cooking in preparation for the expansion. My plan is to have 30 hours worth of food each for my white mage, crafting classes, and gathering classes. The 3% XP and stats boosts will help a lot until I can make better food.

Everything doesn't just revolved around crafting. Final Fantasy XIV has alternative currencies players use to access high level gear. Every expansion, the expansion specific currencies from the previous expansion can be exchanged for Tomestones of Poetics. I have acquired the maximum number of Tomestones of Allegory I can carry as well as a fair amount of Tomestones of Revelation. Not only does that mean I can complete my item level 520 set for white mage, I'll be able to buy most of a set of gear for summoner as well.

I'm waiting until just before the 24-hour downtime before doing tasks that will free up inventory slots, such as manually downgrading certain high quality items and either breaking down or turning in all my belts. Then I am going to find a nice spot in Ishgard to log out in and wait until Friday.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

CCP Changes More December Patch Plans

For those waiting for a dev blog detailing all the upcoming industry changes, expect a lengthy wait. CCP Psych made another post on the EVE Online forums listing alterations to previous announced changes. I understand the structure of CCP Psych's, but I think he buried the lede. I will address the topics in the post in the following order: R4 moons, planetary interaction changes, and ship changes.

First, the changes to R4 moons. The materials extracted from the lowest class of moon are called Ubiquitous Moon Ores.

After some lengthy conversations we have decided for this release to withdraw ALL changes to Ubiquitous Moon Ores in relation to their refined materials. This means they will retain their current Pyerite and Mexallon quantities and their extraction rate will be doubled as per all other moons.

We still plan to remove all basic minerals from all moons, and we will reevaluate options during or after the compression update.

The next subject is PI materials. As someone who set up PI farms in low sec, I really appreciate the next change.

We still plan to make adjustments to PI as per our plans to reduce manufacturing costs (more on the Winter Outlook blog, coming out soon™) and we are currently considering the reduction of volume for materials of ALL PI tiers.

I really hope this isn't a tease.

Finally, the changes to ships.

All ships that had the specialized ore hold will now see a Mining Hold where all mine-able resources can be stored. The new Ore, Ice and Gas specialized holds are added to hauling ships as per the original plan.

I have to admit I never tried to haul gas around in my Orca, so I don't know if their ore holds could already carry gas. I do know that the Prospect's ore hold would hold gas already. The Hoarder, Kryos, and Primae will still receive their planned modifications:

  • Hoarder: gets a 30k gas hold and relevant bonus
  • Kryos: gets a 30k ice hold and relevant bonus
  • Primae: gets a 10k ice hold and 10k gas hold

Mining barges and exhumers will receive an increase in mining hold capacity.

Ore hold changes

On a personal note, I like the 33% increase in the Procurer's ore capacity. I could have used it so much when I mined in low sec.

Again, I want to record all the changes to document CCP's reaction to the backlash from the player base over their proposed changes. One of the purposes of the Council of Stellar Management is to act as a feedback group so bad ideas don't see the light of day and make CCP look bad. Some devs take advantage of having a group under an NDA. Some don't. Whoever was in charge of the latest effort obviously didn't utilize the group. I'll end with a quote from the MMORPG interview with CCP Rattati I examined two weeks ago.

“It’s been a long road,” EVE’s Director of Product Snorri “CCP Rattati” Árnason said in response to whether or not the dev team expected this kind of reaction. “I think the expectation for many people was that we’re going back to what it used to be, like literally used to be.”

Árnason continues, stating that the team could feel there would be some pushback, as they were already getting “premonitions” from the Council of Stellar Management, or CSM, which is a player-elected player council that works as a liaison between CCP Games and the community at large. Brand Manager Sæmundur Hermannsson echoed this, stating that there were varying beliefs as well as to what the end of scarcity would actually mean.

“Everybody in the community has a different opinion of what [the] end of scarcity meant. And now it’s the end, and for some people it’s a total anticlimax as they had just a different expectation as far as what it had meant.” [emphasis mine]

If CCP is going to have a group like the CSM, the least they can do is take the feedback seriously.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Putting Star Citizen's Latest Ship Sale Into Perspective

Cloud Imperium Games is currently holding its biggest ship sale of the year, the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo 2951. Running until 1 December at 2000 GMT, I would call the event a financial success for CIG. I'd like to just give some scale to the success of the event.

The CIG funding page after nine days of the ship sale

Through the first nine days of the event, CIG sold $15.3 million worth of ships and starter packages. Over 60,000 accounts were created during that time. In EVE Online, shows only 33,110 characters were created during the same nine day period. As for revenue, the $15.3 million in sales generated in nine days exceeded the $15 million in combined revenue for both EVE Online and EVE Echoes posted in the 92 days of the third quarter of 2021.

Just a quick update since I typed those words last night. As of the time this article was posted, the ship sale had pulled in another $1 million. I'll give a full update after the ship sale ends, but the money making machine that is Star Citizen continues to roll on.

Friday, November 26, 2021

When CCP Falls Too In Love With An Idea

Sometimes CCP falls in love with an idea even if the players show how much they hate the feature. The latest example is the use of tier 1 processed materials (P1) from planetary interaction in capital and super-capital ship construction. Players hate transporting the materials around due to the tremendous bulk of water.

Today CCP Psych posted the latest change to moon mining:

CCP is replacing basic ores in R4 moons with P1 planetary interaction material. I think I see why. By removing the basic ore, players are less likely to care about mining R4 moons. Thus, to replace the basic ore, the developers decided to use the P1 materials required for construction of EVE Online's big ships. Simple, right?

How does adding P1 materials to R4 moons address the true issue of the difficulty of moving so much P1 material around? The most charitable interpretation I can think of is CCP believes a big part of the pain is the transport costs of moving the P1 materials from the planetary surface to the customs office orbiting the planet. By having R4 moons supply P1 materials, the customs office is removed from the equation.

Still, one of the reasons players initially looked forward to the current quadrant was the ability to compress moon ore for easier shipment. Easier logistics is a common theme for player wishes. Let players compress ore in order to move minerals around easier. Remove, or at least significantly reduce, the requirement for P1 materials in manufacturing to reduce the number of freighters required to move materials around. Instead, CCP is adding a non-compressible material to R4 moons that players already hate moving around. Does this really make sense, or am I missing something?

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The October 2021 Monthly Economic Report: The Velocity Of ISK

With the recent debut of the fourth quadrant of 2021, New Dawn: The Age Of Prosperity, many players believed that the Scarcity Era in EVE Online would end in December. The quadrant announcement stated that CCP would shift to the next phase of its grand plan to fix the EVE economy, the Redistribution Phase:

In this phase, the location of the Healthy Range limits will be declared, and then the necessary changes to place the income within that range will be made. As it is not a static state, there are many moving parts and attributes that establish this range and their relative contribution.

Unfortunately, one of those metrics, ISK velocity, is about to drop even lower. In the latest Pulse video, CCP included a brief blurb about the October 2021 Monthly Economic Report (MER):

While the Mineral Price Index drops, the performance of the mining sector continues to be strong. Mining volume is the higest seen since July 2019. Acquisition of commodities, especially Sleeper components, has steadied but remains high, remaining at a similar level to bounty prizes. 

The recent increase in the transaction tax has seen a tripling of the primary ISK sink, and analysis suggest this will slow ISK velocity in the coming months. [emphasis mine]

What is ISK velocity and why should anyone care? The velocity of ISK is a measurement of the rate at which money is exchanged between players in New Eden. In a real world economy, the velocity of money is calculated by dividing a country's gross national product by the total money supply. EVE Online, being a video game, is a bit different. In EVE, the velocity of ISK is the amount of sales over the past 30 days (found in the IskVolume.csv file) divided by the average amount of ISK in the money supply over the past 30 days (found in the MoneySupply.csv file).

I won't go into the details of the MER, because the calculations using the data in the MER files does not match up with the Velocity of ISK graph. The trend, however, is the same. 

Since 2019, the ISK velocity has steadily trended downwards. Why is the downward trend a concern? Investopedia has an explanation.

The velocity of money is important for measuring the rate at which money in circulation is being used for purchasing goods and services. It is used to help economists and investors gauge the health and vitality of an economy. High money velocity is usually associated with a healthy, expanding economy. Low money velocity is usually associated with recessions and contractions...

Economies that exhibit a higher velocity of money relative to others tend to be more developed. The velocity of money is also known to fluctuate with business cycles. When an economy is in an expansion, consumers and businesses tend to more readily spend money causing the velocity of money to increase. When an economy is contracting, consumers and businesses are usually more reluctant to spend and the velocity of money is lower.

In a video game, an additional factor is players leaving the game and basically deleting their wealth from the game world when they log off for the last time. Over time, in a declining game like EVE, players leaving is the largest long-term money sink in the game. If everything works, if both the money supply and economic activity stays proportional to the size of the player base, then the velocity of money within a game's economy should remain the same. But according to the graph in the October MER, the ISK velocity in New Eden has trended down since late 2018.

Another factor that separates EVE from real world economies is the influence of the game company itself. Some game companies chase after metrics like monthly active users (MAU). One way to do that is offer events to attract players to play the game at least once a month. With the way the money supply is determined by CCP, as long as the account logs in once every thirty days, the ISK on that account is not considered to have left the game. Instead of being a measure of economic activity, the velocity of ISK can become a measure of player engagement. Sure, the MAU and DAU (daily active user) counts may be high, but are players actually playing the game? Or is a large percentage of the user base simply logging in for the latest login reward?

For now, though, CCP in my opinion committed a messaging blunder, giving the sub-title for the fourth Quadrant, "The Age of Prosperity". Although the "From Extraction to Production" dev blog did not promise greater individual wealth, many players believed brighter days were just around the corner. But with a prognostication of the ISK velocity continuing to decline over the coming months, don't expect such results anytime soon.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Star Citizen And Squadron 42 Pass $400 Million In Sales

Earlier today, Cloud Imperium Games' passed $400 million in sales for the two games it is developing, Star Citizen and Squadron 42.

The Intergalactic Aerospace Expo 2951 is currently underway, having begun yesterday and running to 1 December. During the event, people can try Star Citizen for free. In addition, everyone can try out all the ships available in the game. 

The Intergalactic Aerospace Expo is the biggest ship sale of the year for Star Citizen players. Some ships are available for purchase only for a limited time, which in some cases includes limited time insurance. Sources conflict, but my general impression is that the LTI will last for 10 years after the game fully launches. An advantage of purchasing ships through the cash store is that after every server wipe in alpha and beta, players will get the ships back. No necessity to earn credits to repurchase ships through in-game activities after a server wipe for those who open up their real world wallets.

Overall, CIG has raised $520 million since 2012 according to information published by the company. In addition to the funding page, the below list includes information from the 2019 financials report.

  • Pledges/Counter (thru today) - $400.4 million
  • Subscriptions (thru Dec 2019) - $18.1 million
  • Other Income (thru Dec 2019) - $38.3 million
  • Outside Investment (thru Dec 2019) - $63.25 million

Personally, I expect the funding page to exceed $410 million by the end of the event. I thought I should record the milestone before I forget.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

CCP Rattati's MMORPG Interview About The End Of The Scarcity Era

Today MMORPG published an interview with CCP Rattati going over player reaction to the latest changes to EVE Online announced in Friday's dev blog, "From Extraction To Production". I think CCP made quite a few communications mistakes along the way. I'll admit I am spoiled by the way Naoki Yoshida, the producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV communicates with his players about changes and issues. While CCP isn't World of Warcraft team bad, they do like to leave EVE players guessing. I think that mindset is biting CCP in uncomfortable places now.

First, if anyone thinks that the goals outlined in The EVE Online Ecosystem Outlook back in March 2020 were clear, please explain them to me. I knew that we weren't going back to the situation before Blackout, but that was all I could comfortably conclude. 

When the subject of the player reaction to the announced changes over the weekend came up, I'm not sure if the top developers were really prepared.

“It’s been a long road,” EVE’s Director of Product Snorri “CCP Rattati” Árnason said in response to whether or not the dev team expected this kind of reaction. “I think the expectation for many people was that we’re going back to what it used to be, like literally used to be.”

Árnason continues, stating that the team could feel there would be some pushback, as they were already getting “premonitions” from the Council of Stellar Management, or CSM, which is a player-elected player council that works as a liaison between CCP Games and the community at large. Brand Manager Sæmundur Hermannsson echoed this, stating that there were varying beliefs as well as to what the end of scarcity would actually mean.

“Everybody in the community has a different opinion of what [the] end of scarcity meant. And now it’s the end, and for some people it’s a total anticlimax as they had just a different expectation as far as what it had meant.”

I like the use of the word "premonition", which means, "a strong feeling that something is about to happen, especially something unpleasant." I think that's confirmation the CSM told CCP they were about to do something unpopular, if not downright dumb.

The interview identifies the Rorqual changes as a big sticking point with players. The author pointed to Dunk Dinkle's reaction post as a good explanation:

“Saddling these billion+ ISK ships with the mind-numbing task of sitting on field to compress materials painfully while a command burst cycles endlessly is just no fun at all. If fielded, a huge target for hunters, with no realistic way for the ship to earn its way into profitability.

Players who own Orcas/Rorquals are owners of ships that don’t justify their build costs. Only the safest and wealthiest areas in New Eden will see these fielded, further pushing the player meta to join only the biggest and most powerful groups, reducing diversity in corps and alliances.

So, if a player owns a Rorqual with Excavators, suck it up buttercup, you are SOL. Might not feel like the “new age of prosperity.””

This is a mindset that Hermannsson states the team knows is “perfectly understandable.”

Now for the interesting part of the interview. What did the developers think they were doing? First, we find out their intended vision of the Rorqual.

The goal though isn’t to turn the Rorqual into just a fleet boosting platform, something players are already pushing back against after reading the changes. The team is looking to make the Rorqual something more in-line with the “fantasy” the team had in their minds of this capital ship that works with its fleet to maximize its potential – and theirs.

“We have to find the purpose of Rorquals as an aspirational goal, we can’t just say all of this is worthless. And we have been working a lot on it. We wanted to give them this special compression power than only they would have, which was very coveted, it’s been talked about for a long time to give it actually more strength than that. So [compression of] gas or ice and Moon at site would be pretty awesome. We’ve also hinted at the fleet boosting or fleet jumping capability, which is kind of cool.

“But that was part of the fantasy of the Rorqual, being this kind of mothership like a carrier, bringing their ducklings around system to system, mining, ice mining, compressing for them, getting them up to speed and training and grooming them.”

 Árnason admits too that CCP understands that fans don’t simply want to be relegated to a fleet boosting role, but rather something that can create teamwork and the type of emergent gameplay EVE is famous for.

A lot of negative reaction from the changes is the matter of compression. I think people will find CCP Rattati's response informative.

“Compression was intended to be one of the most interesting [additions,]” Snorri stated. “It definitely wasn’t meant to be an oppressive thing. I think the balance here that we’re trying to strike at the time was that it was hard to…we didn’t have all the tech we needed. So it’s kind of awkward. So that added to the UX issues like dragging into the ammo, it felt interesting at the time. And they built this paradigm around it. But I think there were just issues that we ran into that hadn’t been foreseen. Like people docking in Rorquals and dragging into them was an issue that was just discovered on [Singularity], you couldn’t drag into the hold. Either we missed it in testing or we assumed that it would work. But that was an oversight.

“The timing [of compression] was meant to simply be a counterweight to going back to the station and dumping it there. So you’re gauging is it logistically sound to jump home, or do I stay here and compress? That kind of a choice in that sense. And then you factor your compression ratio to my compression ratio, do some math in your head and if you’re savvy you’re doing it better than other people. So now you’ve a competitive advantage. You’re better at running this system. It was never meant to be oppressive. It was meant to be interesting. So with compression, we’re definitely hearing all that stuff, and we’re pulling it back to improve it. Like, no question about it. We’re not going to go with this unchanged.”

I'm going to add one observation. If I had a choice between actively performing a task, like transporting ore, and sitting motionless for the same amount of time watching Netflix on a second monitor, I want the active gameplay. CCP traditionally also favors active gameplay over passive. The whole mechanic seemed weird once I gave the matter additional thought.

Later on, the issue of communication with the player base came up again. 

History with the player base and the dev team too plays a role, as many fans have felt burned by what are perceived to be failed promises, and therefore aren’t necessarily in the most forgiving mood when these issues arise.

“I’ll happily admit, the package isn’t explained well enough. It’s more like, call it a code diff: this is what it was, this is what it is now, without the purpose or the intent,” Árnason said. “And I think we could have done much better with what the purpose of these [changes] were and how they would all fit together. And what the idea here was. So some of it was just like, badly explained or it lacked a compelling story.”

“I think when the frame isn’t painted clearly, players don’t know where to put their mind on this feedback,” Hermannsson added. “What are the common themes? What are we trying to achieve?”

Common themes? Like say, those that a marketing team would highlight if the changes were rolled into an expansion? But I think that argument has passed its expiration date.

CCP Rattati also commented on the amount of vitriol he's received since the publication of the dev blog Friday.

“I see no reason to be ashamed or hide – this is all part of the process,” Snorri stated when talking about navigating the feedback being received since Friday. “The only thing that I regret in all of this is the hostility. It feels like the toxicity in the feedback is very harsh. If I hadn’t been doing this for many years, I’d probably be at home right now. But you need thick skin to wake up to, you know, ‘resign because you’re ruining everything’ messaging. And it’s fine you have passionate people, but I think it’s mirroring what’s happening in the real world. Like, everything is becoming yelled louder, becoming more toxic on forums and this whole sentiment feels like it’s going into this direction.

“Then it just becomes impossible to interact. I started on day one to kind of chime in and have conversations. The day after, like, everything I’ve said is taken out of context. And I’m like, ‘Okay, this isn’t cool. I’m going to try again.’ And I go in and try to have a normal conversation. And at the end of it, I’m like, ‘Okay, I don’t think I’m making any progress at all.’ And I think that’s kind of regretful, because for example I spent a lot of time on the forums. I enjoyed it [very] much just to be there. But it feels that it’s a lot harsher now for sure. And it definitely doesn’t make normal developers [want] to go into that at all.

“So the tone of the conversation could’ve been better and I’m happy to work on that with everyone. But we’re all here for EVE Online, and I think when that’s called into question – our integrity and why we’re doing this – it’s all about EVE Online Forever. It always has been.”

Personally, I think all CCP devs, not just CCP Rattati, should stay off of the EVE sub-Reddit. The place is just way too toxic at the best of times. For CCP Rattati, I think he should keep his interactions to more controlled environments, be it the official forums, videos, or interviews such as the one he conducted with MMORPG.

I think trying to record CCP's thinking about these matters is important for when we go back and look at what happened during the present time. I have a tendency of looking back at events so having a record I can trust is important to any point I try to make in the future. Everyone else can face palm where they think appropriate.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Issues Raised With "Extraction To Production" On Singularity

One of the most common complaints from players in MMORPGs is, "Feature X is bad and we told you about the bugs in alpha/beta/test server." The complaint is pretty common in EVE Online surrounding the subject of Rorquals, the top mining ship players can obtain. With this weekend's protests, I figured I should highlight when CCP is listening.

On Saturday, CCP Psych posted a list of concerns he said the developers would begin looking into starting today. I figured I'd run through them and give some comments.

• Revisiting all cycle times for all compression modules
• Reducing the Orca Industrial Core cycle duration

Someone pointed out just how much compression is required for compressing moon ore in the video below.

If CCP really wants people to use the new compression mechanics, they may need to fine tune the cycle times a little.

  • All Waste Probabilities will be revisited. We will be looking into using the same profile for drones as in modules

I get what CCP is trying to do. In a world of tech 1 ships and no one having any mining skills, the current level of mining is the baseline, and the amount of resources in the universe goes up the more skilled miners get through training and equipment. The fact that tech 2 mining drones had the same level of mining waste as the base tech 1 versions didn't seem right.

Other issues exist with the mining waste mechanic, specifically that not that many people understand it. I think a lot of players believe that includes the devs.

  • Ways to bring back gas harvesting bonuses to frigates. This might have a further effect of introducing Barges/Exhumers gas bonuses

Removing the gas harvesting bonuses from frigates seemed a little weird to me. If CCP does not want Alpha accounts from the ability to harvest gas, just change the skill requirements.

  • Potential increase of fitting attributes for Barges/Exhumers

I'm still scratching my head over the changes to the Procurer. I'd say null sec miners want Mackinaws and Hulks to have greater survivability against rats.

  • Adjusting the Porpoise main and specialized holds

I have never flown the Porpoise so I'm not sure what the issue is here.

  • What the implication would be if we allow moon ore compression with a 90% efficiency in structures

I believe this goes back to the moon ore compression in a Rorqual issue highlighted in the video.

  • Adding a PvP timer when Type C crystals are used in highsec.

As initially proposed, groups could use the Type C crystal to wipe out high sec asteroid belts and no one could really stop them. I could imagine someone in an Amarrian battleship doing so to protect themselves against ganking efforts. Making someone suspect for using a Type C crystal could solve that issue.

  • Changing the pre-requisites for Gas/Ice compression skills

I can see why players might want easier access to those skills.

  • Potential increase of high slots for the Orca and the Porpoise

The compression modules are high slot modules, so I can see why players would want to compress ore and gas without giving up any existing abilities.

And finally answers to frequently asked questions:

• We haven’t made a decision yet if waste should be taken into account in the industry index calculations. Feel free to discuss pros and cons in this thread.

• Mining Missions will be addressed before release. Finalizing quantities will be determined by where we will end up on the waste probabilities profile for T1 modules.

I think once the changes hit Tranquility in December that going back to the list might provide some interesting observations.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Jita Protests Took Place On November 13th

I normally don't post blogs on Sundays, but I need to do so as a record of what is happening in EVE Online. Blizzard Entertainment and the World of Warcraft development team are not the only ones dealing with a disgruntled fan base.

Yesterday players started shooting the Jita monument for a variety of reasons. Press reports and the EVE sub-Reddit have the number of players in the system at over 6,000. According to CCP, those reports are incorrect. CCP Swift provided an update on r/eve:

The real max number was somewhere just north of 4,000, as the Jita system is capped at 4,000. People logging in after the server population is reached are moved to surrounding systems.

As a historical note, CCP Swift was elected as an alternate member of CSM 6, the group of players who had to deal with the Jita riots during the Summer of Rage in 2011. When the crisis has passed, hopefully someone asks him to compare the two experiences.

Rhivre on Imperium News touched on some of the reasons for the protests in her article yesterday. I've covered some of them myself. Not only the resource changes announced Friday, but Pearl Abyss' direction of becoming heavily involved in NFTs as disclosed in last week's Q3 2021 earnings call.

In EVE Online, an event doesn't become huge unless higher ups at CCP are quoted making statements the players don't like. In 2011, that was CCP Games' CEO, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson. Today, the honor goes to CCP Rattati, the Director of Product for EVE Online. I've seen a post on the EVE sub-Reddit passed around that some players may not like. When I read everything in context, I facepalmed in real life.

Insert "Do you play your own game" joke here

When I read the full exchange, my first thought was lowering the mining output and processing of single characters will require more characters to perform the tasks. And since you need more characters, you need more accounts in space. Traditionally for tasks such as mining, the solution is for miners to spin up more accounts and multi-box. But I've spent most of my time mining in EVE in low security space. I don't even think in terms of moon mining. Angry Mustache does and confirmed my thoughts when I got down to his follow-up post.

I'm glad someone stated the obvious response

I'm going to refrain myself from the CCP Rattati quotes, as the one that really left me scratching my head deserves at least one post to dissect. I think I need to write another post about the primary RMT market in EVE Online.

Those are my thoughts so far about the possible Winter of Discontent. I do have to add one more image. When I logged into the game on Friday, I saw an ad for the 2-for-1 sale on skill extractors on the launcher.

What I saw on the launcher as it updated

I know that a lot of players are going to want to extract skill points from Rorqual alts, but the sale was not a very good look.

Friday, November 12, 2021

From Extraction To Production: The Changes Coming To EVE Online In December

In the New Dawn Quadrant announcement on Tuesday, CCP teased news of upcoming changes to industrial and economic gameplay. Today the dev blog arrived with the changes. With the changes now on Singularity, the December patch release will introduce the end the Scarcity Era.

The changes are massive, so much so that the dev blog includes an associated Excel file. CCP provided a TLDR at the beginning of the article.

This update introduces more raw materials into New Eden, compression for gas, ice & moon ore, updates to mining & mining crystals, and a rebalancing of the Orca and Rorqual as well as other mining ships. While the Orca and Rorqual will no longer be the best solo-mining platforms, they are receiving a buff to their command bonuses and added new roles.

All the details here and in the support document are a work in progress and subject to change before release on Tranquility. This is a major update and getting your feedback is imperative. As of today, the discussed changes are available on the Singularity test server, so we encourage all Capsuleers to dive in, explore the changes, and join the discussion in the official forum thread.

For today, I plan to quickly review the highlights from the TLDR portion of the dev blog, which some may think is itself too long and didn't read. 

More Available Resources - CCP will double the resource quantity of:

  • Ore in asteroids belts
  • All Omber, Kernite, and Crokite quantities are doubled in sov anomalies
  • Ice belts (on top of the previous 200% increase)
  • Mykocerocin
  • Cytocerocin
  • Fullerine

In addition, Mercoxit quantities in sov anomalies will increase by 20%. The extraction rate for all moons will also double. However, the amount of basic minerals extracted will not double as CCP is introducing a mechanic called mining waste. The mining waste probability is "a chance per cycle for resources to be turned into space dust (in addition to what is going to the character’s inventory)".

Ship updates for gas and ice harvesting/hauling - Expedition frigates (Prospect, Endurance), mining barges, exhumers, and some T1 industrial ships.

  • Adding new specialized gas and ice holds to
    • T1 industrials (Hoarder, Kryos, Primae)
    • Expedition frigates
    • T1 barges
    • T2 exhumers
  • Increasing the resistance profiles of all exhumers
  • Increase the base HP of, and adding mid slot to, Covetor and Retriever
  • Adding new gas harvesters for all mining barges and exhumers

Mineral Compression - In addition to adding compression for moon minerals and gas, the Orca and Porpoise will also gain the ability to compress ore and gas in space.

  • Introducing a new compact industrial core for the Orca.
  • Adding new specialized gas and ice holds to the Orca, Porpoise, and Rorqual
  • Adding compression for
    • Mykocerocin
    • Cytocerocin
    • Fullerine
    • Moon ore

In order to support the new gameplay, new modules and skills are being introduced. CCP will introduce blueprints and skill books into the game sometime in November so players can begin to use the new changes immediately.

The compression changes are important enough I'll list the highlights from farther down in the dev blog.

  • Gone are the days of 'lossless' compression. From now on, when you compress resources, some amount will be lost during the process.
  • Compression in stations will have a different efficiency depending on the type of resource that is being compressed, except moon compression will not be available. Compression will still be instantaneous but will be less efficient than in-space compression. Compression efficiency is as follows:
    • Ore 90%
    • Gas 90%
    • Ice 79%
  • Rorqual, Orca and Porpoise will be able to do compression in space but will require specialized modules for it. However, only the Rorqual can compress Moon Ore in space.
  • Each compression module will be able to compress only a certain group of resources as defined by its tier.
  • Gas compression modules for all gas types (Myko, Cyto, Fullerines) are being introduced.
  • Moon ore compression modules for all moon ore types are being introduced. Moon ore compression will be unique to the Rorqual and will be only available out in space.
  • Compressed types will now have the same portion size as their uncompressed counterparts. You can calculate the compression ratio by the difference of volume between the two types.
  • Existing compressed types of quantities will be compensated due to this change, such that no loss occurs.

Reprocessing skill and mining crystal changes - In addition to the skills CCP is adding associated with the compression changes, the devs are also changing the existing reprocessing skills. As part of the change, mining crystals are also receiving a rework.

  • Condensing all reprocessing skills from 19 individual skills to 6
    • Refunding up to 13,568,000 Skill Points to be optionally re-allocated into the new categories (11,776,000 Skill Points)
    • ISK will also be refunded at the base price for the deleted skill books (both in the inventory and injected to characters)
  • Condensing all mining crystals into the following categories:
    • Common
    • Uncommon
    • Rare
    • Superior
    • Abyssal
    • Mercoxit
  • Adding new variants for each mining crystal
    • Standard yield
    • Higher yield, high waste, less reliable
    • Lower yield, very high waste, very unreliable
Just from a personal level, I am glad about the condensing of mining crystals. I found having to carry so many different types of crystals around a bit of a pain. Sometimes when moving around New Eden, I wouldn't have the proper crystal in my cargo hold. I also like knowing I can hold off on training some processing skills for a month and use the time to train other industrial skills.

I am also glad for the ability to compress ore in high sec. Back when the Scrapmetal Processing skill was nerfed in 2014, the thought was minerals moving from high to low sec would move via compressed ore instead of 425mm railguns. However, trying to compress the ore was a pain and I personally never bothered to do so. Now, I have the ability to compress the ore in my Orca and sell it on the market the way CCP would prefer I do.

Blueprint material changes - Finally, the developers are reducing some of the planetary interaction materials for some items. The big changes CCP highlighted are:

  • Core Temperature Regulator: Water changes from 2500 to 1250
  • Capital Core Temperature Regulator: Integrity Response Drones changed from 150 to 100, Self-Harmonizing Power Core changed from 150 to 100
  • Enhanced Neurolink Protection Cell: Genetic Safeguard Filter changes from 200 to 100
Now that I have recorded my initial thoughts I'll go ahead and watch the take on the changes from the talking heads in the EVE media. I'm interested to see what I missed.