Friday, May 7, 2021

Capsuleer Day 2021 - A Nice Beginning

I didn't do much on EVE Online's 18th anniversary. CCP added the Capsuleer Day event and I spent a little time poking around.

I didn't have the stomach for attempting the combat sites. The news article announcing the event claims the sites are tuned for battlecruisers and above. Even so, I think I've only taken a battlecruiser site running once or twice into low sec, and given the tendency of the NPCs to scram in the last event, I took a pass. Wednesday's patch contained an error and in the payouts for the final NPC battleship in the combat sites. Today's patch swapped the payouts of the final NPC battleship for combat sites in high sec and low. While the patch notes didn't give the values, helpful people on Twitter noted that the payouts for defeating the final battleship are now 5 million ISK in high sec and 20 million ISK in low sec.

But, as I noted before, the previous event scared me away from the combat sites. I took my trusty Cheetah into what I hoped was a quiet area of low sec, wondering where were all the anomalies and signatures on the way. I took a closer look and found my filters were still set up to probe down ships and drones. Once I correctly applied the filters ... SO MANY RED DOTS!!!!

One of the few acceptable uses for red dots is in the probing interface. The system I picked was full of signatures. I wound up identifying 2 combat sites, 1 gas site, 1 relic site, and 3 EoM data sites. That's right, 3 event sites in a single system.

The situation got better. When I warped into the first site, I landed 20 km away from the site's hackable container. I didn't make a mistake typing that last sentence. At least in low sec the EoM data sites only have one container. One container means no worrying about people cherry picking containers, leaving sites with only garbage cans to hack. Hack the can, the site despawns to allow new sites to spawn.

Once I completed hacking the first can, I was glad I was flying a Cheetah and not a Probe. I almost failed the hack. With the event data sites only containing one can, of course the can was difficult to hack. But forewarned not to expect an easy time, I successfully hacked the cans in the other two sites on the first attempt as well.

The loot wasn't too shabby. No ISK from a data site, of course, but plenty of Overseer's Personal Effects. I averaged almost 20 million ISK per site just in those items. The drop tables seem to offer either a SKIN or a cerebral accelerator. Another valuable items that dropped were the boosters. I don't know if only armor and shield boosting drugs drop, so I'll have to keep track.

One of the major annoyances from previous events was running out of cargo room. So far, the biggest space hogs are the Overseer's Personal Effects (90 m3) and the fireworks (40 m3). Still, I probably could fit one more site's worth of loot in my ship before having to dock up and unload.

Once docked, I sent my market character off to the nearest hub to put some of the items on the market. I'm trying to restock my orders as I let them fall to under 10 million ISK in value. The ISK was nice, but I really need to work on having consistent income.

I have to say at the end of my first night participating in the event I had fun. I do need to leave a little more time to play, though. I didn't get around to cashing in my Overseer's effects. As is often the case in EVE, I can use the money.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Andrew Groen On Writing Empires Of EVE: Volume 2

Yesterday Andrew Groen announced the launch of public sales of his new book, Empires of EVE: Volume 2 on Twitter. The hardcover version of the book, along with the 2nd edition of Volume 1, will be available on his website on 25 May. The Kindle version is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

But he didn't just send out a tweet. Andrew composed a 14 tweet thread summing up his thoughts about writing the book. I rolled up the thread and you can find the roll-up here. Given that today is the 18th anniversary of the launch of EVE Online, I thought I'd record his thoughts someplace other than Twitter. So with Andrew's permission, enjoy!

Hi friends, I’m pleased to announce that after three years of work Empires of EVE: Volume 2 will be launching May 25! Hardcovers will be through and ebooks on Kindle (pre-order: Bit of a thread to sum up the journey... 1/14

First off, I can’t thank @CCPGames enough for its patience in giving me the space and time to put together a book and a story I’m incredibly proud of. This story means the world to me, and I’m excited for it to be available at last to a wider audience.

In an age of opaque gaming/social media companies, @CCPGames deserves great credit for not only allowing a journalistic documentation of its community’s history, but actively aiding my work, giving me rights permissions, speaking opportunities, and assistance contacting players.

At times I'm critical of the company's choices, and at others the story remembers things that might preferably be forgotten, but in 7 yrs CCP has never tried to influence my writing, edit information, or control the story. It's a unique company with a history to be proud of.

It's inspiring to think of what could be achieved if our arrangement was used as a model for using investigative reporting to study the histories of other online spaces and social platforms.

My heartfelt thanks as well to the EVE community for allowing me the privilege of writing their story. None of it would've been possible w/out hundreds of people talking to me abt their experiences. The game is fundamentally interconnected. Every person has a unique perspective.

Sometimes it was an hours-long interview and others it was a chat by the hotdog stand in Reykjavik, a beer in Berlin, a stroopwaffle in Amsterdam, a layover in Toronto, but every person formed my understanding of who the community is and the forces that have shaped it over time.

The question that EVE players ask me most often is "how does EVE compare with other game communities?" I used to write about many different games before starting the EOE project in 2014, and people are often curious to get my perspective on what makes EVE distinct/typical.

I usually answer that EVE is a community of extremes. In its history you'll find the best in humanity, and you'll find the darkness in us too. In the stories that really mattered to players I heard about the friends they genuinely loved and the enemies they genuinely hated.

In large part, what I tried to do with Volume 2 was explain that paradox for myself. If EVE is designed to be a “cold, dark, and harsh world” then why were so many of the people I was meeting warm, bright, and kind? Why do the connections they make mean so much to them?

At the end of two books my conclusion can only be that they are inextricably linked. The darkness of EVE exerts sociological pressure on the core of its communities to come together and tighten their bond. The bleaker the darkness, the brighter the stars shine.

Volume 2 is a story about starships and interstellar internet politics, but to me, it's about a community and a developer that tried - and is still trying - to find balance between those deeply human forces.

Thank you for the most amazing adventure of my life. I started writing this because I believed it was the greatest story in video gaming. Today I believe that more than ever. I can only imagine what it was like for those who lived it.

My love forever to the EVE Online community who taught me not to fear the darkness, and neither to embrace it too closely. Fly safe, my friends. I hope you enjoy the story. (May 25!) 14/14

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Foundation: EVE Online's New Quadrant

EVE Online's latest quadrant, Foundation, officially kicked off yesterday. Beginning back in January 2020, CCP has developed a theme for every quarter, although the formal announcement of Foundation occurred almost half-way through the second calendar quarter. I'll let CCP describe the theme for the coming 3 months.

This next Quadrant ‘Foundation’ aims to celebrate the identity of the four Empires of New Eden, as well as the incredible 18 years that have passed since EVE’s own founding. It represents the pride in the history of these four Empires that have become the cornerstones of New Eden, pride in players’ own accomplishments, and pride in the collective journey that’s propelling EVE toward its third decade.

Furthermore, ‘Foundation’ recognizes the impact that the gift of Capsule technology has provided in extending humanity’s journey through New Eden and beyond, which you can read more about here.

The celebration begins tomorrow on the 18th anniversary of the launch of EVE. Originally a one-day event, this year's version will run from downtime (1100 UTC) tomorrow to downtime on 18 May.

Following Capsuleer Day, CCP plans to highlight each of the four NPC empires. The announcement tries to paint a happy, joyous time coming to all. But after only posting 1 article in the first 116 days of 2021, the World News channel has sprung to life with 13 articles. I'll let you judge if these sound like happy times...

2021-04-27 - Galactic Hour News Roundup: Caldari Protests, Privy Council and Triglavian Occupation

2021-04-27 - BREAKING NEWS: Minmatar Dreadnoughts Launch Orbital Bombardment of Tanoo II

2021-04-27 - BREAKING NEWS: Minmatar Dreadnoughts Attempting Assault on Tanoo II Destroyed

2021-04-28 - Galactic Hour News Roundup: Assault Aftermath, State Diplomacy and Federal Infrastructure

2021-04-29 - BREAKING NEWS: Dreadnoughts Reported Assaulting Girani-Fa III

2021-04-29 - BREAKING NEWS: Dreadnoughts Attacking Girani-Fa III Destroyed in Orbital Battle

2021-04-29 - BREAKING: Empire and Republic Face Off on Borders as Inner Circle Meets

2021-04-30 - Galactic Hour News Roundup: Fragile Peace Holding Despite High Tensions Across New Eden

2021-05-01 - BREAKING: Amarr Dreadnoughts Fire on Floseswin IV with Siege Lasers

2021-05-03 - BREAKING: Explosion Reported at CEP Spire in Landfall City on New Caldari Prime

2021-05-03 - BREAKING: Caldari Dreadnoughts Launch Missile Bombardment of Tierijev IV Gallente Defense Complex

2021-05-03 - BREAKING: Caldari Dreadnoughts Destroyed Over Tierijev IV in Battle to Stop Bombardment.

Of particular note is that the battles reported on occurred in the game and players who could get to the scene fast enough participated. From what I can tell, the quadrant started before CCP let the players know.

Did the announcements for Foundation begin at the start of the calendar quarter? I'll let you decide.

As mentioned in an article released on 1 April, the four Empires will also be embarking on projects to construct new stargates to their territory, and they will be asking the players for help to reshape the map of New Eden. So, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for some highly anticipated Gates coming this Quadrant.

That's right, the announcement of the creation of a low-sec gate to the null sec region of Stain was not an April Fool's prank. The alteration of the jump gate network begun with the creation of the Triglavian region of Pochven continues.

Speaking of Pochven, the region will receive some attention from CCP in the upcoming quadrant. Yesterday's patch addressed one complaint as the developers removed the standings requirements to pass through the loop gates. Although given that the current residents managed to pull 3.1 trillion in Triglavian invasion rewards out of the region in March, I'm not sure how much the current residents will welcome the attention.

CCP also plans to open up the ISK faucets in null sec later Foundation with allowing players to access the ESS reserve banks. In a dev blog in March, players learned ESS reserve banks held over 8 trillion ISK. The amount as assuredly increased since then.

The art team has also been busy, with both the interior of the Jita 4-4 trade hub and Aura receiving graphical upgrades yesterday.

Aside from the typical ship balancing and seasonal in-game events, this is what players can expect to see in EVE Online over the next couple of months. Well, and possibly the end of the current fighting in Delve. But that is player-created content and Foundation only covers the activities of CCP.

Monday, May 3, 2021

I Didn't Want That House Anyway

I logged into Final Fantasy XIV last night and went to go to my house. I was a bit surprised to see I didn't have a house anymore. I bought the house and spent 3.6 million gil on it, so I initially was a little upset. Housing in FFXIV is not instanced, so Square Enix put in a rule that not visiting your house in 45 days results in you losing the house. And as I discovered, just using the summoning bell does not count as a visit.

One of the safeguards for players is that Square Enix sends players emails to remind them to visit their houses. But I didn't see any reminders in my inbox, and I do receive emails from Square Enix. What happened?

Sometimes taking security measures can come back and bite if one isn't careful. I created a fresh email account especially for FFXIV. The emails went there. Good security practice, bad implementation. Stuff happens.

Am I going to try to buy another house? I don't think so. The main reason I bought a house was to plant a garden and maybe train my chocobo to become a racing bird. But with Island Sanctuaries coming to FFXIV in the Endwalker expansion in a few months, I can have what I really want without fear of losing the content if I forget to visit. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

The March 2021 Monthly Economic Report: RMT Tokens And The Indices

CCP published the monthly economic report (MER) for March last week. Happens every month, right? But someone on the EVE sub-Reddit found out that RMT tokens are included in the MER. Again, not news. We have known this for years. I think the first time I wrote about the subject was in the Hurricane Hilmar post from September 2019. At the time, I wrote that the RMT tokens, if one includes PLEX, made up about 49% of the EVE economy.

The size of the EVE Economy during Hurricane Hilmar

Then someone wrote a huge post on r/eve stating that PLEX makes up a large part of the consumer price index (CPI). Not only was that news, but #FakeNews. The reason the pie chart above that I created back in 2019 has two sources is because no PLEX valuation information is found in the MER. With misinformation starting to fly around, I thought I could expand on my explanation from 18 months ago.

First, an RMT token is an item that is acquired from the EVE Online cash shop that is purchasable with real world currency. Two categories containing cash shop items, Apparel and SKINs, are usually not considered RMT tokens. With a combined value of 2.3 trillion ISK of goods sold in March, players usually don't even consider the presence of the cosmetic items on the economy.

Accessories from the Index Baskets.csv file in the March 2021 MER

The items considered RMT tokens are found in the Accessories category. Four of the items, the Aurum tokens, were removed from the game when CCP performed the PLEX revamp in May 2017. At this time, the 30-Day Pilot's License Extension (PLEX) was also removed and replaced with PLEX at an exchange rate of 1 to 500.

Looking at the primaryIndex field shows that PLEX is currently not included in any of the economic indices in the MER. I personally think the consumer price index (CPI) should not include PLEX as it serves as a virtual currency replacing aurum. In the real world, measures of economic activity like GDP and the CPI do not include currency exchange transactions. The same should hold true in EVE.

Yes, CCP treats the new version of PLEX differently

When writing this post, I was curious how CCP handled the old 30 Day Pilot's License Extension in the data. To see, I opened the IndexBaskets.csv file from the April 2016 MER and looked to see which index the item fell into. I was relieved to see the item didn't fall into any of the indices pre-revamp.

The value of the Accessory category is at an all-time low

This leads to the final six items in the Accessories category which qualify as RMT tokens. CCP divides this into two groups: skill injectors and services. The skill injectors include the Daily Alpha Injector and Small Skill Injector as well as the more popular Large Skill Injector. The three items that count as services are the Multiple Pilot Training Certificate, Pilot's Body Resculpt Certificate and the popular Skill Extractor. All the RMT tokens except the Skill Extractor are counted in the CPI. The value of  Skill Extractor sales counts in the Secondary Producer Price Index (SPPI). In March 2021, the total value of these six items contributed 96.4 trillion ISK to the CPI and 27.5 trillion ISK to the SPPI.

The EVE economy is shrinking

What kicked off the latest wave of concern over the data in the MER in general, especially the consumer price index, is the graph showing a very slight increase in the CPI since December 2020 and relatively flat line since October. If one believes that PLEX is included in the CPI, I can see why someone would believe PLEX and the RMT tokens are covering up inflation in other areas of the economy. In March, PLEX alone made up 25% of the total value of transactions in New Eden. In addition, the price of PLEX in The Forge has declined 32.8% since the value of the CPI reached its all-time high in January 2019. One item with that large a share of the market experiencing that big a drop in price could hide a lot of inflation. But PLEX is not included in the CPI.

The indices with and without the RMT tokens

A couple of more observations about the consumer price index based on the long-term data. The first is that the general direction of the value measured by the CPI generally trends the same way with or without the inclusion of the RMT tokens. The first exception was from March 2016 to June 2016 when the Accessories category was first created to handle the introduction of skill extractors and injectors into the game. The other major division of trends occurred from December 2018 to February 2019. I suspect the increase in RMT tokens was related to the wars surrounding the trade hubs occurring around that time.

The other observation is how much the value of the CPI dropped from January 2019 to March 2021. The value of all items in the CPI dropped 37.2%, or 210.8 trillion ISK, during that period. Removing the RMT tokens only makes the drop appear better in comparison. Without counting the Accessories category, the value counted by the CPI dropped 85.7 trillion ISK, or 24.9%. The divergence between the CPI with and without including the RMT tokens is averaging about 0.4% per month.

How do they come up with these numbers?

Finally, I want to address the obvious question. Why don't I just make my own indices? My answer: have you seen the data? I honestly do not think CCP uses the data they provide with the MER to calculate the CPI. The one time I tried, I gave up when I realized the files contained no information on Tech III subsystems after July 2017. I found more problems in the data, but I gave up when I realized that data was missing.

Hopefully, this post served as an introduction to some of the factors involved when dealing with the data in the monthly economic report. I also hoped that looking at some of the history of the indices might give the reader some sort of insight into how the economy is functioning today.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The 2021-04-27 Patch: The Second Half Of The Industry Revamp

Yesterday CCP released the second half of the latest industry revamp for EVE Online. The patch updated the build requirements for all tech 1 ships, to include faction navy and pirate ships. And yes, titans, supercarriers, dreadnaught and carriers are considered tech 1 ships. As often happens, the patch notes don't contain all the changes. Other web pages such as dev blogs are linked, meaning a reader has to have a few tabs open to try to follow along. I thought I'd try to put all the relevant parts of the patch notes and the dev blog "A significant update to history" in one post.

The patch notes began with a general description.

In accordance with the information provided in this development blog we are introducing several significant changes to industry in EVE. Today's patch will see the second set of major changes go live which will update blueprints, reactions, and components that are required for ship manufacturing.

The dev blog "A significant update to history" expanded on the changes players saw in their ship blueprints.

Requirements for a given ship will be determined by a variety of factors, including tech level, ship category, hull type, size, and purpose, among other things. Based on these factors, each ship will be given a tier, and their material costs updated accordingly...

In addition, new industry components will be required for battleships, capitals, and supercapitals. These new components will be available via reactions, blueprints, and loot drops from exploration content.

The new reactions and blueprints for component construction will be available via NPC markets. What’s more, reprocessing material values will be updated for subcapital ships as well as for existing capital components.

CCP provided an Excel spreadsheet with all the changes that can be downloaded at this link. In game, the changes look something like this.

The dev blog indicated EDENCOM module blueprints would receive an update to have an overall reduction in the materials required for a build job. But the ships also received some attention.

Reworked EDENCOM ships blueprints to more closely aligned to their Triglavian counterparts paradigm:

  • Crystalline Carbonide has been removed from all blueprints.
  • Zero-Point Condensates have been added to all ammo blueprints.
  • The EDENCOM paradigm where a base item is required to manufacture a named items remains.

According to the earlier dev blog, reprocessing material values were updated for subcapital ships as well as existing capital components. In the patch notes, T2 ships received a special note.

Adjusted all T2 ships to no longer return basic minerals as materials when reprocessed. Materials removed from all T2 ships reprocessing are:

  • Tritanium
  • Pyerite
  • Mexallon
  • Isogen
  • Nocxium
  • Zydrine
  • Megacyte

The changes to Standup T2 fighters was a bit vague in the patch notes.

Adjusted Standup T2 fighters to require T1 standup fighters in build requirements.

The dev blog expanded on the topic.

The manufacturing process for Standup Fighters will also see some adjustments. The blueprints of all Tech II Standup Fighters will now require Tech I Standup Fighters as inputs instead of Tech II Carrier Fighters, which follows the general paradigm of Tech II manufacturing.

This means:

  • Carrier Fighters are removed from all Standup Fighter Blueprints
  • Tech I Standup Fighters are added to the Tech II Standup Fighter Blueprint

The dev blog also explained the changes involving Mycoserocin gas.

Due to the nature of the manufacturing changes, which include introducing Mycoserocin gas as a required material in some ships, the potency of all Mycoserocin booster products is being doubled.

In addition, the distribution of Mycoserocin gas clouds will be greatly increased and will now be included in all Lowsec systems, as well as select Nullsec systems.

The patch notes spelled out the boosters affected.

Doubled the effective bonuses on Mykocerosin Boosters:

  • Synth Blue Pill - Increased Shield Boost Bonus from 3% to 6%
  • Synth Crash - Decreased Explosion Radius Bonus from -3% to -6%
  • Synth Drop - Increased Tracking Speed Bonus from 3% to 6%
  • Synth Exile - Increased Armor Repair Bonus from 3% to 6%
  • Synth Frentix - Increased Optimal Range Modifier from 3% to 6%
  • Synth Mindflood - Increased Capacitor Modifier from 3% to 6%
  • Synth Sooth Sayer - Increased Falloff Bonus from 3% to 6%
  • Synth X-Instinct - Reduced Signature Radius Modifier from -2.25% to 4.5%

Finally, the patch notes listed one defect fix. An important fix considering the design goals of the revamp.

  • Fixed an issue where the expected increase of Mykoserocin gas sites was not functioning correctly. These sites can now be found in low security solar systems and additional null security locations as intended

Monday, April 26, 2021

March 2021 Monthly Economic Report - Pochven

CCP released the monthly economic report for March last Tuesday. One of the popular topics I see in the EVE media is what is happening in Pochven. The region, made up of 27 systems removed from k-space by the Triglavians, appeared in mid-October 2020 in the same patch that introduced many of the resource distribution changes. With 5 1/2 months of data in the books, now is a good time to see what the MER shows about Pochven.

Data from the RegionStats.csv files from Oct 2020 to Mar 2021

The first fact that stands out is that not much economic activity occurs in Pochven. In March, players mined 43.2 billion ISK worth of ore and earned 12 million ISK in NPC bounties. The low bounty figures don't mean no PvE occurs in the region. In the ISK Sinks and Faucets chart, the amount earned by running combat sites in Pochven is listed under "Corporate Reward Payout [Triglavian Invasions]". At least, since the Triglavian invasions ceased in October 2020, the MER should use that line item.

The list of sinks & faucets from the March 2021 MER

The payout for running the sites was 3.1 trillion ISK in March. In comparison, the rewards from running missions in the entire game was 3.6 trillion ISK.

Where is Pochven? (From the March 2021 MER)

The MER is also showing that the amount of destruction in Pochven has steadied over the last three months. Compared to the rest of the game, March's total of 410 billion ISK destroyed exceeded the value destroyed in Tenal (390 bn), Deklein (385 bn), Geminate (352 bn), and Oasa (336 bn).  

Pochven gets no respect (from March 2021 MER)

I don't think people think of manufacturing when they think of Pochven. But if players are going to blow ships up, they need supplies and replacements. In March, players produced 223.9 billion ISK worth of goods in the Triglavian systems. Pochven produced just under the amount in Immensea (228 bn) and exceeded the totals in Curse (194 bn), Wicked Creek (187 bn), Outer Ring (120 bn), and Tenal (89 bn).

Overall, I think Pochven is operating at least on par with NPC null sec regions like Curse, Stain, and Syndicate. A key factor I am looking at is production in the region. If production increases along with continued combat site running, I think a player civilization could eventually form in the region.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Discord Ends Talks With Microsoft On Purchase

Since I commented on the rumor in March, I might as well continue. According to Reuters, Discord has ended talks about selling the company to Microsoft.

Messaging platform Discord Inc has ended deal talks with Microsoft Inc (MSFT.O) and plans to focus on expanding the business as a standalone company, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

The company will focus on building the chat platform and making money from its user base that has grown quickly during the pandemic. A public listing is on the table but not imminent, the sources added.

A big backer of Discord is Index Ventures, who has invested in funding rounds in June 2020 and December 2020.  According to Forbes back in June:

Its broader appeal has also captured the attention of venture investors. In a reversal of how things usually work in Silicon Valley, Index Ventures’ Danny Rimer, whose firm had invested in Discord’s last fundraising in December 2018, called them in February to offer more money. In a deal not previously reported, Citron and Vishnevskiy agreed in June to take another $100 million in venture funding—at a $3.5 billion valuation, up from $2.05 billion 18 months ago. 

The funding comes with the understanding that Citron and Vishnevskiy, who hold stakes in the startup worth probably more than $350 million each, will continue to broaden the app’s audience and focus on growing revenue. Discord is on track to top $120 million in sales this year, Forbes estimates, up from around $70 million last year, fueled by its subscription service called Nitro, which allows users to customize their profiles and the Discord groups that they belong to.

“They’re building something of tremendous value,” says Rimer. “If they carry on with this trajectory, we’re gonna be very, very happy folks.”

Most of the stories I've read indicate Discord is looking at issuing some sort of initial public offering (IPO). I'm not sure how I feel about Discord going public, but with valuations in the $7-$10 billion range, the company is big enough to do so.

Monday, April 19, 2021

More On The Removed Asteroid Belts

CCP Rattati and CCP Swift (the player formerly known as Elise Randolph) appeared on The Meta Show Saturday. One of the questions that came up concerned the removal of asteroid belts throughout large portions of null sec. CCP Rattati explained...

We have two ways to spawn minerals into the game. Through anomalies which is newer, and belts, which is very, very, like, the original entry point of minerals. The belts need to be respawned every 24 hours during downtime because they are very, very old tech. Anomalies don't. They can be evergreen in that sense. 

The long term tech decision is obviously to remove the belts. Slowly but surely. And we have been removing stuff from them in anticipation to actually just remove them from the universe and replace them with anomalies that would basically behave in a similar way. So that's a tech decision. 

The actual thing is that there have been hundreds of people working on EVE in the last years and what you need to do to create an NPC to spawn -- you need to pick a place to spawn. And there has not been a singular -- the right way to spawn things. So sometimes NPCs respond to things like a literal asteroid or a part of the belt or somewhere in the vicinity, but you always have to pick like an id. Like a thing to spawn on. And that was not supposed to be in that way. It was supposed to be more generalized. In some cases in these belts, in these NPCs, they were just hardcoded to a point they were not supposed to hardcode in. So this never would have been like in a CSM discussion. This is just a defect in that sense. 

So we're trying to roll this back. Like, not roll this back. Sorry, using the wrong word. Trying to go in the right direction and fix it in the right way. 

We learned three things, none of which were very surprising. The first is that the issue of the asteroid belts was partially a result of bad legacy code. Going off my experience of listening to how CCP developed EVE, each of the asteroid belts was hand-crafted. Trying to change the ore composition of thousands of belts with the resource distribution changes by hand wasn't going to happen. 

I honestly don't understand the points about where NPCs spawn. In the early days of EVE, if the developers wanted NPCs to spawn in asteroid belts, wouldn't they have to tie the NPCs to the belts? I'm assuming that CCP Rattati is thinking along more modern lines in which NPCs are linked to a system or constellation and roam around. As far as I know, the first roaming NPCs were the Circadian Seekers introduced with a new artificial intelligence engine introduced in Rhea in December 2014. I don't think incursions, introduced in the Incursion expansion of November 2010, introduced NPCs that roamed between celestials. I was too excited about the removal of training skills at the time to notice if they did.

The second thing we learned is that the CSM wasn't consulted. I know. I get it. Developers don't run defect fixes past the CSM. Every couple of years, a bug is fixed that players adapted to. Go ask null sec players how they used those over the years. In the case of the asteroid belts, I get the impression that the developers made to just remove the belts since not only were the continuously empty belts causing confusion, but that was the direction the company is taking anyway.

That's right, the final point is CCP plans to eventually remove all asteroid belts from the game. Old tech means legacy some systems in EVE need Tranquility to reboot daily. One of those systems is asteroid belts. And we know CCP wants to eliminate the daily downtime. Back on 4 December 2019, CCP experimented by eliminating downtime on that date. Going back even further, CCP eliminated ice belts and replaced them with ice anomalies in the Odyssey expansion in June 2013. Add in player interest in removing downtime, and the removal of the asteroid belts might receive popular support if the servers could remain functional for a week at a time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

CCP Prefers Suspenders, Not Belts

Yesterday the latest patch for EVE Online dropped on Tranquility. CCP made a very interesting choice.

No, I'm not referring to increasing the amount of Mykoserocyn sites after reducing them with the great resource distribution update. Removing asteroid belts seems a bit ... strange. The change doesn't affect players in high or low security space, but null sec received a nerf.

No more belt ratting in Curse

I imagine the Curse Russians weren't very happy to log back in and discover all the asteroid belts in Curse had disappeared. The same probably held true for all the small groups living in Providence. What CCP did yesterday was eliminate belt ratting from large portions of EVE.

I honestly don't know how the change will affect groups in the affected regions in trying to raise the activity defense multiplier in systems they are interested in moving into. Raising the military index level requires shooting NPCs. If the true security value in a system is poor, how do groups get NPCs to shoot to make their systems more defensible?

Of course, CCP has the data and knows how many NPCs are killed in various regions. Perhaps the elimination of so many asteroid belts will have no effect. At least on the monthly economic report. But will the change make even more of null sec space uninteresting to players? Time will tell.