Monday, February 11, 2013

New Blood

Yesterday with the Sansha incursion in my low sec constellation still raging I decided to look into reports from a reliable source that the belts are going dry by the time the North American prime time hits.  Since the reports came from Genesis I thought the problem might be the New Order driving miners from their interdiction systems forcing miners into over-mining other systems in Gallente high sec.  But after reading the report I then checked with Chribba's web site Eve Offline and saw Tranquility had hit a peak concurrent user (PCU) number of 59,320.  If this is not a record number for a non-Alliance Tournament day on TQ it is probably amongst the top 5 of all-time.  So instead of scanning the asteroid belts looking for ore depletion I headed over to the system of Embod in Metropolis to check out another theory I had read: new players are stripping the belts in their Ventures.

Another reason that heading to my old stomping grounds was more attractive than flying around asteroid belts was that Wandering Rose had not done the career agent paths there so could also pick up a Venture.  So fly off to high sec, switched into a Rifter at the high sec station I use to store all my big ships I don't use in low, and headed off to visit the career agent.

What I saw in local was a shock, and not just because I am used to the solitude of low sec.  Embod contained 126 pilots.  I am not kidding.  At 2300 on a Sunday night in game a newbie system had 126 pilots.  Scrolling through local I saw that over 25% of the pilots were so new their portraits still did not appear next to their names.  When I needed to manufacture items for the missions I flew to a neighboring system because all of the manufacturing slots in Embod were full.  That is something else I never saw before.  By the time I finished doing the 10 missions for the career agent local was down to 90, but having lived in the area grinding Republic Parliament courier missions I can say I never saw Embod with populations that high.

Sure, this is anecdotal evidence but gives the "hordes of newbies in Ventures" theory a boost.  Let's take a look at the Venture to see its capabilities.  The first fitting is for a new miner who is fresh from doing all of the career mission agents.  He has over 2 million ISK in his wallet and a few skills trained and a few modules lying around with which to fit a ship.  Oh, and don't forget the Venture.

A day one Venture fit

With the first fit our fearless new pilot can fill up the 5,000m3 ore hold in a little less than 30 minutes.  Based on the prices for veldspar in Metropolis yesterday a new player could easily make 700,000 ISK after taxes and fees for 1 fill-up.  Sure, the poor pilot doesn't have a hauler big enough to carry two loads of ore (unless CCP changed the career mission agents to give out a Hoarder), but for a new player that is a lot of cash. 

A possible Venture fit 5 days into playing Eve
Given the price of two ore holds of veldspar and a little over four days of training time a new player can afford buy the modules and skill books to fly the above fit.  While not great, a new player can mine 5,000m3 of ore in less than 20 minutes.  Mining ore in a newbie zone is boring so these new pilots are venturing out to other systems with even more valuable ore.  Our intrepid young pilots still need to worry about transporting the ore to market so are probably buying transport ships, and then combat ships like the new cruisers.  At least, that's how I thought when I first started playing.

Perhaps someone needs to check with training organizations like Eve University about new recruitment rates, but I would gather that we are seeing a burst of new players into New Eden and not just old pilots purchasing their fourth, fifth and sixth accounts.  I don't think even CCP knows for sure.

Update:  Here are some tweets from CCP Fozzie.  Apparently he read the post.


  1. And newer players and older ones. Retrievers are a fast train now. The spaceship machine needs its ore. My miner PvP story is a very real occurrence in high sec.

  2. Skimming down the "Hi and Bye" forums in E-Uni, in which every new recruit is strongly encouraged to post (requirement for corp hangar access, etc), it looks like 25 new players yesterday, and maybe 10 a day on average.

    Anecdotally, it seems more active in the last few weeks than it was in the preceeding months.

  3. Possibly some Dust 514 players wondering what's going on up there above their heads?

    1. And trying to get some easy ISK to replace their losses on the planets, I think.

  4. Belt depletion is mostly the result of the buff to mining yield for the T1 mining barges, and the increased popularity of AFK mining, thanks to the increased cargoholds and low SP required for the mining barges.

    A moderately-sized noob T1 mining fleet can strip a belt clean in a short time. The fleet moves systematically from belt to belt, then system to system.

    So, even on a slow day, NA players usually wake to find all of the belts stripped in a popular constellation. NA miners are typically left with the choice of doing their mining in more remote and less populated systems, or switching to ice mining.

  5. There's no other explanation. It's not as if Eve has suddenly get better. It must be the influence of Dust 514

  6. Ventures are astoundingly efficient for a free ship.

    That hold might need a bit of nerfing.

    1. Fozzie told Noizy on twitter that they are well balanced as is.

    2. Using that logic:

      Venture = free ship from career missions, needs to be nerfed because it has 20% of the ore hold and half the mining capacity of a retriever.

      Catalyst = free ship from career missions, needs to be nerfed 112371x as much as the Venture because 1 catalyst can kill 1 average retriever. Agent Trask being a member of the New Order should know all about that fact.

      Or, perhaps it's ok for 'free' ships to be useful, especially because they're not actually free, they're rewards for missions which take time and can only be done 12 times each.

  7. There has been a steady rise in E-UNI numbers, according to DOTLAN ( from around the time Retribution hit. I would suggest the success of the Retribution expansion for this general increase in apparent activity, which is also evidenced by Eve Offline PCU data ( It is difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate the demographic into new subs or returning players from the data publicly available.

  8. I can confirm this twice, when I was starting out a new toon, and then when I ran a trial character back through the NPE to take notes on all the omissions and inconsistencies I saw the first time. This was also in and around Embod, and the belts would be cleaned out by evening US time. Fortunately, if you know to do a bit of planning, there are lots of rocks in the starter missions. It's just that not many of them are where you'd look for them. I still make ~6M off the tutorial missions with my little failfit Venture without even trying particularly hard.