Monday, April 29, 2013

Questions After Fanfest 2013

I got home from Fanfest a few hours ago, tired and with a nasty chest cold, but alive.  Instead of trying to write something insightful or thought-provoking, I'll just note five questions that came to mind as we move toward Uprising (Retribution 1.2 for Eve players) and Odyssey.

Will Odyssey be a boon to bots?  A lot of people are celebrating the move of ice belts to depletable anomalies as the death of ice bots.  I'm not so sure.  That really depends on the new discovery scanner and how it works.  If bot developers can use the discovery scanner to scan down ice anomalies, then they can do the same to access high sec ore sites (the former grav sites).  That could make the feature a buff for bots.

Is wormhole space receiving a net nerf?  I originally didn't think so, but I ran into a wormhole player who said the region was receiving 6 nerfs.  The three that I remember him saying are a reduced payout for blue ribbons, the capital rigs nerf, and the reduction in the supply of ice.  I don't know very much about wormholes so I'll wait to see what the blogs and podcasters say about the subject.

Can I still live in low sec?  After Friday and listening to the changes to mining I wasn't so sure.  After talking with people and asking questions on Saturday I think I still can.  Then again, I live in low sec because I don't like high sec so I'm a little more resistant to economic realities than others.  That sounds like two posts, with the first one hopefully finished for Wednesday.  I would have finished it already but this cold keeps knocking me down.

What happened with the CSM 8 election?  This year's CSM election has the lowest turnout (12.12% of eligible voters) than any election since the term for CSM members was increased from six months to one year with CSM 5.  I have my own issues with the single-transferable vote process and think that was a major factor, but I would like to see what others with more insight have to say about the matter.

Will null sec explode in violence?  Will the changes to moon minerals incite a war between the null sec power blocs?  Or will an increased industrial capacity in null sec lead to increased attacks on Empire?  I'm not referring to events like Burn Jita.  Oh no.  I'm referring to increased efforts to dominate resources in low sec.


  1. "then they can do the same to access high sec ore sites (the former grav sites)."

    I was wondering the same thing. CCP, beware.

  2. What happened with the CSM 8 election?

    The change to the STV system certainly contributed to the reduced voter turnout. Many players thought that voting for 14 candidates was rather silly, esp. since you were also expected to put them in priority order, which requires understanding each candidates strengths & weaknesses, relative to each other. That is a lot of work to ask from a voter, esp. in a game, and most esp. when the majority of these same people won't even vote in a RL election. The null blocs made it easier for their voters, by simply providing them with a script to auto-vote all 14 of their preferred candidates; everyone else had to do it manually, for each account.

    The underwhelming performance of CSM7 was another contributing factor. CSM7 members spent a lot more time in making excuses, engaging in spin control, and insulting and/or arguing with players than they ever spent in discussing actual in-game issues. Nor did they (with one exception) make any attempt to improve the election process and voter turnout. Xhagen dropped the STV system on us and most of the CSM just said "ok, this is fine", without considering nor asking exactly how the player base would respond (which was obviously going to be with a lower voter turnout... a no-brainer to predict).

    1. But I'm not sure that the reduced turnout wasn't due to null sec losing interest. One Goon I talked to stated that two alliances didn't bother to vote. I really am interested to see some demographic details. Also the votes, stripped of names, that were promised.

    2. Have you seen this?

      At the bottom it says: "We will be publishing all of the ballots cast in this year's election along with a myriad of graphs and info in a Dev Blog by CCP Veritas on Monday April, 27th." Interesting as today is Monday the 29th... LOL

    3. @Noizy - nah. mynnna won one of the two permaseats, which obviously indicates that the Goons did turn out to vote.

      Keep in mind, too, that the null sec bloc players did not need to individually research the candidates - they had a pre-determined, prioritized slate to use.

      In addition, they had a script to auto-vote the entire slate, which required less than a minute. Even if you had 20 accounts, voting took only a few minutes, for a Goon.

      No fuss, no muss - even if you didn't care about the election.

    4. @TurAmarth - funny, isn't it?

      It is also funny that they didn't release the ballots as they came in, during the election. Rather, they waited until *after* the election results were posted, and after they have had plenty of time to massage the original data.

      So much for transparency....

  3. Bots: What one man can program, another man can hack.

    W-space: I don't see nerfs, but I am worried.
    -Blue Ribbons; had not heard of a drop in MNR prices.
    -Capitol Rigs; I will ask in COMMS tonight, don;t fly Caps myself;
    -Ice: I have a wait n see attitude but yea, I am worried it will make it harder for the small and mid sized corps to get into W-space.
    I have no idea what other three he saw were...

    Lowsec: I await your take on that... Lowsec is a place I go though not buy lunch in. =]

    CSM8: Do the math, 12.12% of a substantially increased playerbase over the same time last year is a net increase not a loss. And I'll be honest, maybe you didn't want to take the time to find out about the people vying for CSM8 and vote from a position of knowledge, but I didn't find it hard at all. And I feel, with 2 wormholers winning seats mebbe STV was the right way to go and may have better represented ALL of us instead of the large organized blocks... or mebbe they just didn't care and so we got in due to apathy... if so, Hurray Apathy!!!

    I hope Nullsec Burns so bright, we ALL have to wear shades! =]

    1. For CSM, in raw numbers, turnout was down 9,400 votes compared to last year. Here are the turnout percentages since terms for CSM were extended to 1 year.

      CSM 5 - 12.67%
      CSM 6 - 14.25%
      CSM 7 - 16.63%
      CSM 8 - 12.12%

      From reading the stats available so far, another reason for low voter turnout could be that new players just don't know what the CSM is and why they should care.

      Finding information about candidates wasn't the issue for me. I listened to almost all of Xander's interviews plus some of the other podcasts that had CSM candidates on as guests. My issue was I didn't find any I wanted to vote for besides Mike.

    2. W-space: I don't see nerfs, but I am worried.
      -Blue Ribbons; had not heard of a drop in MNR prices.
      I think he's referring to the blue books being possibly nerfed. This ties in with CCP's statement about not being particularly happy with capital ship escalation farming. Adjusting NPC blue book values could be one way CCP is considering "adjusting" this behaviour, but I haven't heard any confirmed posts about CCP changing this.

      -Capitol Rigs; I will ask in COMMS tonight, don;t fly Caps myself;

      This is a huge increase in fitting costs for most WH capital ships. T2 rigs are not that uncommon for both pve and pvp WH cap fits. Since CCP has stated that the new rigs will cost 5x that of large rigs, a 220 million isk t2 trimark will soon cost 1.25 bil. That and even cheap t1 carriers will have rigs costs of 200 mil now. This rig change hits WH space the hardest mainly because ships are valued on an effectiveness per mass instead of isk ratio. In null sec you can get away with a t1 rigged slowcat for blobbing or not even bothering to rig your carrier/dread as the value of the extra hit points does matter when supers/titans start blapping them. In WH's however that minor percentage points can be the tipping point in fights.

      -Ice: I have a wait n see attitude but yea, I am worried it will make it harder for the small and mid sized corps to get into W-space.

      Operating costs will go up if the price of ice goes up. Since WH dwellers are the main people that are slaves to their POSes this could really hit them hard depending on where the price settles.
      I have no idea what other three he saw were...

    3. From the "other three", one might be the grav site change. Without local and without a need to use probes, the attackers are almost unnoticable for the solo/small group miners. I would call that a nerf.

      Ice: Was that 20% as "low and null" or just "low"? I remember it being only low (might be wrong), and if so, then it could mean they remove ice from null altogether. Even more import for them (mu-ha-ha).

  4. I have a big question about ice. I seemed to read that ice spawns across the entire universe would equal the current daily rate of consumption, with 80% spawning in empire and 20% in low and null sec. Is that anywhere near accurate or did I just read too fast? Anyway, with limited spawning don't you think the price of ice products will skyrocket?

    1. No, you didn't read too fast. I don't know who is going to be suicidal enough to mine that much ice in low sec, though. Maybe a desperate wormholer who pops out into k-space for some ice. The bulk of that 20% is going to be mined in null.

      I've mined ice in low and once spent 2 hours playing cat & mouse with a German in a Hurricane to get the last two cycles I needed to finish making all the Sisters' probe equipment I wanted to make.

      And yes, I believe that ice is going to skyrocket.

    2. Short-term, yes. Long-term, no.

      Long-term: most ice products are consumed as fuel by POS towers, owned by industrialists. Prior to the Gallente Ice Interdiction, industrialists kept fuel stockpiles sufficient for 2-6 months. After the interdiction, industrialists massively increased their stockpiles of fuel. Many now have stockpiles sufficient to power their towers for 2-5+ years. The 80% of ice remaining in high sec will be sufficient to top off these stockpiles for a very, very long time. (Note: The other major use for most ice is jump fuel. Not much consumption for jump fuel in high sec.)

      Short-term: ice prices are being manipulated right now by the Goons. Prices are spiking now, because the Goons have been buying up stock for the past month or two. When prices peak - probably within a month or so after Odyssey - the Goons are going to dump their stock and rake in their profits. This is what they did during the ice interdiction, profiting to the tune of hundreds of billions of ISK.

  5. Reading over your questions, and considering them a bit more I've come up with a few hypothesis.

    Will Odyssey be a boon to bots?
    You know what they say, where there's a will, there's a way. But besides that I don't think bots will benefit from the new scanner. This may be a subtle way of CCP gimping some of the botting software that is available. Without any hard facts, I'm only theorizing but the new scanner information may be programmed with certain access masks in place to detect bots that phish for the desired information.

    Is wormhole space receiving a net nerf?
    I believe that yes they will be getting somewhat hurt. Don't remember anything about the ribbions, but the capital rigs could prove problematic especially if income is being nerfed. The main one I see is the ice reduction. Ice will go up in price and it may come back down or the new standard will plateu at the higher price. If WH income is nerfed then it becomes harder to afford fuel blocks (especially for those just starting out) let alone everything else a wormholer needs. For those that say they make their own and so the new prices won't affect them, don't understand basic economic principles. Yeah, you made it yourself and so you don't lose any current ISK, but the time you spent making it and if you had sold it you would be that much ISK richer.

    Can I still live in low sec?
    Absoulutely, although as with all changes whether to modules or ship attributes it may require you to adapt your playstyle slightly. I'm not talking an OMFG my playstyle is ruined type adaption. I'm referring to a slight adaption, you still have your playstyle it will just have evolved a bit.

    What happened with the CSM 8 election?
    I think voter turnout suffered greatly from CCP's lack of promotion. Don't forget that subscriptions went up after retribution and I'm sure new players were among that increase. For most games especially MMO's players do not get a say in what goes on or are given an "illusion" of affecting change through forum posts etc... But EVE Online has an actual board of elected players that CCP will converse with about varios ideas (not to be confused with the CSM having any actual real power to implement player ideas). One of the key aspects of it though is that CSM members are elected by the players. This is a highly foreign concept in game development. CCP's utter lack of real promotion and public support of the CSM impacted the results. I'm guessing a ton of players (especially casuals or solo's) who don't keep up with the blogs, twitter, and news sites didn't even know something was happening.

    Will null sec explode in violence?
    Nope, as much as we'd like it to, I highly doubt it. Reason being that they are usually quite risk averse. If they can't blob someone then they want to avoid the fight. With the blue donut already the way it is, the null blocks will adapt their political policies and treaties to more manage how CCP "redistributes" the new resources. Think of it in the world today, it's mostly at a standstill (with a few fanatical groups wanting to kill everything). If a country has a resource that another country wants, most often it is through some sort of trade agreement that said resource is aquired. (You don't need to shoot structures to blow up everything an opponent undocks.)

    But hey, who takes the internets at its word?

  6. "Will null sec explode in violence?"

    No, although this was obviously Unifex's intent with reshuffling resources in null.

    Mittens and the other alliance leaders outguessed Unifex, and have already made agreements, regarding the new resource distributions, in order to share & maintain economic control of null and avoid an all-out war.

    Yet again, CCP is one step behind the Goons.