@chellaranier That way ==> to Amarr...
— Erlendur (@erlendur) June 11, 2013
No, the title of the post is not a reference to the system in Metropolis. The Erlendur in question is Dr. Erlendur S. Þorsteinsson (Thorsteinsson), the Software Director of the EVE Universe and EVE Online. As you can tell by his job title he knows a thing or twenty about how the software that makes up EVE works. Recently he left the safety of Twitter and the Tweetfleet and braved the wilds of the official EVE Online forums to answer questions about the population cap in Jita under his nom de plume CCP Explorer. I figure that since the official EVE forums is one of the few places that even the NSA fears to tread that I'd extract some of his answers to questions and produce a little virtual Q and A that kind of makes sense.
Player - Why is the population limit for Jita set where it is?
Erlendur -"If we up the limit then Time Dilation starts to kick in more aggressively than it does now. It will with the current limit drop to 80% approx. every 15 minutes on average during peak hour."
Player - "I think a major concern is that the Jita limit before cap or tidi apparently went _down_ with Odyssey's release. Why was this?"
Erlendur - "It is known why that is; first of all there is always a different usage profile in Jita in the first week after an expansion. More traffic and since the load is mostly traffic related then we need to lower the cap until the bump of excitement tapers off. Secondly there were changes to logging we did related to the attacks the weekend before Odyssey that we need to optimise. We hope to do that very soon and then the population cap on Jita will return to normal values."
Player - "Hope that works, Jita with 2,000-ish population post Odyssey performs quite worst than Jita with 2,300 pop pre-Odessey."
Erlendur - "Pre-Odyssey the population cap was 2,170. Post-Odyssey it is 2,050; first and foremost because of increased logging, added the day before Odyssey, which we intend to optimise."
Player - "Pre-pre-Odyssey, it was 2330. Let us not forget."
Erlendur - "Not directly comparable; in the post-Retribution period Jita's TiDi was frequently hitting sub-50% with a population cap of 2,300. On 21 Feb we decided to lower the limit to 2,200 and then further to 2,170 on 22 Feb. The aim was to keep TiDi above 80% and not kick in more often than every 15 minutes on average.
"The 2,170 post-Retribution/post-tweaking number is directly comparable to the current 2,050 number. But the cause of that decrease is known and will be addressed."
Player - If you removed local, spam bots would have no reason to be in jita, so that'd lighten the load, surely?
Erlendur - "No, the load would stay the same (because it's traffic related) and we would lower the cap accordingly with the number of spambots that would have gone away. There are X pilots causing load and Y spambots. The cap is at X+Y."
Player - "So instead of the useful population of Jita being what the face value is by banning Y amount of spambots, it remains at facevalue - y and CCP is content with this status?"
Erlendur - "If we banned Y spambots then we would need to lower the limit to X since that's where the actual load comes from. The cap accounts for the non-contributing pilots."
Player - "What part of this thread you didn't understand ? no one is complaining that spamming bots are causing lags. What are we saying these spamming bots are occupying slots of the Jita cap population. Since they are useless to the rest of EVE community they should deal with that."
Erlendur - "If they all went away we would need to lower the cap. The cap accounts for both contributing and non-contributing pilots from a load perspective."
Player - "Then why is the cap on total players? It should always allow me to log in if I'm already docked, and just block undocking."
Erlendur - "Logging in is an act of docking. Your character needs to be added to the solarsystem (in the station) and your skills and bonuses set up (e.g., skills that control what ships you can board and bonuses that control the size of your cargohold)."
Player - "OK so the cap is variable value based on the Botters in Jita, how is the system differentiate between real players and Botters?"
Erlendur - "It's not dynamic, we look at Jita on a regular basis and adjust the value based on the load numbers."
Player - "Seeing as how markets and contracts and everything is handled on a different node, and chat is on a completely different service altogether, I would say the most work being done by the node would be on the ships in space. So reducing spammers and other docked activities probably wouldn't make much difference. I could be totally wrong though."
Erlendur - "You would be absolutely right. Market, contracts and chat are on other nodes. The load in Jita is primarily traffic related, pilots docking/undocking/jumping-in/jumping-out."
Player - "Sooo… this whole brain-in-a-box thing we've heard about has the potential of being the largest Jita booster in a long while, if you get it to work?"
Erlendur - "CCP Veritas is still working on that and, yes, that would be the largest Jita boost in a while and a tremendous boon to coordinated fleet fight jump-ins."
Player - "Jita is apparently single-threaded and already running on a i7 with 5GHz and 64GB RAM. They'd have to work out some way to make it multi-threaded and that will never happen."
Erlendur - "A solarsystem is the smallest load balancing unit and is a single-threaded process. We are working on one project to offload a lot of the work to another process (see Brain in a Box in this thread) and have more ideas that we intend to look at a later date."
Player - "How about removing traffic from afk players by not allowing Jita as final destination for the autopilot? (Just make em park on the gates to Jita instead) Should also keep the cap more stable near the actual needed limit. Would that help?"
Erlendur - "By default then Jita is on the avoidance list so pilots don't 'accidentally' autopilot through Jita. But if people want to go to Jita..."
Player - "Ffs ccp just fix jita already. I am not paying to sit at a gate spamming buttons."
Erlendur - "How's Amarr these days? Right now there are 2050 in Jita and 835 in Amarr. We very recently assigned Amarr to better hardware to handle more load."
Player (ranting against other players) - "Is it really so bad to finally admit that the heart of the economy of a whole galaxy has outgrown one star system? Surely that is a positive reflection on the sheer juggernaut capitalism that you traders and industrialists drive."
Erlendur - "Indeed, no one thing is going to "fix" Jita, multiple things will be needed. We are not going to throw hardware at the problem since there really isn't any better / more suitable hardware on the market and as Tippia has repeatedly explained in this thread then it's not a sustainable solution. That being said, if and when there is better hardware available we will probably buy it, because who doesn't like shiny new hardware...
"In the meantime we are working on "Brain in a Box" (details explained by Tippia in this thread) that is primarily meant for coordinated fleet fight jump-ins but will greatly benefit Jita, and you can grow Amarr as an alternative to Jita.
"I tweeted recently about Amarr's new hardware https://twitter.com/erlendur/status/340791130104942593 and about how the population of Amarr has grown in recent months https://twitter.com/erlendur/status/343517649927536643 . It had been 500-600 for a long while but is now peaking around 1000. Chribba replied https://twitter.com/ChribbaVeldspar/status/343637496351035392 reminiscing how it used to be only 40-50 (he probably walked a mile in the snow to his Veldnaught at the time). Amarr is still far behind Jita in terms of market volume but it's also significantly ahead of all others."