Monday, September 30, 2019

World of Warcraft Subscription Revenue Triples

The 800 pound gorilla in the MMORPG space is still World of Warcraft. I expect that come the reporting season for the third quarter of 2019, the launch of the WoW Classic servers will come up time and again as the reason for declining revenues. And for good reason.

According to Superdata, subscription revenue for WoW rose 223% in August compared to July. That figure probably means a couple of million people returned to play WoW, including from other games. We've heard anecdotal evidence of people leaving EVE to play WoW Classic. I'm not sure all games are affected, however. I started playing Final Fantasy XIV, and even after the launch of WoW Classic, I still encounter a login queue every time I go to play. The financial reporting season coming up in November should prove quite interesting.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

In Search Of New Metrics

A big part of my RMT tracking disappeared last week. Player Auctions, the big site that sells game currency like gold, platinum, gil, and ISK, stopped displaying how much PLEX and skill injectors are involved in transactions. In other words, I can track the number of transactions, just not how many PLEX and injectors were sold.

Last week was not the first time a change affected the data I collect. Back in January 2018, the RMT site stopped publishing transactions without reviews. Due to moving my data entry interface to Google forms at the beginning of 2017, I could remove the non-reviewed transactions from my data in 2017, but not for 2015 and 2016. What that meant is that I can still compare prices from before 2017, but not volumes.

I shouldn't complain too much. PA recently put in a feature that tracks the reviews of all ISK purchases, so I am more confident of the accuracy of my data on ISK sales than before. Also, I can at a glance tell if the ISK sellers are having a bad day.

For my blogging, I normally just wrote about ISK sales information anyway. I can continue as normal in that regard. I think I will need to do something new concerning RMT, though. I'm just not sure what.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Myth Of The Migrating Bots

In a multiple choice test in EVE, many people, when in doubt, will answer "bots" if given the chance. Even I, someone who has written about botting and illicit real money trading for 8 years, at times find myself in awe at some of the theories thrown around. The latest use of bots as an explanation is quite damning of EVE Online as a game.

The question: Why did activity in null sec drop so much during Hurricane Hilmar, also known as the blackout? The answer, at least in some quarters, was: all the bots moved to high sec.

I decided over the weekend to test the hypothesis that the answer was bots. If the answer was a mass migration of bots from null sec to high security space, we should see the following occur:

  1. A falloff of both NPC bounties and mining income in null sec.
  2. A corresponding increase in NPC bounties and mining income in high sec.

The data I chose to analyze comes from the RegionalStats.csv files from the May and August monthly economic reports. May was the last full month before the beginning of the so-called "Chaos Era", and August is the last month for which data is publicly available. I then chose a scatter plot to display the data for both NPC bounties and mining value on one plot for each month.

In the plots above, regions in the upper right-hand corner engage in large amounts of both mining and ratting, while the lower left corner represents less PvE. In May, New Eden had 5 null sec regions sitting on top of the PvE world: Delve, Branch, Deteroid, Esoteria, and Insmother. Another four had also separated themselves from the pack: Cobalt Edge, Deklein, Querious, and Fountain. Several other null sec regions gathered in between 1-2 trillion ISK in bounties

August was a completely different story. Except for Delve, no other region came close to exceeding either 2 trillion ISK in minerals mined or bounties collected. Even then, Delve's performance in August, while impressive under the conditions, still did not match its May output. And we should remember that the Imperium was deployed for part of May. The first part of the hypothesis appears correct. Null sec experienced a massive drop in both ratting and mining income.

I documented the damage caused by Hurricane Hilmar two weeks ago. The decline in activity in null sec is not a surprise. But what the above scatter plots showed was in August, no high sec region burst out with a fantastic performance. The next pair of plots strips out the null sec regions and just looks at those located in Empire space.

If a massive amount of bots flooded into high sec, one would expect to see at least a couple of regions increase either their mining value or bounty values by at least 200 billion ISK. I don't see any region even experiencing a 100 billion ISK increase. In other words, the condition that empire regions would see an increase in mining/bounty income in reaction to the massive decrease in null sec income fails.

I've read some of the arguments against this conclusion. The bots went to high sec and were banned. Yes, the 6,800 accounts banned for botting and illicit RMT activity in August was an impressive amount. I would also throw in CCP slowed down botting with the introduction of roaming bands of recon Triglavians, at least until bots were altered to take the threat into account.

I may not have all the answers, but I am sure of one thing. I have a basis for stating that bots didn't fill up high sec and overrun the place. While we know from anecdotal reports (and botter tears) that bots moved to high sec to set up shop, they didn't make enough of a impact to show up in the monthly economic report.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Dream: Triglavians As A Playable Race

I have publicly stated that CCP needs a very good, if not amazing, winter expansion in order to recover from Hurricane Hilmar. We know that CCP is capable of such a feat. One only needs to look at the success of the Crucible expansion in the winter of 2011 after the disastrous Incarna expansion in June 2011 and the following Summer of Rage. The question is: can CCP come through in the clutch once again?

What could CCP pull out of the nearest volcano in order to not only entice old players to return, but new players to try out a 16-year-old game? Since walking in stations is a pipe dream at this point, the answer is fairly obvious. Make the Triglavians a playable race.

"Wait a minute," I can hear people say, "CCP is devoting 70% of its development resources towards developing content for new players. They don't have the resources to create a fifth playable faction." I'm not convinced. CCP has already developed an extended Triglavian ship line consisting of:
  • Damavik (Frigate)
  • Kikimora (Destroyer)
  • Vedmak (Cruiser, Combat)
  • Rodiva (Cruiser, Logistics, tech 1)
  • Zarmazd (Cruiser, Logistics, tech 2)
  • Drekavac (Battlecruiser)
  • Leshak (Battleship)

We also know that the Triglavians are developing at least one capital- or supercapital-sized ship class. As the Triglavians emerge from Abyssal space, they are bound to develop more ship types in order to compete with the empires and their capsuleer allies.

Triglavian society seems set up around the template of the existing playable races. Just as players can choose between one of three bloodlines when creating a character, the Triglavians are divided into three "clades" that seem very similar to bloodlines. Combined with the advanced ship line for a pirate faction, seems like CCP left the door open to eventually allowing players to play the Triglavians. Now is a good time to unleash the surprise.

Another factor in picking the Triglavians as a playable race is their origins in Abyssal space. CCP's art team has already created a lot of art assets that the developers could use to construct a new home. Just think, a home in Abyssal space that veteran players couldn't reach.

Assuming a home in Abyssal space also solves a problem: where would the starter areas for the Triglavians fit in New Eden? At this point in the game's life, the last thing needed is a new region. Adding a new home in Abyssal space would also answer the question, "Where do Triglavians come from?"

From a new player perspective, Abyssal space gives CCP some leeway in helping train new capsuleers. Want a space to show off a ship's capabilities? Create a pocket. Want to provide an area to practice? Create a pocket. No worries about making the activity area fit into the wider universe. Admittedly, others have had the idea, usually around the concept of computer simulations to train new players. The Triglavian pocket as training ground idea has the benefit of giving CCP the ability to have players lose actual ships in a fairly secure environment.

The big downside is character creation. Or is it? Yes, the Triglavians are always portrayed covered up from head to toe. I imagine players would want the ability to customize the physical appearance of their avatars. That requires art assets, and I don't think many people at CCP know how to manipulate the Carbon engine anymore. Perhaps CCP could use the opportunity to switch characters from the Carbon engine to Unreal Engine 4. Since CCP announced last year it was moving to UE4 for all future work, why not retrofit any character creation work on an FPS set in the EVE universe to EVE Online?

These are just some quick thoughts fleshing out the idea of CCP making available a fifth playable race. The idea of a fifth races has floated around as long as I have played. Ten years ago, players asked about the Jove. Perhaps the Triglavians are the answer to a lot of dreams.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Emerging Conduits: Stumbling Into Content

I suspect that those who don't follow the EVE news are happier people. Even happier are those in high security space. Except for the occasional Burn Jita, not much really bad happens. Ah, that life seems wonderful. No worrying about what Hilmar and Berger (CCP Burger, the creative director for EVE) were up to in a sauna in Finland. Blissfully unaware of the antics of The Mittani and the other null sec oligarchs. Someone whose enjoyment of the game isn't sucked out of them faster than a fully faction fit Bhaalgorn can drain the capacitor from an Atron by the toxicity of the EVE Online sub-Reddit.

I know, I know. I chose to become a blogger. Overall, the good has far outweighed the bad. But the recent hurricane coverage has taken a toll. So much data, so little time. I found a refuge from the storm in Final Fantasy XIV, but between blogging an the online class I'm taking, playing video games at all just doesn't happen during the week.

Last Wednesday night, with the post about Hurricane Hilmar published and my classwork complete, I decided to log into EVE Online. At a minimum, I needed to update the clients on both my computers, since I did not log in on patch day. When I logged in as Rosewalker, I found myself in a high sec station, sitting in a Vagabond. So I undocked with the intent of trying to find a group of recon Triglavians to shoot.

When I undocked, I looked down at my scanner and saw an Emerging Conduit at the top of the list. I didn't need to go hunting. I had a whole bunch in system with me.

I felt fairly confident in my Vagabond. I used it to run tier 3 abyssal sites. Plus, I heard the Triglavian ships did not scram, so if things got really scary, I could hit the assault damage control unit and warp out. For some reason, I decided to use Hornet IIs instead of Warrior IIs as my drone of choice. So with a questionable drone choice and Republic Fleet Fusion M loaded in my autocannons, off I went.

I landed in the site and wondered where all the Triglavians were. Then a dark portal formed and out came the Triglavians. As one might expect, the Triglavians came out in three waves. The first was easy enough to brush aside. The second was a bit tougher as Triglavian destroyer damage is nothing to sneeze at.

In between waves, I took the opportunity to salvage. The last time I was out, I had fit a Salvager II in the  utility slot instead of the nosferatu I fit when running Abyssal sites in order to ease any cap pressure. I was still salvaging when the third wave hit me.

The third wave can bring some serious pain, especially if one just sits there and lets the damage ramp up. Safety tip: don't let a Zoya's Vedmark and a support gang of 9 frigates and destroyers get in range. I wound up warping off. I then warped back, finished the remaining Triglavians, and began cleaning up the wrecks.

I discovered four important things about the sites in that first run. First, the NPCs drop red loot, which means looting the field is a must. The second was that half the value of the site was in the salvage. Third, the site contains an ore named Talassonite, which contains nocxium, zydrine, and megacyte. Finally, shortly after I completed the site, a new Emerging Conduit spawned and the one I disappared from scan. A site that a player could infinitely chain that has ore containing higher end minterals like nocxium, zydrine and megacyte? Okay. If the developers are incentivizing me into spending most of my time in high sec, I'm not going to fight want they clearly want me to do anymore.

With the next site, I decided to bring along a mobile tractor unit and log in Wandering Rose to salvage the wrecks in a Noctis. I also made a change in tactics. Instead of sitting stationary, I decided to dart into range, align to a station, and kite the Triglavians. On the third wave, I decided to pick off all the support ships and leave Zoya's Vedmark for last. The plan almost worked like a charm. The third wave, instead of making me warp off, didn't even get to half shields. I only had one issue. The Zoya's Vedmark warped off instead.

So I cleaned up the field, scooped  the MTU to my cargo hold, and dropped the loot off in the station. One more site for the night. I did everything the way I think will happen in the future. Warped into the site. Waited for the dark warp point to appear and then the Triglavians to appear. Dropped the MTU and darted into range of the NPCs. Started kiting and picking off the NPCs. On the third wave, warp off due to the extreme damage inflicted and to reset the Triglavian weapons. Warp back in and finish off the third wave. Clean up the field.

I did learn one final, important fact about the Emerging Conduits. After finishing up the last site, I warped back to the bookmark I made for the second site (I always bookmark my MTUs after dropping them). The asteroid belt was gone. Important safety tip: if you want to mine the talassonite in one of the new sites, always leave at least one ship in the site after all the NPCs are destroyed.

I had to experience mining talassonite, so on Sunday, I went back and logged in my little high sec mining fleet members who fly an Orca and two Skiffs. The fleet hanger and ore hold in the Orca, combined with the 15,000 m3 ore holds in each of the Skiffs, comes out to a nice round number of 250,000 m3. So I mined until all the space was filled. For those interested, I didn't come close to mining the belt out.

Due to talassonite taking up 16 m3 each, I only came away with 15,624 units of ore. I then took the ore to an NPC station for reprocessing. My return rate was 75.6%, which is pretty good for an NPC station in high sec. The minerals received were:

  • Megacyte - 1,534 units
  • Nocxium - 53,812 units
  • Tritanium - 1,486,917 units
  • Zydrine - 9,558 units

A ridiculously low amount for a Rorqual pilot, but I was happy to receive that type of higher end minerals in high sec.

After the mining session, I looked through my blueprints and found my 10-run Porpoise blueprint copy. I went nuts mining enough to build my Nestor and Marshal. With these new sites, a Porpoise will be a breeze. And with the mineral requirements for a Porpoise, I may post next Wednesday about my brand new ship.

Monday, September 16, 2019

The End Of The Blackout: Hurricane Hilmar Moves Back Out To Sea

I woke up Saturday to news that CCP would lift the imposition of delayed local today in null security space today. CCP chose not to delay its plans.
On July 5, we announced the local blackout for nullsec, which then came into effect on July 12.

This temporarily switched local chat over to delayed mode across nullsec space so that both chat and the intelligence service that it provides behaved the same as wormhole space.

Over the course of the blackout we’ve seen some substantial changes in player behavior and a massive impact on those we believe to be suspected of botting. The duration of the blackout wasn’t specified in order to allow us to gather information without a hard deadline for concluding it.

After 66 days, the blackout of local chat in nullsec will come to an end during downtime today, September 16 and local will return to immediate mode with full population counts and member lists.

The blackout has given us an incredible amount of insight in terms of player behavior, sentiment and ability to adapt to rapid short notice changes. This will help to better inform us on where to take the direction of New Eden in future.
Hurricane Hilmar didn't impact my game play directly. I don't play in null sec, and I don't buy RMT tokens like PLEX and skill injectors. A huge drop in players that affects the economic viability of keeping the servers running? I start to care.

I probably should wait for the September data to roll in before making any judgments. But I do feel we have enough data in now to make one conclusion. CCP let the situation go on too long. Given the way CCP introduced delayed local, I was sure the feature was a one month experiment ending with the release of the August patch on 13 August. When I saw the numbers, particularly for the PLEX market in The Forge, I thought for sure the developers would flip the switch and restore local. I was wrong.

As Ripard Teg's chart shows, the drop in average concurrent users took place after the August patch. Perhaps the decision makers looked at the data, didn't see a drop in Omega accounts or ACU, and decided they would continue the feature. Then the floor dropped out from under them.

Of course, I'm assuming what CCP's data showed them, as they have a lot more data than I do. I can only work with what is publicly available. The next real look we get at activity, outside looking at the PLEX market in The Forge, is 1 October when the final activity numbers for September appear on Dotlan.

Activity through 15 September. Source: Dotlan Maps
While the September MER will not have a lot of data for the mid-month change in local, the Dotlan data will provide some sort of rough approximation for the effect on player activity.

As for now, the big question is whether EVE Online will fully recover from the missteps, or if the game is permanently crippled. I honestly don't know. Which is why we look to the data we have to try to make an informed judgement.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Hurricane Hilmar


  • 1a: a state of utter confusion. (eg. the blackout caused chaos throughout the city)
  • 1b: a confused mass or mixture (eg. a chaos of television antennas)
  • 2a (often capitalized): a state of things in which chance is supreme. especially : the confused unorganized state of primordial matter before the creation of distinct forms — compare COSMOS
  • 2b: the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex natural system (such as the atmosphere, boiling water, or the beating heart)

When I first heard Hilmar Veigar P├ętursson, the CEO of CCP Games, use the term "Chaos Era" in an interview with Talking in Stations, my first thought was, "Why is Hilmar referring to the development process of EVE Online in such a negative way?" Only later, when I heard the phrase used by CCP in other places, did I realize the phrase was CCP's new marketing tag line to describe what CCP hope to make players experience.

From this point forward, I will use CCP's marketing phrase as little as possible. What we are witnessing now is a reset of New Eden. What I don't know is whether the disruption occurring is at the level of rerouting the jump gate network so Yulai was no longer the center of the cluster, of if the brain trust at CCP headquarters intends to perform a WoW Cataclysm style change. What I do know is that what EVE Online, particularly sovereign null security space, experienced throughout most of July and throughout August was not a period of mass confusion. The players experienced an event more akin to a natural disaster like a hurricane.

Like a hurricane, people want to know how many people died. Yesterday, Ripard Teg published an activity chart on Reddit. According to the chart, while activity in general declined in July and August, the average concurrent user (ACU) mark hovered at 20,000 characters until the August release hit. If the introduction of Blackout acted like hurricane force winds, the August release was a storm surge. The combination of recon Triglavians wandering outside of invasion zones, a historically high number of bots banned during the month, the realization that Blackout would not end anytime in the foreseeable future, and the launch of WoW Classic on 26 August giving disgruntled players a place to go saw the ACU plummet down to 17,000. Or, in other words, the storm surge possibly caused more damage than the initial cloud wall smashing into civilization.

After counting the human cost, the real-world media usually looks at the economic damage. In August, to my knowledge, two events occurred for the first time in the history of EVE Online. The first was the ISK sinks removed more currency from the EVE economy than the ISK faucets poured in. While the implementation of delayed local in null sec regions received most of the attention, the increases in the maximum sales tax from 2% to 5% and maximum broker fees in NPC stations from 3% to 5% introduced on 1 August played a significant factor as well.

The second event was that bounties, the ISK players receive for killing NPCs, were not the largest ISK faucet. Commodities, which include blue loot from Sleepers (found in wormholes), red loot from Triglavians (25.7% of the commodities total) and Overseer's Personal Effects (14% of the commodities total) exceeded the value of bounties by 2.6 trillion ISK.

Summer normally sees a contraction of the EVE Online economy, and 2019 was no different. Overall, the New Eden economy contracted 14.1% since June, the last full month before Hurricane Hilmar hit, to August. This year's contraction is 38.2% greater than the average contraction of 10.2% between 2016 and 2018.

Another economic casualty many players faced concerned their investments. The main investment a player can make with their unused ISK is investing in PLEX. Traditionally a safe investment almost guaranteed to increase over time, New Eden's main alternative currency took a major tumble over the past two months. On 12 July, the average price of a single PLEX for sale in The Forge was 3,937,688.10. Even then, players cried out that the price of ISK was too damn high. As of 9 September, the price had dropped 15%, down to 3,346,808.00 ISK. Overall, the price of PLEX has dropped 25.5% since 29 March, when the average price hit a high for the year of 4,489,980.00 ISK. Good news for those looking to PLEX their accounts. Bad news for those PvPers who disdain any form of PvE and choose to pay for their ISK using their real life wallets.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes usually bring stories of looters and other types of lawlessness. During the current storm, the authorities are, if not deterring crime, cracking down on the violators. During the month of August, Team Security banned 4,369 accounts for botting-related activities and another 2,454 for RMT-related activities. To put the numbers in perspective, Unholy Rage, the great bot ban of June 2009, banned a little over 6,200 paying accounts. While we don't know the subscription status of last month's bans, Team Security did act against 6,823 accounts.

Hurricane Hilmar is gradually losing its destructive power as the survivors of the storm emerge to play the game. One sign of recovery is that the economy only contracted 2.5% in August. The average July to August contraction over the previous 3 years was 3.1%. That's right, New Eden outperformed the previous years' economic performance despite the troubles.

During major storms, some parts of the economy are affected more than others. One can divide the EVE economy into two parts: the RMT token vs the non-RMT economy

An interesting fact is that CCP does not consider PLEX as part of the regular economy. The most likely explanation is that PLEX, like ISK, is a virtual currency, not an object. The RMT tokens that do count as part of the New Eden economy are:
  • Daily Alpha Injector
  • Large Skill Injector
  • Multiple Pilot Training Certificate
  • Pilot's Body Resculpt Certificate
  • Skill Extractor
  • Small Skill Injector

These 6 items made up 33.9% of the economy in August. When PLEX is included, slightly over 49% of the ISK players spent in the game was on these items.

Looking at just the non-RMT economy (everything else but the RMT tokens), an interesting fact emerges. Take away the tokens, and the economy grew by 3.5% in August instead of contracting by 2.5%. The contraction came purely from players not wishing to buy the RMT tokens with their hard-earned ISK. A troubling trend for the corporation with the biggest stake in the health of the RMT economy: CCP Games.

Based on the last three years, the EVE economy should pick up in September. I have my doubts. Just as people who flee a hurricane often don't return home (think the effect Hurricane Katrina had on the population of New Orleans in 2005), I expect many players won't return to EVE due to the massive disruptions to their game play. I also think problems in the RMT portion of the economy will continue and drag down the overall economy. As for the activities that require flying around in space, I fully expect the number of NPCs killed to drop in September, leading to another drop in the bounty ISK faucet. Perhaps growth and activity rates will return somewhat to normal, but for now, I don't see the situation improving until October.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Pavlov's Capsuleer

Classical conditioning (also known as Pavlovian or respondent conditioning) refers to a learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus (e.g. food) is paired with a previously neutral stimulus (e.g. a bell). It also refers to the learning process that results from this pairing, through which the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response (e.g. salivation) that is usually similar to the one elicited by the potent stimulus.
- Wikipedia

By this time in my gaming history, I have played quite a few MMOPRGs to the level cap: Vanilla WoW, Everquest 2 (The Shadow Odyssey), Star Wars: The Old Republic (original), Guild Wars 2 (original), and Elder Scrolls Online (Morrowind). Currently, when I'm not taking online classes or digging through EVE Online data, I'm playing Final Fantasy XIV. All of the games have one thing in common, besides being themepark MMORPGs. They all have an impressive visual and audio effect when a character reaches a new level.

I'm particularly taken with what I see in FFXIV, Square Enix definitely gives new players plenty of opportunities to enjoy the experience. Currently, my conjurer is level 26, my three gathering professions (botanist, mining, fishing) are between levels 16 and 21, and my eight crafting professions (carpenter, blacksmith, armorer, goldsmith, leatherworker, weaver, alchemist and culinarian) are between levels 12 and 18. If I let myself, I would just keep playing FFXIV.

With the audio and visual stimulus comes rewards. At first the rewards come fast and furious. New spells/abilities and access to new gear and content. As players progress through the games, the effects still kick off, but the rewards come farther and farther apart. Pretty soon, a player is hooked and only needs the occasional experience. Classical conditioning at its finest.

Out of all the MMORPGs I've played over the last 15 years, EVE Online is unique in that CCP really didn't put in all the bells and whistles that games like World of Warcraft and Everquest 2 deployed. First, a game without character levels doesn't really lend itself to flashy leveling experiences. CCP created a rather subdued game, and Aura announcing, "Skill training complete," when a character finishes training a new skill isn't the biggest dopamine hit. Yes, I did enjoy the experience when I heard Aura's voice. But in today's game, much of the training experience disappears and veteran players encourage new players to use skill injectors to quickly join them.

For players who enjoy PvP, the kill report, frequently referred to as kill mails by older players, seems to serve as the reward that keeps players happy. These players will do the most boring things, such as gate camping and POS bashing, if they know they will get their names on a kill report.

From listening to null sec players, one of the problems with the current Aegis sovereignty system is how boring the entosis system is. If the mechanic is anything like capturing plex in factional warfare, I don't know why people engage in sov warfare. One of the fixes I've seen throughout the past few years is to allow players to shoot the control points and generate kill reports for succeeding. There are those kill reports popping up again.

Until the last few years, PvE players had no comparable mechanic. Some would say, EVE still doesn't, as the Opportunites system was meant to replace the tutorial, not supplement it. I think the Opportunities system has a greater effect on new players than us old-timers. But even then, in FFXIV, I have a hunting log that provides me experience points. EVE players only receive ISK. I guess I can't blame CCP for not offering experience points, though. With the advent of skill extractors and injectors, players would figure out how to game the system if CCP offered a big enough skill point award.

If CCP's classical conditioning consists of "explode enemy player ship, receive kill report," then CCP has a problem. New players are most likely found floating around high sec with no chance to kill another player. Back at Fanfest 2015, CCP Rise famously gave a presentation in which he stated players who die in their first two weeks stick around longer. The questions I have are:

1. Is the retention rate higher for those who receive kill reports (or show up as a killer) vs those who only receive loss mails?

2. How do those two groups compare to those who don't receive loss mails at all?

Monday, September 2, 2019

The EVE Online Blackout: August, The First Full Month

You don't have the data to make a judgment on the effects of blackout. I don't either. CCP does.

August was the first full month of Blackout in EVE Online. Blackout, the introduction of the wormhole-style delayed local chat system in null sec systems, is blamed for a decrease in activity in null sec. Others claim a decrease in player vs environment activity is good, because null sec was intended as a player vs player zone. These same players claim that PvE activity has increased and gotten better since the introduction of Blackout on 12 July.

Players are scrambling to come up with data to judge the effects of Blackout. While the data available to players is not as comprehensive as that held internally by CCP, we have access to quite a bit of data. Among the key performance indicators players can access is the ratting and player ship kills available on Dotlan. As I did last month, I will look at the numbers from the previous month, the first full month of Blackout.