Monthly Archives: August 2017

Delve – Still Ratting, Still Mining, Still Manufacturing

The New Eden monthly economic report for July 2017 is out, a little later than usual, but better late than never.

Getting straight to the ISK sinks and faucets chart, it does look like the changes in June update regarding super carrier ratting have continued to hold, as total bounties remain on a downward slope.

July 2017 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

That still seems like a lot of ISK from bounties, even if the trend is downward for the moment.  CCP made no further adjustments in the July update, and tomorrow’s planned update does not mention anything in that regard in the patch notes.

However, while the overall amount from bounties is down, in Delve they are actually up some, topping the July number by about 400 billion ISK.

July 2017 – NPC Bounties by Region

That is still down from the May peak, when the number was 8.8 trillion ISK in bounties.  But the bulk of the reduction in the bounty pay outs seems to be coming from other regions in New Eden.

Likewise, the care bear reputation of Delve is reinforced by the mining output for the region.

July 2017 – Mining Value by Region

That chart shows the value of mining in Delve up from 8.5 trillion ISK in June to 10.2 trillion ISK in July.  Of course, those values are influence by the market value of the output, so if actual ore mined was the same, but prices rose, that output value would rise as well.  I don’t watch the mineral and ore markets, so couldn’t tell you if actual amount mined was up or if prices are rising some.

And then there was production, which was up considerably since June, no doubt consuming all that mining output and then some.

July 2017 – Production Value by Region

Delve became the number one manufacturing region in New Eden, edging out The Forge by about a trillion ISK in value.  Though, if you add up the regions close to Jita, The Forge, The Citadel, and Lonetrek, high sec manufacturing for the Jita market is still dominant.

Looking at the key economic indicators chart, you can see that Delve still imports a lot, most of it from Jita, while the exports are negligible.

July 2017 – Key Regional Stats Compared

So I suppose I can be all “Yay Delve!  We’re #1” and such.

However, since the beginning of August the Imperium has taken its show on the road, landing in Hakonen in the Lonetrek region, where we seem determined to anchor a Fortizar no matter how many attempts it takes.

With all the combat pilots moving north, those left behind hoping to rat and mine in peace have been in for a rude awakening, with Rorquals and carriers going down in flames to roving gangs.  The Delve defense system has been denuded and losses have been mounting.

So the question will be how much of an impact will this have on the Delve ratting and mining numbers?  Will Delve top the charts for player ship losses come the August report? Tune in next month to see what sort of change is in store.

Fortizar Down in Hakonen Again

Round three of the battle to secure a Fortizar in Hakonen ended pretty much the same way that the previous two attempts did, with the Fortizar in question exploding.  I sat on grid to watch it after most everybody else has stood down.

One might well paraphrase Wellington for this fight.  “We deployed it in the same old way and they blew it up in the same old way.”

The now familiar pattern started as the timer drew down.  They first arrived with Machariels and Abaddons supported by Apostles for triage.

Battleships spreading out on arrival

Then a cyno went up and the mass of super carriers and Apostles, with a few titans in support, jumped into the system.

Hostile supers on grid

They in turn put fighters and drones on the Fortizar, stopping the timer at 13m 51s, a point from which the repair cycle never budged.

Timer stopper

We had capitals on stand-by, but did not bring them out to face the super capital gauntlet again.  No aggressive drops of dreadnoughts in hope of knocking out a few supers happened.  We stuck with sub caps for this round.

I was with the ECM Burst fleet again, hovering on a perch in my Atron, waiting to be warped in on hostiles to break their target locks.

Again my Atron swoops down upon the foe

After a few runs my security status was down to -7.1.  I am no longer safe to wander through high sec.  I will have to do quite a bit of ratting at some later date to fix that.

Our main striking force was a pair of Typhoon fleets whose progress I could mark from my perch by following the explosions.

Typhoons blowing up, they didn’t align in time

At one point both Typhoon fleets warped in on the far side of the fight, putting the hostiles between themselves and the Fortizar.  I put my camera on the fleet as it began to erupt in a near continuous series of explosions.

They did not stay on grid for long, warping off after taking quite a few losses in exchange for a few Machariels.  Our defense was called off shortly thereafter.

The fight itself was not plagued by as much time dilation as the previous two rounds, something a people on coms were quick to attribute to the fact that many of the groups in the conflict declared war on each other since the last fight.  That was alleged to lighten the load on Crime Watch, though the fact that there were 800 fewer people in local for the fight seemed a more likely explanation to me.  The war decs will likely just mean less worry about gate guns firing on people.

The battle report reflects the fact that we spent less time on grid fighting, with total losses adding up to less than 10% of the second fight and only 25% that of the first.

Battle Report Header for Round Three

The ratio of losses remained close to the same 70/30 split of the previous two fights, so we are consistent on that front.  We clearly lost the ISK war, but we drew some blood.

As a skeptical line member, whose only insight into overall strategy is what he reads in the papers, I am not sure where this Fortizar plan is headed.  It was reported that the fight managed to cover the deployment of a couple more Astrahus citadels in hostiles space.  These “roach motels,” as they have been dubbed, are set to be open to anybody, so if you want to camp in Tribute or Vale of the Silent, there are now rest stops where you can tether and repair or dock up for the night.

Attempts to return the favor by dropping citadels in Delve have been thwarted so far.

And even as we were fighting last night, another Fortizar was anchoring in Hakonen.

Aptly named “Another One”

This Fortizar is different in two ways.

First, it is in a slightly different location, since it was deployed while the one that just died was also going online.  Everybody will have to make new bookmarks.

Second, it is set to anchor and hit its 15 minute repair cycle during EUTZ, giving out European brethren a bite at the apple and some content of their own.  Will Jay Amazingness and the European members of the Imperium fare any better than we in the USTZ have done?  I suppose we’ll get the answer about two hours after this post goes live.  The fun is supposed to start at some point after 18:00 EVE time.

Anyway, as the line member space tourist, I’ll keep logging on for these fights.  It is what I signed up to do.  Join the Imperium and see New Eden!

An Astrahus Dies in Hakonen

And it wasn’t even ours.

Despite not having anything major going on this past weekend I somehow managed to sit down at my computer 30 minutes after a fleet op had formed up and left.  So it goes in New Eden, where action operates on its own schedule, and if you’re not around you miss it.

But as the weekend drew to a close I managed to get into one fleet.  Thomas Lear pinged for a Typhoon fleet and a support fleet of Jackdaws and ECM.  We were forming up to shoot an Astrahus that Pandemic Legion dropped in the system.

Look for the PL logo…

Being a Pandemic Legion citadel it had to follow the long standing practice of being named with a Game of Thrones spoiler.  And people ask who the bad guys are in this war.

Names omitted to save your purity…

I hope I blurred that enough.

As with the Fortizars we dropped and lost to our foes previously, it was the expedient course to kill the Astrahus as it went online, removing the need to deal with multiple timers.  Shooting it immediately would kill it right then and there.

I joined up with the Typhoon fleet in a Guardian again as logi seems to be in somewhat short supply.  I think everybody just wants to fly their el cheapo tier 1 battleships and shoot things.  While the fleet didn’t fill instantly, it was still nearly full by the time we undocked and got down to business.

Typhoons scattered about with logi cap chaining in the middle

When we landed on grid with the Astrahus a mobile cyno inhibitor was deployed to keep our foes in Tribute from jumping straight in and on grid to defend the citadel, should they have a mind to do so.

Mobile cyno inhibitor

It is glowing orange-ish because logi was asked to lock it up and put a rep on it in order to keep it safe from attack.

Logi reps on the cyno inhibitor

This turned out to be a good plan, not due to any enemy action, but rather due to a few anxious fleet members keen to shoot anything unfamiliar appearing on their overview.

The enemy did not show up in force.  A couple of Bifrosts attempted to play booshing games with us, jumping a few fleet members 100km off.  But the Typhoon fit of the day included a microjump drive fit, so anybody who was jumped of in a boosh was able to align back to the fleet and make the return trip with a jump of their own.

The one bit of comedy I suppose was a Hurricane that undocked to contest our fleet… I guess… he showed up.

A wild Hurricane appears…

The support fleet went right after him and he was locked down pretty quickly.

There is a Hurricane in there somewhere

The distraction of the Hurricane did not last long however.  The ship was soon coming apart in anticipation of a final explosion.

Ships burning and going critical are pretty…

No opposing fleet arrive however, so after a the requisite amount of time… there is a damage cap for shooting citadels which means there is a minimum amount of time it takes to kill one, which in the case of an Astrahus is something like 22 minutes if I recall right… the target exploded with the usual fury.

Astrahus inferno

It did not brew up with very many pre-explosions, or I was watching from the wrong angle.  But there was the explosion followed by the wreck on grid which was quickly salvaged by somebody in the fleet.

The wreck barely lasted longer than the light effects…

At that point we were cleared to shoot the cyno inhibitor, as once you deploy one it cannot be recovered.  A small kill mail to add to the Astrahus.  I managed to get on both kill mails.  Bad logi pilot that I am, I always carry a combat drone and I managed to sneak off into range of the Astrahus to add it to the attack before scampering back to the ball of logi.

The operation over, Thomas warped us back to an insta-dock bookmark on the station we are currently working out of.  As it happened, we landed inside the model which ended up looking like a bunch of Typhoons were stacked vertically by the opening.

Typhoons stacked… and sticking out the bottom

Not exactly Elite: Dangerous docking there.

Another day in Hakonen, and more ops are planned for this week.

Is Raptr Dead or What?

I know the site is still up, and I can log in when I go there, but otherwise things seem pretty dead around Raptr these days.

I actually uninstalled the Raptr client a few months back because it wasn’t tracking games I was playing with any accuracy any more.  Primarily the problem was with EVE Online, which Raptr has always seemed to have problems with, though I am not sure why.  Both Discord and the Twitch client (which used to be the Curse client until Twitch bought them, and which I only keep around to keep my World of Warcraft addons up to date) both seem to know when I am playing EVE Online, so it isn’t like CCP is trying to hide the operation of their client.

Anyway, Raptr was gone.  I filled out the little exit survey to tell them about my issue and went on my way.

Recently though I have noticed that some of the instant messenger channels through which I keep track of people had started to fade.  Yahoo is the primary culprit here, having gone through a bout of cutting off third-party support to build a wall around itself in hopes that people would like it more.  No more watching multiple accounts via Trillian.  Instead you have to use their ad-tastic and awkward client.  I especially like how they now refuse to push email notifications to the built-in iOS mail app.  They couldn’t bring themselves to cut it off completely.  Instead they make it slightly less useful and pop up a dire warning about third party apps when you log into mail on their site.

So I put Raptr back on my computer.  It was one of the IM avenues I shared with Potshot, and with the coming of the the Mordor expansion and exploring plans to return to LOTRO I though it might be a good idea to have that available. (My Raptr friend’s list is mostly people who have not logged into the site in ages.)

However, since I put it back on the client has failed to log on most days I have tried.

My account is still good.  I can log onto their site directly with those credentials.  The client, however, fails.

I know Raptr has been looking for a new path, having failed, as so many have before them, to find the magic to create a general online gaming community portal.  They tried game tracking and instant messenger, repeating what founder Dennis Fong did when he launched Xfire.

That was the bit I signed up for.

They tried doing online forums and putting out play time stats and the like.  Then they tried their hand and optimizing your graphic settings, playing the utility role.  Then they dumped their console support to focus on the PC master race.  Then they got into video with their Plays.tv stuff, which I turned off almost immediately.

And now, looking at their site, their latest press releases and blog updates are almost a year and a half old at this point.  The place seems dead.  When I uninstalled the Raptr client again, even the exit survey was closed, like nobody was home.

So what is happening at Raptr?  Have they just given up?  Does anybody care?

Tower Tour of New Eden

Player-owned starbases, the POS with its spherical shield and its central tower and its modules, have been a staple of New Eden.  They have long served as bases, manufacturing facilities, and moon mining platforms.

I didn’t really know much about the POS and its operational dynamics in my high sec days.  But once I moved to null sec back in December 2011, the POS became a regular feature of operations.  My first big op in the coalition had us forming up on a titan at one POS to be bridged out in order to shoot a hostiles POS, a tempo of events that would repeat itself many times over the years.

Attack on a capital building POS in 2011

However, the long serving POS is going away.  CCP has been transferring POS capabilities and bonuses to the new Upwell Consortium structures.  Come the Winter release and the introduction of drilling platforms the POS, made completely redundant, will be removed from the game.

I was thinking about this the other night in Hakonen.  We were making a sweep of moons to destroy towers left behind and it just so happened that we hit at least one tower from each empire.  Unlike citadels and the like, POS towers are like ships in that there is a flavor from each of the empires.

As we were shooting them I decided I ought to get a few last screen shots of such structures.  I will no doubt see more as the war goes on, but I might not see them all again.

They were mostly unfueled so the towers… often called “the stick” on ops… were just sitting there in space as we shot them.  Here are towers from the four empires.

Amarr

I actually didn’t think about taking screen shots until after we hit the one Amarr tower on the clean up op.  However, Amarr towers seem to be the most common in New Eden, so I can make up that deficiency with screen shots from recent ops.  Amarr towers show the same design characteristics as Amarr ships, with flowing lines and an affinity for beige.

Minmatar

These come up every so often, but not so much as Amarr does.  Again, the design aesthetic is that of the empire, in this case rust and raw girders.

Caldari

In the standard Caldari Gray #7, the Caldari tower is less common and more boring.  But it does show damage well.

Gallente

I cannot recall the last time I saw a Gallente tower, with its distinct semi-balcony top.  They are a rare find, so I was glad we got to blow up two.

And so it goes.  Blown up, but not too long before their extinction.

This post hardly captures the full variety of tower, which come in different sizes and have pirate faction versions available, not to mention the variety of modules, but it gives a flavor of what is out there in New Eden.

Soon ops will stage solely out of citadels and no longer will we be warped to a POS to get in range of a titan, trying not to bounce off the shield, waiting for the words, “Bridge up! Jump! Jump! Jump!” to be spoken over coms.

An performance recreated thousands of times

 

Friday Bullet Points – Financials Time

August, being the second month of Q3, is the herald of the Q2 financial results.

Activision Blizzard – Q2 2017

The quarterly results for Q2 2017 were out last week for Activision Blizzard.  Blizzard remains the big money maker in the A/B/K company mix.  You can find the data over at the company’s investor relations site.

Activision Blizzard Q2 2017 Financial Results Presentation – Slide 11

In the details the company reports that the Legion expansion continues to out perform the Warlords of Draenor expansion, which isn’t too surprising, given that players finished up the latter content and left in droves such that the company stopped reporting subscription numbers.

Apparently unhappy with monthly average users, MAUs, they also dropped a Daily Average Users claim, DAUs, on the report as well.  I am not sure why they felt the need, the nonsensical MAUs didn’t really need propping up so far as I could see, but maybe there was some empty space on the slide they felt they needed to fill.

Overall though, Blizzard remains the consistency champion in the company.  The mercurial Activision will blitz past it on quarters where it has a big release, but Blizzard delivers quarter after quarter with much less fluctuation.

SuperData Reasearch – 2017 So Far

I post the monthly chart from SuperData Research on the theory that even data of dubious completeness can be of value if collected consistently over time.  One problem is that the charts are just rankings and do not include hard numbers, so one cannot know how much weight to give the bottom half of the chart, the only portion that tends to change from month to month.

SuperData has thrown us a bone on that front with a six month roll-up chart for 2017 so far.

SuperData Top Ten – First Half of 2017

This gives a somewhat better idea of who is in it for the long term as the sudden blips due to updates or promotions get ironed out over time.   World of Warcraft seems pretty secure in the fifth spot on the PC front, while CS:GO is on the cumulative list even though it dropped off the top ten monthly list last time.

On the mobile front, neither Pokemon Go nor Candy Crush Saga make the cut.

This chart isn’t up on the SuperData Research blog.  It went out to people who are on their mailing list along with another chart of data tidbits and an invite to download the associated report.

SuperData First Half of 2017 Highlights

Mobile is the largest digital platform, but League of Legends on the PC remains the biggest game.  Also, they could only come up with a big number for VR by projecting forward to 2020.

NCsoft sees Lineage Slump

NCsoft financials tend to be pretty predictable.  The 1998 title Lineage will be the big earner, the further we get from an expansion release, the lower the Guild Wars 2 revenue will be, and there will be that game we’re all pretty sure is going to get shut down because it has slumped so bad that it stopped getting its own chart.

But Q2 2017 changed things up. (Report available here)

NCsoft Sale by IP – Q2 2017

Okay, sure, GW2 is tracking to form, and has an expansion on the way, and we’re still pondering the future existence of WildStar, but the change with Lineage is nothing short of shocking in the context of the company’s history.

As it turns out, the only thing that can kill Lineage is Lineage.  Lineage is tanking because NCsoft released a mobile version of the game, Lineage M, which they track under “mobile games,” a category which is suddenly number one on their list.

And with that, the majority of the company’s income still comes from a Korean audience playing a variation on a 1998 title.

 

Another Day, Another Fortizar Down in Hakonen

Last night was the return match.  After Monday’s fight another Fortizar was put down in the same spot in Hakonen.

Second Fortizar coming online

There was a Fireside chat scheduled before operations were supposed to begin, which was marred by network issues that dropped a large portion of the audience off the server.  “Something, something, fleets will be going up…” was about all I got.

Fleets did go up.  There was a ping for two Typhoon fleets and a Jackdaw fleet as well as a call for capital ships to be ready.  And there were a few special fleets forming up, including another small ECM Burst fleet, which I joined.

We were in the same Atrons with the same plan.  Since the Fortizar had been dropped in the same position as the previous one, our perch bookmarks were all still viable as well, though I went out beforehand and burned out to make a few more.

We formed up, Atrons were handed out to the people who hadn’t been on the Monday op, and went over the “how to” of the fleet.

It looked like our bookmarks might be troublesome.  The new ones I burned were a little closer in than the originals and there was a gang of five Raptors zipping around the area, not too far from one of my perches.  They got close enough to another pilot in our fleet to decloak and blow him up.  As they edged towards me I weighed the option of decloaking and warping off versus just sitting tight.  I chose the latter, which turned out okay.

The timer was counting down on the Fortizar, our fleets were undocking, and the enemy subcap fleets started landing on grid.  There looked to be two Machariel fleets and an Abaddon fleet, supported by Apostles.  Once on grid they lit a cyno and more Apostles jumped in along with a fleet of super carriers with four titans for support.  The arrival of these fleets and their supporting ships drove the roving third parties off and my perch was never in peril after that.

As the timer hit zero there were about 2,600 people in system and the time dilation was very light.  And then everybody, launched fighters, dropped drones, or otherwise opened fire and tidi quickly got down to 10%.

Opening the fight around the fort

Our little ECM Burst contingent did not have as much to do this time around.  The battleship fleets ended up a toe-to-toe slugging match, running smart bombs to clear drones and fighters.  In this situation we had to take care where we dropped lest we end up annoying our side as much as our foes.

So there were runs on the periphery and runs where we had to warp off without running our busts.  We tagged a few people, though some runs were pretty minimal in effect.

Two from my own fleet

The outcome of the Fortizar itself did not seem at all in doubt.  The repair timer was paused by damage just seven seconds into its fifteen minute count down and stayed fixed at that point throughout the fight.

Repair timer paused

So for a while I was mostly sitting on a perch, cloaked up, and able to watch the fight unfold.  Not a bad view.

TEST showed up again with their Nightmare fleet and joined in shooting NCDot, PL, and their assorted allies.  There was a sore temptation to take a shot at one of the Nightmares in the fleet, but we focused on the enemy at hand, leaving other scores to be settled later.

Its like a friend coming to your party with your ex

Then somebody noticed a couple of enemy super carriers warping off in somewhat random directions.  In a battle like this there are always lots of disconnects, and when you get disconnected your ship automatically warps off to a distant spot in space.  However, the ship is still in the game and can be probed down.  Azure and Argent, our FC, had us change fitting to add a warp scrambler and set us off to join in hunting these missing super carriers.

The first was a Nyx.  A Broadsword heavy interdictor had landed on it already and started to tackle it.

Broadsword and the Nyx

He then lit off a cyno and soon some friendly dreadnoughts started landing on grid with the Nyx.  The pilot had reconnected by then and was trying to get himself turned about and back to the relative safety of his fleet.  However, the dreadnoughts neuted out his capacitor as they oped their attack on him.

Nags on grid taking down the Nyx

I managed to get in close enough to get in a few hits… and take a few hits from the smartbomb the Nyx was running… so was on the kill mail.

We went after a second Nyx, but it was down before I arrived on scene, while a third Nyx just managed enter warp to escape as dreadnoughts were landing on it.

That seemed to be about the extent of the disconnect super kills to be had and we headed back to refit and then went to our perches to join back in the main fight.

The situation had changed some since we left.  While the Fortizar still seemed as unlikely to survive as ever, TEST had dropped a ball of dreadnoughts on grid at range to try to long distance volley faxes and super carriers.  Thi caused NCDot and PL to cyno in titans, who turned their doomsday weapons on the dreadnoughts.  The big guns were out and anybody who had not previously seen a doomsday in action got their chance as they shot dread after dread.  TEST ended up sustaining a third of the losses on our side of the battle, about 94 billion ISK, due to dreads being popped.

We only made one more run in to fire our ECM Burst projectors before we were told we could dock up.  I stayed on grid, cloaked up again at one of my perches, so see the Fort explode.  It had been a long fight for a week night, passing the three hour mark, and people were clearly ready to be done.  The hostiles were jumping out of the system even as explosions began to erupt on the doomed citadel.

Flames begin to appear on the Fortizar

The battle itself had about the same exchange rate as Monday night, favoring the foes in about a 70/30 split.  However, looking at the battle report, the total destruction was much greater, with almost three times the ISK destroyed, though only about 300 more ships were blown up.  Throwing in dreads and killing some super carriers no doubt added to the growing ISK total.

Battle report header

There also were not as many random third parties showing up.  The alliance list on Monday was much longer.

And so the battle was over.  I somehow missed getting a PAP link, but I imagine that I will get enough while we’re deployed to not sorely miss one.

The post-battle bit of “story time” where we head a bit about what happened indicated that we had dropped small citadels in Tribute set to come out at the same time as the Fortizar, so the enemy would have to choose.  They chose to kill the Fort, which would have been a major strategic asset to us, but now we have places to hole up in the middle of their territory, places where fleets can linger and dreadnoughts can safe up and wait to drop on targets.

Now we’re building replacements for many of the hulls we lost thanks to the Raitaru and Abzel we have in Hakonen, while the Jita market is booming because of the resupply efforts of both sides.  Now would be a very lucrative time to have a researched Tyhpoon BPO.

That is my own limited view of the battle.  Other reports I have seen so far:

And, of course, sitting on a perch, watching the fight, means I have plenty of screen shots.  We shall see when round three comes up.