Monthly Archives: September 2019

More New Eden Numbers for 2019

There have been a lot of numbers thrown about with regards to EVE Online of late in attempts to prove all sorts of things like whether the Chaos Era or the blackout or tax rates or PLEX prices are helping the game, hurting the game, or whatever.  So I thought I would join in on the fun.

Being who I am, I don’t have a point I am trying to prove, and if you skip down to the end you won’t find any grand conclusions either condemning or congratulating CCP.  I just want to see what the data says… or, more likely, what it doesn’t say.

For my numbers I thought I ought to compare the extremes of 2019, so I figured I would put January of the year up against August.  When those two months?  August simply because it is the latest set of MER data we have, while January… well, January was the peak of what one might call “fat times in null sec,” when NPC bounties were paying out greater than ever before.  Look at this chart from the August MER.

August 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

You can see that NPC bounties reached their peak.  This was also a period of not much in the way of wars.  It also pre-dates not only the Chaos Era but also the series of nerfs to bounties and mining in null sec.  January might very well be the height of everything that people outside of null sec hate about it.  It was the peak of the Delve Time Unit.

As for the data I want to toss around, there are three things I want to look at, all of which I am taking directly from the MER data in the January and August reports.

The first is NPC bounties, because of course it is.  As I noted above, January was the absolute peak of NPC bounty largess and CCP has been trying to combat that for much of the year, with nerfs to anomaly spawns and fighter damage application and VNI changes and the blackout and the recent cyno changes to complicate defense group responses.  As I mentioned in my August MER post, those numbers have been declining over the course of the year.

  • January – 83.8 trillion
  • February – 69.8 trillion
  • March – 71.4 trillion
  • April – 57.2 trillion
  • May – 55.5 trillion
  • June – 48.2 trillion
  • July – 29.1 trillion
  • August – 21.1 trillion

August was basically 25% of the January total from the sinks and faucets table.

Unfortunately, I am working from the RegionalStats.csv file that is included with each MER, and the numbers there do not align with some of the other charts.  I get it.  You write your SQL query and you take your chances, and different queries can yield different results if you’re not careful.

Also, the region of Cache was missing from the January MER file, so I removed it from the August data so as to compare apples with apples to the extent I could.

With that data in play, the numbers are:

  • January – 84.8 trillion
  • August – 19 trillion

That puts August at about 22.39% of the January total.  However, looking at it in drops sorted out by region, the average/mean drop was 50.49% and the median drop was 49.38%.  That those two differ so much from the combined total drop seems to indicate that drops varied greatly by region.

Since I have that data broken out by regions, I thought I would look at the biggest and smallest losers.

For losers, here are the regions that took the biggest hits:

  1. Period Basis – 3.4 trillion to 20 billion ISK – 0.58% of January
  2. Outer Passage – 2.4 trillion to 80 billion ISK – 3.31% of January
  3. Branch – 6.9 trillion to 259 billion ISK – 3.75% of January
  4. Catch – 1.2 trillion to 52 billion ISK – 4.47% of January
  5. Wicked Creek – 2.1 trillion to 96 billion ISK – 4.54% of January

Period Basis, that was Red Alliance space back in January, though they fell apart and GSF took over, turning it into Imperium rental space and an alleged haven for bots, protected behind the bulk of Delve.  The blackout and bot banning took its toll there.

Outer Passage was another deep null sec spot reputed to be a haven for bots.

Branch was Dead Coalition’s ratting paradise back in January, where they were recovering their fortunes after the Keepstar War of last year.  Not quite as well protected as some regions, but well back from NPC space aside from a station in Venal.

Catch is home to Legacy Coalition alliances including Brave Newbies.

Wicked Creek has been held by Fraternity for ages, but they have apparently pulled back from it for ratting, at least relative to their core in Detorid, which we’ll get to.

The big winners were:

  1. The Kalevala Expanse – 190 billion to 400 billion ISK – 210.29% of January
  2. Genesis – 199 billion to 218 billion ISK – 109.81% of January
  3. Placid – 76 billion to 83 billion ISK – 108.79% of January
  4. The Bleak Lands – 14 billion to 15 billion ISK – 105.83% of January
  5. Tash-Murkon – 98 billion to 103 billion ISK – 104.76% of January

Basically, that is four non-null regions that stayed about the same and The Kalevala Expanse, which is the real outlier in the mix.  It has been held by Pandemic Horde since May of 2018, but was not well utilized for a long stretch.  It was going to be, and may still be, their rental empire.

Then there are what I have decided to call the benchmark sov null regions, which were held by the same groups throughout 2019 and how they fared:

  1. Cobalt Edge (Hard Knocks) – 2.0 trillion to 706 billion – 34.72% of January
  2. Delve (Imperium) – 12.9 trillion to 4.4 trillion – 33.92% of January
  3. Detorid (Fraternity) 5.5 trillion to 1.2 trillion – 22.19% of January
  4. Esoteria (TEST) 5.1 trillion to 1.0 trillion – 20.44% of January
  5. Providence (Provi) 860 billion to 71 billion – 8.26% of January

The wretched excess of Delve was curbed, but it did not fall as far as many, while Provi appears to have suffered quite a bit over the course of the year. Detorid looks to be right at the mean drop.

And then, finally, I also broke the regions of New Eden out into three different areas, Empire (both high and low sec, since Empire regions often include both), Sov Null, and NPC Null.  Broken out, here is how they compared:

  1. NPC Null – 749 billion to 620 billion – 82.77% of January
  2. Empire – 4.3 trillion to 3.5 trillion – 81.70% of January
  3. Sov Null – 79.7 trillion to 14.8 trillion – 18.62% of January

So the weight of the changes over the course of the year fell on null sec.  Of course, that is where the most of the bounties were.  Empire and NPC Null lack upgraded anomalies and don’t see capital or super capital ratting, so the NPC bounties are likely from missions and belt rats.

Looking at NPC bounty changes overall and broken out by the different areas:

  • All Regions Overall: 22.39% Mean: 50.49% Median: 49.38%
  • NPC Null Overall: 82.77% Mean: 76.59% Median: 76.93%
  • Empire – Overall: 81.70% Mean: 84.96% Median: 84.78%
  • Sov Null – Overall: 18.62% Mean: 22.57% Median: 9.24%

When the overall, mean, and median are close, that means that the change was spread pretty evenly.  When they vary, as they do with All Regions and Sov Null, that indicates that changes were uneven.

Basic conclusion is that NPC bounty changes affected Sov Null more than other areas.  I do not think that is a particularly controversial statement.  It is what we would expect having paid attention to the MERs during 2019.

Next up is mining, the other thing CCP sought to nerf in 2019.  Again, it is something that happens heavily in Sov Null, but it is also pretty big in Empire space as well.  The only problem is that the ISK numbers are based on mineral prices during the given time period, so January to August comparisons will be less indicative than NPC bounties, which are always in direct ISK value.  But let’s look anyway.

Overall mining in January brought in 58 trillion ISK in mineral value, an amount that fell to 28 trillion in August, just 48.47% of January.  But the average percentage, when look at per region change, was 76.19%, which means there were some big losers out there.  They were:

  1. Period Basis – 155 trillion to 91 million – 0.06% of January
  2. Outer Passage – 809 billion to 35.4 billion – 4.37% of January
  3. Branch 2.2 trillion to 106 billion – 4.81% of January
  4. Deklein – 1.3 trillion to 83 billion – 6.38% of January
  5. Perrigen Falls – 327 billion to 35 billion – 10.54% of January

There is at least some overlap between the NPC bounty and mining regions here, with Period Basis on top and Branch in the middle for both.

Likewise, the regions with the biggest gains have a pair of repeats:

  1. The Kalevala Expanse – 150 billion to 520 billion – 345.47% of January
  2. Omist – 126 billion to 378 billion – 300.29% of January
  3. The Bleak Lands – 133 billion to 202 billion – 151.82% of January
  4. Pure Blind – 149 billion to 220 billion – 147.19% of January
  5. Aridia – 166 billion to 240 billion – 144.44% of January

As noted before, TKE was underutilized back in January, while TBL, high sec space, saw something of a boost for both bounties and mining.  The surprise for me is probably Pure Blind… who even lives there to mine… and Aridia, as low sec doesn’t have a reputation for being a miner’s paradise.  But, then, none of those regions had big numbers to start with, no trillion ISK regions on that list, so the amount required to move the needle is significantly less.

[Addendum: During the Sep. 20 Open Comms Show Brisc Rubal said that The Initiative moved their mining ops to Aridia during the blackout, which explains that jump.]

And then there are my benchmark Sov Null regions:

  • Cobalt Edge (Hard Knocks) – 745 billion to 217 billion – 29.06% of January
  • Delve (Imperium) – 14 trillion to 3.6 trillion – 25.81% of January
  • Detorid (Fraternity) – 3 trillion to 415 billion – 13.48% of January
  • Esoteria (TEST) – 3.9 trillion to 1.5 trillion – 36.97% of January
  • Providence (Provi) – 405 billion to 122 trillion – 30.16% of January

All were down, with Detorid down the most, while Esoteria seemed to hang on better than the others.

Broken out by different areas of space, overall is all regions as a whole, mean and median are per region changes:

  • All Regions Overall: 48.47% Mean: 76.19% Median: 75.61%
  • NPC Null Overall: 70.94% Mean: 63.77% Median: 65.66%
  • Empire – Overall: 99.99% Mean: 103.34% Median: 104.91%
  • Sov Null – Overall: 31.37% Mean: 60.01% Median: 36.27%

Mining isn’t down as much as bounties, but it is still down.  Empire space was the least affected over the course of the year, with January and August numbers looking very similar.  That at least seems to cast some doubt on the “all the mining bots moved to high sec” theory I have seen.  But the picture is incomplete.  The change in mineral prices, which went up over the course of the year, means that it the totals are close then less ore overall was mined.

Finally, the third thing people have brought up quite a bit is destruction.  The purpose of the blackout was, among other things, supposed to bring more destruction to New Eden.  Or so some people were loudly declaring.  Maybe it was just to frighten botters.  Anyway, we’ll look at those numbers.

Overall destruction in New Eden, according to the data I am using (and we know the data isn’t always complete as noted here) has January pegged at 40 trillion ISK and August at 39 trillion ISK, which is probably withing the margin of error for CCP data.  That would be an almost Ivory Soap-like 99.41% change.  That the by region mean change was 129.22% indicates that different areas saw different results over time, but the median was still a nice solid 96.21%, which is pretty close to the overall change.

So where were the big increases?

  1. Fade – 113 billion to 1.4 trillion – 1265.61% of January
  2. Omist – 76 billion to 414 billion – 544.21% of January
  3. The Kalevala Expanse – 278 billion to 777 billion – 279.66% of January
  4. Genesis – 402 billion to 910 billion – 226.64% of January
  5. Verge Vendor – 168 billion to 363 billion – 216.71% of January

I have no idea what was going on in Fade, which is a problem with a lot of these numbers.  And a big increase like that will skew your data when you look at it in region sized chunks.  Still, something was going on.  It was also interesting to see that destruction followed utilization in TKE, it having made the top increase in all three areas.

The last two regions are in high sec.  More ganking maybe?

At the other end, where did destruction drop off?

  1. Period Basis – 491 billion to 26 billion – 5.30% of January
  2. Geminate – 2.4 trillion to 380 billion – 15.68% of January
  3. Perrigen Falls – 372 billion to 81 billion – 21.78% of January
  4. Outer Passage – 387 billion to 93 billion – 23.95% of January
  5. Cloud Ring – 383 billion to 151 billion – 39.57% of January

Again, it is nice to see some consistency, with the drop off in ratting and mining on Period Basis there was a corresponding drop in destruction.

Geminate was where Pandemic Horde used to live.  Perrigen Falls and Outer Passage are both in the upper drone region, a place reputed to be a botting home.  And then there is Cloud Ring.  I blame The Initiative and Snuffed Out for whatever happens up there.

And how about the benchmark Sov Null regions?  Any changes there that correspond to anything we have seen so far?

  • Cobalt Edge (Hard Knocks) – 395 billion to 699 billion – 177.02% of January
  • Delve (Imperium) – 1.8 trillion to 1.5 trillion – 85.86% of January
  • Detorid (Fraternity) – 1.2 trillion to 1.6 trillion – 137.20% of January
  • Esoteria (TEST) – 613 billion – 860 billion – 140.39% of January
  • Providence (Provi) – 765 billion – 843 billion – 110.24% of January

Unlike Period Basis, there is no corresponding drop in destruction relative to the decrease in ratting or mining.  Somebody took it upon themselves to get out to Cobalt Edge and blow things up. Detorid and Esoteria are also part of an ongoing war in the east, which muddies the water a bit.  Providence saw a bit of a bump.  And then there is Delve, the only one of the bunch that saw a decrease, though at both ends of the measure it saw the most absolute destruction.

Destruction broken out by different areas of space, where overall is all regions as a whole, mean and median are per region changes:

  • All Regions Overall: 99.41% Mean: 129.22% Median: 96.21%
  • NPC Null Overall: 79.61% Mean: 74.70% Median: 76.72%
  • Empire – Overall: 110% Mean: 118.98% Median: 103.41%
  • Sov Null – Overall: 92.29% Mean: 145.77% Median: 88.00%

NPC Null saw a drop, the data shows that it fell in every region, Empire stayed about the same, with some outliers, and Sov Null saw the widest variety of change.  But there are more Sov Null regions than the other two areas combined, so that seems likely.  But the overall numbers didn’t show much change.

So what do all of these numbers mean?  I don’t know.

My daughter is currently taking AP Statistics, so I am trying to show the same restraint I have tried to instill in her when it comes to jumping to conclusions based on data that may not tell a complete story.  It is easy to infer meaning at a glance that is not really there.

There are certainly some consistent stories in the mix, like those of Period Basis or TKE, where a changes followed a nice pattern.  The stories of those regions seem clear.  But others are less so, which points to the need to know what was actually going on in any given area before drawing any conclusions about it based on the data here.  And everything should probably be overlaid on some sort of user online report to give some hint if more people online end up with more ratting and mining and destruction as part of things.

Still, I think there is some value in looking at the data, if only just to get a sense of what is changing where.

For this post I put the data from the August and January MERs into their own Excel spreadsheet, which you can download if you like.

Of course, I started doing this last weekend just because, then got it queued up to post this week after the Ragefire Chasm three-parter, only to find Rhivre at INN also wanted to throw lots of data around this week as well.  She goes into more depth, talks about more things, and generally does a much better job than I bothered to do, so if you want to wallow in numbers you should probably go check that out.

PlanetSide Arena Arrives at Early Access

PlanetSide Arena is up on Steam today and available to download as its Early Access launch begins.

This is the first stage of Daybreak’s announced path forward with the game, which was first revealed to the public late last year with an initial goal of a beta in late January of this year.

That was scrapped and pre-orders were refunded as the whole project was pushed out until summer, with the desire for a simultaneous console launch given as the reason for the delay.

Then we had one of those long stretches of silence, so familiar to watchers of Daybreak and SOE before them (and maybe of Rogue Planet Games at some future date), until a new set of dates was announced on August 30th.

PlanetSide Arena – August 2019 Schedule

Today the company met the first of their revised dates and, despite having pushed console support out into the future, they did managed to release something still within the months of summer.  Autumn begins on Monday in the northern hemisphere, or so say the calendar makers.

The game is free during early access on Steam, so it only costs the download time to get into it.  There are, of course, starter packs available for a price.  Daybreak has to fund this somehow.  Reviews are currently “mixed,” though there are only 70 as of this writing and the negatives seem to be coming from PlanetSide purists.

Further details about the game are available at the Daybreak web site.  And, of course, there is a trailer:

We shall see how it goes, but Daybreak is off to the races today with their only new game since the SOE era.

The PlanetSide Arena story so far:

 

Running to Ragefire Chasm Again – This Time For Sure!

Part three of our Ragefire Chasm tale, in which we return to the scene of the crime. (Parts One and Two if you are so inclined.)

1pm rolled around… it is actually a bit of a boon that we’re all in the same time zone I suppose… and Bung and his son showed up and, surprisingly, seemed okay with the idea of making the run to Orgrimmar.  It looked like we might get a crack at Ragefire Chasm after all.

Of course, they had to start the run again.  I hadn’t left Booty Bay, so I sailed back over to Ratchet again and ran up the left bank of the Southfury river again to park myself at the west gate to Orgirmmar yet again.

This screen shot appears in all three posts!

I began to consider that it might have taken us less time and effort to run this instance if we had just rolled up a fresh group of Horde characters on Saturday morning, got them up into the level range, and just sauntered into the Cleft of Shadows in Orgrimmar.  But the sunk cost fallacy is strong with us.  We were committed.

Skronk got us all in a group and they began the run across the Wetlands while I went out into the back yard to grill myself a burger.  Lacking hamburger buns, I used a plain bagel, for which crime my daughter said I should leave and not come back. (A plain bagel makes a perfectly cromulent substitute for a bun in my book.)

They made their way to Methenil Harbor, then took the boat to Darkshore and began the run down the coast then across Ashenvale and into The Barrens, eventually arriving at my perch where we grouped up for another set of rushes and deaths.

Obama, Skronk, Chad, Jeepy, and Scscla

Everybody was down to their skivvies again as we tried to describe our past experience and possible tactics to the two new members of the team.  We also described the route and, having already made the map from the last post, I dropped that in Discord so they could see where we were headed.

The route to Ragefire Chasm again

There was some hope that with more of us there might be more distractions for the guards leading to greater leaps forward and perhaps fewer deaths.

Then I stepped up with Chad to once again lead the charge.  I remained optimistic that somehow my rogue skills would help me.  I eschewed stealth, that doing nothing save slow me down the last time, and plunged in, setting off evasion as the guards started to move.

I don’t know if that worked, but a good old fashioned side-step dodge seemed to go well.  The guard was mid swing and I just went around him and fired off my sprint to get well onto the bridge before being cut down.  The numbers did seem to help and Scscla passed through all of us, making it way down the line before dying.

At least I got into the city on the first run this time

Only Skronk had a bad rush, getting whacked by the guards as they ran back from slaying me, leaving his corpse not too far past mine.

Still, it seemed like an auspicious start for most of us.  And the second and third runs seemed to go very well as Obama and I made it to the end of the long ess valley to die at the first sharp corner.

After that it became a bit of a slog.  There are a lot of guards and other NPCs about, not to mention a few players keen to take a shot at us.

At least there were signs to point the way

There were a number of times when we had to take solace that even a two or three step rush moved us forward thanks to the radius in which you can revive.

Eventually we made it within sight of the instance.

It is just over there…. one or two runs left

I had a good run this time around, having made it in only eight deaths.  I think Skronk hit ten this time around due to some bad luck at the start.  I think with some very good luck you might be able to make it in six or seven, but you’re still going to be running from the graveyard quite a bit.

So there we were, in our first instance.

Through the portal at last

That probably means I should introduce the full group in the style of the posts from the old days.  We were:

  • Scscla – level 16 warrior
  • Chadwicke – level 15 rogue
  • Obama – level 15 warlock
  • Jeepy – level 14 mage
  • Skronk – level 13 priest

And after all of the work and words getting everybody to this point, I wish I had some riveting tales from Ragefire Chasm.

Time to kill worms I guess

The problem is that it is something of a low-to-middling dungeon that doesn’t really have any standout features.

Granted, I am sure that is part by design.  It is the first dungeon in the game by levels and as something players are supposed to take on in their mid-teens when most classes do not yet have all of their skills yet, it has to be somewhat simple.

It’s main theme is many mobs standing around in groups with some patrolling mobs scattered about.  It teaches players how to pull (with some fun line of sight options possible), do crowd control, maintain situational awareness, and generally focusing on burning down targets one at a time.

And graphically, well, it isn’t bad.  It is better looking than any Lost Dungeons of Norrath instance I suppose.  Put there isn’t a lot of “there” there.

Still, for us, a mechanically simple dungeon was probably what we needed.  With Scscla a new tank and Obama new to the whole WoW dungeon thing (he was born about when we formed the instance group) and me learning how to play the very positional rogue class and Jeepy with a fresh mage. I guess only Skronk was in the same place as before, playing the dwarf priest to heal the group.  And I am sure even he needed a warm up.

The run went pretty well.  Things went wrong a few times, with aggro getting pulled off the tank or people running around trying to grab the right target.  But we only had a couple of deaths and one wipe.  The wipe happened when Obama’s void walker, which we were using to off-tank extra mobs on pulls, got a wild hare up its backside and ran off for no apparent reason into the middle of some mobs.  We were standing there after a fight and way off to my left I saw a void walker flash on by, heading into some mobs off to the side.  Given that some of the NPCs here were warlocks and had void walker pets, it could have been nothing.  But then Obama’s void walker was nowhere to be seen and we knew we had a problem.

The void walker died and soon all the mobs it had aggro’d came running straight at us.

Here they come

We stood and fought and brought down a few, but ended up dead.

But what is one more run from the graveyard on Razor Hill?  At least we knew the way.  In fact, we were all pretty familiar with the layout of Durotar and Orgrimmar by that point I think.  You don’t get that sort of on the ground knowledge with the Dungeon Finder.

Ready for another go

We finished off the final boss and took the traditional end of instance group picture.  Well, that is actually Jergosh the Invoker, who is the next to last boss, but we did last boss, Bazzalan, before him, because we missed a turn-off, so Jergosh was the last boss down.

There we are again

There were a few decent drops, but nothing spectacular.  We all gained a level along the way, but in the mid-teens it would have been hard not to gain a level killing that many mobs.

Viewed objectively, there wasn’t much reason for us to go to Ragefire Chasm.  There was no Alliance quest that sent us there.  The rewards were paltry.  And the time spent… well… we pretty much burned our entire weekend play time budget and then some setting up this venture.  We could have probably just focused on leveling up in Westfall on Saturday and some of Sunday and maybe been set for the Deadmines.

But we had never done it before, at least not at level.  When I looked back at our previous pre-Dungeon Finder run at the instance, it was during Wrath of the Lich King and four of us went in mostly to get the achievement.  We had some problems on that run… that was back when Blizz was having issues spawning dungeon instances.  But this time we did it the hard way, at level, with a real group, because we wanted to say we’d done it.

Which is the sort of opportunity WoW Classic gives you.

The instance done we decided to use this as an opportunity to lay down some groundwork for future efforts.  We ran back to the entrance and took off our gear again.

That was a bit of a problem for some, as our limited bag space had filled up, but we managed even if some people had to trash their goo collections.

Then we stepped out into the Cleft of Shadow again and ran around and danced and cavorted with the somewhat stunned Horde players who were hanging around the portal.

Just time for a catch phrase

Eventually they decided to kill us, but we were hanging out there for longer than we probably should have.

That put us back at the graveyard at Razor Hill, where we had the angel revive us, taking the ress sickness and the durability hit.  Then we made the run short run to Ratchet and picked up the flight point. (And got dressed and maybe sold some stuff to a vendor.)

From there it was down to the dock to take the boat to Booty Bay so that everybody could get the flight path there before calling it.

Waiting at the dock

That was a long effort, and by the time we were ready to take the boat I was ready to log off.  But we were now setup to get over to Kalimdor and The Barrens, something that will become useful with the Wailing Caverns on the list of upcoming instances.

But next up is the Deadmines.  The level target is 18 and I have to get Chad caught up on the quest line in Westfall as he was absent when we were helping Jeepy along there on Saturday night.

Our Ragefire Chasm Plan Falls Apart at the Meeting Stone

This story carries on from yesterday’s post.  If you need context, you should start there.

We left off with my rogue, Chad, sitting outside of the west gate of Orgrimmar, having scouted our route to the city with an eye towards our group running the Ragefire Chasm instance.

Bridge to Orgrimmar

We just had to get everybody together with me so we could begin working on getting to the instance.

Skronk and Ula both had characters on and were ready to go.  The Bung and his son logged on and we started to finalize the group.  Bung’s son, who I will call Nuget since that is his handle on Discord, had a level 13 warlock ready to go, which was perfect.  Bung on the other hand had been uncertain about which class he want to play.  In the face of that he apparently rolled up on of each option and played them to level 8 or 9.  He had decided on a mage, but he was only level 9 as of when he logged in on Saturday, so was well shy of the suggested level range of the dungeon.  Moreover, at level 9 he would be something of an aggro magnet trying to make the run to Orgrimmar.

We had to change up our plan.

We decided that three of us should run to Orgrimmar… I was already there… and get to the instance so as to use the meeting stone to summon Jeepy, Bung’s mage, to us once he had leveled up some.  Obama, Nuget’s warlock would help him with that while we got in place.

Now, before you rush to the comment section to tell me what was wrong with this plan let me get that out of the way.

The meeting stones in WoW Classic do not allow you to summon players.

That is probably the most direct comment on their functionality you can find on the internet right now.

Figuring that out, however, was not straightforward.  The meeting stones are there in their long standing locations outside of each instance.  They had been there since WoW 1.3 or so and had been used for a couple of things on the way to the WoW Classic version of 1.12.

However, the actual “three players can summon somebody to the stone” aspect of them was not put in until The Burning Crusade launched.  I have distinct memories of us using the stones to summon people in the group, but we formed the group in September of 2006, just a few months before TBC launched.  So we were able to summon as we worked our way though the instances in vanilla.  Given that was more than a dozen years ago, all of that has blurred together in the mix of time in my own brain.

Finding something that definitively stated whether or not you could summon was something else.  There is a lot of stuff out there about the meeting stones, but not so much specifically about WoW Classic.  People in General Chat said the meeting stones were there and I visually verified this.

Meeting Stone outside the Stockades

But we didn’t try summoning anybody to make sure that feature was in place.

So cool your jets on that and just smile knowingly as I tell our tale.

Skronk and Scscla (pronounced “shizz-la”) made the run and caught up with Chad.  We were levels 13, 16, and 15 respectively, stripped down with our gear in our bags, and ready to take our first run at Orgrimmar.

Ready to go

Here is how you get this done.  You run into the city until the guards kill you.  Your ghost runs back from the graveyard (which is way down at Razor Hill in Durotar in this case) until you get with in resurrect range of your corpse.

Paths back to your corpse

For the first part of the run you want to go back via the bridge you came in over.  After a you get into Orgrimmar proper it becomes easier to just run in through the front gate… though you do have to know a bit about Orgrimmar to find the spiral ramp up to the level where your corpse hopefully is.  Also, watch out for that canyon area along the Southfury River in Durotar on the run back.  Falling in is annoying, requiring you to run out the end of the canyon.  Also there are gaps that humans can clear in a jump that gnomes and dwarves cannot.  Some gnomes and dwarves at least.

Once back to your corpse there is a circular area in which you can resurrect which is generously sized… you can laugh at the locals standing right on your corpse… so you go to the point the furthest along your intended path, hit the button to revive yourself, and start running again until you die or get to your objective.  In our case that was the Ragefire Chasm instance portal in the Cleft of Shadows in Orgrimmar.  Through that we were safe.

The route to Ragefire Chasm

Being a rogue with all my rogue skills, I volunteered to be the first to run at the guards, hoping that some combo of stealth, evasion, and sprint would get me at least across the bridge.  While I attracted the attention of the guards Skronk and Scscla could get past and get some distance in.

That didn’t quite go the way I thought.  Stealth did nothing for a start, save for slow me down.  The guard quite obviously saw some human in his skivvies hunched over and tip toeing up to his position, so ran right at me swinging his axe.  But at least I provided the distraction.

First corpse of the assault

After we were dead Scscla and Skronk both said they had gotten flagged PvP, which is what happens automatically when you enter an enemy home city.  I did not get so flagged.  You can see my corpse behind the guard on the right, which fell just shy of the bridge.  I didn’t even make it into Orgrimmar on the first run.  Skronk at least made it onto the bridge, while Scscla managed to scamper over the crown and down the other side a ways.

And with each death we had to come back from the graveyard at Razor Hill in Durotar, which was a good five minute run.  But at least that let the cool down on my perhaps less than completely useful rogue skills run down.

But with each death, even if we only made it a few steps, the revive radius let us get somewhat more forward.

Over the bridge!

We just had to keep going until we made it into the Cleft of Shadows and the instance, so we revived, ran, died, returned to the scene, and did it all again.

Running back as ghosts just to die again

Sometimes we made a good run.  Sometimes we died just a few steps from our last corpse.  But every death carried us forward.  There was a nice moment at that button-hook turn where we found that you could go up the path, get out of revive range, turn the corner and come back, only to be back in range again.

It took Scscla 8 deaths before she made it into the instance.  Skronk took 9 deaths, while Chad had to die 10 times before he made it in.  That last death was a heartbreaker too, coming pretty much on the one yard line.  But on revive he was able to jump on in.

Into the instance at last

There we were, in the instance at last, ready for the next step of the plan.

Commemorative “We Made It!” screen shot

Jeepy was already level 11 at that point, so we figured we might as well try to summon him.  Our plan was to step out of the instance, take the few steps to the meeting stone, and try to do the summon thing as quickly as possible.  We hashed out the dynamics of how to do that aloud, refreshing and correcting our flawed memories of the days before the Dungeon Finder.

As we recalled, one person had to select the person to be summoned, then click on the summoning stone, after which the other two people had to click on the summoner in order to complete the process to bring the person to the stone.  We repeated that a few times, Skronk said he would be the summoner, we got Jeepy and Obama in the group, and we got ourselves right to the edge of the portal back into town.  Then Skronk said “Go” and we stepped through.

And nothing happened.  We were there, the meeting stone was in front of us, but we couldn’t summon.  We ran back in the instance.  We thought maybe Jeepy was too low level.  If you moused over the meeting stone it said the instance name and the level range, but the cursor did not change to the expected activate cog wheel.  We decided to try Obama instead, who was 14.

We stepped out again, but we couldn’t summon.  no cog wheel.

Meanwhile the locals, hanging around on the city side of the instance portal, started to take notice of the three Alliance characters in their underwear stepping in and out of the instance.  On a third try a couple of the names out there went red as they took shots at us, flagging themselves PvP.  We were already flagged ourselves, since you get flagged the moment you step into a hostile city.

More research ensued as we tried to figure things out.  In the end I finally found a definitive “no summoning” statement mixed in amongst the many opinions about meeting stones and out of date references concerning their behavior or functionality.  Summoning was not a thing.  So what to do?

Reluctant to give up our hard won gains, we stepped out of the instance and let the locals have a free kill.  That made us ghosts with corpses right on the instance line.  Then we logged out.

Ghost character

We were set so that we could run back to the instance if we wanted and jump back in.  Our corpses would stay there.  I wasn’t sure if they would stay forever, but I seemed to recall we were good for a few days.

Then we logged alts back in and went off to Westfall to go help Jeepy the mage get a few more levels.  If he was going to make the run we figured more levels would be good.

In a group of five you can take on many gnolls

And if we were going to give up, well, the next instance was the Deadmines, and we would need to be around level 18 or so in order to go after that… plus we would want to get to the right spot in the main Westfall quest line in order to be sent there… so more levels would, again, be good.  After doing that for a while we called it a night.  We had been playing WoW Classic pretty much all day and into the night at that point.

The next morning Scscla ran back to the instance and recalled home, either to help escort our two missing group members if they wanted to make the run or to just get on home if they were not.  Skronk and I decided to revive at the graveyard there at Razor Hill in Durotar, take the durability hit (hiding gear in your bags doesn’t help if you let the angel revive you), wait out the PvP flag, and make a run to Ratchet.

Chad stealthing away from the graveyard

However, I managed to stumble over a guard and get killed, so had to do the revive at the graveyard twice, for a double hit to my gear.  Eventually though the ress sickness passed and the PvP flag dropped and we were able to trot safely across Durotar to the Southfury River and follow it south to Ratchet, which ended up being closer than I imagined.

We grabbed the flight point there, figuring that might be useful in the future, then ran down to the dock to take the boat to Booty Bay.

Skronk was still wandering around in a state of undress

After sailing to Booty Bay we were able to run up and grab the flight point there.  Since that connects directly to Stormwind we now had a way to get directly to Ratchet without having to run the gauntlet of Stranglethorn Vale or the long way around from Darkshore through Ashenvale.

Now we just had to decide what we were going to do next.  Bung said he and his son would be on around 1pm the next day.  We decided to figure it out then, which is where the next post will pick up.

The Journey to Orgrimmar and Ragefire Chasm

It could be a three-parter, called ‘Ruler of the Bracelet’. The first part would be called ‘The Brotherhood of the Bracelet’, followed by ‘A Couple of Towers’, with the climactic ending called ‘Hey, the King’s Back!

-The end of the best joke from the /silly command

Like the vision in that joke, this too will be a three-parter, largely because I started writing about the beginning before we had reached the end, and the end ended up being further down the road… both in time, events, and words written… than I expected.  But it all started with a plan.

Yes, we had a plan.

It was a flawed plan, based on incorrect information, assumptions, and some blind optimism, but it was a plan none the less.

In its most simple form, the plan was to get together and run the Ragefire Chasm instance.

We were still fumbling to get ourselves organized, and Earl was still getting set up in Japan, but we were also getting a little tired of just hanging around, working on alts, and holding ourselves back to the first half of Westfall so as not to get to strung out in levels.

In that regard Ragefire Chasm has an advantage.  In the ranking of dungeons by level RFC, as I will call it from now on, comes in before the Deadmines, being rated for levels 13-18.  We figured we could get in and do that and not spoil the level spread.  So I put up a a target in the guild MOTD for people to be levels 13-14 in anticipation of running RFC this past weekend.

That was the simple plan.  The actual requirement to accomplish this was somewhat more complex.

RFC is in Orgrimmar, a Horde city, home of the Orcs and Trolls.  RFC is located fairly deep in Orgrimmar, so getting there is a challenge… and all the more so if you want to get there at level 14 or so.  Still, we had done it before so naturally assumed we could do it again.  Piece of cake, details to be worked out later.  The target to do this was this past Saturday.

Skronk, Ula, and I were on early to start scouting things out.  One of the items that came to mind the night before was one we had overlooked up to that point.  How do we get to Orgrimmar?

A bit of discussion shook out three possible routes.

Routes to Orgrimmar

We were starting from Stormwind, and the first that came to mind was to take the boat from Booty Bay to Ratchet on Kalimdor.  From there is it just a short run up to Orgrimmar.  The problem is that getting to Booty Bay requires running/swimming the length of Stranglethorn Vale.  At levels 13-16, the level range of possible characters in our guild, that was going to be tough.  Not impossible, but the likelihood of dying a few times was high.

The second option was to take the boat from Menethil Harbor over to Theramore.  The run from Theramore to Orgimmar is about twice that of the run from Ratchet, but that still isn’t all that far.  That had two obstacles.   First, there is the need to do the reverse Wetlands run to get to Menethil Harbor.  That isn’t so bad at our levels and once you get there you get the flight point that connects to Ironforge, so you need never do it again.  The second problem was the run through Theramore, which is a higher level zone that Stranglethorn Vale, which to my mind made it more problematic that the first plan.

After hashing those out for a bit, the third route was hatched, to take the boat from Menethil Harbor to Auberdine in Darkshore and run the length of Darkshore, then through Ashenvale, into the Barrens, and finally to Orgrimmar.  That had the Wetlands run again, but as I said you only have to do that once.  But it also had the longest run through Kalimdor, much further than the other two options.  However, I figured it was also the safest.  Darkshore is about Westfall in level range, and Ashenvale is the next zone after that, so not a big jump in levels.  Plus, Ashenvale feeds Alliance players in at one end and Horde players in at the other, so the lowest level mobs are at the ends, with the high levels spread out across the middle, reducing exposure.

While nobody was happy about the longer run, it did seem the most viable path.  We set about scouting it.  Ula and Skronk made the run to Menethil Harbor and then took the boat to Auberdine, taking a side trip to search out a quest for a staff for Ula.

I chose my character for the venture.  Having had another week go by I had run up another alt.  This time I rolled up a human rogue on something of a whim, giving me one each of all the non-cloth caster classes for the Alliance.  I named him Chadwicke, looking for some variation on “Chad” I could roll with, since rogues have something of a reputation so I thought I might play on that with some of the “Virgin vs. Chad” meme stuff.

Honestly, the real reason I made a rogue was that we got a couple of the Defias mask drops in Westfall last week, which is about the first bit of head gear you can get in WoW.  There aren’t many options until about level 26 or so.  For whatever reason, I wanted to wear that mask, but it is rogue only and bind on pickup.  So I had to roll up a rogue to get one.  And once I had one I was in the level range of the group.

Chad Masked

I wasn’t too sure how far I was going to go with Chad.  Rogues have been problematic for me in the past.  But once I did his class quest at level 10 and trained him into dual wield he was destroying mobs one on one. (I was doing that during the Reavers entosis op at one point.)  That sold him for me, so I decided he should go on the run to RFC.

I stripped him down… you put all your gear in your bags to keep them from being damaged if you die, and this trip was going to see a lot of deaths I figured, so I was down to my skivvies the whole way… and sent him on his way through Loch Modan and through the Wetlands, a run made easier by his rogue abilities.

I’ll just stealth by that orc thank you

He was into the Wetlands and on his way, saying the tagline I had picked out for him, for which I made a macro.

Roll on brother Chad

That won’t get old I am sure.

He made it to Menethils Harbor without incident and was soon waiting on the dock for the boat to Auberdine.

Mask bros at the dock

I took the boat, passed by Ula and Skronk, who were headed over to Darnassus as part of a quest or something, and started the run to Orgrimmar.

Darkshore is, as the name implies, rather dark, but the sun began to shine through once Chad made it to Ashenvale.

Sunny days again for Chad

Ashenvale was a hoof, but there wasn’t much in the way of danger.  There were a few ?? mobs off in the distance, but nothing came to get me.  I picked up the flight point at Anastaar, then realized I had forgotten to get the one at Auberdine.  Something to go back for later.  I just stuck to the roads and followed the signs.

This must be the way

Once you get to the boarder between Ashenvale and The Barrens, the road veers right and leads straight into a Horde fortification with guards and such.  Dangerous stuff for a low level Alliance player.

Horde customs and immigration check point

Fortunately, there is an obvious path off to the left that leads to a hole in the ramparts.

They built a wall and tried to make the Alliance pay for it

From there I just cut across The Barrens towards Durotar… dying once because I got a mob on me and forgot I was without my gear… running up to the back door of Orgrimmar, which is across a bridge over the Southfury River.

Bridge to Orgrimmar

Up until that point, everything had been going great.  We had been on for a couple of hours, Bung and his son were set to log in and join us to round out the group.  Ula was swapping out to her warrior alt Scscla to tank for us, Skronk was a dedicated holy priest set to heal, and Chad was there to help DPS.  We just had to get everybody out to where I was to begin the assault on Orgrimmar.

That is the topic for tomorrow’s post.

On The Road Again in New Eden

The Chaos Era has been a bit of a bust for me.  I don’t rat or mine, so I am not on that declining indicator, but with a lot of people turtling up there are not as many defense fleets to go save people.  I am also not a solo PvPer, so I haven’t been out hunting.  I generally depend on SIG or squad deployments for my content and, aside from the short one up to Placid… which was low sec, so no Chaos Era benefits there… I haven’t had much to get me to log in.

There has been talk of a Reavers deployment, but things kept getting in the way, like a hurricane Dorian headed straight for Asher’s home.  That eventually passed and last week Asher got us grouped up.  It was going to be a very traditional Reavers deployment, with Ishtars and support and no station to dock up in.  I had a couple of Guardians left over from past operations already correctly fit, so I put one on my main, one on my alt, and waited for the ping announcing our departure.

I didn’t plan to dual box Guardians.  Keeping up with reps and the cap chain on two screens during a fight is too much for me.  Instead my alt was basically hauling out a reship.  If my main got his ship popped, he could just grab the extra from my alt, while if he got blown up and podded, he could just fly out in an interceptor and swap ships with my alt, who could then fly home.

Soon enough the ping came and we loaded up our ships with the intent to live out of them in hostile space and headed out.

A small fleet warps off

As is tradition, our destination was not announced in advance.  We just went to a series of waypoints along the route to our area of operation.  But Asher couldn’t hide which direction we were going.  We were headed east and were soon into Legacy Coalition space, where the jump gates seemed to be set to less us pass through.

Using the middle management dino gate

I was wondering whether this was a default setting, if Legacy was letting us use their gate network to let Imperium forces pass through their space in order to join in on fights in the east or if we were getting some special treatment.  The war between Legacy and Winter coalitions, which has been running off and on for ages now, continues to bubble down in the southeast of New Eden, with third parties like Pandemic Legion showing up to grab some content.  Certainly the Imperium had sent fleets east before during the war.

However, not all gates were green… or blue I guess… to us.  At an XIX gate we had to stop and hold, hanging in space while Asher found somebody to flip the switch for us.

Waiting for the gate to let us through

That he had to get on a channel somewhere to get us a pass seems to indicate that at least an “Imperium flies free” policy isn’t Legacy wide.  So we sat and waited, no doubt scaring a few of the locals who jumped through to find a fleet of not blue Ishtars and support hanging about.

We had our own fat targets, but no shots were taken

Asher found the right person and we were able to jump through and continue on our way, heading past Legacy space and into Winter Coalition’s domain.  No jump gate travel for us there.  But it was also well past prime time for the locals, and we were able to pass through their space using gates without much notice.

My Guardian aligning out from another gate

The blackout was in effect, so they would have needed to lay eyes on us or catch us on a dscan to know we were there.  Finally a bit of the Chaos Era working in my favor.

Another gate to pass through

Eventually we found a spot to safe up in Insmother, made our safe spots, got out our mobile depots, and fit cloaks in order to be able to cloak up and stay safe.

Living out of a mobile depot

Once there we had to find something to do.

Initially we found a couple of unfueled Fraternity towers, which we proceeded to shoot.  That is all part of the Reavers plan.  We set up in space the start shooting things until somebody shows up to chase us off.  If the hostiles for big, we just cloak up and disappear.  If they form a fleet about our size, then we take the fight if we can.  So we blew up the towers.

An old Minmatar tower blows up

All that yielded was a “But why?” from somebody in local… and I am not even sure they meant us.

The next time I was on we went looking to stir things up with one of the Winter Coalition members more in our time zone, the Lord of Worlds Alliance (LORDE).  Their alliance logo is an angry unicorn on a pink shield, which I guess gives them some synergy with GoonWaffe (GEWNS), whose logo is a unicorn in front of an outline of a heart.

The comparison

This similarity came up on coms and, while the GoonWaffe logo was no doubt chosen for irony, who actually chose it and why has been lost to the mists of time.

Anyway, we went out to entosis a couple of their infrastructure hubs to see if they would come out to play.

The ihub awaits

The word was that they were on during our time frame and would form up and fight if the numbers worked out.  After tinkering around a bit to get and entosis link on the right ship… it started on a Tengu and there was some awkward work with people swapping ships and using mobile depots in order to get it fitted on an Ishtar… we commenced to fly in circles around the ihub and run the magic entosis wand over it.  Exciting game play.

Entosis coming from the Ishtar in the middle

There was a bit of trouble with the Ishtar running out of capacitor, but one of the Guardians in the cap chain just diverted one of their cap transfer modules onto it and we were set.  And then around and around we went.

The locals did come out to play, but apparently couldn’t get enough people together for a stand up fight.  Instead they came out in bombers and interceptors to try and and interrupt the entosis ship.  That was mildly annoying, but not enough to get us to break orbit, and we ended up getting a couple of kills.  Ishtars racing in a circle with props on move pretty quickly so you have to anticipate where they’ll be before you bomb.  The locals were not quite that good.

Things were quiet enough that I put EVE Online on my second monitor and played WoW Classic for part of the op.  That is EVE Online some days, a game that lets you watch movies or play other games.

That ended up with a couple of ihubs reinforced, after which we went back to where we were living, where we safed up, put on our cloaks, and logged out again.  I didn’t do much with EVE Online over the weekend.  I missed any ops we might have run.  But today things changed.  As CCP announced on Saturday, the blackout is over.  We’re no longer invisible in space.  People can now see us in the local channel when we log in.  Our extra cloak is gone.  But we have always had to deal with that in the past.  And us being logged in and cloaked up can be a deterrent on its own.  And so it goes, living out in hostile space on another Reavers op.

WoWCraft and Classic Queues

Carbot Animation appears to be jumping on the WoW Classic train along with a lot of other people.  They revived their WoWCraft series of videos with the launch of WoW Classic and have another video up in the series about queues.

The joke isn’t about the queues to get into the game, but the queues that appeared in some parts of the game as players swarmed in and ended up at bottle necks for various objectives.  I was witness to some of those on the Alliance side of the game.

Everybody will get their turn

While I was not a witness, I did hear that on the Horde side of the game polite queuing was much less of a thing.

And, of course, there are still queues to get into the game.  However, Blizzard has opened up more free character transfer options for both US and EU servers which are expected to be available through the weekend.  If you want a free move, you should get on that quickly.

Null Sec Blackout to End on Monday

I woke up this morning to find some fresh news from the Chaos Era, though this time it seemed a bit counter-chaos.  CCP Cognac announced at the Berlin Fanfest that delayed local in null sec, the blackout, will be over after downtime on Monday.

CCP says Blackout

CCP had said previously that the blackout would be for an indefinite duration, but its introduction two months back came with quite a bit of warning, discussion, and even a setup via the in-game lore.  Has a new supply of Quantum-Entangled 4-Helium been secured?

We don’t know.  Not yet anyway.  CCP did not say why they are bringing the blackout to an end, just that it is happening.  The announcement could charitably be called perfunctory.  Clip of the announcement, and I have seen several, run about 30 seconds.

Of course, there is quite a bit of speculation as to why it is happening.  You need only go over to cesspool of /r/eve to see various theories.  But /r/eve has been at war with itself over the Chaos Era since it started. (At war with itself more so than usual at least, likely because the Chaos Era has been focused on nerfing null sec, which has led to the usual tribal division who see somebody else getting hit as good for them.)  A leading candidate is the dropping concurrent player numbers, something I mentioned on Monday.  The count fell off noticeably with the end of the Season of Skills event and has been slowly falling ever since.  I was concerned to log in on a week night to find the online count under 15K, but this week I was on when it was around 12K.  18K used to seem like the low bar for my usual evening play time on the west coast.

There is even a post up over at Massively OP trying to sum up the various evidence and theories which, including the comments, range from summer vacations to WoW Classic to the core player base getting old and dying off.  But back in the EVE Online player base people are still denying there has been any decline at all.  So your mileage may vary.

Anyway, we shall see if the removal of the blackout has an impact on those numbers.  I do expect that AFK cloaky campers will soon be back in null sec space to keep the ratters and miners on their toes.

I am sure there will be plenty of hot takes and summaries of the blackout.  I might have a few additional words myself.  But the end of the Chaos Era hasn’t been announced, so expect humans to continue to behave like humans when faced with uncertainty.

Others on this topic:

The August MER and the Fall of NPC Bounties

We got the Monthly Economic Report for July somewhat late last month, but this month CCP has the MER for August out already, so it is time to take a look.  And the big chart for the month is the sinks and faucets.  That will be my main focus this time around.

August 2019 – Sinks and Faucets

There are a few items of significance on that chart.

Up front, for the first time in a long time, sinks out paced faucets in the game, with just shy of 64 trillion ISK coming into the game from faucets but almost 70 trillion ISK leaving the game via sinks.  That, plus the Active ISK delta, which includes ISK removed via GM actions, saw 49 trillion ISK leave the New Eden economy in August.

The big change continues to be falling totals from NPC bounties, which dropped to a recent low of 21.1 trillion ISK for August.   There has been a pretty consistent drop so far in 2019, with NPC bounties at about a quarter of where they stood in January.

  • August – 21.1 trillion
  • July – 29.1 trillion
  • June – 48.2 trillion
  • May – 55.5 trillion
  • April – 57.2 trillion
  • March – 71.4 trillion
  • February – 69.8 trillion
  • January – 83.8 trillion

And where were those bounties being harvested?  20% of it was in Delve, which is back at the top of the list for NPC bounties since the Imperium pulled back home back when the Drifters started hitting.

August 2019 – NPC Bounties by Region – Bar Graph

Most every region was down, with some more than others.  The top ten regions for August were:

  1. Delve – 4.39 trillion
  2. Insmother – 1.30 trillion
  3. Detorid – 1.23 trillion
  4. Esoteria – 1.05 trillion
  5. Querious – 753 billion
  6. Cobalt Edge – 705 billion
  7. Metropolis – 543 billion
  8. Omist – 526 billion
  9. Fountain – 515 billion
  10. Malpais – 514 billion

Compare that with the list from July:

  1. Delve – 4.71 trillion
  2. Esoteria – 1.77 trillion
  3. Branch – 1.61 trillion
  4. Detorid – 1.23 trillion
  5. Deklein – 1.22 trillion
  6. Insmother – 1.10 trillion
  7. Tenal – 1.1 trillion
  8. Fountain – 1.06 trillion
  9. Omist – 850 billion
  10. Feythabolis – 810 billion

Delve remained on top, and five others remained on the list, four new regions made it into the top ten, including a high sec region, Metropolis.  Metropolis didn’t make the top ten due to a huge surge in bounties.  It rang in at 529 billion ISK in July, so was only up a bit.  It made the cut because just about every other region fell.  Of last month’s top ten, only Detroid stayed about the same.

That meant the percentage of bounties claimed in high sec went up as the bounty totals went down.

August 2019 – NPC Bounty Percentage by Sec Status

Zero, high, and low sect were 81.7%, 15.9%, and 2.4% respectively.  The balance in July was 88.7%, 9.9%, and 1.5%, while in June it was 93.6%, 5.6%, and 0.8%.  Given that the August NPC bounty total was less than half of June’s, this appears to be much more a matter of null sec totals being reduced rather than any large increase in the other areas of space.

Continuing on with NPC bounties, they also used to be the biggest number on that sinks and faucets chart, often obnoxiously so.  With the coming of the August MER, two other numbers have passed bounties.

The first item is NPC Commodities, items that drop from sleepers or combat sites or Abyssal Deadspace that can be cashed in via NPC buy orders in select stations.  I honestly don’t know a lot about this, save for the Triglavian Survey Database that drop from Abyssal Deadspace.  And, honestly, CCP isn’t much help on this front.  Look at this chart.

August 2019 – Commodities Breakdown

According to that 14% of the commodity income is from Overseer’s Personal Effects, 25.7% is from “Other,” none is from Sleeper Components, so I guess wormhole space makes no money anymore,  and 60.3%, or roughly 14 trillion ISK of the total, isn’t accounted for at all.  I suspect this is a matter of CCP Quant having created these reports and, when he left, people assumed they would just need to run his script and everything would be fine and nothing would ever change and it isn’t anybody’s job to fix this so the reports will just get comically out of whack over time.

Such is the way of things.  If nobody owns it, nobody is going to fix it.

These commodities, whatever they were, brought in 23.8 trillion ISK to the New Eden economy, putting them ahead of the 21.1 trillion ISK brought in by NPC bounties.

But this wasn’t any rush away from null sec or NPC bounties.  Commodities have been stable, or even down a little bit (the number was almost 26 trillion back in January), for most of the year.  NPC bounties have just fallen below where commodities have lingered.

The other item on the sinks and faucets chart that now exceeds NPC bounties is actually a sink.

In late July CCP announced an increase in transaction taxes and brokerage fees, which came into effect at the start of August.  This saw transaction taxes collected jump from 11.6 trillion ISK in July to 22.1 trillion ISK in August, putting the number ahead of NPC bounties.

So basically two things changed on that initial chart, transaction taxes went up and NPC bounties continued to go down.  This is visualized on the sinks and faucets over time graph.

August 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

NPC bounties, after a steep drop, seem to have leveled off, while transaction taxes saw a sharp spike… downward, because faucets go up and sinks go down on this chart.

Alright.  Off the sinks and faucets chart, I thought I would take a side trip into another old favorite, which is mining value per region.  Again, Delve is at the top of the chart still.

August 2019 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

The top ten regions on that chart, and the value mined, are:

  1. Delve – 3.62 trillion
  2. Domain – 1.59 trillion
  3. Esoteria – 1.46 trillion
  4. The Forge – 1.40 trillion
  5. Querious – 1.10 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.02 trillion
  7. Lonetrek – 972 billion
  8. Metropolis – 895 billion
  9. Everyshore – 777 billion
  10. Tash-Murkon – 773 billion

For null sec, that is basically the Imperium in Delve and Querious and TEST in Esotaria.  The other seven are high sec.  I had to go look up Everyshore region, because I could not recall it ever being mentioned anywhere.  But DOTLAN says it is a thing, a part of Gallente empire space.

That put null sec way down compare to the number from July:

  1. Delve – 5.77 trillion
  2. Querious – 3.18 trillion
  3. Esoteria – 2.61 trillion
  4. Syndicate – 1.99 trillion
  5. Fountain – 1.92 trillion
  6. Etherium Reach – 1.77 trillion
  7. Domain – 1.69 trillion
  8. Malpais – 1.64 trillion
  9. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.61 trillion
  10. The Forge – 1.47 trillion

The rumor was that mining botters simply moved en masse to high sec to with the coming of the blackout.  I can’t say that this proves it, but it certainly seems to support the suggestion.  I guess those roving Triglavian scouts need to start working harder.

And that drop in output, it wasn’t related to a price drop in minerals.  According to the economic indices, mineral prices remained flat, so those numbers are a reasonable month over month comparison.

August 2019 – Economic Indices

I might have skipped past mining this month, what with the NPC bounty thing, but I figure those numbers might be relevant next month.  As you may know, earlier this week the September update introduced the big cyno change, the latest in the Chaos Era campaign.

I suspect that next month, when we get the September MER, we will see NPC bounties dropping even more as the big coalitions that have depended on super capital umbrellas to stay safe have asked their super and titan ratters to stay docked while new defense strategies are worked out.

Likewise, Rorquals are probably staying safe for now, though I know in the Imperium they are free to get back to work, but only if they stay in certain systems, get in the standing fleet, have a specific fit, and have an alt in a force recon with a cyno cloaked up and ready to bring in the cavalry should somebody drop on you.  The upside is that if you follow the new rules, you get SRP if your Rorqual dies.  Or Goons get SRP.  In TNT we just get yelled at.  But I don’t own a super or a Rorqual, so I only know what gets pinged out over Jabber.

So look in next month for another drop.

Meanwhile, you can go grab the full August MER, which is chock full of additional charts and data and what not, if you want to peruse that at your leisure.

Others looking at the MER:

The Thirteenth Floor

Another year has come and gone and here we are at thirteen.

This car does not stop at that floor

Thirteen is an unlucky number to some, but it has always been a bit of a talisman in our family, something of an attraction rather than an aversion.  I went skydiving with a friend on Friday the 13th, picking that day specifically for the unlucky connotation.  In the end though, it is just a number, something that passes by fleetingly, unless you’re 13 years old.  I’ve never been more miserable in my life than when I was 13, an age that seemed to last forever.

Now my blog is thirteen.  I hope it isn’t as bad off as I was at that age.

For those new to the site… how did you end up here… this is an annual tradition.  If you’re a glutton for punishment, there are twelve past entries to review.

I used to do cute themes for this post.  Years five and six are probably the best efforts for that, while I think eight is where I get the most philosophical.  That is where I said I would stop blogging at the ten year mark.  But here I am.  There are days when I am just so very tired that I can barely crank out the 2,000 words that make up the core of the post like this.  Cute pictures and the philosophy of the internet just aren’t in me anymore.

But on we go, as we do every year, for a look behind the curtain at the numbers and such that inform about this blog.

Base Statistics

The same thing every year, looking at how the various needled moved over the last dozen months.

Days since launch: 4,748 (+365)
Posts total: 5,215 (+420)
Total Words: 3,967,279 (not including this post)
Average words per post: 761.18
Post Likes: 9,521
Average posts per day: 1.098 (+0.05)
Comments: 32,451 (+1,670)
Average comments per post: 6.22 (-0.20)
Average comments per day: 6.83 (-0.18)
Spam comments: 1,482,548 (+32,607)
Comments Rescued from the Spam Filter: 438 (+4)
Average spam comments per day: 312.24 (-18.7)
Comment signal to noise ratio: 1 to 45.6 (-1)
Comments written by me: 6,430 or 19.8%
Images uploaded: 14,575 (+1,432)
Space used by images: 1.2 GB of my 3 GB allocation (33%, up 100%)
Blog Followers: 1,701 (+209)
Twitter Followers: 743 (+14)
Tumblr Followers: 33 (+7)
US Presidents since launch: 3
British Monarchs since launch: 1
Prime Ministers of Italy since launch: 7

Much more after the cut, if you feel like looking at a lot of charts, lists, and numbers.  Actual page view numbers are available.

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