Daily Archives: February 13, 2020

Radical Rock Reductions in New Eden

Someday, if someone asks me the day I knew it was all over. It was today.

-Aryth – CSM14 member, Jan 31, 2020

As I noted in the comments on Tuesday’s post about the February updates, I think I may have buried the lede.  I was mostly on about the events CCP announced and the new implant set and only later got to the part about changes to mining, which I will repeat here:

  • High Sec Asteroids:
    • Pyroxeres, Omber & Kernite quantities reduced.
  • Low Sec Asteroids:
    • Veldspar, Scordite, Pyroxeres, Plagioclase, Jaspet, Hemorphite & Hedbergite quantities reduced.
  • Null Sec Asteroids:
    • Scordite, Omber, Kernite, Jaspet, Hemorphite, Hedbergite, Gneiss, Dark Ochre, Crokite & Arkonor quantities reduced.
    • Bistot quantity increased.
  • Ore Anomalies spawned from Sovereignty Industry Index upgrades:
    • Level 1, 2 & 3 respawn times adjusted.
    • All variations of Crokite in all levels replaced with the equivalent yield variation of Kernite.
    • Gneiss, Dark Ochre & Spodumain quantities reduced.

There was also a follow on dev blog about CCP’s plans for mining, which will hit moons next.  We are in what they are calling the “shortage phase.”  This phase is said to be a requirement for gathering data.

None of that meant much to me initially, though I admit I didn’t stop to look too hard at it either.  I have not mined in ages.  I still think of mining anomalies as something “new” in the game and nearly every second I have spent in one has been in a combat ship, either shooting miners or shooting people who were shooting miners.

When I think of mining anoms, this is what comes to mind

But there are plenty of people who do mine, and they were quick to start calculating the level of the nerf that hit mining on Tuesday.  A post on Reddit by Alcoholic_Satan of Pandemic Horde showed not only a reduction in the quantity of asteroids available, but also the amount of ore each asteroid held.  The top comment is an estimate that this represented a reduction by a factor of 1,000, and assumed it had to be an error, that being such a drastic change.

But the comment has an addendum, a link to a screen shot of a statement from CSM member Sort Dragon who was authorized by CCP to let people know that this level of change was not a mistake.

A clip of the image mentioned for posterity

So when I wondered if we would see some impact from this on the February Monthly Economic Report… well, now it seems almost certain.   This level of “shortage” will cause mineral prices to rise, but probably not enough to offset the reduced amount or ore being mined, so the values harvested per region will likely also fall noticeably despite any boost in price.

Left untouched for the moment was moon mining output, which led the Imperium to change the harvest cycle on public moons, currently running on a max duration pattern, down to seven days to get in as many mining opportunities as possible, because CCP is coming for moons next.  According to the CCP dev blog for Moon Mining, we should expect the following for moons with the next release:

  • Complete removal of all basic ore types from all moons
  • Adjustments on ore volume extracted per day, per moon
  • Adjustments on moon ore type yields of basic minerals

So we can expect minerals to become more rare when that hits, all of which seems like a pretty radical approach to the problem of mining, whatever that problem actually is.  CCP has been regularly nerfing Rorquals and mining anomalies for over a year, and that has had some small but noticeable impact.  Now, however, they are going for a huge strike against mining game wide.

And I am left wondering why the hit needed to be this big.

As I have said before, mining is not an ISK faucet the way NPC bounties are.  All of that ore mined doesn’t add any ISK to the economy, save for the few people who run mining missions, and agent mission rewards are tiny, falling a distant fifth out of six faucets, even when rewards and bonuses are combined.

The desirability of mining ought to be based on the market price of ore, with an over abundance leading to a reduction in price below a point where it is worthwhile to undock Rorquals.  Or so it would go in a real world economy.  However, in the New Eden economy, where there is no real costs to running a Rorqual unless you lose it or some of the drone, there is likely no price point so low that people would stop undocking.

Furthermore, there is a price floor on minerals.  There is a point where you can take your mined minerals and build something like a Charon freighter, insure it, have somebody blow it up, and turn a profit.

So I get that CCP cannot really expect the market to adjust itself based on cost and pricing as there are artificial elements, like the apparently infinite resources of Pend Insurance, which will keep people going.

Instead though, they seem to have charted a course for a fresh new Chaos Era, this time focused on industry in New Eden.  Minerals are the life blood of production, and introducing what could lead to huge shortfalls and accompanying price spikes which will no doubt have an impact that will be felt by all.

And some people are pissed.  In the forum thread for the release the horrible red dot is getting more immediate attention… another ill-considered UI idea, though the appear to have muted it for the moment… but some industrialists are clearly at a boil.

CCP says they are keeping an eye on things:

It is understood that the changes that will go live throughout phase 1 will affect the macroeconomic environment and the market reaction will be closely monitored. Predictions have been made and the readiness to take measures is in place.

But they also said similar things over the summer, and it took the game a couple of months to recover from that.  We might be in for more interesting times as this is all likely to get worse before it gets better.  This and the red dot certainly seem to have swept away whatever resentment was left over selling skill points.

As for the quote at the top of the post… it is clear that the CSM was informed about this plan in advance and I suspect that tweet may mark the day it happened.

Related posts:

Camelot Unchained Refund Received

What will likely be the last post on the topic of Camelot Unchained here for some time.

I got a refund on my Kickstarter pledge.  I got it very quickly and with no deductions for processing charges at the CSE end of things, just the money transfer fee from PayPal, a mere $3.49.  Op success.  I should be very happy.

And yet I am still a little prickly about the whole thing.  I still think that a transaction ID for a credit charge remains a pretty unlikely thing for people to have around nearly seven years later.  Mark Jacobs says that the company needs to use that to protect themselves from scammers, but it sure can make it hard on people who didn’t keep one specific email from that far back.

I am also a bit prickly about the fact that I got a refund so very quickly.  I have an egalitarian streak, and getting jumped to the head of the line and getting an expedited refund straight from the CEO for being the loud mouth doesn’t make necessarily make me feel good about myself.  I’m not giving the money back… dollar votes are still a thing in my mind, and that was a motivation here… but I don’t have to like the fact that others are going to be stuck.  I don’t want to be special, I just want to be part of a system that works.  But that is so rarely the case.

Before you declare this a victory proving that blogs are still relevant, I have to stop you.  They aren’t.  Blogging remains a backwater in the world of social media.  If Bree at Massively OP had not mentioned me to Mark Jacobs I might still be waiting for the Pony Express to deliver my request to the archives department of my credit card company in Wichita in the hope that they would be able to find a transaction ID somewhere in the Indiana Jones warehouse where I imagine they store their old paper records and other such these treasures.

I did not ask Bree to do this for me.  She had asked me to forward the email blast that CSE sent out to everybody asking for refunds last week, and I followed that up with the next message from CSE just to keep her in the loop.  Next thing I knew Mark Jacobs had taken up residence in my comment section.  It was a bit of a shock.

As for why I wanted a refund, there are a couple of reasons.  The first, as I mentioned above, is dollar votes, the idea that you spend your money on things you support and believe in and withhold it from things that you do not.  After years of delays and updates and things that have not come to pass, I began to feel my support was not warranted.  There is a whole story of a startup I worked for in the 90s that plays into this, but I will just say that enthusiasm fatigue is a thing.  Given enough changes, updates, delays, and excuses and your capacity to give a shit will eventually fade.

This is why I try not to get invested in games too early in their development cycle.  It rarely ends well as all surprise and sense of accomplishment tends to be broken by early familiarity.

I also pledged more for this campaign than I did for many other, largely due to Mark Jacobs visiting my blog back during the Kickstarter campaign.  This week was not his first visit.  Blogs were still mildly relevant in 2013 I guess.  And while $110 isn’t going to make a huge difference in my life, I pledged that much only because of him.

And then there is the fact that almost seven years down the road I am not sure I care about the game any more.  Part of that is the enthusiasm fatigue I mentioned above.  I unsubscribed from the updates email list because it was tiring to read after a few years.  (For whatever reason I have not unsubscribe from the Star Citizen weekly updates. I suppose their brevity makes them less wearing.)

But part of it is my, my life, my friends, and what I enjoy have all changed over time.  Seven years changes people.  What CSE is selling doesn’t really thrill me now, so a chance to redirect a bit of money into something that I might enjoy is something worth doing.

Now to figure out what that is.

Anyway, I won’t harp on this or be one of those people who has to post something negative every time Camelot Unchained gets mentioned.  That isn’t my style.  I got my money back and I can move on to something else and leave this in the past.