Why We Had Asset Safety in the First Place

…we have to accept the fact no one will want to store items… in one of the new structures if they can be destroyed and lost on a whim.

And that is how asset safety was born.

I Feel Safe in Citadel City dev blog, August 2015

Back in the day, back before Upwell structures, back when we had conquerable stations out in null sec, CCP identified a problem with those stations.

Back then, if you were in a null sec group and you took a break from the game, you might return to find that your alliance, coalition, or allies had lost their space or moved or whatever.  That meant that anything you left in the station you were living out of might be controlled by another group.  Your stuff would be locked away in a hostile station.

EVE Online Curse Deployment

The old station at G-0Q86 as a visual

And that was seen… and rightly so… as a disincentive to people returning to the game.

I know that my old pal Gaff stopped playing EVE Online before the Casino War and only came back after the Imperium had settled in Delve.  All of his stuff was still up in a station in Deklein.  He had blueprints and subcaps and capitals and all the things that collect in your hangar when you stay in one place for even a few weeks.

He was a case in point of the issue.

So when CCP introduced citadels into the game, they were going to fix this problem, and the solution was asset safety.  This, and the fact that your assets would be gone if you lost a citadel, citadels being destroyable as opposed to capturable, were selling points for the new Upwell structure plan.  If you came back to the game after a time away you were never going to find your stuff locked up and inaccessible again.  Nor would you come back to find them simply gone.  Yes, it might be in an awkwardly located low sec station if had a structure blown up, and sure you might have to pay some ISK to get it back, but you could get it.  Anything really valuable to you could be recovered without having to launch war to take a region simply to recover that Curor you left behind last time.

Null sec was covered.  And when they finally converted the null sec stations to Fortizar, stuff locked up for ages was all recoverable via asset safety.  Gaff can get his stuff back if he wants it. (He has tried, but you have to actually go to the station where your stuff is to deal with it is another tale.)

So citadels solved that problem for null sec.

In wormhole space, where there were no stations (Thera doesn’t count), players had been living out of player owned starbases (the dreaded POS) and had never had a safe place to store their stuff, so not giving them asset safety seemed to make sense.

And in low and high sec, empire space, there are a plethora of NPC stations that are always accessible, so you’ll never lose your stuff and have it locked away from you.  But they got asset safety as well because it seemed to be the right fit.

But Upwell structures brought their own issues to the game.  They changed the dynamics of play, with tethering and their defenses and the long, three pass timer system that was required to destroy them.  And, of course, the sprang up everywhere.  They were like space mushrooms.  So CCP started tweaking them slowly over time, trying to find a new balance that would sate those complaining about their various issues.

One issue that came up over time was the litter of low power, essentially abandoned citadels all over space.  The three timer system meant blowing them up was a pain, so CCP changed things so that unfueled citadels only required two timers.

That was not enough though.  And so, at the end of last month, we got the Forsaken Fortress update.  This introduced a new “abandoned” state for Upwell structures that had not been fueled for the past seven days.  The timer on that started when the patch went live and so structures began to hit that state this week.  Once in the “abandoned” state, the following became true:

  • It will skip the Hull Reinforcement phase. This means it has no reinforcement cycles at all, and can be destroyed in a single attack session. (Damage caps will continue to apply as normal. Normal war-dec/CONCORD rules continue to apply)
  • It does not have any tethering capability at all.
  • If it explodes, an abandoned structure will not push any items into asset safety whatsoever. All assets located the structure are eligible to drop as loot. (This will be the same behaviour as a current wormhole structure)
    • Note that as long as the structure is still in space, you can still manually push your assets into asset safety as normal.
    • When a structure is close to becoming abandoned, all characters/corporations with assets in the structure will receive a notification that their assets are potentially at risk.
    • Unanchoring an abandoned structure will push all assets into asset safety as normal. The loot drop only applies to exploding abandoned structures.

The key item in that is the removal of asset safety, which I must admit at first glace I thought would be kind of fun.  I have been to wormhole citadel kills in the past when structures have dropped all sorts of loot.  It was a good time.

The loot ball from a Keepstar kill

But that was in wormhole space where asset safety was never a thing, so loss of assets is common and expected.

But now, with this change we’re seeing some asset losses in high sec that are rather astronomical in scope, to make the obvious pun.  Caches of tech II BPOs as well as an alliance tournament ship, both worth many billions of ISK, have fallen out of “abandoned” citadels.  Hell, it has just been raining blueprints and other items all over. (Oh my, a CODE stash.)

These were likely left there by people who took a break from the game when asset safety was guaranteed and now are going to come back and find they have lost their valuable assets. (Basically, if you were not paying close attention between the April 24th announcement that this was coming and this week, you might have missed it.)  This is arguably worse than having them locked away in a hostile station in null sec.  You can work a deal, find a friend (or a spy), or, you know, launch that invasion to get them back.  But these are gone forever.

Of course, the player coming back might not know they’ve lost everything right away because the game is still sending out asset safety notifications when “abandoned” structures are destroyed.  As for CCP sending out an email to players about this change coming… you know, a bit of warning that you might lose your stuff… well, some people said they got one, but I haven’t seen one across six accounts, so that seems like a bad sign.  I did, however, get notes from them about the EVE Portal Jita PLEX market update, the latest stage of the Triglavian invasion, and offers related to buying PLEX or items from the merch store, so they are sending out messages.

And this isn’t even all that random.  All of these structures are duplicated in full over on the test server, so people have been knocking over citadels there to see which ones are worth blowing up on the main server.

CCP, which was so worried about people not coming back because their stuff was locked away in an inaccessible null sec station, has now created a situation where people are going to come back and find all of their work over the years has been taken.

Oddly, you cannot even excuse CCP for having forgotten that assets were an issue in the past because they made a special exemption for the faction Fortizars that replaced the old null sec stations.  They clearly still want some people to be able to find their stuff when they return to the game… but apparently null sec people are the only ones they worry about.  I don’t know, maybe that is what you get with a null sec CSM.

Long experience in the genre indicates that people take breaks, but come back to games because they have something to show for their past investment of time.  Your installed base is an irreplaceable asset, even when their not playing at the moment.  But if they come back and figure out that CCP has pulled the carpet out from under them and allowed other players to walk away huge amounts of their stuff… that will break the tether with the game.  Some players will leave and won’t come back due to this.

But CCP loves to see destruction, they are being supported by the loudest voices in the community on this, and they seem focused mostly on new player retention in any case, so I doubt we’ll see any response at all from the company when it comes to players feeling like they got screwed.  And this EVE Online.  Don’t fly… or dock… what you cannot afford to lose.

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9 thoughts on “Why We Had Asset Safety in the First Place

  1. inactiveseller

    Well, i agree with you but tin foil hat of my part:Publicity Stunt. I think the Tech II BPO and at ships were removed of a RMT/banned account, and were put in one of the 20 thousands of abandoned structure before the copy to the serenity server . The people who get cant test the 20000 structures in the TEST server, then they receive the tip of where is the loot. They think no possible bad PR because the BPO and AT ships were from banned accounts.

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  2. Yeebo

    This sounds incredibly poorly thought out. Most old games like this make a lot more money luring their old players back than vainly trying to reach out to new ones. The vast majority of players that haven’t yet tried your game in the previous decade simply won’t no matter what you do. Most of your lapsed players will be at least slightly tempted to come back once in a while. Sacrificing lapsed players to try and appeal to new ones is like playing poker and going all in when you have a crap hand. It might work out, but it probably won’t.

    To give them some benefit of doubt, I presume that this only affects a relatively small % of their lapsed players since most of their players never leave the safe areas. Regardless, to me it’s another example of “Nope, not for me” where EVE is concerned.

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  3. evehermit

    I don’t think CCP cares. They will look at the immediate destruction, the short term blip in activity, the exciting stories of plunder, and they will pat themselves on the back.

    CCP have hinted that this was the direction they really wanted to head from early days. Every so often there will be a remark on some show or at some event where they say they don’t like that people can store almost unlimited assets, safely, in NPC stations.

    And if you scoff at the thought, I’ve been wondering what happens to people who have based themselves out of NPC stations in systems that fall to Triglavians.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Archey

    I never liked asset safety, and as a wormholer (when I played) I never had/got to deal with it.

    That said, bait and switch is a pretty poorly thought out move. I might entertain the publicity stunt or “more destruction” theories except that this is CCP and they apparently have a boneheaded move quota that they have to hit periodically.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jezaja

    I really wonder what all the people thought, when they put assets like these T2 BPOs into one single citadel. Let’s be clear: From the first day it was communicated, that citadels will completly replace POS one day.

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  6. Mailvaltar

    Not a smart move at all. Sure, they’ve got themselves some more flashy headlines, but long term the damage will be bigger than the benefit.

    Should the old mantra (hell, it already was a thing when I started playing almost fifteen years ago) ever change to something like you suggest there at the end of your post, the drop in player numbers the nullsec blackout induced will be nothing compared to how many will leave then.

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  7. Nogamara

    @Mailvaltar While I agree to a degree I haven’t heard so many people say that EVE is in the best place right now and they’re having more fun than ever before as lately. Sure, bubble and all – but it’s really interesting. I think the abandon thing is worst for people who had a lot and not for ISK-poor people, even if “lost everything” is kind of similar and you could have worked your ass of for months… for some people it would be a lot easier to get to their old level of ISK.

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  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jezaja – Let’s be clear, from August 2015 it was communicated that asset safety would protect your stuff. Go click on the dev blog linked at the top of this post if you need a refresher on this. And, if we’re going to talk about POSes, you used to be able to keep your blueprints in a station, all nice and safe, and still use them in a POS so long as it was in the same system. CCP took that away with citadels, but it was a thing for a long time.

    I am neither winning nor losing on this change, but when you see people who don’t trust CCP, this is yet another item on the long list of reasons why.

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  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    A side impact of all of these citadels being blown up is a drop in PI prices. Citadels apparently give you PI materials when salvaged, and there is a lot of that going on now.

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