Category Archives: CCP

Incarna a Decade Later

It has been ten years since the Incarna expansion released for EVE Online and set off probably the biggest confrontations between CCP its customers in the now 18 year history of the game.

Incarna – June 2011

It came at a moment when CCP was at its absolute pinnacle of ambition and hubris.  Before Incarna the company was shooting for the stars, had set their sights on, in their own words, world domination.  Before, EVE Online was just a stepping stone on their path to greatness.

Afterwards… well, EVE Online is really the only money maker they’ve had.

Which isn’t an uncommon story in tech.  It is rare for a company that finds success with one product to be able to repeat that success with another.  Even less common, however, is finding success at all.  So you have to give them that.

I always find it odd that the events around the Incarna expansion get summed up by some as “monocle-gate,” a reference to the  $50 cosmetic item introduced into the in-game store.  People who use the term “monocle-gate” brand themselves as outsiders in my eyes, as the monocle was a side-show at best and, once everything had calmed down, stayed in the in-game store without much further comment.

For many people, myself included, it was avatars and captain’s quarters that broke our faith in the company.

Walking in stations was a bad idea.

Or at least it was a bad idea for CCP as their execution was less than stellar.

After hints and hype and neglect of the rest of the game, to say that the captain’s quarters were underwhelming is an understatement.

What is on Space TV today?

I came back to the game just to try out the expansion and I couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for the update.  And to get this feature they had to not only forego working on other more core issues to the game, but pretty much had to rob the World of Darkness team of resources as well.

I’m not sure CCP could have pulled off a World of Darkness MMO, but the diversion of resources from that and DUST 514 made sure we would never find out.

More importantly to many players, the captain’s quarters replaced the hangar view that had been a staple of the game since launch and which had the utility of immediately displaying which ship you were in as it was right there in the middle of your screen.  If you didn’t care for the useless fluff that was the new quarters, your only alternative was a view of a hangar door.  That hangar door was viewed by many as, and I apologize for dredging up this ancient angry metaphor, a slap in the face.

When Hilmar derided requests for a return of the old hangar, dismissing it as “ship spinning” people were pissed.  When he pushed back on growing player complaints about the changes, he hyped up CCP’s technical achievements at their ability to inject solo avatar play into a spaceship game.  He wasn’t going to listen to player complaints.  CCP was going to stay the course.

Not listening to players remains Hilmar’s signature move, as we saw most recently during the Blackout and are experiencing now during the economic starvation plan.

So a useless and processor hungry new feature, the removal of the interface everybody was used to, the neglect of many problems in the game to focus on fluff, Hilmar’s pompous “I know best” attitude, a requirement that 3rd party apps pay a license fee, and even that monocole, had effectively poured gasoline all over the landscape.

All it needed was a match to really set it off, and CCP was happy to oblige in the form of the Greed is Good? issue of their in-house magazine Fearless. (link to it here)  When that leaked… some coincidental timing on that… with its discussion of selling premium ships, gold ammo, and other crass monetization schemes, it was too much for many players.

People speak of the Jita riots which, like the monocle, betrays a simplified view of the event.  A bunch of players did orbit the monument in Jita and shoot it as a show of protest.  But the monument wasn’t a destructible object in the game, so it was very much symbolic.  Did that shift CCP’s view?  I somehow doubt it.

Word is that, on hearing that CCP only cares what players do and not what they say, many players decided to see if unsubscribing was an action that would bring attention to their unhappiness.  I was certainly in that group, cancelling my subscription in annoyance at the company.  That seems a much more likely lever of change when it came to CCP’s view of things.

In a rare display relevance, the whole fiasco gave CSM6 an opening into some agency and they helped harness player discontent at the company into a coherent message.  For a brief period of time the CSM was a voice the company couldn’t ignore, which led to an emergency CSM summit in Iceland, where some accord was reached, though both sides had to issue their own statements on the whole thing as CCP wouldn’t step down from Hilmar’s attitude.  And Hilmar was like Sadam Hussein at the end of the first Gulf War, defiant, shooting his gun in the air, and still claiming victory in the face of catastrophe.

While CCP wouldn’t admit they had been wrong in any of their decisions or attitudes, their actions after the fact played a different tune.  Maybe Hilmar had a point with that idea.

For quite a stretch CCP tread very lightly on the monetization front.  They learned that moving slowly, drawing tentative lines, and laying smokescreens (i.e. lying) was the way to go.  So we went from skill injectors and a promise never to introduce skill points directly into the game to skill point packs in the cash shop over a few years.  It took time, but they got there by making each step small enough to not generate outrage until we got to the destination.  The slippery slope demonstrated.

On the bright side, CCP did also show a renewed interest in actually fixing things that were bad or broken in the game.  We didn’t always get what we wanted and CCP has had some strange ideas on what is good for the game, but they have at least kept focus on it.

And then there was walking in stations.  Player reaction made it a feature that was pretty much dead on arrival.  They did introduce a few different captain’s quarters to match the different empires, but it was never seriously worked on after Incarna.

CCP demonstrated that they did not have the resources to make walking in stations a feature of the game and keep the flying in space aspect of the game evolving as well.  What we received with Incarna was hardly more than a mock up of a real walking in stations feature.  Making it viable, useful, and multiplayer would have required CCP to essentially build a new game, ignoring the old.

Flying in space won out over walking in stations.  You don’t ditch your paying customers for some theoretical new customers.  The history of tech is littered with the wrecks of companies who tried that.

The captain’s quarters lingered in game, with barely 10% of the player base opting to use it.  Then came Upwell structures, new code that did not have the captain’s quarter’s integrated into it.  Given how long it took CCP just to get insurance available within citadels, integrating the captain’s quarters was clearly not in the cards.  Usage of the feature declined further.

Game time spent in Captain’s Quarters

Then came the drive towards 64-bit, which was being held back by the code.

One of the first things that we want to investigate is to release a 64-bit EVE client to better utilize your available system memory when playing. Compiling a 64-bit client has been held back by the outdated middleware that was needed by captain’s quarters.

That was the death knell for the feature.  It will never return.

In the end, Incarna did at least focus CCP on what was important to the current player base, and we have gotten a lot of improvements over the years.  It hasn’t stopped them from going in on VR or believing they can make a successful shooter, but they don’t neglect flying in space as much.

It also made CCP more wily when it came to monetization, pushing them to boil the frog slowly.  But, as the frog knows, we still get boiled in the end.

Related:

Introducing Your CSM16 Representatives

Yesterday CCP did the big reveal stream for CSM16, going through the election round by round to both demonstrate how STV elections work and to try and milk some suspense out of the results.

Unfortunately there wasn’t that much suspense because CCP accidentally posted the results archive up on their site before the stream, so they were up on /r/eve before hand.  CCP tried to pass that off as just “test data,” but when the results lined up it was clear that was just a smokescreen.

The winners were:

CSM16

Congratulations to those who made the cut for CSM16.

In order of election they were:

  1. Merkelchen – Goonswarm Federation (first round)*
  2. Gobbins – Pandemic Horde (first round)*
  3. Innominate – Goonswarm Federation (first round)*
  4. Brisc Rubal – The Initiative*
  5. Kenneth Feld – Pandemic Legion*
  6. I Beast – Method Synergy
  7. Suitonia – We Form V0lta
  8. VilyTest Alliance Please Ignore*
  9. ProgodlegendTest Alliance Please Ignore
  10. Mike Azariah – The Scope*

*CSM15 incumbent

Seven of the eight incumbents who ran were re-elected and seven of the ten total seats when to sov null sec bloc candidates, which is about par for the course for CSM elections.  Null sec blocs tend to take between 6 and 8 seats.

Total votes cast were 38,086, up from the 36,120 cast in the CSM15 election and the 32,994 cast in the CSM14 election.  The votes by country saw the US contribute the lions share of ballots making up close to a third of the count.

CSM16 Election – Votes by Country

As happened last year, Merkelchen and Gobbins, who topped the Goonswarm and Pandemic Horde ballots respectively, met the ballot quota of 3,463 to get themselves elected in the first of the 36 rounds of elimination.  Interestingly, there were enough votes for Merkelchen in the first round, 7,726 to be exact, that his spill over elected Innominate in the first round as well, being the next candidate on the Goonswarm ballot.

Innominate, having made quota, then sent another 204 excess votes to Brisc Rubal, third on the ballot.  In the past, those voting the straight Goon ballot have generally only sent votes to the first two candidates, but there were enough voters for some to trickle down to Brisc this time.

The round one vote bounce

From there it was quite a few rounds before Brisc Rubal and then Kenneth Feld met quota and were elected.  By round 36 the final three candidates neither eliminated nor elected were Progodlegend, Mike Azariah, and Arsia Elkin.  Arsia was the last candidate eliminated, so they will be the first called up should somebody on the CSM drop off or be removed.

The State of the Final Round

Being in 11th place used to give you a pretty good shot at serving on the CSM at some point, as we had a pretty long streak of councils where somebody ended up getting tossed for non-participation or leaking NDA related information.  CSM15 was a bit of an outlier on that front.

One thing I observed from a ballot analysis (linked at the post end) was that Silent Company, the largest alliance in the game, which I mentioned in yesterday’s post, had an official ballot.  But of the 30K players in the alliance, only 133 voted their ballot. (Mike Azariah got those votes as he was the top pick on their list.)

People bitch about sov null sec candidates winning 6-8 seats every time, but there was a potential tide-turning number of voters who didn’t bother voting.  Guess what, you don’t get your act together and vote your ticket, you don’t win.

The eliminations, round by round, were as follows:

  1. Elimination: “TDor Clau” with 30.551773 votes
  2. Elimination: “knockerwrench Alduin” with 51.510715 votes
  3. Elimination: “hurleyalex hurley” with 56.163352 votes
  4. Elimination: “Styxx” with 57.628965 votes
  5. Elimination: “Reicher514” with 62.725040 votes
  6. Elimination: “Xenuria” with 63.810632 votes
  7. Elimination: “Kay-Lynn Tsero” with 67.353259 votes
  8. Elimination: “Micromancer” with 69.549025 votes
  9. Elimination: “Lucrative Business Opportunity” with 99.172650 votes
  10. Elimination: “Xeromus Plague” with 109.192879 votes
  11. Elimination: “Broodin” with 122.813039 votes
  12. Elimination: “Robert Downey Iron” with 156.601009 votes
  13. Elimination: “Gay Pride BOOOOOM” with 191.050778 votes
  14. Elimination: “White 0rchid” with 225.780072 votes
  15. Elimination: “DutchGunner” with 231.144089 votes
  16. Elimination: “Winzentowitsch Madeveda” with 244.139180 votes
  17. Elimination: “Angry Mustache” with 251.063735 votes
  18. Elimination: “Rich Richman” with 285.158034 votes
  19. Elimination: “Baculus Orden” with 306.315076 votes
  20. Elimination: “Mantis Akiga” with 309.669628 votes
  21. Elimination: “Evie Kouvo” with 326.396510 votes
  22. Elimination: “Eluwien” with 352.996941 votes
  23. Elimination: “Shui Jing Jing” with 420.596216 votes
  24. Elimination: “Jim Halescott” with 519.031531 votes
  25. Elimination: “Maldavius” with 600.084464 votes
  26. Elimination: “Jurius Doctor” with 671.064656 votes
  27. Elimination: “Phantomite” with 720.975725 votes
  28. Elimination: “teddy Gbyc” with 750.116022 votes
  29. Elimination: “Dr Spodumain” with 775.232211 votes
  30. Elimination: “RonUSMC” with 850.020410 votes
  31. Elimination: “Rixx Javix” with 972.755342 votes
  32. Elimination: “Stitch Kaneland” with 1048.711892 votes
  33. Elimination: “Seddow” with 1227.656965 votes
  34. Elimination: “Uriel Paradisi Anteovnuecci” with 1509.087582 votes
  35. Elimination: “Mark Resurrectus” with 1736.691925 votes
  36. Elimination: “Arsia Elkin” with 2241.771743 votes

And so it goes.  As I have repeated ad nauseum, CCP is in the driver’s seat when it comes to the CSM, so it is up to them to pay attention or ignore its advice.  The current relationship with the CSM seems pretty good, but CCP always talks up the CSM, even when it is in the midst of trashing its relationship with it on a whim.  We will just have to see how the next year turns out.

Related:

CCP Edges Ever Closer to Selling Ships in EVE Online

CCP announced a new Destroyer Pack for sale this week on the web store store.

Limited time availability

For $24.99 you get the following:

  • 500,000 Skill Points
  • 110 PLEX
  • Catalyst Sapphire Sungrazer SKIN
  • Cormorant Ghostbird SKIN
  • Coercer Ardishapur SKIN
  • Talwar Valklear Glory SKIN.
  • 100x Cap Booster 150
  • 6x Agency ‘Pyrolancea’ DB3 Dose I booster
  • Eifyr and Co. ‘Rogue’ Acceleration Control AC-601 implant.

New to packs, so far as I recall, are actual in-game items, including 100 cap boosters, some drugs, and an implant.

Now, they are kind of crappy items… a hundred Cap Booster 150s isn’t exactly the gold ammo we’ve been dreading since the “Greed is Good” internal article a decade back… but they do represent a baby step in that direction.  We know where we are headed, it is just a question of how soon we get there.

I suppose, for me, the amusing bit is the now complete acceptance we have for selling skill points.  That the Destroyer Pack threw in half a million SP seemed about par for the course, the culmination of a long run of pushing the monetization boundaries starting with skill injectors.  But I threw in the towel on the skill point front about a year ago, though my acceptance hasn’t stopped CCP from being dumb about skill point sales as late as this past March.  Being dumb is far the greater sin for me now.

I harbor some indifference to the whole thing at this point.  Part of it is the non-stop creep of monetization schemes across the industry makes this look pretty mild, and part of it ties back to a post I wrote earlier this year about the fact that the cost of an MMO subscription has been the same for 20 years while the price of everything else has gone up.  Fans are completely hostile to paying any more, and with subscriptions down for games like EVE Online, the only options to keep developers working on the title is to monetize elsewhere.  While we get our backs up at anything that carries even a hint of “pay to win,” that is exactly the sort of thing that people are willing to pay for.

In the end we get what we deserve.  And, as Star Citizen has proven, selling ships can be quite lucrative.

The EVE Online June Update to End Cloaky Camping and Open a Low Sec Gate to Stain

CCP announced last month that they were taking aim at the menace of cloaky camping, and their solution to the issue went in with today’s patch update.

No longer in testing, but they didn’t put up a new graphic

As previously mentioned, CCP’s plan to address cloaky camping is to introduce a deployable called a Mobile Observatory which sends out a system-wide ping every 10 minutes that has a chance to decloak any cloaked ships in the system.

The blueprints for Mobile Observatories were seeded into the market today and the associated changes are now live.

The Mobile Observatory

As you can see from the above, the structure only lasts for an hour and 40 minutes, so you get only 9 pings out of it once deployed.

As a counter, any ship that does cloak is given 15 minutes of protection from being decloaked.  CCP has set that timer the same everywhere, but has indicated that it may, in the future, give different modules of hulls a bonus to that time.

This change has not made those for or against cloaky camping happy.  Those looking to eliminate the practice bring up the expense and the vulnerability of the deployable, which can be blown up with just a few salvos from a stealth bomber.  Those who favor the practice fear that these modules will be spammed everywhere and multiple times per system so that being decloaked after 15 minutes is almost guaranteed.  I suppose we will see who is right.

Also in today’s update are four new empire gates, including the long asked for low sec gate to the Stain region.  The new gate locations are:

  • Hykkota (The Forge) ↔ Ahbazon (Genesis)
  • Irgrus (Metropolis) ↔ Pakhshi (Genesis)
  • Kenninck (Placid) ↔ Eggheron (Solitude)
  • Saminer (Tash-Murkon) ↔ F7-ICZ (Stain)

I expect that the Stain Russians are both very happy and are already camping that gate.

A monument has been placed in each of the systems where these new gates are locate that list out the names of the top players and corporations that participated in the event around the gate construction.

It also means the end of StainGuy, who long advocated for this low sec gate to Stain and swore he’d biomass his character if CCP ever actually put in it the game.  He is going to mothball the character instead to keep anybody else from grabbing the name… but not before a final farewell.

Those are the two big items with today’s update, but there are a number of smaller items, including the ability to filter the fleet composition window.  But for me, the other big fix was the change to the UI Only Mode indicator.

UI Only Mode, or Super Potato Mode, introduced last October just in time for some epic Keepstar fights in Delve, allows users to turn off the graphics rendering with the command Control-Shift-F9.  The main downside was the large opaque reminder that players were in UI Only Mode that hung right in the middle of the screen in the way of just about anything you wanted to look at. (e.g. scrolling messages, brackets on grid)

It would just sit there

With today’s update that message now fades away after 30 seconds, leaving you to peacefully watch overview brackets in peace without a big sign in the middle of the screen.

The T5ZI gate in 1DQ and the bubbles around it

In a way having the UI off and just brackets on is like having an air traffic controller view of an area.  I sat for a while and watched ships move around the gate and Keepstar grid in 1DQ.  It was relaxing in its own way.

Delta Squad’s symbol above the main Keepstar

Anyway, the patch has been deployed and is live, so the changes are in place and we have to live with them.

Full details are available in the patch notes.

CSM16 Voting Begins Today

Voting for candidates in the CSM16 election begins today (and not yesterday, as CCP accidentally indicated for about 20 minutes yesterday morning) and runs through until downtime on June 15th.

The time to vote is NOW!  The instructions are at the link above.

CSM16 voting is here

I have been skeptical of the whole idea since it was announced back in 2008, back when people served six month terms and we had two elections a year, and I haven’t really changed my mind on that.

Picking subject matter experts for a focus group through a popularity contest, which is what all elections amount to, does not seem like the best idea and the CSM only has as much influence as CCP allows it.  It lacks any agency.  (Unless it takes the discussion out of school, which worked exactly once.) Things have been good lately, but bad times are not that far in the past and CCP seems to ebb and flow on the importance of the CSM.  Good ideas have broken on the rocks of CCP indifference for years and bad ideas been championed by CCP against the advice of the CSM.

Still, you work with the process you have, not the process you want, and hope for the best.  You want good people there when CCP decides to listen.  So I encourage people to go vote for sensible candidates that represent their views.  Or meme candidates that will disrupt meetings.  Whatever you think will help.  You do you.

There are 47 candidates on the ballot.  I listed them out with links to their candidate forum post.  I also tried to sort them out into a few general categories, but aside from “incumbents” your mileage may vary.

The candidate field for CSM16

In order to publicize the election, CCP has a daily login reward event going on this week, featuring skill points and some of the other standard items.

Daily Login Rewards

Per the usual routine, Omega clones get all the rewards, Alpha clones get only the top row.  And, of course, Alpha clones cannot vote.

As for how the election will go, that is always an open question.

As I noted in the candidate post, with World War Bee going on there are more players invested in the game, at least theoretically.  But the war is in stalemate and both sides can only bloviate as they try to win the war on /r/eve while the peak concurrent user count has been in a state of decline since about week 32 of the war, back in February, which coincided with PAPI’s recovery from the M2-XFE loss and their finishing up taking all but the final constellation in Delve.

Maybe turnout will exceed last years 36K ballots cast… or maybe not.

Most major null sec blocs will have their suggested ballots.  So far the only one I have see has been the Imperium, which announced theirs on the Meta Show on Saturday.

  1. Merkelchen
  2. Innominate
  3. Brisc Rubal
  4. Baculus Orden
  5. Broodin
  6. Angry Mustache
  7. Micromancer
  8. Xenuria
  9. Suitonia
  10. i Beast

While the ballot is ten candidates long, the Imperium’s votes are generally only enough to get two candidates in for sure, so Merkelchen and Innominate are all but guaranteed a seat.  After that point candidates on the list have to have a constituency outside of the Imperium.  Brisc Rubal has managed that in the past.  Suitonia, i Beast, and even Xenuria have followings outside the Imperium as well, but I would be surprised if more than four people on that list of ten made the cut.  We shall see.

Anyway, since I insist on guessing ahead of time, here is how I think it will play out, in order of who will make the cut, revised from my previous estimate:

  1. Merkelchen (first round)
  2. Gobbins (first round)
  3. Vily
  4. Innominate
  5. Kenneth Feld
  6. Phantomite or Rixx Javix
  7. *wildcard*
  8. Mike Azariah
  9. Whoever is second on the TEST/Legacy ballot
  10. Brisc Rubal, ahead of 11th by less than 100 votes

So there we are.  We will see how wrong I am on June 21st when CCP announced the results.

Anyway, once again, the instructions for voting are available here.  Do what you need to.

Related:

The April EVE Online Monthly Economic Report and the Initial Impact of the Industry Changes

CCP got us the April Monthly Economic Report on Friday evening their time, and it looked like a bit of a rush job.  The news page initially had some of the March MER graphs on it and a couple of the charts in the download data look to be from March as well.  Still, as always, we soldier on with what we’re given. [Edit: They updated some of the data in a new .zip file since I wrote that.]

EVE Online nerds harder

Production

The big industry changes hit at towards the end of April, with a bit of a heads up from CCP, and industrialists all over rushed to get in some final battleship or capital builds before it hit, as the production/destruction/mining chart clearly shows.

April 2021 – Production vs Destruction vs Mined

The red line on that chart is production, and you can see it spiking up there as the day approaches, then dropping off sharply as the month turns to May.  As usual for this chart, we get the data up to the date they run the report, which was May 16th this time.  It is also a 30 day moving average, so it will likely bleed off some more when we see the next MER.  Dunk Dinkle of Brave asked on r/eve if anybody was pursuing capital building after the patch and, while there were only a few responses, most seemed to be in the negative.

Still, that rush in mid April pushed the production numbers up, hitting 168.4 trillion ISK in value, up from 127 trillion in March and 104.6 trillion ISK in February.

The top regions for production in April were:

  1. The Forge – 30.51 trillion
  2. Delve – 16.2 trillion
  3. Vale of the Silent – 9.06 trillion
  4. Lonetrek – 8.92 trillion
  5. The Citadel – 8.38 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 6.5 trillion
  7. Domain – 6.02 trillion
  8. Fade – 5.31 trillion
  9. Malpais – 4.65 trillion
  10. Querious – 4.17 trillion

The Forge was up by about a trillion ISK, but Delve jumped by almost 7 trillion ISK as people got those last capitals into build.  Likewise, Vale of the Silent, Fraternity’s new home, was up by a good 4 trillion ISK.  The last two days before the patch saw 5 trillion ISK in production, tapering off as builds submitted before the patch delivered and were not replace, with production continuing to fall into May, with the last date in the data set just 2.1 trillion ISK in production overall.

Mining

The rush to get things produced helped mineral prices continue their unprecedented climb as they hit yet another all time high on CCP’s mineral price index chart.

April 2021 – Economic Indices

Even the other indices, weighed down by the inclusion of things like skill injectors, started to rise a bit with this recent surge.

With the boom in production over it will be interesting to see if that causes an easing in mineral prices as demand subsides.

As for where mining happened, the following were the top ten regions:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 2.82 trillion (PandaFam)
  2. Metropolis – 1.51 trillion
  3. The Forge – 1.4 trillion
  4. Domain – 1.17 trillion
  5. Sinq Laison – 1.09 trillion
  6. Lonetrek – 939 billion
  7. Everyshore – 835 billion
  8. The Citadel – 695 billion
  9. Heimatar – 680 billion
  10. Tash-Murkon – 666 billion

Once again mining was heavily weighted towards high security space save for the Vale of the Silent region, where Fraternity now operates, which came close to harvesting more ore than the next too regions combined.   A total of 27.15 trillion ISK in ore was mined by CCP’s measure, which put the month about 2.5 trillion ISK over the March output.

Trade

The top ten regions for trade value were:

  1. The Forge – 439 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 59.16 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Sinq Laison – 19.31 trillion (Dodixie)
  4. Delve – 18.11 trillion (Imperium/PAPI)
  5. Lonetrek – 14.88 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  6. Metropolis – 10.64 trillion (Hek)
  7. Heimatar – 10.3 trillion (Rens)
  8. The Citadel – 5.26 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  9. Essence – 5.03 trillion (Gallente High Sec)
  10. Vale of the Silent – 3.82 trillion (PandaFam)

Jita remained dominant, though was down more than 30 trillion ISK when compared to March.

Overall trade was down from 670.58 trillion ISK value in March to 625.98 trillion ISK in value in April.

ISK Faucets

I used to call this section NPC Bounties because that was, by far, the biggest ISK faucet in the game.  And then CCP nerfed bounties and now commodities lead the pack, with those wormholers quietly making bank.  As expected, commodities rang in as the top ISK faucet in April.

April 2021 – Faucet end of the chart big chart

Looking at the line graph shows better how commodities compare with NPC bounties and the ESS payouts.

April 2021 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

NPC bounties plus ESS is still in the neighborhood of commodities, though when you break out the commodities you can see who is reaping the benefit on that front.

April 2021 – Top Commodity Items Over Time

Sleeper components, which are wormhole NPC drops, make up the largest slice of the pie by far.  Given the relative populations of null sec and wormhole space, there are some crazy ISK earning wormholers out there.

Meanwhile, on the NPC bounties front, the total harvest was 27.2 trillion ISK, a pale shade of what it once was, with the top ten regions collecting:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 2.17 trillion
  2. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.09 trillion
  3. Tribute – 1.04 trillion
  4. Insmother – 1.01 trillion
  5. Tenal – 996 billion
  6. Pure Blind – 891 billion
  7. Malpais – 855 billion
  8. Branch – 837 billion
  9. Lonetrek – 833 billion
  10. Querious – 804 billion

Vale of the Silent and TKE are both PandaFam, along with Malpais, Branch, and some of Tenal.  So while World War Been carries on the southeast of New Eden, the northwest prospers.  Querious is Brave’s new home, so they are settling in and raising ADMs.  The odd region is Lonetrek, which is Caldari empire space.  Some serious mission running much have gone on to make the cut.

Destruction

Then there are things being blown up and, to nobody’s surprise, Delve continues to lead the list on that front.

  1. Delve – 3.39 trillion
  2. The Citadel – 1.91 trillion
  3. The Forge – 1.82 trillion
  4. Heimatar – 1.66 trillion
  5. Lonetrek – 1.64 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.38 trillion
  7. Querious – 1.18 trillion
  8. Vale of the Silent – 1.14 trillion
  9. Catch – 1.07 trillion
  10. Domain – 957 billion

Overall destruction was down, ringing in at 35.12 trillion ISK destroyed in April, down from 42.68 trillion ISK in March.  Things seemed to blow up in most regions on that list, indicating both a bit of a lull in the war and a lack of activity in high sec, especially around Jita where destruction is generally at its highest in New Eden.

Finally, the MER included a graph indicating the peak player count for systems across New Eden in April.

April 2021 – Peak Concurrent Players

You have to click on that and view it full size to people able to pick out regions and systems, but you’ll be able to spot Jita and Amarr and a few other spots that are often busy.  But I want to zero in on the southeast of null sec.

Delve and Querious

You can tell there is a war on by how many systems are spiking up in Delve.  Not all of those were fights, and they didn’t all happen at the same time or even on the same day.  If you look at the zKill you will see PAPI dragging more than a thousand ships in to kill some Keepstars.  But some of those peaks represent fights.  If we get this chart again for May I expect that we’ll be able to pick out the 1DQ1-A constellation from the region.

Anyway, as always, all the charts and data… now corrected… are available for download on the Dev Blog.

Related:

TNG – The April 2021 Monthly Economic Report: Faucets And The Dynamic Bounty System

CCP Announces the Candidates for CSM16

The drive to the CSM16 election continues.

CSM16 is approaching

Yesterday CCP hit another checkpoint in the run up to the CSM16 election when CCP Dopamine and CCP Swift did a live stream announcing the candidates who made it through the vetting process and will be on the ballot come June.

In total 47 candidates made the cut, which is up from the 40 who were on the ballot for the CSM15 election.  Here are all of their in-game portraits.

The candidate field for CSM16

As I did last year, I will list them all out alphabetically with a link to their campaign thread and their alliance or corp affiliation.  The portraits above are in the order of the list below.  CCP has their own list with trading card like summaries should you prefer that.  It is also in alphabetical order.

The List

  1. Angry Mustache – Goonswarm Federation
  2. Arsia Elkin – Electus Matari
  3. Baculus Orden – Goonswarm Federation
  4. Brisc Rubal – The Initiative
  5. Broodin – Goonswarm Federation
  6. Dr Spodumain – ISK.Enterprises
  7. Dutchgunner – Arataka Research Consortium
  8. Eluwein – Hole Control
  9. Evie Kouvo – Wingspan Delivery Network
  10. Gay Pride Booooom – Novus Ordo
  11. Gobbins – Pandemic Horde
  12. Hurleyalex hurley – Test Alliance Please Ignore
  13. I Beast – Method Synergy
  14. Innominate – Goonswarm Federation
  15. Jim Halescott – The Scope
  16. Jurius Doctor – Nullsechnaya Sholupen
  17. Kay-lynn Tsero – Tsundere Triad
  18. Kenneth Feld – Pandemic Legion
  19. Knockerwrench Alduin – Black Wolves
  20. Lucrative Business Opportunity – The Curatores Veritatis Auxiliary
  21. Maldavius – Stribog Clade
  22. Mantis Akiga – Red Alliance
  23. Mark Resurrectus – Turbofeed or Glory
  24. Merkelchen – Goonswarm Federation
  25. Micromancer – Goonswarm Federation
  26. Mike Azariah – The Scope
  27. Phantomite – No Handlebars
  28. ProgodlegendTest Alliance Please Ignore
  29. Reicher514 – Pandemic Horde
  30. Rheaha Preynar – Free Range Chikuns
  31. Rich Richman – Plucky Adventurers
  32. Rixx Javix – A Band Apart
  33. Robert Downey Iron – Unreal Alliance
  34. RonUSMCTest Alliance Please Ignore
  35. Seddow – Dreadbomb
  36. Shui Jing Jing – Caput Draconis
  37. Stitch Kaneland – The Tuskers Co.
  38. Styxx – D.A.R.K.
  39. Suitonia – We Form V0lta
  40. Tdor ClauTest Alliance Please Ignore
  41. Teddy Gbyc – Outfoxed
  42. Uriel Paradisi Anteovnuecci – Arataka Research Consortium
  43. VilyTest Alliance Please Ignore
  44. White Orchid – We Form V0lta
  45. Winzentowitsch Madeveda – PARABELLUM
  46. Xenuria – Goonswarm Federation
  47. Xeromus Plague – Interstellar Triglavian Collective

That is a lot of people, so let me try to break them out into groups to make the list more easily digestible and maybe make finding your ideal candidate a bit easier.

Incumbents

Eight of the ten current members of CSM15 are running for re-election.  They are:

  • Brisc Rubal – The Initiative
  • Gobbins – Pandemic Horde
  • Innominate – Goonswarm Federation
  • Kenneth Feld – Pandemic Legion
  • Merkelchen – Goonswarm Federation
  • Mike Azariah – The Scope
  • Phantomite – No Handlebars
  • Vily – Test Alliance Please Ignore

Of that list, Gobbins, Innominate, Merkelchen, and Vily are all running for their third consecutive term, which will disqualify them from running again for a spot on CSM17, as term limits allowing only three consecutive terms were introduced as part of the CSM15 race.

Sov Null Sec

22 of the 47 candidates in the race hail from organizations that hold sovereignty in null sec.  They are:

  1. Angry Mustache – Goonswarm Federation
  2. Baculus Orden – Goonswarm Federation
  3. Brisc Rubal – The Initiative
  4. Broodin – Goonswarm Federation
  5. Gobbins – Pandemic Horde
  6. Hurleyalex hurley – Test Alliance Please Ignore
  7. Innominate – Goonswarm Federation
  8. Jurius Doctor – Nullsechnaya Sholupen
  9. Kenneth Feld – Pandemic Legion
  10. Mantis Akiga – Red Alliance
  11. Merkelchen – Goonswarm Federation
  12. Micromancer – Goonswarm Federation
  13. Progodlegend – Test Alliance Please Ignore
  14. Reicher514 – Pandemic Horde
  15. Robert Downey Iron – Unreal Alliance
  16. RonUSMC – Test Alliance Please Ignore
  17. Seddow – Dreadbomb
  18. Suitonia – We Form Volta
  19. Tdor Clau – Test Alliance Please Ignore
  20. Vily – Test Alliance Please Ignore
  21. White Orchid – We Form Volta
  22. Xenuria – Goonswarm Federation

Sov null candidates tend to do well when it comes to being represented on the CSM as they belong to organized groups that harness their power to aim votes at candidates that represent their values.

That said, there are only 10 seats up for grabs and even the largest alliance in the game, Goonswarm Federation, only has the numbers to get 2 or 3 of its candidates on the council.  Their electoral power also makes outsiders less likely to vote for them.  There are 7 Goons running, so 4 or 5 of them are likely going home disappointed unless they have a constituency outside of the alliance or coalition.  The other big alliances are good for 1, possibly 2 seats, depending on how well the coordinate with their allies.

Brisc Rubal is perhaps the only stand-out on this list as somebody who has constituency outside of his coalition.  Having dual Initiative-Goon citizenship and likely to be in the third spot on the Imperium ballot, he has a decent shot of returning to the council.

The alliance ballots will be interesting this year.  With World War Bee still raging almost 11 months now, there are hard feelings all around and I doubt we’ll see, for example, Vily appearing on the Imperium ballot because we can “work with him” this year.

Small Gang / Low sec / Faction Warfare

There are 8 candidates in what I grouped up the combat oriented, mostly low sec focused tribe.  That includes one incumbent.

  • Lucrative Business Opportunity – The Curatores Veritatis Auxiliary
  • Phantomite – No Handlebars
  • Rheaha Preynar – Free Range Chickuns
  • Rixx Javix – A Band Apart
  • Rich Richman – Plucky Adventurers
  • Stitch Kaneland – The Tuskers Co.
  • Styxx – D.A.R.K.
  • I Beast – Method Synergy

Lore  /  Triglavian

This is kind of an odd group which I imagine, in another year, might look like low sec players.  But then the Pochven region got carved out of New Eden by the Triglavians.  This group has an affinity for that and the lore around it.

  • Arsia Elkin – Electus Matari Pochven
  • Dutchgunner – Arataka Research Consortium
  • Kay-lynn Tsero – Tsundere Triad
  • Maldavius – Stribog Clade
  • Uriel Paradisi Anteovnuecci – Arataka Research Consortium
  • Xeromus Plague – Interstellar Triglavian Collective

Wormholes

There are five candidates that appear to spend much or most of their time in wormhole space.

  • Eluwein – Hole Control
  • Evie Kouvo – Wingspan Delivery Network
  • Mark Resurrectus – Turbofeed or Glory
  • Teddy Gbyc – Outfoxed
  • Winzentowitsch Madeveda – PARABELLUM

High Sec / Industry / Mining

There are three candidates that seem to fit into this category, including incumbent Mike Azariah.

  • Knockerwrench Alduin – Black Wolves
  • Mike Azariah – The Scope
  • Shui Jing Jing – Caput Draconis

High Sec Ganking

And, finally, the record and statements of one of the candidates indicate that they just want to blow you up and CONCORD be damned.

  • Gay Pride Booooom – Novus Ordo

Early Projections

I am very bad at projecting winners in advance as my track record will attest, yet here I am again.   As in real life, I wouldn’t bet against most if not all of the incumbents who are running from being returned to the CSM.  They have proven they have an constituency.  I think Innominate, Kenneth Feld, Merkelchen, Gobbins, and Vily are all almost guaranteed to return to the council.

Brisc Rubal and Phantomite are also strong candidates, though they also have obstacles.  With World War Bee on and Brisc on the Meta Show every week, he might have polarized some of his past constituents against him.  He’ll need more Goon votes being passed down from Innominate and Merkelchen than he has in the past.

On the other hand, there being a war on means that the null sec groups have a lot more active and (somewhat) motivated players.  That could push their usual organizational advantage further than the last election.  Maybe they get 8 seats?  Maybe Brisc in the first round? (Assuming he gets third spot on the Imperium ballot.)

Meanwhile, Phantomite faces a possibly bigger name in Low Sec than his own when it comes to Rixx Javix, though Rixx comes with his own baggage.  And then there is Stitch Stitch Kaneland from Tuskers, who is not to be dismissed.  A split vote may keep them all from being winners in the early STV rounds, though if they can coordinate ballots, the bleed off from the others may elect one of them.  Like many things in New Eden, working with others often gets you further than trying to do it all yourself.

And then there are the wormholers.  Will they get their act together this year?  Maybe?

So let me get my early, and likely bad, prediction in now and say the results could look like this:

  1. Vily
  2. Innominate
  3. Gobbins
  4. Merkelchen
  5. Kenneth Feld
  6. Phantomite or Rixx Javix
  7. *wildcard*
  8. Mike Azariah
  9. Whoever is second on the TEST/Legacy ballot
  10. Brisc Rubal, ahead of 11th by less than 100 votes

Voting

Voting commences after downtime on June 8, 2021, and closes at downtime on June 15, 2021, giving people seven days to cast their ballots.

The results will be announced on June 21, 2021.  We will see if that gives the community team enough time to come up with another animated representation of the STV process in action.

CCP Rushes Warp Core Stabilizer and Interdiction Nullification Changes into EVE Online

Just last Thursday, six days, or four business days ago, CCP announced a plan to make changes warp core stabilizers and interdiction nullification.  While the former saw only a few changes, the latter went through a cycle of alterations that moved it from a low slot to a high slot and updated the ships that would be allowed to use the new module.

CCP apparently felt they had enough feedback and launched all the changes on the live server this morning.

That’s the name they chose for this

Launched under the title “The Great Escape,” a banner worthy of the Ministry of Truth, I can only imagine they mean that ironically as both changes are targeted at keeping players from being able to escape destruction.  It will be great if you actually escape I guess, but CCP ideally wants less or that and more ships exploding.

Warp Core Stabilizers

The warp core stabilizer summary remains simple.  From the announcement post, here is what the tech I module is now:

  • Warp Core Stabilizer I
    • Activation cost: 80 Gj
    • Active Duration: 10 seconds
    • Reactivation Delay: 150 seconds
    • Maximum number able to be fitted: 1
    • Warp Scramble Strength: -2
    • Targeting range reduction: -40%
    • Scan resolution reduction: -40%
    • Drone Bandwidth Penalty: -50%

You now can have 10 seconds of 2 warp core strength with a 150 second cool down, and only one can be fitted per ship.  The other flavors of the module alter the activation duration, which can be as long as 18 seconds with a faction version. The scan resolution and targeting range penalties, which are applied when the module is fit, as with the old passive version, are reduced with the higher meta modules, but the drone bandwidth penalty remains the same.

Warp Nullification Module

Interdiction nullification, after having gone through multiple gyrations, has now landed on the following plan:

  • Interceptors, yachts, and nullification subsystems now have passive nullification removed.
  • Interceptors, yachts, and nullification subsystems have received a new role bonus: 80% reduced target range penalty and reactivation delay for interdiction nullification modules.
  • Interceptors, yachts, and nullification subsystems have now received a new role bonus: 100% increased duration for interdiction nullification modules.
  • Passive nullification has been added to all shuttles.
  • New blueprints, seeding, and manufacturing data have been added for the new modules.

Of note there is that blueprints have only just been seeded with this patch, not in advance as CCP has done in the past, so right now the only ships with interdiction nullification are shuttles.  For days, if not weeks, production will have to ramp up to catch up with the change, during which bubbles in null sec are essentially unavoidable. A few are on the market already, but only enough to accommodate experimentation.  Blueprints still need to be optimized and there is research needed for the tech II versions.

And even when the market settles, expect to see a lot more of those on gates during your travels.  And on both sides of gates where possible, since the cool down will force you to motor out slowly as you wait for the activation timer to run down.

Those details are a bit short of the full picture, so you have to go to the patch notes to get a few more details… though not that many.  CCP’s lack of transparency in documenting the changes here seems like another indication of the almost indecent haste they have shown in getting these changes in.

The new module will be usable by the following ship types:

  • Interceptors
  • Blockade Runners
  • Deep Space Transports
  • Tech I Industrials
  • Covert Ops Frigates
  • Victorieux Luxury Yacht
  • Strategic Cruisers

In addition, the following applies:

  • All interdiction nullifiers are High-Slot modules and only one nullifier can be fit per ship.
  • When fitted these modules will reduce targeting range and ship scan resolution by 50%.
  • Module types:
    • Interdiction Nullifier I
    • Compact Interdiction Nullifier
    • Restrained Interdiction Nullifier
    • Interdiction Nullifier II

The high meta version give you a longer duration of nullification, with 10 seconds on the tech I and 15 seconds on the tech II.  But the reactivation delay remains 150 seconds on all of them.

So it goes.  As with most rushed things, expect issues.  The in-game information is incorrect in some places, with the Restrained version of the unit still listing stealth bombers as part of the supported ship list.

Welcome to a new age in null sec.

Related:

CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online

Last week we got news that changes relating to warp core stabilizers and interdiction nullification were arriving on the test server.  This week changes meant to address cloaky camping are on the menu.

Cloaky camping is next on the list

For most cloaky campers are pilots who land in a low sec or null sec system, cloak up, and just sit there.  The idea is to inspire paranoia and suppress activity like ratting and mining in a system because you never really know if the cloaked pilot is AFK or is quietly stalking you or about to cyno in some friends to blap you.

While I’ve tended to think of cloaky camping as just a cost of doing business, having been cloaky camped by various parties from random passers by to the Olmeca Gold Goon-Hate campaign, a lot of people get very upset because you cannot really “do” anything about a cloaky camper.  So people have been complaining to CCP about the practice since long before I knew it was a thing.

So, 18 years into the life of the game CCP is planning to introduce a new deployable call the Mobile Observatory which, once activated, will ping the system every ten minutes with a chance to decloak anybody cloaked up in the system.

The Mobile Observatory

And the attributes:

The attributes

The observatory, once it is correctly coded, is deployable in low and null sec space (not wormhole space) with a limit of ten per system. (Currently it can be deployed in WH space and next to stations and you can have as many as you want deployed in one system.)

In order to protect the legitimate cloaking pilot, cloaking up will give you 15 minutes of “cloak stabilization” to keep you from being decloaked.

Cloaking Defense

I tinkered with one a bit on the test server with a stealth bomber and was decloaked fairly reliably once the cloak stabilization wore off.

Being decloaked at the same tick every time

The effect is system-wide, so proximity to the observatory presumably has no impact.  I was 15 AU away for three of those four decloaks.  It did not decloak me at the 19:53:03 tick, when my stabilization had worn off, but the other three times it decloaked me on the first tick after I was no longer protected.

For the last round I was close by when it decloaked me as its lifetime was nearing its end and I wanted to see how much it would take to kill it.

Well within torp range

Five salvos of faction torps from my Purifier was sufficient.

There was no cool explosion or anything because the item doesn’t even have artwork associated with it yet.

That fact indicates to me that we’re likely not going to see this pushed into the live game quickly.  As with the warp core stabilizer and interdiction nullification, I expect that CCP will take time to digest feedback and make changes for a while.

And the comment thread is getting a lot of feedback, though you have to skip down the page a bit because the first problem was that CCP announced to everybody that it was available to test… and then it wasn’t on the test server for another couple of hours.

This will clearly shake up the cloaking meta.  AFK cloaky camping might even cease to be a thing.  But it is the impact on other playstyles that use cloaking that might be the trick here.  I’ve sat on a blops in a hostile system for 90 minutes easy waiting for a hunter in a distant system to get in position.  While those waiting can stay safed up and recloak, that hunter is in a bad spot if they get decloaked.

Related coverage:

CCP Changes to Nullification and Warp Core Stabilizers hit the Test Server

CCP has finally announced their plans for interdiction nullification and warp core stabilizers.  Long under discussion, the proposed changes, slated to be launched with the Great Escape update, are now available on Singularity, the EVE Online test server.

In Testing

PvP focused players have long complained about missing kills due to various defensive mechanics.  Previously CCP nerfed ECM into uselessness for individual pilots.  Now the nerfbat is being brought to interdiction and warp core stabilizers.

With the upcoming change, interdiction nullification, which gives certain hulls immunity from warp disruption bubbles, will be removed as a default attribute from fleet interceptors, luxury yachts, and strategic cruiser propulsion subsystems.  Instead, nullification will be available via a new low high slot module. [Changed to high slot with May 17 update.]  On the upside, the new module will be available for more hulls, with the list currently being:

  • Interceptors
  • Blockade Runners
  • Covert Ops
  • Deep Space Transports
  • Luxury Yachts
  • Strategic Cruisers
  • Tech I and Faction Frigates
  • Stealth Bombers
  • T1 Industrials [added 5/14]

Stealth bombers (which were added to the list after it was posted initially) strike me as a ship class not really needing another buff, especially when the primary defense against them is dictor bubbles, but I suspect that this is the “more ships dying is better” thread that tends to influence CCP.  We’ll see if they make it to the final patch. [Edit: Stealth bombers removed with May 14 update linked at the bottom of the post.]

Meanwhile, frigates in general (also added later) are really opening up a door.  I can imagine anybody flying a battleship with implants will now have a getaway frigate in their escape bay.  But with bombers nullfied and hull prices now sky high, it is possible nobody will be flying battleships anyway. [T1 frigates removed with the May 17 update, linked in the addendum at the bottom of the post.]

On the downside, the new module is active and has a short cycle, staying active for 10 to 15 seconds depending which version you choose (Tech I, compact, restrained, or Tech II) with a 150 second reactivation timer.  In addition, the new modules will come with 50% targeting range and scan resolution penalties when fitted.

Hulls that previously had nullification by default will receive a role bonus that reduces the targeting range penalty by 50% 80% and boosts the activation cycle by 100% 80%.

Finally, shuttles will get nullification interdiction, something that has long been asked for.  If they could also get an align time under two seconds they might even get used.  The current 2.2 second align makes them quite catchable.

Then there are war core stabilizers which, like the new interdiction nullification modules, will need to be activated to provide their bonus, running with a 20 second activation cycle and a 150 second cool down.  As with the other modules the penalties, 50% reduction to targeting range, scan resolution, and drone bandwidth, will be in effect when the Tech I module is fitted, with reductions in those penalties with higher meta modules.

Both of the module sets will also be limited to one per ship, so you won’t be able to pile on multiples for extended effects.  But the warp core stabilizers, at least on the test server, all have a strength of 3 when activated, which is enough to get you away from any solo frigate tackler most days. [Changed to 2 with May 14 update.]

Warp core stabs go to 3 now

CCP has added that they are looking to add the ability to activate these modules when a ship is still under its “gate cloak” so that there isn’t the awkward time delay that could get you caught simply because the attacker lives in London and you live further afield, proximity to the game’s data center being a long proven game advantage.

As I complained a couple years back, the discussion about these mechanics still come with the assumption that warp distruptors, war scramblers, and warp interdiction bubbles are fine as absolute mechanics, it is only when defenses become absolute… or in the case of ECM, simply too effective…  that people complain.  That continues.

Anyway, I suspect these changes will go through as announced with only minor tweaks.  The warp core stabilizer change likely won’t have an impact on me personally, as I cannot remember the last time I fit one on anything besides an industrial.  Having nullification interdiction on a blockade runner could be handy however, though I have gotten by with the MWD cloaking trick for ages now.  Scouting and moving without nullification though… or with a long wait on an activation timer when you have to move through bubbles on both sides of every gate… is going to become tiresome quickly.  But the game changes and we either adapt or move on.

Addendum May 14:  Changes have already been made based on feedback and testing.

  • Entering warp no longer deactivates the Interdiction Nullifier modules
  • Removed Stealth Bomber group from being able to fit the new Interdiction Nullifier modules.
  • Added Tech I Industrial groups to be able to fit the new Interdiction Nullifier modules.
  • Adjusted the bonus on Interceptors, Yachts, and T3 Cruisers to 80% penalty for reduced target range and reactivation delay.
  • Added the new attribute for allowing WCS and Nullifier modules to be activated while under the effect of a stargate cloak.
  • Updated the bonus texts for the Victorieux Luxury Yacht, Malediction, Imp, Whiptail, and T3 subsystems.
  • Fixed an error with a ghost attribute on the Restrained Interdiction Nullifier.
  • Updated the attribute text for the Drone Bandwidth penalty to show the percent reduction.
  • Correct the expected reprocessing materials from Interdiction Nullifier modules

In addition, unmentioned in the thread (that I saw), the warp core strength for the warp core stabilizers was changed from 3 to 2, so now a frigate with a point and a scram can still tackle you.  So that screen shot above is already out of date, though that is to be expected.

Addendum May 17:  Some more changes have come in.

  • Interdiction Nullifier modules are now a High-Slot module.
  • Tech I Frigates have been removed from the list of ships that can fit nullifiers.
  • Fixed an issue with ECM burst jams not correctly disabling nullification when using the modules.