Category Archives: CCP

New Eden and China

One of the big aspects of EVE Online is that we all play together on one server.  The game needs a critical mass of players to keep the complex economy and the things that drive it going.  It enables play styles from the solo explorer to coalition level wars with battles that see thousands of people involved.

Except, of course, there isn’t ONE server, there are TWO servers.

There is Tranquility, or TQ, which serves most of the world’s population.

And then there is Serenity, the server in the People’s Republic of China.  It was kicked off in 2006 because China doesn’t like its citizens to be subjected to the corrosive influences of outside thought.  Words like “freedom” get the government ready to roll out the tanks.  As we have seen in Hong Kong over the last few years, political dissent is not allowed.

The two servers ran in parallel, though with very different stories.  That players craft the tales of New Eden was never so evident than when comparing the two servers.  On both servers, null sec saw titanic battles between factions.  While TQ saw wars that never led to total victory, that would just realign the traditional three pole structure of the balance of power where two groups might unite against the third, but they were never quite enough to win a total victory, things played out differently on Serenity.

On Serenity, one faction won.  The Pan-Intergalactic Business Community and its vassal alliances defeated their foes and established essentially single party rule over their version of New Eden.

Serenity null sec sovereignty – Jan 17, 2023

This turned a tide in the game.  At one point some groups, like the famous Rooks & Kings, had moved from TQ to Serenity… VPN and all that… because the two servers were not just separated by the Great Firewall of China, but had also diverged when it came to code and mechanics, with Serenity being behind.  Those who were not keen on the changes that had come to TQ moved to Serenity to relive the glory of the older mechanics.

But with the end of the war on Serenity, the tide of players flowed towards TQ, where new mechanics might vex, but the balance of the great powers had not devolved into a uni-polar situation.

I wrote about the last (as of this writing) Rooks & Kings video that documented the fall of Serenity and the movement of players to TQ, including Chinese players.  Once again, VPN comes to the rescue.

This came about at quite a fortuitous moment for TQ because online numbers were beginning to trend downward.  EVE Online reached its peak around 2013 with more than 500K subscribers world wide, including China, and had been trending downward since.

Players from China were not unknown on TQ up to that point.  And in late 2017 the sovereignty map for TQ shows Fraternity, an alliance made up of exiles on the losing side of the war for Serenity, already holding space in the southeast of null sec.

Null Sec Sovereignty – Sep 1, 2017

There are a lot of old and storied names on that map, scattered around in the configuration that they settled into once the dust from the Casino War died down.  If you click on that map to see it full size, you can find Fraternity at about 4:30, a violet patch just to the west of the purple of Triumvirate.

Compare that to a sovereignty map from this week.

Null Sec Sovereignty – Jan 17, 2023

On that map Fraternity now has a pretty big slice of the north of null sec and is a serious power.  Down in the southwest there is Dracarys, a member of the Imperium, who holds space in Querious and Catch.  And in the northeast there is the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community, a name which at least suggests Chinese influence, though its proximity to Fraternity, who should be its bitter enemy, suggest that it is using the name but otherwise is not affiliated with the Serenity version of that alliance.  My theory that it might be the remnants of the collapse of The Army of Mango Alliance and Ranger Regiment, two other Chinese null sec alliances, seems unfounded.

Anyway, the point is that Chinese alliances are a pretty big part of null sec, much more so than they were even five years ago, and that their arrival has probably helped forestall an even more drastic decline in the player count in the last few years.

So I felt that CCP announcing the addition of Simplified Chinese to the TQ client was at least a tacit admission as to the importance of our fellow capsuleers from mainland China.

Simplified Chinese went live with today’s update, along with the launch of Lunar New Year celebrations, including the usual round of login rewards.  More SKINs and skill points, I won’t say “no” to that.  From the Patch Notes.

Patch Notes For 2023-01-19.1

Features & Changes:

Events

  • To Celebrate the Lunar New Year, a special set of login rewards are now available to players who login from now until the end of January.
    • Rewards include themed SKINs, skillpoints, Wightstorm Boosters and fireworks. 🎇

Localization

  • Simplified Chinese is now available as a language option on Tranquility.

Seems straightforward.

The odd bit was that the patch notes from the day before were just a single line item:

Patch Notes For 2023-01-18.1

Features & Changes:

Technical

  • Added access restrictions to Tranquility from mainland China.

On the face of it, that seems like an odd contradiction.  On the one hand, adding Simplified Chinese to TQ seems like a welcoming gesture to mainland China, with ~1.4 billion people, and our fellow capsuleers who share the server with us.  (Yes, Singapore and Malaysia also use Simplified Chinese, so CCP benefits there as well, but population wise they are a small fraction of mainland China.)

On the other hand, what does “Added access restrictions to Tranquility from mainland China” even mean?

The problem is that patch not is short and cryptic in a way that wants to announce something without really saying what it means.

The automatic assumption by many over in r/eve is that the Chinese government required these additional restrictions, and that would certainly align with the general outlook it has about the west and western video games.

The follow on assumption is that this won’t affect Chinese players who use VPNs to connect to TQ.  They already needed to do this, so this shouldn’t have much of an impact, if any.

Those are reasonable assumptions and I certainly don’t have any information that would prove them false.  Only CCP and NetEase likely know what is up on that front, which brings me to an alternative theory.

CCP didn’t just put together a Simplified Chinese language update in their offices in Iceland.  As with their Japanese translation, they most certainly needed external help with that, and who more appropriate to do that than NetEase, their partner in China who runs the Serenity server.

NetEase has been in the news of late mostly due to their aggressive and confrontational relationship with Blizzard over World of Warcraft in China, a relationship that has very publicly fallen apart, with NetEase heaping both blame and scorn on Blizzard in the news.  WoW in China is not currently a thing and WoW players there are likely to have to start fresh if Blizz can find another partner.

Given that context, it wouldn’t surprise me if, as part of the deal to get a Simplified Chinese UI from NetEase, that they might demand that CCP… essentially stop stealing their customers.  Certainly the way NetEase has behaved in public lately is also sending a message to beware of crossing them.

Again, whether or not this will have any real impact on mainland Chinese players on TQ is yet to be seen.  We will just wait and watch and hope.

Related:

The State of New Eden as EVE Online Approaches its 20th Year

CCP usually writes some sort of year end summary that, in turn, generally prompts me to write my own view of events.  And I am often more dour than the rosy image that the company tries to project.  But they are there to promote the game and I am usually just annoyed when they are trying to avoid what seems to be the reality of the situation. [They finally did post something, noted at the bottom of this article.]

For example, back in December of 2021 CCP was declaring an age of prosperity, claiming they had fixed the game for the long term by wrecking the economy, making capital ships too expensive to undock, and generally making players feel anything but prosperous.  My response about the state of the game was less than charitable.

CCP Rattati in December of 2021

CCP was basically deflecting and denying all criticism and telling people everything was great, wonderful, and there was no problems at all and that only they had the REAL data and that the player facing data was apparently just garbage.   Garbage they were feeding us while the CEO was talking about Monthly Active Users, one of the more garbage metrics in the industry for an MMO that depends on subscriptions.

And, on the heels of that, we got a cross-promotion with Doctor Who, which at the time seemed ludicrous but which, in hindsight, turned out to be the peak of 2022 so far as the game went.  Seriously, you can go look at the charts Jester has put together and see how 2022 played out in terms of capsuleer logins.

2022 Player Count Rolling Averages

The 7 day rolling average catches spikes and events while the 30 day gives a more measured trend.  The Doctor Who event ran in January, Uprising landed in November.  In between… from basically March through October essentially… there was something of a mid-year slump.

The revival in November looks okay on that chart… almost a sigh of relief moment… until you put it up against the last few years.

Four Year Player Count Rolling Averages

You get the high point of the year just passing the lowest point of 2020… which was, admittedly, an exceptional year once COVID hit a month AFTER that low point… and then the November peak just reaching up to tap the 2021 line… which was also not a great year… and you can be excused for not being all that excited about how the year turned out.

If you care to go through Jester’s charts he has another one that shows the average annual user logins since 2007, and 2022 is the lowest year on record on that front.  He also has some insights into his charts over on Reddit.

So maybe CCP wasn’t really in the mood to repeat the “everything is wonderful” annual summaries of the last couple of years.

Which is kind of a shame because the state of the game mechanics right now is… much better than it was.

I mean, it is not perfection by any measure, and some past ill considered ideas still haunt us… like citadels… but over the course of the year the CCP team did finally relent and roll back some of the things that had been keeping people from undocking.

They made capital ships at least somewhat more affordable, runed the dynamic bounty system so any system worth ratting in wasn’t sitting at 30% or 50% bounties, tried to put a bandage on the mineral shortage caused by locking keep ores into low sec, and even took a swing Heavy Assault Cruiser meta to make null sec look less like Muninns Online.

And, of course, there was the Uprising expansion, which brought a host of new things, including a long overdue pass at faction warfare.

Unfortunately, there was still a lot weighing against CCP in 2022, not the least of which was still, deep down, refusing to admit to being wrong on any of their garbage economic pronouncements of the last couple of years, and especially the pseudo-philosophical groundings for their decisions, which I have groused about in the past.

You can ask whether or not that really matters, but I think it does.  It mattered back in the last debacle, after Incarna, when CCP seemed at least momentarily repentant about some ill advised moves and, while they didn’t actually apologize… because they never do… they did overtly refocus on flying in space and working on broken and neglected items that players had been asking about for ages.

Then there was the 33% increase in the subscription price… 33% for those who pay in Euros or US dollars, but often more for those who pay in other currencies… that didn’t help anything at all.  I thought it odd that they didn’t opt for a smaller increment, but I could hardly blame them as the price of an MMO subscription has pretty pretty static for the last couple of decades while the price of everything else has gone up.

And there remains the ever present problem of getting new players into the game, something that I suspect was helped by neither the price increase nor the economic fumbling that drove some old hands to walk away from the title.  As anybody who has watched the genre over time knows, the installed base is as important a resource as new players, and you throw one over for the other at your peril.

So it is a time of mixed emotions.  A big expansion and things looking better after a couple years of struggling seem like reason enough to be optimistic.  But the player count being down… and not knowing how much of that expansion bump was due to CCP giving away a week of Omega time to every account… gives one pause.

Okay, maybe not that much pause…. The first known occurrence of “EVE is Dying”

Add in the fact that we have something of a collapse of the online sites that talk about the game… be happy r/eve is still active, because Imperium News, EN24, and a number of blogs went mostly dormant over the summer and have yet to return… and reasons to celebrate might seem a bit sparse.

Then there is the new year.  We don’t even have a Doctor Who event to brighten up January.  But we are coming up to the 20th anniversary of the launch of the game in May.  I assume we’ll have something big in May when the date arrives.  Something to look forward to I hope.

Addendum:  Of course I wrote this early in the week and am finally ready to press publish and CCP gets around to posting their annual summary.

Funny thing… it doesn’t make me want to change anything I wrote.  If you read their post, which you can find here, 2022 consisted of the Uprising expansion and nothing else.  That is the only thing in 2022 worth talking about according to CCP… but I guess if you go back up to Jester’s charts, you can see why.  And Uprising was good.  But there wasn’t any talk about walking back some of their fundamental errors in economic thought which made a difference to many people as well.

As for what is coming, Simplified Chinese in the Tranquility client is a good thing.  The influx of Chinese players since the Serenity server in China saw one faction dominate the game has helped keep EVE Online alive for the rest of us.  Imagine the user counts without them.

Otherwise it is things we expect or have already been announced with no additional details.

CCP needs to have something big up its sleeve to carry the momentum from the Uprising expansion.  Like I said, the state of the game, or at least the mechanics, is much better than it was a year ago.  We’ll see if CCP pull something together to capitalize on that.

Questions as we Plunge into 2023

Welcome to the new year.  As 2023 dawns it is likely cold and wet out if it is Winter where you live and you either have the remains of a New Year’s Eve party to contend with or you’re old like me and went to bed before midnight, so probably still have holiday decorations to deal with.  I’ll be out taking the lights off of the house tomorrow.

My 2023 banner courtesy of our daughter

As long suffering readers will know, on the first of the year I do some sort of forward looking post about the coming 12 months.  Predictions.  Questions.  Demands.  Something like that.  There is a whole history you’re welcome to peruse if you have that much free time.

This year I am going to go with questions.  But, I am going to mix it up and put in my answer as to how I think the questions will turn out.  That means I need to commit and I can score myself when December rolls around again.  As such, my answers will be worth 10 points each, with partial credit possible.

So with that in mind, on to the questions.

1 – Will Microsoft be able to close its deal to acquire Activision Blizzard?

The FTC is suing, which Microsoft says is unconstitutional, though I am pretty sure a courtroom is where one ought to work that out.  Anyway, will the deal go through.  Yes, I believe it will.

2 – Will Diablo IV hit its mark?

June 6th is the day.  I am going to say it will be delayed.

3 – Will Dragonflight hold on to player or will is fall off like Shadowlands?

The initial outpouring of enthusiasm was quite plain when Dragonflight launched.  Some people seem especially effusive about there being no “borrowed power” while flying around on their dragons that aren’t usable in any other expansion.  But there are always people willing to go all in on supporting any new expansion. (Just as there are people who will find a way to crap all over one.

But there are some warning signs.  The fact that you can hit level cap pretty quickly and are then locked into the end-game treadmill seems like a huge red flag to me.  Add in that Blizz is trying to sweeten the deal by throwing in game time if you buy a copy for a friend, letting people who are subscribed but didn’t buy the expansion some limited access, and that there regular as clockwork for past expansions press release announcing how Dragonflight has outperformed all past expansions by some metric, and you might be going, “hrmmmm?”

So my first of the year answer is fall off.  I feel as though Blizzard has learned nothing, that the “answers” this expansion is trying to provide is to give people pretty dragons and flying from day one while holding onto the conviction that what everybody really wants is to sit at level cap for the next 23 months grinding rep and raiding to get that one drop they really want.

And there is an audience for that.  There always has been.  But WoW Classic seems to prove that there was also an audience for other things, a message that WoW retail team seems to be responding to by putting its fingers in its ears and saying loudly, “LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

4 – Will Cataclysm Classic be a thing?

I have opinions about the idea of Cataclysm Classic, how Blizz should frame it, and who might be interested.  But I think Blizz has bought in on the nostalgia train and it has paid dividends, so I think that team is locked in on continuing to work the theme.  Cataclysm Classic will be announce in 2023.

5 – Will we get anything concrete about Blizzard’s survival game?

Are you kidding?  Nothing but vague references in 2023.

6 – Will Daybreak announce something… anything… new?

Expansions don’t count.  I mean a new title.  They screwed the pooch last year on the best opportunity, a Marvel version of DC Universe Online.  So no, they won’t.

7 – Will Daybreak give up on its LOTRO on consoles fantasy?

I think they will.  But I also think they won’t come out and say it, that they’ll do their usual routine and just pretend it was never announced and was never a thing and Columbus Nova was never part of the deal with SOE.

8 – What About Ji Ham’s Acting Career?

Ji Ham will continue to be acting CEO even though EG7 won’t put in any effort into finding somebody to fill the spot.

9 – Will CCP be able to hold onto its current EVE Online player momentum?

It was a tough summer and fall for CCP, but once they got the Uprising expansion out, player counts jumped up.  But even though they have addressed some long neglected areas of the game, I feel the usual player attitude of, “what have you done for us lately?” will kick in.  Also, the 33% subscription price increase will continue to bite.  We’re in for some decline and another weak summer if they don’t have anything in the tank between now and Fanfest in the fall.

10 – How will CCP celebrate 20 years of EVE Online?

The ten year anniversary saw a special physical deluxe edition shipped, with a Rifter model (which I still have) and the mystery code (the neglect of which still annoys some people.

For twenty years I doubt we’ll get another physical box.  I suspect, instead, there will be a set of special virtual packs with special anniversary SKINs and, if you want to collect the full set it will cost you more than the $99 the ten year box did.  CCP will be whaling for the anniversary.

11 – Will CCP reveal either of their other projects?

There is the perennial FPS that they have been working on in London since they had to close DUST 514 and then the mobile strategy game a crew in Shanghai is making.  But for 2023 CCP will remain EVE Online only.

12 – More Biomes for Valheim?

There is still the Deep North and the Ashlands to finish up before we can finish Odin’s work.  But I bet we don’t get either in 2023.

13 – Are we done with crypto garbage in online games?

In the sense that no studio that isn’t looking to be highlighted as a fly-by-night scam will engage with crypto, blockchain, or whatever, yes, we are done.   That doesn’t mean that VentureBeat won’t still be out there shilling for the latest crypto scam or that Lord British will gain an ounce of self-respect or common sense.

14 – What will be the next Pokemon Games?

Remakes of Pokemon Black & White.

15 – Will Meta Horizon Worlds be a thing at the end of 2023?

Yes, but you, I, and the dev team working on it will still not find it worth playing.

16 – Will we see anything like a real metaverse title in 2023?

Lots of visionary talk, but nothing will be online to play.  I mean, it depends on how you define “metaverse” these days.  You might already consider we have it.  But all the current claimants pretending to be building such a thing… and milking investors with the vision… will carry on with empty promises.  Alas, even Playable Worlds, which is the most earnest and likely to deliver something in the long term, will just be some more “Riffs by Raph” this year and little else.

17 – Will any of the usual crowd funded MMO suspects go live with anything?

Camelot Unchained, Pantheon, Squadron 42… I’m probably missing a few…  they’ll all be no-shows again in 2023.

18 – Will Elon Musk still own Twitter at the end of 2023?

Yes.  For all of his mismanagement, the attention he gets feeds his ego in ways no electric car or rocket ship ever can.

Scoring

And that is where I am going to leave it.  That is 180 possible points if I answered my own questions correctly.  I’ll be back in December to run down what really happened.

Looking Back at 2022 – Highs and Lows

Looking back at 2022 makes me feel tired.  Tired for a lot of reasons, including getting laid off and having to start a new job, the failing health of my parent’s generation and having to manage that, another election season, the Russians, the general state of the world, and Elon Musk… I am very tired of Elon Musk.

I am also tired of hearing the word “charcuterie,” which I think I have heard more in 2022 that in all my past years combined.  I believe my wife unironically said “charcuterie” 14 times last week alone.

2022 is what we get

But here we are at the end of the year and another staple annual post here, something else that makes me feel a bit tired.  Some years I start writing this post in May or June, so it is easy to wrap up.  And then there are years like 2022 where I am throwing something together at the last minute.

For looks back at past years, there is a list.

Anyway, let’s step right into this steaming pile so I can get it over with.

Blizzard

Highs

  • Shipped the Dragonflight expansion in 2022!
  • Characters don’t use “borrowed power” directly in Dragonflight!
  • An actual plan announced for how Dragonflight is going to play out!
  • Shipped Overwatch 2!
  • Shipped Diablo Immortal!
  • Launched Wrath of the Lich King Classic!
  • Gave us a ship date for Diablo IV!
  • Actually announced a NEW GAME, something in the co-op survival genre!!!
  • Microsoft acquisition promises a cleaning of house when it comes to their loathsome corporate overlords

Lows

  • Dragonflight didn’t get that “what a great launch” compared to past expansions press release, a staple of expansions since WotLK, which is probably a bad sign
  • Dragonflight repeats the Shadowlands theme of a quick run to level cap and then the next two years in end game grind
  • Dragon riding on special dragon mounts… is still borrowed power
  • That two year Dragonflight roadmap is pretty light on dates and details
  • This new survival title is way out in the future
  • Overwatch 2?  That didn’t seem to make much of a splash
  • Heroes of the Storm??
  • StarCraft universe???
  • Diablo Immortal just lacked a cryto connection to fufill all of our worst monetization expectations
  • Diablo IV seems unlikely to hit its mark when it comes to a ship date and that was probably thrown out there for the benefit of Microsoft
  • No matter what happens with the Microsoft acquisition, the people who made Activision Blizzard a horrible place, who led by example in making it a hostile work environment, will be rewarded handsomely for all of their bad deeds
  • Oh, did I forget about Blizz and NetEase falling out, leaving Chinese gamers in the lurch?

Enad Global 7

Highs

  • EverQuest and EverQuest II get expansions, updates, and 64-bit upgrades
  • Mini-expansion and new starter areas for LOTRO
  • PlanetSide 2 hits 10 and tops its past world record
  • A lot of press coverage about their unannounced Marvel super hero title
  • They shipped some other titles… I’m sure…

Lows

  • EverQuest and EverQuest II got absolutely no other attention from the company
  • The idea of LOTRO on consoles seems less likely now than it did two years ago
  • Marvel super hero title cancelled… again… after getting all that attention
  • Daybreak titles make up most of the software revenue and almost all of the recurring subscription revenue
  • The company is now pretty much run by the Daybreak team, which has a track record of shipping nothing new and simply milking old titles
  • It probably says something that I have this little to say about the company

CCP

Highs

  • FanFest was back!
  • Big expansions were back!
  • The Uprising expansion saw players coming back and the daily population count rise!
  • The MER is now better than ever!
  • Faction Warfare finally got some love
  • The Photon UI is starting to come together
  • Finally listened to players on about the economy
  • Finally listened to players about resource harvesting, and specifically about locking resources into low sec
  • Finally gave us corp/alliance logos on ships
  • Came out against putting crypto in EVE Online
  • After many complaints CCP pulled the Prospector Pack, which sold a fitted ship, from the web store and promised not to sell ships in exactly that way again
  • We actually had a few big brawls in null sec, including that recent one at H-PA29

Lows

  • Whatever EVE Vegas was, or whatever was going to replace it in the US, that seems to be dead
  • Kind of a long wait between announcing Uprising and actually getting to it
  • Spent a whole YEAR not listening to players about the economy or resources while every obvious prediction came to pass
  • EverMarks for logos are annoying, gated busy work to get logos that we would happily spend money or PLEX on
  • Faction Warfare remains an all-in commitment for your character, so if your corp or alliance isn’t all-in you need an alt
  • The Photon UI is still slower and less responsive that the old UI, especially under TiDi
  • We’re quite a ways from the next big war in null sec
  • 33% price increase for subscriptions… in US dollars and Euros, which means it was a lot more for some people in other countries
  • Did you see the player count between the subscription price increase and the Uprising expansion?
  • The player count is on its way back down now that the expansion has been around for a bit
  • CCP prefers Monthly Active Users over any direct player count, and they have been obviously goosing that number with generous login rewards and give aways, but MAU does not reflect people in space
  • The infrastructure of sites that support EVE Online saw a notable decline in 2022 with sites going dormant or altogether dark
  • CCP only backed away from crypto “for now” after putting them in the Alliance Tournament and highlighting their CEO meeting with crypto evangelists
  • CCP thought the Prospector Pack was a good idea and, while they claimed to be listening to feedback, did not remove it from the store until their pre-planned promotion was over
  • Also, while CCP removed the Prospector Pack from the web store, they continued to sell it directly in-game as a pop-up offer to new players who ran the career agent missions for mining, thus making their statements about not wanting sell fitted ships generated out of thin air yet another bald faced lie
  • CCP is clearly going to sell fit ships again
  • EVE Valkyrie and CCP’s other VR games have now been shut down.
  • CCP is still devoting resources to making a first person shooter despite that market being both crowded and dominated by a few titles as well as CCP having shown no special insight nor innovation on that front

Other Gaming Industry Notes

Highs

  • Valheim gave us the Mistlands at last
  • Pokemon Scarlet and Violet!
  • Another big Minecraft update
  • RimWorld got the Biotech expansion
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalks Saga finally made it out the door
  • Guild Wars 2 got End of Dragons
  • Pokemon Violet and Scarlet
  • New World seemed to be trying to get its act together
  • Lost Ark has hung on to its opening success and remained pretty stable
  • Solesta was a pretty solid, if a bit low budget, table top RPG simulation

Lows

  • That Game Awards were boring; stop trying to make them the Oscars and just do your own thing
  • Amazon took its sweet time trying to fix New World, and it is still something of a mess
  • Meta can’t make the metaverse happen even with an annual burn rate in the billions
  • VR actively set back by Meta after they kicked legendary John Carmack to the curb along with his idea of lighter, more affordable headsets, instead opting to follow the Juicero guy and his plan for a more expensive, more awkward path forward for VR hardware
  • Much of the year was spent again with crytpo bros trying to conflate their horrible idea with things like the metaverse and online gaming
  • Just when it seems to be clear to most that cryto in video games is a bad idea, THAT is when Richard Garriott decides to prove once again he is the 21st century harbinger of death for video game trends by announcing his own shamelessly transparent cryto NFT video game scam
  • Crowd funded MMOs continued to prove, with very rare exceptions, that their promises are empty and that you should never give Wimpy a hamburger today on the promise of being paid on Tuesday

Television, Books, and the Media

Highs

  • Still a lot of stuff to watch
  • Amazon gave us a Middle-earth show and William Gibson’s The Peripheral
  • HBO gave us House of Dragons and more Westworld
  • AMC gave us the final seasons of Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead
  • Netflix continues to surprise with new content like Wednesday and The Glass Onion
  • Even Disney+ managed to give us Andor, a welcome entry in the Star Wars canon
  • I liked most of the movies I saw this year, including Top Gun: Maverick, Bullet Train, The Batman, and…. um….
  • Books… I am sure there were some new books released… lots of them probably

Lows

  • A fair chunk of what I mentioned above ended up being something of a disappointment
  • Netflix is chaotic and is as likely to green light garbage or cancel something you really enjoy
  • I feel the fragmentation of so many streaming channels more and more with each passing year
  • It was a bit of a struggle to find things that were both new and good in any media
  • HBO Max is just pulling a bunch of their original content to avoid paying royalties, proving once again if you want to have access to something reliably you should own the physical media
  • I think I saw one movie in the actual theater this year, Top Gun: Maverick
  • Thor: Love and Thunder really tried hard to recapture the magic of Thor: Ragnarok… and kind of failed
  • Top Gun: Maverick was the US box office leader in 2022… not that it was bad, but there apparently wasn’t anything better (Avatar: Way of Water fans will bring up the overseas box office, but that is like losing the objective and claiming you won the ISK war… it doesn’t count… also, TG:M is still winning on that front)

Blogging and Social Media

Highs

  • The blog is still here and running, now sixteen years into is existence
  • I posted for 1,000 days in a row
  • Blaugust was a thing again this year
  • Some people still visit this site regularly
  • I did have some good interactions on Twitter, which remains my social media of choice
  • I spent quite a bit of time on Twitch
  • If social media gets bad enough, blogging might see a revival!

Lows

  • Fewer people visited this site this year than in any year since 2007
  • Any resurgence of long form writing like blogging will probably bypass established blogs to jump onto whatever the trendy platform of the day ends up being
  • Posting for that many days in a row sounds a lot more interesting than it is… and it doesn’t sound all that interesting
  • Email subscriptions on the blog pretty much broke this year, and WP.com doesn’t care in the least
  • Bing decided it doesn’t like WP.com sites, so the bit of traffic they sent me petered out
  • The local neighborhood of blogs shrank some
  • My time on Twitch was mostly it being in the background so I could collect channel points or game drops honestly
  • Facebook remains a horrible dumpster fire
  • I cannot train Instagram’s algorithm to show me what I want
  • Elon Musk is trying to turn Twitter into the biggest and loudest dumpster fire in social media
  • There is no direct replacement for Twitter and what it was
  • Mastodon has moved from a small collection of individually managed fiefdoms with their own rules and norms and tribes and echo chambers into a somewhat larger version of all of that
  • Post News is that condo you just bought and are trying to furnish with a limited budget and no free time
  • Hive doesn’t run in a browser
  • I used to joke that Linked In was business Facebook, but it has really become that, and I don’t mean in a good way

The World

I’m not sure I have any highs.  There is a war in Europe, COVID is still a thing no matter how hard we try to pretend it isn’t, attacks on voting rights, democracy, and free speech have become just part of the normal way of things, and, as always, nobody wealth or famous ever faces any real accountability unless they hard somebody else wealth or famous.  And don’t get me started on people who are billionaires.  If we could harness self-absorbed narcissism, our dependence on fossil fuels would be solved.

2023

And we’re on to a new year this weekend.  Let’s hope for something better.

EverMarks and Rifter Hull Price Inflation

Back with the Uprising expansion, almost two months ago at this point, CCP introduced the Paragon Corporation that would allow you to run missions for it in order to earn EverMarks, their currency, which you could then use to purchase corporation and alliance logos for your ships.

Uprising

On the plus side, corp and alliance logos were absolutely something players were asking for.

The downside was… well.. the implementation.  You can do a daily mission for Paragon out of one of their stations, which are located in the five major high sec trade hubs and a series of nearby (to the trade hubs) low sec systems.  The systems are:

  • Jita
  • Ourapheh
  • Amarr
  • Dodixie
  • Hek
  • Rens
  • Amamake
  • Assah
  • Aubenall
  • Yehaba
  • Hakonen

I think the primary criticism was why do this elaborate (and slow) mission system rather than just sell them for money like some very loud voices in the community had been suggesting for ages.

I mean, I get the idea of making people invest their time, giving them something to do, but that works a lot better if it is something interesting, rather than being somewhat dull and artificially constrained by a 23 hour timer… and, also inconvenient if you live nowhere near one of the trade hubs. (And the EverMarks are character bound so you can’t run the mission on an alt then buy marks with your main.)

I’ve read some theories… this was supposed to be a different system, this is how CCP is trying to whitewash selling fit ships somehow, NFTs or blockchain were supposed to be involved until players threw a fit about Hilmar’s ongoing flirtation with crypto, causing him to finally back down… but whatever it was, this is what we ended up with.

And I pretty much ignored it for the first month.  Not only did it look dull, slow, and inconvenient, but there were also a limited number of hulls being supported by the feature initially.

However, with the coming of the annual Winter Nexus event, CCP started giving out EverMarks as part of their daily login rewards.  They also announced an expansion to the hulls supported, including heavy assault cruisers, the staple of null sec.  So I thought I might be able to collect at least one for a ship I had.  And the, part way through the event there was a Thera wormhole connection from Querious to Thera, then Thera to Placid and a system two jumps over from Aubenall, which is where one of the Paragon stations sits.

So I grabbed Buzzard out of my hangar and took a little trip up north, found my way to the station to look at the price list.  As it turned out, I did not have enough for the Ishtar logo.

11K EverMarks for either of these

However, while I was there I decided to see what the missions were about.  They seemed pretty easy I guess.  You have to go fetch a particular ship hull, bring it back, repackage it, and turn it in.  My first mission was for a Rifter, for which I would get 2,500 EverMarks.

The Rifter mission

Basically, a shopping trip.  I looked at the local market for a hull, but the ask was 550,000 ISK, which seemed to me like a lot for a Rifter.  I know it got a bit of a buff recently, but it is pretty rare to see anybody flying New Eden’s most iconic hull if they have other options.

I wasn’t too far from Dodixie however, so I figured I could fly over there in a corvette, pick up a Rifter for cheap, fly it back, and be done.  But when I crossed the lines into Sinq Laison, the prices were even higher.

The price of a Rifter these days

So I turned around and headed back into Placid, where the prices were a bit cheaper and the hull I wanted was closer to the delivery point.

I put a festive SKIN on it for the flight

Having flown it back to the station, I turned it in, collected by 2,500 EverMarks, and was told I could go again in 23 hours.

Come back tomorrow!

So, in order to collect enough EverMarks to unlock more than a few ships you really have to be committed with you main character to doing this routine daily in one of 11 very specific locations.  And if you’re an Alpha clone, who gets a 10% of the EverMarks an Omega does for turning in hulls… forget about it.  It is very much a “Fuck you, subscribe already!” move by CCP.

I did find out the whole thing was more quickly done in Jita on one of my alts.  You can go to The Agency, start a convo with the agent in system, accept the mission remotely, then just buy the appropriate hull off of the market, fly it over, turn it in, and be done for the day.  Fine if you’re corp or alliance isn’t war dec’d with a couple of ista-lock Tornadoes sitting at the undock waiting for you to show up.  Not so good for my main.

I did, eventually, collect enough EverMarks for my Ishtar logo though the Winter Nexus login rewards… and then accidentally bought the corporation logo rather than the alliance logo for the hull, so rather than the distinctive Fat Bee on my ship I have the rather generic KarmaFleet unicorn on display.

What I wanted vs what I got

And, of course, it is barely visible on my hull.

Blaze SKIN Ishtar with the unicorn circled

The logo is also visible on the rear of the ship, but it is even harder to see there.

Now I have to scrape together another 11K EverMarks to get what I actually wanted.  Or, more likely, forget about the whole thing for now.

All in all, I am a bit underwhelmed.  I will collect EverMarks if they keep giving them away with login rewards, but I feel like the effort required to actually earn them is well beyond the reward on offer.  One of the prime complaints about SKINs is that ships are so distant that you can’t see them unless they’re on a titan or you’ve zoomed in on somebody.  Now we have these logos that are hard to find on your own ship, even when zoomed in.

Such is life.

I suppose one interesting side effect to watch for is what happens with hull prices and industry.  Looking at Jita, where supply is most plentiful and the market most closely reflects the value of items to New Eden Rifters, as one example, have seen a bit of a jump in pricing since the introduction of EverMarks and Paragon Corporation missions.

The Rifter price rise illustrated

They aren’t crazy expensive, but it does seem like there is some value in producing them at least, if only to serve the mission market that turns around and takes them out of the economy immediately.

Of course, it could be just the rising price of minerals like isogen causing the Rifter to get more expensive as well and that the demand is actually just finally getting people to produce them and then sell them at close to cost.

My Year in EVE Online 2022

It has become something of a tradition for CCP to offer up some sort of summation of player activity at year’s end.  For the last three years they have done it in video form, which has been a pretty cool end of year feature, enough so that I saved off mine and uploaded them to my YouTube channel in order to preserve them.

This year though, the whole video thing didn’t make it into the budget I guess, because we got am email summary instead.  Still, that is more than I get from other titles most years.

So what did CCP tell me about my time in 2022?

2022 is what we get

Well, to start with, they went for a single character rather than trying to tie everything together in accounts.  They also only looked at characters on accounts that were Omega somewhat recently, so I only got a report on my main and the one account that got some Omega time when I used the ability to refer myself to some skill points.  I could have been more strategic with that, but whatever.

So, the totals for Wilhelm Arcturus:

  • HOURS PLAYED: 158
  • MOST FLOWN: Megathron

The hours lines up with my own count from ManicTime.  ManicTime shows fewer hours, but EVE Online is one of those games you spend time tabbed out of to look up things on the web… or to watch YouTube when you’re waiting for something to happen.

That total is a lot less than 2021 where my summary reported that I spent 982 hours just in fleets.  That was largely the M2-XFE hell camp, and the count was across multiple characters, but still, that is quite a gap.

Megathron as my most flown ship… maybe?  It is hard to say, but I guess we had those out during the early campaign against FI.RE.

  • SYSTEMS VISITED: 191
  • STARGATE JUMPS: 553
  • WORMHOLE SYSTEMS VISITED: 2

Again, that is way down from 2021 when I recorded 539 systems visited and 1,860 stargate jumps.  But there was no null sec-wide war going on in 2022.  There was no count of wormhole systems visited last time, but I am sure it was more than 2.

Then there is combat.

  • KILLS: 6
  • RATS KILLED: 34
  • MOST EXPENSIVE KILL: 366,521,129
  • ISK DESTROYED: 1,008,530,672

The total number of kills is way, way down relative to 2021, where I was on 902 kill mails.  I know that we are not comparing apples and oranges here because even zKillboard, which doesn’t catch everything, says I was on about 250 kill mails in 2022.

The difference is that for 2022 CCP decided to only count the kills where I got the final blow.  And, if I compare that number to the list of final blows shown in game, that totals out to 6.

My in-game total for 2022

At least I think those are the six.  It depends on when they cut off the date for this report, something not mentioned, though I suspect it was later than the November 30th cut off they did last year.

As for why only six, when you fly in larger fleets it can be pretty rare to get the final blow while still getting yourself on a lot of kill mails.

As for the most expensive kill, they don’t say what it is, but I suspect it was that Tengu in Feythabolis, and I guess that all six of those add up to 1 billion.  I could look that up on zKillboard, but the numbers might not match and I am kind of lazy.

In 2021 though my total killed was a bit over 2 trillion, though as I noted, that count included all kill mails I was on rather than just final blows.

Ship kills and value back in 2021

My top value kill mail in 2021 was a titan that rang in at over 100 billion ISK.

There was also something about a nemesis.  CCP’s attempt to build some story or tension in to the stats.  However, my nemesis and I only crossed paths once, the kill being that last one on the screen shot of final blows I included above.  Not much of an adversarial relationship in that.

And the final stats are for market activity.

  • MARKET TRANSACTIONS: 324
  • VALUE OF SALES: 4,797,421,823
  • NET ISK GAINED: 4,641,194,826

I am trying to remember what I might have sold that could have added up to almost 5 billion ISK… though it does just say “market transactions.”  However, since the net ISK gain was 4.6 billion, it has to be sales.  I think I sold some PLEX I had on me… maybe 100 or so… when we had the big PLEX spike at the end of September.

But the in game transaction record doesn’t go back that far and all I can recall selling was a few ships left over from the war and my regular Planetary Industry output.  The latter, mostly just mechanical parts, can add up to 400 million a month if I am diligent, so maybe that was it.

And that is about it.  It was a quiet year in New Eden for me… and for others.  There were no huge wars, though there are always some conflicts going on in null sec somewhere, and the economy was in a bad state for much of the year.  Things are better now, but it took a while to get there.

CCP did produce a video however, and put together a dev blog about 2022, that wraps up the more meta achievements of the community in 2022.

As with things of this sort, I do find some of the numbers meaningless without any context.  It is cool that, for example, 810 trillion ISK in value was destroyed in game in 2022.  But is that more than usual?  Less than usual?  And is 9 million “visits to Jita” down from past years or a new record?  I suspect I know, but I just get a bit irked when people trot out numbers without any anchor to what they really mean.

One slide that was pretty funny was the most popular ships in null sec based on the number of undocks.

We’re all a bunch of krabs out here

The Epithal is the planetary commodity hauling industrial.  Most of my characters have at least one of those.  The Hulk is the champion mining ship for throughput, especially if you have a Rorqual boosting your mining op.  And then there is the Ishtar, which has fallen out of favor as a fleet doctrine heavy assault cruiser, but which remains the AFK anomaly ratting ship of choice for many due to tech II materials being cheap, making it a hull that is not too expensive to replace if you get caught.

A few years ago you would get mocked for ratting in a spendy ship like an Ishtar when the Myrmidon and the Dominix.  Then CCP threw the economy into disarray and while Myrms are still a cheap ratting staple, the Dominix, a tech I battleship, is too expensive to run for ratting.

Related:

Friday Bullet Points About EVE Online as Winter Nexus Events Return for 2022

Winter is coming… next week to be exact.  The winter solstice is Wednesday the 21st, the shortest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere.

And that means Christmas and other holidays which, in turn, means in-game events.  And EVE Online is no different where, despite Earth being a distant memory and there being no reason to stick to our particular calendar, New Eden still celebrates. Bring on the Winter Nexus!

The Winter Nexus 2022

Also, there are a couple other tidbits related to the game I wanted to bring up, so this is a bullet point post.

  • The Winter Nexus

The holiday events are live, having dropped into the game yesterday.  There are login rewards and challenges and all the usual stuff that makes up the holiday routine in New Eden.

The login rewards for the first 7 of 13 days

You have 19 calendar days to login and collect the 13 rewards, one per day.  SKINs, fireworks, event items, and skill points are on the menu as usual.  New on the list are EverMarks, the currency used to by ship personalizations.  That is good for me, because I was never going to go to low sec and run those missions.

The big payoff on the 13th day is 250,000 skill points!  In real world cash value that is worth… five dollars.

Available at the EVE Online web store

This is your regular reminder that CCP straight up sells skill points.  I’m not even going to link back to long dead promises on that front.

But enough negativity… for this bullet point at least.  Enjoy the holiday event.

All the info is available at the Winter Nexus dev blog.

  • Multiple Overviews

In addition to all of that, this week’s patch (scroll down) brought updates to the Photon UI, including the ability to have multiple overviews active in your UI.  That is a huge feature for a lot of people.

We have added the ability to have multiple Overviews when using Photon UI. This can be done by right-clicking an existing Overview tab, or by checking the ‘In New Window’ checkbox when adding a new Tab.

The Photon UI still has issues… and performance under load seems to be one of them… but the ability to have multiple overviews up makes it worth switching over if you have not done so already.  Certainly CCP thinks so, because they reset the opt-out for the Photon UI again, forcing everybody to use it unless the go back and opt-out again.  There are other improvements, but nothing that would steal the headline from multiple overviews.

  • Blue Star Mining

As I mentioned in my post about the November Monthly Economic Report, CCP is finally addressing the mineral shortfall around asteroids bound to low sec only by introducing some new asteroids.

From the patch notes:

  • The new rich asteroid belts may be found in Blue A0 star systems in null security space and in wormhole space.
  • Additionally, these new asteroid belts may also appear in high security 0.5 systems bordering low security systems, and nullsec systems which border low security space.

Now you may be wondering where in the hell are all the Blue A0 type stars?  Well, somebody has made a list of them over on r/eve.  That list includes ALL the Blue A0 type stars, so you can discount the ones in high sec, low sec, Jove space, and so on.  But when you parse that data it looks like most null sec regions have between two (sorry Fade) and four (congrats Fountain) such stars, which will no doubt become mining nexuses for those of you looking for places to hunt.

The news was reported here with the details in the patch notes. (Scroll down, again.)

  • Faction Warfare News and Review

The centerpiece of the Uprising expansion last month was Faction Warfare.  CCP seems determined to not repeat a common past mistake of launching something new then forgetting about it… though they could still do that.

So they have been posting about their changes just to remind people.  They have also announced a new page, Frontlines, that will give status and news about the state of the Faction Warfare struggles.

And Faction Warfare does seem to be getting more attention in the game.  In the Imperium we have a thread for people who want to participate.  The first step is to have an alt, because Faction Warfare requires you to commit to a side and join a dedicated corp for your faction, after which you might have trouble in empire space if, say, you chose Gallente and now want to fly to Jita.  That was always a tripping point for me, and it remains so.

  • Alliance Tournament Official Results

In a previous bullet points post I poked a bit of fun at CCP for not posting the final results of Alliance Tournament XVIII, which ended back before Thanksgiving.  They seemed to drop off their coverage with almost indecent haste.

Alliance Tournament 18

It took them a few weeks, but they did eventually get around to it.  There is a dev blog recounting the tournament, its winners, the prizes, and stats and tidbits about the event.  So if you want to know, you know where to go.

  • The End of Ship Models… Again

I got all ranty about four years back because MOP was chiding CCP for not having a decent merchandise shop (Also, walking in stations, but don’t get me started.) as though that was going to a tool for profitability.  Merch shops, like live events such as Fanfest, are marketing exercises and most companies are happy if they break even.  CCP had tried to sell ship models in the past, one of the things the piece was demanding, but it was a complete flop.

Still, players keep asking for ship models, so CCP gamely gave it another try, partnering with a 3D printing outfit to produce a range of ships.  And now that partnership is also ending.

Sales stop on December 31st

Why?  Because I’m going to guess that for every hundred people who say they totally want to buy models of EVE Online ships, maybe five actually do… and the player base for the game is noticeably smaller than when I wrote that piece, so there are fewer players who say they will buy such models, and correspondingly fewer who will actually do so.

The reasons for not buying are manifold, including expense, not having the ship you really want, the ships not looking right, deciding you have too much junk in your office already (my excuse), and just never getting around to it.

So this round of EVE Online ship models is ending on December 31st, which means that if you are in that “never getting around to it category” now is your chance.

Details about the end of this option and a link to the storefront are available here.

And so it goes, another Friday bullet points blog post comes to an end.  Enjoy the weekend.

The November EVE Online Monthly Economic Report Featuring Uprising and Free Omega Time

We got the November Monthly Economic Report for EVE Online on Friday, and it is an interesting one as it covers the scope of both the Uprising expansion that landed in November, but also some of the additional things CCP has done promote the expansion, such as giving out 7 days of free Omega time and changing up how referrals work.

EVE Online nerds harder

And because I can’t wait to get to the big topic this time around, I am going to break with my usual order once more and go straight to ISK faucets.

ISK Faucets

What happens when you have a big expansion that brings people back and some free Omega time and when you are suddenly allowed to retroactively recruit your own accounts to collect the bonuses and you hand out skill points like candy as part of login rewards?

Well, first off, a lot more people log into to game.  We have seen a very obvious increase in players in New Eden.  After the long down stretch that came after the price increase, when the peak concurrent player count struggled to close in on 25K characters we suddenly saw days where the game peaked past the 30K mark.

And with all those accounts, some of which were previously dormant, suddenly counted as active again, the money supply goes up.

November 2022 – Money Supply

How do I know that isn’t, for example, null sec running amok because CCP fixed NPC bounties to get more people out ratting?

Well, the fact that corporation ISK holdings didn’t go up is a pretty good sign.  But I like this sign better because it is more obvious.

November 2022 ISK balance

Yes, more ISK came into the game from faucets, up from the 114 trillion ISK in October, but the key item here is the Active ISK Delta.  That number has been negative for so many months in a row that I cannot recall the last time it was a positive value.

Active ISK Delta is ISK being removed from the economy either by players being inactive or through GM action.  But in November so many people came back to the game that the ISK accounts of those returning players swamped whatever GMs took out of the game and swelled the total active ISK by almost 75 trillion.

For October, as an example, the Active ISK Delta was -50 trillion ISK.

(Also, the end value for last month doesn’t line up with the start value for this month… again.. but what is a couple trillion ISK between friends I guess?)

So 211 trillion ISK arrived or went active in the New Eden economy in November.  I’ll go over the faucets first, then when we get to Trade we’ll have a peek at what all that ISK was up to.

November 2022 – Faucet end of the chart big chart

As usual, for those who cannot read those tiny numbers:

  • Commodity – 50 trillion (up 3.1 trillion)
  • Bounty Prizes – 33.9 trillion (up 10.4 trillion)
  • ESS Bounty Payouts – 17.3 trillion (up 6.9 trillion)
  • Trig Invasion Payouts – 15.4 trillion (up 0.7 trillion)
  • Incursion Payouts – 11.1 trillion (up 0.4 trillion)
  • Agent Mission Rewards 3.5 trillion (up 0.3 trillion)

Everything was up.  Commodities remained the single biggest category, but since Bounty Prizes and ESS Payouts are linked activities in null sec, and those two together add up to 51.2 trillion ISK, it looks like ratting is back in business.  The changes to the dynamic bounty system had a tangible impact.  More people were back and earning ISK, but ratting looks like it was up well beyond that.

You can see it on the faucets over time chart.

November 2022 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

That is a pretty obvious spike for that dark blue line.  Total NPC bounty and ESS payouts combined to a total of… well, the big chart says 51.2 trillion ISK, but the regional data says it is 44.8 trillion ISK, up from 31.8 trillion in October.  But the charts never quite line up.  They didn’t last month and they probably won’t next month.

According to the regional data, here are the top ten regions for NPC bounties:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 5.71 trillion (Fraternity)
  2. Delve – 3.28 trillion (Imperium)
  3. Perrigen Falls – 3.14 trillion (PanFam)
  4. Fountain – 2.54 trillion (Imperium)
  5. The Kalevala Expanse – 2.11 trillion (PanFam)
  6. Querious – 2.07 trillion (Imperium)
  7. Tribute – 1.71 trillion (Fraternity)
  8. Malpais – 1.36 trillion (PanFam)
  9. Period Basis – 1.31 trillion (Imperium)
  10. Deklein – 1.18 trillion (Fraternity)

Look at that, three of the big power blocks in null sec, Fraternity, PanFam, and the Imperium, all look to be bulking up their ISK wallets, no doubt with an eye towards future conflicts.

Not that commodities were completely slacking off.  They were a close second, with the following in the running.

November 2022 – Top Commodity Items Over Time

The data for that chart shows the following breakout totals for November:

  1. Sleeper Components 21.44 trillion
  2. Overseer Personal Effects 9.47 trillion
  3. Triglavian Data 6.10 trillion
  4. Bounty Encrypted Bonds 7.55 trillion
  5. Miscellaneous 2.87 trillion
  6. Rogue Drone Analysis Data 2.21 trillion

That totals up to 49 trillion and change, or pretty much all of the 50 trillion declared on the main faucets chart.

Trade

This is very much related to CCP turning on the ISK tap though bounties and newly active accounts.  If things aren’t fun and active, dumping 114 trillion ISK into the economy could really flatten out something like the velocity of ISK.  The more ISK in the system, the more that needs to change hands in order for velocity to remain constant.  So what does that chart say?

November 2022 – Velocity of ISK

Hey, velocity actually went up, and not just for PLEX related transactions.  You can see that red line, which is sans PLEX and contracts, took a jump on its own.  Not as big as the PLEX jump, but the market was clearly more active in the presence of more ISK.  Imagine that.

According to the regional stats, trade in November totaled 683 trillion ISK, way up from the 559 trillion ISK reported in October.  People were out there in the market buying and selling.  The top regions for trade in November were:

  1. The Forge – 506 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 42.54 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Lonetrek – 20.44 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  4. Delve – 18.29 trillion (Imperium)
  5. Sinq Laison – 15.53 trillion (Dodixie)
  6. Perrigen Falls – 11.81 trillion (PanFam)
  7. Metropolis – 11.13 trillion (Hek)
  8. Heimatar – 8.84 trillion (Rens)
  9. Vale of the Silent – 5.66 trillion (Fraternity)
  10. Essence – 4.49 trillion (Gallente High Sec)

Nearly 3 in every 4 ISK exchanged did so in The Forge, home of Jita and the Tranquility Trading Tower in Perimeter.

Surprisingly, all that ISK did not cause the price of PLEX to go up in November… or, at least it didn’t spike like it did during that sale in September.

Production

Related via demand is production.

November 2022 – Production vs Destruction vs Mined

That red line shows production going up as the month carried on.  The data for that chart shows that 94.53 trillion in ISK value was produced in November, up from 82.14 trillion in October.

The regional stats but the number at 138.28 trillion in ISK value produced, up from 113.93 trillion in October.  So up either way.

The top ten producing regions were:

  1. The Forge – 24.62 trillion (High Sec)
  2. Delve – 14.85 trillion (Imperium)
  3. Vale of the Silent – 13.76 trillion (Fraternity)
  4. Lonetrek – 7.4 trillion (High Sec)
  5. Heimatar – 6.14 trillion (High Sec)
  6. The Citadel – 6.1 trillion (High Sec)
  7. Cloud Ring – 4.88 trillion (BL0B and Shadow Ultimatum)
  8. Fountain – 4.51 trillion (Imperium)
  9. Perrigen Falls – 4.15 trillion (PanFam)
  10. Tribute – 3.83 trillion (Fraternity)

Again, feeding Jita kept production in the three adjacent regions going.  I will have to change the identifier for Cloud Ring if it makes the list in December as Shadow Ultimatum has joined the Imperium as a candidate alliance.

Mining

As with the previous categories, mining was up as well.  The produced, mined, destroyed graph data puts mining value at 23.97 trillion, up from 19.32 trillion in October.

The regional stats put the numbers at 20.25 trillion ISK in value, up from 16.48 trillion in October.  The top regions were:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 979 billion (Fraternity)
  2. The Kalevala Expanse – 950 billion (PanFam)
  3. Delve – 929 billion (Imperium)
  4. The Forge – 769 billion (High Sec)
  5. Metropolis – 758 billion (High Sec)
  6. Domain – 743 billion (High Sec)
  7. Malpais – 708 billion (PanFam)
  8. Perrigen Falls – 698 billion (PanFam)
  9. Lonetrek – 680 billion (High Sec)
  10. Sinq Laison – 640 billion (High Sec)

With all that mining though, the price of minerals continues to climb.

November 2022 – Economic Indices

The mineral price index continued its ascent, climbing ever closer to a new all-time high.

This is reported to largely be due to a shortfall in minerals that are restricted to low sec asteroids, and isogen in particular.  Just a year ago isogen was going for around 100 ISK per unit, now it is past the 500 ISK per unit mark.

Apparently that is insufficient financial incentive to go mine in low sec.  If you go alone or in a small group you’ll get blown up for sure, and if you go in large group… Snuffed Out will drop on you with the same result.

November 2022 – Mining by Security Band

So while low sec’s percentage of the mining effort has grown, it still isn’t enough to meet the demands of New Eden.

In response to this, CCP has announced that a new mechanic is coming to help alleviate the mineral shortfall and keep us from having to go get blown up constantly in low sec.  We shall see how this plays out.  It does also reduce moon mining output, which might make T2 moon goo more expensive eventually… but people have now been piling that up for a year, so there are stockpiles to burn through before we get there.

Addendum: Some further details on this plan.

Destruction

All of that economic stuff is great, but unless it enables us to blow stuff up, what good is it?

Fortunately, more people and more money seemed to also lead to at least slightly more ships blowing up.  The produced, mined, destroyed chart data showed 31.96 trillion ISK in destruction, up from 30 trillion in October.

The regional data also showed a mild rise, totalling to 32.01 trillion ISK in value, up slightly from 30.99 trillion ISK in October.  The top regions for destruction were:

  1. The Forge – 2.06 trillion (High Sec)
  2. Pochven – 1.61 trillion (Triglavian)
  3. Delve – 1.4 trillion (Imperium)
  4. Lonetrek – 1.4 trillion (High Sec)
  5. The Citadel 1.4 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Vale of the Silent – 1.31 trillion (Fraternity)
  7. Pure Blind – 1.16 trillion (Brave/V0LTA)
  8. Sinq Laison – 1.02 trillion (High Sec)
  9. Placid – 1 trillion (Low Sec)
  10. Metropolis – 964 billion (High Sec)

Meanwhile, the security band chart shows

November 2022 – Destruction by Security Band

I would have expected a bit more of an increase in the low sec band given the expansion was largely focused on faction warfare.  But maybe my very limited experience with FW has me believing it is all about blowing things up.

Loyalty Points

Finally, from the regional stats, another look at loyalty point earning.

A total of 9,654,442,272 loyalty points were earned in November, up a bit from the 9,473,307,417 collected in October.

The key regions were:

  1. Venal – 1,647,891,942 (NPC Null – Gurristas)
  2. Metropolis – 1,370,026,564 (High Sec)
  3. Lonetrek – 939,247,128 (High Sec)
  4. Placid – 928,298,329 (Low Sec)
  5. Stain – 525,324,197 (NPC Null – Sansha)
  6. Delve – 452,003,840 (Sov Null – Blood Raiders)
  7. Aridia – 327,702,373 (Low Sec)
  8. Pure Blind – 313,659,207 (Sov Null – SOE and Mordu’s Legion)
  9. Curse – 309,520,447 (NPC Null – Angel Cartel)
  10. The Forge – 278,744,569 (High Sec)

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, Venal is a key location for loyalty point missions.

And so it goes for another month.  December is now upon us, and it is traditionally a busy time in New Eden.  We shall see how that looks once we get to the cold opening of 2023.

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Friday Bullet Points while Twitter Burns

It has been a good couple of weeks to drop bad news while Elon Musk’s gross mishandling of Twitter has been grabbing all the attention on the tech front.  You might not have noticed Facebook or Amazon or some other tech firms laying off thousands.

Going around the Twitterverse

And this week’s Twitter fiasco was Elon’s great loyalty oath campaign.  The remaining employees had to sign the oath or, if the refused, be laid off.  Some huge percentage of the survivors are said to have not signed, leaving critical systems unattended.  This caused Elon to panic about sabotage or something and he had the offices closed and the employees locked out like the unhinged oligarch he aspires to be.

Twitter isn’t down, and there is no plan to shut it down, but if some technical hiccup brings it offline, getting it back up and running might not be easy.

Last night on Twitter was like the end of high school, with everybody signing each other’s yearbooks and promising to keep in touch.    It is still up today, but the threat looms.

But there are other things going on in the world, and not even all of it is bad.  Most of these items I learned about on Twitter, but I am reluctant to link there now.  I don’t need any more dead links on the site.

  • Blizzard and NetEase Part Ways

This was telegraphed in the Activision Blizzard Q3 2022 financials, but it feels like there should have been more emphasis on it if the collapse of the relationship was going to be announced a week later.  But the other shoe dropped this week with a press release.

NetEase is Blizzard’s partner in China, which means more than you might think.  Doing business in China means working with a company there as a joint venture (a term which always reminds me of late Soviet perestroika) where the local partner holds a controlling interest.

NetEase controls the business that runs games like World of Warcraft and OverWatch in China.  If you fall out with your partner you have to find a new one, which can be a convoluted mess in any circumstances, but much more so if it needs the approval of a totalitarian government.

Blizzard has been through this before, so if they want to keep doing business in China they need to find somebody new to work with.  Meanwhile, the deal with NetEase expires on January 23, 2023, after which point most Blizzard games will be turned off in China.  Diablo Immortal, which was made under a different agreement is the exception in this.  The horrible cash grab Diablo mobile game will remain active.

As for why this has come about, NetEase, following the example of its governments diplomatic policy, is aggressively blaming Blizzard and one individual in particular for the parting.  I don’t doubt Bobby Kotick is a jerk, but I don’t see any evidence that NetEase is somehow the victim in all of this.

  • EVE Online FanFest 2023 Announced

CCP has staked out the dates for EVE FanFest 2023, which will celebrate the 20th anniversary of EVE Online.  And it is going to be… in September?

Yes, the dates are September 21-23 in Iceland, which will put Fanfest a good four months past the games 20th birthday, but when you’re booking an event big enough to show a blip on the countries MER I suppose you have to work with multiple factors in order to find a viable time slot.

Early bird tickets are already on sale and should be much easier to obtain that Taylor Swift tickets.

  • CCP Embraces a Bullshit Metric

When is a bullshit metric even more bullshit?  When you use only at its peak without giving any context.  I have criticized Blizzard for moving from subscriber numbers to MAUs as a transparent attempt to hide the actual state of WoW from investors, but at least they give us a number every quarter so you have some context.

So when CCP CEO Hilmar Petursson came out and said that EVE Online had hits its second highest DAU count since 2016, there were layers of BS to unpack.  To start with, CCP never tells us MAU or DAU numbers, so how do we know?  Was the day a lot better, a little better, not really better at all?

The game is clearly seeing more players.  The daily concurrent user graph over at EVE Offline shows that.  The expansion has sparked fresh interest.  But those graphs also show the peak concurrent for 2022 landed in January during the Doctor Who event.  So what is going on?

Well, as I noted, CCP had a login event with the expansion and gave away 7 days of Omega time to all players, which is a double incentive to login, because you need to do so in order to claim your prizes.  So last Sunday may have been a good day, but was it really a “best in the last six years” sort of day?  I suspect not.

Anyway, glad the game is doing good, but talking about numbers you won’t share in front of a crowd armed with spreadsheets is always a risky move.

  • Enad Global 7 Q3 2022 Financials

Things continue to look good for EG7.  Daybreak continues to dominate revenues on the video game side of the house.  Daybreak executives continue to run the show.  Things are going well.

However, the presentation itself was somewhat terse compared to previous ones.  Few insights and no future statements or handy graphs about upcoming titles.  Just the bare minimum to get by this time around.  Which is fine.  But that doesn’t give me much to build a post around.

  • Pokemon Violet and Scarlet Launch

Hey, it is also a Pokemon launch day, as Pokemon Violet and Pokemon Scarlet go on sale today!

New Pokemon to catch, a new land to explore, and a new adventure to complete!

Nintendo very much has a cycle nailed down for these launches, landing just before Thanksgiving in the US which heralds the start of the holiday shopping season here.  Plenty of time for parents and grandparents to buy copies for the kids that haven’t gone out and bought it on day one already.  And, of course, lots of holiday free time during which to play.

This time around I am not joining in.  My daughter and I played the Pokemon Diamond & Pearl remakes last year, and they were a lot of fun.  But I am not feeling it for another new title.

  • Valheim Mistlands Preview

Finally, the dev team working on Valheim have a game play preview video for the Mistlands biome that we have all been so (im)patiently waiting for.  But we’re going to have to wait for it too, because the video doesn’t unlock until November 22nd.  Dammit!

I hope there is a launch date in there, but I guess we won’t know until next week.

Anyway, that is what I had piled up for Friday.  Bring on the weekend.

The Uprising Expansion Comes to EVE Online

The big day is here, the return of the mighty, full-blow expansion for EVE Online.  It is Uprising day!

Uprising is here today

As noted back at Fanfest, CCP’s plan has been to return to the big, feature rich expansion in order to drive player interest in the game.  That has cut two ways.  On the downside, it meant extending the year of disappointment even longer, rather than giving us some features along the way.

On the other hand, interest in the game does seem to be rising nearly six month down the road from the announcement.  This past weekend the peak concurrent user numbers exceeded 25K on both Saturday and Sunday, something that hasn’t happened in a long stretch.

Anyway, a big expansion has a lot of features and I am barely going to be able to scratch the surface, so expect a lot of links out to further information.

Empires at War – Faction Warfare

The cornerstone of the expansion is the updates to Faction Warfare, long in need of some attention.  There are a range of new mechanics including the Frontlines system that is an attempt to focus the conflicts and lead to more destruction by incentivizing players to fight there.

As part of the update the Gallente Federation invaded the following star systems, which will no longer be a part of Faction Warfare.

  • Intaki
  • Vey
  • Brarel
  • Annancale
  • Agoze
  • Ostingele
  • Harroule
  • Dastryns
  • Uphallant
  • Iges
  • Covryn

New Navy Ships

I posted about this the other day.  The full set of new navy issue ships is now available in game.  They include exploration frigates, battlecruisers, destroyers, and dreadnoughts.

Heavy Assault Cruiser Rebalance

The changes to HACs was based on the following plan:

  1. Reduce heavy HAC dominance in fleet combat which has persisted since their 2017 balance pass.
  2. Make room for other ship types to step into the spotlight, such as battleships.
  3. Not nerf HACs into oblivion – find and retain healthy use-cases.
  4. Maintain HAC identity as a high-damage / heavy tank ship option.

Overall the trend in this pass on HACs has been to reduce their engagement range, perhaps in an attempt to reign in all that “kitey bullshit” they get used for.  I’ve been in a 3K m/s Cerberus spewing missiles at extreme range as we skirt past large groups of hostiles.

The biggest change is to the Muninn, the most common hull of the HAC meta, which will now be a missile hull.  Just one turret slot and five launchers now, and its bonuses are all to missiles.

But everything else got a pass, and Cerbs, Eagles, Vagabonds, Sacs, all got a range nerf.  We’re going to have to get in close to shoot things.

Navy and Other Ship Rebalance

Some of the navy issue battleship hulls are getting some tweaks as well as a few other hulls, including the Rifter, long the iconic hull of EVE Online.  Perhaps it will get used a bit more now.

The Paragon Corporation

A new NPC corporation has landed in New Eden, The Paragon.

The Paragon is the conduit through which we will be able to obtain corp/alliance logos for our ships.

  • Emblems are available for purchase at Loyalty Point Stores within all new Paragon Stations.
  • Similar to SKINs, emblems correspond to a specific type of ship hull.
  • Emblems for over 100 ship types are currently available in the first iteration with EverMark redemption rates varying by type.  The current hulls supported:
    • T1 Frigates
    • Navy Exploration Frigates
    • T1 Destroyers
    • Navy Destroyers
    • T1 Dreadnoughts
    • T1 Haulers
    • T1 Freighters
    • T1 Battlecruisers
    • Navy Battlecruisers
    • Corvettes and Shuttles

Once you acquire an emblem:

  • Purchasing a specific emblem is limited to one per character.
  • Purchased emblems are not tradeable and are immediately injected into the redeeming character.
  • A new Personalization tab on the fitting window will allow you to equip both emblems and ship SKINs.

In order to get these emblems you must run missions in high or low sec.  Missions are available in the following systems.

  • Jita
  • Ourapheh
  • Amarr
  • Dodixie
  • Hek
  • Rens
  • Amamake
  • Assah
  • Aubenall
  • Yehaba
  • Hakonen

Mission parameters:

  • During the mission, IRIS will request a specific type of ship and reward EverMarks based on that type.
  • After completing a mission, that character must wait 23 hours before another mission will be offered.
  • Omega Capsuleers will have considerably enhanced rewards upon completing Paragon missions.
  • A separate tab has been added to the wallet to track Evermore balance.
  • SKINs and emblems are now managed through the new Personalization tab in the Fitting window.
  • Ship fitting is now managed through the new Equipment tab in the Fitting window.
    • This is the default tab when opening the Fitting window.
    • All old Fitting window functionality, excluding applying SKINs, is encapsulated within this tab.

So it is great that we’ll get corp/alliance logos.  I’ll never have one on my main because the we’re always under war dec so the high sec trade hub stations are always camped and the low sec stations will be hot targets now as well.  But I might be able to manage it with a neutral alt.

(There is a whole “why not sell this and, you know, make money CCP?” discussion around this, but whatever.)

Security Status and Abyssal Filament Changes

I referred to this in a post a while back.

The issues being addressed here by CCP are:

  • Griefing of new players and low value targets
  • Risk vs Reward dynamic of Abyssal Deadspace filaments
  • Shortage of legitimate player targets in high security space

The solutions involve:

  • Limit tethering for players with low security status in Highsec
  • Docking restrictions for outlaws in high security space
  • Changing the security settings for Alpha accounts and removing the option to disable safety (“Safety red”)
  • Updated rulesets for Abyssal Deadspace filament activation

I have linked the related dev blog, but the short short is suicide ganking is a little harder, but people running Abyssal Deadspace filaments will be forced into lower security space (no running in 1.0 or 0.9 at all) to give gankers fat new targets.

New Skills

We get two new skills with Uprising, both of which have been long sought.

  • Advanced Contracting
    • +4 Contracts per level
    • Rank 10
    • 250 million ISK at NPC schools or 325 million via skills on demand.
  • Elite Infomorph Psychology
    • +1 jump clone per level
    • Rank 12
    • 500 million ISK at NPC schools or 650 million via skills on demand

I am already training the second one because I never have enough jump clones.

Visuals, Audio, and Little Things

Better graphics (some of which will cause motion sickness and will need an off button), better sound, and a lot of little fixes, like being able to clone jump without having to get out of your current ship.  We also finally get alliance ship fittings and more slots for corp and personal fittings.  There are also some fixes to career agents, including changing out a few of the dumber rewards for missions.

The list is long and I have barely scratched the surface.  But it is all there now.

7 Free Days of Omega Time and Login Rewards

For those reading all the way to down here, if you go to the New Eden Store, the in-game store, you can grab 7 days of Omega time for free per account.  I am sure this will cause a boost in online numbers.

There for the taking

You can at least grab it so you get the full set of login rewards currently available, an event which happens to run for seven days as well.

If you setup your accounts to all have the same contact email you will also get a Special Offers pop up when you log them in, if they are not Omega.

What can these be?

These are the discounted Omega time deals for alts as well as the usual “catch up” skill points offer.  In the case of one of my alts the offer was 8.1 million SP for $200.  No sale.

Anyway, the expansion is up.  Time to see what it is about.

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