Category Archives: EVE Online

56 Weeks of World War Bee

While we spent much of the week waiting for PAPI to prepare for the coming onslaught on the Imperium capitol, a true hero of the PAPI coalition emerged in the form of one Syrio Ikunen of TEST who managed to launch an electron bomb from their Purifier that caught a John Hartley Kestrel fleet dead on, destroying 119 Kestrels and two support ships in one go.

They were not the only attacker on the battle report, but their bomb was the most spot on and a majority of the Kestrels blown up were marked as solo kills attributed to them.  That Purifier has a lot of kill marks on it now.

Who got all the kills?

XtraSquishy captured a bit of the bomb run on video.

I am actually kind of bummed I missed that because I had one of those Kestrels sitting in my hangar waiting to get used. (I have now named it “Syrio Ikunen Target.”)  They’re zippy fun to fly around, but clearly they are a bit thin on the tank end of things.

One Year Ago

CCP did some updates to command ships, though I couldn’t tell you if that changed anything.

In the war I was out on a fleet in Paragon Soul with Dabigredboat chasing TEST dreadnoughts.

And in my summary of week four of the war it looked like 10 trillion in ISK had been destroyed so far, split fairly evenly between the sides.  Fraternity and PanFam had broken into Fountain and we were falling back.  Legacy was deep into Querious.

Delve Front

Since this was just move op and re-subscribe week for PAPI, the strategic situation in Delve did not change, so I can once again re-roll the same image of the front lines.

O-EIMK Constellation – Aug 01, 2021

The expectation, given the PAPI announcement last week, was that, come the weekend, things would heat up, that the actual assault on 1DQ1-A would begin.  And it seemed for the briefest of moments that this was going to come to pass.

As I got up and got online Friday morning I opened up Jabber and there were pings about hostiles in 1DQ.  I logged in, but all the fleets were full, so I undocked in a Kestrel to see if I could get a shot in on something.  I managed to get missiles away on one target before it blew up… my one kill mail in 1DQ for the week… before the whole thing was over.

But it wasn’t even a real attack on us.  Some Imperium pilot in a Nyx warped into a bubble and PAPI tried to take advantage, as we would in a similar situation.  It was just another minor skirmish in a week that was mostly minor skirmishes.  The weekend saw no assault, and every time PAPI pinged for a fleet we stood to with a counter and they declined to come to us.

There have been rumors of move ops heading away from Delve, rumors of structures being unanchored, and somebody noted that there were a number of titans for sale in the T5ZI Keepstar, the Tower of Legends as it has been named, just across the way from the Forge of Heroes Sotiyo, but there has been no official announcement that PAPI has called off the assault on 1DQ yet.  Even some PAPI members are getting tired of their inability to commit.

Meanwhile, the NPC Delve interdiction campaign, aimed at cutting off 1DQ from the rest of New Eden petered out when Imperium pilots shot up the first few bubbles deployed to the NPC station undocks.  Nobody seemed interested in maintaining the watch on 11 different camps.

As for the weekly Delve campaign report, numbers were up again as the Imperium prodded PAPI and shot structures and generally tried to be a pain.

Delve Campaign – Week 56

So there were a half a trillion in ISK in destruction, and that doesn’t even count all the clashes in E-VKJV, because that system is in Querious.

Other Theaters

Do we care at this point?  Something might be happening in Feythabolis, but no ihubs have changed hands.  Likewise, whatever was going on in Catch appears to have tapered off.  All eyes were supposed to be on Delve.

Really, the only interesting bit was Snuffed Out baiting Fraternity into another fight in the northeast.

My Participation

After hitting the 5K kill mail mark last week I was able to go back to flying logi… and promptly lost a Scalpel in a skirmish in E-VKJV between an Imperium Harpy fleet and PAPI Retributions.

Scalpel still alive

I also lost an Eagle late on Friday night when we went into E-VKJV to reinforce the Ansiblex jump gate there to make any attempt to go around the back on Saturday, when we expected that the assault might begin, a little more awkward.

Tidi makes for nice explosion shots

Given the lateness of the hour, I was surprised how on the ball the reimbursement team was.  I got my payout in under a minute.

Eagle loss paid out 47 seconds after being submitted

I am pretty sure this is becoming a point of pride for the Imperium after we keep hearing that some PAPI line members wait for weeks to get something.

I was actually fairly active as we went to visit PAPI in their space multiple times.  I was there in a Scalpel, an Eagle, a Ferox, a Kestrel (long after the fleet mentioned at the top of the post), and at one point we took a wormhole out to Insmother to try and nab a capital, but were too late so we caught a Thera connection back to Fountain and gated through T5ZI without incident.

Kestrels escaping from T5ZI

As a measure of the tide of the war, I was on 98 kill mails in week 56 and only one of them was in the pocked of space the Imperium still holds.  We spent a lot of time poking PAPI.

Anyway, the two losses above bring my total loss count for the war to:

  • Ares interceptor – 18
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Drake battle cruiser – 7
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Cormorant destroyer – 5
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 5
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Scimitar T2 logi – 5
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 4
  • Jackdaw destroyer – 4
  • Scalpel T2 logi frigate – 3
  • Guardian T2 logi – 2
  • Eagle heavy assault cruiser – 1
  • Scythe T1 logi – 1
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP dropped the expected Grand Heist patch on Tuesday, releasing the reserve bank keys into New Eden.  I hope we get some report later on about how much of that ISK gets harvested by the groups that own the systems they are in.

The Grand yet Slow Heist

The whole thing got off on a bit of an awkward foot as the low sec sites with the keys were broken when the update hit and it took CCP the rest of the week to get things corrected.  I think things are good now.

CCP also started straight up giving us ISK in a login campaign.  I’ll take 235 million ISK thank you.

Collected them all

I wonder how this will influence the July MER?

They also reduced sales tax and broker’s fees in NPC structures by 50% for the next three months.  Again, I don’t think anybody is going to complain about making more money on market transactions, but I do wonder what the goal here is.  Are they trying to stimulate the economy, jump start production, or undercut the Tranquility Trading Tower in Perimeter?

The latter would be amusing for the Imperium.  Even if it wasn’t the intended effect, CCP made NPC stations cheaper to sell from if you have all the right skills, so a lot of trade moved from Perimeter to Jita.  While we get a 20% cut of the TTT, Pandemic Horde and TEST are much more dependent on it for income.

When it comes to the peak concurrent user number for the week, New Eden was up again.  No doubt the promise of a huge battle got people to peek in.  We’ll see how the failure of that to materialize affects numbers next week, but we saw the numbers pass 27K for the first time since week 49.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996
  • Week 30 – 38,323
  • Week 31 – 38,167
  • Week 32 – 37,259
  • Week 33 – 35,886 (Saturday)
  • Week 34 – 35,626
  • Week 35 – 35,379
  • Week 36 – 35,085
  • Week 37 – 34,394
  • Week 38 – 36,319
  • Week 39 – 35,597 (Saturday)
  • Week 40 – 35,384 (Saturday)
  • Week 41 – 33,708
  • Week 42 – 33,521
  • Week 43 – 33,731
  • Week 44 – 33,742 (Saturday)
  • Week 45 – 33,758
  • Week 46 – 31,768
  • Week 47 – 29,898
  • Week 48 – 31,462 (Monday)
  • Week 49 – 27,914
  • Week 50 – 26,045
  • Week 51 – 25,661
  • Week 52 – 24,262
  • Week 53 – 24,290
  • Week 54 – 24,922
  • Week 55 – 26,259 (Saturday)
  • Week 56 – 27,176

Related

July in Review

The Site

There has been some discussion of the summer slump that EVE Online has been in, with the peak concurrent user numbers taking a dive over the last month or so.  There are several theories and lots of possible influences on that number, not the least of which is that it is summer and pandemic restrictions have been relaxed so some people just want to go on vacation after 15 months stuck at home.

EVE Online gets the focus here because they let people see their online numbers all the time and there is a site dedicated to tracking them.  Other games are less forthcoming with these sorts of stats, which makes it look like it might just be a New Eden problem.

Looking at my own blog stats however, I see a similar trend when it comes to pages view when I bring up the week by week stats.

Weekly page views – May – July 2021

The current week is a little low due to the measurement being from Monday to Sunday, but you can see the trend down from May to July, which lines up pretty well with the weekly peak concurrent user number I have been tracking in my weekly World War Bee updates.

This is not to say that CCP doesn’t have other problems, but it feels like there is a bit of a slump in interest in video games after more than a year of people binging on them.

One Year Ago

The 2020 Steam Summer Sale finished up.  I bought some things.

In TorilMUD, aging was abolished.

SSG was compensating people for outages in Lord of the Rings Online.

Minecraft gave us the Nether Update.  I went out and found a crimson forest in the nether.

I was reflecting on Diablo II at its twenty year anniversary.  We didn’t know for sure there would be a remaster at that point.

Blizzard was getting us more details about the Shadowlands beta and launch.

In WoW Classic the instance group was finishing up Zul’Farrak and then meandering about Maraudon, which we finished up on our second run.

Blizzard was banning botters in classic while getting ready to open up the Ahn’Qiraj war effort event.  As part of the anti-botting effort they were limiting the number of instances players could spawn in a day, but we were at least getting some extra bag slots.

CCP cancelled their San Diego player event as Covid did not look to be going away any time soon.

I also resigned myself to the fact that, despite past promises, CCP was going to keep selling skill points in EVE Online.  (I’d feel better if they stopped being so dumb about it.)

In game we saw the launch of the Zenith Quadrant, the first part which was a small update to command ships, and an official capsuleer cemetery at Molea.  The June MER showed that mining was shifting to high sec after the resource changes.

But the bulk of my posts in July were about the opening of World War Bee, which I am just going to list out rather than try to create a paragraph narrative:

Five Years Ago

Pokemon Go was everywhere after it launched.  Everywhere.

I listed out the NBI Class of 2016.  I haven’t gone to check how many survived the year.

Daybreak turned off the last PlanetSide server and the game was gone… though it lingered on the server status page for a while.

Daybreak did launch a pair of special event servers for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  I was keen enough to go earn the special mount on the EQII server.

There was strange news for Turbine as their parent company, Warner Brothers, announced that they were transitioning into a mobile app development studio.  We wondered what that meant for Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online.

In Minecraft I was tinkering with maps and night renders while Aaron created a huge map room in game.

In World of Warcraft I managed to unlock flying in Draenor.  Just in time too, as the 7.0 patch was already pre-loading.  Soon the garrison gold mine would be turned off.  And then it hit, bringing new features.

In EVE Online the Casino War was winding down.  There was a Keepstar to chase, the alleged hellcamp, and some sovereignty exchanges in Pure Blind.  That wasn’t really going anywhere though.  We killed four titans in Okagaiken and blew up a CSAA just to show we were still fighting.  But in the end we admitted defeat and began packing for our trek to greener pastures.

Our destination was Delve, ever the region that calls to Goons.  But first we had to get through Rakapas.  I was there for a bit before I ended up soloing my carrier down to our staging in Sakht, accruing the maximum about of jump fatigue possible.

I also hit 160 million skill points while the Blog Banter spoke of malaise.

Ten Years Ago

Google+ was already starting to become annoying. (At the end of that post I also link out to an article that predicts that social media in general, and Facebook specifically, will start to fade by 2014.)

I tried Civ World, the Facebook interpretation of the classic Civilization series of games.  I didn’t like it.

In EVE Online, the results of the emergency CSM Incarna summit were released with CCP basically saying, “Ooops.”

I hit level 50 in LOTRO, got into Eregion, and actually saw the door into Moria.   Only a couple of years had passed since I bought the expansion. Gaff was ahead of me, as usual.   Meanwhile, Isengard was in beta, but nobody was supposed to talk about it.

Getting lost… rules.

EA, BioWare, and their new Origin service got together and combined my accounts without bothering to mention they were doing it in advance.  Just another day at EA as I understand it.  Customers come behind their own convenience.  Still, I was interested in their authenticator and how it stacked up against others.

Speaking of authenticators, SOE made one available as well that looked just like the Blizzard model.  But they cannot be swapped, one for the other.  I got the official line from VASCO on that.

And on the EverQuest II front, they announced that they were going to revamp Freeport, which I took as a waste of time.  (Plus, of course, Qeynos got shoved off until later.)  I am still not convinced that either revamp was worth the effort of the time spent downloading the assets.  But I am not sure Beastlords were either.  They seemed pretty broken when they launched.

The instance group wrapped up our last adventure in EverQuest II Extended.  There were a number of ways the game wasn’t right for us.  It wasn’t just the ugly mounts.

The pending closure of Star Wars Galaxies led to interest (and concerns) about SWG emulation.

But PlanetSide 2 news was coming.

I started playing Need for Speed: World, a driving MMO.  It wasn’t a bad game with the right music playing.

Zynga helped reveal the two faces of Tobold.

And World of Warplanes was announced, which got me wondering if this might not be a spiritual successor to Air Warrior of old. [The answer to that was “no.”]

Fifteen Years Ago

Twitter launched.  This blog has been entirely part of the Twitter era.

Microsoft was talking about a device to challenge the iPod and denying they would ship an XBox 360 with an HD DVD drive.  Being on the mark half the time is pretty good for them.

EA was trying to retain people by giving out more stock options and revising under water options while Take-Two Interactive was being investigated over stock grant shenanigans.

The ESA announced they were downsizing their yearly E3 conference.

The Civ IV – Warlords, the first expansion for the title, came out on Windows,

Twenty-Five Years Ago

The perhaps unfortunately named (and all the more so given the current scandal) CUC International purchased Blizzard Entertainment parent Davidson & Associates and Sierra Online, which became the heart of the new CUC Software.  The company later became Cedant Software, Havas Interactive, and eventually Vivendi Games.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  3. California Explores Gaming Power Usage
  4. Robbing Some Space Banks
  5. CCP Releases the ESS Reserve Bank Keys and Hands Out ISK in EVE Online
  6. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  7. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  8. LOTRO Launches the Shadowfax and Treebeard Legendary Servers
  9. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  10. On Immersion
  11. The End of Scarcity Foreseen in EVE Online in Q4 2021
  12. The Fraternity Alliance Update and the Direction of the War

Search Terms of the Month

is imperiume tech stock the one that bill gates called the holy grail
[Google says “no”]

how to get to the scarlet desert eq
[I actually have a whole post about that]

sylvanas x anduin wordpress
[The math doesn’t add up]

minecraft warm biome near cold biome
[I have screenshots of an ice biome taken from a desert biome]

Game Time from ManicTime

I came into the month working pretty hard on WoW Classic, or at least alts there.  Then the war started heating up a bit in New Eden and I tried a playing a few other titles.

  • WoW Classic – 51.04%
  • EVE Online – 24.36%
  • RimWorld – 12.44%
  • Flashing Lights – 4.64%
  • MMO Tycoon 2 – 4.51%
  • World of Warcraft – 1.06%
  • New World – 0.95%

EVE Online

Lots of little things going on in New Eden, but the war itself wasn’t very exciting.  PAPI decided to take the summer off at one point, then changes their minds and now are coming back for a final try to take our capitol.  They’ve only had a Keepstar next door since November.

New World

So yeah, I pre-ordered and have played a tiny bit in the beta.  Things have changed a lot since I was in one of the early betas a couple of years back at this point.  I am not sure I am happy with the direction the game took.  But more on all of that at a later date.

Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go Fest was the big deal this month.  My wife and I did a lot of that.  But the climb from 40 to 50… that’s a lot of xp.  To get from level 47 to level 48 you need 21 million xp, which is more than levels 1-40 combined.  You need to be pretty hard core for that, and yet I met a level 50 player during the event.  In talking to him, he just does everything I do, just a lot more often.  For example, he has caught almost 400K Pokemon, while my total is about 18K.

Level: 41 (69% of the way to 42 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 654 (+8) caught, 677 (+2) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 13
Pokemon I want: Heracross would finish my Johto Pokedex
Current buddy: Noibat

RimWorld

With the coming of the Ideology update for the game, I bought it and gave it a try.  I will no doubt have some words to write about what changed, but in general it is an easy game to sink back into even with the updates.

Steam Games

As I noted, I bought a few titles during the Steam Summer Sale.  You can see I’ve played them a bit in the Game Time section this post.  I plan to write something about each of them.  But plans often fall by the wayside.  I thought I would have a post up about at least one of them by this point, and yet here we are.

World of Warcraft

It was a bit more than the usual routine for retail WoW this month.  I did the Darkmoon Faire quests, but then I spent some time with pet battles when they had the bonus event running.  Still, over all, I didn’t spend much more than an hour with the game.

WoW Classic

I went into July strong on Burning Crusade Classic.  Or, at least the vanilla content as re-worked by the Burning Crusade updates.  I leveled my rogue from 21 to 37 while working on crafting and some other things.  And then the giant harassment scandal blew up at Blizz and, while my subscription hasn’t lapsed yet and our group is still playing a bit… we have paid for the privileged… we’re also discussing what we ought to do.

Coming Up

August means we will be getting some Q2 2021 financial reports.  Activision Blizzard should be interesting because it ought to give some insight into what the end of the lockdown in many places has meant to video games.

When it comes to WoW specifically the 9.1 patch came out at the very end of Q2, so the impact of that and the flow of players from retail WoW into FFXIV won’t be reflected until Q3 results.  And Q3… well, now that the state of California is after Activision Blizzard for creating and abetting a hostile workplace, I can only see things getting worse for the company.  They’re just another Riot and all their words about diversity and inclusiveness were just BS.  If you needed an actual example of virtue signalling… trying to ride on a popular wave that you don’t really care about… this might be it.  The question time for the Q2 call should be lit.

Then there is EVE Online.  August is traditionally a slow month for CCP as it is the nicest weather all year in Iceland, so they tend to emulate the French and go on vacation if possible.  But World War Bee still… rages?  I am not sure it has “raged” at all in the last six months.  But PAPI has promised an all out assault on the Imperium capitol, so maybe the rage will return to space, rather than hanging out in r/eve.

And, of course, it is the start of Blaugust, the annual blogging celebration.  It is not too late to join in.  There will be more about that tomorrow.

Which Games Hand Out Cash in the MMORPG Space?

I mention in Tuesday’s post about the Grand Heist update for EVE Online that CCP had launched a new login campaign that included an ISK reward for Omega accounts.

Grand Heist Login Rewards

Universal basic income arrives in New Eden!

This got a lot of attention and the usual suspects were quick to call out anybody who seemed to be complaining about it, to the point that there were literally more threads started complaining about people complaining than there were actual complaints in /r/eve.

But there was a lot of “WTF?” in the air all the same.  This was in part because CCP has spent the last couple of years turning down ISK faucets in the game and generally nerfing income, which makes them suddenly handing out ISK a bit… strange.

I mean, I think we all can agree that it was an abrupt change of direction without having to dig into the “why” aspect of the whole thing.

In addition, at least for me, the whole thing was kind of strange because I cannot recall any MMORPG that I have ever played that had a daily login reward that just straight up handed you the basic in-game currency.

I have been given cash shop cash, vouchers, gear, cosmetics, pets, mounts, toys, vendor trash, companions, and all sorts of other game related items.  But the main in-game currency?  Never.

CCP, which has been doing login rewards for a couple of years now, both in ongoing daily and special event related forms, has been pretty stringent on not even giving you something that could be sold in game for cash.  They have over the years made so that most items they give out are consumed on redemption.  You can’t trade that SKIN from the event, so you better redeem it on the right character!  And the items that are not are generally of little value.  I mean, I am sure somebody has found a way to make some ISK off of those 5 run Tech I blueprints that we keep getting handed, but I haven’t.  I generally stick them in my cargo to add to the flavor of my loss mails.

So with this I wondered, for example, if WoW has ever just given me some gold?  Has EverQuest or EverQuest II ever handed me some platinum coins for just logging in?  I don’t think so.

The closest I can come is LOTRO and their daily hobbit presents, which sometimes hands you a pile of coins that you can bring to the vendor for in-game currency.  And they still aren’t just handing you some actual currency, just something you can sell to an NPC.

But my horizons are pretty narrow these days.  Among the many legitimate complaints you can make about this blog is the fact that I am still playing mostly the same games… and sometimes even the same content… that I was writing about nearly fifteen years back.

So maybe this is a thing that just hasn’t landed in the few titles I spend time with yet.

And thus I ask the question: Is this a thing in your MMORPG?  Do you get handed in-game currency in the titles you play?

Somebody has to have seen this.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bhagpuss?

Inquiring minds want to know.

As for the “why” of things, CCP is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and stashed away on a volcanic rock in the middle of the Atlantic.  We can guess, but I’ve heard from former devs is that CCP is so isolated from the rest of the industry that they end up arriving at various points more due to accidental circumstance than by design, even in an industry where this often seems to be the norm.

So some will say it is because of the sagging player count or the shrinking economy or to cover for the fact that the company will be mostly on vacation for the next month or that Pearl Abyss made them do it.  But it could as well be their form of the rainbow covenant, the sign to all of us that the economic starvation era is really coming to an end.

Anyway, we’ll see where things head.

CCP Releases the ESS Reserve Bank Keys and Hands Out ISK in EVE Online

As expected, CCP’s final update for July, named The Grand Heist, went live today.  It brought with it the long awaited ESS reserve bank keys, allowing players access to ~20 trillion ISK that has been piling up and inaccessible since the introduction of the mandatory ESS structures last November.

The Grand yet Slow Heist

In a surprising move, CCP also decided to straight up hand players ISK.  But I’ll get to that in a bit, first the reserve bank thing.

The reserve bank keys are now available in low sec sites that need to be scanned down.  The keys are available in four “flavors” with two variations.  The flavor is which quadrant of space they are useful in, the break down being:

  • SW: Feythabolis, Impass, Delve, Period Basis, Querious, Catch, Esoteria, Paragon Soul, Providence, and Stain
  • SE: Geminate, Curse, Detorid, Great Wildlands, Immensea, Insmother, Omist, Scalding Pass, Tenerifis, and Wicked Creek
  • NE: Cobalt Edge, Etherium Reach, The Kalevala Expanse, Malpais, Oasa, Outer Passage, Perrigen Falls, The Spire, Vale of the Silent, and Cache
  • NW: Branch, Deklein, Pure Blind, Tenal, Tribute, Venal, Cloud Ring, Fade, Fountain, Outer Ring, and Syndicate

The variations are the durations,15 and 45 minutes, which is how long the key in question allows you to siphon encrypted bonds from the reserve bank.  As with the main bank, the payout is in bonds that need to be turned into an NPC in order to convert them to ISK.  So the robber can get robbed trying to cash in.

So you don’t get all the reserve bank, but a steady payout for every minute that you and your crew sit in the ESS, up to the duration of your key.  The payout apparently ramps up over time, with a potential peak payout of 150 million ISK per minute.  That is some decent ISK, though it is still going to be a while before the current 20 trillion ISK is drained.

As I noted previously, some alliances have already nationalized some of their reserve banks, declaring that their output will go into the general funds to support the organization and its programs, like SRP.  Those not nationalized will likely still be harvested by the local residents.

In addition, the ESS structures and UI got a complete overhaul.  The small percentage of capsuleers than actually end up in an ESS will no doubt appreciate the new visuals.

Further details about the ESS update are linked at the end of the post.

But that is not all the update brings.  CCP seems to be all about the ISK at the moment, which seems a bit odd after the panic of the starvation economy and trying to make us all poor over the last year or so.  In order to celebrate the Grand Heist CCP is handing out ISK as login rewards for Omega clones.

Grand Heist Login Rewards

That is hard to see unless you enlarge it, but if an Omega account logs in for six days they will get rewards of 10, 15, 25, 40, 60, and finally 85 million ISK.  Not bonds or other items of value, but straight up in-game currency totaling up to 235 million ISK.

Handing out in-game currency as a daily login reward is pretty common with free to play mobile games, but I cannot recall an MMORPG giving out cash like this.  And this isn’t even an trivial amount.  For a lot of players, myself included, 235 million ISK is a useful sum.  I won’t be resubscribing any accounts to collect it, but I will certainly be sure to log in my subscribed accounts to gather this ISK largess.

But wait, that’s not all!

CCP is also trying to stimulate the economy by declaring something of a tax holiday, reducing sales tax and broker’s fees by 50% for the next three months.  So selling will net you more profit on the market between now and the end of October.

Both the ISK handout and the tax holiday are unprecedented in the history of the game.  CCP not too long ago went through a phase of raising taxes, again due to concerns about too much ISK coming into the economy.  Now they’re giving away ISK and reducing taxes.  It is almost as though they are reacting to something.  Can we be bribed to log in with ISK?

Anyway, I’ll be interested to see if there is a blip in the July or August MERs that line up to these two things.

The update is live in the game now.  Information is available at the following locations:

Addendum:

I now have a screen shot (thanks to Reddit) to prove the keys exits.

The info for a 45 minute SW key

Go forth and heist I guess.

55 Weeks of World War Bee

The week was largely spent speculating about what big plan PAPI was set to announce come Saturday… to the point that I was half convinced that PAPI made the pre-announcement to see if Reddit could come up with a plan for them.  So many posts.

The Fraternity alliance meeting early in the week suggested the point was going to be to end the war in the next 60 days, though after the announcement it seemed more like Fraternity gave notice that if WWB wasn’t wound down in that time they might move on to other tasks… like assailing the Tranquility Trading Tower in Perimeter.

When the announcement came on Saturday it managed to be both exciting and disappointing in one blow.  Yes, PAPI was going to go all-in on taking 1DQ.  Yes, capitals, supers, and titans were mentioned.  The possibility of headline grabbing giant battles was waved before us as PAPI seemed ready to pay the price to break into the O-EIMK constellation.

Only we would have to wait a week before any of that could get under way.  The previous message from PAPI was that they were taking the summer off so they need a week to get people re-subscribed and their ships back in T5ZI-S.  So we’re back to PAPI moves op.

To be fair PAPI won’t be idle for a week.  They have things to do, like cleaning up NPC Delve, from which the GSF BlackOps SIG has been making its presence felt.  But waiting a week to get ready also gives the Imperium a week to get ready as well.

Still, maybe something exciting will happen come week 57 of the war.  Maybe August will be the war’s final crescendo.  But what happens if PAPI doesn’t win in time?  Do they disband and go home?  Do groups like Fraternity leave while other try to carry on?  Does TEST look for some space as far from the Imperium as possible?

One Year Ago

PanFam and Fraternity were pushing into Fountain while TEST was being pushed back out of Period Basis.

Legacy then swept into the eastern half of Querioues, notably the the part most distant from the gate connection to Catch where they had set up their staging at the start of the war and where they actually lived.

In my Week 3 update I was covering multiple active fronts and noting how the PCU was climbing.  How things change.

The June MER showed mineral prices sagging a bit and CCP gave use a new monument in Molea, making the cemetery there a permanent feature.

Delve Front

The strategic situation in the region remained unchanged.  Roll the same map I’ve been using for three months now.

O-EIMK Constellation – July 25, 2021

The Imperium did take advantage of PAPI’s state of torpor to continue with hot drops as well as setting timers, shooting bubbles, killing a couple of structures, and generally reminding the enemy that we are not so contained as they might believe.

PAPI did rise to the occasion now and then and skirmishes were had, so not every kill mail was a gank or uncontested.  The Delve campaign report shows an uptick in losses, with the total once again passing the half trillion ISK mark.

Delve Campaign – Week 55

With people coming back that number should keep trending up.

Other Theaters

In Feythabolis Red Alliance is still holding on to two systems, having lost two more ihubs to the Warriors of the Blood God.

Feythabolis – July 25, 2021

Re Alliance’s holding in Impass remain intact, though that may be the next target.

And in Catch Dracarys and Siege Green look to be in a stalemate in the southwest of the region, on the route to Querious.  Dracarys is pushing on Siege Green but took back no additional ihubs over the week.

Catch – July 25, 2021

In Catch Dreadbomb Alliance scooped up the remaining unclaimed ihubs save for that one on the way to Impass.

There were also reports of war adjacent fighting going on in Fountain around the J5A-IX system, while Snuffed Out opened up their campaign against Fraternity which led to a dread brawl.

I expect that other theaters will be static while PAPI works on assembling for their final assault on the Imperium… at least if they manage to get everybody on board and focused.

My Participation

I hit a minor milestone in my EVE Online career, getting on my 5,000th kill mail.  It was, rather unspectacularly, a Mobile Large War Disruptor II, one of about 40 we shot in PAPI’s staging system while they sat around and watched one afternoon.  Our Harpy fleet was mostly unhindered. (Overall I think we blew up about 400 PAPI large bubbles alone last week.)

Harpies in T5Zi killing bubbles

I had mentioned before that it was low key goal of mine to hit 5K before my 15th anniversary playing the game.  5K isn’t a particularly impressive number.  There is a player in Fraternity who has nearly 74K kills, with more than 9K of them coming in the last 90 days, and they’re not even at the top of the list.  But 5K is a nice round number and, now that I have made it, I can go back to flying logi more often.

Aside from harassing PAPI bubbles, when the big announcement came on Saturday I was out in a fleet with Asher to entosis a couple of TEST systems in Delve… multiple groups went out to hit ihubs so that they would get a bunch of notifications during their alliance meeting.  There were a few clashes along the way, but mostly it was the first time I had flown a Tengu since the nullification nerf and the removal of skill point loss.

Tengus waiting for the blackops trip

Fortunately I didn’t lose my ship, so I didn’t have to test that last change.  I did get to try out the interdiction module when I jumped through a gate as instructed, only to be waved off when it was too late, arriving in the middle of a hostile gate camp.  I was able to trigger it, align, cloak, and warp off safely, though my pulse had increased noticeably  when I loaded grid.

With no losses for the week my total remains as:

  • Ares interceptor – 18
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Drake battle cruiser – 7
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Cormorant destroyer – 5
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 5
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Scimitar T2 logi – 5
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 4
  • Jackdaw destroyer – 4
  • Guardian T2 logi – 2
  • Scalpel T2 logi frigate – 2
  • Scythe T1 logi – 1
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

We got a July Update from CCP that announced the end of the starvation economy… some time in Q4.  It is good that there is now a faint light at the end of the tunnel, and we assume it isn’t an oncoming train, but CCP wasn’t forthcoming with details and we know they still want to keep the economy in check, so celebrations were muted.

Meanwhile, though the June MER, which was posted last week, showed mineral prices coming down, there was concern about morphite prices, critical to production, the supply of which seemed to be drying up, keeping the price of it rising rather even as production continued falling.

Focus returned to the Tranquility Trading Consortium, the shared venture between Pandemic Horde, TEST, and the Imperium.  It has long been called out as an oddity of the war that this agreement has held while PH and TEST have been attacking the Imperium.  The explanation has been that the deal is too lucrative to all the parties to let the war mess it up.

Now Fraternity has announced their plan to set up a competing trading outpost in Oijanen, a low sec system adjacent to their holdings, to get a cut of the easy sales tax money.

Meanwhile, The Mittani explained on the special Friday night edition of The Meta Show that the Imperium isn’t really a partner in the TTC deal.  Rather, we get a 20% cut to not make trouble.  So there isn’t any reason for the Imperium to leave, and if PH and TEST kick us out then we will go log in all the alpha clones we stashed in Jita and Perimeter back when the trading outpost situation was being contested.  That would be very bad for business, and would be all the more so with a competing venture coming online.

The TTC deal cannot last forever, but it will be interesting to see who finally breaks it knowing that it will all three members a lot of ISK.

Hy Wanto of Snuffed Out posted a long essay to Reddit about the problems with citadel game play which came with endorsements from other null sec luminaries, and even got a serious follow on post.  At least one person at CCP wasn’t interested however.

Somebody posted the manual for the Black Hand, the GSF spy organization.

On the PCU front, as I noted yesterday, the PAPI announcement at least had the effect of pulling the week’s peak user count up above the 25K mark for the first time in four weeks.  Big battles, should they come to pass, will help on that front as well.  But there is still more going on than just a slow war to keep the PCU down.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996
  • Week 30 – 38,323
  • Week 31 – 38,167
  • Week 32 – 37,259
  • Week 33 – 35,886 (Saturday)
  • Week 34 – 35,626
  • Week 35 – 35,379
  • Week 36 – 35,085
  • Week 37 – 34,394
  • Week 38 – 36,319
  • Week 39 – 35,597 (Saturday)
  • Week 40 – 35,384 (Saturday)
  • Week 41 – 33,708
  • Week 42 – 33,521
  • Week 43 – 33,731
  • Week 44 – 33,742 (Saturday)
  • Week 45 – 33,758
  • Week 46 – 31,768
  • Week 47 – 29,898
  • Week 48 – 31,462 (Monday)
  • Week 49 – 27,914
  • Week 50 – 26,045
  • Week 51 – 25,661
  • Week 52 – 24,262
  • Week 53 – 24,290
  • Week 54 – 24,922
  • Week 55 – 26,259 (Saturday)

Related

PAPI All In to Win the War in Four Weeks

But they need a week to get ready… after waiting a week to make the announcement… after spending nearly three months with us bottled up in the O-EIMK Constellation… more than a year since the war kicked off.

There are days when it feels like they never really had a plan for the war.

Anyway, with a week’s notice for the announcement, when the time came it was the Imperium that seemed most invested, with more than 2,200 capsuleers logged into the capital system of 1DQ1-A and a few hundred more watching the back door of the O-EIMK Constellation in 3-DMQT, a gate away in T5ZI-S PAPI fell about a thousand behind the Imperium total.

O-EIMK Constellation – The focus of the war

Still, the announcement, spread across multiple PAPI alliances at 19:30 UTC yesterday, was at least enough to pull the peak concurrent player count above 25K for the first time in four weeks, with the numbers capping at 26,259 at just after 20:00 UTC.

The announcement time

That will make week 55 of the war the first real uptick, bringing it back above the week 50 peak, though still more than 1,500 players shy of week 49’s 27,914 peak.

Rumor is that Fraternity, which made a strong statement earlier in the week, was the force behind the announcement as it is alleged that they threatened to leave the coalition if there was not a serious effort to end the war.

In the TEST alliance meeting Progodlegend said that they would be going all in on defeating the Imperium, using capitals, supers, and titans to break down the defenses and take the Imperium’s final null sec defensive position.

The week’s delay is to get everybody resubscribed and back into T5ZI-S after Progodlegend previously said that PAPI was taking the rest of the summer off.  They also plan to use that time to try and contain Imperium harassment efforts coming out of NPC Delve, where they claim to have a thousand warp disruption bubbles ready to deploy.  They will need to defend those bubbles however, as Goons do love to shoot things that do not shoot back.

So that was the big announcement.  It looks like we will have at least another week of skirmishes and harassment before they get together the forces to begin the assault in earnest.  Progodleged asked that people give the effort four weeks once it started, that being their estimate as to how long it will take to grind Goons down under the weight of their attack.

How it will actually play out remains to be seen.

The June MER Shows Industry Still in a Slide in EVE Online

We got the Monthly Economic Report for June on Thursday and it once again gives us some insight into both how CCP’s economic starvation plan is going as well as the quiet nature of World War Bee since PAPI gave up trying to attack the Imperium and tried to settle for containment.

EVE Online nerds harder

Yes, I know that just yesterday CCP announced that scarcity would be ending at some point in Q4 2021.  But Q4 is more than a month away and nobody said changes would hit on October 1st, so we have go to war with the economy we have, not the economy we might want.  Or something like that.  It is time again time to take a look at the numbers that CCP provides, imperfect though they be.

Production

I’ll start with production, the focus of the MER since the big industry changes hit in April, and the red line on the chart that represents how much is being produced in New Eden.

June 2021 – Production vs Destruction vs Mined

Production continued its decline since the peak right before the change, which represented producers attempting to get some inexpensive builds done before the rug was pulled out from under them.  The slope isn’t as steep as it was April, or even May, but the trend is still downward.

That chart also shows destroyed (blue) and mined (yellow) in decline as well, no doubt in part due to battleships and capital ships being so much more expensive to build that people are even more reluctant to risk them, which in turn help keep production trending downward.

The top regions for production were:

  1. The Forge – 16.75
  2. Delve – 8.59 trillion
  3. The Citadel – 6.63 trillion
  4. Lonetrek – 6.09 trillion
  5. Fade – 4.47 trillion
  6. Vale of the Silent – 4.34 trillion
  7. Sinq Laison – 3.79 trillion
  8. Domain – 2.76 trillion
  9. Malpais – 2.30 trillion
  10. Querious – 2.28 trillion

All of the top ten save for Fade were down from May, and Fade only broke even.  Overall production amounted to 88.87 trillion ISK in value, down 27 trillion from May and 80 trillion from April.

Destruction

Since it is tied in with production, I’ll move on to destruction.  That ships and modules are destroyed is what gives EVE Online a viable economy, it makes industry a useful path in New Eden, and it was down.

The top regions for destruction in June were:

  1. The Forge – 1.76 trillion
  2. Delve – 1.63 trillion
  3. The Citadel – 1.62 trillion
  4. Lonetrek – 1.43 trillion
  5. Vale of the Silent – 1.16 trillion
  6. Querious – 1.08 trillion
  7. Genesis – 959 billion
  8. Sinq Laison 944 billion
  9. Pochven – 738 billion
  10. Metropolis – 715 billion

High sec regions around Jita, The Forge, The Citadel, and Lonetrek, resumed their peacetime position of dominance when it came to destruction.  Delve came in second, there allegedly being a war going on there, but it rang in 400 billion less than the June 2020 MER, which was the last pre-war look at destruction.

The one surprise, at least to mean, is to see Pochven on the list.  Hidden away from most of New Eden and requiring a rep grind to be a viable place to earn ISK, there are clearly a few people fighting over that particular street corner.  Also, CCP has managed to drop if from the data before.

Total destruction for June totaled up to 27.65 trillion ISK in value, down 5 trillion ISK from May, but way down from the 45.67 trillion ISK destroyed in the June 2020 MER.  The regions around Jita have been especially slack when compared to that time.  The trend is down.

Mining

The third leg of the economic engine of New Eden, mining represents raw material demand needed for production and, with demand slackening, mineral prices continued their descent from the all time high in April when producers were bidding up supply to get those last jobs building.

June 2021 – Economic Indices

The drop wasn’t as steep in June, and there has been some rise in specific minerals like morphite, but the trend is following production and destruction.  With asteroid yields having been nerfed and prices descending, less people will likely undock to mine… unless they’re high sec Orca bots.

For June the top ten regions for mining were:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 1.98 trillion
  2. Domain – 1.24 trillion
  3. The Forge – 1.16 trillion
  4. Metropolis – 828 billion
  5. Insmother – 668 billion
  6. Sinq Laison – 657 billion
  7. Malpais – 612 billion
  8. Everyshore – 584 billion
  9. Genesis – 579 billion
  10. Lonetrek – 565 billion

Fraternity, determined to be an economic power, tops the list with Vale of the Silent, one of their newly conquered regions.  Malpais, a PanFam region, was the other null sec region to make the list this month, the rest being high sec space.

Total amount mined was valued at 24.45 trillion ISK, down almost 6 trillion ISK from May.

ISK Faucets

Where people get their cash money in New Eden.  As expected commodities remained the top ISK faucet, a situation unchanged since the final round of NPC bounty nerfs that came with the ESS and variable bounty rates.

June 2021 – Faucet end of the chart big chart

That said, both commodities and NPC bounties were down from May, while incursion payouts remained about on par with the previous month.  The simple answer seems to be that there was less ISK earning activity going on in June.

The sinks over time chart seems to bear that out, with commodities and bounties in decline.

June 2021 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

Looking just at commodities we can see where the drop occurred.

June 2021 – Top Commodity Items Over Time

Sleep components, which represent the wormhole space ISK faucet, look to be down a little, but Triglavian data, which are the rewards from Abyssal Deadspace runs, look to have fallen off a cliff from a peak in May, likely representing the bulk of the decline.

For NPC bounties the top ten regions were:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 2.13 trillion (Fraternity)
  2. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.09 trillion (PanFam)
  3. Insmother – 1.05 trillion (FI.RE)
  4. Tenal – 1.01 trillion (Fraternity)
  5. Esoteria – 989 billion (Army of Mango)
  6. Tribute – 982 billion (Fraternity)
  7. Branch – 961 billion (Fraternity)
  8. Querious – 925 billion (Legacy & 3rd parties)
  9. Delve – 849 billion (Legacy)
  10. Malpais – 827 billion (PanFam)

I decided to drop the “PandaFam” title that I picked up from Jin’taan a year back as it is becoming clear that Fraternity is vying to be a major power in its own right, which we can see in their ratting operations.  PanFam is still making some money back home while the war smoulders on the other side of null sec, but Fraternity is trying to bank a serious war chest… and they haven’t been spending it on World War Bee.

Total bounties were 26.33 trillion across New Eden, down 3 trillion ISK from May.

Trade

The measure of how much is being bought and sold, which is driven by everything above.  Total trade was valued at 489 trillion ISK in value, was down from the 598 trillion ISK in trade done in May.  That is nearly a 20% dip.

The top ten regions for trade were:

  1. The Forge – 354 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 42 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Sinq Laison – 14.48 trillion (Dodixie)
  4. Lonetrek – 11.69 trillion (Caldari high sec)
  5. Delve – 11.62 trillion (Imperium/PAPI)
  6. Metropolis – 7.85 trillion (Hek)
  7. Heimatar – 6.49 trillion (Rens)
  8. The Citadel – 4.45 trillion (Caldari high sec)
  9. Essence – 3.83 trillion (Gallente High Sec)
  10. Vale of the Silent – 3.63 trillion (Fraternity)

While many of the larger trade hubs were down, with Jita representing 68 trillion ISK of the total decline in June, some of the smaller high sec regions like Lonetrek and The Citadel were actually up a bit.  Not a significant amount in the face of the June fall off clearly, but not ever region was down.

And so it goes with New Eden, where the other metric that seems to be tracking down along with the economy is the online player count as measured over at EVE Offline.

June 2021 – One Year Online Count

The question is of course whether it is the economic starvation plan that is driving down the player count, or is the player count down because the economy… mining, ratting, production, and destruction… is in a down turn.

I suppose we’ll see once CCP thinks we’ve suffered enough economic privation.

As usual, more charts and all the MER data is available for download from the dev blog.

The End of Scarcity Foreseen in EVE Online in Q4 2021

Or should that be Q4 of YC123?

CCP dropped a July Update post on us earlier today.

An update… because July I guess

They don’t do regular monthly updates, so the suspicious part of my mind thinks this is really the “we’re all on vacation in August” update to get us a last up note before the company goes into light hibernation until some time in September.

And much of the update could be categorized as “reminding us about things we already knew.”  There is a lot of self-congratulation about updates so far this year and an insistence that they have been listening to the community… at least over the last few weeks.  As they say, “odd flex” but whatever.

So the post includes a tour of 2021 from Quantum Cores to the return of the Alliance Tournament.  They did get some things done in 2021 so far.

Then there are the two future items.  The first is the releasing of the reserve bank keys, which we’re all pretty sure will be this Tuesday, so file that under “things we already knew” as well I suppose.

And then there is the economy.  This is the news that everybody has been waiting for… and it manages to be at once both exciting and disappointing.

Scarcity firmly ends in Q4 2021

-July Status Update

That’s exciting.  I don’t know if that means October 1st or December 31st, but at least we have a target of sorts at which point CCP plans to ease the economic squeeze they have had the New Eden economy under for over a year.  CCP marks the start of this with the redistribution phase, which is certainly where things kicked in hard, but they had been after mining and ratting with the nerf bat for at least a year before that.

They even have some bullet points as to what they are looking into:

  • Increased quantity of all resources across New Eden
  • Introduction of moon goo and gas compression
  • A balance pass for all mining ships
  • Additional specialized holds for gas and ice
  • Rework of the industrial index including greater choice over the distribution of resources

That all sounds good, and if you want resources broken out by regions then moon goo and gas compression are essential to make transportation viable, because right now it is a huge pain in the ass.

There is also a mention of ratting in the post, with a pass on anomalies expected:

Later this year will see planned updates for existing Nullsec anomalies, including the addition of capital anomalies. A new high reward Nullsec PvE feature to get capitals back into space to trigger exciting player escalations is also being worked on. As mentioned before, you will get more detail and discussion on these topics as their release draws closer.

Once again, sounds cool in theory.

What this all lacks is any detail.  There is no sense of how far CCP really plans to go in relaxing the restrictions on resource harvesting.  And they haven’t renounced their flawed tenants of economic interdependence.  We’ve been beaten so hard by the scarcity stick that it is tough to trust that things will get much better, and anybody that thinks we’re headed back to the “good old days” is destined for disappointment.

So color me, and probably many others, a bit hesitant to cheer too hard after the long haul of privation.

I am happy that CCP is looking to dial back scarcity and that they’ve actually take a moment to communicate with the player base in a more general fashion, and I certainly hope CCP has a real plan to get capital ships to undock again, because everybody loves blowing them up.  Whether they can walk the line between keeping the economy in check and getting back to expensive ships blowing up is to be determined.

Related:

The Fraternity Alliance Update and the Direction of the War

…but this tireless swarm of maniacal bees is somewhat unexpected

-Noraus, Fraternity Alliance Meeting (translated)

In the week 54 war summary I mentioned that there was a big war related announcement expected for this Saturday, July 24th.  Earlier this week Fraternity had an alliance meeting to prepare its members for this announcement, as well as bringing up a couple of additional topics.

Fraternity is a primarily Chinese alliance and so a transcript was posted to Reddit initially in Chinese with a brief summary.  Translation from Chinese to English is problematic both due to the lack of exactly parallel idioms and the jargon laden nature of the New Eden, and the Google Translate attempt to bridge the gap is hilarious. (The quote at the top becomes “The tireless raging bee colony is indeed beyond everyone’s expectations” via Google.)

There have since been a few translations.  I am going by this one that appeared on Pastebin.

Fraternity is also the third largest sov null alliance in the game when it comes to membership and the largest when it comes to total systems held in New Eden.  So what they are up to matters to the rest of New Eden.

The Top 5 Sov Null Alliances

The meeting started with a summing up of the current situation, recognizing that the Imperium has held out for more than 90 days in the 1DQ1-A constellation and shows no sign of breaking.  The Mittani is said to have cultivated a group of diehard loyalists.

This is what happens when you declare a war of extermination.  If you say there are no terms save destruction, there is no reason to for us to give up.

So the failure to break us is because of maniacal bees and game mechanics, the latter being TEST’s favorite “why PAPI hasn’t won yet” hobby horse.

Faced with the stalemate, Noraus says that there are two paths forward.  They either have to go all out to destroy the Imperium regardless of the costs or they have to somehow break up the blue donut that is PAPI to foster null sec content while maintaining the containment of the Imperium in Delve.

The goal is to end the war in 60 days.  The announcement about which path they will take comes on the 24th.

I want to say that, to actually end the war, they have to go with the former.  They have to go all out and attack the Imperium and evict us from 1DQ.  There is no undisputed victory without that.  Fail that and the Imperium will never let anybody forget that all of null sec blued up and couldn’t take us down.

So it has to be an all out attack, right?  Why bother if it isn’t going to be an immediate all hands onslaught?  Nothing else wins the war in 60 days.  They have to be going on the offensive.

Maybe?  Maybe not.  Winning the war and ending the war in 60 days could be two different paths completely.

PAPI has been reluctant to commit to a big fight since the battles at M2-XFE more than six months ago.  They have been careful, using their numbers to squeeze us down to the last constellation in Delve, since which their progress has been stymied.

O-EIMK Constellation – The situation since mid April

Given this hesitance and the regular reference to game mechanics and servers favoring the Imperium, it is kind of a hard sell that PAPI has suddenly decided to go all-in on taking 1DQ.  Certainly this past weekend they demonstrated levels of torpor in the face of Imperium actions we had not previously seen as we ran around their staging system setting timers, then sent in a salvage fleet uncontested to clean up the battlefield.

And Fraternity itself has reportedly withdrawn its capital fleet from T5ZI already.  Not that they could not return, but that says something about their level of commitment to taking 1DQ.  Then again, Fraternity has used the war to expand its holdings and enrich itself in the northeast of null sec, so their level of commitment seems very much related to their own interests.

But breaking up PAPI in any serious way means disaster for TEST and some of its Legacy allies.  If Pandemic Horde leaves, PAPI’s conquest is over and the Imperium will retake Delve.

Perhaps this means a reduced PAPI with some of the alliances leaving the war.  I suspect FI.RE in the southeast and Fraternity will pull out along with some of the smaller alliances that were tagging along.  But PAPI has to keep a critical mass of player… Legacy and PanFam… to have any hope of keeping Goons from rolling back into their old holdings.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out on Saturday that the big announcement is that PAPI will no longer be however many alliances they have left in the war.

Adding to that is the next item on the agenda for the Fraternity meeting, the TTC.

The Tranquility Trading Tower, the trade hub located in Perimeter, one jump over from Jita, controlled by the Tranquility Trading Consortium which is run by TEST, Pandemic Horde, and the Imperium.

The continued existence of the TTC, which sends trillions of ISK to the three partners over the course of a year, in the midst of a war where one of the partners joined the other to exterminate the third has raise questions.  There were one or two threads a week about it on Reddit for quite a stretch.  There was a point when Snuffed Out threatened that Keepstar, after destroying the low sec TTC Keepstar, where it looked like we might be at war in Delve and fighting shoulder to shoulder with TEST and PH in high sec in order to preserve the status quo in Perimeter.

The existence of the TTC has been used to suggest that the war is fake, but it is really a matter that all three partners know that one of them could make the situation untenable and they would all rather collect the ISK than fight the war in high sec.

Fraternity is not happy with the TTC because they feel they deserve a cut.  Their move from the drone regions into Vale of the Silent and Geminate was in part motivated by a desire to set up a competing marketplace under cover of their own forces.

So they have set up a Keepstar in Oijanen, which is in The Forge region, so checking region-wide market orders from Jita will show items listed there as well as those listed in Perimeter.

While there is a skill limit on setting up sell orders remotely (Marketing V lets you do so region-wide) buying is available region-wide by default, and for things like PLEX or Skill Injectors, which can be dealt with remotely (and which make up much of the Perimeter trade), means that Fraternity will be setup to compete with the TTC.  Their Keepstar being two jumps into low sec is mitigated somewhat by it being one gate from null sec and one of their home regions, so it can be defended.

What does all of that mean?

I’ve said a number of times over the past year that Fraternity has used the war to expand its own power while its allies were committed to attacking the Imperium.  The MER shows them amassing wealth every month and the sovereignty map has shown their expansion.  Now Fraternity is set to assail the golden goose of the TTC, pitting them against TEST and Pandemic Horde.

I think, at a minimum, it means that Fraternity will be stepping back from the war… stepping back more so, since their level of commitment had be fairly low.  Maybe if there is a last big offensive they will contribute some, but they have been hanging around the exit for a while now.

Barring any sudden PAPI military victory, the question becomes what happens when the third largest null sec alliance assails the combined income stream of the first, second, and fourth largest null sec alliances?  Does ISK trump war?  Do TEST and PH stick with the Imperium as a partner or do they kick Goons and maybe invite Fraternity into the agreement to keep a cartel going?

There is no possible peace with PAPI in T5ZI.  There is absolutely no peace with TEST in Delve.    There is likely no peace with TEST anywhere close to the Imperium.  Can the warring factions find a compromise?  Can the war end in 60 days?  Is Fraternity going to be the big winner of World War Bee?  Does the war conclude with Fraternity becoming what PAPI alleged the Imperium was threatening to become?

We’ll have to wait and see what gets announced on Saturday.

(The final topic in the meeting was related to the reserve bank keys that will go live next Tuesday.  As rumors suggested, they are nationalizing the output from a couple of regions for the alliance and encouraging their members to go steal from other people.)

54 Weeks of World War Bee

We got trolled for a bit on Friday when Hy Wanto announced on Pando’s FC Chat show #79 that Snuffed Out was set to join the Imperium since they were already mounting a campaign against Fraternity.

A wild Snuffed Out appears!

The Mittani was on the show and rolled with it, but later on said it was just a troll.  But the bit that made it believable was the fact that it would involve the return of Elitist Ops.  An early GoonSwarm corp, they were blackballed by Darius JOHNSON back in the day and went off to have adventures with Pandemic Legion before following their destiny with We Form Volta and Snuffed Out.

With the onset of World War Bee they came back to fight with their long estranged Goon brethren and were almost immediately causing headaches for the enemy, like when Madcows swiped a TEST Leviathan from an unfueled POS was back in week three of the war.  They were awesome to have around.

The war was a drain on them however and they went back to their home with Snuffed Out during week 36.  They left on good terms.  They made the war more enjoyable for us but we understood that they needed their space.   So to think that that might return for a bit for some more adventures lent some credibility to the troll, in my eyes at least, because I am sure they would be welcomed back if they wanted to come.

Compare that to the strife I mentioned last week in NCDot when two major USTZ corporations, Criterion and Original Sinners were apparently bored with the war and wanted to leave to join up with the NullSechnaya Sholupen alliance, which has been off doing its own thing.  While NCDot leader Vince Draken declared them personae non grata in PanFam space and structures, no decisions seemed final when I was writing that up.

This week saw both Criterion and Original Sinners in NSH, so the deed was done, with Vince burning their bridge as promised.  The thought seems to be that if you just let people leave, then the good people will wander off when they’re bored and how can you keep a war going under those circumstances.  The Original Sinners web site has a write up covering their view of the situation if you are interested. (And if you really want to dig into it, last week’s Trash Talk Tuesday goes into it.)

There is clearly a lesson to be drawn from the two situations.

Meanwhile, with two major corps out of the coalition, PAPI announced yesterday that planned town halls were canceled and that there would be a big announcement this coming Saturday, July 24th, regarding a unified plan for the coalition.  Given the reluctance so far to pay the price required to make headway against the Imperium capital constellation, my expectations are pretty low.

And, finally, I was told that this is what PAPI fears most.  This:

Set loose in their space

Yes, non-affiliated pilots in rookie ships.  I don’t get it either.  Maybe it is the name?

One Year Ago

CCP kicked off the Zenith Quadrant.

Legacy forces, after having setup a staging system in Catch on the border with Querious started some attacks in the region.

Meanwhile PandaFam, having staged in Aridia, began their attack on the Fountain region via the Taurus constellation.

I spent a bit of time in an alt being an entosis annoyance in Catch.

The good old POS, and POS shoots, were still a thing in World War Bee.

And I had my second weekly war summary post where I noted that CCP’s video titled War Ravages New Eden had nothing to do with our war.  It was about that Triglavian event where the outcomes were most predetermined.  The lack of coverage of what has been the largest war in New Eden was getting me down.

Delve Front

Strategically, the same map I have been using for months now still accurately describes where both side stand.

O-EIMK Constellation – July 18, 2021

PAPI gave up trying to break into the O-EIMK constellation back in May and things have fallen off since.   But that doesn’t mean that everything is quiet.  Hot drops and counter drops and skirmishes do happen.  And there was the clash on Saturday night when the Imperium sat around in T5ZI-S long enough to reinforce a Fortizar and their main Sotiyo.  Ships keep blowing up even if the map of Delve hasn’t changed.

So the Delve campaign report for week 54 shows a bit of an uptick in ship losses and, although a glitch last week prevented me from getting an accurate count, the ISK value of losses was up considerably from the ~270 billion ISK I estimated, ringing in at nearly double that.

Delve Campaign – Week 54

Other Theaters

In Feythabolis Red Alliance continues to hang onto the northwest corner of the region, which acts as a buffer to their holdings in Impass.  They did not lose any further systems, though one system they had lost to Vindictive is now in the hands of Warriors of the Blood God alliance, which is purple on the map.

Feythabolis – July 18, 2021

Who they are, who they have sided with, or where they even came from is beyond me.

Meanwhile, in Catch Imperium member Dracarys continues to push back against Siege Green’s attack on its holdings.

Catch – July 18, 2021

Dracarys took back 8 ihubs since the last update and looks to be continuing after Siege Green.

My Participation

I already wrote up a post about the big fight on Saturday night, the first war event I’ve bothered to post about in a while.

Other than that I went on a couple of smaller ops.  Jackdaws seemed to be the flavor of the week for a bit.

Jackdaws securing the bubbles again

I had no losses over the course of the week… lucky me… so my losses for the war remain:

  • Ares interceptor – 18
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Drake battle cruiser – 7
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Cormorant destroyer – 5
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 5
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Scimitar T2 logi – 5
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 4
  • Jackdaw destroyer – 4
  • Guardian T2 logi – 2
  • Scalpel T2 logi frigate – 2
  • Scythe T1 logi – 1
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP announced the return of the Alliance Tournament with a surprise count down to a video that backfired on them a bit.

Coming this November

While people seemed happy enough to see the return of the event, there was clearly a feeling that giving back something that had been taken away did not perhaps warrant the big count down surprise treatment.  There are enough other things that players have been looking for… like an end to scarcity… that the AT seemed like a pretty low effort announcement.

CCP also announced that the ESS reserve bank keys would be live in New Eden before the end of the month… look for them on July 27th would be my guess… and that they have been deployed to the test server for people to try out.  A leading rumor is that the PAPI announcement on this coming Saturday will be that reserve banks will be considered coalition ISK to be farmed for SRP funds.  We’ll see if that comes to pass.

Dunk Dinkle wrote a piece about the need for new challenges in the game.

And then there is the weekly PCU.  I have been informed that any discussion of the PCU is Goon propaganda, so add that to my list of sins I suppose, at least so far as CCP’s white knight brigade is concerned.  I just started capturing it every week to see if it showed a correlation between player counts and significant war events.   And it has, passing the 40K mark during the early flurry of war fever.

Of late though, things have been down.

This past week saw another failure to crack the 25K mark, though the count did come close on Sunday.  That is three weeks running falling short of 25K.  It was just six weeks ago that the peak being under 30K was an oddity.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996
  • Week 30 – 38,323
  • Week 31 – 38,167
  • Week 32 – 37,259
  • Week 33 – 35,886 (Saturday)
  • Week 34 – 35,626
  • Week 35 – 35,379
  • Week 36 – 35,085
  • Week 37 – 34,394
  • Week 38 – 36,319
  • Week 39 – 35,597 (Saturday)
  • Week 40 – 35,384 (Saturday)
  • Week 41 – 33,708
  • Week 42 – 33,521
  • Week 43 – 33,731
  • Week 44 – 33,742 (Saturday)
  • Week 45 – 33,758
  • Week 46 – 31,768
  • Week 47 – 29,898
  • Week 48 – 31,462 (Monday)
  • Week 49 – 27,914
  • Week 50 – 26,045
  • Week 51 – 25,661
  • Week 52 – 24,262
  • Week 53 – 24,290
  • Week 54 – 24,922

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