Category Archives: EVE Online

The Coming of Refineries in New Eden

Upwell structures continue to take over New Eden.  CCP put up a dev blog about the current state of citadels and engineering complexes with some informational tidbits such as:

  • Over 7800 different player corporations have at least one Upwell Structure in space right now.
  • Four player alliances have active home citadels with more traffic and trade volume than any NPC stations except for the big four trade hubs and the newbie systems. The busiest of them has also surpassed Rens in trade volume.
  • The top 100 most active industry facilities in EVE (measured by industry job output value) so far in 2017 consist of 13 NPC stations, one Outpost, one Starbase array, one Citadel and 84 Engineering Complexes.

The new structures have definitely been embraced by a swathe of the community.

Keepstars are the new centerpiece of player empires

As a follow up to this, CCP also posted a dev blog about the next Upwell branded structures they expect to release, Refineries. (There is also a survey to gauge how you feel about these structures.)

Refineries will replace player owned starbases in the role of moon mining, and the act of moon mining will go from passive act (or passive aggressive according to Kirith Kodachi) to a much more active process, where chunks of the moon will be displaced into space to be collected manually.

Everybody’s current favorite moon chunk picture

According to the follow up questions and answer post, this will mean the end of siphons.  Since harvesting from moons will be a more active process, stealing the moon bounty will also become something you have to get out there in a ship and do directly.

There is still no time frame for when Refineries will be coming to the game.  I suspect that we will hear a lot more about this at Fan Fest, which is coming up in less than two weeks now.  Over at INN there is word that CCP Fozzie will be appearing on the Talking in Stations podcast with Matterall to discuss what has been announced.

This means one less activity for player owned starbases, the familiar old POS that has dotted New Eden for many years now.  With moon mining operations gone, the purpose of the POS will be as a place for jump bridges, cyno beacons, and cyno jammers.

When the POS finally disappears, it will be the end of an era.  I have spent a lot of time in game “shooting the stick” and forming up in the protective force field that surrounds the central tower of a POS.  My first ever fleet op in null sec involved shooting a POS.

Modules blowing up back in 2011

In the new world of structures, with their vulnerability timers that let you control when you have to fight, I have no doubt there will be some nostalgia for the old POS once it finally disappears.  You could go and shoot one to reinforce it whenever you wanted.

Why yes, I will shoot this POS

And nothing will replace the giddy feeling when the shield hit points drop below 25% on a tower you expected to just reinforce.  A boring old POS shoot suddenly becomes a kill mail.  Those days will soon be behind us.

See Your Space Wealth

Yesterday we got another minor patch on top of the YC119.3 update that gave us a new feature.  Per the updated release notes:

Added a Total Net Worth counter to the character sheet. This is accessed by clicking a ? icon in the character sheet header. This counter updates once every 5 minutes.

So now not only can you see your total ISK on hand by checking your wallet, but looking at your character sheet will give you your estimated net worth.  Clicking on the question mark will break the two numbers out so you can see how much you hold in ISK and assets.

Wilhelm… the background color behind the name is sub-optimal

This isn’t a startling new thing.  Some third party apps, such as Neocom on iOS and the internal GSF utility EVE Thing have been able to give you such an estimate in the past.

However, then citadels came along and mucked everything up on the data front, something we’ve yet to recover from.  The two apps I mentioned just don’t know about any assets you might have in citadels, while EVE Mon reliably crashes every time it tries to tell me a sales order was completed in a such a structure.  Since I don’t really pay attention to the CREST API stuff, I can’t tell you if that isn’t up to par yet or if the utilities haven’t caught up, but citadels certainly seem more opaque than stations when I go hunting for data.

Anyway, I am actually surprised my widely spread assets are valued at that much.  Almost 22 billion ISK seems like a lot of money for me to have tied up in stuff.  I have an Archon and an Apostle, which together add up to maybe 5 billion ISK.  But other than that, I have some normal-ish sub caps, none of which likely exceed 300 million ISK in value, and then a bunch of modules and ore and other crap strewn across stations all over New Eden.

So I suppose the next logical feature to ask for is some sort of ranking list to show what assets are tying up how much wealth, because my gut says there is probably 10 billion ISK worth of stuff I don’t use stored away somewhere.

CCP Revises PLEX Plan to Reconsider Aurum

To cut straight to the chase, CCP announced in a dev blog that they are not going to gyp you out of your Aurum if you have a balance less than 1,000.  Last week they were going to draw a line at 999 Aurum or less in the name of the economy and I was dubious as to whether they would hold the line on that statement.  They’ve given out lots of penny packets of Aurum since it showed up and are worried that converting it all to the new PLEX would flood the market.

Honestly, I am never going to replace this PLEX graphic

While the design of the game may have started with the line “Death is a serious matter,” death is mostly trivial in New Eden, it is the economy that keeps the game going.  They can fix death, but if they screw up the market the game is done.  But the hew and cry about lost Aurum was loud enough that they had to listen.

So instead of doing the PLEX conversions all at once, those with Aurum balances under 1,000 will get their conversion three months after the fact in an effort to buffer the impact on the economy.  There is still no word on when the initial PLEX conversion will happen, so that will be three months from whenever.

Also, as part of that dev blog I learned, as no doubt many others did, that there are actually Aurum tokens in the game.  I’ve never seen one, nor bothered to look.

Look quick before they’re gone

Those will be coming out of the game when the change hits.

CCP has also said that they will be doing sales/promotions in the New Eden Store so that if you want to spend your Aurum before the change, there will be something to buy with what you have.  They also announced a new ship SKIN for Cormorants, Caracals, and Drakes, but that comes in at 800 Aurum per SKIN and you probably only have a balance of 300, so you’ll have to wait for another offer.

Not really sure who the IGC is, but they have a nice SKIN

Meanwhile, there is always a “somebody is going to get screwed” aspect to changes like this, and while people with low Aurum balances seem to be off the hook, those who have paid Broker’s fees in order to list PLEX on the market are now the ones who will be losing out.  In the first dev blog CCP promised to refund Broker’s fees when the conversion went in and all current listings were removed.   The new dev blog though says that isn’t going to happen:

…our team discovered that we don’t actually have the ability to refund fees at all. In EVE, fees are paid as a transaction when an order is placed and not tied to the order itself.

Oops.  The back up plan here is just to give you lots of advance notice that if you list a PLEX on the market and it is there when the change comes into effect, you can kiss that ISK good-bye.  Of course, as noted above, we still don’t know when this PLEX change is going to come into effect, so we don’t know how far in advance this advance warning will be.  And, of course, CCP doesn’t have a great track record getting the word out to people, though that doesn’t distinguish them from other MMOs.  As an audience, MMO players likely aren’t as engaged as you thing they ought to be.  If you’re reading this you are a special snowflake when it comes to actually paying attention.

Furthermore, I have to wonder if getting the word out is a good plan.  What happens when people stop listing PLEX on the market to avoid the possibility of losing their Broker’s fee?  Supply will shrink and prices will go up… and if they go up enough people will start listing again because the Broker’s fee loss will be covered by the price increase if only the person listing can sell some of their stock.  Because there is likely to be a price drop once the change has been made and a lot (but not all) Aurum is converted to the new PLEX.  Maybe?

What do you think?  Is CCP going to screw up the market here, or is there enough ISK going through Jita to buffer this change?

For those interesting in hearing more on this, Talking in Stations did a show that included a discussion of the topic with CCP Rise to help sort things out.

PLEX Shattering Proposal for New Eden

Yesterday CCP made public their intention to change PLEX, the in-game item that can be bought, sold, moved, blown up, redeemed for 30 days of Omega game time, and occasionally redeemed for Aurum or multiple character training.

This old screen shot may make PLEX look more expensive than reality soon

CCP wants to make PLEX the universal secondary currency so that you will only have ISK and PLEX… and LP if you’re into that, but that is a whole different thing.  To do this CCP wants to break a single PLEX into 500 units of PLEX, in which capacity it will replace Aurum, the unloved New Eden Store currency.

CCP also plans to introduce the PLEX Vault, wherein you will deposit your PLEX to be used and where your PLEX will be accessible to any character on your account from any station or citadel location you can use in New Eden.

The Proposed PLEX Vault

Anybody who has a PLEX right now will end up with 500 PLEX when this change goes into effect, while anybody who has 1,000 Aurum or more will receive 1 PLEX for every 7 Aurum they hold.

The logic behind the 1,000 Aurum cut-off is in the questions at the end of their post:

Q: Why are you only converting Aurum balances above 1000?
A: A large portion of the total Aurum stockpile is in small balances left over from past giveaways and by not converting those small balances we mitigate risk of oversupply in the PLEX market

Basically, if you have less than 1,000 Aurum you probably got it from us for free, so screw you we’re taking it back now that it might have actual in-game ISK value.  I will be interested to see if there is enough hew and cry about this to get CCP to relent on this front.

And, of course, the other big change here is that PLEX becomes a digital currency more akin to ISK, something that is in a wallet you can access where ever you go.  I suppose that makes a bit of logical sense, as opposed to PLEX being a physical object in your inventory.

This potentially means no more PLEX-tanked frigates worth billions of ISK being blown up… remember the first big loss, involving a pilot who could have kept his account going for over six years if he hadn’t stuff 74 PLEX into an unfit Kestrel and undocked… if people are smart.

The thing is, people are not smart.  That people, to this day, still move PLEX in rookie corvettes is proof of that.  There is almost no need to do this, as you can activate PLEX remotely and buy it via contract from anywhere in New Eden.  So I live in hope that stupid will out and that we will still see the occasional PLEX kill mail since CCP plans to leave in the physical aspect of PLEX if you want to take it out of the PLEX Vault.

And, if everybody does suddenly get smart, we still have skill injector losses.

So that is the plan.  There is even a video with CCP Seagull explaining the plan.

 

There is no announced date for this change yet, and even the UI proposal is tagged as a work in progress, so there is still time to head to the forums and howl over any aspect of this you do not like.  I fully expect CCP to relent on the 1,000 Aurum limit for conversion to the new PLEX, if only because some people will have residual balances less than that which they paid for.

But at some point in the future any PLEX you have… which could be worth as much as 1.2 billion ISK each…  will go away, replaced by 500 new PLEX worth as much as 2.4 million each.

As somebody who doesn’t use PLEX, the only change for me will be a lack of comedy kill mails I suppose.  But as somebody who has some Aurum and buys ship SKINs now and again, this will be a bit of a boon, since it will be easy enough just to buy new PLEX with ISK in the quantity I need for a given transaction.  This might make the New Eden Store more viable.

This may be the biggest change to PLEX since it was introduced over eight years ago.

Addendum: Official forum thread for feedback on this plan.

YC119.3 Update Brings Rorqual Nerfs and Bubble Decay to New Eden

This month’s update for EVE Online, YC119.3, brings some significant changes to New Eden.

I am once again content to use CCP’s logo for the update

The Rorqual and its capabilities are once again in the sights of CCPs nerf gun.  The industrial capital ship, which long languished in POSes across low and null sec space as an AFK booster for mining ops, was given a serious boost of its own with the Ascension expansion back in November.  Suddenly its new mining drones were the path to wealth in null sec.  Even after the previous nerf to mining yields, Rorquals from Delve to Cobalt Edge were still out making bank according to the February economic report.

February 2017 report mining value by region

This was bringing down mineral prices thus, according to Dinsdale Pirannah, who I am going to troll on this front (“Trolling Detected” tag deployed), depriving high sec miners their inalienable right to grown rich by mining veldspar two jumps out of Jita. (Note the mining value of the high sec regions around Jita, Lonetrek and The Forge, on that chart.)

So, despite the likely overall net benefit of making production cheaper and lowering prices for all (plus the insane nearly 103 trillion ISK negative trade balance Delve, the mining capital of New Eden, was running on that report, which means that ISK was likely enriching high sec, not impoverishing it) that had to be fixed!

Okay, the Rorqual has been too much of a money printing machine of late, but I wanted to point out that the economics aren’t as simple as “high sec loses.”  So now the billion ISK mining drones that Rorquals use (which will also now provide kill mails) will have higher skill requirements to get tech II benefits, while a change to spread out the asteroids in mining belts and anoms means that drone round trip time will effectively reduce yield.  This will reduce overall productivity of the Rorqual by an estimated 25%.

High sec has been protected from belt spread by having the lock ranges of mining barges increased proportional to the change.

Meanwhile, the invulnerable PANIC jump hictor usage of the Rorqual has been curtailed a bit, as the ship now needs to have an asteroid locked in order to activate its PANIC module.  So long as Jay can keep his super carriers out of asteroid belts, this should improve his quality of life.

Also on the null sec nerf parade is carrier ratting, likely the greatest source of individual null sec wealth.  (If CCP is controlled by Goons, how come they can’t stop this?)  Fighter signature radii are being increased and NPCs will view them as more threatening, thus making fighters both easier to hit and more likely to be targeted in the first place.  The range of responses I have seen to this change have gone from “carrier ratting is dead” to “no big deal if you pay attention.”

Since I haven’t mined in ages and still rat in an Ishtar, neither of these changes make a difference to me personally, but the drama around the changes has been mildly entertaining.  And fighters are getting a UI pass as well, so maybe I’ll figure out how to use them properly some day.

Another big change coming up for null sec relates to mobile warp disruptors, or anchorable bubbles as I generally hear them called. (I love when player terminology deviates from the official terminology.)  Up until today, these things lasted forever once you dropped them, were a pain to shoot, had enough passive regen to make them somewhat proof against solo attacks, and after all that work didn’t even provide a freakin’ kill mail.  Each of these items has been addressed in some way.

The biggest deal is that bubbles will die of their own accord when left in space.  The timers are:

  • Two days for all T1 bubbles
  • One week for all T2 bubbles
  • Two weeks for all Syndicate bubbles

Meanwhile, hit points have been reduced, regen has been toned down, and they now provide kill mails.  Let the bubble holocaust begin!  Also, the updates entry for these changes uses a screen shot I took at 319 station in Delve back in 2012.

319 Station, Many Bubbles Ago

Then there is a great big change to scanners and probes and that interface.  That has really been a work in progress since I started player, but maybe this time for sure!  I will have to see it in action to see if it makes any difference to my own indifferent scanning skills.

I mentioned the change to the Caldari Cormorant destroyer in a post last week, but the Caldari Chimera carrier is also getting a new look.  We will see how the former sits with me once it is live in space.  The latter… well the old model always looked like some sort of amphibian life that was trying to wade ashore, so I suppose it couldn’t get much worse… could it?

Those are what I think are the big items coming with today’s update, which has been deployed.  For further details the patch notes and updates page are both available.  And, as always, it isn’t an EVE Online release/update without another music track to go with it.

Getting Home from Oasa

The ping said that if we got in Cainun’s fleet fast, there was a chance of a big kill.  The call was for the armor T3 cruiser fleet doctrine, which features the Legion and Proteus strategic cruisers along with armor logi and support.  I happened to be at my desk at just the right moment to log in, get in fleet, get into my Oneiros and undock as we warped off to a titan to get bridged on our way.

Off we go, are we committed yet?

The bridge off the titan sent us to another system where a wormhole to Thera awaited us.  We formed up on the null sec side of the wormhole, waiting for the orders to go through.  The wormhole was not fresh and there was concern about how much mass we would be pushing through it.

To this end we were asked to go to our fitting window and offline the armor plates on our ships to reduce the mass going through the whole, though I admit that I did wonder how you can turn off something like an armor plate.  Armor isn’t like a shield, it doesn’t go away when you turn off the switch.  But I followed New Eden logic and set mine offline.

Lolling about at the first wormhole

Tackle was sent through first, and they zipped off to the exit whole in Thera, through, and off to catch up our intended target.  Then the call was for command ships and logi to go through the hole and into Thera.  After we were in successfully, the DPS ships were called to jump through.  That was enough to collapse the hole, though only about a dozen ships got left on the other side.  No wormhole adventure for them and they got to head home.  That still left over 200 ships in the fleet.

Once we were warped to the out hole in Thera, we followed the same routine.  Tackle had already gone through, so the call was for command ships and logi, with yet another follow up reminder to turn off armor plates in case somebody hadn’t done it when asked the previous dozen times.  Command ships and logi went through successfully, so the call went for DPS ships to make the transition.  About six DPS ships made it through before the hole collapsed.

That left us in something of an awkward position.  A small fleet consisting mostly of logi was now in 1-HDQ4 in the Oasa region, a long way from home, while more than 150 T3 cruisers were hanging about in Thera where the direct hole home had already closed and the hole to the target was no longer available to them either.  Those left in Thera docked up at one of the stations there.

Those of us stranded up in Oasa were told to start burning to KED-2O where an Imperium Caracal fleet, which had used the same holes before us, was already engaged.  They had killed a Rorqual up there and had a titan tackled.  So off we went with Thomas Lear now leading us.  Why not?  We were already there and didn’t have anyplace else to be.  But even as we closed in on the destination system, word came down the line that a titan kill wasn’t going to happen.  The defenders had been successful at blowing up any tackle and the big ship got away.

So there we were, up in Oasa, a long way from home, 33 ships made up of boosts, lots of logi, and a few DPS ships.  We were like the incarnation of old school WoW paladins in New Eden; we weren’t going to die, but neither was anything we rolled up on.  It was time to figure out how to get back to Delve.

As it turned out, there was another Thera wormhole about 20 jumps from our current location, over in The Vale of the Silent in 9-GBPD.  We just had to get there.  Getting there though, turned out to be a bit of a chore.  Going gate to gate for 20 jumps takes some time, but that got multiplied as we went through Russian space in Perrigen Falls.  The Russians have a habit of covering gates around their space with anchorable warp disruption bubbles.  Lots of them.

The gate inside the bubbles

So for a series of gates we ended up landing 60-90km off of a gate, slow boating with after burners lit to jump through, then slow boating on after burners out of the inevitable bubbles on the other side of the gate.

Out of the bubbles on the far side for another warp

The bubbles were all around the gates, so there was no sending somebody ahead for a perch around them, and we didn’t have enough DPS to blow them up as we went. (Though I think we did destroy a single small bubble as we motored to a gate, just out of boredom and anger more than anything else… launch logi whore drones!)

The bubbles probably didn’t cost us all that much extra time, but subjectively, having to motor on ABs felt like a long time.   Ironically, tomorrow’s patch is making a change to anchorable bubbles so that they decay and go away after a given amount of time, so this might be the last time we have to drag ourselves through a series of forever bubbles.  And if our trip felt like a long time to us, I am sure the rest of the fleet wasn’t happy about it either.

While we had been gating about the northeast of New Eden, the rest of the fleet had been hanging out in Thera just waiting for us to get back.  Jay, who was with us, started trying to get them to rise up against Cainun to get him to take them home rather than waiting for us.  I have to admit, keeping more than 160 people hanging about waiting for 30 or so of us had a lot going against it.  On the other hand, our detachment was made up of the boosters and logi pilots.  Everybody tells us we’re special… everybody who just wants to fly DPS and get kill mails… so I guess it was time for them to show us just how special we were.

We made it past the bubbles gates and finally arrived in 9-GBPD where B33R was sitting on the wormhole as a warp in.  We went through and found Cainun and the rest of the fleet sitting there waiting for us.

Back with the fleet in Thera… also, the only good Oneiros SKIN

Once we were all through and back into Thera, Cainun warped us to the out connection.  There, we had a plate check once again.  Then he called out four Guardians to stay behind before sending people through.  This hole was also questionable, but there was another Thera connection option if this one collapsed.  Cainun just wanted to be sure any fleet that had to take an alternate route had some logi support.

And he was correct, the whole did collapse before we all got through.  I was through and in the system I-ME3L in Stain.  That put us 23 jumps from home on a route through Period Basis, Delve, Fake Querious, and Delve again.

Down in Stain

Fortunately, there was only a single anchorable bubble on the route home, reported by our scout, and it was down before we even got to the system where it was.  We were able to gate home without incident.

All told, that was about a two hour adventure which took some of us on a multi-region tour the length of New Eden.

Our route, Blue for wormhole travel, Red for gate travel

You could certainly find systems more distant from each other than we hit, but Oasa to Period Basis does cover a lot of the breadth of New Eden.  And it also shows how handy wormholes can be and the hazards of them collapsing on you.

Quote of the Day – CCP Picks Winners

Goons were untouchable until they failed to deliver the $150K. Then they became outcasts overnight and the IWI RMT block became above the law – until they met with real life gambling law. Then IWI got banned overnight and the devs found their next “winner”: whoever controls the trillions-for-nothing Perimiter citadels.

Gevlon, You can’t compare reality with a dream

So there you have it, the Imperium lost the Casino War because it failed to raise a $150,000 payoff for CCP.

Signs of a vast Goon conspiracy

I love me a good conspiracy theory, and here is Gevlon continuing to justify his leaving EVE Online… so long after he left that you have to wonder who he is really addressing here… the goblin doth protest too much methinks… by claiming that CCP picks winners.  It also seems to invalidate his claim that he beat Goons by funding Mordus Angels.   If CCP picked the winner, then I guess he didn’t really enter into it.  After the failed Kickstarter, Goons were doomed already.

This is especially timely as the CSM 12 elections are going on right now and CCP is working to try and get the non-null sec part of the game to actually give a shit and vote.  CCP isn’t actively campaigning against null sec.  But getting out the vote clearly works against null sec sweeping the election yet again.  Is this how one picks winners? (Cue “CCP could be doing more!” comment)

I would actually like to put Gevlon’s conspiracy up against Dinsdale Pirannha’s, because the Din/Vin spin is that Goons run CCP and that every thing they do is strictly to benefit them.  In his world, Goons were slated to win the war (quote on record), banning IWI was just removing an RMT competitor, and Goons really own whatever citadel is making money one jump from Jita. (Also something about fellatio now and again because Din is so angry he has to personify the imagined collusion into a sexual relationship.)

My own observation of the current “winners,” which is anecdotal, but which has persisted over months, is that citadels one jump from Jita do not have all that much impact on the market.  I extract and sell a skill injector every week at the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant at Jita Planet IV moon 4, and the prices listed in Perimeter have no bearing on what I can get for the injector.   I look at the market, sort the prices low to high, scroll past all the low ball Perimeter listings to where the Jita price stands, list in that range, and the injector sells within hours despite being priced as much as 20% above the Perimeter citadel price.

I am sure some people buy in Perimeter.  I would if it were my ISK.  But clearly the habit and the implied safety of Jita 4-4 is strong enough to be worth a bonus.  Plus it is still the place to buy everything else.  Perimeter is really only trying to corner the PLEX and skill injector market.  Nobody is hauling all of their production to a third party citadel.

And those citadels are not even that safe.  A reader sent me a PLEX in game for answering some questions, contracted to me from a citadel in Perimeter. (Thank you, btw!)  Only when I went to collect it, I found it was in the safety tab of my assets window with a timer before it would appear in an NPC station.  The citadel it was in had been destroyed.  Oops.  Now I have to wait until I can buy it out of hock.

Anyway, this sounds like a classic choice of malice over ignorance.  Do you think CCP is picking winners?  Is CCP just bad at predicting consequences?  (Or believing when players point them out in advance?)  Or is this just along the lines of Malcanis’ law (another Gevlon favorite), where anything aimed at helping newer players ends up helping the entrenched older players even more so?

Looking forward to the inevitable Gevlon and Dinsdale comments on this.