Category Archives: EVE Online

EVE Online is Back with Native MacOS Support

Back in the day CCP used to support a native MacOS client.  It was finicky… I once ran it on the wrong MacOS version and got some very odd results… but it mostly worked.  Then Apple swapped over to Intel processors and it became possible for CCP to just use WINE emulation to run the Windows client on Macs.  There was some extra work to do to support that, including contributing code to the WINE project, but it was a lot less effort than maintaining two clients.

And then recently Apple left Intel for their own new M1 processors which led to EVE Online MacOS players potentially being unsupported if they purchased the new machines.

This swap by Apple also prompted Intel to launch a petulant “Apple Sux!” ad campaign because I guess they think Apple will never ever buy another chip from them again or something.  But that is another story.

So CCP was left with a choice.  Given that they are still optimistically talking about growth and working on the new player experience, they opted not to ditch almost 10% of the PC market, which meant going back to native MacOS support.

While 10% might sound like a small loss, CCP knows how many MacOS users they have, so it might be worth it to them.  Also, the 10% number vastly understates the number of systems that might actually be able to run EVE Online.  There are a lot of base model Windows boxes sitting in enterprises and on desks all over the world that aren’t even in the running.  When I go to visit the sprawling medical center where my doctor resides, I walk by dozens of PCs… one at every reception desk, one at every nurse’s desk… they all little desks now because the need to access their PCs… one in every exam room, two in my doc’s office, and more in spots I whose function I could not identify.  And not even one of them is likely ever to load up any video game more complicated that Solitaire… and only that if the IT department hasn’t purged it.

Anyway, the path back to a native client culminated with yesterday update and the new EVE Online X Apple era, whatever that means.

Times Apple? Ten Apple? Kiss Apple? I don’t know

Post update there is a transition from the old WINE version to the new native version which is covered in detail in the patch notes.

To celebrate the update and transition back to native support, CCP has some login rewards for us that run for five days.

Included in the rewards are the usual skill points and SKINs, but there are special Quafe Zero Green Apple flavor SKINs.  While they aren’t the classic old blue Quafe SKINs, they are still good.

And the is also some Quafe Zero Green Apple flavor boosters to go with the event as well.  Per the packaging:

Capsuleers can now enjoy Quafe Zero Green Apple, the new flavor of New Eden’s favorite performance drink with the potency of a booster!
A taste explosion that will help avoid ship explosions, the Green Apple edition of Quafe Zero provides the benefits of increased agility and power with Zero drawbacks!

Benefits:
+5% Agility, +5% Capacitor Recharge Rate. Duration: 1 hour.

Quafe Zero Green Apple is fortified with a proprietary mix of performance enhancers, oxidizers, and natural fruit juices designed to push your abilities to the limit.

The secret is in our patented fulleroferrocene nanite delivery system, which attaches our exclusive pro-capsuleer formula directly to the neurons you want, not the ones you don’t. The result is an immediate and direct boost to your performance, with Zero drawbacks!

For maximum experience overload Quafe Zero Green Apple has been further enhanced with proprietary Quafe nanoparticles responsive to popular brands of subcranial nanocontroller personal enhancements, such as the LD-X100 range from Lai Dai!

So make sure to login and collect your SKINs, skill points, and boosters.

Yesterday’s patch also made some changes to the Dynamic Bounty System thresholds, whatever that means, and continued the iterating on the new skill window and skill plan functionality.  They have already fixed the most egregious issues, like the huge amount of empty space, but there is still tuning to do.

And a new skill was added, Rogue Drone Specialization, which is required for using the new modified rogue drones.

Not present in the update was the capital PvE ratting mechanics, previously announced as Summon the Swarm, which are still brewing on the test server.  That still needs some work.

Related:

The September MER Shows EVE Online in a Post War Mining Boom

CCP was out early this month, getting the September MER posted before the end of the first full week.

EVE Online nerds harder

Unfortunately we have another MER with a missing region, and I don’t just mean Pochven, which has yet to make the cut.  This time around Period Basis did not get included.  Regions have gone missing in the report in the past and that is apparently a small enough error in CCP’s eyes that they won’t bother with a revision.  Period Basis isn’t a huge region, so its absence won’t tilt the numbers dramatically.  Just know that it isn’t there.

Mining

I expect that we will see Delve in the top five for September and that overall mining value will go up with the changes we saw in last week’s update, where ice availability was doubled and Mercoxit spawns were increased.

-From my August MER Review

I made that minor prediction last month and it seems to have come to pass.  It is nice to be right now and then, even with a gimme prediction.

Overall mining output jumped from 21.95 trillion ISK value mined in August to 32.77 trillion ISK value mined in September.

When it comes to the most productive regions, Delve did indeed bubble up into the top five as expected, landing in the number two position.

  1. Genesis – 2.15 trillion
  2. Delve – 1.80 trillion
  3. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.69 trillion
  4. Vale of the Silent – 1.51 trillion
  5. Fountain – 1.39 trillion
  6. The Forge – 1.38 trillion
  7. Metropolis – 1.11 trillion
  8. Domain – 1.07 trillion
  9. Malpais – 908 billion
  10. Syndicate – 874 billion

The odd one on the list is Genesis, an empire region with a mix of high and low sec systems.  According to Reddit, Dock Workers and some allies are setting up a mining empire there.  But overall null sec regions now represent half the list, a change from June 2020 after the big mining nerf, when 9 of the 10 top regions were high sec.

Meanwhile, mineral prices kept to their decline, no doubt helps along with the boost in Mercoxit spawns which should have helped the morphite shortage.

Sep 2021 – Economic Indices

Since the value of minerals mined is a function of the market price, 30 trillion ISK in ore mined in September is still less ore than 30 trillion ISK mined two years back when the price was very low.  We will see if the increased output can keep pace with the falling prices.

Production

Things still have not kicked up much on the production front since the big industry changes back in April.  It still doesn’t make sense to produce many of the ships whose requirements were changed, capital ships especially, so most people are getting by on what they had before the update.

September 2021 – Production vs Destruction vs Mined

There was a bit of a post-change surge as it looked like there was going to be an epic end battle to the war, and that has carried on somewhat with the Imperium rebuilding its regions while Brave and TEST try to settle down into new space far from Delve.

CCP showed production value overall at 101.98 trillion ISK, up about 5 trillion over August.  I expect that might settle down a bit once the post-war rebuilding effort cools off.

The top regions for production in September were:

  1. The Forge – 19.26 trillion
  2. Delve – 11.47 trillion
  3. Lonetrek – 7.44 trillion
  4. The Citadel – 7.38 trillion
  5. Vale of the Silent – 7.28 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 3.95 trillion
  7. Fade – 3.85 trillion
  8. Domain – 3.07 trillion
  9. The Kalevala Expanse – 2.99 trillion
  10. Placid – 2.81 trillion

As always, The Forge, Lonetrek, and The Citadel all feed the Jita market and are always in the top five.  Delve was up slightly in amount, but otherwise stuck in second place due to the rebuilding effort in the region.

Destruction

The was was over in August, but there was still plenty of cleanup work going on… I was on two Keepstar kills in September… the war was mostly over and so the destruction level started to trend down a bit, dropping to 31.41 trillion ISK, about 5 trillion down from August.  The top regions were:

  1. The Citadel – 2.01 trillion
  2. Vale of the Silent – 1.74 trillion
  3. The Forge – 1.66 trillion
  4. Delve – 1.35 trillion
  5. Metropolis – 1.34 trillion
  6. Lonetrek – 1.31 trillion
  7. Genesis – 1.09 trillion
  8. Esoteria – 1.07 trillion
  9. Sinq Laison – 1.04 trillion
  10. Geminate – 995 billion

The Citadel is up top, being home to Uedama, the favored ganking choke point in high sec since the Trigalvians took Niarja away from us last year.  It is the place where Catalyst destroyers blow up.

MiniLuv keeps itself busy.

Vale of the Silent is home to a low grade conflict, while The Forge was more ganks.

Delve is on the list, mostly due to remaining clean up and an opportunistic period during the rebuild.  You have to hold the ihub in a system for 35 days before you can start putting up Ansiblex jump gates.  Once up, travel becomes considerably safer.  During the wait for that a few groups took advantage of people gating for travel and got in some kills.

Trade

ISK keeps New Eden going, but trade was down a bit in September, ringing in at a 607 trillion ISK total, down  40 trillion from August.  The top regions for trade were:

  1. The Forge – 449 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 43.55 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Delve – 16.73 trillion (Imperium)
  4. Sinq Laison – 15 trillion (Dodixie)
  5. Lonetrek – 14.74 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  6. Metropolis – 9.27 trillion (Hek)
  7. Heimatar – 7.34 trillion (Rens)
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 6.21 trillion (PanFam)
  9. Vale of the Silent – 4.98 trillion (Fraternity)
  10. Essence – 4.34 trillion (Gallente High Sec)

Those are the same ten regions in the same order as August, so things have carried on as before.  Some were down a bit, a few were up, but it was mostly the same.

ISK Faucets

And then there is where the money all comes from.

Sep 2021 – Faucet end of the chart big chart

That is hard to read, I know, even if you view it full size.  Somebody at CCP has much better eyes than mine if they’re making charts with such tiny print.

But the current order of things stayed about the same in September, with commodities remaining the top faucet, bringing in 35.7 trillion ISK.  NPC bounties and ESS payouts combined stayed about the same as last month, ringing in at 29.47 trillion ISK.  I suspect the Period Basis numbers would have bumped that up a bit more.

Sep 2021 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

Going into September NPC bounties and commodities were running neck and neck, and then CCP had an in-game event and commodities saw a spike as people turned in their drops.

Missing from that top ten chart are Redeemed ISK Tokens, which saw a huge spike previously, enough for that to break into the chart, knocking blueprints off the list.  Well, now that most people have redeemed their tokens, it is off and blueprints are back on.  I guess that means the chart isn’t really the “top ten sinks and faucets over time” but “this months top ten sinks and faucets and their three year history.”

For commodities, you can see how they are broken out on this chart.

Sep 2021 – Top Commodity Items Over Time

The event items fell into the Overseer’s Personal Effects line, boosting that up as the month closed out.  Triglavian Data, which are drops from Abyssal Pockets, fell off a bit during that as people swapped to the more lucrative event path.

As for NPC bounties, Delve continued its come back, topping the list for September.

  1. Delve – 2.22 trillion (Imperium)
  2. Vale of the Silent – 2.11 trillion (Fraternity)
  3. Outer Passage – 1.45 trillion (TEST)
  4. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.39 trillion (PanFam)
  5. Fountain – 1.34 trillion (Imperium)
  6. Malpais – 1.06 trillion (PanFam)
  7. Tenal – 956 billion (Fraternity)
  8. Querious – 951 billion (Imperium)
  9. Oasa – 911 billion (Fraternity)
  10. Tribute – 891 billion (Fraternity)

The null sec blocs are back to crabbing to prepare for the next big war.  It is the necessary prerequisite if your going to burn trillions of ISK a month in a campaign.

Related:

Friday Bullet Points Once Again from Space

It is Friday and there are a few EVE Online items I want to bring up but that don’t quite merit a full post at this time.  Not included in this is the September Monthly Economic Report, which I’ll get to on Monday.  That I can string out into 1,500 words easy.  Meanwhile, CCP it trying to outdo me with their own Community Beat post today.

  • Introducing Quasar

CCP posted a dev blog this week titled Introducing Quasar, which is a look at the changes CCP has made, and further changes that they are contemplating, to improve server performance of EVE Online by getting around Python’s Global Interpreter Lock that keeps the game running on a single thread.  Basically, if you take some housekeeping items off of the server’s to-do list, like skill plans, there is more bandwidth to track ships in space.  As put in the post the goals are to “dodge the GIL and clear the table for moar lasers.”

There is some additional insight into this over at TNG.

  • Totality Day Celebration

Come October 13th it will have been a year since the Triglavian Collective took the 27 systems they had conquered from the four empires and disconnected them from the previous gate network to for the new region of Pochven.  (Which, among other things changed the shape of travel in empire space with the removal of Niarja.)

So… time for an anniversary celebration I guess?  CCP thinks so and has some events planned according to this dev blog.

The Triglavians are still behind the other empires of New Eden as they don’t seem ready to offer login rewards for their event.  Maybe contact with the other empires will lead them to this technology at a later date.

  • Faction Warfare Report

Faction Warfare is often mentioned as one of the neglected aspects of low sec space in New Eden.  You don’t hear much about it unless somebody is complaining that it is broken… or noting CCP’s neglect.  But a group of Gallente pilots have started up a podcast, the Federation Frontline Report, to give some insight into that aspect of EVE Online.  They also have a guest post up on INN about their efforts and what Faction Warfare is.

  • SSO Endpoint Deprecation

For those who use the CCP APIs for various things, they are deprecating the old security authorization token interface, so if you are connecting to the using ESI or using the EVE SSO for user authentication, you need to update to the v2 versions of the API by November 1st.  Details are available in a third party developer blog post.

  • Mega Skill Point Packages

There was a post over in r/eve this week from a player with an account that had been dormant since 2010 who received an offer from CCP to buy 50 million skill points for the low low price of $999.99.  Another user reported an offer for 12.9 million skill points for 229.99 GBP.

I didn’t get an offer, but I dug around in an account that was last Omega maybe three years ago and found I had a special offer for 8.1 million skill points for $199.

Skill Point Offer

I am sure we could find a few other data points and figure out how many skill points you get offered based on how long your account has been dormant.

  • Monocle Offer

It has been a little over a decade since the Incarna expansion, which got the player base to explode over a variety of issues.  Often referred to as the “summer of rage,” the name that stuck for a lot of people outside of the game was “monocle-gate.”  I covered the anniversary in a post earlier this year, including the fallout, resolution, and how things went forward from there.  But monocles became the symbol due to a pricey eye piece that was added to the in-game store with the expansion.

While the monocle stuck around long after things simmered down, it remained a trigger for some, which is why it was a bit of a surprise to find CCP offering special monocles again in the in-store ten years down the road.

Monocular times are here again

I can’t tell if this is CCP just looking for some new cosmetic item to sell or if they’re just trolling us a decade after their first monocle.  And the monocles are only available until downtime on October 14th, so they’re trying to push the FOMO button as well… if anybody has any actual fear of missing out on a monocle I guess.

  • New Player Experience Explored

Shintar sent this video to me, so credit to her.  CCP apparently went out looking for streamers who had never played EVE Online to go through the recently revamped new player experience and give their response.  They were supposed to go in without reading up or getting external help and just let the game guide them.  Preach Gaming took on the challenge and put together a video about the experience.

It is kind of fun to watch as somebody who knows the answers.  There are a few places where I don’t know how he ended up with a particular idea, but otherwise it seemed to go pretty well.  Something that will come as a surprised to exactly nobody is that the problems began when he hit the now very out of date career agents, but I remain impressed that he figured out how to use probes and scan something down in under two hours with no external help.

Anyway, that is what was on my list.

September in Review

The Site

And we’re now at the fifteenth anniversary of the first month in review post.  So there is that.

The state of the blog – Sep 2006

In the categories drop down there shows 182 Month in Review posts, one more than there should be because I wrote a post about Month in Review posts a while back.  It even had a poll.  But we’ll get to polls in a bit.

Otherwise it has been quite a month.

I mean, I can’t really complain about the first ten days.  I was in Hawaii for most of that.  But less than a week after I came back I came down with the dreaded “flu-like” symptoms, which was just in the COVID incubation period, so I ran down to get tested and started isolating at home… or tried to, it is harder than you think when your life is intertwined with another person… while my wife cancelled all her in-person appointments.

Luckily, it wasn’t COVID… it took a couple days to get that result… just a cold that has been going around.  I was sick, but just normal-ass sick, not plague sick.

And then the cold developed into an inner ear infection, a malady I could not recommend.  That started almost two weeks ago and I am still recovering, still feeling the effects.  At its peak it was an sharp and constant pain along with my tinnitus cranked to 11 at all times, plus gunk oozing out of my ear, and bouts of motion sickness as it messed with my inner ear functions.

That meant antibiotics.  But, having had an allergic reaction to amoxicillin a few decades back, I have to have the azithromycin based alternative, which makes one prone to stomach upset and what I refer to as “turbo diarrhea” as everything I at seemed to be very much in a rush to exit my body at its earliest opportunity.

At this point you might be saying, “Wow, that sucks… but what does all of this have to do with “The Site,” which is the name of this section?”

Well, all of that has certainly affected the quality of content.  The first eleven days of the month were all pre-written in advance.  I started to catch up a bit, then got sick, and the level of effort devolved to “look, a thing happened” without much in the was of my usual attempts to tie things into a greater theme or the historical context of the genre… though I am kind of curious if anybody actually noticed that or the fact that words per post dropped rather significantly.  Probably not.

All of that added up to the lowest monthly page view count since mid-2007.  It was a slow month here.

Somehow though I kept my post streak going and I still have a stack of things I meant to get to in September that I now mean to get to in October.  I still haven’t even watched that Ji Ham EG7 video.  But here we are.

Oh, and in other news, WP.com broke polls in their attempt to monetize them through their Crowdsignal brand.  My fourth email finally got somebody to look at the problem (the first three happiness engineers just tossed aside everything I said and sent me a link about using the new Poll Block in the awful block editor… which is broken as well so WTF?) and now… they’re looking into it.  I wasn’t planning on creating another poll any time soon, but now it seems I cannot and when I eventually can I will have to buy credits.  So look forward to no more polls I guess.  Yay?

One Year Ago

The blog turned fourteen and I made my usual post about stats and the passing of time.

Nintendo announced the end of their long running DS hardware line.

Chris Roberts was annoyed because people are so cynical online, threatening to unleash an irony-quake.

With no BlizzCon planned for 2020, Blizzard announced BlizzConline for February of 2021.

My third entry in the ongoing binge watching series was posted.  I was also looking at the main streaming channels I was viewing as well as some secondary channels.

In my play through of Diablo II on its 20th anniversary I wrapped up Act II, then launched myself into the somewhat forgettable Act IIIWhen it came to Act IV I had to go use that one time respec to finish Diablo.  On finishing Act V I summed up with some thoughts about the game.

In WoW Classic we were taking on the upstairs portion of Sunken Temple, though it took a third run to get to the Avatar of Hakkar.  I was also still plugging away with some alts.

In EVE Online CCP introduced quantum cores for Upwell structures.  Abyssal sites also got some updates, with T0 and T6 sites opening up with the Depths of the Abyss update.  They also tried to breath some life into the EDENCOM ship lineup.

Meanwhile, metaliminal storms were doing whatever it is they really do.  There was the GM Week bot bash in Yulai, where high sec players got to blow up some capital ships, including two titans.

My own main character hit 220 million skill points in the game.

And then there was World War Bee, which I will just list as bullet points:

Then, in a final Friday Bullet Points post for the month I looked at LOTRO’s mini-expansion, Microsoft buying Zemimax, PlayStaion 5 pre-orders, the end of FarmVille, EA being dumb about lock boxes again, EVE Online ship models, and something about CCP planning to do some sort of resource redistribution thing in New Eden, which became the whole economic starvation plan of the last year.   Kind of a lot for one post.

Five Years Ago

It was the tenth anniversary of the blog.

I was looking back at day/night cycles and full zone respawns of yore.

My wife’s Pokemon Go account was hacked, but I recovered it pretty quickly.  That post brings in a lot of search engine traffic looking for ways to hack Pokemon Go accounts.  So many bad people.

Daybreak announced that both EverQuest and EverQuest II would be launching Kunark focused expansions, with Empires of Kunark slated for the former and Kunark Ascending for the latter.

Smed was taking his Hero’s Song project back to the crowdfunding arena again, this time via Indiegogo which, unlike Kickstarter, lets you keep the money even if you don’t meet your goal.

I was going on about problems EVE Online has getting new players to stick with the game… again.  We also had the YC118.8 Update which revamped a the look of mining barges and some frigates, among other thing.  It also launched the Purity of the Throne event that had me chasing white skins for Amarr ships.

There was also the ascension of Caitiz of House Tash-Murkon to the Amarr throne.  All those ships are still lined up in Amarr for some reason.  Did they have to wait a year for the first Jubilee?

And Alpha Clones would soon be a thing, so I was wondering what you could do with one.

In post-Casino War events the Imperium finished conquering Delve and a state of normalcy was starting to come to pass.  I also got my last ship out of Deklein.

And then there was World of Warcraft where the Legion expansion was off and running.  There was even an app for it.  I started off slowly as I figured things out and moved clockwise around the Broken Isles.  That didn’t stop me from checking up on my Draenor garrison though.

And then in one of those bullet point posts that I always hate a year later when it comes time to do the summary I covered Star Trek Online going to consoles, Legends of Norrath card packs, rewards for Omega players in EVE Online, and the then upcoming EVE Vegas.

Finally, No Man’s Sky launched, capping off yet another dismal episode of fan behavior.  After getting death threats for delaying the launch, Hello Games finally shipped the game only to have the fan base explode even more so when it was discovered that features that were straight up said to be in the product… multiplayer being the prime suspect… were not.  Still, it made a lot of money and features have since been added and it got its own Honest Game Trailers video.  There are, no doubt, lessons to be learned here.

Ten Years Ago

I did the great survey of blogs that had, at one time or another, included this site in their blog roll over the last five years.  Only 28% of them were still up and active.  There was also the five year anniversary post and all that it entailed.

implied that Tobold’s mother a llama.  This had NOTHING to do with him not having a blog roll.

I was totally going to resist Steam selling me Rift for cheap.  That didn’t work, and I ended up playing for about a year or so.

Star Trek Online announced it was going free to play, though I couldn’t imagine how it wasn’t already.

In LOTRO, the Rise of Isengard expansion came out and I almost didn’t notice.  Which was odd, because we were kind of playing LOTRO still.

The Goons were going to wreck the EVE economy by blowing up high sec ice miners.  Another vast Goon conspiracy.  I was being nostalgic for my earlier days in EVE.

GameSpy had a post about re-imagining Diablo as a first person perspective game, which was met with much derision.  Me, I liked the idea and even had suggestions for further topics in that vein to explore.  Meanwhile, Diablo III was pushed out to the middle of 2012.

In other Blizzard news, the Official World of Warcraft Magazine went belly up after just five issues.  And then there was a drop in WoW subscribers.  They lost 600,000 players, though I wasn’t one of them… yet.  Good thing they never lost more than that…

I was still playing Need for Speed: World pretty regularly.  I was filming police chases, avoiding police chases, and buying the squarest ride in the game.

In EverQuest, on the Fippy Darkpaw server, the retro experience was made complete by “guilds behaving badly” when it came to contested content.  Some GMs came up with unorthodox ways to resolve conflicts.  Somewhere along the way I got my SOE Authenticator, which I never use.

ArenaNet said something about private GuildWars 2 PvP servers.  I wonder how that would play today?

EA/BioWare gave us a release date for SWTOR at last, so I could start fretting about pre-orders and grace periods.  While I wasn’t in beta yet, BioWare was asking how I was enjoying it.

There was no word about life on Planet Michael.

And, finally, I was wondering how 9/11, which took place just a couple months before the birth of my daughter, would influence her view of the world relative to my own.  This was triggered by her trip to New York, where she visited the Nintendo Store.

Fifteen Years Ago

Here we are, able to at last dip into the blog archives for fifteen year old items.

There was the first post.  I still haven’t covered all of the topics I promised 15 years back.

After that I was straight into the EverQuest nostalgia, an oft recurring topic here.  The Serpent’s Spine expansion came out for the game.  I would get to that in a bit.

LEGO Star Wars II – The Original Trilogy launched, setting the casual path for future Traveller’s Tales LEGO based games.  My daughter and I would later play this on the Wii, but that was still out in the future.

Pokemon Diamond & Pearl, the first core Pokemon RPG titles for the Nintendo DS platform shipped in Japan.  They wouldn’t reach US shores for another six months.  Again, another series that would show up here as time moved on.

Green Monster Games, later 38 Studios, was unveiled to the public by founder Curt Schilling with R. A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane as part of the creative team.

Roblox launched.  I didn’t know about it at the time, but the title has grown to be many things, including controversial.

I was into EVE Online, which I began playing just about two weeks before I started the blog.  My first post about it concerned the tutorial, then I went on to my impressions.  I already had EVEMon up and running, because you cannot play EVE Online without it.  And, while I was hardly aware of it, the first titan had been built in New Eden.

I was musing about games slated for the future, including Star Trek Online and Lord of the Rings Online I had reservations about both.

I kicked off my old school gaming reminiscences with a post about Stellar Emperor as it was back in 1986.  That was 30 years ago.  Damn continuous motion of time.

The instance group formed up for adventures in Azeroth.

I wrote the first “Month in Review” post.  I am not sure WHY I decided to do that, but it became a thing as here I am doing the 181st such post a decade and a half later. (About nine years ago I decided month in review should have its own category, so I went back and edited each and every last one to put them all in that category.  Fortunately, being a once a month thing, it was easy to figure out if I missed any or not.)

I also wrote something about Saga of Ryzom in that month in review post, which might be the one of the few times I ever wrote anything about it.  It had launched two years before and people were talking about it, but my play time with it was very short and unfulfilling.

But the smartest thing I probably did in that first month was link out to Brent at VirginWorlds in a post, which got him to notice my brand new blog, which kind of got me into the club pretty quickly as well as getting me my first comment.

Twenty Five Years Ago

Meridian 59 by 3DO launched.  It remains part of the perennial discussion as to what was the first “real” MMORPG.

Forty Years Ago

Wizardry for the Apple II launched, one of the early influential titles for me.  I still have graph paper maps of the levels in a drawer in my office.  Robert Woodhead, one of the creators of the title would later serve four terms on the EVE Online Council of Stellar Management.

Apple ][+ back in 1983

Castle Wolfenstein, another influential Apple II title, launched as well.  I needed that two button joystick to play that for sure!

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  3. Robbing Some Space Banks
  4. CCP Releases the ESS Reserve Bank Keys and Hands Out ISK in EVE Online
  5. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  6. Twenty Years
  7. Enad Global 7 Q2 2021 Financials and Concerning News
  8. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  9. My Blogging Quinceanera
  10. Getting Setup with Zwift
  11. New World Blues
  12. Dealing with Mudflation

Search Terms of the Month

nantworks h1z1
[That didn’t really work out]

is lotro dead 2021
[I mean, it’s been better…]

eve meta 2021
[HACs in null sec]

eve cv-composite molecular condenser
[I’m not going to be much help with gas mining]

eve online jedi gas
[I think you meant “ninja” there, right?]

Game Time from ManicTime

This month we get kind of a Bizarro world “what year is this?” list for my game play time:

  • EverQuest II – 35.06%
  • EVE Online – 24.37%
  • Diablo II – 22.55%
  • WoW Classic – 14.42%
  • New World – 3.61%

If not for New World I might convince you this was from a decade back or more.  Of course, it was, as noted in the opening, an odd month and my total play time was roughly a third of the average month in 2021 and less than a quarter of the month with the most hours played… which was March.  I guess it was all Valheim all the time that month.

Diablo II Resurrected

The last week of the month saw this nostalgia blast arrive and I managed to find some time for it.  I am still not into Act II with any characters, but I am also not in a big hurry.  Some rides don’t need to go fast to be enjoyable.

EVE Online

I went on exactly one strategic operation in September.  The war is over and I was away for one week and sick for another and in the middle there wasn’t a lot going on.  My planetary industry plans kind of crashed when oversupply of what I was producing hit and I didn’t really have it in me to re-do all of that to pursue some other PI goal.  I did, however, get on one Fortizar and two Keepstar kill mails.  Not a bad month for that.

EverQuest II

The announcement of the next expansion got me thinking about post-cataclysm Norrath and whether it might be time for a return to the old game.  After all, Pandas were on the horizon and there wasn’t really much else going on mid-month.  I subscribed, ran the 2020 Days of Summer event and did the intro quests for the next expansion.  Then Diablo II and New World showed up and now… maybe.  I don’t know.  We’ll see.

New World

New World, the new game under the sun.  I’d play more if I could log in.  Unfortunately, while I managed to slip in during the afternoon of day one, since then the queue on the server I chose… which had no queue at that point… has been mid-three to four figures and honestly I don’t want to play the game that badly.  But I am also not keep to toss ten levels overboard just to avoid the queue.  This isn’t working out so well I guess.

Pokemon Go

If you’re one of my friends I might have sent you a gift from Hawaii… and if you’re one of those people who actually look at the gifts you get, you might even have noticed!  I got in a lot of steps with my buddy while traveling, then had to send my wife with my phone out to get me a Pokestop while I was sick.  Not a lot of progress made overall.

Level: 41 (83% of the way to 42 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 665 (+3) caught, 689 (+3) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 12 of 14
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Noibat

WoW Classic

My avoidance of Outland overland content continues on.  The instance group did the Blood Furnace in one go, so we have that going for us.  I also did a bit of Brewfest, but honestly I wasn’t up to grinding out the tasks for a mount.  I got the mug and went on to other things.

Zwift

I am going to put my Zwift progress here in the monthly update.  I’ve written a couple of posts about it and I have a few more brewing.  It is now Wilhelm canon.  I did not make my modest monthly goal of 75 miles but, as I have repeated ad nauseum by this point, vacation and illness.  Leave me alone.  Anyway, my standings right now:

  • Level – 9
  • Distanced cycled – 264.9 miles
  • Time – 14h 28m
  • Elevation climbed – 11,352 feet
  • Calories burned – 8,783

Coming Up

Welcome to Q4 2021 as of tomorrow I guess.  Last year ActiBlizz gave us their Q3 financials at the end of October rather than sliding into November.  We’ll see if they’re as eager this year.  The will probably be eager to get players back to their games, so we’ll see what incentives and updates they throw out.

I imagine we’ll get more info about the EverQuest II expansion as well as the announcement for whatever EverQuest has in store for players as well.  Maybe those perks will go live too.  They were delayed due to technical issues.

The instance group will be headed towards Zangarmarsh in WoW Classic.

I will carry on with Diablo II Resurrected.

And then there is New World, where my mild indifference is both a blessing and a curse.  I’ll play it if I am enjoying it, but I am not interested in queues.  I guess we’ll see how that settled down as time goes on.

Finally, I am thinking about turning on ads for the site for Q4 just to see how that plays out.  Your feedback on them is welcome, though I clearly won’t be putting up a poll about it.  We’ll see if they can offset the extra I am paying for the premium plan.

24 Million EVE Online Pilots Means What?

As part of their announcement that EVE Online was now available on the Epic Games store CCP put out a press release that indicated that more than 24 million “pilots” had played the game and that more than 91 million ships had been destroyed.

Some numbers

Those are some impressive numbers.

When I write about older titles in the MMORPG genre I often refer to a game’s “installed base.”   Those are the total number of users who have played the game and who are still interested in or fond of the game. They are often a lucrative resource for a company to sell to.  There is a direct correlation between that “installed base” number and how successful an older game can be playing the nostalgia card with retro servers and the like.

EverQuest, for example, while peaking at 550K subscribers, was the biggest show in town when it came to the genre for the first five years of its run.  During that time several million people played the game and then moved on.  So, while many players didn’t stick with the game forever, they played long enough to have had good times.  When SOE, and later Daybreak, started offering old school servers based around early content, that became a significant part of the title’s business.

Likewise, we saw WoW Classic revive the fortunes of World of Warcraft when Battle for Azeroth was foundering a bit, and Old School RuneScape… playing the retro card there has gotten it concurrent player counts more than a lot of titles have total players.

So EVE Online looks to have a sizable installed base to work with.  Even if they can’t play the retro server card, they can still market to appeal to players who have played and lapsed over time.

The question is, how big the core installed base, the players that got invested enough in the game, really is.  And for that we have to first figure out what 24 million “pilots” really means.  That could mean characters, accounts, actual individual people, or some other metric they came up with after a night of too much aquavit.

Fortunately, even as I was thinking about what it could be, CSM member Brisc Rubal was using his position to find out from CCP what it really meant.  On The Meta Show on Saturday he said that he got clarification and that “pilots” really meant “accounts.”

That means 24 million accounts have been created for the game.

But he got even further clarification.  Of those 24 million accounts… and I know I keep rounding down, but I am going to get into some sloppy math in a bit and that will be my margin for error or some such… 18 million were created by unique individuals.

So the largest potential installed base for EVE Online is 18 million people.

Of course, it is not that big.  Not every one of those players spent enough time to form at attachment with the game.  After all, we’ve all seen this chart from EVE North 2019, haven’t we?

How many new players log back in as time passes

And that wasn’t even news in 2019.  We had seen a similar sort of chart back at EVE Fanfest 2014.

New Player Trajectory

People who leave without engaging, people who don’t log in after a day or two, nothing has hooked them.  They got a glimpse, didn’t find anything to their liking, and moved on.

This was the view of EVE at the time

The retention problem has changed over time.  That 2014 chart reflects the pre-F2P era, when you had to commit a bit more to even get going because the whole thing required a monthly subscription after the 14 day trial, a fact that chased a lot of people off before they took their first step towards the game.

Now, with free to play, the reality of the first chart, where nearly 90% of new players fall by the wayside in a week and the overall long term retention is something like 4%, that 10% “Group / Diverse” long term retention path probably feels like the good old days.

That means that the installed base isn’t 18 million.  But it also isn’t 720K, which would be 4% of that number.  It is somewhere in between, though much closer to the lower number I would guess.

So I am going to do a bit of hand waving with the data we have to come up with a guess that, while not solid, has some foundation in reality.  And that is where we get to that gap between 24 million accounts and 18 million individuals.

That is a gap of six million, and I am going to use that as the basis of my estimate, because to me those are the secondary and tertiary accounts that users who are committed to the game, people who would likely count in the installed base, players that CCP could reasonably be able to market to with some new initiative.

So if that is six million alts and, let’s take a 3 alts per main as an estimate… I know, somebody will say that person X has a hundred accounts, but a lot of people still just have one, and even Goons by the last participation metric count are a little past 4 to 1…. that means that there are maybe 2 million individuals out there that have committed to the game enough to manage multiple accounts.

That leaves 16 million in the total users, who can’t all have turned and run, so I am just going to somewhat arbitrarily declare a million of them…  6.25% of that total… are also in the installed base of the game.

That gives the game an installed base to draw on of maybe 3 million individuals, and I am going to use the slop in my rounding down to 24 million at the top to hide the current player base, where CCP has said they have an active monthly user count that runs between 200K and 300K.

That is pretty healthy.  But EVE Online has had some promising numbers of late, like that floor of 110K subscribers that the redeemed ISK token line in the July/August MERs seemed to indicate.

Of course, the question is what CCP does with this installed base.  As I noted above, they don’t really have the retro server option, the New Eden economy being a bit precarious as it is.  Splitting the player base with another server would likely doom both, leaving aside the giant elephant in the room of what an EVE Online retro server would even be.

So they have untapped potential.  Can they do something with it?  What would lend itself to getting the installed base engaged and back to the game?  Or is the installed base really a thing at all for New Eden?  When you “win” EVE and log off, do you want to come back?  It is a game that can absorb all the effort and dedication that you have, so would you miss it when it was gone or just feel relieved?

A Keepstar Dies in Catch

The war is over and most groups are back in their homes… old or new… and working on building up for the next struggle.  Out in Delve we have Ansiblex jump gates again and an industrial infrastructure in progress and ADMs on the rise.

But there are still some details to take care of.  While most of the PAPI structures have been cleared out, a Keepstar was still hanging on in Catch, in U-QVWD.  That might have been the most reinforced structure of the war.  The Initiative went after it many times, but it was a key waypoint on the capital highway to the east, so PAPI forces kept showing up to defend it even when they were not doing much in Delve proper.

They even gave it a name to taunt Dark Shines of INIT

But Monday night late USTZ the final timer was coming up for it.  The question was whether or not TEST or PAPI would put any effort into defending it one more time.  It was far from Outer Passage, but not impossible to get to.

The Imperium was not going to take any chances.  Capitals moved out the day before and as tht timer counted down subcap fleets were formed up and sent to Catch.  After all, who doesn’t want to get on a Keepstar kill?

Titans waiting their turn

There was even some chatter about Pandemic Horde doing a flash form and maybe coming our way.  But nothing came of it.  The joke went around that they accidentally jumped to the bait beacon in UQ-PWD like so many of their comrades before.

I had a jump clone and a couple of ships over in Curse in an NPC station just a couple of jumps away, so I grabbed an Ishtar I had sitting around and joined in to watch the fun.

Ishtar watching the Keepstar

I have been a bit under the weather and wasn’t feeling up to being in main fleet, so I did this on my own.  I waited until the Keepstar was down to about 15% then warped in range and took a few distant pot shots at it.  I scored no hits, but you get credit for trying.

The Keep exploded soon there after.

Another one bites the dust

I made it on the kill mail with about 800 of my fellow Imperium pilots.

GSOL, well practiced at this now, swooped in and grabbed the core then salvaged the wreck.

GSOL doing its thing

There is another TEST Keepstar in 0SHT-A, one gate over in Curse.  I am sure that will be next on the list.

 

Yulai Bot Bash 2021

GM Week is back upon us, and it opened up with the traditional Bot Bash in Yulai.  I think they get straight to that to grab botters before they realize the even it coming.  While there are plenty of other things to do during GM Week, this is always has a good turnout.  It is described as:

In this fan-favorite event, Capsuleers discovered using CONCORD-prohibited automated piloting technology will be dragged into Yulai, ship and all, where countless players will be sitting in wait to tear them apart!

So I had to find a character who could go out and take part.  Due to other commitments, the only character I had handy was  5 million skill point alt that I rolled up back in 2008 and only just started working with recently.  Most of his skill points are in planetary industry, but he had just enough in Caldari ships, and enough un-allocated skill points, that I could get him in a Kestral with decent range so he could get his first kill mails after almost 14 years of hanging around in the station waiting for his turn.

Of course I bought him a SKIN, I have some sense of style

I flew him out to Yulai early and set him up in a wide orbit around the Yulai Graveyard beacon.  (You can read about the Yulai Graveyard here.)

Things were warming up even as got there very early.  People had started to gather already and fireworks were being thrown about liberally.

It looks like the battle has already started

I left that to itself and went about my business until the time was almost upon us.  I was going to be ready this year, so I set my alt up with a capitals only overview and got ready.

There was an announcement in local.  The targets were going to be arriving soon.

Here they come

CCP Convict was on grid and rolling around in his Polaris Enigma Frigate.  Destruction was imminent.

CCP Convict in the thick of thins

Then the first three targets, three Rorquals, appeared on grid on my overview.   It was on!

And then I did a very null sec thing.  I shot them right away.

Unfortunately, Yulai is a high sec system, so you’re supposed to wait until the GMs flag the teleported ships as suspects, making them legal to shoot, before opening fire.  Honestly, if I had just counted to five I would have been fine.  I saw them turn suspect even as my own handle was broadcast across the system as a criminal and CONCORD came to get me.

And then I exploded.

My pod lasted long enough to get on the kill mail for the Rorqual I shot.  Or maybe the system was just lagged and I snuck in.  But now he is on his first kill mail… and he has his first loss mails as well.  He is a capsuleer now.

The event carried on without me.  It looks like the haul was those three Rorquals, five supercarriers, and a Titan.  Not ships you get to see in high sec every day.  Not as big of a haul as last year… one of my baby characters is on two titan kill mails from that… but still decent.

I am a bit bummed about my mistake,  but I am sure the event will be back next year.  Bots never sleep and they keep coming back.

The August MER and the End of the War in EVE Online

Time once again for a look at the New Eden economy as CCP posted the August monthly economic report for EVE Online late last week.

EVE Online nerds harder

August saw the end of World War Bee.  After the great PAPI summer lull, when the told line members to take some time off and we saw daily activity follow them out of the game, the coalition announced a final push against the Imperium, threw some subcaps against 1DQ1-A, then promptly began their retreat from Delve.

From there it was a time to clean up and return to normalcy, or something like it.  So let’s go through the usual categories and see what happened in August.

Destruction

While the final battle in 1DQ1-A resulted in a mere 340 billion ISK in destruction, blowing up the many PAPI structures left over in the region boosted the destroyed amount, putting Delve at the top of the region list once again.

  1. Delve – 4.27 trillion
  2. The Forge – 2.33 trillion
  3. The Citadel – 2.12 trillion
  4. Lonetrek – 2.08 trillion
  5. Vale of the Silent – 1.42 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.37 trillion
  7. Querious – 1.27 trillion
  8. Catch – 1.1 trillion
  9. Genesis – 1.04 trillion
  10. Metropolis – 905 billion

You can see the effects of some of the clean up in Querious and the cyno beacon trap in Catch that added to the 36 trillion ISK in destruction that took place in August.  That was up 9 trillion from July.  With the war over, I expect we will see that number dip once more with the September MER.

Production

The end of the war saw a bit of a boost in production as well as parties settled down and began rebuilding for the next war.

August 2021 – Production vs Destruction vs Mined

You can see the red line pulling upward again after having dropped off in April with the industry changes.  Overall a total of 94 trillion in ISK value was produced, up almost 13 trillion from July.  The top regions were:

  1. The Forge – 18.27 trillion
  2. Delve – 11.38 trillion
  3. The Citadel – 7.08 trillion
  4. Lonetrek 7.04 trillion
  5. Vale of the Silent – 5.27 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 3.81 trillion
  7. Fade – 3.36 trillion
  8. Domain – 3.1 trillion
  9. Placid – 2.77 trillion
  10. The Kalevala Expanse – 2.74 trillion

The regions feeding Jita, The Forge, The Citadel, and Lonetrek, dominate still, but Delve managed to clinch second place as the Imperium ramped up production to rebuild the region shattered by the war.

Mining

Mineral prices changed a bit as the war ended, falling slightly.

Aug 2021 – Economic Indices

That would have seemed like a big change in past eras, but after the starvation spike it feels like a normal fluctuation.  A total of 21.95 trillion in ore was mined, up about 1.5 trillion from July, with the top regions being:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 1.43 trillion
  2. The Forge – 997 billion
  3. Domain – 979 billion
  4. Metropolis – 800 billion
  5. Fountain – 775 billion
  6. Insmother – 641 billion
  7. Malpais – 576 billion
  8. Lonetrek – 565 billion
  9. Sinq Laison – 538 billion
  10. Deklein – 531 billion

Delve was down in 14th position, which isn’t bad considering the need to install moon mining structures and the need to raise ADMs to get upgrades so that mining anomalies would spawn.  I expect that we will see Delve in the top five for September and that overall mining value will go up with the changes we saw in last week’s update, where ice availability was doubled and Mercoxit spawns were increased.  That is the first step away from CCP’s economic starvation plan.

Trade

The market also saw a jump in August.  I am sure all those players trying to buy fuel to move their capital ships added to that number.  There was a total of 647 trillion in transaction recorded, up from 513 trillion in July.  That is quite a significant rebound.

The top regions were:

  1. The Forge – 471 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 51.36 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Delve – 25.81 trillion (Imperium)
  4. Sinq Laison – 16.15 trillion (Dodixie)
  5. Lonetrek – 13.41 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  6. Metropolis – 9.62 trillion (Hek)
  7. Heimatar – 7.09 trillion (Rens)
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 5.15 trillion (PanFam)
  9. Vale of the Silent – 4.62 trillion (Fraternity)
  10. Essence – 4.21 trillion (Gallente High Sec)

All of those regions, save for Heimatar, were up, with the top three being up significantly as the economy shifted back into gear after the early summer slump.

ISK Faucets

I have left the most interesting for last and we might as well get right to the Redeemed ISK Token entry.  Last month that line on the faucets chart spiked dramatically as CCP handed out 235 million ISK in login rewards to players with Omega accounts.  The main spike finished in August and then fell off as the month carried on.

Aug 2021 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

The sudden prominence of that line last month led some to believe that it only tracked the ISK tokens that were redeemed as part of the login event, myself included.

Following that logic, with the event over and most of the redemption likely concluded, the assumption was that the 25,869,509,165,000.00 ISK that line represented in July and August could be neatly divided by 235 million to give us a minimum number of Omega accounts active in EVE Online.

That gives you a minimum of 110,000 subscribers to the game.

However, nothing is ever that easy.  That Redeemed ISK Token line runs back into 2020 on the chart, and while it isn’t significant amount, it does mean that it isn’t all from that one event.  The Nosy Gamer did some research on that line item.  The upshot is that there are other things that feed into that line.  I pulled the data from the source file in the MER and found that from July 1st through July 26th, that line accounted for close to 20 billion ISK in payouts before the login event occurred.  That isn’t a lot relative to the trillions that the event adds in, but it isn’t nothing either.

Still, that 110,000 floor for subscribers seems to be fairly solid.  While a far cry from the 400K subscriber count the company was reporting in 2012, relative to titles of its age not named World of Warcraft, the game is doing pretty well.  The list of aging MMOs that would like to have 110K paying subscribers is pretty long.

Otherwise the faucets were the usual suspects.

Aug 2021 – Faucet end of the chart big chart

You can see that commodities are still in the top position, with bounty prizes lagging behind as has been the case for the last year or so.  Overall bounties were up by about 4.5 trillion ISK, with a total of 29.14 trillion ISK being collected.  But if you look at the sinks and faucets over time chart above, which shows daily activity, you will see bounties making a surge towards the end of the month as people settled into a more normal peacetime roles.

Tiny little crop

It is very possible, given that trend, that we might see bounties back on top as the primary ISK faucet come September.

As for where bounties are coming from, these were the top ten regions:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 2.46 trillion (Fraternity)
  2. Delve – 2.43 trillion (Imperium)
  3. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.47 trillion (PanFam)
  4. Tenal – 1.12 trillion (Fraternity)
  5. Malpais – 1.07 trillion (PanFam)
  6. Insmother – 1.02 trillion (FI.RE)
  7. Esoteria 953 billion (AoM)
  8. Oasa – 940 billion (Fraternity)
  9. Tribute – 908 billion (Fraternity)
  10. Branch – 886 billion (Fraternity)

Fraternity is still leading the way on NPC bounties, but Delve surged back on the list in the the back half of the month as work on raising ADMs continued.  Delve could climb back to the top of the list, though Fraternity’s diverse holdings will likely still add up to more ISK income over time.

And, finally, on the commodities front, one of the big questions was whether or not that estimated 20 trillion ISK sitting in ESS reserve banks would suddenly be let loose on the New Eden economy.  The chart says… not so much.

Aug 2021 – Top Commodity Items Over Time

While looking at the yellow line clearly shows an uptick in redemption of the encrypted bonds that both ESS banks and reserve banks yield when you rob them, relative to other commodities it wasn’t a huge impact.

Of course there have been ongoing issues getting the actual reserve bank keys, the fact that reserve banks have been “nationalized” in a number of regions, and the rather slow payout mechanism involved with robbing reserve banks that keep that number from suddenly jumping into the trillions.

Something to keep an eye on as time goes by.

Other items of note, going back up to the sinks and faucets line chart, you can see the brokers fee and transaction tax changes that CCP put in place reflected in the chart as well as a rise in the asset safety recover tax as people get their stuff out of hock after the war.

That is all I have for August.  As always you can find all the charts and data at the dev blog for the MER.

Related:

EVE Online Gets Another New Player Experience and Skill Training Updates as a New Quadrant Arrives

The summer vacations are over and CCP is back with a new Quadrant.  The Foundation Quadrant is over and the Gateway Quadrant has arrived.

Didn’t we all get stuck out here after that gateway closed?

And with that CCP is focused again on its favorite obsession of the last few years, the new player experience.  This time the NPE has been rebuilt around a new NPC faction, the Association for Interdisciplinary Research which will introduce new players to EVE Online.   The highlights from the dev blog are:

  • More immersive experiences and faster iteration
  • More dynamic visuals
  • Gradual UI reveal
  • Improved UI highlighting
  • An integrated intro video
  • Beautiful visuals

To the cynic in me that works out to “pretty,” “pretty,” “working with the UI we already have,” “working with the UI we already have,” “pretty,” and “pretty.”

I mean, there is room in there for real improvements, and maybe it is a better NPE, but CCP has chosen to emphasize the superficial and that the UI is too much for new players in its own description.  What is that supposed to tell me?

The new NPE is also said to be story driven, but so was the NPE two iterations ago, which was going to be a big new thing until they quietly ditched it, because everything PvE had to go into The Agency…. and probably also because once you got done with the story the actual game is nothing like that, bait and switch not being a great idea for player retention.  I hope CCP learned something since last time and aren’t just jumping back on the same idea they previously axed.

Though the NPE has been through the wringer more than a few times, CCP has been especially adamant about new player retention being an issue since EVE North back in 2019 when they gave us this chart.

How many new players log back in as time passes

As I noted at the time, that seems pretty dismal without any context.  But the one publicly available study on the topic I found seemed to indicate that those retention numbers are pretty close to the industry average for MMORPGs with a free to play option.  Given EVE Online’s legendary difficulty, obtuse UI, and open world PvP, that CCP does so well is probably an achievement.

So while I get that CCP likes to keep reminding us that new players are the lifeblood of the game… and I hope this next revision of the NPE helps on that front… farming the installed player base, the lapsed veterans and such, is how games like EverQuest and World of Warcraft have revitalized their bottom lines.  Here is hoping that another investment in another new NPE pays off.

The NPE is also emphasized in the trailer for the new quadrant.

I feel like I saw that launch sequence in the EVE Valkyrie opening… but I guess all tube launches feel kind of the same.  I’ll have to find some time to give it a try.

So that is the first thing on the list.

Next on the update front is skill training with the introduction of skill plans and a revamp of the training system UI.  This feels like a feature that benefits both new and old players alike.  Players will be able to create plans for specific goals, with milestones to mark improvements for specific configurations, and even certified skill plans aimed at new players to help them decide what to train.

There is also a revamp of the skill training UI.  Being an old fart that has finally gotten used to the current setup, I immediately wondered how badly could they screw it up? This morning already saw calls for the old UI on r/eve, but they hate everything there.  But here is the new UI on day one.

The New Skill Window – The red arrow thing is not part of the UI

For openers, skills now have their own window, no doubt because the game UI doesn’t have enough independent windows floating around, and it defaults to the new training plan UI, which I won’t even delve into right now, but it feels too big and not all that helpful.

For those of us who just want to see our current skills and queue together, the second tab has that, with all the skill groups now in alphabetical order finally.  I know, there is outrage that Spaceship Command isn’t in the upper left, but whatever, and my brain wants to read left to right along rows first, then down columns, and the sorting is by columns, but I’ll get used to all of that.

The window seems bigger than it needs to be.  It defaults to full screen, which is obnoxiously large on my 34″ monitor, but even when I make it a window it remains too wide for my taste largely due to the black dead zone between skills and queue (marked with the red arrow in the screen show above) that cannot be sized down by itself. (The gap between skill names and their states seems pretty wide as well.)

Anyway, there is always EVE Mon still if I need a more compact view.  Oh, and your character sheet is different now, lacking all those skills… and I hope you remembered to put pants on your avatar.

A fuller body view now

All of this comes with a couple of big changes to skills queues:

  • The current limit of 50 skill entries in the queue will be increased to 150 for both Alpha and Omega clones.
  • The current restriction of the Alpha clone training queue allowing only the skills that would start training within the next 24h will also be removed.

As somebody who came from the “one skill at a time and make sure you start a long skill the night before the next patch update” era, these seem huge.  150 skills in the queue will let you build up a might skill plan… I’ve bumped into the 50 skill limit a few times since it became a thing… and the removal of the 24 hour queue limit will be huge for new players.

And old players.  I can even now see people rolling up a new alpha, sending it the ISK for skills, setting up the desired queue, then letting it run for however long it takes until that suicide gank character or whatever is on the shelf and ready to use.  There is no improvement that EVE players will fail to exploit.

There are a few other items with today’s update.  A new skill points for sale pack is in the store.  EVE Online will be available in the Epic Store come September 23rd.  And, in a nod to the promise to relax the economic starvation plan (now planned for November), there was this tidbit slipped in at the bottom of the announcement:

More ice has been brought back into New Eden with its availability having doubled, and the availability of Mercoxit has also increased.

I wonder if the ice availability got boosted due to the jump drive fuel crisis that hit the game when World War Bee ended and PAPI had to move home?  Anyway, there is alleged to be more ice now.

So that is the what has come with the launch of the new quadrant.  Here are the related dev posts for today’s update:

Reviving My ISK Reserves in the Post War Era

I went into World War Bee with approximately 15 billion ISK on hand, spread out across various accounts.  About 11 billion ISK of that was on my main, while other key alts had a billion here or there in order to be able to buy things at need.

When I got to the end of the war my main had about 2.5 billion ISK on hand, with another 2 billion ISK still scattered about.

Where did all that ISK go?  Was the war that costly?  Didn’t I run on about how SRP was paying the bills previously?

Well yes.  Mostly.  Of my total losses in the war, I war reimbursed for every ship I lost on a strategic war op… as long as I remembered to fit the rigs. (That only happened once though.) My losses:

  • Ares interceptor – 18
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Drake battle cruiser – 7
  • Atron entosis frigate – 7
  • 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
  • Sabre interdictor – 1
  • 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

I did not, however, get reimbursed, nor file for reimbursement, for off the books ops I took upon myself.  I did a bunch of entosis ops in Catch and Querious at various times during the war and ate all of those losses.  That added up to about 1 billion ISK.

I also put 5 billion ISK into Imperium war bonds.

And then there was the big build up for the final battles in 1DQ1-A.  The Mittani encouraged us all to have multiple reships for key doctrines ready to go because, in a massive tidi fight you cannot rely on the market or contracts to work reliably.  I can attest to that.  So we might only have what we was in our hangars for a big fight.  So in July I stocked up on doctrine ships, buying battleships, battlecruisers, HACs, and logi ships to the tune of about 3 billion ISK… which honestly didn’t buy me all that many ships.  With the industry changes and mineral prices, a fit doctrine battleship was going for 400 million at Jita prices.

Add in other ships I bought over time and still had in my hangar, and I was down to 2.5 billion ISK on my main.

I was, however, rich in assets according to the in-game wealth appraisal, which said I was sitting on almost 50 billion ISK in ships, modules, and whatever else.  So my first step in reviving my fortunes was to sell some of that.

Doctrine ships are tough to unload when there is suddenly no war.  Those are all still sitting in my hangar.  But I clone jumped back to Jita on my main, which I had not done in almost a year, and started sorting through all the stuff that has accumulated there over the year.  I shipped some of it to 1DQ1-A, as the market there still looked good for some items… and some items had grown so expensive over time that I figured they would be better to have handy there if I needed them.

The big money item for me was a SKIN I had laying around, the SARO Black Troop SKIN for the Marshal, which came as the final mystery code reward a little over three years ago.

The mystery code’s last payout

I hadn’t activated the code because the fate of the Marshal was a bit uncertain back then, and then forgot I even had it.  But now, three years down the line, with a Marshal hull exceeding 4 billion ISK last I looked, I figured that was never going to be on my shopping list.  So I could part with the SKIN… which was going for two billion ISK.

I was also sitting on 100 doses of Quafe Zero.  I decided to hold onto that, but sold ten of them just for a bit of cash.  Selling two more than covered the costs of me shipping a bunch of stuff to 1DQ1-A.

Some ISK sales injection

There is probably a lot more stuff I could sell off.  I am always leery of dumping stuff I might need for a fit later, so my hangars tend to be full of modules.

So that was one shot of ISK.  And the Imperium war bonds drip a little bit of ISK into my account every month, to the tune of 41 million ISK.  That won’t buy you much, but it is something.

Meanwhile I have also been ramping up on planetary industry.  A while back I started training up my unused alts on active accounts in PI.  A few run around in high sec, where the payout isn’t that great, but it is very low effort.

I also trained up my KarmaFleet characters so they all have max PI skills and have started those running now that things are somewhat quiet in Delve.  I had given up on PI in Delve for a while because my main had all his PI stuff in 39P, which fell to PAPI.

I am not quiet ready to get into ratting or mining, but I might start doing abyssal pockets again for a bit of ISK.  I need to build up my reserves.  The big war is over for now, but there is always another war or deployment or whatever just over the horizon, so I need to start saving up for that.