Category Archives: Null Sec

The EVE Online November and December 2021 Monthly Economic Reports, Technical Difficulties, and Mining Data Changes

We got a double tap of Monthly Economic Reports from CCP, with the long overdue November MER and the December MER both landing the week before last.

EVE Online nerds harder

The delay was blamed on “technical difficulties,” though that seemed to apply mostly to the December MER.  I am not sure what went wrong with November.

As for the December MER issues, those were around the mining yield, no doubt due to the changes that were part of the big New Dawn permanent austerity plan.

As I noted on the previous Friday Bullet Points post, CCP disavowed the mining numbers in the original December MER, which showed a huge drop in mining output since the patch, put up a chart without any data that showed mining was actually up, then promised to revise the December MER.

I will give them credit in that they did, in fact, publish a revised December MER.  What it tells us… well… I will get to that in the mining section, where I will review November, the original December numbers, and what CCP has given us since.  I’ll save that for last, since that is where things go off the rails.

Production

Dec 2021 – Production vs Destruction vs Mined

Production remains well below where it sat before industry changes made battleships and capital hulls much more expensive to produce.  CCP Ratatti remained confident at the “No Question Taken” Q&A stream after the tepid Winter Update that players would fall into line eventually.

Production in November rang in at 90.4 trillion ISK in value, about where it was in October, with the following regions in the top ten producers:

  1. The Forge – 17.15 trillion
  2. Delve – 9.55 trillion
  3. Lonetrek – 6.3 trillion
  4. The Citadel – 6 trillion
  5. Vale of the Silent – 4.82 trillion
  6. Fade – 3.58 trillion
  7. Sinq Laison – 3.55 trillion
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 3.1 trillion
  9. Domain – 3.03 trillion
  10. Placid – 2.28 trillion

December actually saw a bit of an uptick in production, coming in at 109.19 trillion ISK in value, though there were new blueprints and new modules to research and produce as part of the New Dawn “prosperity” patch.

  1. The Forge – 19.61 trillion
  2. Delve – 13.51 trillion
  3. Lonetrek – 7.65 trillion
  4. The Citadel – 7.2 trillion
  5. Vale of the Silent – 7.12 trillion
  6. Fade – 3.73 trillion
  7. Sinq Laison – 3.69 trillion
  8. Domain – 3.27 trillion
  9. The Kalevala Expanse – 3.18 trillion
  10. Heimatar – 2.87 trillion

In addition, the Imperium also had an expensive new homeland defense fleet doctrine announced anchored on black ops battleships, so there was a ramp up in producing those, which no doubt had some impact.  I’ll probably return to the doctrine in another post as I bought one of those ships myself.

There was also the Winter Nexus event in play during the holidays, which tends to see a rise in player presence in the game.

Destruction

As always, the life’s blood of New Eden, the thing that keeps the economy alive and pumping out replacement ships and modules.

November saw 31.44 trillion ISK in destruction recorded, about on par with October, with the following regions in the top ten:

  1. The Forge – 1.97 trillion
  2. The Citadel – 1.46 trillion
  3. Pochven – 1.31 trillion
  4. Lonetrek – 1.25 trillion
  5. Pure Blind – 1.22 trillion
  6. Delve – 1.11 trillion
  7. Vale of the Silent – 1.05 trillion
  8. Metropolis – 1.02 trillion
  9. The Kalevala Expanse – 963 billion
  10. Sinq Laison – 909 billion

December saw destruction rise slightly to 33.2 trillion ISK in value, with the top regions being:

  1. The Forge – 2.17 trillion
  2. Lonetrek – 1.76 trillion
  3. The Citadel – 1.65 trillion
  4. Pochven – 1.41 trillion
  5. Vale of the Silent – 1.31 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.08 trillion
  7. Delve – 1.08 trillion
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.03 trillion
  9. Metropolis – 990 billion
  10. Pure Blind – 910 billion

Regions surrounding Jita, along with Pochven, seem to be holding on to the top spots.

Trade

In November trade in New Eden was valued at 562 trillion ISK in value, down about 30 trillion ISK from the October number, which in turn was down about 16 trillion ISK from September, a post war trend where reduced destruction, increased prices, and CCP imposed scarcity continue make their combined weight felt.

The top ten regions were mostly the usual suspects:

  1. The Forge – 408.56 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 43.03 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Delve – 17.67 trillion (Imperium)
  4. Sinq Laison – 14.65 trillion (Dodixie)
  5. Lonetrek – 14.17 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  6. Metropolis – 9.22 trillion(Hek)
  7. Heimatar – 6.90 trillion (Rens)
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 6.43 trillion (PanFam)
  9. Insmother – 4.27 trillion (FI.RE)
  10. Vale of the Silent – 4.08 trillion (Fraternity)

December saw a reversal of the downward trend as players join in on the Winter Nexus, which injected quite a bit of ISK into the economy, as we’ll see in a moment.  So the total trade amount went up by 42 trillion ISK from November, totaling 604 trillion ISK in value, putting it about on par with the September number.

Again, the usual suspects inhabit the list, though there is always one wildcard region:

  1. The Forge – 428 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 49 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Lonetrek – 18.7 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  4. Delve – 16.87 trillion (Imperium)
  5. Sinq Laison – 16.06 trillion (Dodixie)
  6. Metropolis – 10.21 trillion (Hek)
  7. Heimatar – 7.45 trillion (Rens)
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 6.54 trillion (PanFam)
  9. Vale of the Silent – 5.16 trillion (Fraternity)
  10. Essence – 4.62 trillion (Gallente High Sec)

ISK Faucets

Time for two months worth of money talk… that means clips from two charts before I get going.

Nov 2021 – Faucet end of the chart big chart

Dec 2021 – Faucet end of the chart big chart

Once again, a curse on whoever made those charts with such tiny text.

But for the two months the big numbers, in trillions of ISK, were

  • November
    • Commodity – 38.6
    • Bounty Prizes – 22
    • Incursion Payouts – 12.2
    • ESS Bounty Payouts – 9.4
    • Trig Invasion Payouts – 7.6
    • Agent Mission Rewards 3.1
  • December
    • Commodity – 46.7
    • Bounty Prizes – 24.7
    • Incursion Payouts – 13.2
    • ESS Bounty Payouts – 9.2
    • Trig Invasion Payouts – 8.6
    • Agent Mission Rewards 3.1

That adds on to the sinks and faucets over time chart for December.

Dec 2021 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

There you can see the effect of the Winter Nexus event as commodity payouts went up by about 8 trillion ISK in December.  With the commodity faucet chart below you can see that the Overseer Personal Effects were dropping from the event, so those became the top commodity in December.

Dec 2021 – Top Commodity Items Over Time

I expect that, come the January MER, should we get one, that commodities will be boosted once again, this time by the Doctor Who cross over event which, among other things, drops items you can turn in for ISK.

Meanwhile, on the NPC bounties front, November saw a total 29.28 trillion ISK paid out according to the regional stats, which are again not in alignment with the faucets numbers up above.  Missing regions from the data?  Maybe.  The top regions were:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 2.22 trillion (Fraternity)
  2. Delve – 1.88 trillion (Imperium)
  3. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.60 trillion (PanFam)
  4. Fountain – 1.49 trillion (Imperium)
  5. Detorid – 986 billion (FI.RE)
  6. Esoteria – 970 billion (AOM)
  7. Outer Passage – 891 billion (TEST)
  8. Malpais – 887 billion (PanFam)
  9. Oasa – 886 billion (Fraternity)
  10. Querious – 847 billion (Imperium)

December saw the NPC bounty payouts rise slightly to 30.09 trillion ISK, though again the regional stats are not aligned with the faucets listing above.  The top regions were:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 2.17 trillion (Fraternity)
  2. Delve – 1.77 trillion (Imperium)
  3. Fountain – 1.56 trillion (Imperium)
  4. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.35 trillion (PanFam)
  5. Tribute – 1.05 trillion (Fraternity)
  6. Malpais – 1.01 trillion (PanFam)
  7. Catch – 921 billion (Imperium/Others)
  8. Oasa – 919 billion (Fraternity)
  9. Querious – 918 billion (Imperium)
  10. Outer Passage – 811 billion (TEST)

We have a series of usual suspects here as well now I suppose.  Vale and Delve have been vying for supremacy for a while now, but there are some other regions in the running.

Mining

As noted above, I saved mining for last because it is the most complicated this time around.

Just for openers, CCP seems to have dropped the short term economic indices chart, which was a bit more granular, so I will swap to the all time chart, which at least gives a historical perspective.

Dec 2021 – Economic Indices

As you can see, mineral prices, while down from their peak, remain at an all time high thanks to scarcity.

And, when it came to mining, November was a normal month… well, a month in what had become normal with minerals being reduced by 90% over the last year.  37.77 trillion ISK in mineral value was mined, with the top regions being:

  1. Delve – 1.99 trillion (Imperium)
  2. Vale of the Silent – 1.93 trillion (Fraternity)
  3. Fountain – 1.52 trillion (Imperium)
  4. Insmother – 1.42 trillion (FI.RE)
  5. Detorid – 1.18 trillion (FI.RE)
  6. Malpais – 1.06 trillion (PanFam)
  7. Etherium Reach – 1.03 trillion (PanFam)
  8. Providence – 980 billion (somebody lives there I guess)
  9. The Forge – 961 billion (High Sec)
  10. Genesis – 935 billion (High Sec)

Then came December and the imposition of the New Dawn permenant austerity plan, and things start to get screwy.

First, the original December MER.

The regional stats showed that a mere 16.48 trillion ISK in value was mined in December, less than half of November’s total, with the top regions looking like:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 853 billion (Fraternity)
  2. Delve – 849 billion (Imperium)
  3. Fountain – 810 billion (Imperium)
  4. Outer Passage – 652 billion (TEST)
  5. The Forge – 651 billion (High Sec)
  6. Malpais – 648 billion (PanFam)
  7. Metropolis 546 billion (High Sec)
  8. Domain 545 billion (High Sec)
  9. Querious – 476 billion (Imperium)
  10. The Kalevala Expanse – 461 billion (PanFam)

Not a single region with over a trillion ISK mined, something of a milestone.

However, then there is the mined/produced/destroyed data, which is used to generate that chart I use every month to look at production.  That data says that 27.55 trillion ISK in mineral value was mined in December.

Quite a disparity.  There are a couple regions missing from the December regional data, but that would not come close to explaining over ten trillion ISK worth of mining output.  Could it have been the new waste mechanic in action already?  If so, it was a bigger nerf than expected.

People pointed this out to CCP as proof that the New Dawn continuing austerity plan was killing off mining.  The CCP response was surprise… because they never check the data before they post it… and then denial.  A chart was posted in the MER discussion thread to show that mining was in fact up, though what the chart actually represented was unclear and no underlying data was included.

CCP says mining was great in December

Then last Thursday we got the updated December MER and… well… some things changed and some things did not.  The mined/produced/destroyed chart and data were unchanged, still indicating that 27.55 trillion ISK in mining was done in December.

But there were some new, more granular charts.  Per the update:

The Mining Value by Region data has been replaced by eight new graphs showing Asteroid Ore, Moon Ore, Ice, and Gas Volumes mined – as well as the residue numbers. You can expect this information for all future Economic Reports.

My first thought was that this was going to turn this into an apples vs. oranges comparison where CCP could claim whatever they wanted.  But at least we were getting some new data to work with.  Or so I hoped.

However, the result was different than I had expected.  As part of the mining report change they altered the new charts so that they are measured solely in cubic meters mined.  Apples, meet oranges.

Now, I will say that makes some sense when compared to the ISK value previously used, which had to reflect both volume and price fluctuations.  However, it makes every cubic meter or ore mined equal to every other, regardless of value.  It also really draws a hard line in comparisons; there is what came before December and then there is everything going forward from December, and the two cannot really be compared because CCP says the old data is bad and measures the new data differently.

Also, the new data, sticking to the usual CCP script, is missing some regions.  I’m sure somebody must be mining at least one moon in Omist, while the list of regions for gas mining seems noticeably shorter than its sibling graphs.  And this is supposed to be the “good” data that CCP tells us they work with.

Also, as a further kick in the nuts, CCP did not include the raw data used to create these charts, so I had to pick the data out of the HTML versions.  It also makes getting overall totals quite arduous when compared to just summing up a column in a spreadsheet.  But that is the way that CCP wants it.

So now we have the following charts for December.

First there is asteroid mining by region.

Dec 2021 – Asteroid mining by region by volume mined

The top ten regions for asteroid mining:

  1. Sinq Laison – 2.47 billion m3 (High Sec)
  2. Metropolis – 2.14 billion m3 (High Sec)
  3. Lonetrek – 2.03 billion m3 (High Sec)
  4. The Forge – 2.00 billion m3 (High Sec)
  5. Domain – 1.67 billion m3 (High Sec)
  6. Heimatar – 1.64 billion m3 (High Sec)
  7. Delve – 1.63 billion m3 (Imperium)
  8. Tash-Murkon – 1.35 billion m3 (High Sec)
  9. The Citadel – 1.28 billion m3 (High Sec)
  10. Essence – 1.18 billion m3 (High Sec)

Nine of the top ten regions are in high sec, but since CCP took away all the asteroid belts in null sec, Delve made the cut on mining anomalies I guess.  Otherwise, that is just a thing mostly done in high sec.

Then there is asteroid mining over time.

Dec 2021 – Asteroid mining over the last 12 months by volume mined

First, the chart only goes back 12 months, so doesn’t provide as much insight as one might hope.  That puts the data set mid-mining nerfs and in the middle of a null sec war over one of the otherwise most active economic regions, Delve.

Also, it isn’t shaping up to be a big increase in mining overall since the patch.  Yes, some more mining was clearly done, but most of the increase went into residue, or waste as it ought to be called.

Then we have gas mining by region:

Dec 2021 – Gas mining by region by volume mined

This is more mixed, with null sec, low sec, and high sec regions in the top ten.

  1. Delve – 12.68 million m3 (Imperium)
  2. Aridia – 11.40 million m3 (Low Sec)
  3. Fountain – 10.46 million m3 (Imperium)
  4. Placid – 10.37 million m3 (Low Sec)
  5. The Forge – 9.72 million m3 (High Sec)
  6. Lonetrek – 9.44 million m3 (High Sec)
  7. Vale of the Silent – 9.00 million m3 (Fraternity)
  8. Solitude – 8.63 million m3 (High/Low Sec)
  9. Cloud Ring – 7.94 million m3 (Misc Null Sec)
  10. Derelik – 7.03 million m3 (High/Low Sec)

Overall gas mining over time shows.

Dec 2021 – Gas mining over the last 12 months by volume mined

There is a spike in April as new gas mining options appeared and were part of the requirements for building battleships and capital ships.  Once again, the volume does not appear to be up that much in December unless you allow for the wasted effort of residue indicated at the bottom of the chart.

Then there is ice mining by region.

Dec 2021 – Ice mining by region by volume mined

The mix in the top ten is high and null sec regions, with the top ten being:

  1. Metropolis – 2.48 billion m3 (High Sec)
  2. The Forge – 2.42 billion m3 (High Sec)
  3. Delve – 2.34 billion m3 (Imperium)
  4. Vale of the Silent – 1.75 billion (Fraternity)
  5. Domain – 1.21 billion m3 (High Sec)
  6. Lonetrek – 1.21 billion m3 (High Sec)
  7. Fountain – 1.20 billion m3 (Imperium)
  8. Kador – 938 million m3 (High Sec)
  9. The Citadel – 676 million m3 (High Sec)
  10. Malpais – 631 million m3 (PanFam)

Overall ice mining over time shows the following.

Dec 2021 – Ice mining over the last 12 months by volume mined

September was when CCP put ice back in belts… which was timely because there was a huge capital fuel bind as thousands of capital ships were convoying home as World War Bee ended.  Again, December doesn’t look exceptionally up from November, and is weighed down by the amount of waste being shown.

The big dip at the start of December is said to be a combo of a problem with ice belts spawning after the patch and the fact that the Winter Nexus event offered ice to mine and was considerably more lucrative than normal belts.  The latter makes me wonder if CCP will attempt to steer the economy via events going forward in order to inject this or that into the economy.  I mean, they have already straight up handed out ISK for a login event when numbers were way down, so why not ice or ore or whatever?

Finally, there is moon mining.

Dec 2021 – Moon mining by region by volume mined

The top ten there were:

  1. Delve – 2.94 billion m3 (Imperium)
  2. Vale of the Silent – 2.49 billion m3 (Fraternity)
  3. Domain – 2.49 billion m3 (High Sec)
  4. The Forge – 2.02 billion m3 (High Sec)
  5. Outer Passage – 1.71 billion m3 (TEST)
  6. Fountain – 1.59 billion m3 (Imperium)
  7. Insmother – 1.54 billion m3 (FI,RE)
  8. Querious – 1.45 billion m3 (Imperium)
  9. Kador – 1.37 billion (High Sec)
  10. Genesis – 1.35 billion (High Sec)

Delve and Vale of the Silent are the top two regions, but they are followed by Domain and The Forge, which are both high sec regions, because moon mining is allowed in high sec in systems that have 0.5 security status.

Then there is the overall for moon mining.

Dec 2021 – Moon mining over the last 12 months by volume mined

Now here is the one segment where mining was, in fact, up.  CCP has made a blanket statement that mining was up overall since the patch, but the data they have provided seems more accurately stated as moon mining was up and other areas were reasonably flat since the patch, the wasted effort represented by residue.

Anyway, new charts, new data, and a new year under way.  We’ll see where this goes.

The Battle of the Loot Pinata at R-ARKN

As I posted last week, the Army of Mango Alliance (AOM) got themselves into a bind and tried to escape it by transferring a couple Keepstars, including their main staging Keepstar, to the GSF in an attempt to reverse merge themselves into the protective arms of the Imperium by joining Ranger Regiment, which they may or may not have controlled. (More null sec spy drama.)

This did not work out well for AOM as the Imperium was not favorably disposed to being dragged into their war with Fraternity.  Again, lots of back story there which I at least briefly covered last week.

So the Imperium agreed to allow AOM 48 hours to get the stuff out of the main Keepstar before the cloning serviced were turned off and the fuel removed, the latter putting the structure on a 7 day timer to the abandoned state.

The abandoned state was introduced by CCP as part of the Forsaken Fortress update back in May of 2020, which streamlined the ability to kill unfueled structures.  The abandoned state also removed asset safety, a feature they had said was very important to have if players were going to trust Upwell structures.  And then CCP changed their mind.  Without asset safety, all items in hangars, personal, corp, or otherwise, get ejected into space in containers when the structure is destroyed.

This led to an orgy of structure killing, where some organizations were killing structures on the test server, where most everything is unfueled, to find the ones with the best loot so they could target their efforts.  The Imperium went around its own territory shooting friendly structures to keep outsiders from looting neglected corp help citadels.

So lots of loot has spilled from abandoned structures in New Eden, but there had yet to be a staging Keepstar in abandoned state show up.

Okay, there were a couple of Keepstars in wormhole space.  The J115404 wormhole adventures saw not one, but two Keepstars blown up.  But even as packed as they were, being in W space limits what can get to the and how much can be carried off… and if you have control of the hole, who can even participate.

But a staging Keepstar in normal space, packed full of stuff and in a location that any determined group could reach… that was a new set of circumstances.  And the time for this event was Sunday morning USTZ, late afternoon EUTZ.

Waiting on the abandoned Keepstar for the order to shoot

Fraternity had been out in R-ARKN helping us camp the Keepstar once the fuel had been removed, as they were very interested in keeping AOM from extracting anything once their evacuation window had closed.  They were still on scene in great numbers, despite the early hour for them, when I arrived.  We had a truce with them for the camp, though that was set to end as soon as the Keepstar shoot began.  We did not want to share loot with them.

Also, due to organization shifts due to the AOM shenanigans, Fraternity had a war declaration against us, so their members were easy to spot as they were all flashing red in my overview.  Frat had attempted to end the war, according to my notifications, but it was still in effect when I got to R-ARKN, for all that mattered in null sec space.

Frat says, “Let’s call the whole thing off”

I ran out to R-ARKN in an Ares interceptor most out of habit.  I was several jumps along the route when somebody said I should use a shuttle as they now have warp bubble nullification, but I carried on.  The Ares would end up having some use later.

I was joining up with some Reavers in system who had been given a special task.  We were to fly some jamming Scorpions and do… something.  I wasn’t quite clear on the plan, which was expressed in a hand-waving sort of way.  But I got on the target Keepstar and minded the hostiles coming and going, trying to get on the kill mail.

Just hanging out mostly

I had some drones, so I put one on the Keepstar to get on the kill mail myself and mostly just watched.  I set off the ECM burst jammer once, when I was in the middle of a bunch of Frat shuttles and rookie ships, and got a scolding because the 71km range of it meant that I broke lock for a lot of Imperium pilots.  But I got on a few small kill mails, because I was too slow to lock up anything otherwise.  We had a Cormorant fleet hovering around picking off small stuff.

The shoot itself was just another structure shoot really.  It took a lot longer than normal as we had to go from shield through structure in one sitting.  Usually you make three trips for shield, armor, and structure.  And time dilation was kicking in.  There were about 2,500 people in system when it started, but the number kept growing as people tried to squeeze in for the big loot fest.

I’ve done this a few times before

You can see that The Initiative brought some titans in to helps speed things along.

Somebody bought a Doctor Who SKIN for their Avatar

All told it took about three hours from when shooting started until we got a kill mail… which was good, because sometimes we don’t get a kill mail if too many people are involved.

And then the fun began as the structure disappeared and hangar containers began popping out into space in a ball around the wreck.

Cans appearing as the explosion starts

By then we were past 3,500 people in system and headed to the peak of about 4,100, and everybody was crowding in to the loot field.

The ball of chaos

You can barely see the containers due to so many people being on grid around the wreck, digging through ones that appears, ejecting ships… which added to the bracket chaos… and trying to grab what they could.  I did have an overview setup for objects, and got a better screen shot once I found it.

The ball of hangar containers

And, more amazingly, the node did not crash.  The belief is that this was because the system only loads hangar containers when it has the capacity to do so, which meant that the containers were spawning for a couple of hours after the kill, but it kept the system stable… if at 10% time dilation.

Past 4K in system

It was actually a busy day in New Eden, with 35,479 logged in at the peak on Sunday.  While there was the Doctor Who event going on, more than 11% of those logged in were in system with us.

The loot frenzy turned out to be the high point of the whole event.  Several groups including TEST, NCDot, and Fraternity, attempted to get away with valuable items.  Frat, who had a structure nearby, was especially persistent, warping in shuttles or rookie ships and then abandoning them to jump in more valuable hulls.

Our group of Scorpions had been told we could stand down, so I went back to the Fortizar we had on grid and contracted mine back.  Then I got in my Ares and went flying around to see what I could see.  I didn’t have any room for loot really, and people were grabbing with both hands, so unless I was dying for a cargo hold full of cap batteries, I wasn’t going to find much.

But I had a fast interceptor and could go tackle some bads trying to make off with loot.  The first I managed to grab a Kikimorra and help hold him down.  Then I put up my capital overview and saw a Frat pilot trying to make off with a Rorqual.  I flew over there at full speed and help shut him down.

A Rorqual tackled

Then I saw somebody board a Nyx and try to warp off.  I went after him.

A Nyx being stolen from the loot pile

I did not get there in time, but he ended up getting trapped in a bubble on the way out, eating some doomsdays for his trouble.

A Nyx caught and shot

I chased a few others around, but the titans in the center of the ball had the range and firepower to zap most capitals that were being stolen.

Another Rorqual being hit

The battle report run up for the event shows nearly half a trillion ISK in ships and such destroyed, with lots of capitals blown up as non-Imperium groups tried to swipe them.

With the in-game map set to highlight ship kills it wasn’t hard at all to spot the system way down in Esoteria.

It kind of stands out there at the bottom

The map put the last 24 hours of kills at over 9K

That is ships in the last 24 hours

Meanwhile, over at DOTLAN EVE Maps, R-ARKN topped the charts.

Ships and capsules destroyed

I think the difference is that the in-game map counts ships currently being flown while DOTLAN may include unoccupied ships that were destroyed, and there were a lot of those on the field getting blown up.

It looks like both sides lost a lot of stuff, but the thing to remember is that it was all a giant slap fight mostly using AOM’s assets.  They are the ones who are out that half a trillion, plus whatever people got away with.

And people got away with plenty.  I saw a couple of supers grabbed by hostiles warp off or jump out successfully.  The Imperium is still counting its loot, but it looks like the state, which claimed all caps and structures, got a titan, a dozen and a half supers, more than 30 other capital ships, a Sotiyo, four Fortizars, and piles of fuel and related stuff.

Then there are the individual hauls.  Some people did quite well.  There were plenty of nice items on the field if you could grab them in time.  I saw quite a few faction ships get scooped up.  It was quite the event and not your every day structure shoot.

Backlit Keepstar being shot

I personally made off with nothing, save for screen shots.  But I was there for the spectacle, to be there when another New Eden player event came off.  Maybe not one for the record books, but it was quite the sight all the same.

Related:

Friday Bullet Points for EVE Online about the CSM, the December MER, and Doctor Who

I am going to have to go back and check, but I think EVE Online has gotten the most Friday Bullet Points entries over the life of this particular feature.  No doubt at some point I’ll be bored and go back and do a summary of these summary posts, but not today.  Today, with the 59th edition of Friday Bullet points, we’ll just go straight to New Eden.

  • Progodlegend Steps Down from the CSM

In a surprise turn yesterday, Progodlegend (PGL) posted an announcement that he would be stepping down from the Council of Stellar Management, EVE Online’s elected player council.  The CSM has seen its share of membership drama, and there was a stretch where somebody got booted by CCP at least once a term.

This time however personal reasons were listed for the departure.  PGL has certainly had a full year.  He and Vily both led TEST into World War Bee and are often seen as the prime instigators of the war.  While the initial stages of the war went fine, the whole thing bogged down into a stalemate for months and led to the PAPI coalition tiring of the whole thing.  As a result TEST lost its old territory in null sec in addition to its captured holdings and ended up having to retreat to Outer Passage in the distant northeast of null sec, as far from the Imperium as they could go.  If you had to pick an alliance that lost the war, TEST would be a prime candidate.

Since then the alliance has struggled to find its way, with some key groups leaving the alliance.  Vily abandoned the alliance to join Pandemic Horde and now PGL is stepping away from the game for a while as well.

As PGL has served most of his term, this cycle will count towards his eligibility if he chooses to run again for CSM17.

Arsia Elkin is the next in line for a seat based on the CSM16 election results, being the final candidate eliminated, and has been brought on board the council.

Coverage:

We should be coming up to the point where we’re talking about the CSM17 elections soon.

  • CCP Disavows the December MER

CCP released the Monthly Economic Reports for November and December this week, claiming that technical issues had delayed them.

The MER is this odd labor of CCP, where they care enough to post it every month, but don’t care enough to check it for errors before they do so.  So there are issues almost every month.  Often whole regions are missing from the regional data.

While the November MER had the usual spate of issues, the December MER was problematic enough for CCP to actually sit up and take notice after many complaints.

December 7th saw the imposition of the New Dawn Quadrant permanent scarcity plan mining changes… the economic beatings will continue until morale improves… so many eyes were on it to see just what impact the update would have.

The December MER, as published, showed an almost catastrophic drop in mining done in New Eden, undermining CCP’s “prosperity” promises yet again.  Again, I am not sure why CCP doesn’t even glance at the MER before they post it, but now they are promising an updated version.

Just a quick MER update!

The Mining Values in the December MER are inaccurate. Attached is a graph comparing Volume of Ore mined – that is ore that is successfully mined (aka after residue). Intentionally absent is the Winter Nexus Event Ice, so that a proper comparison can be made to previous months.

The teams are looking at what caused the issue for the December MER Mining Values and will have an updated MER with more accurate information as soon as it is available.

Included with that note was a graph showing mining was up in December, though no data or further context was provided.

CCP says mining was great in December

CCP’s performance on the economy and absolute determination to implement their plan while ignoring any feedback has led to mistrust on the part of many players.  We will see if we actually do get an updated MER.  CCP’s track record on that is fairly unsubstantial as well… I think they have done so once, and only because they included the wrong month’s graphs in the archive.

  • Updates for the Interstellar Convergence

The Doctor Who / EVE Online crossover event, the Interstellar Convergence, kicked off yesterday.

I actually got out there right away and… the going was a bit rough.  The event sites, which you need to scan down, were fairly rare on the ground and people were tackling those that appeared rapidly.  Since components and blueprints from these sites are required in order to advance into the event… as well as being part of the event that new players can access… their scarcity seemed like an odd design choice. (So does making new players learn how to probe down sites, but that is another story.)

I did manage to get a couple of blueprint drops and was able to get into the next level of the event twice.  It was very pretty, if elusive.

Out in one of the second level sites in my Heron

In addition, while I managed to grab three blueprints for the filament that brings players to the third round of the event, I was not able to manufacture any because the drop rate for one of the components, the Strange Matter Component Y-79, was so low as to make them almost unobtainable.  I say “almost” because somebody was finding them now and then, and they were going for a mint on the market in Jita.  I declined to spend a few hundred million ISK on the filament.

However, today’s patch notes promises some relief for those attempting to participate in the event.

  • Small miscellaneous balance updates have been implemented for the Interstellar Convergence combat filament encounters.
  • Improved the text describing the difficulty levels in the Show Info descriptions of the Warp Matrix Filaments.
  • Increased the spawn rates of the Warp Matrix Convergence relic signature for the weekend to help accommodate the initial rush in the event.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Strange Matter Component Y-79 drop rate to be far too low, causing bottlenecks in Warp Matrix Filament manufacturing.

As always, we hope today will be better than yesterday, and tomorrow better still.  I just hope they are not in a hurry to dial back the relic sites too quickly.  If you want new players in that part of the event, making them a pain to even find does not seem to be a winning strategy.

Then again, making them more available might not be representative of the reality of the game.

The Army of Mango Alliance Attempts a Self Destruct to Flee Fraternity

World War Bee has been in the past for months now, but that doesn’t mean null sec space is quiet.  Nobody is assaulting Delve at the moment, but there are still many stories unfolding in the space noir epic that is the wilds of null sec as we settle into the post war reality.  Brave has been trying to establish a home, TEST has been falling apart in Outer Passage, and for some reason we’re fighting with Triumvirate in Cloud Ring.

It has all been relatively low key, at least when compared to the war, and out away from Delve, which means I haven’t seen much of it in person.

And then this past weekend The Army of Mango Alliance got caught trying to reverse merge themselves into the Imperium and… well… I’ve read the reporting over at the New Eden Post and have heard The Mittani try to explain it twice, once on the Meta Show and once at our weekly fireside and I am not sure I understand how the plan was supposed to work or who exactly they thought it was going to fool.

But let me reel that back in for a minute to set up the situation.  One of the post war events that had comes to pass recently was a war breaking out between Fraternity and Army of Mango.

This was not a huge surprise to anybody paying attention… or even people like me who were simply not asleep that day in class.

Faternity and Army of Mango are, along with a few other corps and alliances, part of the great exodus from Serenity, the mainland Chinese EVE Online server, which occurred when one group, the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community, won the game by becoming the single unassailable dominate power in null sec.  The influence map was them and those who paid tribute to them.

Some of life on the Serenity server was covered by the Rooks & Kings videos Message in a Bottle and First Light on the Fifth Day, the latter covering a final battle in wormhole space.  But the end of the war led many to exit the server… though, as I understand it, the Chinese company that had been running it at the time wasn’t helping much.

And many pilots who liked the game on Serenity came here, where there was not a single dominant power.  (So, among other things, the player count on Tranquility was boosted by players from Serenity.)

Those players brought with them the grudges from Serenity and can generally be sorted out into the winners and losers camp if you know who is who.  Fraternity and Army of Mango have generally been the two groups most at odds, and while they managed to cooperate during World War Bee, joining the PAPI coalition against the Imperium, things have been tense and some wondered if they might start fighting each other there on the front lines.

But at week seventeen of the war Army of Mango stepped back from the front lines to assume stewardship of the Legacy Coalition’s backfield, trying to tamp down the then incipient harassment as The Bastion rolled into Esoteria to take a few systems and be an annoyance.

When PAPI gave up the invasion and turned for home, Army of Mango managed to scoop up much of the territory TEST left behind as Vily and PGL sought shelter as far away from angry Goons as they could.  There AOM began to form a new coalition with some remnants of Legacy, bringing back the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community name from the Serenity server, which was pretty much the same as waving a red flag and shouting “come get me” at Fraternity.

Once alliances were settled and rested, Fraternity went straight for Army of Mango and, though they were rebuffed on their first assault, the writing seemed to be on the wall that Frat was going to win over time.

Army of Mango decided they needed an out and sought to sneak into the Imperium.  They transferred some structures, including their main staging Keepstar, to GSF and told their members that they were going to disband the alliance and fold themselves into Ranger Regiment, another of the Chinese diaspora groups from the Serenity server.

Ranger Regiment, which joined the Imperium as a candidate member back in February of 2020 when they were driven out of their space by Fraternity, was already in a bad odor in the Imperium for low participation in the war.  To hear the leadership of Army of Mango go on about it to their members, it seems that Ranger Regiment was at least aligned with, and possibly being run by, Army of Mango.  Kind of a bit of interesting post war news.

So the plan, as explained by the leadership of Army of Mango, was to ditch their alliance and move their existing structure, including their leadership, into Ranger Regiment, taking over the alliance and carrying on from there, safe from Fraternity.  How very sneaky.

Unfortunately for Army of Mango, the leadership of the Imperium did not just fall off the back of a turnip truck, so this did not go unnoticed as the structure transfers were noticed and spies reported back with with what was going on and, soon enough, full translations of what was said.

Pancake Wolf got a medal for work on intel

Once the attention of the Imperium was focused on what was happening, updates began flowing back in near real time as Army of Mango tried to carry on, then found themselves in a bind as the Imperium wasn’t having it.  We were not going to be a patsy for Army of Mango or allow ourselves to be dragged into the middle of their war with Fraternity.

The Imperium honored a short period that had been negotiated to allow Army of Mango line members to evacuate from their staging, and then the hammer fell, zapping the clones left in the Keepstar.

3,277 clones about to be destroyed

(image courtesy of The Mittani, who pressed the “yes” button.)

Meanwhile, Ranger Regiment is being kicked from the Imperium for their part in this.  They were already in trouble, but being involved in this scheme was too much.  This has led to a scramble for homes for a large number of players from both alliances.

Army of Mango down 3,800 and counting

Dracarys, another Chinese alliance in the Imperium, has picked up quite a few new members due to this shift.  They put in a strong performance in World War Bee and hold some former Legacy Coalition space in Catch along with connecting space in Querious.  However, the word is that groups coming into the Imperium must be vetted thoroughly and nobody in the Army of Mango or Ranger Regiment leadership team is welcome.

So there looks to be a shake up coming on who owns what in the south end of null sec as it does not seem like Army of Mango and Ranger Regiment are going to be able to hold onto that space.

South null sec – Jan 10, 2022

Ranger Regiment is set to disband and Army of Mango, which now has no place to land so has to carry on existing, is planning to head to low sec space for now.  The Pan-Intergalactic Business Community coalition has effectively been destroyed. Fraternity wins this round.

This has also led to what is set to be a major null sec event.

The Imperium pulled the fuel from the Keepstar in R-ARKN so it will go into an abandoned state and will be blowing it up this coming weekend.  Unlike an normal Keepstar destruction in null sec, this will lead to everything left in people’s hangars being ejected into space when the structure blows up.

This could turn out to be the ultimate New Eden loot pinata.  Every player’s stuff gets launched into space in a station hangar and people will be rummaging through them looking for ships and modules and anything of value.

I’ve seen something like this before in wormhole space when we got to go along with The Initiative to blow up a couple Hard Knocks Keepstars back in 2018.  There, in the J115405 wormhole, sometimes known as Rage, we first blew up Fort Knocks.

The loot ball with markers on

Then we blew up Unassailable Wealth.

The Initiative showing off with their logo in spaceships

That was a huge amount of loot on the field, and it was a crazy time.

I suspect that the Keepstar in R-ARKN will throw a few times as many station containers into space when it blows.  It seems likely that the server will just crash when it happens.  But if the server holds, we’ll be out there scooping loot for a long time.  Imperium leadership is already planning out how to deal with it.

Of course, other groups might want some of that loot as well, so the whole thing could simply devolve into an ongoing slap fight over who gets what.

I wonder if CCP should contact Guinness Book for this.  Is there a world record category for most loot on the field in a video game?

Related:

 

Looking Back at 2021 Highs and Lows

I think the best we can say about 2021 was that at least it wasn’t 2020 all over again.

2020 plus 1

Well, maybe that isn’t being fair, but after the eternity of 2020 and the election and the pandemic and staying at home, hearing that we were going to have a vaccine and a boring old guy as president gave us hope for some normalcy.

And then shit happened and I am worried I have reached that point in life where everything is just going to be worse every year.  But we’ll get to that.  First the usual round up of past years, because this in an annual thing and has been since been for more than a decade.

This year we are back to highs and lows, divided up into categories based on some criteria that represents how my brain sorts things or relevance to the theme of this blog or something like that.

Blizzard

Highs

  • Burning Crusade Classic launched, keeping the nostalgia party going
  • Diablo II Resurrected landed on PC and consoles to popular acclaim
  • Some actual serious talk about doing more with Diablo II Resurrected
  • We got another run at nostalgia with WoW Classic Season of Mastery
  • BlizzConline was a nice, solid online event that was FREE to all fans
  • Hearthstone carried on and came out with a new solo mode
  • The WoW Community Council could help things if Blizzard deigns to listen

Lows

  • There was the collapse of the WoW Shadowlands expansion as people lost interest and exited the WoW for greener pastures
  • I am pretty sure the big level squish was a sign that Blizz just wants people to get to level cap raiding faster rather than any attempt to make that between content more viable or accessible
  • Diablo IV is still more than a year away
  • Diablo Immortal, which they were letting people play at BlizzCon 2018, still didn’t ship
  • Overwatch 2 seems to be some sort of unsubstantiated myth at this point
  • StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm are on a shelf in the back room
  • No new WoW expansion announced… or any real tangible public plan for the one franchise that pays the bill
  • Tainted the Burning Crusade Classic experience with the bonus pack, with the lizard mount and special hearthstone that mostly marked people out for scorn, though I am sure it made money in the short term
  • So far the WoW Community Council has been a game of Space Invaders, where suggestions are the descending aliens that Blizzard feels they have to destroy before they get too close
  • And then there was the State of California lawsuit about Blizzard being a hostile work place, which seemed supported by some accounts even as Blizzard tried to deny there were any problems at the company, which then exploded as more and more revelations about the company were exposed, often supported by the social media accounts of the people who were the problem, aided and abetted by senior management and HR who all seemed eager to cover up and excuse bad behavior, tarnishing everybody from Mike Morhaime forward
  • Lots of empty promises to clean things up while ignoring employee issues and making sure to jump on top of any hint of a union with the usual round of anti-union lies
  • Eventually there was some cleaning out of those most obviously complicit, but the company was at odds with itself and began to drift like a ship without a rudder as those in the executive suite made sure that they were not held accountable for anything; leading by example is the most basic form of leadership and Bobby Kotick can’t even manage that
  • As bad as Blizzard and Activision corporate behavior has been, I bet only a small sliver of their fans would even care if the studio actually shipped something new and fun

Enad Global 7

Highs

  • 2021 opened with such optimism about what EG7 was going to do now that it had acquired Daybreak
  • Then CEO Robin Floodin seemed eager to invest in the Daybreak portfolio, though he seemed oddly obsessed with H1Z1
  • Even replacement interim EG7 CEO and former Daybreak CEO Ji Ham admitted that the Daybreak portfolio of games had been neglected during his time as leader of Daybreak
  • We got to see Ji Ham speak and, while he wasn’t a font of insight, he did okay for his first public engagement as CEO of a public company
  • Ji Ham actually admitting on camera that Daybreak had not been investing enough in their game portfolio and saying that EG7 wanted to rectify that
  • New expansions for EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Lord of the Rings Online
  • Continuing new content for DC Universe Online and PlanetSide 2
  • MechWarrior 5 released on multiple platforms
  • Ongoing promise of a revamped LOTRO and a console version of the game
  • An unannounced Marvel IP MMO in development that got more headlines than anything Daybreak has done in the last five years
  • Daybreak taking over running Magic: The Gathering Online also put the company in the spotlight, adding another very visible franchise to their portfolio

Lows

  • Time and reality seemed to crush that initial wave of optimism that the acquisition instilled in us, as it tends to
  • Difficult to find anything real (as opposed to promised) where one can accurately declarre, “This is better today, right now, because of EG7” since the Daybreak acquisition
  • Worrisome feeling of deja vu when Ji Ham replaced the popular Robin Floodin as CEO
  • Some clearly impractical promises like LOTRO on consoles or bringing back H1Z1
  • Even the more practical promises are still out in the distant future
  • Really kind of business as usual for most of the games, which isn’t bad, but we were hyped for more

CCP

Highs

  • Opened the year with another Guinness Book World Record internet spaceship battle at M2-XFE
  • World War Bee proved once again that things happen in New Eden that no other game comes close to achieving
  • Lots of work on the whole new player experience thing and making things within the game more comprehensible
  • Came up with not bad solutions to the endless complaints about warp core stabilizers and interdiction nullification
  • Server upgrades to raise bar on performance in New Eden
  • Return of the Alliance Tournament

Lows

  • Economic starvation policy directly contributed to the stalemate that marked the last six months of World War Bee
  • The economy, the dull end of the war, and the COVID vaccine combined to slam the weekly peak concurrent user count
  • The promise of “prosperity” by CCP turned out to define “prosperity” as “more scarcity”
  • The CCP plan to make capital ships rare by making them expensive after years of them being way too cheap was both way too late to fix the proliferation issue and made capital pilots much less likely to risk their now very expensive hulls
  • The new player experience work has been focused pretty strongly on the initial tutorial, after which new players are still sent into the mediocre and now comically out of date career agents
  • Introduction of NFTs into the Alliance Tournament with the promise that this is just the start of those shenanigans
  • For some reason CCP can’t even ship what seems like a slam dunk improvement, like the new skill management interface, without screwing it up on the first pass and having to go back and fix blatant issues that were reported on the test server… and which should have been obvious to anybody with eyes honestly
  • UI design team philosophy seems to always default to “what if we added an additional UI pane to the game?”
  • I guess EVE Echoes is still a thing… oh, look, it has become a horrible, cash shop focused vision of what might be the future of the main game
  • Weren’t they working on a first person shooter or something?

Amazon

Highs

  • New World was an undisputed success at launch
  • Server queues are bad for players, but they are a good problem to have to solve when compared to server merges
  • Huge player numbers in the first month, with almost a million concurrent at its peak
  • Even when things died down, low six digit concurrent numbers are something many live games would kill for
  • Actually an MMORPG that felt different from the WoW-centric experiences we’ve been having the last fifteen plus years
  • Being skill and not class based means your character can do it all… theoretically
  • Planned for the future with a very obvious server merge path

Lows

  • When you’re getting 5 digit server queues with a game that has a low four digit player limit per server, you have not launched enough servers
  • So many bugs, so many problems that won’t go away, so much time spent waiting for the damn game to load
  • A lot of “nice to have” features left on the cutting room floor
  • You know “Azoth” makes half of us think of “Azeroth” every time we see that word
  • Some very odd UI design choices… beyond the clearly “designed for consoles” aspect even
  • An attempt to forestall players leaving made crafting and high end content so grindy it accelerated players leaving
  • In reality, I desperately want an alt so my main doesn’t literally have to do it all and respec with every change
  • Also, alts aside, two freaking character slots per region?  I remember the EQII launch and being dismayed that they only gave us four character slots, and New World somehow topped that
  • Server merges already as it is a game that has a minimum population in order to be viable
  • Getting to the “so what are you going to do next?” phase in New World
  • Didn’t Amazon have some other games in development?

Pokemon

Highs

  • We finally got a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl
  • A great Pokemon Go Fest back in July
  • Pokemon Go keeps adapting and getting better

Lows

  • We will see how well a faithful remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl plays in 2022 I guess
  • Pokemon Go Fest was largely a success because they cut the price down to something reasonable
  • Sitting at level 42 in Pokemon Go it looks like a long, long ways to level 50

Other Areas of the Video Game Industry

Highs

  • Valheim came out of nowhere and was amazing
  • Forza Horizon 5 turned out to be the open world driving game I was looking for
  • Hey, Forza Horizon 4 was that also, but cheaper and with all the DLC shipped, so I went there instead
  • World of Tanks, still fun a decade later
  • Raph Koster was telling us about his visions of the metaverse and, while being quite coy with details, seemed at least grounded in the reality of the situation
  • Steam Deck looks like a very promising platform
  • XBox Game Pass for PC is a pretty darn good deal for gamers
  • TorilMUD is still around 28 years down the line and even has an active Discord server
  • Minecraft got some nice updates this past year
  • Final Fantasy XIV was well positioned to grab refugees from World of Warcraft
  • FFXIV also kicked off their highly anticipated Endwalker expansion

Lows

  • Pretty much impossible to buy a new mid-range video card for under $1K
  • Steam Deck delayed until February, so none under the tree for Christmas
  • The biggest problem with Forza Horizon is the integration into Microsoft, which makes tasks like finding your friends surprisingly difficult
  • I am still very bad at World of Tanks a decade later
  • A three person studio was basically incapable of both keeping Valheim going and getting out some updates, so it has stayed pretty close to the launch state for most of the year and new zones are off in the distance
  • As with Minecraft, updates to biomes in Valheim will only apply to areas you haven’t been to, so you if you explored a lot like I did, you’re left having to start over to get to see new stuff when we get it
  • Speaking of Minecraft, it still gives me motion sickness, a rare effect on me, on the big 34″ curved ultrawide monitor
  • If you thought the New World queues were bad, let me tell you about FFXIV and Endwalker
  • Mark Zuckerberg was threatening us with his dystopian metaverse vision, complete with VR mask strapped to our collective faces and forcing his legless, uncanny valley horror show into our optic receptors
  • Too much meaningless NFT and blockchain hype, and it has only just gotten started
  • UbiSoft trying to one-up Blizzard with toxic workplace issues AND getting on board with NFTs
  • Et tu Bungie on the toxicity?

Television, Books, and the Media

Highs

  • The binge watching continued into 2021 and there was a lot to watch
  • Some solid IPs hitting the airwaves with series based on The Wheel of Time and Azimov’s Foundation series
  • A new attempt at a Dune movie, as well as a new Bond and Matrix movies
  • Ghostbusters Afterlife was the sequel the original deserved
  • Actually went out to the movies a few times; the popcorn was excellent
  • Lots of new seasons for things we like previously
  • Managed to get through 28 books this year
  • I did a lot of podcast listening as well
  • Twitter remains a fairly hospitable place for me

Lows

  • The problem with binging TV is that you become very aware of the tropes of the genre and the clues indicating where the plot is going
  • A lot of what I call “next season” fatigue, where I find that shows I liked in past seasons don’t really live up
  • We watched such a breadth of shows that when a new season drops I cannot remember what the hell went on before
  • Some extremely crap “previously on X” 30 second recaps in front of a new season that don’t help at all
  • Not a lot of new movies interesting enough to risk going to the theater, and a couple I might have gone out to see were released simultaneously on streaming, and our couch at home wins by default even if the popcorn isn’t as good
  • The whole Dune “we’re hiding the fact it is only part one until you see the opening credits” thing bugged me
  • Bond should have stayed retired
  • A lot of my reading this year was re-reading books for comfort, so not a lot new managed to get on my list
  • A lot of what I call “podcasts” today, such as This American Life, I would have just called “shows on the radio” 15 years back, while I rarely if ever find time for the amateur affairs that represented podcasts back then

Blogging and Such

Highs

  • The blog, it lives still, fifteen years into the game
  • I once again posted more than once a day in 2021
  • For no good reason I have been on a post-a-day streak since April 2020, which puts me into the mid-600s for days in a row of posting
  • Blaugust was a thing again this year
  • The local blogging community still carries on

Lows

  • Finding something to write about that I also care to put the effort into… ideas are cheap and plentiful, time and enthusiasm are much more rare… is becoming more difficult
  • The backbone of the blog was MMORPGs, which lend themselves to blogging as they are very much progression based and tell the story of your character, and since I am barely playing any MMORPGs at this point, those tales of progression have largely gone missing
  • There is no feature that WP.com cannot screw up on the first three tries
  • WP.com tech support will tell you you’re wrong when you say they’ve broken something, then fix it two weeks later

Just Life

Highs

  • As I stated at the top, at least it isn’t 2020 anymore
  • Still hanging on; my wife and I combined made more money in 2021 than any year previous, so we’re not too worried about the immediate future and doing okay compared to many in these trying times
  • Managed to refinance our house, lower our monthly payment, and pull out enough cash to pay for the last two years of college for our daughter
  • Back to having a boring president is good for the blood pressure
  • Covid vaccines available for most everybody at this point; I got my booster just ten days back
  • Even Donald Trump says you should get vaccinated
  • Managed not to contract Covid myself yet
  • Going to the store was mostly back to normal, save for masks, and there was toilet paper and antiseptic wipes available
  • The news wasn’t one outrage or horror show after the another; we let things slide in 2020 that would have been headlines with two week life cycles in a normal year

Lows

  • 2021 would seem like a pretty bad year if it hadn’t followed 2020
  • The price of the final two years of college for our daughter is easily going to get into six figures
  • Oh, and everything else is more expensive, so we’re not actually gaining any ground, just holding on
  • Everything is still worse than before Covid; prices are up, quality is down, portions are smaller, supply is unreliable, and the chip shortage remains
  • I didn’t catch Covid, but I got an inner ear infection that made me deaf in my right ear for about a month, and I have still not fully recovered my hearing there months later
  • Delta and Omicron variants have made it clear than Covid isn’t going away any time soon
  • Covid boosters are likely to become like flu shots, something we’ll need to get every year it seems, and masks in enclosed public spaces are going to be a thing for the rest of my life it seems
  • Apparently the ONE thing Donald Trump’s fans cannot abide is him endorsing Covid vaccines
  • We have reached a point where billionaires have their own space programs like Bond villains
  • I’ve really had trouble recalibrating to a news cycle that isn’t one insane thing after another, so when the top story of the day is about Biden’s dog or Kamala Harris buying cookware my gut reaction is “who gives a flying fuck?”
  • Remember when we were worried about Democracy in Hong Kong?  Yeah, China stomped that idea out of existence
  • China is starting to seem impatient about bringing Taiwan under its control
  • Russia is still working on reconquering the old Soviet/Imperial Russian empire, with an invasion of the remaining unoccupied parts of Ukraine as a distinct possibility, and we know how well wars in Europe work out for everybody
  • Boring presidents don’t actually do much it seems, so the new James Buchanan we have now is just forestalling conflicts to come
  • The November 2022 elections could very well decide whether or not democracy is a thing in the USA
  • We’ll be close to 8 billion people on earth soon, well up from the 3.3 billion who were around when I was born; Thomas Malthus would be telling us, “told you so” if he were still around today

Anyway, I had better stop there before I get myself too down.  Bad news does tend to push out anything good, so I should be happy that the bad news hasn’t been as frequent or as close to home.

Tomorrow is the last day of the year.  Enjoy it.  2022 is coming, and I am sure it is keen to leave its own mark on our collective hides.

A Decade in Null Sec Space

Ten years tomorrow I reset my home station, undocked in my pod, and self-destructed in order to death-clone my self to Deklein, which I used to pronounce as “Deck-lan” back in the day, but which I am reliably informed should be pronounced like “Decline.”  I’m much more accepting of that second pronunciation now that I no longer live there.

It was after the Cruicible expansion hit the game when CCP, despite insisting that everything the did in Incarna was great and wonderful and that all player complaints lacked merit, went back to the drawing board and began to fix the game mechanics their subscribers actually used rather than trying to cater to players who were not actually customers yet.  There were a lot of solid items in those patch notes, with more to come… this being the days when an expansion might see more than a few revisions and updates.  And it was very pretty.

After having cancelled my subscription due to Incarna, I came back to see what Crucible had to offer and, while there was a lot good there, I was still kind of bored with high sec life and missions and industry and all the stuff I had been doing for the nearly five years I had been playing up until that point.

And then my friend Meclin said said I should come out to null sec.  He had asked before, and I had been tempted, but the idea of moving myself and a whole ton of stuff was a bit too much to ask in the past.  Now, though, feeling no investment in my stuff in high sec, I said yes and self-destructed myself into the station at CU9-T0, which is where his corp had their HQ.

I was now in the BSC Legion corporation, which was part of the Tactical Narcotics Team alliance, and there was a war going on.  My very first alliance mail, which I still have because apparently I never delete anything, announced that war was upon us.

Back when TEST were our pals

I was a bit worried about showing up just as a war was commencing, since I had no idea what was going on, but it was probably the best time to join.  War unites a community and gives in a sense of purpose.  I just had to get on board the train.

I had 70 million skill points, which allocated correctly would have made me a formidably capsuleer.  But I had spread mine out all over the place and there were huge holes in my combat skills, especially around gunnery.  I couldn’t even fly the Tech I version of the Maelstrom fit for Alpha fleet.  I still had basic skills to train.

But as I got myself setup with comms and APIs and what not, I found that there was a Drake fit I could fly.  It was in something of an anti-support role for the Maelstroms, but that was fine with me.  The one ship I had skilled up more than any other was the Drake.

Within a few days I had seen capital ships and super captials, taken a titan bridge, been to a POS bash where we destroyed a CSAA and somehow survived.

Kind of a lot of titans in one place back then

I even got on my first kill mail.  All of that was completely new to me.

My Drake on the flank of the Maelstroms

I also lost that Drake a couple days later, the first of many combat losses.

The whole first few weeks was an introduction to null sec and bloc warfare, including propaganda… and propaganda backfiring, including the source of the long famous “VFK by February” meme that resurfaces every war, along with “not winning fast enough.”  (Also, if you get to the end of that post I mentioned PLEX selling for 500 million ISK.  Those were old PLEX, before the 1 to 500 split.  That is pretty cheap by today’s standards.)

And I found that war gave me a sense of purpose, a reason to log into the game that had been lacking in me for quite some time.  The big fights, the attacks, the wins, the losses, and the ongoing story of null sec is what has kept me playing since that day a decade back.

Since that day I have gained a lot of skill points (I’m past the 230 million mark now and have been training up other characters on my account of late), learned how to fly various ships, been in wars both won and lost, slugged it out on the field in soul crushing tidi, seen the servers crash more than once.  But the story carries on, and I count myself lucky to have “been there” for events that have become part of the history of the game.  The map of null sec has swirled with the various colors of sovereignty in my time, but it all weaves together into an ongoing narrative that is colorful enough to write books about.

Null Sec Sov –  December 27, 2011

For me, peace is dull.  Roaming to shoot people for the sake of shooting people doesn’t inspire me.  I don’t like to rat and CCP has worked to make mining a chore.  New Eden is full of things to do and explore, but it is only when we’re under attack or invading somebody’s space that I feel alive in the game.

So I potter about, reading the patch notes and the dev blogs and wondering when the next big fight will come.  That is what keeps me subscribed.

Answers to My Questions for 2021

Back at the start of the year I eschewed the usual predictions post and instead went in for a round of questions.  After 2020 I was clearly feeling unprepared to predict anything, though this was not the first time I went down that path.  Now we have hit the middle of December and it is time to see if any of my questions got answers we like.

2020 plus 1

There is a long pattern of me making such posts on the first of the year.

Anyway, let’s get tucked in and see what I can come up with.

What will a return to normalcy bring to the video game industry?

Right off the bat I am going to have to object here to the assumption that we’ve returned to anything like normalcy.  We’re not in 2020 anymore, but we’re not not in 2020 anymore either.  The shadow of that year lay heavily over this one, its poison seeping in.  People who can are still working from home, Covid is still spreading, the economy is still in a bind from the pandemic, and the world still seems to be going to hell at a rapid pace.

Will Shadowlands hold players?

Well, at least we have an easy one here.  The answer is “no.”  There are a few reasons, not the least of which is Blizzard not releasing much in the way of additional content and Blizzard being revealed as a nightmarish Dickensian workhouse of misogyny and intolerance.  Also, maybe “run Torghast every day for the next two years” wasn’t the winning plan that somebody thought it was.

Will Diablo Immortal ship?

Another easy one!  And another “no.”   Wyatt Cheng once asked if we had phones.  Many of us probably have new ones since he asked that question at BlizzCon 2018.  Now does he have a game?  That seems to be a more pertinent question at this point.

Does Blizzard have anything new planned?

Three for three here on the easy questions, with another big “no” on the tally.  Diablo II Resurrected is about as “new” as they got, and they had Vicarious Visions do the remaster of a twenty year old title for that.  It was a good remaster, but it wasn’t new.

Along with that we had Burning Crusade Classic and WoW Classic Season of Mastery, also not new.  Even the solo mode for Hearthstone didn’t feel very new.  I guess their bigger company issues got in the way for some of that, but it still feels like they came into 2021 just winging it and hoping something would come up.  And, honestly, they don’t seem to have much lined up for 2022.  How can such a big studio… more people work on WoW than most MMO studios have total employees… deliver so little?

What does Daybreak under EG7 really portend?

A reverse merger, with Ji Ham now at the helm?  I wouldn’t have called that one.  Otherwise there has been some promises for the future, but the first year really seemed like business as usual for Daybreak… except maybe they didn’t lay so many people off in 2021.  That’s a plus.

Will Norrath continue to boom?

Kinda, maybe, sorta.  As noted above, things were mostly business as usual.  That has generally been good for the Norrath titles, EverQuest and EverQuest II, which get an expansion in November/December and a major content drop in late spring/early summer every year.  So things roll on there.

But when it comes to doing anything new, it is LOTRO they want to put on consoles, DCUO they want to update, and an unannounced Marvel IP MMO that gets all the headlines.  They even keep bringing up H1Z1.  But EverQuest as a franchise?  Any plans for that look to be dead.

What happens with H1Z1?

Nothing.  As I wrote above, EG7 keeps bringing it up when they talk about the important IPs they control.  There is clearly some wishcasting going on about the title returning to the top of the battle royale genre. But actual progress?  There was some mention that they had a few people look into being able to run a build, but otherwise nobody appears to be working H1Z1 in any meaningful way.

At least they stopped renaming it I suppose.

Where is Cold Iron Studios?

Not with Daybreak and EG7, we know that much.  Somewhere between the announcement that Daybreak was purchasing Cold Iron and the launch of their game Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Cold Iron went somewhere else.  Details are hazy, the story is mostly inferred, but Cold Iron never made it into the EG7 stable of studios.

What does ArenaNet do after all the departures?

Pretend nothing has changed and announce an expansion?  This is the problem with bringing up studios and games I do not watch closely.  A bunch of key people left ANet last year, but back in August they announced the End of Dragons, slated for February 2022, so I guess everything is good.  Maybe?  I don’t really know.

Where does CCP go next with New Eden?

Nowhere?  Seriously, after the Triglavian story cycle the company has been been focused on the new player experience and trying to force the in-game economy into a form that they believe is best for the long term survival of the game, ignoring the short term “hey, can you give us something fun?” requests from the players.  Short sheeting the economy isn’t fun.  Even if you don’t care about the economy and mock miners and industrialists who are complaining, you have to admit that there is very little fun in what CCP has been doing for the last year.

Will CCP stop strangling the New Eden economy?

No.  There was a promise over the summer that the end of scarcity was coming.  But the Q4 quadrant, New Dawn: Age of Prosperity, involved very little prosperity.  For every relaxation of the economic restrictions there was some matching nerf to offset things, often hidden behind some oppressive new game mechanic.  CCP said they were listening to feedback, but they mostly slowed their roll a bit (compression will be in 2022 now) and tried re-arranging the deck chairs some (“waste” got renamed to “residue”) as they carried forward with the goal of resetting the economy to some past halcyon state.  I am sure this will end well.

How Will World War Bee End?

The side with the 3:1 numbers advantage got tired and went home.

There are many ways to spin who “won” the war.  PAPI can claim that they forced the Imperium down from four regions to one constellation and destroyed trillions of ISK in ships and structures.  The Imperium can claim that they held out, denied PAPI their stated victory conditions, and in the end destroyed as much in ships and structures as PAPI did.

As for losing the war, that award generally goes to the group that loses their space and has to move elsewhere.  That makes Legacy Coalition, the main instigators of the war under Vily, the losers.  TEST, the leading alliance in Legacy, lost their old space, couldn’t hold their new space, and ended up trying to live as far away from the Imperium as they possibly could.  Brave gets a special mention for losing hardest of all, as not only did they lose their old space and their new space, but now the rest of PAPI is attacking them because Brave sold structures to the Imperium so they could at least asset safety their stuff and get some seed ISK in the bank to carry on.

Really though, the honor of ending the war goes to CCP.  It was already somewhat obvious after the second battle of M2-XFE that their servers were not going to be up to a final mighty battle.  And then CCP made changes to resources and production that made capital ships too valuable to expend freely, so the attackers were limited to subcaps.  In the choice between investing a lot of time and effort in a real blockade of the final Imperium constellation or just going home, they opted to go home.

Will Nintendo announce a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl?

Yes, goddammit, yes they did.  About freaking time.  And it has shipped and there is a copy for me and my daughter under the Christmas tree.  We’ll see how that plays out soon enough.

Will crowd funded MMOs finally find their way?

Ha ha ha ha… no.  I mean, Crowfall went live I think.  I am not sure it will survive, but it shipped.  And they are a stand out in the stable of crowd funded MMOs, which mostly promised things they couldn’t deliver.  Don’t spend money on things that you cannot play today.

Project: Gorgon is the right path, as it was in playable form from the day of the first monetary ask. Camelot Unchained is the wrong path, asking for money, blowing through every promised date ever, and starting a new project before the promised one is even in beta.  And then there is Star Citizen… well, they certainly know how to milk a community.  Star Citizen is a lot of things, but being an actual video game seems to be a few bullets down the list.

Is there anything new possible for MMORPGs?

The metaverse maybe?  That seemed to be the topic for 2021.  I don’t know if it is Raph Koster’s desire to remake the simple days of MUDs in the 90s or Mark Zuckerberg’s dystopian vision of an all controlling metaverse that turns our very desires against us, but I guess either might be something new… at least for MMORPGs.

Oh, and something about crypto and NFTs.  But we’ll probably burst that bubble in 2022.

Will I play anything new this year?

Valheim.  That was a bit of a left field star, but ended up being our main game for about two months earlier this year.  New World showed up and, once the initial chaos settled down, the instance group got into the game.  And then there was Forza Horizon 4 & 5.  Open world driving for the win.  There were a couple of other small titles that were new, but nothing that I invested more than a couple of hours in.

That I played three new games made 2021 a departure from the usual routine.  In 2020 80% of my game time was spent in WoW, WoW Classic, and EVE Online.  The year isn’t over yet, but so far those three titles represent less than 50% of my tracked play time.

Will VR get a killer app this year?

Ha ha ha ha… no.  VR will remain a niche so long as it requires a real world obscuring mask strapped to your face… oh, and the motion sickness issue gets addressed.  Ready Player One and Zuckerberg’s idea that we’re all going to live in his ad laden VR metaverse hell is a pipe dream.

Will the industry be smart enough to keep regulators away?

Not really.  The industry’s best defense so far has been regulators being interested in other things to further their own interests.  It has to be a slow news day for lockboxes to make the headlines of late, so politicians and regulators have mostly been busy elsewhere.   Except for Blizzard.   Yeah, Blizzard is having some regulatory issues, though not over lockboxes and that sort of thing, just mundane things like running a hostile, discriminatory work place.  The usual corporate thing.

But the industry keeps on trying to get the government to come down on them hard, with cryto and NFTs on their list of things to try next.

Will We lose Section 230 Protection?

Not yet, though Facebook seems to be pushing to have that taken away, because they have the money and the staffing to deal with any new regulations which would help them cement their place in creating our dystopian future… and present… and recent past.

What will I do when the blog turns 15?

Write a post about it.  That is my answer for most things I suppose.

So that was the list for 2021.  As those were just questions rather than predictions there is no score.

I think I’ll be able to warm up to doing some predictions for 2022.  I have a couple of weeks to get on it.  But first I need to make a 2022 graphic.

CCP Begins Inflicting the New Dawn Austerity Plan on EVE Online

But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task, if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us, that when the storm is long past, the ocean is flat again.

-John Maynard Keynes, A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923)

When CCP announced the New Dawn quadrant for EVE Online, the promise was of “The Age of Prosperity.”  It said so right there in the graphic for the quadrant.

Prosperity Promised

The dev blog for New Dawn opened with some big news, like the doubling of harvestable resources in New Eden before delving into less popular topics.  The devil was in the details and, upon examining the what CCP was proposing it looked much less like prosperity and more like an attempt to institutionalize the past two years to the starvation economy in the name of preserving the game for the “long term.”

For every minor buff to something there was a corresponding nerf to offset it, and even the touted “doubling of resources,” something CCP keeps repeating because it sounds good, doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.  After denuding resources by 90%, including removing all asteroid belts from null sec, doubling what remained still leaves the game far behind what it once was.  Those belts in null sec are still empty.

Prosperity was a lie.  People were angry.  The forums received plenty of feedback.  There were thousands of protestors in Jita shooting the monument.

In response, CCP said they were listening to the feedback and said they would rework some of the more oppressive mechanics they had put up on the test server, like the in-space ore compression, which was similar to a mechanic they removed almost a decade back for being incredibly unfun.

And CCP did rework some items.  Mining barges and exhumers got some adjustments, though their EHP remains lower than before, making them easier targets.  But the plan was being tweaked, not changed.  CCP’s goal remains to keep the economy at starvation levels.  Prosperity, the word CCP chose, the word CCP keeps using, the word that CCP declined to define until it was crystal clear what they really meant, remains elusive.

Not all the changes in the New Dawn plan are bad.  The rationalization of mining crystals was probably long overdue.  The new simplified crystal list looks like this now:

  • Simple Ores – Veldspar, Scordite, Pyroxeres, Plagioclase
  • Coherent Ores – Omber, Kernite, Jaspet, Hemorphite, Hedbergite
  • Variegated Ores – Gneiss, Ochre, Crokite
  • Complex Ores – Bistot, Arkonor, Spodumain
  • Abyssal Ores – Talassonite, Rakovene, Bezdnacine
  • Mercoxit – Mercoxit

Unfortunately, CCP couldn’t stop with six types in tech I and tech II variations.  They remain wedded to the waste mechanic, now renamed “residue,” though to describe what residue means they have to constantly use the word “waste.” Why not just stick with what they mean instead of trying to hide it so badly?  Anyway, there are three grades of crystrals:

  • Type A is low yield, low waste
  • Type B is high yield, higher waste
  • Type C is very low yield, very high waste

The Type C crystals remains a point of proof that CCP doesn’t play or understand its game.  They continue to harbor the delusion that null sec groups are going to fly barges into each other’s space and lay waste to their mining anomalies, and act that is both impractical and would actually help raise the active defense multiplier of the space being mined.

My guess is that the most likely use of the Type C crystals will be to grief high sec mining operations.

Anyway, my ability to care about the details of mining is limited.  Somebody else will have to do the before/after picture in detail.  My days of mining in New Eden are more than a decade in the past and I have never owned a Rorqual so I can’t really get mad about them being nerfed back to a support role (unless I am missing out on shooting them since they’ll be rare on the field now).  The biggest thing for me out of this update is some skill points being refunded from back in the day when I was using a Hulk to mine with tech II crystals.

My main concern remains the economy overall.  CCP was interviewed this week and was bragging about how they hold the levers of the economy.  But an economy where capital ships are too expensive to build, where the null sec meta is now just heavy assault cruisers and battlecruisers, where there is a less than subtle assumption that Rorqual pilots are going to happily spin up multiple accounts for exhumers to make up for the nerf of their main ship, that is an economy that makes me a bit nervous.  They claim that they need these changes, that they have to make the game more onerous in order to secure it for future players.  The focus is on some idealized long term and not what makes the game fun in there here and now.

So new blueprints and skills for the updated mining arrangements are in game, the update has been pushed, and we will have to see what the monthly economic report says about how this plays out as the months go on.

Related:

November in Review

The Site

Spam comment bots will hate you if you know this one special trick!  Or they would if they had the capacity to hate.

Over the years I have mentioned how many spam comments that Askismet racks up and how many I end up having to clear out of the spam filter because it isn’t sure.  And then, in looking through yet another thousand spam comment day, hoping to find any false positives in the mix, I noticed that almost all of the spam comments were on old posts, in the 8-12 year old time frame.

Then I was hit by a blinding flash of the obvious and went and set WordPress to not allow comments on posts over a certain age.

The setting I was looking for

Once I clicked the check box it actually worked.

This was not an completely slam dunk idea for me as I don’t mind comments on old posts, and there are a few, like an old one about the Kesmai game Air Warrior that attracts somebody new now and then.  But eventually real people stop showing up.  So I set the timer to turn off comments on posts once they were up for 800 days.  That should give anybody looking to leave a comment plenty of time and I am now much more likely to find false positives in the spam bucket.

And then there are the ads.  Despite serving up only slightly more ads than last month, the total amount earned was over $20, up from $15 in October.  I won’t be able to give up my day job, but the Premium account option will at least pay for itself.  I also think the quality of the ads might be getting better, though I don’t check often enough to make a blanket statement on the topic.

As always, I encourage you to use some sort of ad blocker to keep your browsing safe.  I have on a number of occasions hit a site that demanded I turn off my ad blocker to be able to view their content, only to the have Malwarebytes, my virus protection software of choice, throw an alert that it had to block an ad due to malware.  I never want to be that site.  Be safe on the internet friends.

One Year Ago

EverQuest II celebrated its sweet sixteen with some unexpected downtime.  Oops.  EverQuest was getting ready for the Claws of Veeshan expansion.

World of Warcraft was spinning up for the Shadowlands expansion, and I was getting in a few tasks before it landed.  There was also the beta and something about multiboxing software and the fact that BlizzCon Online being free.  I was also wondering if anybody really needed a level booster after the big level squish.  The ride to 50 was pretty fast.

We were still playing around a bit in the level squished Northrend, trying to do a three person with Prince Keleseth.  That did not end well.  I also started a demon hunter to try the run to 50 in the level squish.  It was a quick run, though it got strange because I wasn’t in quite the right timeline.

Then there were the pre-events in Northrend… and I always love going to Northrend.  There was plenty to do up there.

And then there was the pre-launch calm before we were finally let into Shadowlands.  It seemed like a pretty smooth launch once you got past the crowd in Stormwind.  The zones were quick and fun and I was soon making my debut in the theater of pain. and then off into Ardenweald.

Meanwhile, in WoW Classic, we were working out way to the detention block in Blackrock Depths and then Shadowforge City after which we went walking with Marshal Windsor.

On the WoW Classic front Blizz was talking about plans and bans.

I hit level 40 in Pokemon Go.  I was also using Discord to get overseas raid invites to catch special legendaries.

There were some more shows to write about in the great pandemic binge watch.

And of course there was EVE Online and World War Bee, which I will just sum up in a list of posts:

And so it went.

Five Years Ago

I got back from EVE Vegas and reviewed a bit of what I saw including SKIN changes.  I also borrowed CCP Rise’s Vegas Alpha fit for a trial run.  Of course the Ascension expansion and Alpha Clones were the big deal.  Logging in when the expansion hit wasn’t always easy, but the PCU passed the long distant 50K user mark.

Then suddenly it was election night.  I was in a fleet during which the winner projections turned on their head.  At least we got a tower kill.

Meanwhile back in our old home in the north, the war in Tribute started to come alive.  Sort of.  A bit.  Well, there was some propaganda.

BlizzCon was underway a week after EVE Vegas, and I first projected what I wanted to see/thought I might see and then reconciled that with what I actually saw.  It took a while for me to see Weird Al though.

Project: Gorgon was back to crowd funding.

Pokemon Sun & Moon were coming and I got ready by wrapping up Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.  I took Pokemon Sun while my daughter went with Pokemon Moon.

In Minecraft Aaron was using the in-game maps to create art to hang on his walls.  Then there was the update with forest mansions… and llamas!  That meant going on an expedition to find my own mansion.  And once you have your own mansion, you have to do something with it.  Like burn it down.

Daybreak, in looking after Norrath new and old, launched the Kunark expansion twins, with Empires of Kunark going live for EverQuest and Kunark Ascending going live for EverQuest II.

And, finally, in a bullet points post on Black Friday it was death to The Mittani, a new Google widget in my side bar, and some Pokemon news.

Ten Years Ago

I looked back at the Star Wars Extended Universe novel Heir to Empire, which turned 20 years old. That might be my most coherent piece on the site.  Also, it is 30 years old now.

In EVE Online, the upcoming Crucible expansion had a chance to remove the Incarna stink from the game. Oh, and ship trails were back. And Hulkageddon V was announced… about six months early it turns out.

I reviewed my 2011 MMO outlook. Rift appeared to be the unlikely winner, while DCUO had already gone F2P.

Speaking of going F2P in under a year, I had my first peek at Star Wars: The Old Republic in the beta. Pre-NDA drop, I used Star Wars Galaxies to describe the game as nothing new. Then the NDA dropped and I bitched some more. I did not find the game fun, cancelled my pre-order, and went back to Rift.

And then there was EverQuest II going free to play on all servers, which made me wonder what else in the SOE line up might follow suit. (Turns out the answer was “everything,” or at least everything that they didn’t shut down.)

Vanguard started showing inexplicable signs of life.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, the Scars of Velious was complete and the Luclin expansion went live. Also, breaking the retro aspect, Fippy Darkpaw players got the same new hot bars that all EverQuest players got with the new Veil of Alaris expansion. They actually worked like hot bars in other games.  Amazing!

In Rift, we made it to Meridian and then faced our first boss while learning the rules of their LFG tool. Oh, and the damn Yule rifts were up before Thanksgiving. I swear, it gets earlier every year.

We learned of the real money auction house in Diablo III. Actually, the real money part wasn’t the bad bit, it was that there was an auction house at all… and crap itemization.

And also on the RMT front was the Guardian cub pet in World of Warcraft. I did a couple of price checks on those, but somebody should probably go back and see how prices look a year later.  Can you even find one on the market these days?

Oh, and WoW had lost 2 million subscribers. Remember when that was a big deal?

Torchilght II was delayed because we had other things to play, right?

AOL shut down Wow.com. That doesn’t mean what you think.

I announced the winners of my Azeroth travel poster contest.

Google was pissing me off by changing up Google Reader. Still, I’d take bad UI Google reader over no Google Reader.

A little game called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim launched.  A pity nobody played it and it never got ported to very many platforms or got several remasters.

And we said farewell to LEGO Universe.

Fifteen Years Ago

Our World of Warcraft Saturday Night Permanent Floating Instance Group finished up Blackfathom Deeps,The Stockades, Shadowfang Keep, and started in on Razorfen Kraul.

In EverQuest, I picked up The Serpent’s Spine and tried running a new character though some of the new level 1-70 content.  I also set out a minor goal of taking screen shots to compare Faydwer in EQ and Faydwer in EQII that lead to posts about Kaladim and Kelethin.

In EverQuest II, the Echoes of Faydwer expansion came out.  Once I found a copy and got past the patching process and into the game, I made a fae swashbuckler and went to town.

The Revelations expansion hit in New Eden, my first expansion update in EVE Online.  I followed the general wisdom and made sure I had a long skill training the night before.

The Wii and the PlayStation 3 were both released in the US.

I was talking about Diablo II, because that comes up every few years.

And the maker of the ubiquitous ZMud client announced a replacement product called CMud.  I tried the demo version, but since ZMud continued to work for me, I stuck with that.

Also, I was apparently hosting my blog screen shots on Image Shack back in 2006 and they’re all gone from many of those posts now.  I went back and fixed all the WoW instance groups posts at some point… probably five or ten years ago… but the EQ and EQII posts are just going to require you to use your imagination.

Twenty Years Ago

EverQuest went to the moon with its third expansion Shadows of Luclin.

Nintendo released the Game Cube in North America.

Microsoft launched its first game console, the original XBox, also in North America.

IL-2 Sturmovik, one of the more important combat flight sims for flight sim nerds, launched.

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. The Crimson Harvest Returns to EVE Online
  3. The EVE Online New Dawn Quadrant to Start With Mining Changes
  4. Life on the M2 Hellcamp
  5. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  6. A 64-bit EverQuest Client is Coming
  7. The LOTRO Fate of Gundabad Expansion Targets November 10th Launch
  8. Protests in Jita Over New Dawn Changes
  9. Robbing Some Space Banks
  10. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  11. Why Harry Potter Wizards Unite Failed
  12. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor

Search Terms of the Month

eve online [barghest]
[The flying griddle!]

defeat the lord of flies in this java game
[No, u]

is there supposed to be a fence with torch on top of it in minecraft in the savanna village
[An oddly specific question. Yes?]

гипер врата в космических играх
[There are jump gates in EVE, but they aren’t hyper]

(Google made some change and now so few search terms make it through that I am down to single digits to pick from.  This might be a dying feature, and just when I killed off spam comments as well!)

Game Time from ManicTime

For the first time in a long stretch there was no significant WoW or WoW Classic play time recorded.  Basically my six month subscription expired at the end of October and that was that.  I did log in quickly to get the 17th anniversary achievement with a level 18 character, so I guess I will boost their MAU for November, but I have spent my last cash on Blizzard for a while.

  1. New World – 35.56%
  2. Forza Horizon 5 – 30.95%
  3. EVE Online – 12.83%
  4. Diablo II – 9.68%
  5. World of Tanks – 8.76%
  6. EverQuest II – 2.20%
  7. World of Warcraft – 0.02%

Considering how far into the month I grabbed FH5, you can see I spent a lot of time on the road.

Diablo II

I managed to get a necromancer through nightmare and into hell difficulty, and the instance group carried through and defeated Diablo, before we ran out of steam on the game.  It is a solid game still, 20 years down the road, though it could use some improvements.  But for purposes of nostalgia I own it and can go back and play some more whenever I want.

EVE Online

I did not spend much time in EVE Online this past month.  I got in, went on a fleet op or three, got on my requisite kill mail for the month, and even lost a ship… which was fine because my hangar has more ships in it than I will ever fly unless PAPI invades Delve again.  So at least losing a ship meant SRP and some more ISK back in my wallet.  Otherwise I let all but my main account lapse into alpha status.

The CCP team however went through its periodic routine of setting themselves on fire, this time with the “New Dawn: Age of Prosperity” dev blog, then denying there was even smoke while the player base yelled at them.  They appeared to acknowledge that, perhaps, there was some sort of combustion, but we won’t know what they’re really thinking until we get the next dev blog.  The only thing that is sure is that “prosperity” won’t be on the agenda for any reasonable definition of the word.

Also, what is going on with the algorithmic false positive bans?  CCP seems to have it in for certain activities.

EverQuest II

I played a bit more of EQII, finished out the Days of Summer/Panda quests, did a little mucking about with some alts, and then drifted off to play something else.  Unless there is something seriously unexpected in the new expansion next month, my account there will likely lapse as well.

Forza Horizon 5

Bought this on a lark for a freaking dollar… well, I didn’t really buy it so much as rent it for three months via XBox Game Pass for PC… and have played the hell out of it at times over the month.  A fun driving game with a lot of different options to suit anybody from the casual to the hard core.

New World

The instance group has found its way into New World and we are trying to move through it as a group.  The game itself seems to be deep in a new crisis every week and more than a few of them could be on the list of “why does this happen with every MMO launch?” But it is good looking and the combat is different and the trade skills are… well, there is a lot there to be done.  We’re all at level 20 at this point, so we might be able to do some group things soon.

Pokemon Go

The big event in November for me was hitting level 42 at last.  A big enough deal that I am including a picture!

Level 42 level up graphic – what I did on my way from 41 to 42

The downside is that now the mountain of xp needed to get to level 43 seems all the taller.  9 million experience will take a while.

Level: 42 (+1, 1.5% of the way to 43 in xp, 1 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 673 (+3) caught, 695 (+1) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 13 of 17
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Noibat, but not for long

World of Tanks

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I cranked this up again to have something quick to drop into and play.  I started in at the beginning of the month and played quite a bit… then I got Forza Horizon 5 and play time fell off a cliff as I binged on that.  But I have come back and played some more since.  I have enough coins and bennies that I can drop in and out for a few days at a time and still play in premium mode most days.

Zwift

Another month in with Zwift.  I am a bit surprised I have kept up as well as I have, as one of my defining attributes is laziness. I haven’t really lost any weight, though I have redistributed some of it.  I know this because I need to cinch my belt up one notch further.

My distance cycled at this point is almost exactly the distance between my house and the happiest place on Earth; Tijuana!

  • Level – 11 (+1)
  • Distanced cycled – 487.9 miles (+115.5 miles)
  • Time – 1d 1h 48m (+5h 48m)
  • Elevation climbed – 20,013 (+4,875 feet)
  • Calories burned – 16,141 (+3,845)

Coming Up

Last month I had a list of things that were due in November or seemed likely to arrive and… a few didn’t make it, so I guess I get to rerun them.  The FFXIV expansion is now set to land on December 7th, while EverQuest and EverQuest II have expansions that should land on the 7th and the 1st respectively.  You can probably foresee tomorrow’s post in that.

Also, for those who know the blog, December means a series of end of year posts to sum things up and check on things like predictions and all of that.  Those posts are coming.

Otherwise it seems like there will be more New World in the offing and maybe things will heat up a bit in EVE Online after the post-war slump.

Oh, and there is a a sequel to The Matrix landing in December, The Matrix Resurrections.  I might have to go see it.  That is probably one you need to see on the big screen.

Vale of the Silent Leads Null Sec in the October EVE Online Monthly Economic Report

The Monthly Economic Report for October dropped last week and, while Delve is back near the top of the charts for economic activity in null sec, the Imperium’s recovery is still lagging behind Fraternity’s economic efforts in its main region.

EVE Online nerds harder

So we might as well get right into the numbers.

Mining

In September we saw Genesis at the top of the chart with 2.15 trillion ISK mined.  The region is made up of both high and low sec empire space, and it vaulted to the number one spot with a combo of high sec mining along with Dock Workers attempting to set up a low sec mining operation.

October changed the picture, with the top ten regions being:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 2.67 trillion (Fraternity)
  2. Delve – 2.11 trillion (Imperium)
  3. Branch – 1.96 trillion (Fraternity)
  4. Etherium Reach – 1.80 trillion (Pan Fam)
  5. Fountain – 1.51 trillion (Imperium)
  6. Querious – 1.37 trillion (Imperium)
  7. Catch – 1.36 trillion (Imperium & neutrals)
  8. Outer Passage – 1.29 trillion (TEST)
  9. Malpais – 1.27 trillion (Pan Fam)
  10. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.21 trillion (Pan Fam)

It looks like the Dock Workers plans fell through, and for the first time in a long stretch null sec again occupies the top ten slots for mining.  There was a point during the war when high sec completely dominated the list, but the war is clearly over.

Fraternity led the way in Vale of the Silent, which is their primary home region now which, along with Branch mined a combined 4.63 trillion ISK.  While Vale of the Silent eclipsed Delve, overall Imperium mining exceeded 5 trillion ISK in value if we add in a bit from Catch. (4.99 trillion without Catch.)  PanFam pulled a good 4.28 trillion ISK in minerals out of their regions, while TEST, alone in Outer Passage, is trying to crank up to recover from its complete defeat in World War Bee with 1.29 trillion ISK mined.

Overall mining output in October was valued at 45.72 trillion ISK, up more than 12 trillion ISK from September.  That means the total m3 mined was probably considerably more than the previous month because the price of minerals, and ore has no value aside from what the market is willing to pay, was down a bit in October.

Oct 2021 – Economic Indices

It is possible that we will see the total amount mined go up when we get the November MER next month as people try to grab what they can before the New Dawn “age or prosperity” lands and solidifies the starvation economy with nerfs and time sink mechanics.  There is not much time left to mine with Rorquals.

Or maybe the number will go down if all those people who said they were unsubscribing their Rorqual alts carry through on the threat.  Mineral prices will probably hold or even go up a bit as people stockpile due to uncertainty.

Production

Where mining leads, production follows… sort of… or not really.

Production, which saw a bit of a rise due to the post-war building boom as regions… mostly Imperium… had to be rebuilt, slid back a bit as that tapered off and no large war stepped in to consume ships and materiel.

Oct 2021 – Production vs Destruction vs Mined

Capital ships remain too costly to build so few are being risked, and those that do die on the field are being replaced by stocks built before the huge industry nerf hit in April.

Overall production totaled out to 92.59 trillion ISK, down by about 8 trillion from September, with the top ten regions being:

  1. The Forge – 17.54 trillion
  2. Delve – 8.72 trillion
  3. Lonetrek – 6.86 trillion
  4. The Citadel – 6.23 trillion
  5. Vale of the Silent – 5.76 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 3.72 trillion
  7. Fade – 3.67 trillion
  8. Domain – 3.03 trillion
  9. The Kalevala Expanse – 2.74 trillion
  10. Malpais – 2.43 trillion

The Forge, Lonetrek, and The Citadel are always the big three as they all serve the Jita market.  Delve remained strong, though it was down from more than 11 trillion ISK last month.

Destruction

Destruction drives production, but while production was down, destruction remain flat, totaling up to about 31.78 trillion ISK, close to the 31.41 trillion ISK destroyed in September.  That likely means that the decline in production was more about the post-war building boom fading than the lack of a serious war.

The top ten regions for destruction were:

  1. The Forge – 2.04 trillion
  2. The Citadel – 1.65 trillion
  3. Lonetrek – 1.49 trillion
  4. Vale of the Silent – 1.31 trillion
  5. Delve – 1.21 trillion
  6. Pochven – 1.11 trillion
  7. Metropolis – 1.04 trillion
  8. Genesis – 993 billion
  9. Pure Blind – 987 billion
  10. Sinq Laison – 950 billion

The Forge, Lonetrek, and The Citadel are big in production and destruction as traffic to and from Jita provides the most lucrative targets for suicide gankers.

Trade

Trade totaled up to 591.65 trillion ISK in value, down about 16 trillion from September, which isn’t a huge drop.  The top ten regions for trade were:

  1. The Forge – 436.66 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 43.21 trillion (Amarrr)
  3. Delve – 15.30 trillion (Imperium)
  4. Sinq Laison – 15.07 trillion (Dodixie)
  5. Lonetrek – 15.07 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  6. Metropolis – 8.83 trillion (Hek)
  7. Heimatar – 7.74 trillion (Rens)
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 6.27 trillion (PanFam)
  9. Vale of the Silent – 4.53 trillion (Fraternity)
  10. Essence – 4.04 trillion (Gallente High Sec)

Those are the same ten regions, in the same order, as last month.  Trade hubs and large coalitions will tend to dominate this list, though Jita alone is more than 70% of the total.  I do still wonder what is driving trade in Essence.  It isn’t a region I know.

ISK Faucets

And, finally, the “show me the money” part of the summary, though some of the “show” part requires me to put on my glasses because the charts are in tiny eye-strain inducing font sizes.

The cropped off top of the big sinks and faucets chart shows commodities still at the top of the list.

Oct 2021 – Faucet end of the chart big chart

That shows commodities ringing in at 35.2 trillion ISK, while Bounty Prizes and ESS payouts combined add up to 31 trillion ISK.  Bounties are catching up again.  Then there are incursions and Triglavian invasions, which add up to 21.9 trillion ISK.

Here is the chart of the top ten sinks and faucets over time.

Oct 2021 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

You can see… if you click on it to see it full size… that the commodity line tends to be some what bursty, which is probably due to the nature of the rewards, which have to be brought to an NPC station in empire space to be converted into ISK.  Bounties tend to be smoother over time, only changing rapidly due to CCP intervention (you can see the blackout dip and where the ESS system was made mandatory), and a few peaks that probably related to wars, but otherwise it tends to be smoother on a day to day basis.

The other line of interest on the chart is the transaction tax, which got a huge spike after a three month tax holiday.  CCP changed around the tax structure so now broker’s fees, the bit that players can collect in player controlled stations, are lower while the transaction tax, which is a sink everywhere, is much higher.  More of CCP trying to fix the economy, though in a more benign way in this case.  Making the Tranquility Trading Tower such a lucrative enterprise was probably a mistake on CCP’s part.

On the commodities front, Sleeper drops from wormhole ratting remain the top commodity.

Oct 2021 – Top Commodity Items Over Time

Then, for NPC bounties, the top regions were:

  1. Vale of the Silent – 2.15 trillion (Fraternity)
  2. Delve – 1.72 trillion (Imperium)
  3. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.53 trillion (PanFam)
  4. Fountain – 1.31 trillion (Imperium)
  5. Outer Passage – 1.15 trillion (Fraternity)
  6. Malpais – 991 billion (PanFam)
  7. Esoteria – 978 billion (Army of Mango)
  8. Querious – 976 billion (Imperium)
  9. Oasa – 932 billion (Fraternity)
  10. Insmother – 901 billion (FI.RE)

Vale of the Silent took first place in both mining and ratting this month, but that was mostly due to activity dropping in Delve, which had 2.22 trillion ISK in September, than from any increase from Fraternity.

The regional data shows a total of 29.64 trillion ISK gained from bounties and ESS payouts, which is close to, but not the same as, the 31 trillion the sinks and faucets chart and data shows, and I don’t think we were even mission a region in the data this month.  Either way, that is pretty close to what is was in September.

And so it goes, another month in New Eden.

As usual you can find this information and more by downloading the raw data and charts from the MER dev blog.

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