Category Archives: Null Sec

The May MER and Mineral Starvation in New Eden

CCP released the Monthly Economic Report for May 2020 so we can see how the mineral starvation plan has progressed.

EVE Online nerds harder

With CCP’s mineral starvation measures all in place for two months now we can see if we’re getting anywhere close to a new normal.  Mineral prices continued to rise.

May 2020 – Economic Indices

The slope of the price climb for ore and minerals isn’t as steep as it has been for the last few months, but it continues to go up.  We are still short of the all time mineral index high, which occurred back in 2012 with the Escalation expansion, when CCP changed the drones in the drone regions to have bounties rather than dropping minerals.

May 2020 – Economic Indices – All Time

However, with a war brewing in null sec, prices might see a boost based on demand alone.

The Primary Producers Price Index (PPPI) did not rise as sharply.  Though ore and minerals make up part of that index, so does Planetary Interaction materials, and the market for that has been flooded lately as it turns out Upwell structures provide those when salvaged, and a whole bunch of Upwell structures have died since CCP introduced the “abandoned” state with the Forsaken Fortress update and turned them into a loot pinata free for all.  So that probably help keep the PPPI from rising.

The Secondary Producers Price Index (SPPI) though, that is made up largely of PI items, and you can see that it just kept on falling.  Hope you weren’t trying to make some money on PI the way I was.

And the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is made up of finished goods, remained flat.  Again, we shall see if war has any impact on that.

As for where mining is happening, the top ten regions for May were:

  1. Delve – 1.78 trillion  (Imperium)
  2. Domain – 1.44 trillion (High Sec)
  3. The Forge – 1.39 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Sinq Laison – 1.34 trillion (High Sec)
  5. Lonetrek – 1.13 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Oasa – 1.07 trillion (PandaFam)
  7. Metropolis – 919 billion (High Sec)
  8. Fountain – 864 billion (Imperium)
  9. Malpais – 857 billion (PandaFam)
  10. Perrigen Falls – 832 billion (PandaFam)

I decided to just mark each region with its owner.  PandaFam is the name coined by Jin’taan to cover the coalition that includes Pandemic Horde, Pandemic Legion, NCDot, and Fraternity as its major players.

There was 29.54 trillion ISK mined all told in May, down from 31.58 trillion mined in April.  This probably means less was mined in May as the price, on which these numbers pivot, were up.  Last month the top ten was:

  1. Delve – 1.81 trillion (Imperium)
  2. Domain – 1.64 trillion (High Sec)
  3. The Forge – 1.59 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Oasa – 1.35 trillion (PandaFam)
  5. Sinq Laison – 1.34 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Lonetrek – 1.15 trillion (High Sec)
  7. Fountain – 911 billion (Imperium)
  8. Metropolis – 888 billion (High Sec)
  9. Genesis – 878 billion (High Sec)
  10. Tash-Murkon – 869 billion (High Sec)

Null sec has upped its game somewhat since May, or at least PandaFam has.  They must be planning for a war or something.

And then there is the bounties front.

May 2020 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

We saw a dip in bounties when the Surgical Strike update hit the game and nerfed damage resistance modules.  That looks to have bounced back once people adjusted their fits.  It is still down from where it was earlier this year though.

A total of 47 trillion ISK in bounties was paid out, with the top ten regions being:

  1. Oasa – 4.06 trillion (PandaFam)
  2. Delve – 3.75 trillion (Imperium)
  3. Cobalt Edge – 2.92 trillion (PandaFam)
  4. Fountain – 2.71 trillion (Imperium)
  5. Perrigen Falls – 2.69 trillion (PandaFam)
  6. Branch – 1.88 trillion (PandaFam)
  7. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.73 trillion (PandaFam)
  8. Esoteria – 1.66 trillion (Legacy)
  9. Feythabolis – 1.59 trillion (Legacy)
  10. Insmother – 1.58 trillion (Legacy)

The big three null sec blocs did most of the ratting, with Oasa topping the list.  Last month Delve was at the top:

  1. Delve – 5.79 trillion (Imperium)
  2. Oasa – 4.47 trillion (PandaFam)
  3. Perrigen Falls – 3.02 trillion (PandaFam)
  4. Fountain – 2.54 trillion (Imperium)
  5. Cobalt Edge – 2.50 trillion (PandaFam)
  6. Branch – 1.91 trillion (PandaFam)
  7. Esoteria – 1.90 trillion (Legacy)
  8. Omist – 1.87 trillion (Legacy)
  9. Tenal – 1.62 trillion (PandaFam)
  10. Malpais – 1.58 trillion (PandaFam)

There was a general order against super carrier ratting in Delve when the Surgical Strikes update hit, and that remains in place.

So it goes.

Next month, when we seen the June MER, we will get a glimpse of post-change stability again, plus a look at the economy before the big war starts on July 5.  We will have to wait until August to see what impact that really has, though the focus on ADMs in the Imperium might see bounties jump some all the same.

In addition to the MER, CCP put out a look at the Q1 2020 New Eden economy, which covers what is important to their point of view, including things not covered by the MER, like the PLEX price trend.  CCP seems to be happy that the price is going down for PLEX, though that also means people buying PLEX to get ISK are getting less for their real world cash.  I suppose there is a happy medium in there.

Anyway, the MER and all of the data is available at the usual location.

The Last Keepstar out of Cloud Ring

Yesterday the Imperium formed up again to cover the removal of the last of our Keepstars from Cloud Ring.  It was another big form up, a display of strength, a “filthy blob,” as streamer EVELog called it back when we dropped a huge force to cover the Keepstar deployment to 6RCQ-V two years ago.  I wish that clip was still available.

It wasn’t quite that big of a blob, but there were still a lot of big ships on grid and over 2,000 of us logged in and moving to cover the operation.  Fortunately the last Keepstar was only in B-DBYQ, on the other side of the gate from our staging in J5A-IX, so the move to get there was the least painful of the three operations.  The Mittani was even spotted undocked in a Revelation.

Over the Keepstar logo

He had to have chosen that spot on purpose.

The movement of the fleets followed the usual plan, with subcap fleets warping ahead to cover both sides of the gate, then capital ships gating through by fleet, aligning to the Keepstar, the warping off to tether up on it.

There was word that PanFam might make a move to interfere with this last Keepstar removal, but that apparently meant a small interceptor gang hanging around for a bit before being chased off once the subcaps were stationed around the gate.

The final Keepstar from the J5A gate

A few other people did show up, either by accident or in order to watch the spectacle.  Those that got too close were shot pretty quickly.  A rather surprised Tengu pilot managed to get shot by a titan… op success maybe?  They were carrying a covert cyno though, so they were up to no good.  I managed to get paints on a Stiletto that wasn’t quite fast enough to get away.  Nothing slowed us down and the pile on the Keepstar began.

There we are

There were some stragglers who missed previous withdrawal ops who jumped their capitals into the system, but before the Keepstar removal began the cyno jammers were turned on to keep any hostile capitals from showing up.

Getting our jam on in 1 second

And then, once things settled down and everybody was on the Keepstar, we sat and waited for a bit.  I put my camera at a set angle and managed to get a before and after shot.

Keepstar is there

Keepstar is gone

So it goes.  I even managed to slip into a fleet with my alt Claude Ring, which I created about four years ago and held onto for just such an opportunity.  He asked in Local why the Imperium was leaving him.  Then, when he spoke up back in J5A, people said they thought they were done with him.

That was pretty much all I created that character to do.  He has barely enough skills to fly T1 logi in newbie fleets, just so he could be there.

Meanwhile, we started running the whole op in reverse, with subcaps on the gate and capitals aligning back out.

Capitals aligning to the J5A gate

Some warps and a lot of tidi later, everybody was back at the Keepstar in J5A.  After that, there were move ops to reposition forces.

Flight of the Faxes

Later on today, at the regular Saturday fireside, The Mittani will be giving us a war planning update and is expected to announce some new ops coming up.  We still have a week to go before the NIP between the Imperium and Legacy Coalition expires.  We are still working on bring up ADMs and getting supplies laid in.  If nothing else happens it will be a long week of waiting.

Consolidation and Preparations for World War Bee

The official Imperium line is that the upcoming conflict, should it come to pass, is going to be called “World War Bee” in order to distinguish it/blur it with the “Casino War” of 2016.  A write up of the Imperium’s narrative is over at INN.  There is even a video.

Propaganda is always a big part of these wars, and r/eve is filling up with entries.

Meanwhile, out in null sec, things are in motion.  As I mentioned on Monday, the weekend saw capital ships moving north.

That was in preparation for covering the unanchoring of several Keepstars that north of our Fountain frontier.  Two in Pure Blind had already been taken down, with one destroyed along the way.  This week the pull back has focused on the Keepstars in Cloud Ring.  Those were timed to get the furthest, the one out in 6RCQ-V, first, then work back towards J5A-IX.

Kirkland Protein Star unanchoring

While the Pure Blind removals were attempts to slip in and yank the structures without raising any fuss, the Cloud Ring operations were to be marked with a complete lack of subtlety.  These were to be maximum ship efforts, displays of power, so of course I had to go along for the ride.  I am all about seeing the game at its extremes, and more than 2,000 ships in motion and sitting on a Keepstar certainly qualifies.

Fleets hanging on the Keepstar

I was also interested to see what happens when you take down a structure.  I had never seen that before, so I tried to keep a close eye on things.  However, it turns out that the structure just goes away without much in the way of fanfare.  One moment it is there, the next it is gone.

And then we’re all just hanging in space

The only notice was a notification that popped up announcing that the Keepstar had been moved to asset safety, no doubt the quickest way to whisk it away.

That was all

So most of what I got to watch was the effort it takes to move 2,000 ships safely from J5A-IX to 6RCQ-V and back, which took about three hours to make the journey.  It would probably take five minutes in an interceptor, but an interceptor doesn’t generate 10% tidi simply by taking a gate.  It is an elaborate dance with subcaps going ahead a bit to shepherd the capitals through a gate, then the caps jumping by type, then the subcaps repositioning while the jump timer runs down for the caps so we can do it all again.

Kind of a pain in the butt, and all the more so when you have to count on at least 5% of the operation being distracted by something in real life at any given moment, so ships just sit there when told to jump or take a gate or align.  And it is all the more comical when we are all in the same voice coms channel.  It was a good day to be in the No Chatter sub-channel, where you can only hear FC commands… and swears when people aren’t paying attention at the wrong moment.

That was the longest of the ops.

Pulling the Keepstar from F7C-H0 went much more quickly, it being just a gate and a jump away from our staging, so there was no downtime during the trip, just lots of big ships moving in the same direction.

Colorful titans

That led again to a mass of ships sitting on the Keepstar while we waited for it to disappear and get carted off to safety.

Waiting on another Keepstar

Once it went away… and it belong to The Initiative, so if they used asset safety there was no notification for me… it was time to jump back.  This time there were only 1,700 ships on grid for the final watch, more than a fleet less, which made things a little easier for somebody I am sure.  Still, it was a lot of ships.

Faxes and dreads moving

That op only took about an hour to get through.  Now only one Keepstar remains in Cloud Ring, and that will be going away soon.  We shall see if it is another quiet op or if somebody tries to snatch it.

Meanwhile, back inside the perimeter, a different set of ops has been going on.  In order to prepare for invasion the coalition has been working to raise the ADMs for systems up to level 4, which will prevent hostiles from dropping anything smaller than a Fortizar.  The usual plan is to drop a bunch of small structures, Raitarus usually, to give your fleets a safe spot in the midst of enemy territory.

You do that by ratting and mining, so PvE fleets have been a thing.  A gaggle of ratting and mining ships with some cover will blitz through a constellation taking down the anomalies in order to try and boost the ADMs.  I’ve been out trying to do my part on that front.

Fighting the Blood Raider menace in my Myrmidon

It has been over a year since I last went out and ratted, but the fundamentals haven’t changed all that much.  A fit Myrmidon with platinum insurance ran me just shy of 95 million ISK and I have collected 250 million ISK in bounties so far, so it will be a profitable venture for me at least when I eventually get caught and blown up.  I haven’t joined in on the ADM fleets, even though they count as strategic ops for PAP credit.  I have been just tooling around on my own in pipe systems that are often ignored, watching people come and go.

The war itself is not supposed to start until July 5th, the date that the non-invasion pact between Legacy Coalition and the Imperium is set to expire.  With more than a week left to prepare, it seems to me that there is a distinct possibility that no war will come to us.  We shall see if it comes to pass and what we will end up doing should it not.

Consolidating for Casino War II

The word is out that war may be coming to us again.

In the middle of last week there was a special weekday fireside chat in the Imperium where The Mittani told us that, based on intel received, a chunk of New Eden might be forming up to take another shot at us.  For the first time since we were driven out of the north and started our move to Delve war will be coming to find us.

This past weekend the regular weekly fireside repeated this message and the weekend was spent on preparations for a possible war.  If was was coming, we needed to tighten up out lines of defense and be ready.

Since we set up shop in Delve back in 2016 most of our time fighting has been part of deployments to other regions.  From our foray to Hakonen three years back to the current Cloud Ring deployment, we had been on the road a lot.  The Eye of Terror Jump bridge network extends all the way up into Pure Blind.  We had a staging Keepstar for a while in KQK1-2, on the edge of Tribute, far from home, left over from driving PanFam out of Tribute and Vale.  That one got killed when we tried to remove it via stealth.  The rest of them will be taken down with fleets watching over them as we prepare.

And so I spent some time over the weekend shepherding fleets here and there, keeping capitals safe and hostiles at bay.

Watching big stuff jump and gate

The Goonswarm Expeditionary Force deployment was pulled back from Cloud Ring to Fountain… basically two jumps… to put fleets within the perimeter of the Imperium.  I managed to get all three ships I had there back on the first try.

Mostly though it was watching capital blobs move here and there, getting ready for operations in the coming week to cover structure removal.

Capital will blob up

After that we will be back to our core areas, which are Delve, Fountain, Period Basis, and a little bit of Querious.

The thought of war, of hostiles coming for us, did spur some enthusiasm in those of us who were around through the time in Saranen, when hostile fleets were on the station undock most hours of the day.  Despite the loss and the retreat, it is a time looked back on fondly by many of us for the pretty much non-stop action.  We would form up, undock, fight, dock up, and then do it again.  I probably went on more ops during that time than I have done in any comparable time frame.

Then the situation became untenable as our ISK balance ran down while the hostiles enjoyed essentially unlimited ISK from the now banned casinos.

Things are, of course, much different now.  Delve is much more of a fortress than Deklein ever was.  We won’t be as concentrated as we were in Saranen, as our space is still a lot of ground to cover.

Part of me felt during the fireside on Saturday that this might be all too much to hope for.  With Guardians of the Galaxy/Dead Coalition actually dead and gone, we are back to a tri-polar set of super powers in null sec.  There is PanFam and its allies in the northeast, Legacy Coalition in the southeast, and the Imperium in the southwest.  It isn’t unlikely that two of those powers would join forces against the third.  Certainly Legacy and the Imperium have joined up a few times to go after PanFam.

But PanFam isn’t that close to us now, with a few regions laying between the and Fountain, and they have not shown an inclination to deploy that far from home.  Legacy Coalition butts right up against us, but we have a non-invasion pact, the NIP, with them.  We are not blue with them and we shoot each other freely and roam each other’s space, but the NIP keeps it to that.  We don’t shoot each others structures in the home spaces of the others and we don’t mess with sovereignty.

So one of the questions at the fireside on Saturday was, “What about the NIP?”  It was, at that time, still in place and The Mittani said that if Legacy broke it without warning there would never be another agreement between the two coalitions again.  And without breaking it, an invasion seemed unlikely.

But all this intel could have been wrong.  Intel often gets interpreted with more hope than reality.  People might be seeing shadows.  And Goons have a certain level of institutional paranoia built into their mind set about the galaxy being out to get them.

But it is probably still a good thing to clean up our forward outposts and be ready just in case.  And, since the even the most basic spy has access to the firesides, the word quickly spread.  Over on r/eve the attitude seems mostly dismissive of the idea and was viewed as a chance to mock The Mittani.

And then yesterday an announcement came up on Reddit.  Legacy Coalition announced that the NIP between them and the Imperium would expire on July 5, 2020, basically giving two weeks notice, with a strong indication that war would come then.  The tone on r/eve changed some.  Skepticism remains, but there is also some hope for a big war and the propaganda machines are starting to roll out fresh memes.  Look at all those pink “propaganda” tags in the subreddit today.

We shall see where this ends up.  There is work to be done all around between now and then.

Other coverage:

Addendum: I am reliably informed that the Imperium plans to call this war, should it come to pass, “World War Bee” because “screw you narrative.”  So I guess I can get that tag going for real now.

Introducing Your CSM15 Representatives

The votes have been counted and the results are in.  The CSM15 election is over.

Now we’re… uh… done

A total of 36,120 ballots were cast, up about 4K from the CSM14 election.

In about a half an hour dissection of the votes, CCP Dopamine and CCP Aurora went through the election round by round. (video here)  But when the final round was done these were the ten candidates left standing.

The CSM15 Slate

Alphabetically, they are:

  • Brisc Rubal – The Initiative
  • Gobbins – Pandemic Horde
  • Innominate – Goonswarm Federation
  • Kenneth Feld – Pandemic Legion
  • Maria Taylor – Fraternity
  • Merkelchen – Goonswarm Federation
  • Mike Azariah – The Scope
  • Phantomite – Same Great Taste
  • Torvald Uruz – Abyssal Lurkers
  • Vily – TEST Alliance Please Ignore

I was off a some from the guesses I made when voting opened, but out of a bag of 13 I thought were likely, eight of them made it.  Out of the winners there are 7 null sec candidates, 1 low sec, 1 streamer, and 1 high sec newbie helper.

Gobbins and Merkelchen were the first two candidates to meet quote to be elected, making it in the first round.

The Imperium ballot again proved to be about three candidates deep in influence.  It was able to get Merkelchen and Innominate in, passing a few votes on to Brisc, but otherwise failing to lift anybody else down ballot who didn’t have a voter base of their own on which to depend. (The ballot is in the comments of this post if you are interested.)

Congrats to all the winners.  I will link the dev blog with the voting data once it is posted.

Addendum: Dev blog with the voting data is now available.

Shooting Our Own Structures in Delve

As I posted last Friday, the Forsaken Fortress update has led to a plethora of structures ending up in the new “abandoned” state, which means that they can be killed without any intervening timers and there is no asset safety, so all the stuff inside drops into space and can be looted.

The latter represented a considerable shift in policy for CCP, which had previously said that nobody would trust Upwell structures if you could lose all your stuff from them.  Times change.

So there were suddenly structures in the “abandoned” state all over New Eden, including down in Delve.  While alliance structures are maintained by GSOL, and active corps maintain their own, there were apparently some alt corp structures about that had been left untended and unfueled, which left the coalition with a choice.

They could leave them be, which would be an invitation to outsiders and random passers by to try and kill them and carry off the loot, or we could kill them and loot them ourselves.

I suppose the post title gives away which option was selected.

The Mittani announced on the Saturday Fireside that we would be purging abandoned structures in our territory.  Attempts had been made to contact the various owners, and shooting blues wasn’t anybody’s first choice, but letting somebody else get the kills and the drops was declared to be worse, so we would be blowing them up.

The announced plan was to nationalize the loot.  We would go from structure to structure, blowing them up, while GSOL followed behind to haul off the drops to be processed, re-used, or sold off, with proceeds going into the SRP fund.

After the Fireside a fleet went up to start in on the job.  It was a Muninn fleet, and all I had handy for that was a Scimitar, but you can always throw some combat drones in the drone bay, so I went along with that.  We shoved off to the first shoot.

Being bridged off to our first targets

The targets were an Azbel and a couple of Raitarus.

Abandoned Azbel

And Azbel is a large structure, so it took us a while, though we were able to hit the damage cap and still get some people to start on the other two structures.  With no opposition… nobody was going to jump into the gunner’s seat or rush to the defense… I even drove an alt out there in an Ibis just to get him on one of the kill mails.

An Ibis at a Raitaru destruction

Once the three were down came the dull bit, as we had to fly cover for GSOL to pick through the station hangars and pull out the good stuff.  Everybody’s individual station hangar gets kicked out with the destruction and is floating around in space.

A station hangar in the wild

We also had to listen to the FC warn people time and again not to go start grabbing loot for themselves.  Fortunately there were not too many hangars to go through, though it still took time.

The hangar containers around the Azbel as it explodes

After that was done we were off to a Fortizar a few systems over.  This was a different story.

The shoot went as expected and the whole thing blew up nicely.

I never get tired of these explosions

But this Fortizar was one of the early ones set down in Delve, which meant that a bunch of people had ended up using it over the years.  It was owned by an alt corp with one person in it, and that person, who apparently had gone missing.  It kicked out a lot of station hangars.

The hangar ball from the Fortizar

That is not nearly as many as the Hard Knocks Keepstar we blew up in wormhole space about a year and a half back, but it is still a sizable number of cans floating in the aftermath.

You might be able to spot the icons of ships… including freighters… checking through the containers.  All those yellow cans needed to be gone through.  And, as before the FCs had to warn off… and blow up in a few cases… people who just could not keep their hands off the loot.

Meanwhile, we sat there and watched.  Without much to occupy us, attention was on the loot spotted and the ships being ejected from the hangars.  I had to go into the “no chatter” channel to avoid that, after which I could only hear the command channel broadcasts to us, which were often asking people to stop talking about every ship that showed up on the overview.

To get at ships people had stored away, they have to be ejected into space… and there were a bunch of ships.

Ejected ships on the overview

You can tell they are unoccupied as the pilot name is the type of ship on the overview.  Also, being unpiloted, they show up as neutrals in space.  Some very big toys were discovered that way.

A Nomad jump freighter somebody left behind

And there were a few strange ones as well.

Wait, what?

I am not sure how you get an unoccupied capsule, but there it was floating in space.

We were occasionally tasked to warp out and blow up some of the ships that were not worth flying off.  This also became something of a fiasco.  People were quick to lock and shoot, so I didn’t bother launching drones, but some pilots couldn’t resist just shooting at whatever ship was on their overview despite.  Over and over voices from the command channel would tell people to only shoot broadcasted targets and then would start calling people out for shooting things that had not been broadcast.

The kill mails for these ships showed whose hangar they came from, which was another odd element as I saw a couple from people who I know are active.  I guess they didn’t get the in gaming warning about the impending destruction.  That seems about on par for this.

All in all it was quite trying and I ended up just docking up in another structure and playing Minecraft, still listening to FC coms in case something was needed, but otherwise unenthused by the op.  The FCs eventually stopped letting people shoot ships because a few people couldn’t follow instructions.  It was painful to listen to.

I feel for the GSOL team, who had to slowly pick through all of those cans in space.  The haul was said to be impressive, but it is dull work… though not as dull as having to just sit and watch it.  After the three hour mark we got a PAP.  The fleet was going to carry on in a semi-permanent state until they had hit all the structures on the abandoned list, but I was done with that for the day.  I flew back home.

The work carried on.  There were more structures to take care of, though not as many as in high sec space, where the big stories about this have been focused. I hope there were not too many more as full as that Fortizar.  GSOL was being worked hard to take care of just one structure like that.

And it is all a side effect of the changes CCP made with the Forsaken Fortress patch.

Ansiblex Clash in Cloud Ring

On Saturday I was down in Delve again in a fleet for a project that will be the topic of another post later this week.  But while people were down there, PanFam came by and reinforced the Ansiblex jump bridge and Pharolux cyno beacon in F7C-H0, the staging system for the Goon Expeditionary Force deployment.

We came back on Sunday for the final timers, with some early pings to ask people to be on hand and ready should PanFam decide to come back and contest the final timers for the two structures.  I logged myself in and got in my Guardian, assuming that Sacrileges would be the main doctrine yet again, and I was not disappointed.

The ping came that PanFam was coming and I quickly jumped into the Sac fleet being run by Apple Pear.  That fleet filled up and a Jackdaw fleet was called as well.  In addition, the Initiative had some Abaddons ready to go and capitals were logging on in case the fight escalated.  When the word came to undock the hostiles were already in system and time dilation was kicking in.  I got to watch ships streaming out of the Keepstar for almost a minute before the client got around to drawing the structure.

Undocking from the invisible Keepstar

There were PanFam Hurricanes and Feroxes already on grid around the two contested structures, with the beacon under attack.  We warped out and interdictors starting dropping warp disruption bubbles to hold the hostiles down.

The Pharolux cyno beacon being hit

The Hurricanes were close by when we landed and the Sac fleet began hitting them when we landed.  Anchored up, I put my drones out to take care of any small targets that wandered into range, but initially we had little to do as logi save keep up.  The Hurricanes were focused on killing the beacon, and we were likewise focused on the Hurricanes.

Sacrileges moving on anchor

They were lingering outside of drone range for me (60km) so I mostly had my drones chasing around their Sabres and the occasional command destroyer that might MJD us away from the fleet.  With the beacon down the fight moved towards the jump gate.

The new center of the fight

We remained focused on the Hurricanes.  The Ferox fleet was further off and TEST alliance was around with a small fleet of Zealots and another of bombers to try and third party on the whole thing, but Hurricanes remained the closest targets.

Hurricane taking hits by the Ansiblex jump gate

Meanwhile, at the peak of the fight, time slowed down, as it always does, with time dilation down to 10%, which meant everything was taking ten times as long to accomplish.

A sign of a big fight… or an Imperium move op

The TEST bombers began making runs on our fleet.  Running in slow motion meant our ability to react was good, I was able to turn off my MWD with each run, but it also meant they had lots of time to consider their warps and launches.  Things began to get busy for logi and people broadcast for bomb damage.  We had to get somebody in command to set the marker for when people should broadcast (below 50% armor) to get a handle on the stream of requests.

Meanwhile, we had undocked super carriers and a few titans who warped onto grid to take shots at the various hostile fleets.  There was also a fleet of dreadnoughts waiting to drop if PanFam escalated to capitals.  However, the dreads were disappointed as no targets came for them.

Then the jump gate exploded.  The Hurricanes had done their work.

The jump gate goes up

But that did not mean the fight was over.  There was still a fight going on around the wreck of the gate.

My Guardian in a tight turn to keep up

Interdictors kept bubbles up on the hostiles as they tried to pull away and more Hurricanes were hit as they attempted to run.

Hurricane target

The TEST bombers kept making runs, keeping those of us in logi busy.  Looking at the kill mails for some of them, they were being less than picky about targets, hitting PanFam and us (and themselves occasionally), but we were a big, obvious ball of ships so were targeted regularly.

The fight eventually moved to the gate out of the system where we congregated to try and grab those trying to get away.

On to the gate

There the fight petered out as those who were able got away.

PanFam won the objective, the beacon and the jump gate were both destroyed.

The Keepstar framed by the broken jump gate

However, the cost of doing that was pretty high according to the battle report.

Battle Report Header

We clearly won the ISK was by a fair margin… by a margin big enough to replace the two structures certainly.  A new jump bridge was in place not too long later.

As we were coming down from the fight, covering capitals as they got back to where they needed to be, a pair of ISD Polaris frigates showed up to see what was going on.

ISD out for a Sunday drive

They were no doubt scoping out what we had been up to.

ISD on the overview

ISD does a few things, including work on the stories from New Eden that go on The Scope or the Interstellar Correspondents page, so maybe the fight will get a mention.  I am given to understand that ISD members with the “BH” prefix are “bug hunters,” so maybe something happened during the fight that send them out to take a look.

Either way, the fight seemed to get positive reviews from both sides over on /r/eve.

Why We Had Asset Safety in the First Place

…we have to accept the fact no one will want to store items… in one of the new structures if they can be destroyed and lost on a whim.

And that is how asset safety was born.

I Feel Safe in Citadel City dev blog, August 2015

Back in the day, back before Upwell structures, back when we had conquerable stations out in null sec, CCP identified a problem with those stations.

Back then, if you were in a null sec group and you took a break from the game, you might return to find that your alliance, coalition, or allies had lost their space or moved or whatever.  That meant that anything you left in the station you were living out of might be controlled by another group.  Your stuff would be locked away in a hostile station.

EVE Online Curse Deployment

The old station at G-0Q86 as a visual

And that was seen… and rightly so… as a disincentive to people returning to the game.

I know that my old pal Gaff stopped playing EVE Online before the Casino War and only came back after the Imperium had settled in Delve.  All of his stuff was still up in a station in Deklein.  He had blueprints and subcaps and capitals and all the things that collect in your hangar when you stay in one place for even a few weeks.

He was a case in point of the issue.

So when CCP introduced citadels into the game, they were going to fix this problem, and the solution was asset safety.  This, and the fact that your assets would be gone if you lost a citadel, citadels being destroyable as opposed to capturable, were selling points for the new Upwell structure plan.  If you came back to the game after a time away you were never going to find your stuff locked up and inaccessible again.  Nor would you come back to find them simply gone.  Yes, it might be in an awkwardly located low sec station if had a structure blown up, and sure you might have to pay some ISK to get it back, but you could get it.  Anything really valuable to you could be recovered without having to launch war to take a region simply to recover that Curor you left behind last time.

Null sec was covered.  And when they finally converted the null sec stations to Fortizar, stuff locked up for ages was all recoverable via asset safety.  Gaff can get his stuff back if he wants it. (He has tried, but you have to actually go to the station where your stuff is to deal with it is another tale.)

So citadels solved that problem for null sec.

In wormhole space, where there were no stations (Thera doesn’t count), players had been living out of player owned starbases (the dreaded POS) and had never had a safe place to store their stuff, so not giving them asset safety seemed to make sense.

And in low and high sec, empire space, there are a plethora of NPC stations that are always accessible, so you’ll never lose your stuff and have it locked away from you.  But they got asset safety as well because it seemed to be the right fit.

But Upwell structures brought their own issues to the game.  They changed the dynamics of play, with tethering and their defenses and the long, three pass timer system that was required to destroy them.  And, of course, the sprang up everywhere.  They were like space mushrooms.  So CCP started tweaking them slowly over time, trying to find a new balance that would sate those complaining about their various issues.

One issue that came up over time was the litter of low power, essentially abandoned citadels all over space.  The three timer system meant blowing them up was a pain, so CCP changed things so that unfueled citadels only required two timers.

That was not enough though.  And so, at the end of last month, we got the Forsaken Fortress update.  This introduced a new “abandoned” state for Upwell structures that had not been fueled for the past seven days.  The timer on that started when the patch went live and so structures began to hit that state this week.  Once in the “abandoned” state, the following became true:

  • It will skip the Hull Reinforcement phase. This means it has no reinforcement cycles at all, and can be destroyed in a single attack session. (Damage caps will continue to apply as normal. Normal war-dec/CONCORD rules continue to apply)
  • It does not have any tethering capability at all.
  • If it explodes, an abandoned structure will not push any items into asset safety whatsoever. All assets located the structure are eligible to drop as loot. (This will be the same behaviour as a current wormhole structure)
    • Note that as long as the structure is still in space, you can still manually push your assets into asset safety as normal.
    • When a structure is close to becoming abandoned, all characters/corporations with assets in the structure will receive a notification that their assets are potentially at risk.
    • Unanchoring an abandoned structure will push all assets into asset safety as normal. The loot drop only applies to exploding abandoned structures.

The key item in that is the removal of asset safety, which I must admit at first glace I thought would be kind of fun.  I have been to wormhole citadel kills in the past when structures have dropped all sorts of loot.  It was a good time.

The loot ball from a Keepstar kill

But that was in wormhole space where asset safety was never a thing, so loss of assets is common and expected.

But now, with this change we’re seeing some asset losses in high sec that are rather astronomical in scope, to make the obvious pun.  Caches of tech II BPOs as well as an alliance tournament ship, both worth many billions of ISK, have fallen out of “abandoned” citadels.  Hell, it has just been raining blueprints and other items all over. (Oh my, a CODE stash.)

These were likely left there by people who took a break from the game when asset safety was guaranteed and now are going to come back and find they have lost their valuable assets. (Basically, if you were not paying close attention between the April 24th announcement that this was coming and this week, you might have missed it.)  This is arguably worse than having them locked away in a hostile station in null sec.  You can work a deal, find a friend (or a spy), or, you know, launch that invasion to get them back.  But these are gone forever.

Of course, the player coming back might not know they’ve lost everything right away because the game is still sending out asset safety notifications when “abandoned” structures are destroyed.  As for CCP sending out an email to players about this change coming… you know, a bit of warning that you might lose your stuff… well, some people said they got one, but I haven’t seen one across six accounts, so that seems like a bad sign.  I did, however, get notes from them about the EVE Portal Jita PLEX market update, the latest stage of the Triglavian invasion, and offers related to buying PLEX or items from the merch store, so they are sending out messages.

And this isn’t even all that random.  All of these structures are duplicated in full over on the test server, so people have been knocking over citadels there to see which ones are worth blowing up on the main server.

CCP, which was so worried about people not coming back because their stuff was locked away in an inaccessible null sec station, has now created a situation where people are going to come back and find all of their work over the years has been taken.

Oddly, you cannot even excuse CCP for having forgotten that assets were an issue in the past because they made a special exemption for the faction Fortizars that replaced the old null sec stations.  They clearly still want some people to be able to find their stuff when they return to the game… but apparently null sec people are the only ones they worry about.  I don’t know, maybe that is what you get with a null sec CSM.

Long experience in the genre indicates that people take breaks, but come back to games because they have something to show for their past investment of time.  Your installed base is an irreplaceable asset, even when their not playing at the moment.  But if they come back and figure out that CCP has pulled the carpet out from under them and allowed other players to walk away huge amounts of their stuff… that will break the tether with the game.  Some players will leave and won’t come back due to this.

But CCP loves to see destruction, they are being supported by the loudest voices in the community on this, and they seem focused mostly on new player retention in any case, so I doubt we’ll see any response at all from the company when it comes to players feeling like they got screwed.  And this EVE Online.  Don’t fly… or dock… what you cannot afford to lose.

Others on this topic:

The April MER and Mining and Ratting

CCP got us the Monthly Economic Report for April 2020.  These seem to be dropping later in the month this year, but at least we’re still getting them.

EVE Online nerds harder

This was a report I was waiting for as it will show us the impact of the last round of mining changes, the removal of common ore and mineral types from moon mining.  That change went in at the end of March, so April is the first time we will be able to see any repercussions.

April also saw the Surgical Strike update, which made super carrier ratting less viable, so we can see if that had an impact on NPC bounty numbers as well.

But mining first.

All that scarcity appears to be working, at least when it comes to mineral prices.  Those continued a sharp rise in April.

April 2020 – Economic Indices

That continued rise in prices is now looks like it could reach an all time high, as the long term chart shows.

April 2020 – Economic Indices – All Time

The all time peaks look like they hit in 2012… I am not sure what was going on at those two moments… but the trend looks like we are heading there again.

Interestingly, not all of the indices are following the mineral price spike.  The primary producer price index (PPPI) is climbing somewhat with the mineral spike.  But the PPPI has ore prices as one of its components.  Here is what makes up the PPPI:

  • Ore
  • Planetary Processed Materials
  • Planetary Refined Commodities
  • Planetary Specialized Commodities

The consumer price index (CPI) however has remained flat.  Here is what makes up the CPI:

  • Ammo
  • Commodities
  • Drones
  • Implants
  • Skills
  • Starbase structures
  • Tech I modules
  • Tech I ships
  • Tech II modules

That list feels like it needs to be updated as there are some items with very little price variation there.  While there are a few skills that are drops, the influence of those outliers no doubt gets hidden by the vast sea of skills with very static pricing.  You can buy most skills straight from your character sheet so you cannot even get gouged on standard skills any more unless you really want to be.

The flat line of the CPI also seems to indicate that maybe we’re working off supply further down the production pipeline.  Realistically, if mineral prices are going up, ship and module prices should be as well… people are complaining that tech II guns are tough to find in Jita, so those prices should be spiking… but the line remains flat.  Perhaps the CPI going up is what CCP is waiting for.

And then there is the secondary producer price index (SPPI), which is trending on an almost reciprocal line to mineral prices.  The SPPI is made up of:

  • Blueprints
  • Commodity
  • Planetary Commodities
  • Planetary Refined Commodities
  • Planetary Specialized Commodities

That is mostly planetary interaction output, which hasn’t been touched by CCP recently.  Demand there appears to be going down as the mineral drought throttles production.

Going as planned?  We shall see.

Meanwhile, looking at the mining numbers by region, it is starting to look like a high sec activity.

April 2020 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

The total mined overall was 31.58 trillion ISK worth (a number inflated by the rise in mineral prices), with the  top ten regions by value mined in April being:

  1. Delve – 1.81 trillion
  2. Domain – 1.64 trillion
  3. The Forge – 1.59 trillion
  4. Oasa – 1.35 trillion
  5. Sinq Laison – 1.34 trillion
  6. Lonetrek – 1.15 trillion
  7. Fountain – 911 billion
  8. Metropolis – 888 billion
  9. Genesis – 878 billion
  10. Tash-Murkon – 869 billion

That list is three null sec regions Delve, Fountain, and Oasa (2x Imperium and 1x PandaFam), and seven high sec regions. (Those seven are also close to trade hubs.)

If you go back to November of last year, six months back, before all of this kicked off and after the Chaos Era had ended, the top ten regions for mining were flipped the other way around, with seven null sec regions and three high sec regions.

  1. Delve – 4.55 trillion
  2. Esoteria – 2.43 trillion
  3. Outer Passage – 2.00 trillion
  4. Querious – 1.39 trillion
  5. Domain – 1.14 trillion
  6. The Forge – 993 billion
  7. Malpais – 953 billion
  8. The Kalevala Expanse – 910 billion
  9. Feythabolis – 781 billion
  10. Sinq Laison – 737 billion

So the mineral squeeze, the starvation diet, the diminution of asteroid yields, and the removal of common ore and minerals from null sec seems to be having an effect.  And CCP is still looking for loopholes.  Earlier this week they removed asteroids from combat anomalies, just in case you were tempted to rat and mine at the same time.

Which brings us to ratting and NPC bounties.  As mentioned above, April saw the Surgical Strike update launched, which reduced the effectiveness of shield and armor resistance modules.  This was ostensibly put in place to make more capital ships explode… there were additional nerfs aimed straight at supers and titans… but which also had an impact on PvE as well.  Your mission running, abyssal pocket, and ratting fits all took a hit, and so NPC bounties fell.

April 2020 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

A total of 50.46 trillion ISK in NPC bounties were collected in April, with the top ten regions being:

  1. Delve – 5.79 trillion
  2. Oasa – 4.47 trillion
  3. Perrigen Falls – 3.02 trillion
  4. Fountain – 2.54 trillion
  5. Cobalt Edge – 2.50 trillion
  6. Branch – 1.91 trillion
  7. Esoteria – 1.90 trillion
  8. Omist – 1.87 trillion
  9. Tenal – 1.62 trillion
  10. Malpais – 1.58 trillion

Compare that to March, where 58.26 trillion ISK in NPC bounties were paid out.  The top ten regions for March were:

  1. Delve – 7.91 trillion
  2. Oasa – 7.14 trillion
  3. Perrigen Falls – 3.71 trillion
  4. Cobalt Edge – 3.07 trillion
  5. Omist – 2.93 trillion
  6. Tenal – 2.84 trillion
  7. Esoteria – 2.11 trillion
  8. Fountain – 2.09 trillion
  9. Feythabolis – 1.92 trillion
  10. Branch – 1.80 trillion

Every region on the April list is down compared to their March numbers.  This was likely due to fewer super carriers out ratting after the update.  Super carriers had long been pretty much invulnerable to subcaps, requiring a dreadnought fleet to take one down reliably. (The dreadbomb.)  Now, with the resistance changes and fighters applying less effectively to subcaps, they are now vulnerable.

While the dip in NPC bounties doesn’t seem that big, it only represents a partial month of change.  I expect that the May numbers will show a further decline as the state of NPC bounties and ratting adjusts to the new normal.  There is a lot of that going around.

So it goes.

As always, the full monthly economic report has a lot more data and many more charts than what I post here, so if you are interested in the details you can dig into it.

The Forsaken Fortress Update comes to EVE Online

CCP announced the Forsaken Fortress update a almost a month ago, which is a long lead time for them these days.  We got that and some more today.

Forsaken Fortress Day

The plan here was, once more, to reduce structure spam in New Eden by making unattended Upwell structures easier to blow up.  This adds on to the Kicking over Castles changes that we got back in December. (Along with the odious HyperNet Relay spam and scam platform.)

The idea is that if an Upwell structure has not consumed any fuel for seven days, it will enter a new “abandoned” state.  Once a structure enters this new state, the following will be true:

  • It will skip the Hull Reinforcement phase. This means it has no reinforcement cycles at all, and can be destroyed in a single attack session. (Damage caps will continue to apply as normal. Normal war-dec/CONCORD rules continue to apply)
  • It does not have any tethering capability at all.
  • If it explodes, an abandoned structure will not push any items into asset safety whatsoever. All assets located the structure are eligible to drop as loot. (This will be the same behaviour as a current wormhole structure)
    • Note that as long as the structure is still in space, you can still manually push your assets into asset safety as normal.
    • When a structure is close to becoming abandoned, all characters/corporations with assets in the structure will receive a notification that their assets are potentially at risk.
    • Unanchoring an abandoned structure will push all assets into asset safety as normal. The loot drop only applies to exploding abandoned structures.

This also applies to normal and flex structures, each of which apparently now requires a flow chart to figure out what happens under which set of circumstances.

Life cycle of the standard Upwell structure – Click to view full size

Life cycle of an Upwell Flex structure – Click to view full size

The following changes have also been made around this update.

  • The five faction citadels introduced as replacements for Outposts and Conquerable Stations (Moreau, Draccous, Horizon, Marginis, and Prometheus fortizars) are exempt from the asset safety penalty, because they have a special bonus meaning that they will never transition to Abandoned. These citadels can remain in a Low Power state indefinitely.
  • The Structure Browser window lists a corporation’s own structures. This will now include an indication of which structures are Low Power and which are Abandoned.
  • The Asset Browser window will highlight any structures containing your personal assets which are currently Low Power or Abandoned. You are advised to consider pushing your assets in Abandoned structures into asset safety, as otherwise they are at risk of sudden loss.
  • When a structure is forced into Low Power mode as a result of entering a Hull Repair/Reinforcement cycle, it will now internally remember which service modules were online at the time. If it survives and returns to full health, it will automatically make an attempt to re-online those service modules (provided that it has sufficient fuel to cover the onlining cost).
  • All these changes apply equally to FLEX structures as well as regular structures. So for example, Jump Bridges and Cyno Jammer/Beacon structures will automatically re-online their service modules, and thus re-enable their specific functionalities, after surviving an attack.
  • Structures that are Low Power on patch day will begin their 7-8 day countdown as soon as the server is restarted.

 

It is hard to decide which is the biggest change for this new structure state.  The lack of timers makes them quick to kill, the lack of tethering makes them more difficult to defend, and the lack of automatic asset safety makes them irresistible loot pinatas.

I suspect that we will see a surge in kills as people hunt down structures in the new abandoned state in a week.

You will still need a war dec to shoot a structure in high security space, but that seems like a low bar.

In addition to that, we also got an armor hardener tiericide to try and make armor hardener names and stats fit into a regular pattern.  The list of modules that were touched is long, so you’ll have to browse the patch notes for that.

In addition, there were also revisions to the armor repair unit, shield hardener, and shield booster tiericide passes to tweak the values across the various module flavors.  Again, longs lists in the patch notes, but I will note this item, since it will probably confuse people for a while:

  • All Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardeners have been renamed to Multispectrum Shield Hardeners

They have also done away with “anti” in the names.

The armor and shield rigs that provide damage bonuses were renamed in order to make it clear exactly what they do.  Their names were also changes to remove the “anti” prefix, so they all look more affirmative and, since there are only eight, I’ll copy and paste that list:

  • Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer → EM Shield Reinforcer
  • Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer → Explosive Shield Reinforcer
  • Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer → Kinetic Shield Reinforcer
  • Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer → Thermal Shield Reinforcer
  • Anti-EM Pump → EM Armor Reinforcer
  • Anti-Explosive Pump → Explosive Armor Reinforcer
  • Anti-Kinetic Pump → Kinetic Armor Reinforcer
  • Anti-Thermal Pump → Thermal Armor Reinforcer

And then there was this one-liner in the mix:

Removed mining asteroids from non-mining, Null Sec Combat Anomalies.

I guess CCP is serious about closing the door on minerals.  I don’t know how big of an impact that will make, but every little bit hurts.  I’ll get to the April MER later this week.

And, finally, there is the final chapter of the Triglavian saga, which doesn’t get very much mention in the patch notes either, relative to how much CCP has been hyping it up:

The next chapter of the Triglavian Invasion will unfold over the coming months.

Seriously, if you glance at how CCP is pitching this update, you’d think Triglavians were all there were.  The patch notes are officially named after this.

The official logo celebrating the single sentence above

There is a news post announcing it, but details are sparse there as well.  So look for that I guess.

There were the usual series of smaller fixes and tweaks.  You can see them all in the patch notes.  Would it kill CCP to pick a naming scheme for patch notes and stick with it?  The “month year” pattern seemed about right, since they update the patch notes during the month some times.  But now the pattern is “day month” when that title will become inaccurate with the first revision.  Oh well.  It is probably better than the “name every patch” idea that ran for a while.

The updates page is still there, but isn’t all that useful.  It is only sporadically tended these days.

If you want to see what people are complaining about there is the feedback thread in the forums, as well as the known issues thread to see why they might be pushing an update.