Category Archives: Null Sec

34 Weeks of World War Bee

This past week saw Snuffed Out carry on with their prodding of the Tranquility Trading Consortium, the null sec coalition that runs the Tranquility Trading Tower in Perimeter, among other things.  Having destroyed the TTC keepstar in Ignoitton last week, the group declared war on the TTC, leading people to wonder if they were going to actually assail the high sec trading hub.

This led to the push/shove scenario and answered the question as to whether the owners of the TTC… which includes both sides of World War Bee.. would cooperate to defend their lucrative market situation.

The answer was “yes” as both TEST and The Imperium joined the war to defend the TTC, leading to a set of instructions going out to Imperium pilots about how to setup their overviews so they could be allied with TEST in high sec yet still see them as hostile targets in Delve.

In order to declare a war in high sec a group has to designated a war headquarters.  In this case, Snuff’s HQ was an unfit (and perhaps unfueled) Raitaru in Ichinumi, which the TTC forces promptly destroyed.  That meant that the TTC “won” the war and kept Snuff from declaring war again for two weeks.  This quick resolution led some to believe that Snuff was just in it for the memes.

Meanwhile, in his weekly fireside chat on Saturday, The Mittani announced the F2 program, a call for members of the Imperium to step up and be more than just F1 monkeys in fleets.  The idea is to take an organization that, since the levee en masse inception of KarmaFleet, has often been seen to simply be about simply getting more people into fleets and pulling the few who show some talent into positions of responsibility, and get more people to step up into support roles in addition to going on fleet ops.  Scouts and spies were mentioned specifically, but were not the sole possible paths.  Mittens banged the drum for this through his whole speech and, though he vowed there would be no shaming of people who did not step up, wandered perilously close to that position a few times himself.

In the traditional Imperium way, having long adapted to the daunting complexity of life in New Eden and the running of a space empire, there was a promise of guides to help line members find that second role… the F2 button on the space career… to help support the coalition.

Delve Front

As we enter the eighth month of the war, Delve has now been in play for almost half of that time.  PAPI put down a Keepstar successfully in NPC Delve on their fifth attempt back in October.  That means that the invasion of Delve, the alleged final stage of the war, has now gone on longer than many past wars have taken all told.  I know everybody loves the “not winning fast enough” meme, but public promises as to when 1DQ1-A would fall have all proven to be pipe dreams so far.  The system, and the constellation behind it, remain in Imperium hands and largely unscathed.  But for PAPI to take Delve, they must evict the Imperium from 1DQ1-A.

That said, there isn’t a lot left of Delve in Imperium hands.  PAPI came in and took the 1-A81R constellation, home to The Bastion and Get Off My Lawn.  Aside from a few outlying systems near Querious, the 1DQ1-A constellation is all PAPI has left to take.

Delve – Feb 28, 2021

The hellcamp in M2-XFE carries on.  There were some operations by PAPI against the bubbles over the week, but no real break out attempts have come.  And the two metaliminal storms continue to wander the region, though the electrical storm looks like it might be out the door and into Fountain if it carries on in its current direction.

Other Theaters

In Querious Brave has managed to hold on to the systems they have been trying to claim.

Querious – Feb 28, 2021

That said, Siberian Squads hasn’t gone away either and remains in their own constellation as well as staging out of the Keepstar in W6V-VM.

In Catch however, Brave’s holdings are under siege as The Initiative and other groups have laid siege to and started taking what one might consider Brave’s core home systems in the region.

Catch – Feb 28, 2021

Brave is committed to Querious now because their backfield is on fire behind them.  Likewise, Immensea remains under pressure, and Federation Uprising is down to two ihubs and Warped Intentions has lost all of theirs.

Immensea – Feb 28, 2021

And down in Esoteria The Bastion has kept the pressure on TEST, though an incursion popping up in the region probably hasn’t made their life any easier.

Esoteria – Feb 28, 2021

There is word that Impass and Feythabolis may also start getting the torch soon, once some of the above regions are wrapped up.

My Participation

I was a slacker yet again this week, though I have to say that a lot of the ops I saw pinged were in EUTZ, which I cannot really go on unless I know they are going to be short.  I can’t go missing in the middle of the work day for long.  I did jump in when PAPI made a run at the bubbles at the M2-XFE camp, which put me on some fighter squadron kills.  I also got the final blow on a TEST Scimitar, so my Rokh has a kill mark on it now.

The M2 Keepstar abides

Other than that I ran around Delve and collected my PI.  PAPI hasn’t been after the customs office in the region, or at least not in the systems where I work, so that trickle of income has remained steady.  Oh, and I was on the Theta Thursday show on INN last week, proving that they are getting low on available guests.

With that my losses for the war remain:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

This past week saw the Bastions of War update from CCP which introduced improvements to marauder class battleships.  Buffing 2 billion ISK hulls in the middle of their economic crunch seemed a bit comical to me, but the left hand rarely seems to know what the right hand is doing at CCP.  We will see if that changes anything in the game meta.

The update also nerfed heavy assault cruiser survivability, which will no doubt change the null sec war meta, which has largely been “HACs online” for most of the conflict.  It seems that Muninns and Eagles might fall by the wayside, though the speedy Cerberus might still be viable.  What will replace those as ships of the line remains to be seen.

CCP CEO Hilmar Petursson gave an odd interview about the EVE Online economy which was published over at The Gamer in which he went on about the New Eden economy in attempt to play up some bizarre connection to the GameStop short selling event earlier in the month, by describing things that don’t or can’t really happen in the game.  Has anybody, as an example, really been banned for margin trading?  It was really every bad interview I have ever witnessed where the CEO proves he doesn’t know his product and nobody is there to stop him.

And then CCP posted their Expert Systems dev blog, which in classic CCP fashion, uses words that sound cool but which do not mean what they seem to think they do. (see “logistics” meaning “repair” for another example.)  While lacking in details, this came off as a “rent a skill” program to get new players to pay money for temporary access to skills to try them out.  It seems like a complete non-starter to me, but I’ll have more words about that later.

And the peak concurrent users for the week rang in about where it did last week, with Sunday being just slightly ahead of Saturday this time around:

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996
  • Week 30 – 38,323
  • Week 31 – 38,167
  • Week 32 – 37,259
  • Week 33 – 35,886 (Saturday)
  • Week 34 – 35,626

Related

February in Review

The Site

I haven’t complained about WordPress.com in a while, so let me get stuck into them.  They broke the classic editor… again.  Not drastically, but the break made it much more annoying to use.  When I wrote to their support… they call them “happiness engineers,” which sounds like a title the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation would use… the response was pretty much “LOL, use the block editor dummy!” followed by a long, cut and pasted entry about how wonderful it is.

I do not like the block editor.  It feels like a software dev’s view of a word processor, with each paragraph in its own block, as though people somehow felt a need to re-arrange paragraphs so often that they made it a feature.  Object oriented writing isn’t really a thing.  My paragraphs cannot be re-ordered at will and make sense.  They barely make sense when correctly ordered.

There is the “classic” block in the block editor, which is almost tolerable, but lacks some of the features of the classic editor.  And trying to explain the omissions to a “happiness engineer” was like trying to explain tea to a robot.

Fortunately, Paeroka at Nerdy Bookahs noticed that the classic editor was only broken in Firefox, not Chrome.  Another typical dev problem, and one I run into at work a lot, where everybody only ever uses Chrome despite the fact that our customers are often on locked down work machines that only have Edge or IE11 on them.  I personally prefer Firefox, though I can complain about most browsers for one reason or another, but I can use Chrome to write if I have to.

Otherwise it was a pretty good month.  Traffic was up as the swell of Valheim players looking for information about the game sent a bunch of people my way.  I was also enthusiastic to write about the game.

Valheim on Steam

The traffic tapered off towards the end of the month as every gaming site in creation jumped on the Valheim bandwagon.  But you can see from the most viewed posts list that it generated some interest here.  And I am sure I will have more to say about the game.

One Year Ago

The anticipated Torchlight Frontiers MMORPG was demoted to Torchlight III, another action RPG with multiplayer support.

Daybreak was warming up for the EverQuest 21st anniversary.

Blizzard reported a decent Q4 for 2019, at least compared to the rest of the year.  WoW Classic helped.  A lot.  But the Warcraft III Reforged fiasco was not likely to help Blizz for Q1 2020.

Over at CCP Project Nova, the latest attempt at a first person shooter, was transitioning into some other project.  But they were going to keep that quiet until the had something real to bring to us.  They also cancelled FanFest in Iceland over corona virus fears, and rightly so.

For the February update in EVE Online we got the Guardians Gala, new implant sets, and the start of what would become a year of nerfing mining into oblivion.  CCP gave us some skill points for being down due to a DDoS attack.  The also announced a plan to fix undercutting in the market.

Out in New Eden the Goon Expeditionary Force was formed and went out on its first deployment.  I managed to get on a bunch of kill mails in my ECM burst interceptor.  We were also out shooting structures and

As fall out from the death of Guardians of the Galaxy coalition, Ranger Regiment joined the Imperium.

I also compare raids, where up to 40 people need to coordinate, with fleet ops in EVE Online, where up to 255 people work as a team, facing off against another group generally of equal size.

In WoW Classic the instance group was working on the Scarlet Monastery Cathedral wing, then we were back again to finish up a quest.  Then I summed up all of our Scarlet Monastery time over the years in a post, including a mock version of the place in Neverwinter.

The we were off to Razorfen Downs.

As we were getting to level 40, I wondered how close we were to being half way to level cap.  There are a variety of ways to measure that.

I was also still playing the EverQuest II expansion, and even bought a couple Krono as my cash resources were rather meager.

And then there was Camelot Unchained, where City State Entertainment announced that they were working on another game which would somehow magically speed up delivery of the game that was already four years past the promised date, prompting people to ask for refunds, myself included.  Of course, getting a refund was not easy, and City State was not at all inclined to be helpful, with Mark Jacobs himself showing up to tell me I must be dumb to not have all the details of a seven year old credit card charge close to hand, but I ended up finally finding the transaction ID from the 2013 pledge and got a refund, minus processing fees.

Five Years Ago

We were in Hawaii for a few days for my wife’s birthday.

I was wondering about MMOs and their middle age problems.

I was on episode 80 of the Couchpodtatoes podcast, where we reviewed Daybreak’s first year.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens was announced, and it was even going to be available on the PlayStation 3.  Lucky me.

Pokemon turned 20.  To celebrate there was a re-launch of the classic Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on Virtual Console, special legendary downloads every month, and the announcement that we would be getting the next installment in the series, Pokemon Sun & Moonfor the holidays.

Daybreak announced the splitting of H1Z1 into two gamesH1Z1 – Makes Some Money and H1Z1 – Gets Ignored.

I was making the case that Blizzard should continue to talk about WoW subscription numbers, even if they were down, as they were at least more concrete than MAUs, which have no correlation with revenue.  Of course, times have changed.  I was able to pre-order WoW Legion with a 20% discount thanks to Amazon Prime.

The shut down date for CCP’s DUST 514 was announced.  The end was nigh.  They also announced they were shutting down EVElopedia, thus creating dozens of new dead links on my blog in one fell swoop.  Some days I just hate the internet.  But at least the company’s financials seemed okay.  Not bankrupt yet.

In EVE Online we had the Madi Gras release that introduce skill injectors/extractors and the skill point economic boom. Of course, it became about penis size right away and somebody had to inject enough to train up all the skills in game.  You can buy your way to the top now, a pity it doesn’t actually make you any smarter in real life.

The EVE Online Blog Banter was about road maps for the game.

The CSM 11 election season was warming up, with CCP Falcon spreading bullshit in an attempt to cover the “no Sions” rule.  Sion Kumitomo was boycotting the CSM 10 Winter summit as it was the only agency he felt he had.  But at least CCP Falcon and CCP Leelo were off the CSM detail, with CCP Guard and CCP Logibro taking their places.

In space there was the last flight of the Reaver Ravens and a final fight down in Querious before returning to the north.  Then it was Yacht Fleet and the war between SpaceMonkeys Alliance and the RMT tainted I Want ISK in what was already being called “The Casino War.”

And then there was a call to go play PlanetSide 2, which seemed ill timed considering the war.

In Minecraft I reviewed the state of our automated farms… which were mostly Aaron’s.

And in Diablo III I was giving season 5 a run, running first through story mode and then going after some of the seasonal objectives in adventure mode.

Ten Years Ago

I was accidentally declared influential.  That was the first and last time that ever happened, and in an era before “influencers” were even a thing.  We got over that pretty quickly.

Hulkageddon IV came and went.  We all survived.  And then there was the new character creator in EVE Online.  It had… options.

LOTRO had a welcome back event… even though it was free to play, so coming back wasn’t all that hard… unless you count time spent waiting for the patcher.

There was yet another sign of the coming apocalypse.

NetDevil got pulled out of LEGO Universe.

Nintendo was banging the drum for Pokemon Black and White.  We were certainly ready for it at our house.

Van Hemlock was slumming back in MMOs for a bit.

I was taking a look at the holy trinity of roles through a historical lens.  It wasn’t always exactly Tank/Healer/DPS.

The instance group was still playing World of Warcraft Now we just get nostalgic about it.

World of Tanks.  It was in beta and set some sort of bogus record.

Rift was getting ready to launch.  People were freaking out in the absence of calm words.  Personally, I wasn’t buying into the game.  Who needed a WoW clone when we had WoW?

Nostalgia was officially on with the launch of the Fippy Darkpaw Time Locked Progression server.  Characters were rolled.  Low level zones were crowded and experience was slow.  But the tour was a go.  We hit the Qeynos HillsBlackburrowWest Karana, and the Qeynos Sewers.  Important spells were rediscovered and camping trips were planned.  Not everything was as we remembered it, but it made for a pretty darn good nostalgia adventure.

And while that was going on, SOE shipped the Destiny of Velious expansion for EverQuest II.  But I couldn’t be bothered.

And, finally, one of our cats was on top of the refrigerator.

Fifteen Years Ago

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach launched.  Based somewhat on the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 rule set it set out to be the best dungeon crawl experience in the MMORPG genre, and featured no dragons at launch.  It also unapologetically required required player grouping, something declared right on the box.  That made me put it back on the shelf at Fry’s.  It has since become solo friendly, free to play, and toned down the name to just Dungeons & Dragons Online.

SOE lauched the Kingdom of Sky expansion for EverQuest II, which raised the level cap to 70 and introduced alternate advancement, a mechanism long familiar to EQ veterans by that point.  This was also at a point of peak performance issues in the game, including the height of the Qeynos Harbor lag problem.  I was on board with WoW by then and declined to buy the expansion.

EVE Online reached the 100,000 subscriber mark, back when companies talked about such things publicly, and launched the Bloodlines expansion.  That expansion, which basically complicated character creation and made everybody go Caldari, would be the current state of the game when I made my first character in New Eden a few months down the road.

James Cameron was jumping onto the MMO bandwagon with Multiverse Network, which was going to lower the barrier to entry for MMO creation.  The plan was for there to be an MMO released alongside his next movie, but Avatar had to go it alone in the end, while Multiverse Network shut down in 2011.

Twenty Years Ago

Civilzation II, perhaps one of the oldest games I can still play, and which I have invested many hours into, launched on leap day 1996.

Pokemon Red & Green, the genesis of the Pokemon franchise, launched in Japan.

Thirty Years Ago

The Legend of Zelda launches on the NES, the first game in the long running franchise.

Most Viewed Posts in February

  1. Deer Hunting in Valheim
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. Tunnels and Trolls and Teens and the Bronze Age in Valheim
  4. The Guardians Gala Event Returns to EVE Online
  5. A First Look at Valheim
  6. Traveling to the Black Forest in Valheim
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. Robbing Some Space Banks
  9. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  10. Time to Earn some ISK
  11. What Does LOTRO Need?
  12. Titan Massacre at M2-XFE

Search Terms of the Month

goons papi eve meta explained
[Good luck with that]

keepstar meme
[Yes]

keepster broom
[What?]

how do keepstars protect themselves
[Memes, brooms]

eve echoes burn jita
[One can only hope]

eve minokawa solo fit
[Again, good luck with that]

Game Time from ManicTime

When the month started off it looked very much like WoW Classic would be at the top of the list.  I was serious about my paladin alt, the group was finishing up Blackrock Depths, and things were going well.  And then Valheim showed up and ate up all my free time.  Well played.

  • Valheim – 63.16%
  • WoW Classic – 22.85%
  • EVE Online – 13.52%
  • World of Warcraft – 0.47%

EVE Online

The was carried on.  There were a few big clashes, but nothing like the titan battles or the Keepstar drops from the end of 2020.  I got into a few fights, but mostly spent my time on the M2 hellcamp, which carries on.  Both sides are grinding away at each other and trying to keep their side motivated.  The side that loses interest first loses.

Pokemon Go

There were some fun events for the Kanto celebration that got my wife and I out of the house.  Lots of raids and tasks.  We’re slowly closing in on level 41.

Level: 40 (88% of the way to 41 in xp, all tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 619 (+6) caught, 647 (+5) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 11 of 11
Pokemon I want: Still need some Unova Pokemon to fill in the gaps
Current buddy: Frogadier

Valheim

The surprise hit game of 2021 so far.  I went from, “Why no, I have never heard of this new early access game on Steam” to it consuming all of my gaming time over the course of a week.

World of Warcraft

WoW has really fallen down the list.  As I said in my BlizzConline summary, it isn’t so much that Shadowlands is bad, it is just always the 3rd or 4th thing on my list to play.  I forgot to log in and do the Darkmoon Faire tradeskill quests even this month.  I am really falling off the retail WoW wagon.

WoW Classic

We finally finished up the last quest for Blackrock Depths on our twelfth run.  Doing it as a four person group was often a challenge.  And, for a four person group I am not sure we have the optimum class balance.  Had I to do it over again I might have tanked with a paladin.  The raid meta won’t allow pally tanks, but for the 5 person dungeons it would have worked.  Now we just have to decide what to hit next.

Coming Up

More Valheim I bet.  We’re kind of moving slowly on our world, but base building is satisfying.  We still haven’t found the damn vendor, so hopefully that will happen next month.  I’ve explored a lot of black forest biome on foot so far and that is getting a bit old.

World War Bee will carry on in EVE Online.  Neither side seems ready to crack yet as the war enters its eighth month.  Meanwhile, CCP is carrying on with strangling the economy along with a couple more odd ideas that I might explore.

The instance group might get back to WoW Classic.  We’re all playing Valheim together at the moment, but that isn’t as structured as a dungeon run, which is both good and bad.  We’ll see.

EverQuest will turn 22 in March.  Are there any good birthdays after your 21st?  I think the last real birthday party I had was when I was ten.

I will also expect that we will start getting a drip feed of news from Blizzard about their projects for this year, including The Burning Crusade Classic and Diablo II Ressurected.  Likewise from Nintendo around Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl and Pokemon Legends: Arceus.   And I am still waiting for some new on LEGO Starwars: The Skywalker Saga, which was delayed into 2021.

EVE Online Gets the Bastions of War Update for Marauders

CCP launched the Bastions of War update today which seeks to make marauder class battleships more powerful.

Here come the marauders

The changes for marauder class battleships are:

All Marauders class ships:

  • Lock range increased by 30%
  • Sensor strength increased by 8

Bastion Module I:

  • Bastion now increases the rate of fire for all large weapons by 50% (100% DPS increase)
  • Bastion duration reduced from 60s to 30s

Vargur:

  • 5% bonus to large projectile rate of fire changed to 7.5% large projectile damage

Paladin:

  • Amarr Battleship bonus to Capacitor Capacity changed to 10% reduction in Large Energy Turret capacitor need

Kronos:

  • Capacitor Capacity increased to 8000 GJ
  • Capacitor Recharge rate reduced to 17m and 30s

We will see how this changes the marauder state of play in New Eden.

In order to celebrate this update CCP would like to sell you a new pack for $35 that has marauder (and recon) SKINs and skill books as well as some Omega time.

In addition, there were the following changes to try and nerf the ubiquitous null sec heavy assault cruiser doctrines that have dominated the war.

Assault Damage Controls:

  • Duration reduced by 25%
  • Passive hull resist bonus reduced from 30% to 25% for Tech I and from 40% to 30% for Tech II

Heavy Assault Cruisers:

  • Removed the reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty

CCP also took a pass on interdictors in an attempt to make the Sabre a little less dominant in the category, buffing the other three hulls in the segment.

Eris:

  • The reduction in plate mass penalty increased from 15% to 20%
  • Bonus to the rate of fire increased from 5% to 7.5%

Flycatcher:

  • Bonus to Shield HP increased from 10% to 15%

Heretic

  • Bonus to Armor HP increased from 10% to 15%

In addition to that, CCP took another pass at web bubbles, an interdictor item, to try and make them more viable.  Now they web harder and further and faster.

Stasis Webification Probes:

  • Web strength increased from 30% to 40%
  • Area of effect range increased from 10km to 15km
  • Warm-up Duration reduced from 3s to 2s

The Revelation dreadnought, currently the dominant hull in the dread meta, got some changes.

Revelation:

  • Power Grid reduced from 780,000 MW to 700,000 MW
  • XL Beam Power need reduced by 10,000 MW
  • XL Beam CPU need reduced by 10 tf

And, finally, the Monitor fleet command hull got some buffs to help out your FC.

Monitor:

  • Added a Drug Bay and a Charge Bay
  • Removed Target Painter Resistance from Structures.

That second sounds more like a change to structures, but since the Monitor can only mount a target painter, the price of its durability, up until now your fleet commander has been out of luck if they wanted to get on structure kills.  Now the FC and all the Vigil and Hyena pilots can whore on citadels kills.

These changes and a couple of other minor items, can be found in the patch notes for today’s update.

33 Weeks of World War Bee

This week saw Snuffed Out, the big bad guys of low sec space, declare that they were going to attack the Tranquility Trading Consortium (TTC) Keepstar in the Ignoitton system in a low sec stretch of the Sinq Laison region.  The TTC is a combined operation of TEST, Pandemic Horde, and the Imperium, who split the profits from these structures.  While the primary money maker is the Tranquility Trading Tower in Perimeter, one gate over and in the same region as Jita (which means you see results from it when you do a market search sitting in Jita), the TTC runs other structures, including the one in Ignoitton, which is used for third party capital and super capital sales.

Snuffed Out had been paid to leave the structure alone but apparently decided, with everybody burning ISK and resources in the war, that it would be more fun to just blow it up.  Which they did yesterday.

Vily issued a statement advising people to evacuate their stuff before it ends up in asset safety.  Elsewhere (I cannot find it at the moment) Snuffed Out issued a statement that they could no longer abide a structure like that acting as a safe haven in their back yard.

At the beginning of the month Snuffed Out destroyed the Sixth Empire Keepstar, the most majestic structure of his holiness Max Singularity VI, also in the Sinq Laison region.

Delve Front

The past week saw PAPI’s operational tempo continue to escalate.  The completed taking all of the ihubs in the SG-CTQ constellation, which includes the KarmaFleet home system of 39P-1J.  Then on Wednesday in EUTZ they made a major push against the ihubs and cyno jammers in the O-EIMK constellation, which includes the Imperium capital system of 1DQ1-A.

The subsequent battle saw nearly half a trillion ISK in destruction as both sides traded blows in the constellation.  The 8WA-Z6 system was the main focus of the clash, seeing 355 billion in losses alone.

Battle Report Header

At the end of the fight, PAPI had managed to reinforce zero ihubs and only destroyed five cyno jammers, which could be replaced.

The fight, which saw fairly equal numbers, seemed to take the wind out of the PAPI sails again, and the remainder of the week saw only small actions in Delve, including the occasional feint towards the M2-XFE hell camp.  Progodlegend blamed CCP node reinforcement for PAPI’s failure.

Delve – Feb 21, 2021

The Imperium continued to lose structures, but the main base of the coalition, 1DQ1-A and its surrounding systems, remains mostly unscathed nearly eight months into the war.

Meanwhile, on the weather watch, the two metaliminal storms that have come to Delve are both still hanging about.  The Electrical storm, which looked to be headed to 1DQ1-A, turned back and headed towards the constellation containing the M2-XFE hell camp.  I wonder who is hurt more by the lack of cloaking in the area.  Then the Gamma storm headed into a dead end constellation, so will eventually roll back out into the rest of Delve at some point.

Other Theaters

In Querious, Brave and Siberian Squads have been in a shoving match over ihubs, with both sides taking and losing ihubs over the course of the week.  Brave did score a coup just yesterday however, taking the ihub in W6V-VM, the Imperium staging system used by Siberian Squads.  But the region is still in flux.

Querious – Feb 21, 2021

Catch and Impass, the other end of Brave’s problems, also remain in play.

Catch – Feb 21, 2021

Systems were reinforced that Brave had to defend and The Initiative managed to take another ihub in Catch.  Brave’s core systems remain intact, but ihub timers there continue to be set, forcing them to defend.

Immensea was also the scene of more ihub action.

Immensea – Feb 21, 2021

Federation Uprising and Warped Intentions were both under pressure to defend.

And down in Esoteria, The Bastion and its allies kept the pressure on TEST in the region.

Esoteria – Feb 21, 2021

They did not take any further ihubs, but they managed to kill a TEST Sotiyo in what may be the most expensive engineering complex loss so far.  The loot on the field valued at 100 billion ISK, is alleged to be greater in value than Brave’s SRP budget.  Those in the know say that there were two titans in build when the structure was destroyed.

Further afield, Evictus began to evacuate Feythabolis, unanchoring structures, with an eye to moving into Delve.

My Participation

Valheim ate up a lot of my time, as it did the previous week.  I still managed to find some time to go on a few fleets and sit in the M2 hellcamp, which always seems to have 100-150 people in it just waiting for some abandoned PAPI line member to log in and take the hit.

The bubbles still stand around the M2-XFE Keepstar

I did managed to log in to the 1DQ1-A constellation fight towards the end.  There was a call for ECM burst interceptors to break locks on entosis ships as the vulnerability timer ended.  I went out in a Malediction and made several runs at the PAPI forces around the ihub, which padded my kill board a bit.

As part of that I also managed to close with the TEST Wyvern that ended up trapped on its own and was quickly bubbled and attacked by Imperium forces.

Just had to get close enough to fire my pop-gun laser

I got on the kill and got to watch it explode.  In that screen shot you can see a Nestor exploding… it may have been out to give the Wyvern pilot an opportunity to refit as the Nestor has that ability… the Wyvern itself, an Imperium Rorqual on its tail hungry for the loot and Salvage, and my Malediction interceptor racing to catch up.

Despite a couple of close calls, my losses for the war remain as follows:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

With the Tuesday update CCP managed to break jumping to cynos.  While an emergency fix went in quickly, requiring a launch restart for those already patched, this is the sort of thing that causes consternation out in null sec.

CCP released the Monthly Economic Report for January 2021, which includes the carnage from the hull timer battle at M2-XFE.

There was some alliance drama in Red Alliance, an ally of the Imperium.  This led to people and corps jumping to other orgs, including Siberian Squads.  The Russians are fractious and it is best not to get in the middle when they fall out.

Also, somebody on Reddit put together a map of null sec to illustrate the sides in the war at its start.

Null sec affiliation in the war

When somebody complains about the “blue donut” and they are in one of the alliances in the blue zone on that map, you are free to point and laugh.

At one point last week both sides in the war accused the other of padding their alliance numbers with freshly minted alts so as to hide any fail cascade.  That sort of thing, if either side is doing it, won’t help with numbers in fleets, which is where line members count.

Brave chief Dunk Dinkle was attacked by a bee this past weekend.  But he keeps bees.  I am sure there are multiple metaphors for the war in that.

Also, I went through all of the weekly updates and added the tag WWB Weekly Update to them. Now you can click on that if you want to scroll back and see how the maps have changed over time, when Fountain Frank showed up, when I started actually putting maps in the weekly update, or any of the inconsistencies in my own reporting, of which I am sure there are many.  It is all there in one long continuous scroll.

But you don’t have to go back to see the weekly peak concurrent user numbers, because I keep that going every week with the full list.  This past week saw Saturday once again take the top spot for the week as the numbers fell back down to about the 36K mark:

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996
  • Week 30 – 38,323
  • Week 31 – 38,167
  • Week 32 – 37,259
  • Week 33 – 35,886 (Saturday)

Related

The January EVE Online Economic Report Shows Destruction and Mineral Prices Soaring

CCP got us the New Eden Monthly Economic Report for January 2021 and, unlike the flawed December report, the numbers all look to be in on the second M2-XFE battle.

Also, I have a new banner picture for the MER that I think strikes the right tone. (Source)

Humans go in, crabs get richer

(For those unaware, “crabbing” is the in game slang term for doing things like mining and ratting in order to earn ISK or obtain resources.  It derives from the Russian slang for the practice and has become a common term in null sec.)

Destruction

Let’s go straight to destruction, where the regional stats indicate that there was 55.34 trillion ISK in ships and structures and what not destroyed in January, much of it in Delve.

Jan 2021 – Destruction by Region – Bar Graph

That bar graph shows Delve and then everybody else.  The top ten regions for destruction were:

  1. Delve – 21.9 trillion
  2. The Forge – 2.21 trillion
  3. Catch – 1.82 trillion
  4. The Citadel – 1.77 trillion
  5. Lonetrek – 1.69 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.69 trillion
  7. Metropolis – 1.14 trillion
  8. Vale of the Silent – 977 billion
  9. Domain – 967 billion
  10. Genesis – 830 billion

In an ordinary month The Forge is up at the top, ringing in pretty consistently with around 2 trillion ISK in destruction.  During the war you could tell which region was the most active battle front, as  it would pop to the top, as Fountain, Querious, and Delve have.  But the two battles at M2-XFE put Delve 10x The Forge for two months running.

Also, when it comes to the war, you can see that Catch, where Brave has been having such issues with The Initiative, is up in third place for January.

The Production vs. Destruction chart data, which keeps a running daily total of game-wide destruction, puts second battle of M2-XFE, the hull timer on January 3rd, at 15.35 trillion ISK in destruction, down a bit from the December 31st armor timer battle, which rang in 23.26 in destruction.

Jan 2021 – Production vs Destruction vs Mining

You can see the huge spike in daily data, and the temporary boost in the 30 day running average… the solid blue line… due to the two battles.

Of course, once I dug out that chart and the corresponding data I had to compare the totals to the region data and… they don’t match up, because of course they don’t.  The regional status total up to 55.34 trillion ISK, while the production vs. destruction data for January only add up to 51.71 trillion ISK.  That is a 3.6 trillion ISK gap, enough slop between the to data sets to hide a few regions worth or losses.  Go CCP.

Mining

Anyway, back to crabitalism.  According to CCP mineral prices continued to climb dramatically again in January thanks to their starvation economy plan.

Jan 2021 – Economic Indices

The mineral price index continues to climb at such a rate that it is skewing the chart and making the other indices look flatter than they would have in a more rational vertical scale.  And, in case you are wondering how the January peak compares to the historical highs.

Jan 2021 – Economic Indices – All Time

Yeah, we’re way out above any past peak.

As for minerals coming into the economy from mining, the regional stats put that at 20.4 trillion ISK in value, up from 19.9 trillion in December, though with the increase in mineral prices, that seems to indicate a further fall off in mining.  Though, honestly, it is opaque to me as to how the generate the basket of minerals to get the mineral price index.  The actual market price history in Jita doesn’t seem to reflect that much of a price spike.  But maybe the impact is being felt places that are not at the center of the economy.

The top 10 regions for mining were:

  1. Oasa – 1.5 trillion (PandaFam)
  2. The Forge – 1.2 trillion (High Sec)
  3. Metropolis – 1.01 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Sinq Laison – 937 billion (High Sec)
  5. Domain – 932 billion (High Sec)
  6. Lonetrek – 846 billion (High Sec)
  7. The Citadel – 647 billion (High Sec)
  8. Tash-Murkon – 626 billion (High Sec)
  9. Everyshore – 610 billion (High Sec)
  10. Heimatar – 585 billion (High Sec)

Aside from Fraternity in Oasa, mining remains a high sec game as AFK Orcas use mining drones to passively harvest veldspar to fill the tritanium requirements of New Eden producers.

Production

All those minerals are feeding somebody out there.  The top ten regions for production in January were:

  1. The Forge – 22 trillion (High Sec)
  2. Delve – 11.7 trillion (Imperium/PAPI)
  3. Lonetrek – 6.8 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Sinq Laison – 5.9 trillion (High Sec)
  5. The Citadel – 5.5 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Domain – 4.4 trillion (High Sec)
  7. Vale of the Silent – 3.7 trillion (mixed small groups)
  8. Heimatar – 3.5 trillion (High Sec)
  9. Tribute – 3.4 trillion (mixed small groups)
  10. Oasa – 2.8 trillion (PandaFam)

The total for production in January was 109.6 trillion ISK, which is about 2 trillion more than December.  Though, once again, if mineral prices are up as high as the indices show, it seems like that number should be going up more significantly as well.  The production/destruction data, however, only shows 80.6 trillion ISK products in New Eden in January, so once again CCP remains an unreliable witness.  But we have to work with the numbers we have.

Production remains heavily focused around The Forge and Jita.  Delve falls into second place, where the Imperium is still building, but PAPI has also been doing their own industry as well.  It would be interesting to know what the two sides look like on that.

And then there is production around Oasa, Vale of the Silent, and Tribute, which also happens to correspond with a low intensity war between Fraternity and the Freemen of the North.

Trade

Trade was up noticeably in January, with the total New Eden trade in the region data going up from 609 trillion ISK in December to 675 trillion ISK in January.  No doubt some of that was related to replacing losses after the fights at M2-XFE.  The top ten regions for trade were:

  1. The Forge – 467 trillion (Jita)
  2. Domain – 56.2 trillion (Amarr)
  3. Delve – 29.9 trillion (Imperium/PAPI)
  4. Sinq Laison – 20.8 trillion (Dodixie)
  5. Lonetrek – 17 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  6. Metropolis – 12.3 trillion (Hek)
  7. Heimatar – 11 trillion (Rens)
  8. Essence – 5.8 trillion (Gallente High Sec)
  9. The Citadel – 5.3 trillion (Caldari High Sec)
  10. Tash-Murkon – 4.5 trillion (Amarr High Sec)

Delve and The Forge were both up noticeably, once again hinting at the impact of the war.  Amarr remains a solid second place, so it seems as though the removal of the Niarja route between it and Jita has not hurt it as a trading hub.

NPC Bounties

Finally, the big ISK faucet… or the secondary ISK faucet these days.

Jan 2021 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

Once again, NPC bounties are down the list.

Jan 2021 – Faucet end of the chart

Commodities… drops from NPCs that you can turn in for ISK… brought 40 trillion ISK in to the game while NPC bounties brought in just 20 trillion ISK.   Well, 28 trillion ISK if we include the ESS Main Bank payouts.  CCP may need to add commodities to the top sinks and faucets chart and include ESS payouts in a chart somewhere.  I’m not sure if there is anybody around to do any sort of complicated changes any more… these charts look like somebody runs the scripts to produce them then publishes whatever they get without any error checking… once again, see last month.

Still, the regional stats seem to include the ESS Bank Payouts in their totals, as they also add up to 28 trillion ISK.  I am almost suspicious that two different CCP charts correlate.  So the top ten regions for NPC bounties were:

  1. Oasa – 1.61 trillion (PandaFam)
  2. Vale of the Silent – 1.29 trillion
  3. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.26 trillion (PandaFam)
  4. Cobalt Edge – 1.25 trillion (PandaFam)
  5. Perrigen Falls – 1.13 trillion (PandaFam)
  6. Insmother – 1.12 trillion (FI.RE Coalition)
  7. Tenal – 1.1 trillion (PandaFam)
  8. Delve – 959 billion (Imperium)
  9. Branch – 924 billion (PandaFam)
  10. Feythabolis – 890 billion (FI.RE Coalition)

Once again, PandaFam… Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, NCDot, Fraternity, and some smaller groups… seem to be the biggest beneficiaries.  And, in the war, that is the group that has not had to issue any sort of bonds to raise ISK nor has had any Legacy Coalition style leaks about dire finances.  There was a report of alliance tournament ship sales, ever the Pandemic Legion ISK reserve, but nothing dramatic.  They seem likely to come out of the war in the strongest position as the Imperium and Legacy Coalition will both need to do significant rebuilding once the war comes to some sort of resolution, while PandaFam’s territory has remained largely intact.

Anyway, such is what we get to see about the New Eden economy.  While I may kvetch about some issues, it is still more data than we get from any other MMO that I know of.

32 Weeks of World War Bee

This past week saw drama in Brave Collective, the fifth largest alliance in the game currently and a member of Vily’s Legacy Coalition.  On Wednesday morning US time they had an alliance meeting where it was announced that they would be moving into Querious.  The fact that this was going to be fun was repeated frequently.  Other groups were reported to want to come live nearby and be close to Brave.  They were going to total take out Siberian Squads, who announced last week that, after having left Legacy Coalition, they were joining the Imperium and going to stage in Querious.  And taking and holding Querious was going to be in addition to maintaining their presence in Catch and Immensea, along with whatever commitments they might have to the war in Delve.  Nothing was being abandoned, there was no evacuation planned.

This seemed like a late point to make this sort of commitment.  As late as Week 24 of the war Brave held significant numbers of ihubs in the region.  They have since lost all of those ihubs, but now they were going to move in and start all over.

A while later a leak showed up on Reddit dumping internal leadership discussions about the state of the alliance and the move to Querious that was very much at odds with the happy, upbeat tone of the alliance meeting.  The outlook there was bleak and the ability to hold their old space while moving into Querious seemed unlikely, while the cost of all of this was going to be prohibitive.

This led to another alliance meeting that evening where Dunk Dinkle admitted up front that the leaked discussion was real.  He said it was embarrassing, but then commenced to hedge and try to paint a rosy picture once again.  Everything will be fine.  The M2-XFE hell camp is dragging the Imperium down.  Goons will collapse soon.  Victory is close at hand.

That prompted further leaks which reinforced the idea that Brave’s finances might be at the breaking point, along with some memes.

Meme’d… nice use of @dril for it too

One of the strange bits was the need to pay 12 billion ISK to TEST to be able to receive Imperium ping relays for intel.  But then Vily said on Discord that TEST pays that too and that it is just some guy in TEST that runs the service.

Sure thing

Looking over from the Imperium, that seems like a pretty ad hoc way to run a coalition.  Whatever.

Despite financial problems and too many commitments, Dunk echoed Kerensky in 1917 in saying that he has to keep Brave in the war.  But the fact that somebody in leadership is leaking these discussions indicates that there is discord within the ranks.

And then it sounded like there was discontent over in Federation Uprising, another Legacy Coalition alliance.

Admittedly this war is different than past wars.  Seven months of continuous fighting at this scale is unprecedented in New Eden and the obvious assumption on the PAPI side was that this would be the Casino War all over again with the Imperium falling back to low sec in a few weeks.  But Vily declared repeatedly that this was a war of extermination to drive Goons from the game because they are all bad people, and few things will make Goons dig in and hang on than making things personal.  Welcome to Delve.

Delve Front

PAPI continued to field large fleets and push on Imperium space in Delve, successfully taking ihubs in the SG-CTQ constellation.

Delve – Feb 14, 2021

PAPI also managed to destroy more than 20 large structures like Fortizars, Tataras, and Sotiyos in the region.

The hellcamp in M2-XFE carried on.  No serious efforts were made to try and break out the remaining ~130 titans and myriad smaller capitals trapped in bubbles around the Imperium Keepstar.  There was an uptick in capitals logging and getting destroyed as some players apparently were getting tired of waiting (some have been trapped in there since Dec 31, 2020) for the rescue that does not seem to be coming.  The big break out two weeks back apparently got enough leadership titans out that the rest of the trapped ships do not seem to be a priority.

Then there is the metaliminal storm, which has wandered down and has removed cloaking as an option in the staging systems for both sides in the war.  That is likely going to make things interesting, and all the more so if it keeps on moving down the path to 1DQ.  It does, in some ways, help the defender, as cloaky camping eyes cannot remain hidden.

Other Theaters

In Querious Brave started laying down ihubs as part of their move-in plan.

Querious – Feb 14, 2021

Since there were no ihubs in place, there was no contest over deploying them.  They just had to spend the 500 million ISK per ihub… if the Jita price is any indication… and carry them out there.  That is more ISK they are spending.  And, as you can see, they ended up getting reinforced.

Siberian Squads (SB-SQ), which joined the Imperium last week and which Dunk Dinkle was saying they would simply brush aside, took ihubs from PAPI during the week as well.  Brave did take the GOP-GE ihub, which is an Imperium Keepstar system, but they failed to take the Imperium Staging system in Querious, W6V-VM.  That also has a Keepstar and is where Siberian Squads is now based.

Back in Catch and Immensea The Initiative and their friends continued to make life difficult for Brave, Warped Intentions, and Federation Uprising.

Catch – Feb 14, 2021

Immensea – Feb 14, 2021

Out there structures and ihubs continued to be reinforced regularly and lost fairly frequently.

And then down in Esoteria The Bastion has kept on pushing against TEST, so that this week I not only have to put up a new map, but I have to change over to the whole region rather than just the northwest corner.

Esoteria – Feb 14, 2021

The Imperium continues to try and make Legacy Coalition regret their plan to move into new space in Delve and Querious while holding their old space.  Again, hearing the heart ache this is causing Brave, the second largest member of TEST’s Legacy Coalition, will only make the Imperium increase its efforts to disrupt their backfield.

My Participation

I will admit that I used most of my available game time to play Valheim last week.  That meant EVE Online (and World of Warcraft) didn’t get a lot of attention.  I did go on a couple of fleets and did some time on the M2 Hellcamp… missed a carrier kill when I  was in the bathroom… but wasn’t all that invested.

Well within range of my Rokh

So my losses for the war remain:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

The Mittani announced the Silver Ticket program last week.  The Golden Ticket program was an offer to any alliance with capitals trapped in M2-XFE to negotiate a price for their release.  Only one Golden Ticket was available and TEST was the only alliance barred from the plan.  This seemed largely a troll and nobody has taken up the offer that I have heard about.

The Silver Ticket program is an offer to individuals still trapped in M2-XFE to contact Imperium diplomats in order to sell their trapped capitals to the Imperium at a modest discount so that they could get out of the bubble camp with some ISK in hand.  This offer has netted the Imperium a Leviathan already.  (A ghost titan too, one from the second fight that showed up as an unfitted kill.) The pilot, who had gone over to Brave from GSF to play with a friend was apparently treated badly by Brave due to his corp history, which certainly motivated him to sell.  You can argue that he is the exception due to his background, but that is one more titan in the ranks of the Imperium.  But Brave has been having some troubles keeping up with its “Stay Classy” motto of late.

CCP also announced the Reign Quadrant this past week with the first February update which, as I mentioned, seemed to be dedicated to the Tactical Supremacy alliance, which has been one of the groups attacking Catch.  Another blow to Legacy Coalition there.

Tactical Supremacy is Victory, CCP says so

We also got the annual Guardians Gala event along with a login campaign.  Reports are that the sites pay off fairly well, but that they are more difficult than last year.

The war and the holiday event were not enough to boost the weekly peak user count, though it did not sag by much compared to the previous week and it is still up some from the holiday doldrums:

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996
  • Week 30 – 38,323
  • Week 31 – 38,167
  • Week 32 – 37,259

Related

The February Update Brings the Reign Quadrant to EVE Online

We had a bit of a gap in our quadrants… there should be four in a year or three months each I gather… as January went by without any news of a new one. But the February update has everybody back at work in Iceland and ready to carry on with the idea.

And so we have arrived at the Reign Quadrant, which… pays homage to the Tactical Supremacy alliance?  Better than suggesting it was about the weather I guess.

Tactical Supremacy is Victory I guess

(revised Reign logo from Reddit)

As for what this quadrant is bringing… well… not a lot I am really excited about.  The trailer feels like more fluff than usual.

There are the new fleet discovery enhancements… which I must admit, speaking from a jaded null sec perspective, seems to be a more efficient way to get spies and awoxers in your fleet.  But I am sure this will make somebody’s life better or easier… or more miserable.  We know somebody will find the exploit.  The options listed include:

  • The new Fleet Finder tool allows to register fleets for a series of different activities, such as Abyssal Deadspace, Exploration, Pirate Strongholds, Combat Anomalies and more!
  • Fleets can be publicly available, have limited discoverability to your Corporation, Alliance or restrict access to pilots with specific standings or security status.
    • Minimum standing requirements of 0.0 will include Capsuleers you have no standings towards.
  • Fleets can be marked as New Player Friendly.
  • Fleet Commanders can automatically accept all incoming join requests or require a manual approval before a new pilot can join the fleet.
  • Fleets can hide details about their composition and location in the advert.

We are also getting new travel animations for jump gates, bridging, and filaments.  They also improve something… there is a chart in the patch notes with no description or that indicates speed or duration of some sort to prove this… but they are pretty.  Some times pretty is enough, though I suspect we’ll be jaded about the new animations in a few weeks.

There are also some changes for jump clones and how you set your home station.

  • Removed the cost for setting a Home Station.
  • You can now set your Home Station without a Clone Bay service, even while in space, though the 1 year remote restriction still applies.
  • Added a new ‘Home Station’ tab to the Character section of the Character Sheet.
  • Removed the old Clone Bay Service UI as all previous functionality is now in the Character Sheet.
  • Updated the Home Stations icons in the Character Sheet and the Map.
  • Added a Home Station indicator badge in the Overview.
  • You can now choose to redeem items to your Home Station, including when in space or from the Character Selection screen.

I like the removed cost.  However, what I really need is five or ten more jump clones to juggle all my locations and implant sets.  Can we get Very Advanced Infomorph Psychology and Super Advanced Infomorph Psychology?

There are also some changes to character creation, including removing the ancestry choices.  I had heard previously that there were some changes on the way to try and make getting into the game less cumbersome.  If you create a new account you get a much reduced version of the intro and character options already, and that appears to have been applied further.  It makes some sense, as you avatar is mostly just a portrait in New Eden, so getting too hooked up in creation is probably a mistake.

Also, the company has decided that it will now be called Planetary Industry going forward, in an attempt to settle on a single term.  We’ll see if they changed all the occurrences of Planetary Production or Planetary Interaction as they claim.  I bet they missed some.

There are a bunch of other fixes and updates.  It isn’t an exciting release, but there is a bunch of smaller things in the mix that overall will make the game better.  It just doesn’t feel like much of a theme for a quadrant.

Of course, they broke a few things.  There was an emergency patch about bookmarks shortly after the update went live.  Bookmarks were huge in some cases.

Anyway, you can find more information at the links below:

31 Weeks of World War Bee

We are now past the seven month mark for the war, which officially kicked off way back on July 5, 2020.

The headline news of the week was probably Siberian Squads opting to join the Imperium.

Siberian Squads

I mentioned back in the Week 29 post that Siberian Squads was leaving Legacy Coalition and possibly moving north to join in the shenanigans going on up there.  Unlike Red Alliance, which left PAPI to join in with their Stain Russian pals, Siberian Squads is joining the Imperium as a full member.  The will be taking up residence in Querious to keep that front active.  What will happen to there holdings in Tenerifis remains to be seen, but I assume that they used the two week interlude to move their stuff out of the region.  The FI.RE coalition seems salty about this.

This is something of a reversal of the Casino War where I announced several times that this alliance or that was leaving the Imperium. (Or in the case of Circle of Two, had betrayed the coalition and changed sides mid-battle.)  Since the war started the Imperium has actually grown while Vily’s Legacy Coalition is now missing some of its members.

Delve Theater

I mentioned back in the Week 28 post that the Imperium had given up the gate camp in E3OI-U that was protecting what was being called Helm’s Deep in order to maintain the hell camp on the logged out titans in M2-XFE. (See the Delve map in the Week 27 post for my last mention of Helm’s Deep on the map.)  PAPI finally noticed that the camp was gone and made a push to reinforce those constellations, culminating in day long series of entosis contests.

The Helm’s Deep constellations

PAPI was able to bring the numbers and were successful in taking two of the four constellations in play.

Delve – Feb 7, 2021

The back two constellations are significant as they represent the homes of The Bastion, Get Off My Lawn, and TNT alliances as well as hosting the KarmaFleet home system.

The TCU Sovereignty

GSF owns all the ihubs since they have the numbers and can bring the entosis forces, but those alliances get the territorial control units so they show up on the sovereignty map.

PAPI has pushed hard on ihubs over the last two weeks and now controls all but four constellations in the region.  They key to things for the Imperium is 1DQ1-A.  PAPI has not made a serious effort against that system and so long as it and its Keepstars and other structures survive, the Imperium will remain defiant.

Other Theaters

PAPI also expended some effort in Querious when it came to ihubs.

Querious – Feb 7, 2021

PAPI put 800 pilots up to attack the GOP-GE, W6V-VM, F2OY-X, and RF-CN3 ihubs, but only managed to secure the latter two.  That leaves a couple of footholds with structures in the region for Siberian Squads to base from and start harassing Severance (-7-) and Stellae Renascitur (S.R.) in the region.

Catch remains a battleground, with The Initiative continuing to press on Brave and Warped Intentions, with the latter losing several more ihubs over the course of the week.

Catch – Feb 7, 2021

Likewise, Immensea next door has become another bleeding sore for Legacy Coalition.

Immensea – Feb 7, 2021

There both Warped Intentions and Federation Uprising have been losing ihubs and the occasional structure to Imperium and Stain Russian forces.

Down in Esoteria, The Bastion and its allies continue to hold the northwest corner, so I’ll just roll the same map as before.

Northwest Esoteria – Feb 7, 2021

TEST has been telling their pilots to leave Esoteria and move to Delve, which seems like a trip with a fire at either end.  But they have been away enough that they lost another Fortizar.

My Participation

I did not spend a lot of time in New Eden over the past week.  The sovereignty battles tend to happen in EUTZ, which I can sometimes join in on as a break from work, but not always.  I did spend some time at the M2-XFE hell camp, which continues watch on the ~130 titans still logged out in space and was fortunate enough to be there when an Apostle decided to log in.  That put me on the kill board for February.

Apostle Explosion

Otherwise much of my space time was spent doing maintenance things like collecting PI output to sell.  I did get my corporate dividend payment for my 5 Imperium war bonds.

War Bond Dividend #1

The 1.25 ISK payment appeared to be a test run to see if the system would even work.  41 million ISK isn’t a ton, but right now my only other income is PI, insurance, and SRP and every little bit helps.  Fortunately I did not lose any ships this week so I didn’t need to collect insurance or SRP.  My losses for the war remain:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

This past week CCP posted a dev blog about the first battle at M2-XFE.  The Dev blog lays out some details as to who lost how many ships, how the battle compares to other large battles in New Eden history, and plans for a monument to commemorate the battle.

Planned monument

CCP was also awarded two Guinness World Records for the battle, which was detailed in a separate press release.  The records seem a bit dubious compared to some of the past records, but are still a good PR moment for the company.

Meanwhile, the weekend saw the peak concurrent user number stay up above 38K for another week.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996
  • Week 30 – 38,323
  • Week 31 – 38,167

Related

CCP Details the Titan Massacre at M2-XFE along with Two New Guinness World Records

CCP has delivered the promised Dev Blog about the first battle at M2-XFE as well as a press release about the battle setting two new world records.

The Massacre at M2-XFE

They have posted what I expect we will all accept as the “final score” for the battle.  Overall, the fight saw

  • ISK Lost: 29,111,604,784,863
  • Titans Destroyed: 257
  • Total Ships Destroyed: 3,404
  • USD Value of Losses: $378,012

CCP is careful to caveat that last number with the following statement:

Based on the average sale value of PLEX. This number is simply given as a way to represent the effort-value of the destruction and not an actual amount of money spent by participants on this fight.

I am sure that won’t stop any gaming sites from leading with that dollar amount in their headlines or failing to clarify in their stories.

And the Guinness World Records annouced were:

The former seems semi-relevent, though as CCP points out, that does not represent any actual dollar amount directly spent by players, it is just an approximation based on the value of PLEX in real world dollars.

The latter looks pretty silly.  Can you set records for things that can only occur within your own game?  I might as well write to Guinness about records set within the perimeter of my home.  Most pizza slices consumed by a middle-age man in a single sitting in our living room seems about as applicable to the “world” portion of “word records.”

Anyway.

Of course, everybody who plays the game wants to know how many titans were blown up on which side of the battle.

M2-XFE – Titan losses by Alliance

That breaks out into 122 lost by the Imperium versus 130 lost by PAPI forces, a fairly even split for hulls, though no doubt the ISK was even tighter for titans with Imperium losing a Vanquisher faction titan, which is valued at about four titans in ISK.

CCP Goes on to compare the battle to past epic battles in EVE Online history.

Largest Battles by ISK Destroyed

By that count M2-XFE saw more ISK destroyed than the next four battles combined and adds up to almost triple the cost of B-R5RB.

Of course, there is the dollar amount chart as well.  The usual caveats apply.

Largest Battles measured in $USD

You can see, comparing the two charts, the issue with valuing things in dollars and ISK when the items in game change value on the market over time.  Back in 2014, when the battle of B-R5RB took place, titans were more expensive in game as were the resources needed to construct them.  They were also more rare.  Before that battle a single titan loss was a headline worthy New Eden news story.  We talked about Asakai for a year because that saw 3 titans and 5 supers destroyed.

Then there is a comparison of ships and titans lost in past battles.

Titan and subcaps lost in past expensive battles

The tall blue bars, 319-3D and FWST-8, are from this war as well, battles for the PAPI Keepstars in NPC Delve. (The latter set two Guinness world records.)  YZ9-F6 is also from this war. That battle was the failed boson trap.

And then there is players involvement.

Player counts at the Largest Battles

I think I was at seven of those battles, for at least part of the fights.  I know I passed on HED-GP and thus missed the server problems.  But I was at B-R5RB, the latter parts of both X47L-Q fights, some of UALX-3, and the four fights listed from WWB.

Oddly, the battle at 9-4RP2, the dreaded “Million Dollar Battle,” is missing from these charts.  I know the losses barely measured up, being approximately $340 billion, but it did set the previous world record for players in a fight with 6,142 players.  That would put it in second place still.  But if you didn’t get at least a trillion ISK in losses you don’t get to appear I guess.

So it goes.

CCP has some more charts and some silly metrics about the fight in the dev blog. (e.g. The length of all the dead titans, laid end to end, would be 20,538km.)  It also seems that, due to the server problems that occurred around the second battle of M2-XFE when PAPI tried to jump 6,000 players into a system where there were already more than 4,000 setup, there will be no similar dev blog of statistics for that fight.  Ghost titans apparently vex CCP as much as zKillboard.

There is also a preview of monument that CCP plans to put in place to commemorate the battle.

Planned monument

Hopefully they will put it somewhere a bit off to the side as we still have a Keepstar and several Fortizars on grid as we’re still camping the site for ~130 logged off titans.  We don’t want that shiny new structure in the way or any of the workers getting hurt.

30 Weeks of World War Bee

After a couple weeks of what one might describe as malaise on the part of PAPI, they finally came back strong this past week, taking advantage once again of their overwhelming numbers.

The big news for the week was probably the M2-XFE titan breakout.  After several feints and aborted attempts, PAPI finally committed to freeing their titans and went all in on it just after downtime on the 27th.  It was a costly operation for PAPI, which sacrificed more than 2 trillion ISK in losses… an amount made up largely of 400+ destroyed dreadnoughts… as the battle report shows.

Battle Report Header

But they managed to extract ~170 of their trapped titans, losing only 6 along the way, leaving 130 or so still in M2-XFE.  That can only count as a significant morale win for PAPI as they now have that many more titans to bring to bear if the situation calls for it.  The remaining titans are estimated to belong to the following groups:

  • Test Alliance Please Ignore – 47
  • Pandemic Horde – 39
  • Northern Coalition – 29
  • Brave Collective – 9
  • The Army of Mango Alliance – 8
  • Evictus – 2
  • Already Replaced – 2
  • Eternal Requiem – 1
  • Sev3rance – 1
  • VENI VIDI VICI – 1
  • Federation Uprising – 1
  • Fraternity – 1

PC Gamer’s Steven Messner wrote an article about the M2-XFE situation and the breakout which even mentions me briefly. (Wish he’d linked to the blog and not just the image, but whatever.)

The breakout coincided with a noticeable rise in participation on the part of PAPI pilots, demonstrating the morale boost the escape has given them.

Delve Front

Delve was far and away the most active area of the war, as one might expect.  After allowing the Imperium to push back some of their gains, the resurgent PAPI began successfully defending ihubs in the region.  One of those was in the system 1-SMEB, where PAPI was able to put up cyno jammers successfully and destroy the Keepstar there without opposition.

They also began to put in a lot of effort retake ihubs in Delve that the Imperium had snatched back.  They have been keen to get ihubs in systems with Keepstars and have been especially invested in reinforcing the ihub in M2-XFE, no doubt to keep their remaining trapped titans from having to extract from under a cyno jammer in another ten days.  After failing on the 28th, managed to secure the grid and reinforce the ihub on the 29th by dropping carriers to support entosis faxes on the ihub, finally claiming it after almost an hour over overtime in the contest.

Battle for the ihub in M2-XFE

That led to another battle yesterday over the ihub, one that ground on for hours because of Fozzie Sov and the fact that the RNG put multiple nodes in the M2-XFE system, which meant that a couple hours went by before even a single node was hacked by either side.  But, after the long tidi grind, PAPI numbers won the contest and now their trapped titans need no longer fear the looming cyno jammers in the system.  Looking at the battle report, compared to some other battles in this war, the cost seemed not so bad.  I supposed when you consider a quarter trillion ISK destroyed and nearly 1,500 kill mails “not so bad” you might be a bit jaded.

That leaves the ihub balance in the region looking like this.

Delve – Jan 31, 2021

PAPI has pushed back and taken ihubs in Keepstar systems.  If they can keep up their numbers advantage it seems likely that we will lose all of those Keepstars.

Also, we now have two metaliminal storms running through Delve, both of which found their way in through the same door.  Given the breadth of null sec, ending up with two such storms in the primary theater of operations… well, if I were a more suspicious person I might think CCP was pushing the RNG just to see what would happen.  They created the feature, no doubt somebody there wants to see how it might affect the war.

Other Theaters

I am demoting Catch to the “other theaters” category, not because of a lack of action there but because it most of the focus is on Delve while Catch is now in there with Esoteria and Immensea and other PAPI backfield regions that are under attack from specific Imperium groups.

In Catch The Initiative has been setting up in U-QVWD, dropping its own structures and sieging  the Legacy Coalition structures located there.

Catch – Jan 31, 2021

Near the connection to Querious Imperium and allied forces have continued to attack ihubs in order to force Legacy to respond.  Operations in Catch have spilled over to the neighboring region of Immensea, where ihubs have started to fall as well.

Immensea – Jan 31, 2021

Meanwhile, the metaliminal storm that had been hanging around in the region took the exit to Stain and is now meandering there.

Over in Querious the dead lands in the east remain unoccupied as neither side has any interest in dropping any further ihubs there it seems.

Querious – Jan 31, 2021

The metaliminal storm that came in from Catch has now moved on into Delve, as noted above.  An incursion has also shown up in one of the eastern constellations.  We shall see if anybody can be bothered to try and fight it.

And, finally, I am going to re-run the same Estoteria map again.

Northwest Esoteria – Jan 31, 2021

The ihub ownership has not changed despit some action over structures in the region.

And up in the north, a small unaligned group operating under the name Freemen of the North has been using the war as an opportunity to assail Fraternity, which has a large number of players back in the home space ratting and mining according to the MER.

My Participation

I did not get into many of the big fights over the past week as a lot of the action was happening in EUTZ.  Downtime is at 11:00 UT, 5am my time, which pretty much guarantees I am asleep when it passes.  But that is when a lot of the action around M2 occurs.  I did get into the big siege of the M2 ihub on Friday with two characters at different times.  At the end, during the “overtime” period, I flew in some ECM burst interceptors to try and help break the locks that hackers had on the ihub.  That ended up costing me three Maledictions, so my losses for the war are now:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Malediction interceptor – 7
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 3
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

The Imperium finished issuing shares related to the war bond sales.  The UI for handling shares has been unsurprisingly described as “clunky.”  I now have my five shares.  The first dividend payment is due today.

Visible in my wallet

CCP CEO Hilmar Petursson participated in the Venture Beat’s Into the Metaverse summit, speaking about EVE Online.  He tried to jump on the GameStop frenzy by claiming that New Eden faces market manipulation as well, though he apparently couldn’t sight any examples. (pssst: the ice interdiction or Hulkageddon would have done)  He also said that EVE Online added 1.3 million players in 2020, for specific definitions of “added” no doubt.  The online user count certainly doesn’t seem to reflect much in the way of a dramatic influx of users.  But he also didn’t mention how many of them logged in once and never returned, which is the usual problem with the game.

Still, while we’re nowhere close to the record peak users of 2013, this past week did see numbers rise on Sunday at the prime time when both EUTZ and USTZ overlap.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)
  • Week 28 – 34,713
  • Week 29 – 35,996
  • Week 30 – 38,323

Related