Tag Archives: Blackout

On The Road Again in New Eden

The Chaos Era has been a bit of a bust for me.  I don’t rat or mine, so I am not on that declining indicator, but with a lot of people turtling up there are not as many defense fleets to go save people.  I am also not a solo PvPer, so I haven’t been out hunting.  I generally depend on SIG or squad deployments for my content and, aside from the short one up to Placid… which was low sec, so no Chaos Era benefits there… I haven’t had much to get me to log in.

There has been talk of a Reavers deployment, but things kept getting in the way, like a hurricane Dorian headed straight for Asher’s home.  That eventually passed and last week Asher got us grouped up.  It was going to be a very traditional Reavers deployment, with Ishtars and support and no station to dock up in.  I had a couple of Guardians left over from past operations already correctly fit, so I put one on my main, one on my alt, and waited for the ping announcing our departure.

I didn’t plan to dual box Guardians.  Keeping up with reps and the cap chain on two screens during a fight is too much for me.  Instead my alt was basically hauling out a reship.  If my main got his ship popped, he could just grab the extra from my alt, while if he got blown up and podded, he could just fly out in an interceptor and swap ships with my alt, who could then fly home.

Soon enough the ping came and we loaded up our ships with the intent to live out of them in hostile space and headed out.

A small fleet warps off

As is tradition, our destination was not announced in advance.  We just went to a series of waypoints along the route to our area of operation.  But Asher couldn’t hide which direction we were going.  We were headed east and were soon into Legacy Coalition space, where the jump gates seemed to be set to less us pass through.

Using the middle management dino gate

I was wondering whether this was a default setting, if Legacy was letting us use their gate network to let Imperium forces pass through their space in order to join in on fights in the east or if we were getting some special treatment.  The war between Legacy and Winter coalitions, which has been running off and on for ages now, continues to bubble down in the southeast of New Eden, with third parties like Pandemic Legion showing up to grab some content.  Certainly the Imperium had sent fleets east before during the war.

However, not all gates were green… or blue I guess… to us.  At an XIX gate we had to stop and hold, hanging in space while Asher found somebody to flip the switch for us.

Waiting for the gate to let us through

That he had to get on a channel somewhere to get us a pass seems to indicate that at least an “Imperium flies free” policy isn’t Legacy wide.  So we sat and waited, no doubt scaring a few of the locals who jumped through to find a fleet of not blue Ishtars and support hanging about.

We had our own fat targets, but no shots were taken

Asher found the right person and we were able to jump through and continue on our way, heading past Legacy space and into Winter Coalition’s domain.  No jump gate travel for us there.  But it was also well past prime time for the locals, and we were able to pass through their space using gates without much notice.

My Guardian aligning out from another gate

The blackout was in effect, so they would have needed to lay eyes on us or catch us on a dscan to know we were there.  Finally a bit of the Chaos Era working in my favor.

Another gate to pass through

Eventually we found a spot to safe up in Insmother, made our safe spots, got out our mobile depots, and fit cloaks in order to be able to cloak up and stay safe.

Living out of a mobile depot

Once there we had to find something to do.

Initially we found a couple of unfueled Fraternity towers, which we proceeded to shoot.  That is all part of the Reavers plan.  We set up in space the start shooting things until somebody shows up to chase us off.  If the hostiles for big, we just cloak up and disappear.  If they form a fleet about our size, then we take the fight if we can.  So we blew up the towers.

An old Minmatar tower blows up

All that yielded was a “But why?” from somebody in local… and I am not even sure they meant us.

The next time I was on we went looking to stir things up with one of the Winter Coalition members more in our time zone, the Lord of Worlds Alliance (LORDE).  Their alliance logo is an angry unicorn on a pink shield, which I guess gives them some synergy with GoonWaffe (GEWNS), whose logo is a unicorn in front of an outline of a heart.

The comparison

This similarity came up on coms and, while the GoonWaffe logo was no doubt chosen for irony, who actually chose it and why has been lost to the mists of time.

Anyway, we went out to entosis a couple of their infrastructure hubs to see if they would come out to play.

The ihub awaits

The word was that they were on during our time frame and would form up and fight if the numbers worked out.  After tinkering around a bit to get and entosis link on the right ship… it started on a Tengu and there was some awkward work with people swapping ships and using mobile depots in order to get it fitted on an Ishtar… we commenced to fly in circles around the ihub and run the magic entosis wand over it.  Exciting game play.

Entosis coming from the Ishtar in the middle

There was a bit of trouble with the Ishtar running out of capacitor, but one of the Guardians in the cap chain just diverted one of their cap transfer modules onto it and we were set.  And then around and around we went.

The locals did come out to play, but apparently couldn’t get enough people together for a stand up fight.  Instead they came out in bombers and interceptors to try and and interrupt the entosis ship.  That was mildly annoying, but not enough to get us to break orbit, and we ended up getting a couple of kills.  Ishtars racing in a circle with props on move pretty quickly so you have to anticipate where they’ll be before you bomb.  The locals were not quite that good.

Things were quiet enough that I put EVE Online on my second monitor and played WoW Classic for part of the op.  That is EVE Online some days, a game that lets you watch movies or play other games.

That ended up with a couple of ihubs reinforced, after which we went back to where we were living, where we safed up, put on our cloaks, and logged out again.  I didn’t do much with EVE Online over the weekend.  I missed any ops we might have run.  But today things changed.  As CCP announced on Saturday, the blackout is over.  We’re no longer invisible in space.  People can now see us in the local channel when we log in.  Our extra cloak is gone.  But we have always had to deal with that in the past.  And us being logged in and cloaked up can be a deterrent on its own.  And so it goes, living out in hostile space on another Reavers op.

Null Sec Blackout to End on Monday

I woke up this morning to find some fresh news from the Chaos Era, though this time it seemed a bit counter-chaos.  CCP Cognac announced at the Berlin Fanfest that delayed local in null sec, the blackout, will be over after downtime on Monday.

CCP says Blackout

CCP had said previously that the blackout would be for an indefinite duration, but its introduction two months back came with quite a bit of warning, discussion, and even a setup via the in-game lore.  Has a new supply of Quantum-Entangled 4-Helium been secured?

We don’t know.  Not yet anyway.  CCP did not say why they are bringing the blackout to an end, just that it is happening.  The announcement could charitably be called perfunctory.  Clip of the announcement, and I have seen several, run about 30 seconds.

Of course, there is quite a bit of speculation as to why it is happening.  You need only go over to cesspool of /r/eve to see various theories.  But /r/eve has been at war with itself over the Chaos Era since it started. (At war with itself more so than usual at least, likely because the Chaos Era has been focused on nerfing null sec, which has led to the usual tribal division who see somebody else getting hit as good for them.)  A leading candidate is the dropping concurrent player numbers, something I mentioned on Monday.  The count fell off noticeably with the end of the Season of Skills event and has been slowly falling ever since.  I was concerned to log in on a week night to find the online count under 15K, but this week I was on when it was around 12K.  18K used to seem like the low bar for my usual evening play time on the west coast.

There is even a post up over at Massively OP trying to sum up the various evidence and theories which, including the comments, range from summer vacations to WoW Classic to the core player base getting old and dying off.  But back in the EVE Online player base people are still denying there has been any decline at all.  So your mileage may vary.

Anyway, we shall see if the removal of the blackout has an impact on those numbers.  I do expect that AFK cloaky campers will soon be back in null sec space to keep the ratters and miners on their toes.

I am sure there will be plenty of hot takes and summaries of the blackout.  I might have a few additional words myself.  But the end of the Chaos Era hasn’t been announced, so expect humans to continue to behave like humans when faced with uncertainty.

Others on this topic:

MER and the Blackout

Somebody finally got back from vacation and pushed the button to generate the EVE Online Monthly Economic Report for July.

This is the first report that reflects the Blackout and the VNI nerfThe tax increase didn’t go in until August 1st, so that will be for the next report.

Anyway, there is an obvious graph to jump into first, so here we go.

July 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

It is easy to see what day the Blackout began on that chart as the yellow NPC bounty payout line, already down considerably from previous changes this year, fell off a cliff, no doubt contributing to an actual reduction in overall ISK in the New Eden economy.

July 2019 – Sinks and Faucets

The total bounties for the last few months:

  • July – 29.1 trillion
  • June – 48.2 trillion
  • May – 55.5 trillion
  • April – 57.2 trillion
  • March – 71.4 trillion
  • February – 69.8 trillion

But where did it hit hardest?  Last month the top 11 regions, since I wanted to include Delve, sorted out as follows.

  1. Branch – 4.90 trillion
  2. Esoteria – 3.56 trillion
  3. Detorid – 2.88 trillion
  4. Insmother – 2.71 trillion
  5. Deklein – 2.70 trillion
  6. Cobalt Edge – 2.15 trillion
  7. Fountain – 1.96 trillion
  8. Tenal – 1.80 trillion
  9. Perrigen Falls – 1.70 trillion
  10. Period Basis – 1.67 trillion
  11. Delve – 1.57 trillion

Delve was way down because the Imperium was deployed to the north and attacking structures in Tribute and Vale of the Silent.  And then came the Drifters and the start of the Chaos Era and we pulled back home.  Being at home put the Imperium back on top of the NPC bounties rankings.

July 2019 – NPC Bounties by Region – Bar Graph

The top ten regions for July were:

  1. Delve – 4.71 trillion
  2. Esoteria – 1.77 trillion
  3. Branch – 1.61 trillion
  4. Detorid – 1.23 trillion
  5. Deklein – 1.22 trillion
  6. Insmother – 1.10 trillion
  7. Tenal – 1.1 trillion
  8. Fountain – 1.06 trillion
  9. Omist – 0.85 trillion
  10. Feythabolis – 0.81 trillion

Delve is at the top again, but that number is still below even the April number, which included a the start of the deployment north to Tribute.

So the Chaos Era has hit NPC bounties, though there was a bit of a bounce back up at the end of the month.  August will show if things continue down that path or if null sec adapts.

Then there is the mining front.  Last month the top producing regions in ISK value mined were:

  1. Esoteria – 3.31 trillion
  2. Detorid – 1.84 trillion
  3. Insmother – 1.78 trillion
  4. Domain – 1.31 trillion
  5. Branch – 1.25 trillion
  6. Querious – 1,19 trillion
  7. The Forge – 1.16 trillion
  8. Fountain – 1.12 trillion
  9. Sinq Laison – 843 billion
  10. Metropolis – 829 billion

Delve was down in 22nd place with a mere 276 billion ISK.  Again, June had the Imperium deployed to the north, so economic activity was down.  But in July everybody was back home to face the Blackout.

July 2019 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

Delve was resurgent, with Rorquals out using tech II mining drones to combat attacks on excavator drones.  The top ten regions for July were:

Delve – 5.77 trillion
Querious – 3.18 trillion
Esoteria – 2.61 trillion
Syndicate – 1.99 trillion
Fountain – 1.92 trillion
Etherium Reach – 1.77 trillion
Domain – 1.69 trillion
Malpais – 1.64 trillion
The Kalevala Expanse – 1.61 trillion
The Forge – 1.47 trillion

Numbers were up in some places, including high sec, which remains a safe mining haven, and down in others.  But was there more necessarily more mining in places like Domain or The Forge?  Maybe not.  Since mining isn’t an ISK faucet, it is valued via the market prices, which change over time.  And July saw mineral prices going up some more.

July 2019 – Economic Indices

While not up as sharply as in June, mineral prices continued to rise.  That raises the value of ore mined for the purposes of the MER and encourages more people to mine.

And then there is destruction.  The Blackout was premised on greater destruction happening.  And, overall, there was more destruction in New Eden.  The summary of all regions in June showed 38.28 trillion ISK in destruction, while July saw that rise to 40.73 trillion ISK, and increase of 2.45 trillion ISK.  But where did that destruction occur?

Last month the top regions were:

  1. The Forge – 3.46 trillion
  2. Detorid – 2.31 trillion
  3. Sinq Laison – 1.69 trillion
  4. Tribute – 1.58 trillion
  5. The Citadel – 1.54 trillion
  6. Black Rise – 1.37 trillion
  7. Delve – 1.28 trillion
  8. Placid – 1.11 trillion
  9. Lonetrek – 1.10 trillion
  10. Vale of the Silent – 1.10 trillion

The chart for July shows the new ranking.

July 2019 – Destruction Value by Region – Bar Graph

The top ten regions were:

  1. The Forge – 2.81 trillion
  2. The Citadel – 2.33 trillion
  3. Detorid – 1.86 trillion
  4. Delve – 1.78 trillion
  5. Sinq Laison – 1.47 trillion
  6. Domain – 1.31 trillion
  7. Lonetrek – 1.29 trillion
  8. Metropolis – 1.17 trillion
  9. Providence – 1.03 trillion
  10. Cache – 1.00 trillion

Delve is up, but that was expected with everybody home again.  What is interesting is that there are now more high sec regions on the list.  There were four last month, but six on the list in July.  You might credit this to the alleged war on high sec, or maybe the less well known structure war in high sec, which is a topic for another post, except that not all the high sec regions saw more destruction.  The Forge, home of Jita, was more than half a trillion in destruction.

It feels rather that destruction was more spread out in July, that the increase was the result of a wider spread skirmishes rather than the destruction of ratters and miners due to the Blackout.  And, of course, the reduction in mining and ratting seems to indicate that many players simply declined to undock due to the Blackout.

All of which leaves me bereft of big conclusions.  But that is to be expected I guess.  The Chaos Era changes modified player behavior, but will it stick or are we just in a transitional period while people adapt?  And while NPC bounties were down a lot, they remained mostly a null sec thing. Null sect saw 88.7% of the bounties in July, compared to 93.6% in June.

June vs. July bounty payout ratio by space type

For August we will have to see how the trend continues, along with what the change in tax rate does.  Plus we still have the coming cyno changes and something about wormholes that has some people freaking out, plus other things mentioned during the Fanfest Home keynote, which may impact the September MER.  We shall see.

Anyway, all the data and charts are available to download from the MER Dev Blog.  In addition, CCP has also introduced a Monthly Security Report about how many people they have banned and what they were banned for.

Also looking at the July MER:


Opposite Day for the Local Channel

We have been living under the blackout in null sec for a while now.  Back in mid-July it was put in place and its duration has been said to be indefinite. (Which means of an unknown duration and not “forever” as some have interpreted the word.)

You say that CCP, but is it?

Well, we got a surprise today on the “indefinite” front.  This morning CCP ended up having problems with their chat systems… or maybe the Secure Commerce Commission got their hands on some bad Quantum-Entangled 4-Helium, I don’t know… which had com channels down all over New Eden.  And while the chat systems has been restarted and normal service restored, one side effect was the return of immediate local to null sec.

Local, now filled with trash again

According to Reddit, wormhole space was visited by this change to local as well.  I’m sure that made everybody happy.

That people still appear in local after the chat system restart seems to be because they have not logged out.  Maybe.  Logging in after the restart, my character did not show up in local.  I am sure nobody will abuse that particular aspect of this strange event.  Presumably everything will be back to normal after downtime.

Welcome to the Chaos Era!

Addendum: 24 hours later and I still see people in local in null sec while high sec local is still messed up.  Go Chaos Era.

Other coverage:

Null Sec Blackout to be Maintained Indefinitely

CCP has not given any direction as to how long the blackout of local chat in null sec will last, but today they gave us something of a hint.

CCP says Blackout

On the lore focused World News section of the CCP site, a post went up earlier today from Ret Gloriaxx of The Scope’s Galactic Hour with this bulletin as the lead item:

SCC Confirms Limits on Nullsec Bandwidth to be “Maintained Indefinitely” Despite Fall in Drifter Assaults

Yulai, Genesis – Following its imposition of bandwidth and usage limits on nullsec FTL communications via the New Eden liquid router network, the Secure Commerce Commission has confirmed that the limitation on communications will be “maintained indefinitely due to the effects of both Drifter attacks and the ongoing Triglavian invasions on the security of supplies of Quantum-Entangled 4-Helium.” The possible impact of both Drifter and Triglavian attacks on the supply of QE 4-He has been extensively reported on by the Scope’s Galactic News Network.

The SCC has reiterated that its primary concern is to maintain the “integrity and sustainability of the liquid router network for strategic and essential communications” and noted QE 4-He resupply logistics have been put under serious and continuous strain by the Triglavian invasions. Sources within the SCC have revealed that the Triglavian attacks began to seriously affect resupply missions once the so-called “major conduits” phase of the invasion campaign began. Since the Triglavian World Arks began to spearhead the assaults, there have even been attacks on stockpiles of QE 4-Helium.

“The Drifter attacks in nullsec came close to being the tipping point for the imposition of bandwidth limits but it wasn’t until we lost an entire QE 4-He production facility to a Triglavian assault that the SCC decided to act. We’ve since lost some other stockpiles but the DED have stepped up fleet presence at all the critical locations,” said one source in conversation with Ret Gloriaxx of the Scope’s Galactic Hour with Ret Gloriaxx.

CCP has handled the events of the Invasion expansion as in-game lore and has, for the most part, declined to comment in any “out of character” way about what has been going on with the Triglavian and Drifter attack.

The one exception preceded the imposition of “delayed mode” local chat… the blackout… when CCP officially announced that it was coming, promised then gave 48 hours notice of its imposition, and started a thread on the official forums to discuss the idea.  That thread is past the 9,000 post mark as of this writing, while over the weekend much of the discussion on the /r/eve subreddit was around the blackout and its pros and cons.  Meanwhile, over at INN, Arrendis tells us that the blackout won’t fix EVE.  I never thought it would, but some people clearly have that in mind.

CCP’s return to using the in-game lore to continue the narrative seems to signal that they are satisfied with how the event went over the weekend, while the statement itself seems to indicate that we will not see an end to the blackout in null sec any time soon, at least not until the Triglavian invasion has been resolved.

Furthermore, in a mailing to promote their current multi-training certificate offer (available until downtime on the 17th), CCP uses the phrase “events going on all summer.”

Also, buy our stuff please

While this is far from a hard promise… and who knows how long summer actually lasts from the Icelandic perspective…  it does seem like we might see local blacked out in null sec into September.

First Day of Null Sec Blackout Roam

Everybody seemed to have a plan for the first day of the null sec local blackout.

Well, not everybody.

One question I heard fairly often was about whether chat was broken again because nobody was in local.  No matter how far and wide you think the word has been spread nor how much build up any change to the game has, there will always be a significant percentage of the population that won’t get the memo.

But at least various groups had plans.  And the plans seemed to mostly involve roaming into other null sec areas looking for targets.  I saw a ping for a DBRB interceptor fleet seeking to roam far across null sec and, about an hour later, a ping for an armor assault frigate fleet under Silvana Cadelanne.  Those two fleets were connected, but I didn’t know that when I joined the second.

Armor assault frigates, usually a Retribution/Wolf/Enyo mix in the main line, means getting out one of my lesser flown logi ships, the Thalia.

Thalia sitting on tether ready to go

I don’t get to undock this guppy-shaped tech II Navitas variant because we tend to fly Harpy fleet more often.  But this time I was able to clean up this ship, long languishing in a dark corner of my hangar in 1DQ1-2.  I could have bought a Deacon, the Amarr logi frigate, but it is seriously one of the most awkward looking ships in the game.  There are some lines I cannot cross.

Silvana Cadelanne got us undocked and headed via Ansiblex jump gates towards TEST space.  We gated out was into their space through the strange quietness of silent local, doubly weird in any location where Dreddit might be recruiting.

Assault frigates over a gas giant

But we were not there for TEST or Brave or anybody else in the south.  We were there for a wormhole that sent us into the Metropolis region.  There we headed towards Geminate.  However, arriving there, the FC informed us that our plan… which was to link up with DBRB’s fleet in order to assist in taking down a titan or a super or something… had been thwarted by DBRB lighting off after some distant target with his interceptors.

We were in Geminate already, so the FC decided we ought to do something, with “a blaze of glory” being mentioned as a possible plan.  He did seem a bit nonplussed at the lack of Pandemic Horde activity in Geminate, though he had been drinking and had likely forgotten that PH had moved to The Kalevala Expanse.  With that straightened out, we headed towards TKE looking for trouble.

Bubbles on the gate into TKE

We slipped into the region and went straight for their staging in R1O-GN.  Uncloaking there, in full sight of their Keepstar, and taking a few pot shots at people close by, it became a question as to what we should get up to while the locals figured out what to do about us.  Then somebody spotted an abyssal signature… the in-space indicator that marks somebody running an abyssal pocket will exit… and we decided to hang out on that.  Maybe we would get a Gila kill.

On the abyssal marker

As we anchored up and flew around the marker, the locals began to stir.  An Abaddon first landed near us, which gave us our first target.  From that point forward the fight was on.  Hostiles began warping in on us and we were suddenly very busy

Fight on! Enemy Keepstar just visible at the bottom of the screen shot

What came about was an odd bit of asymmetrical warfare.

The locals began piling on us with everything to hand, from frigates to carriers and dreadnoughts, looking to stomp us with sheer weight of numbers.

Some of the closer hostiles on my overview

However, this kitchen sink fleet composition was coming at us in dribs and drabs and was not coordinating their effort.  That meant that our fleet, unified in doctrine and taking targets from the FC, was able to inflict quite a bit of damage relative to our numbers on the field.  For several minutes our assault frigates were able to skate around the battlefield taking down targets while our logi was saving people and each other.  Being in the logi wing then was a very busy time.

That advantage was fleeting however and, as more and more hostiles landed on us, they began to get their act together and focus on the logi.  They seemed more eager to pop the Deacons than my Thalia, and soon I was the last logi left.  I had all reps on the FC, who was now primary for many of the locals, when he warped us out.  That came just in time for me.

Entering warp in structure is always fun

The FC’s ship blew up even as we were warping.  Our moment of glory had passed.  It was time to get out if we could.

The FC directed us to warp to the “QG” gate.  However, R1O-GN is one of those systems that has exit gates to two systems with very similar names. (There is one system where two adjacent systems that start with the same three letters, which always causes confusion.)  We were close to the “GQ” gate when he said that, so people asked if he was sure and, since he had been drinking, he had to check.  Eventually he confirmed what he said and, as we warped, he gave us a destination.

Take the gate? Don’t take the gate?

Jumping through the gate we found that the route to the destination led us back into R1O-GN.  He checked again and gave us another destination.  By that point we were getting spread out, some of us having gone back into R1O while others waited for a new desto.  I was a bit ahead of the pack, free burning for the way out.  However, as I noted last weekend in the post about dropping on PH’s move ops, there is only one way back to where we came from, and you have to pass through 1S-SU1.  The locals were well aware of this and were waiting on the LEM gate in that system.  I was one of the first through so was too late to heed the warning about the camp.  I decided to just press on, since my only other choice was to crash the gate, and given the state of my ship it wouldn’t take much to blow me up.

And they got me.  I was pretty quickly blown up, then podded, then back in my hangar in 1DQ1-2.  End of the fleet op for me.  Some people did get out.  For whatever reason the hostiles didn’t bubble the 1S-SU1 side of the gate, which let some people slip through.  Others turned around and went out via Vale of the Silent.

But, not matter what, we got our money’s worth out of that fleet.  A blaze of glory was achieved.

I would like to summarize the outcome, but with ZKillboard down, you cannot create battle reports or even see kills for which you did not get the final blow.  For me, ZKill being blacked out is one of the downsides to this event.  I want to see the battle report.  I want to see how many or few hostiles we managed to zap before we ran off.  I want to see how the brawl played out, with nice columns of time stamped kills dammit.  I want the data.

I know some people are cheering it being down, and even asking that it be kept offline, but I am not in that camp.  The main argument against ZKill seems to be a nebulous argument that kill boards ruin the game, which strikes me a being akin to suggesting scores in kids sports are bad.

But beyond that, bragging about your kill board is so looked down upon in the EVE Online community that before you can talk about your kill board you must first write a paragraph declaration about how you much you do not care about your kill board, before going on to prove that you probably really do.  Basically, we already have a system of social control around kill boards, so just let us have the information about what happened and get on with it.

Anyway, that was my big blackout inaugural roam.  And it was pretty good.

I did go on another op later in the evening which had its own bit of comedy.  We were in an Eagle fleet, flying through Delve to cover a timer, and while watching the local intel channel, it became clear that people were using their directional scanners, but perhaps not paying as close attention to the results as they should.  Several times we saw something like this:

The Eagles! Get them!

Given that dscan reports the name of your ship as well as the type, and that the most common ship name in our fleet seemed to be “GSF Standard,” which is what you end up with on a lot of pre-fit contracts, it seems like a bit of thought should have to occur before people panic.

Then again, if I were a hostile FC I might just have my whole fleet rename their ships “GSF Standard” if only to sow confusion.

Addendum:  Now that ZKill is back up and has caught up on its backlog processing I was able build a battle report to see what happened in out little brawl.  Here is the header from the battle report.

Brawl in R1O-GN in TKE

The ISK total gets balanced out if you add in the losses to the gate camp in 1S-SU1, though we did pick up a couple of kills along the way as well.  All in all a fun, chaotic fight and I was fine not having to walk all the way back to Delve.

Null Sec Local Blackout is in Effect

As promised, with the passing of downtime today, CCP switched the the null sec local channel from immediate to delayed mode, meaning that people only appear in the list when they speak rather than as soon as they enter the current system.  The duration of this “undetermined” according to CCP.

Local is now delayed in null sec

Basically, they want to leave their options open as they see how this turns out.

Of course, there is always somebody who wants to talk.

Quiet local, and then…

In the run up to this various groups have been planning and trying to get their members on board with the new reality.  Classes on how to use the directional scanner effectively have been running (here is a quick video if you are interested), suggestions on what to do if you are going to rat or mine (be aligned, use d-scan, watch intel channels) have been put into an infographic, and optimum gates to camp if you want to help shoot the expected deluge of hunts have been broadcast repeatedly.

Even the /r/eve Reddit community mods set the subreddit to private for a bit with a message about the change to null sec local in the hope of getting the news out as far and wide as possible.

But somebody won’t get the word, and comedy will ensue as they blithely fly around a seemingly empty null sec.

The change is imperfect.  You can still go to DOTLAN EVE Maps to see kill statistics or look at the in-game map to see where things might be hot.  Intel is still available. (Though ZKillboard appears to be blacked out for the blackout.)

Something happened over here

But it is nothing like the immediate warning you get when a hostile shows up in local.

And now we wait to see what happens.  Will this usher in an exciting new era of null sec?  Or will people stop ratting and mining except in protected groups, leading to more complaints about how difficult it is to hunt in 0.0. space?

Meanwhile, conspiracy theories and fantasies about the change persist.  My favorite so far is that this is CCP trying to hide the fact that null sec is empty and that EVE Online is dying.  There should be an EVE Online version of Godwin’s Law for EVE Online.  Something like:

As an EVE discussion grows longer, the probability of somebody saying that EVE Online is dying approaches 1.

And so it goes.

Local Blackout Coming after Downtime on Friday

CCP has given its promised 48 hours of notice.  Last Friday the company said they would give warning before this happened, and here it is.

Notice has been served

Come Friday after downtime, the local channel in null sec will change from showing everybody in the system to what CCP calls “delayed mode local,” which will work the way local channel do in wormhole space, where people only appear in the channel list if they broadcast in that channel.

This has caused quite a stir, and the forum thread on the topic is closing in on 5,000 posts.

Those very much in favor of this idea see a happy time of uninterrupted destruction in their future.  Skeptics wonder if the change will simply make targets more scarce.  And, of course, the hunted have their own view, some threatening to unsubscribe with the change.

We shall see come Friday and over the weekend I suppose.  I am sure there will be a surge in kills pretty quickly, as those who don’t pay attention to the news find out about the change the hard way.  After that things will likely settle down.

The duration of the blackout is listed as “undetermined.”  It could be short.  It could be the new reality in null sec.

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Local to be Blacked Out in Null Sec Soon

Something new is coming as part of the Invasion expansion.

CCP says Blackout

CCP posted a new video from The Scope earlier today that reports on the impacts of the Triglavian and Drifter invasions.


With the provocative title “Nullsec Blackout,” reporter Lena Amber announced that the fluid router FTL communication network maintained by CONCORD was under extreme pressure due to the various invasions and, in an effort to maintain critical services, will be turning off local in non-empire regions of space, meaning null sec. (Transcript here)

The removal of the local channel from null sec, making it more like wormhole space, has long been the pipe dream of hunters in EVE Online, as the way it currently works, local announces your presence by registering you in the channel the moment you arrive in system.

Basically, the local channel is a huge intelligence asset for those being hunted.  Before wormhole space was introduced with the Apocrypha expansion back in March of 2009, the local channel was seen as an immutable fact of life.  After wormhole space was introduce, a new possibility was realized and it became the dream of hunters and calls for removing the local channel from null sec has been pretty much constant ever since.

The video from The Scope doesn’t indicate when this local channel blackout will come to null, but for the first time since the invasions started, CCP has given us some information directly.  From the news item that went up after the video was posted:

As reported in The Scope earlier today, over the coming days we’ll be changing the way local chat works.

This change will affect the whole of nullsec space.

Local chat in all nullsec space will be switched over to delayed mode. This means that it will behave as local chat in wormhole space, with pilots only appearing in the local population listing should they choose to post messages.

Obviously, this will cause a substantial change to the dynamics of nullsec, so we want to inform the community before we begin.

The duration of this blackout is undetermined, and we’ll be monitoring what effect this has on the cluster.

We will give at least 48 hours of notice before initiating the blackout so pilots can make the necessary preparations.

There is a forum discussion thread about the blackout as well, which is quickly devolving into the expected divide between those happy about the change and those not.

This is not a surprise.

The Drifter invasion has so far aggravated the long standing rivalry between null sec and other parts of New Eden, where there has been much joy in some quarters due to null sec being afflicted.  Even normally cool heads seem to be jumping in with extreme views.  But, to me, the removal of local digs down to a much more primal level in the sphere of MMO players, the divide between PvE and PvP, sometimes characterized as the “sheep” and the “wolves.”

One of the draws of EVE Online for PvP players is the non-consensual aspect of the game when it comes to combat.  You can shoot anybody you run across.  This same factor is a red flag that keeps more casual players away from the game and probably represents a limiting factor on the size of the game’s player base.  A lot of people don’t like to be blown up.

The removal of local in null sec is a boon for the wolves, but a bane for the sheep.  The argument right now is that there are too many sheep and they have it too easy, that the wolves cannot catch them easily enough.  There are a lot of other elements thrown in to justify this, with claims about bots and RMT and whatever, as though they wouldn’t gank anybody they could given the chance.  A local blackout will swing things in favor of the wolves, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the balance with that change.

Games that do not protect their PvE players, that fully embrace the wolves, tend to suffer for it.  Players that excel at PvP tend to drive out those who do not, leading to games dying, see Darkfall, or a split between PvP and PvE servers, as happened with Ultima Online.

EVE Online is a rare gem in the MMORPG space, a non-consensual PvP title that has succeeded and has lasted for 16 years.  We will see if making PvP easier will keep that success going.

And, of course, there is the question of who will really feel the impact of this change.  If you’re ratting in a Nyx, you’re still as tough to kill as ever and will have time to light a cyno and call in reinforcements.  If you’re ratting in a sub cap, you’ll be much more likely to die.  I would expect even more super ratting if the blackout goes on for very long.

Also circulating this morning was a rumor that asset safety might be removed from null sec.  This speculation seems to be entirely based on a Galactic News Hour piece about the invasions and an item in the video’s headline news scroll about InterBus, which handles asset safety in the lore.  Nothing else has been said on that topic, though I would be interested to hear if this goes anywhere.  Having been there for a Keepstar kill in wormhole space, the giant loot pinata that results is a pretty good incentive to go blow up people’s stuff.

The loot ball after a Keepstar dies

Anyway, CCP seems determine to shake things up in null sec.  We will just have to sit back and see how it plays out.

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