Tag Archives: CCP

PLEX for Good and COVID-19

CCP announced yesterday that they would be reviving the PLEX for Good idea to raise funds to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

PLEX for Good Returns

The PLEX for Good plan has seen CCP channel donations from players to support various disaster relief programs, most recently involving the Australian wild fires, which was just back in January of this year.

To give to this campaign you can contract PLEX in the game to the character CCP PLEX for GOOD. CCP would like you to please keep the minimum donation at 250 PLEX.  That works out to about $10, though with the PLEX pricing on the site a definite number can be difficult to pin down exactly.  $10 gets you 240 PLEX, but $20 gets you 500.

In the end though, the real-world monetary value of all PLEX collected will be donated by CCP to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund at the conclusion of the campaign.

Since I spent some time last go around figuring out how to do this, I thought I would mention how to actually contract PLEX.  By default, PLEX is stuck in your PLEX vault, and if you go to your wallet, it will show you how much PLEX you have and let you spend it on things, but you cannot actually contract it from there. (Maybe you can, but I couldn’t figure out how.)

That is because the PLEX Vault is really in your inventory window.  You need to go there and drag the big PLEX icon over to Item Hangar.

Dragging PLEX

When you drop that on your Item Hangar it will ask you how much PLEX you want to move there.  Once it is in your Item Hangar, it is like a normal object in EVE Online.  You can put it in your cargo hold, undock, get blown up, and have your loss mail become a thread over on /r/eve.  Or maybe you’ll right click on it, select Create Contract and contract it to the PLEX for Good campaign.

I chose the latter.

There is also a video in CCP’s post that hints that we might get a mask to wear in-game to keep capsuleers safe.

The face covering option some of us need

I can see pirates wearing that even if they aren’t worried about social distancing as they tackle you.

Another Bonus Skill Point Weekend in EVE Online plus a Skill Point Event

I woke up this morning to find that CCP had declared this weekend would get you bonus skill points for logging in.

Bonus skill points are the best skill points

I am not sure why this weekend was picked.  Maybe it celebrates the new person joining the community team.  I don’t know.  But whatever.  More free skill points.  I won’t turn my nose up at that.

The event follows the usual routine.  For each of the three days after downtime you log in, claim your skill points, pick which character gets them.  Omega accounts get more skill points than Alphas.

The give away mix

Alpha accounts get 45,000 skill points if they log in all three days, while Omegas get 130,000 for their login effort.  If you are Alpha and want all those skill points, there is a handy button to click to upgrade to an Omega subscription.

And if that isn’t enough free skill points for you, there is always the new variation on the Skilling Spree event going on, Skilling is Just a Means of Communication.

A tribute to a classic Permaband song

In this the daily task of blowing up NPCs has been changed, so now you get skill points for blowing up other players.

10K skill points for getting top damage on a kill mail

This event runs through to downtime on April 16, 2020.

So there are skill points to be had in New Eden.

The March Update Brings Market and Moon Changes to EVE Online

But perhaps not the moon changes one expected, among other things.

First though, what did downtime bring us?

There were the market changes, which I went over in detail in a previous post.

It is ADVANCED Broker Relations… I didn’t go to Advanced Broker school to be called Mister

Aimed at undercutters and market bots, updating orders now comes with a more significant charge that escalates the more times you change.  The skill Margin Trading has been changed to Advanced Broker Relations and will mitigate this change somewhat, but it still will sting if you update a listing a few times.

Also on the list for this month is module tiericide again, this time for capacitor boosters.  As in the past, these modules have be reworked to make more sense to somebody and fit into the pattern of module changes that have gone before.  Some day all the modules will be named and sized in a way that seems logical, though I doubt that day is today.

And, as mentioned in a recent EVE Pulse video, Moons will are getting a graphical upgrade, getting higher resolution textures and upgraded shaders.  They will look less like giant space potatoes close up.

Then there are a few things that did not come with the update that have been discussed recently.

First, there were the needlejack filaments, but we got those at the end of February, so they are covered.  People are able to yeet their fleets again.

Then there were the frigate escape bays, a feature set to be added to battleships.  But that was slated for the end of March, so it was only the rosiest of optimist that expected to see them today.

Finally, there was the change up to moon mining yields, the next stage of the mineral starvation plan to “fix” the New Eden economy.  With the February updates we got a radical reduction in asteroid density and the mineral contents of those remaining rocks.  Shortly after that hit, we got a warning in a dev blog that moon mining was next on the hit list.

I fully expected that change to hit today.  The moons of Delve, and in the off-Delve colonies, have been running on seven day fracking cycles to maximize the mineral takes before this change hit… and it didn’t hit.

I don’t know if that means that CCP has changed their mind or just wasn’t ready to implement that today.  Or maybe they did and they just didn’t put it in the patch notes.  Has anybody checked their moons today?

Anyway, it seems like a light update.  But CCP will do what it does, and there is always that Team Talos stuff on its own two week schedule.  Today’s extended downtime is over, the update is live, and the patch notes are available for you to read.  The general feedback thread still seems more interested in the red dot feature… or, more specifically, the ability to opt out of it… but that is EVE Online.

Quote of the Day – The Hubris of a New Eden FPS

An Eve Online first-person shooter is CCP’s greatest folly

-Jeremy Peel, VG24/7

The money quote was actually the headline, but it will do.

Last month CCP announced changes to their first person shoot plans.  The work around what had been called Project Nova was going to move to a new team and be given a new name.

A number of news sites jumped on the news and declared that Project Nova had been cancelled.  Massively OP doubled down on that line and even brought up in their podcast.

In the end the problem is not that some web sites don’t understand what the word “cancelled” means or cannot resist a good headline.  The problem is that CCP did not simply cancel Project Nova, but kept the whole FPS idea alive with another team and under another (secret now) name.

The problem is that the only lesson learned after more than a decade (the initial DUST 514 announcement is coming up on eleven years) of thrashing and failure on the FPS front is apparently that they shouldn’t announce projects prematurely.  And they did this in the midst of telling us that the FPS project would keep going.  If you take the view that Project Nova was cancelled, then they effectively announced the new project right then and there.  They just were not going to tell us what it was called.  So we’ll make up something to call it I guess.  I’m going to keep tagging it as Project Nova just to maintain a thread of continuity.

And maybe things have changed.  Maybe being owned by Pearl Abyss and having its resources at the disposal of the project will lead to a different outcome.  Maybe better talent or a different vision will make it happen.  Maybe they will be less focused on tying whatever it is they end up developing into EVE Online and more focused on making a good game with its own virtues, a game that people would play even despite its connection to EVE Online.

But we won’t know until we see it, and the track record so far does not lend one hope.

Hat Tip to Wolf Brothers Inc for spotting this.

EVE Fanfest Cancelled over Coronavirus Fears

CCP put up a notice today that they are cancelling EVE Fanfest in Reykjavik this year due to concerns with the spread of COVID-19, the Coronavirus.

No Fanfest 2020

The short statement reads as follows:

Dear Capsuleers,

In light of the recent and ongoing global developments surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we have taken the decision to cancel this year’s Fanfest event in Reykjavik, Iceland.

It is with a heavy heart that we make this decision, and we know this news will be disappointing to our wonderful community, but we feel absolutely compelled to follow the most responsible course of action and prioritize the safety and well-being of our attendees, our staff and of course the general Icelandic public.

We realize that the situation a month from now could be very different, but the way events are developing both globally and in Iceland’s neighboring countries, an in-depth and serious review has made it clear that this is a necessary step to take.

We wanted to get this information to you as swiftly as possible in order to allow you to make the necessary changes to any travel or accommodation arrangements that you may have made. We will be providing further details over the course of the next few weeks, so please keep an eye on all EVE Online social media channels for these updates.

Fly safe.

If we all just stay in our capsules we won’t spread the disease.  While it has not been mentioned, I suspect that CCP will come up with some sort of virtual FanFest to be streamed.  I am sure they have a bunch of announcements planned.

There is also no word on other events, like EVE Russia or the player planned EVE Vegas, though the latter is far enough out in the future, and on the far side of summer when viruses tend to abate, that it may see no impact.

This is not the first issue with events due to the COVID-19.  Both GDC in San Francisco and PAX East in Boston have had a number of big companies pull out due to fears about spreading the virus.  This has led to a few people complaining…  I’ve seen people calling out companies for being afraid of this particular virus, comparing it to a head cold, and the mayor of Boston asked companies to reconsider… but for most it is a case of better safe than sorry.

The tone of caution sounded by healthcare professionals was amplified greatly by the US CDC putting out a updated warning about COVID-19 this week.  (latest information here) That has rightly put people on their guard.  You cannot find a N95 mask for love or money right now, and the possible economic impact of the virus will continue to ripple for quite a while.



CCP Takes Aim at Undercutters and Market Bots in New Eden

CCP has a bunch of things coming up in March, like frigates in battleships and the expansion of the mineral starvation plan and fleet yeet filaments, but yesterday’s dev blog about their planned market changes struck me with the question, “Why now?”

We’ll get to that skill in a bit

Some of the items in that post make sense.  The change to the minimum broker fees in player owned Upwell structures… it will go from 0% to 1%, and only half of the broker’s fee will go to the owner now… seems like a straightforward response to the changes they made to fees back in July.  Those seemed set to push markets to player structures, something set to enrich the owners without being much of an ISK sink in the overall economy.   Now they will take a bit of ISK.  CCP even uses the phrase “ISK sink” in describing it.

In Upwell structures, the minimum broker fee that can be configured by the structure owner increases from 0% to 1%, adding an ISK sink to these market fees by paying half of this incoming fee to an NPC.

But the other two changes… those go into a realm that CCP has previously ignored.  The summaries are:

Introducing tick size – a limit on price precision when creating/updating an order. An order’s price can only be specified with a maximum precision of 4 significant figures.

Increase the ISK fees that are charged when modifying an order. The fee includes a new additional component, the Relist Charge. This is in addition to the regular Broker Charge that covers the increase between old and new order value.

To my mind, those changes have only one target; undercutters.

People have been wailing about undercutters in various forums for any online game that has a market or auction house since there has been online games with markets or auction houses.  And these complaints often boil down to people being butt hurt that somebody comes along and lists the same item for less than the person doing the complaining.

The problem with these complaints is that the answer is always that this is how a market works.  When somebody else wants to list an item on the market and they see the same thing already lists, what do you expect them to do?  Should they list at a higher price?

Arguably, there are situations when people should.  A smart seller knows their market and won’t just undercut everybody.  If there are a couple of low ball sellers you can ignore them or buy them out depending on the situation.  But most people are lazy and just want to sell their stuff, so they will see the lowest price and list just below that and be on their way.

In EVE Online, price increments down to a tenth of an ISK, so you will often see items that cost tens or hundreds of millions of ISK on the market with pricing separated by that tenth of an ISK gap.

A sample of prices from Jita

This situation is aggravated somewhat by the fact that you cannot chose who you buy from.  You can select any listing you want at any price, but it will always buy from the lowest priced listing.  If you want to punish that person at the top of the list with the price that ends in .97 ISK by going with a higher priced listing, the higher price goes to that person anyway.

In New Eden the undercutter always wins, at least in the short term.

The first of the proposed two changes will alter the minimum price increment allowed for listings, limiting it to four significant digits of precision.  That means an item that is worth about a million ISK on the market will go from having pricing that looks like this:

  • 999,999.97
  • 999,999.98
  • 999,999.99
  • 1,000,000.00

to pricing that looks like this:

  • 999,700
  • 999,800
  • 999,900
  • 1,000,000

Rather than a tenth of an ISK increment you get one on the 100 ISK line.

I gather that the idea here is that increasing the increment size will flatten the pricing in the market and keep people from undercutting as aggressively.  With enough items on the market, or for items of a high enough price, that may come to pass.  But there will always be the incentive to be the lowest priced item on the market, and in MMOs, where a lot of players do not take pricing seriously, being content just to get some currency out of an item, it isn’t uncommon for people to undercut well below the vendor or recycle price of an item.

That is a benefit for those who spot the item, but it won’t stop people from bitching about being undercut, and it will keep happening no matter the increment.

The second item, the revised charging scheme for modifying a current order, that feels like it is being aimed at market bots.  Interestingly, as part of the dev blog, CCP says that 94% of market listings are never altered, and of the remaining orders, only 1.3% are modified eight or more times.  And a subset of that are “orders that are being modified hundreds of times, with behavioral patterns that are very likely not human.”  There are your bots, which are not nearly as pervasive as the forums would lead you to believe.  To some people every undercut must be a bot, but in places like Jita where new orders are going up all the time and the incentive is always to be .01 ISK below the price leader, you cannot tell which is a bot and which is just a new listing.

So this new change, and there is a formula detailing how it will be calculated, has been setup to make frequent price changes ruinously expensive.

In the classic CCP way of things though, they have a skill for that.  Or, rather, a skill is being repurposed for that.  The Margin Trading skill, which I gather was little cared for, will become Advanced Broker Relations and, if trained up to level V, will reduce the enhanced relisting fee by half.

If the target is “not human” behavioral patterns it seems silly to repurpose a skill in order to take away some of the sting.  But maybe they want sales of the skill to act as an ISK sink.

Either way, that should put paid to unfettered sell bots, though such a bot never made much sense to me in any case.  Patience and knowing the market has always seemed like a better path than trying to micromanage.  I’ve never had problems selling anything that was priced right even if it wasn’t the lowest price at the moment.

Buy bots, that seems like a better plan, scanning the market regularly to purchase items listed well below market pricing… though I have heard tales in dark places about people manipulating market pricing just to get such bots to buy things they ought not to.

So the best plan seems to be not botting at all.  But somebody is always going to go there if they think they can gain even a bit of an advantage.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  But I still wonder “why now?”  The relisting charge especially intrigues me.  But CCP could have done either or both of those changes at any point in the last dozen years.  People have been complaining about bots and undercutting in Jita for longer than that.  What happened that put that on CCP’s radar?

If nothing else, it will be interesting to see what this breaks and how much it hits the MER.

Capsuleer Fortitude Reward

CCP is giving out some more free skill points.  This time they are throwing us another pile in compensation for the outages that were caused by the DDoS attacks earlier this month.

Reward Award

If you log in between now and downtime on March 9, 2020 you will be able to claim those free skill points.  If you are running an Alpha clone you get 100,000, while if you are an Omega subscriber you get that plus 250,000 more, for a total of 350,000 skill points.

Always a class divide

Since this is coming through the login reward interface, if you’re an Alpha clone but are just dying to get those extra 250K skill points, you can subscribe and claim them.  It doesn’t matter if you were an Alpha during the outage, you just have to go Omega before time runs out on the offer.

Something in the back of my brain says I should be angry about CCP selling skill points this way.  If you’re a high skill point salt that is one and two-thirds of a large skill injector for just $14.99, or 500 PLEX.  Probably not a great price, but a price none the less.  And who cares anyway?  We’ve long since crossed that bridge and burned it behind us.

So don’t forget to log in and grab the free skill points.  I know I will drag out every account, because who knows when I might need it some day.