Tag Archives: Chaos Era

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:

The August MER and the Fall of NPC Bounties

We got the Monthly Economic Report for July somewhat late last month, but this month CCP has the MER for August out already, so it is time to take a look.  And the big chart for the month is the sinks and faucets.  That will be my main focus this time around.

August 2019 – Sinks and Faucets

There are a few items of significance on that chart.

Up front, for the first time in a long time, sinks out paced faucets in the game, with just shy of 64 trillion ISK coming into the game from faucets but almost 70 trillion ISK leaving the game via sinks.  That, plus the Active ISK delta, which includes ISK removed via GM actions, saw 49 trillion ISK leave the New Eden economy in August.

The big change continues to be falling totals from NPC bounties, which dropped to a recent low of 21.1 trillion ISK for August.   There has been a pretty consistent drop so far in 2019, with NPC bounties at about a quarter of where they stood in January.

  • August – 21.1 trillion
  • July – 29.1 trillion
  • June – 48.2 trillion
  • May – 55.5 trillion
  • April – 57.2 trillion
  • March – 71.4 trillion
  • February – 69.8 trillion
  • January – 83.8 trillion

And where were those bounties being harvested?  20% of it was in Delve, which is back at the top of the list for NPC bounties since the Imperium pulled back home back when the Drifters started hitting.

August 2019 – NPC Bounties by Region – Bar Graph

Most every region was down, with some more than others.  The top ten regions for August were:

  1. Delve – 4.39 trillion
  2. Insmother – 1.30 trillion
  3. Detorid – 1.23 trillion
  4. Esoteria – 1.05 trillion
  5. Querious – 753 billion
  6. Cobalt Edge – 705 billion
  7. Metropolis – 543 billion
  8. Omist – 526 billion
  9. Fountain – 515 billion
  10. Malpais – 514 billion

Compare that with the list from July:

  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 – 850 billion
  10. Feythabolis – 810 billion

Delve remained on top, and five others remained on the list, four new regions made it into the top ten, including a high sec region, Metropolis.  Metropolis didn’t make the top ten due to a huge surge in bounties.  It rang in at 529 billion ISK in July, so was only up a bit.  It made the cut because just about every other region fell.  Of last month’s top ten, only Detroid stayed about the same.

That meant the percentage of bounties claimed in high sec went up as the bounty totals went down.

August 2019 – NPC Bounty Percentage by Sec Status

Zero, high, and low sect were 81.7%, 15.9%, and 2.4% respectively.  The balance in July was 88.7%, 9.9%, and 1.5%, while in June it was 93.6%, 5.6%, and 0.8%.  Given that the August NPC bounty total was less than half of June’s, this appears to be much more a matter of null sec totals being reduced rather than any large increase in the other areas of space.

Continuing on with NPC bounties, they also used to be the biggest number on that sinks and faucets chart, often obnoxiously so.  With the coming of the August MER, two other numbers have passed bounties.

The first item is NPC Commodities, items that drop from sleepers or combat sites or Abyssal Deadspace that can be cashed in via NPC buy orders in select stations.  I honestly don’t know a lot about this, save for the Triglavian Survey Database that drop from Abyssal Deadspace.  And, honestly, CCP isn’t much help on this front.  Look at this chart.

August 2019 – Commodities Breakdown

According to that 14% of the commodity income is from Overseer’s Personal Effects, 25.7% is from “Other,” none is from Sleeper Components, so I guess wormhole space makes no money anymore,  and 60.3%, or roughly 14 trillion ISK of the total, isn’t accounted for at all.  I suspect this is a matter of CCP Quant having created these reports and, when he left, people assumed they would just need to run his script and everything would be fine and nothing would ever change and it isn’t anybody’s job to fix this so the reports will just get comically out of whack over time.

Such is the way of things.  If nobody owns it, nobody is going to fix it.

These commodities, whatever they were, brought in 23.8 trillion ISK to the New Eden economy, putting them ahead of the 21.1 trillion ISK brought in by NPC bounties.

But this wasn’t any rush away from null sec or NPC bounties.  Commodities have been stable, or even down a little bit (the number was almost 26 trillion back in January), for most of the year.  NPC bounties have just fallen below where commodities have lingered.

The other item on the sinks and faucets chart that now exceeds NPC bounties is actually a sink.

In late July CCP announced an increase in transaction taxes and brokerage fees, which came into effect at the start of August.  This saw transaction taxes collected jump from 11.6 trillion ISK in July to 22.1 trillion ISK in August, putting the number ahead of NPC bounties.

So basically two things changed on that initial chart, transaction taxes went up and NPC bounties continued to go down.  This is visualized on the sinks and faucets over time graph.

August 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

NPC bounties, after a steep drop, seem to have leveled off, while transaction taxes saw a sharp spike… downward, because faucets go up and sinks go down on this chart.

Alright.  Off the sinks and faucets chart, I thought I would take a side trip into another old favorite, which is mining value per region.  Again, Delve is at the top of the chart still.

August 2019 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

The top ten regions on that chart, and the value mined, are:

  1. Delve – 3.62 trillion
  2. Domain – 1.59 trillion
  3. Esoteria – 1.46 trillion
  4. The Forge – 1.40 trillion
  5. Querious – 1.10 trillion
  6. Sinq Laison – 1.02 trillion
  7. Lonetrek – 972 billion
  8. Metropolis – 895 billion
  9. Everyshore – 777 billion
  10. Tash-Murkon – 773 billion

For null sec, that is basically the Imperium in Delve and Querious and TEST in Esotaria.  The other seven are high sec.  I had to go look up Everyshore region, because I could not recall it ever being mentioned anywhere.  But DOTLAN says it is a thing, a part of Gallente empire space.

That put null sec way down compare to the number from July:

  1. Delve – 5.77 trillion
  2. Querious – 3.18 trillion
  3. Esoteria – 2.61 trillion
  4. Syndicate – 1.99 trillion
  5. Fountain – 1.92 trillion
  6. Etherium Reach – 1.77 trillion
  7. Domain – 1.69 trillion
  8. Malpais – 1.64 trillion
  9. The Kalevala Expanse – 1.61 trillion
  10. The Forge – 1.47 trillion

The rumor was that mining botters simply moved en masse to high sec to with the coming of the blackout.  I can’t say that this proves it, but it certainly seems to support the suggestion.  I guess those roving Triglavian scouts need to start working harder.

And that drop in output, it wasn’t related to a price drop in minerals.  According to the economic indices, mineral prices remained flat, so those numbers are a reasonable month over month comparison.

August 2019 – Economic Indices

I might have skipped past mining this month, what with the NPC bounty thing, but I figure those numbers might be relevant next month.  As you may know, earlier this week the September update introduced the big cyno change, the latest in the Chaos Era campaign.

I suspect that next month, when we get the September MER, we will see NPC bounties dropping even more as the big coalitions that have depended on super capital umbrellas to stay safe have asked their super and titan ratters to stay docked while new defense strategies are worked out.

Likewise, Rorquals are probably staying safe for now, though I know in the Imperium they are free to get back to work, but only if they stay in certain systems, get in the standing fleet, have a specific fit, and have an alt in a force recon with a cyno cloaked up and ready to bring in the cavalry should somebody drop on you.  The upside is that if you follow the new rules, you get SRP if your Rorqual dies.  Or Goons get SRP.  In TNT we just get yelled at.  But I don’t own a super or a Rorqual, so I only know what gets pinged out over Jabber.

So look in next month for another drop.

Meanwhile, you can go grab the full August MER, which is chock full of additional charts and data and what not, if you want to peruse that at your leisure.

Others looking at the MER:

The September Update Brings Cyno Changes and New Player Improvements to EVE Online

The Chaos Era continues in New Eden as CCP proceeds with the dual goals of making the game more difficult for veteran players while simultaneously attempting improve new player retention.

In my book the big item hitting the game for September is the cyno changes, which I mentioned previously.  This has been summed up in the patch notes in a single sentence:

Cynosural Field Generator I now only able to be fit to Force Recon Ships and Black Ops Battleships.

Yesterday most of the 345 ships currently flyable in New Ede could have lit a cyno, the requirement having been just a high slot.  Today it is down to nine.  If you’re like me, you’re now stuck moving your capital ships around in fleet ops unless you are willing to blow a 300 million ISK force recon hull for every jump, or a billion ISK black ops hull.  My solo trips in a cap are done, don’t undock what you cannot afford to lose being the iron law of New Eden and all.

No more of this frigate cyno stuff

The one set of hulls excused has been Jump Freighters.  Initially CCP was simply going to allow them to use covert cynos, which had its own mix of good and bad. (Which needed Cyno V on your cyno alt as well as the ability to fly a covert ops ship, but exposure would be reduced.)  That plan was changed (hopefully before people skill injected their cyno alts to Cyno V) and now there is a new cyno module just for jump freighters.  Per the patch notes:

  • Added Industrial Cynosural Field Generator.
    • Can be fit by Industrials, Deep Space Transports and Blockade Runners.
    • Industrial Cynosural Fields can be jumped to by Jump Freighters and Black Ops Battleships.
    • Requires Cynosural Field Theory I to activate.

Industrials will be the new cyno ship for jump freighters.  This will also keep cyno vigils a thing, though now vigils will be held in haulers, which seemed to be a major factor here.  More room to hold fuel I guess.  The odd bit is the addition of Black Ops ships to those being able to jump to the new cyno.  I did not see a reason listed for that.

And so the chaos continues.

On the new player side of things, the big feature for September looks to be warning messages when players are fitting ships sub-optimally.  There will now be four levels of warnings in the fittings window if you commit any of these fitting sins.   The warnings are broken out into the following groups:

Crucial/Red if:

  • The ship’s CPU is overloaded
  • The ship’s Powergrid overloaded
  • The ship’s Cargo is overloaded
  • The ship is a Strategic Cruiser and is missing a subsystem

Warning/Yellow if:

  • The ship has Invalid modules fitted (for example after a ship has been rebalanced or when swapping subsystems on a Strategic Cruiser)
  • Some fitted Modules are not providing bonus (for example if you have a Magnetic Field Stabilizer fit but all your guns are projectiles turrets)
  • Mixing turret groups
  • Mixing turret sizes
  • Mixing launcher groups
  • Both Shield and Armor modules fitted
  • Offline modules

Info/White if:

  • Armor tanking a ship categorized as shield ship
  • Shield tanking a ship categorized as armor ship
  • Polarized weapons fitted

Skill warning if:

  • Skills for the ship or fitted modules are missing
  • Skills for items in the ships cargohold are missing

Hovering over the warnings will describe which tenant of ship fitting you have broken and highlight the offending modules.

Dual tanked Raven as an example

With this in place can we then assume all bad fits are on purpose?

Other items of note on the list of changes include the long promised warp timer.  Previously tossed due to technical reasons, you can now only be kept from warping by bumping for three minutes:

Ships that bump while attempting to enter warp will now automatically enter warp if they remain in the pre-warp state for three minutes continuously. Scramblers or any other form of canceling the warp will reset this timer.

The out is that if the people bumping you are willing to sacrifice a rookie ship and a warp scram to CONCORD every two and a half minutes or so, they can still keep you stuck indefinitely.  But if you’ve set yourself to warp in a belt and walked away, you’ll only bump off that asteroid in your way for three minutes… so long as belt rats don’t get you before then.

On the graphics side of things, there has been an update to graphics and shaders related to stars and wormholes.  There was a dev blog about this, but I guess it can be quickly summed up in a graphic from that.

The before and after look

Wormhole graphics will also indicate the age and capacity of the wormhole, so capital capable wormholes will be visually distinctive from frigate sized holes.

There are, as always, lots of other small fixes and tweaks in the update.  You can find details in the patch notes and on the updates page.  Word is that the update has been deployed successfully.

Expecting Too Much from New Eden

Last Tuesday afternoon, just after I got home from work, I brought up the launcher for EVE Online.  I did so by accident, as I meant to bring up the Blizzard launched to play WoW Classic.  But I let it patch and run up just to keep it current.

Then I looked at the online player count and was a bit surprised to find it below the 15K mark, and you know what came to my mind right away.

First known occurrence of “EVE is Dying”

I realize that a weekday afternoon, and one after a three day weekend in the US, isn’t necessarily a peak time, but 15K seemed pretty low.

For the past year or so I have come home in the afternoon to find the count between 20-22K most weekdays and, as I have written in the past, I generally consider low ebb later in the evenings, when the Euros have gone to bed and it is safer to move things around, to be about 18K players online.

I had heard The Mittani talking about diminishing peak numbers on consecutive Sundays since the start of the Chaos Era, but that seemed premature to me.  That was two weeks ago.  You could chart small declines, but I thought you really needed to get past the login bonuses and free SP event before the numbers would start to really be telling.

Well, here we are, Chaos Era in full swing, more nerfs on the way with the September update, and no promotions or events in progress.  So Goons are working on gloomy charts (with some add on charts in the comments), Nosy Gamer is having a look at NPC and player destruction that doesn’t bode well, the MER has NPC commodities as the new biggest ISK faucet, and my own anecdotal evidence all seem to add up to something being amiss, manifested in the concurrent player count numbers, which you can see over at EVE Offline.

I realize that CCP doesn’t mention concurrent player count anymore, preferring the trend towards daily and monthly active users, the darling metrics of the mobile domain where ads are often part of the revenue stream. (Have you seen Candy Crush Saga lately? There has been a pretty big swing towards “watch an ad video, get a booster!” in their model.)  But the concurrent player count feels more like the reality we play in, so a dip is not good news.

This has, naturally enough, led to a cottage industry over on /r/eve and in the forums and wherever else about what CCP needs to do to fix this.

What I find interesting is how many people can move straight from the stance that CCP is both slow and incompetent to a grand master plan for fixing EVE Online that pretty much demands that the company be both quick and excellent at their craft.

My poster child right now is this post, which is a master class in glossing over reality.  The premise is that CCP should add back walking in stations, shove whatever Project: Nova is right now into the mix, and try to turn the game into what Star Citizen aspires to be some day.

Leaving aside my myriad objections to avatar play in EVE Online (summed up as: You have to build a whole different game to support it), the very easy jokes to be made at the expense of Chris Roberts, and the completely half-assed, evidence free, changing horses mid-stream vision being espoused, what in the last sixteen years could lead anybody to believe that CCP has the capability of doing this in any time frame that doesn’t include the heat death of the universe as a benchmark measurement?

I remain convinced that people outside software development think that just because it is easy to describe something it must therefore be easy to develop.

That is not the way of the world.

Just last week I suggested that CCP wasn’t going to be able to fix the new player experience in any meaningful way that would have even the slightest impact on new player retention.  I mean, I wrote “point and laugh” as my possible response to whatever they come up with, but that was what I meant.  And I say that because of CCP’s history.

It is like when people say that CCP should make things like level 4 missions more fun… something else I have seen come up as part of this… and I again wonder what people think has been going on since 2003.  Do you think that CCP has not tried?  Also, your idea on how to do this is badly considered garbage that won’t work.  Just accept it.

The game is what it is, having grown and developed almost spasmodically over the last decade and a half.  It hangs together on social bonds, vengeance fantasies, pretty screen shots, angry memes, and the sunk cost fallacy, and anything that CCP could do to “fix” the game has a pretty good chance of upsetting that balance.  I swear the corporate motto ought to be, “We did not see that coming!”

Which isn’t to say that I don’t think CCP can do things to help the game along, and even make the NPE better.  There are lots of ways the game could be made better.  But what CCP needs to do is way down in the fundamentals, blocking and tackling level stuff.  There is no room for Jesus features any more as there are too many balls for CCP to keep in the air as it is.  That one labelled “faction warfare” rolled under the couch a couple of years ago.

But what you don’t do is mask things with uncertainty.  Chaos is not a viable business strategy unless you’re selling safety from it.  Rational people, when faced with chaos, tend to try and find a safe place to weather the storm.

Anyway, we’ll see what comes to pass.  I fear that the Chaos Era may have officially pushed me into the bitter vet status, so i’ll probably just go play some more WoW Classic.

Others on the Chaos Era:

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:

 

Chaos Fatigue

Do you press one of these buttons when you log off from EVE Online?  CCP added them a while back as something of an exit survey.

Thumbs up or down?

For about a week after they showed up I diligently and thoughtfully clicked one of those buttons every time I exited the game.  And then I stopped.

I stopped because, on reflection, this seemed like data collection without value.  It lacks any context and, given human nature, can be waved away by circumstances of the moment.  There is always something going on that will allow CCP to say, “Well, that i just because we announced X and a few people are mad about it.”

I would not be surprised to find out that the buttons are not hooked up to a backend that stores the results, that CCP put them in there as just a way to deflect anger into the void.

It is a very Reddit-based response, let people down vote the game when they are upset because it lets you feel like you have done something, even though down voting never changed anything because it can always be explained away.  And that makes it very appropriate for the Chaos Era that CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson has declared for EVE Online.

Things have been somewhat chaotic since the Invasion expansion arrived back at the end of May.  That brought Triglavian incursion-like events to high sec, leading to NPCs camping the routes between tutorial and career agent systems and the joy of logging in an alt only to find you had best just log off because you’re system is now an NPC kill zone.

Didn’t want that 10K skill points anyway

And, of course, that has expanded, so hanging out it a belt in a 0.9 system might end up with you getting blow up right  away as well.

Didn’t want that Venture anyway

CCP also spread the chaos to null sec, which has tended to monopolize the headlines (Because who cares about new players?) with Drifter attacks and the Blackout and the sudden VNI nerf and the tax increases and now the coming cyno changes, with the promise of more changes to come.  I have mostly watched this from the sidelines, this blog being little else than that.  If you’re reading this you are in a tiny, obscure part of the EVE Online player base.

Just the other day CSM14 representative Dunk Dinkle was encouraging people with strong opinions on these changes to speak up publicly.

To me, strong opinions are part of the problem with any EVE Online discussion.  PvP players can be exceptionally vocal… roll footage of the forums of every PvE focused MMORPG ever… and the chaos era changes have brought them out en masse to cheer CCP for making changes that disrupt the status quo.  Anybody speaking against the chaos is shouted down because their motives are based on self-interest.  As such, every CCP proposal seems likely to go forward unchecked, since it isn’t difficult to find a wave of vocal support for them.

So the chaos will continue until morale improves.

However, I wonder if chaos is really a viable long term strategy.  Hilmar mentioned the novel The Three-Body Problem as one of his inspirations during that interview on Talking in Stations.  It was already on my list of things to read at some point, so I picked it up last week.  I have gotten far enough along to see where Hilmar swiped the idea for the Chaos Era.

In the book there is a video game which experiences alternating orderly and chaotic eras.  During the orderly times the player society of the game progresses.  During the chaotic eras nothing is predictable and everything is in disorder.  CCP seems to have decided that is the path forward for EVE Online.  They want to keep changing things constantly so that nothing is predictable in anything but the immediate time frame.

What I found interesting in the book was the player reactions to the chaotic eras.  While a select few persist through those eras, trying to discover a pattern to the chaos, the vast majority dehydrate themselves and are stored away, only to be revived when the next orderly era appears.  Then everybody gets back to work on progress in the game.

I could not help but associate the dehydrated state in the book with something akin to becoming an Alpha clone in EVE Online.  People often find chaos to be wearing over time, not what they want to devote themselves to as their hobby.  I know I am feeling a bit weary from the chaos era of New Eden, and barely any of it has an impact on me.  Only the coming cyno revision will change some aspect of my play.

And there is a very vocal choir that supports the chaos, which means that CCP would have to work to see a reason not to keep on with it.  So I suspect that the chaos will continue.

But it makes me wonder if chaos a viable long term strategy?

Addendum: After writing this, I listened to the Talking in Stations interview with CCP Rise, and it sure sounds like chaos is the long term strategy CCP has chosen.  My question as to whether or not we take Hilmar and CCP Falcon and their vision of where they want EVE Online to go appears to have been answered.