There have been a lot of numbers thrown about with regards to EVE Online of late in attempts to prove all sorts of things like whether the Chaos Era or the blackout or tax rates or PLEX prices are helping the game, hurting the game, or whatever. So I thought I would join in on the fun.
Being who I am, I don’t have a point I am trying to prove, and if you skip down to the end you won’t find any grand conclusions either condemning or congratulating CCP. I just want to see what the data says… or, more likely, what it doesn’t say.
For my numbers I thought I ought to compare the extremes of 2019, so I figured I would put January of the year up against August. When those two months? August simply because it is the latest set of MER data we have, while January… well, January was the peak of what one might call “fat times in null sec,” when NPC bounties were paying out greater than ever before. Look at this chart from the August MER.
August 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time
You can see that NPC bounties reached their peak. This was also a period of not much in the way of wars. It also pre-dates not only the Chaos Era but also the series of nerfs to bounties and mining in null sec. January might very well be the height of everything that people outside of null sec hate about it. It was the peak of the Delve Time Unit.
As for the data I want to toss around, there are three things I want to look at, all of which I am taking directly from the MER data in the January and August reports.
The first is NPC bounties, because of course it is. As I noted above, January was the absolute peak of NPC bounty largess and CCP has been trying to combat that for much of the year, with nerfs to anomaly spawns and fighter damage application and VNI changes and the blackout and the recent cyno changes to complicate defense group responses. As I mentioned in my August MER post, those numbers have been declining over the course of the year.
- January – 83.8 trillion
- February – 69.8 trillion
- March – 71.4 trillion
- April – 57.2 trillion
- May – 55.5 trillion
- June – 48.2 trillion
- July – 29.1 trillion
- August – 21.1 trillion
August was basically 25% of the January total from the sinks and faucets table.
Unfortunately, I am working from the RegionalStats.csv file that is included with each MER, and the numbers there do not align with some of the other charts. I get it. You write your SQL query and you take your chances, and different queries can yield different results if you’re not careful.
Also, the region of Cache was missing from the January MER file, so I removed it from the August data so as to compare apples with apples to the extent I could.
With that data in play, the numbers are:
- January – 84.8 trillion
- August – 19 trillion
That puts August at about 22.39% of the January total. However, looking at it in drops sorted out by region, the average/mean drop was 50.49% and the median drop was 49.38%. That those two differ so much from the combined total drop seems to indicate that drops varied greatly by region.
Since I have that data broken out by regions, I thought I would look at the biggest and smallest losers.
For losers, here are the regions that took the biggest hits:
- Period Basis – 3.4 trillion to 20 billion ISK – 0.58% of January
- Outer Passage – 2.4 trillion to 80 billion ISK – 3.31% of January
- Branch – 6.9 trillion to 259 billion ISK – 3.75% of January
- Catch – 1.2 trillion to 52 billion ISK – 4.47% of January
- Wicked Creek – 2.1 trillion to 96 billion ISK – 4.54% of January
Period Basis, that was Red Alliance space back in January, though they fell apart and GSF took over, turning it into Imperium rental space and an alleged haven for bots, protected behind the bulk of Delve. The blackout and bot banning took its toll there.
Outer Passage was another deep null sec spot reputed to be a haven for bots.
Branch was Dead Coalition’s ratting paradise back in January, where they were recovering their fortunes after the Keepstar War of last year. Not quite as well protected as some regions, but well back from NPC space aside from a station in Venal.
Catch is home to Legacy Coalition alliances including Brave Newbies.
Wicked Creek has been held by Fraternity for ages, but they have apparently pulled back from it for ratting, at least relative to their core in Detorid, which we’ll get to.
The big winners were:
- The Kalevala Expanse – 190 billion to 400 billion ISK – 210.29% of January
- Genesis – 199 billion to 218 billion ISK – 109.81% of January
- Placid – 76 billion to 83 billion ISK – 108.79% of January
- The Bleak Lands – 14 billion to 15 billion ISK – 105.83% of January
- Tash-Murkon – 98 billion to 103 billion ISK – 104.76% of January
Basically, that is four non-null regions that stayed about the same and The Kalevala Expanse, which is the real outlier in the mix. It has been held by Pandemic Horde since May of 2018, but was not well utilized for a long stretch. It was going to be, and may still be, their rental empire.
Then there are what I have decided to call the benchmark sov null regions, which were held by the same groups throughout 2019 and how they fared:
- Cobalt Edge (Hard Knocks) – 2.0 trillion to 706 billion – 34.72% of January
- Delve (Imperium) – 12.9 trillion to 4.4 trillion – 33.92% of January
- Detorid (Fraternity) 5.5 trillion to 1.2 trillion – 22.19% of January
- Esoteria (TEST) 5.1 trillion to 1.0 trillion – 20.44% of January
- Providence (Provi) 860 billion to 71 billion – 8.26% of January
The wretched excess of Delve was curbed, but it did not fall as far as many, while Provi appears to have suffered quite a bit over the course of the year. Detorid looks to be right at the mean drop.
And then, finally, I also broke the regions of New Eden out into three different areas, Empire (both high and low sec, since Empire regions often include both), Sov Null, and NPC Null. Broken out, here is how they compared:
- NPC Null – 749 billion to 620 billion – 82.77% of January
- Empire – 4.3 trillion to 3.5 trillion – 81.70% of January
- Sov Null – 79.7 trillion to 14.8 trillion – 18.62% of January
So the weight of the changes over the course of the year fell on null sec. Of course, that is where the most of the bounties were. Empire and NPC Null lack upgraded anomalies and don’t see capital or super capital ratting, so the NPC bounties are likely from missions and belt rats.
Looking at NPC bounty changes overall and broken out by the different areas:
- All Regions Overall: 22.39% Mean: 50.49% Median: 49.38%
- NPC Null Overall: 82.77% Mean: 76.59% Median: 76.93%
- Empire – Overall: 81.70% Mean: 84.96% Median: 84.78%
- Sov Null – Overall: 18.62% Mean: 22.57% Median: 9.24%
When the overall, mean, and median are close, that means that the change was spread pretty evenly. When they vary, as they do with All Regions and Sov Null, that indicates that changes were uneven.
Basic conclusion is that NPC bounty changes affected Sov Null more than other areas. I do not think that is a particularly controversial statement. It is what we would expect having paid attention to the MERs during 2019.
Next up is mining, the other thing CCP sought to nerf in 2019. Again, it is something that happens heavily in Sov Null, but it is also pretty big in Empire space as well. The only problem is that the ISK numbers are based on mineral prices during the given time period, so January to August comparisons will be less indicative than NPC bounties, which are always in direct ISK value. But let’s look anyway.
Overall mining in January brought in 58 trillion ISK in mineral value, an amount that fell to 28 trillion in August, just 48.47% of January. But the average percentage, when look at per region change, was 76.19%, which means there were some big losers out there. They were:
- Period Basis – 155 trillion to 91 million – 0.06% of January
- Outer Passage – 809 billion to 35.4 billion – 4.37% of January
- Branch 2.2 trillion to 106 billion – 4.81% of January
- Deklein – 1.3 trillion to 83 billion – 6.38% of January
- Perrigen Falls – 327 billion to 35 billion – 10.54% of January
There is at least some overlap between the NPC bounty and mining regions here, with Period Basis on top and Branch in the middle for both.
Likewise, the regions with the biggest gains have a pair of repeats:
- The Kalevala Expanse – 150 billion to 520 billion – 345.47% of January
- Omist – 126 billion to 378 billion – 300.29% of January
- The Bleak Lands – 133 billion to 202 billion – 151.82% of January
- Pure Blind – 149 billion to 220 billion – 147.19% of January
- Aridia – 166 billion to 240 billion – 144.44% of January
As noted before, TKE was underutilized back in January, while TBL, high sec space, saw something of a boost for both bounties and mining. The surprise for me is probably Pure Blind… who even lives there to mine… and Aridia, as low sec doesn’t have a reputation for being a miner’s paradise. But, then, none of those regions had big numbers to start with, no trillion ISK regions on that list, so the amount required to move the needle is significantly less.
[Addendum: During the Sep. 20 Open Comms Show Brisc Rubal said that The Initiative moved their mining ops to Aridia during the blackout, which explains that jump.]
And then there are my benchmark Sov Null regions:
- Cobalt Edge (Hard Knocks) – 745 billion to 217 billion – 29.06% of January
- Delve (Imperium) – 14 trillion to 3.6 trillion – 25.81% of January
- Detorid (Fraternity) – 3 trillion to 415 billion – 13.48% of January
- Esoteria (TEST) – 3.9 trillion to 1.5 trillion – 36.97% of January
- Providence (Provi) – 405 billion to 122 trillion – 30.16% of January
All were down, with Detorid down the most, while Esoteria seemed to hang on better than the others.
Broken out by different areas of space, overall is all regions as a whole, mean and median are per region changes:
- All Regions Overall: 48.47% Mean: 76.19% Median: 75.61%
- NPC Null Overall: 70.94% Mean: 63.77% Median: 65.66%
- Empire – Overall: 99.99% Mean: 103.34% Median: 104.91%
- Sov Null – Overall: 31.37% Mean: 60.01% Median: 36.27%
Mining isn’t down as much as bounties, but it is still down. Empire space was the least affected over the course of the year, with January and August numbers looking very similar. That at least seems to cast some doubt on the “all the mining bots moved to high sec” theory I have seen. But the picture is incomplete. The change in mineral prices, which went up over the course of the year, means that it the totals are close then less ore overall was mined.
Finally, the third thing people have brought up quite a bit is destruction. The purpose of the blackout was, among other things, supposed to bring more destruction to New Eden. Or so some people were loudly declaring. Maybe it was just to frighten botters. Anyway, we’ll look at those numbers.
Overall destruction in New Eden, according to the data I am using (and we know the data isn’t always complete as noted here) has January pegged at 40 trillion ISK and August at 39 trillion ISK, which is probably withing the margin of error for CCP data. That would be an almost Ivory Soap-like 99.41% change. That the by region mean change was 129.22% indicates that different areas saw different results over time, but the median was still a nice solid 96.21%, which is pretty close to the overall change.
So where were the big increases?
- Fade – 113 billion to 1.4 trillion – 1265.61% of January
- Omist – 76 billion to 414 billion – 544.21% of January
- The Kalevala Expanse – 278 billion to 777 billion – 279.66% of January
- Genesis – 402 billion to 910 billion – 226.64% of January
- Verge Vendor – 168 billion to 363 billion – 216.71% of January
I have no idea what was going on in Fade, which is a problem with a lot of these numbers. And a big increase like that will skew your data when you look at it in region sized chunks. Still, something was going on. It was also interesting to see that destruction followed utilization in TKE, it having made the top increase in all three areas.
The last two regions are in high sec. More ganking maybe?
At the other end, where did destruction drop off?
- Period Basis – 491 billion to 26 billion – 5.30% of January
- Geminate – 2.4 trillion to 380 billion – 15.68% of January
- Perrigen Falls – 372 billion to 81 billion – 21.78% of January
- Outer Passage – 387 billion to 93 billion – 23.95% of January
- Cloud Ring – 383 billion to 151 billion – 39.57% of January
Again, it is nice to see some consistency, with the drop off in ratting and mining on Period Basis there was a corresponding drop in destruction.
Geminate was where Pandemic Horde used to live. Perrigen Falls and Outer Passage are both in the upper drone region, a place reputed to be a botting home. And then there is Cloud Ring. I blame The Initiative and Snuffed Out for whatever happens up there.
And how about the benchmark Sov Null regions? Any changes there that correspond to anything we have seen so far?
- Cobalt Edge (Hard Knocks) – 395 billion to 699 billion – 177.02% of January
- Delve (Imperium) – 1.8 trillion to 1.5 trillion – 85.86% of January
- Detorid (Fraternity) – 1.2 trillion to 1.6 trillion – 137.20% of January
- Esoteria (TEST) – 613 billion – 860 billion – 140.39% of January
- Providence (Provi) – 765 billion – 843 billion – 110.24% of January
Unlike Period Basis, there is no corresponding drop in destruction relative to the decrease in ratting or mining. Somebody took it upon themselves to get out to Cobalt Edge and blow things up. Detorid and Esoteria are also part of an ongoing war in the east, which muddies the water a bit. Providence saw a bit of a bump. And then there is Delve, the only one of the bunch that saw a decrease, though at both ends of the measure it saw the most absolute destruction.
Destruction broken out by different areas of space, where overall is all regions as a whole, mean and median are per region changes:
- All Regions Overall: 99.41% Mean: 129.22% Median: 96.21%
- NPC Null Overall: 79.61% Mean: 74.70% Median: 76.72%
- Empire – Overall: 110% Mean: 118.98% Median: 103.41%
- Sov Null – Overall: 92.29% Mean: 145.77% Median: 88.00%
NPC Null saw a drop, the data shows that it fell in every region, Empire stayed about the same, with some outliers, and Sov Null saw the widest variety of change. But there are more Sov Null regions than the other two areas combined, so that seems likely. But the overall numbers didn’t show much change.
So what do all of these numbers mean? I don’t know.
My daughter is currently taking AP Statistics, so I am trying to show the same restraint I have tried to instill in her when it comes to jumping to conclusions based on data that may not tell a complete story. It is easy to infer meaning at a glance that is not really there.
There are certainly some consistent stories in the mix, like those of Period Basis or TKE, where a changes followed a nice pattern. The stories of those regions seem clear. But others are less so, which points to the need to know what was actually going on in any given area before drawing any conclusions about it based on the data here. And everything should probably be overlaid on some sort of user online report to give some hint if more people online end up with more ratting and mining and destruction as part of things.
Still, I think there is some value in looking at the data, if only just to get a sense of what is changing where.
For this post I put the data from the August and January MERs into their own Excel spreadsheet, which you can download if you like.
Of course, I started doing this last weekend just because, then got it queued up to post this week after the Ragefire Chasm three-parter, only to find Rhivre at INN also wanted to throw lots of data around this week as well. She goes into more depth, talks about more things, and generally does a much better job than I bothered to do, so if you want to wallow in numbers you should probably go check that out.