Tag Archives: EVE Updates

The Siege Green Update Arrives in EVE Online

Today CCP deployed the Siege Green update to EVE Online, bringing at least some much needed changes to the game.  The term “siege green” is a reference to dreadnoughts on a fleet being allowed to go into siege mode, which greatly increases their damage output at the cost of becoming stationary and being unable to receive remote repair.  While there is an alliance with the name Siege Green, the term long predates the alliance.

Dreadnoughts doing what they do

And dreadnoughts play into this update significantly.

The most significant part of today’s update is something of a roll back of some of the blueprint changes that CCP inflicted on industrialist last April which made capital ship production prohibitively expensive.  And attempt to reign in capital ship proliferation that effectively assured capital ship dominance for some and locked newer players out of the option as the prices of hulls jumped more than 4x.

So today’s patch sees an adjustment to blueprints to make dreadnoughts and other capital ships more viable by reducing their cost of production, with the goals previously stated as:

  • Reduce low level PI demand (less damn water)
  • Reduce Faction and Pirate ship manufacturing costs
  • Greatly reduce Dreadnaught manufacturing costs
  • Reduce other capital and supercapital ship manufacturing costs
  • Reduce logistics requirements for capital and supercapital ships

I’ll be interested to see the April MER as I imagine we might seen an anticipatory dip in production as anybody who was even thinking about building a capital ship will surely have had the sense to put it off until this update.

The specific blueprint changes related to this are in the patch notes for the update, which are linked at the end of this post.

In addition, the update will also give the suddenly more affordable dreadnoughts some targets as changes are going in around Upwell structures in order to make them a bit easier to blow up.  This is something dreads are quite useful for.

The base changes are:

  • All Upwell structures will have their shield damage cap effectively removed. (Armor and hull damage caps remain in place)
  • Medium structures will have their hull reinforcement timer removed.
  • +100% to medium structure shield hitpoints.
  • +25% to large and extra-large structure shield hitpoints.
  • -75% hull hitpoints for medium structures.

The specific values for each structure are in the patch notes linked at the end of this post.

The removal of the damage cap… or the increase in the cap such that it has effectively been removed… from the shield timer means that there will be less time spent hanging around shooting a structure when it is unlikely anybody is going to show up to defend it.  The shield timer attack is generally a surprise (unless you have spies) and can come at any time, so the defenders often don’t bother contesting it.  It merely sets the armor timer in motion, which is when the real defense is likely to take place.

As something of a compensation, structures are getting a boost to their shield hit points.

Medium structures, which are the Astrahus, Raitaru, and Athanor, and getting a much bigger change.

These structures are often viewed as being expendable by larger organizations and can be used offensively, as you can drop them in systems where the active defense multiplier is high enough to prohibit large structures from being dropped.

In order to make them less viable once they are in place, their hull reinforcement timer is being removed, which means after shooting the shield, the timer will just be a gate to the armor and hull, which can both be taken in one pass, destroying the structure. (And the hull hit points have been reduced, so that final attack won’t even last as long.)

So medium structures will now be much more vulnerable to destruction and any defense will have to be at the armor timer.

With the removal of the hull timer, the armor timer for medium structures will now go as follows:

  • Highsec: 4.5 days ± 1.5 hours
  • Lowsec & Nullsec: 3.5 days ± 1.5 hours
  • Wormholes & Pochven: 3.5 days ± 1.5 hours
  • War HQ: 24 hours

The hour variation is based on the defender’s chosen defense time, so it will always be in the time zone the defender has chosen with some small variability for the exact hour.

Large structures are also getting their armor and hull timers revised, as indicated in the patch notes.

I don’t think this is going to lead to a massive boost in structure shoots in high sec, but wormhole space, where there is no asset safety, has already seen groups evacing their stuff out of medium structures.  If a larger group shows up and reinforces your medium structure there, you basically have three and a half days to get out or lose all of your stuff.

Another example of trying to tune things for one area of the game impacting another negatively.

Those were the big items that came with the update, though there were still a range of smaller things on the list.

I am kind of interested in this one and why it was changed.

Increased the minimum distance away from a Control Tower that a CONCORD Rogue Analysis Beacon must be deployed at to 30,000 km (from 2,000 km)

I suspect there was some unexpected benefit from being that close to a POS tower.

Anyway, the update has been deployed and has gone live so this is the version of New Eden we now play in.

Related

The April Update Brings Rorqual Conduit Jumps and Citadel Nerfs to EVE Online

The first big patch of April landed on Tuesday and brought with it some of the items that CCP had been promising in their run up to EVE Fanfest in May.

Some patch notes

The first item of note represents another step in the long and strange journey of the Rorqual, the capital mining ship that started off life as a mining booster and ore compressing platform that usually just sat in a POS, then was transformed by CCP into a voracious mining platform with the introduction of exhumer drones, a change that CCP subsequently spent ages walking back with repeated and eventually profound nerfs, until the ship was back to being mostly a mining booster and ore compressing platform, though on grid with the mining barges this time.

A dramatic rise and painfully long fall for the ship.

CCP has, however, relented a bit on the hull and it trying to find a reason for people to undock them and use them rather than the cheaper boosting alternatives.  Enter the conduit jump.

The conduit jump idea was introduced to Black Ops battleships last June with the Enter the Portal update and allowed those hulls to jump to a cyno directly, taking up to 25 black ops capable ships in its fleet along for the ride, an efficient alternative to traditional bridging.

The Rorqual now has the ability through use of the newly introduced Industrial Jump Portal Generator module to bridge and also conduit jump.

  • It can Conduit Jump up to 30 ships in its fleet.
  • Eligible ships to conduit jump portal/conduit jump are: Mining Exhumers, Barges, Mining Frigates (Venture, Endurance, Prospect), and the Porpoise.

The idea is that Mama Rorqual and her ducklings will be able to jump around going on harvesting expeditions, something hopefully useful enough to get people to undock their very expensive capital mining ships.

Blueprints for the new module have been seeded… for reals this time… and can be researched and used for production.  We shall see how this works out.

Also on the list for the update were the promised changes to Upwell citadels to make them a little less defensible.

The changes are:

  • The Standup Point Defense Battery I has received a damage reduction, and in the future it will require ammunition to cycle:
    • The module itself has had its damage per cycle reduced by 50% (250 damage of each type from 500)
    • In a future patch this month (scheduled April 19th) it will require ammunition to fire, from now until then you will be able to build and acquire the necessary ammunition for the module.
    • The new ammunition is “Standup Flak Rounds I”.
  • The Standup Guided Bomb Launcher modules have received a balancing pass:
    • The guided bomb launcher modules can now only be fit to Large and Extra Large Upwell Structures.
    • Tech I module has had its capacity reduced to 300m3 from 1000m3 (now holds 3 bombs).
    • Tech II module has had its capacity reduced to 400m3 from 1300m3 (now holds 4 bombs).
    • Reload time for both Tech I and II has been increased to 60s (was 10 seconds).
    • Standup Heavy and Light Guided Bombs have had their bomb radius reduced to 20km (was 30km)
  • All standup missile velocities have been increased by 50%
  • Standup XL Cruise Missile, Standup Super-Heavy Torpedo, Standup Cruise Missile, Standup Heavy Missile, Standup Light Missile
  • Standup Anti-Capital Missiles have been balanced:
    • Standup XL Cruise Missile damage has been reduced by 50%
    • Standup Super-Heavy Torpedo damage has been reduced by 30%
  • The Standup Arcing Vorton Projector I is longer capable of being activated against subcapital ships.

That last one stings a bit because, while the Arcing Voltron Projector was a devastating subcap killer, it looked great and was often hilarious to see who got hit and who got spared its RNG electric wrath.

The Arcing Voltron Projector lances out! Ride the lightning!

On the flip side, I am very happy to see the PDS requiring ammo in the future rather than being an infinite running death scythe when I am trying to get on a Fortizar kill mail with an Ibis for yucks.

Will that be enough to change the structure meta?  I guess we’ll have to have a war to find out.  PAPI going to assemble again to test it?

In other updates, strategic cruisers are at kind of a low ebb of late, but the Proteus more than the rest, so it go a bit of a boost with the following:

    • Hybrid Encoding Platform Subsystem: 430 PG from 330 PG
    • Augmented Plating Subsystem: 25% reduction in Armor Plate Mass Penalty
    • Drone Synthesis Projector Subsystem CPU 60 from 40
    • Drone Synthesis Projector Subsystem Bandwidth to 125 from 100
    • Drone Synthesis Dronebay Capacity to 300 from 250

And then, in the last big announcement in the patch notes, SKINs handed out with daily login rewards are not going to suck nearly as much as they have since… well, forever.

Out are the 30 day temporary SKINs, half of which are for hulls I never fly and the other half are dupes of SKINs I already own.

Instead, SKINs rewarded for daily logins will per permanent SKINs, and they will be drawn from a whole new set of SKINs, so you won’t have them already, and the algorithm is even supposed to avoid sending you dupes or deleting your boot.ini file.  And no, we never forget anything around here.

That is actually a big enough deal to get me to log in daily.

Gone from login rewards will be BPCs, which were probably not being redeemed very often or, in my case, redeemed and then left to sit in a hangar clogging up database space.

The skillpoint rewards for logging in are going to be handed out in smaller increment over a shorter cycle rather than the current every 30 days plan.

Seems like a winning set of changes to me.  See, we can be happy about some changes.

There are of course a host of other small changes and fixes, but those are the big ticket items in my book.

Addendum:  Also, The Hunt event has kicked off today, so implants are dropping from kills once more.

Related:

EVE Online Gets Battleship Buffs and a Mining Event for March, Plus CCP Starts Selling Ships

Yesterday saw the March update patch that included some of the items announced as part of their Road to Fanfest dev blog last month.

We’re on a road to somewhere…

One of the big items on the list was a role bonus for battleships boosting the effectiveness of armor plates and shield extenders.  Battleships were already in a bit of a bind out in the field any time there were bombers about, but when last April’s industry changes inflated battleship hull prices dramatically, they became even more scarce.

CCP declined to reduce the cost to build battleships, vowing instead to make them more effective.  So we got the following role bonuses for battleships, except the Praxis, because screw the Praxis I guess.

  • 50% bonus to HP from all Armor Plates
  • 100% bonus to HP from all Shield Extenders
  • 5% additive bonus to all Reinforced Bulkhead modules

That will make battleships more survivable in the field.  My Bhaalgorn now has 222K EHP unboosted.

In addition, Large Micro Jump Drive fitting costs were reduced as follows:

  • PG need reduced to 800 MW, previously 1375 MW.
  • CPU need reduced to 54 tf, previously 77 tf.

More mobility will help with survivability as well.  I do wonder how this will affect PvE missions.  That can be a lot more EHP depending on how you fit.

CCP’s second run at resource compression… the first awful attempt died on the test server, being so bad that many wondered if CCP ever tried playing their own game… also arrive with the patch, allowing compression of ice, gas, mercoxit, moon, ore, and asteroid ore.

The new mechanics require a Rorqual, Orca, or Porpise to be running a compression module which will allow fleet members within 200km of the support ship.  When that is happening, you can just compress resources in your cargo hold.  The Rorqual and the Orca have modules that allow you to compress all of the resource types, while the Porpise is limited to just gas and asteroid ore.

The blueprints for the modules have been seeded into the game along with the accompanying skills, so so compression will be a thing for all of these resources.  More details in the patch notes linked at the bottom of the post. (Or they will be seeded soon, as among the known issues with the update is that the blueprints didn’t make it on the first pass and you cannot inject the skills.)

Also, as part of the update, which gave all the ships additional bays, the Epithal got a special command center bay that allows it to carry 6 command centers, so you don’t have to use another hauler to deploy command centers, then go back and and get your Epithal to haul your PI output.

Also on the list was Player Owned Customs Offices, which had their gantry shield hit points reduced from 10 million to 500 thousand to make them less defensible.  We shall see if that puts more POCOs in play as conflict generators.

Likewise, CRAB beacon BPCs have had their cost in the CONCORD LP store reduced and the rewards for using them increased in order to tempt players to commit the required capital ships to run them.  They did not, however, make any changes to capital ship blueprints, so it still costs 9 billion ISK to build a dreadnought hull, so only those to with a cache of such hulls are likely to risk them

Finally, there is a new AIR tutorial for mining available to newly created characters and “another graphical update” that will make your shiny ships… looking at you Amarr… reflect structures and events.

Not in the update was any mention of addressing Upwell structures or revisiting the blueprint changes from last April that, among other things, made dreadnought hulls cost 9 billion ISK to produce.  Maybe some day.

The update went live yesterday and we all hope with today’s follow on patch the initial issues like missing blueprints have been resolved.

In addition, to promote the mining changes, CCP is also launching a mining focused event today called the Prospector’s Path.

Making Mining Fun Again?

This includes login rewards, daily challenges, special items in the store, and a special Venture abyssal proving grounds event.  The event runs until downtime on March 16th.  Details at the link below.

One fly in the ointment in all of this is a pack that CCP is offering as part of the event which straight up sells you a fully fit mining ship.

Not player produced – also, no rigs included, because CCP wouldn’t cross the Rubicon completely?

This represents another step towards the inevitable “everything is for sale in the cash shop” destiny the game has been moving to for the last few years.

Some will be outraged at this, while CCP apologists will point out that it is just one ship and temporary, forgetting the actual slippery slope of the last decade where CCP went from promising that skill points not earned in game would never be sold to straight up selling skill point packs for cash in the store.  The cost of doing business is that business must come first in all things.

So it goes.  I said that last year’s Destroyer Pack was moving CCP towards this, and now we’re there.  Completely predictable.

Related:

CCP Begins Inflicting the New Dawn Austerity Plan on EVE Online

But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task, if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us, that when the storm is long past, the ocean is flat again.

-John Maynard Keynes, A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923)

When CCP announced the New Dawn quadrant for EVE Online, the promise was of “The Age of Prosperity.”  It said so right there in the graphic for the quadrant.

Prosperity Promised

The dev blog for New Dawn opened with some big news, like the doubling of harvestable resources in New Eden before delving into less popular topics.  The devil was in the details and, upon examining the what CCP was proposing it looked much less like prosperity and more like an attempt to institutionalize the past two years to the starvation economy in the name of preserving the game for the “long term.”

For every minor buff to something there was a corresponding nerf to offset it, and even the touted “doubling of resources,” something CCP keeps repeating because it sounds good, doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.  After denuding resources by 90%, including removing all asteroid belts from null sec, doubling what remained still leaves the game far behind what it once was.  Those belts in null sec are still empty.

Prosperity was a lie.  People were angry.  The forums received plenty of feedback.  There were thousands of protestors in Jita shooting the monument.

In response, CCP said they were listening to the feedback and said they would rework some of the more oppressive mechanics they had put up on the test server, like the in-space ore compression, which was similar to a mechanic they removed almost a decade back for being incredibly unfun.

And CCP did rework some items.  Mining barges and exhumers got some adjustments, though their EHP remains lower than before, making them easier targets.  But the plan was being tweaked, not changed.  CCP’s goal remains to keep the economy at starvation levels.  Prosperity, the word CCP chose, the word CCP keeps using, the word that CCP declined to define until it was crystal clear what they really meant, remains elusive.

Not all the changes in the New Dawn plan are bad.  The rationalization of mining crystals was probably long overdue.  The new simplified crystal list looks like this now:

  • Simple Ores – Veldspar, Scordite, Pyroxeres, Plagioclase
  • Coherent Ores – Omber, Kernite, Jaspet, Hemorphite, Hedbergite
  • Variegated Ores – Gneiss, Ochre, Crokite
  • Complex Ores – Bistot, Arkonor, Spodumain
  • Abyssal Ores – Talassonite, Rakovene, Bezdnacine
  • Mercoxit – Mercoxit

Unfortunately, CCP couldn’t stop with six types in tech I and tech II variations.  They remain wedded to the waste mechanic, now renamed “residue,” though to describe what residue means they have to constantly use the word “waste.” Why not just stick with what they mean instead of trying to hide it so badly?  Anyway, there are three grades of crystrals:

  • Type A is low yield, low waste
  • Type B is high yield, higher waste
  • Type C is very low yield, very high waste

The Type C crystals remains a point of proof that CCP doesn’t play or understand its game.  They continue to harbor the delusion that null sec groups are going to fly barges into each other’s space and lay waste to their mining anomalies, and act that is both impractical and would actually help raise the active defense multiplier of the space being mined.

My guess is that the most likely use of the Type C crystals will be to grief high sec mining operations.

Anyway, my ability to care about the details of mining is limited.  Somebody else will have to do the before/after picture in detail.  My days of mining in New Eden are more than a decade in the past and I have never owned a Rorqual so I can’t really get mad about them being nerfed back to a support role (unless I am missing out on shooting them since they’ll be rare on the field now).  The biggest thing for me out of this update is some skill points being refunded from back in the day when I was using a Hulk to mine with tech II crystals.

My main concern remains the economy overall.  CCP was interviewed this week and was bragging about how they hold the levers of the economy.  But an economy where capital ships are too expensive to build, where the null sec meta is now just heavy assault cruisers and battlecruisers, where there is a less than subtle assumption that Rorqual pilots are going to happily spin up multiple accounts for exhumers to make up for the nerf of their main ship, that is an economy that makes me a bit nervous.  They claim that they need these changes, that they have to make the game more onerous in order to secure it for future players.  The focus is on some idealized long term and not what makes the game fun in there here and now.

So new blueprints and skills for the updated mining arrangements are in game, the update has been pushed, and we will have to see what the monthly economic report says about how this plays out as the months go on.

Related:

The Crimson Harvest Returns to EVE Online

Halloween festivities have arrived in New Eden as CCP with the return of the Crimson Havest event.  Regarded by some as one of the better annual events, it is arriving a bit late this year, possibly due to the data center upgrades being performed by CCP earlier this week.

The Return of the Crimson Harvest

The Crimson Harvest comes along with other treats, all of which are included under the Halloween Horrors banner.

This year players will be able to choose which side of the event they wish to support.

EVE’s premiere Blood Raider seasonal event has begun once again, starting today and running until 9 November! This year, Capsuleers will be met in battle by the forces of the Order of St. Tetrimon, an Amarr religious order dedicated to the preservation of the scriptures of the faith. Join the Order in their campaign to drown this sanguine spectacle in laserfire, or for the first time ever take the side of the Blood Raiders, venerating the Harvest and painting New Eden in crimson!

Somebody will side with the Blood Raiders I am sure.  You get to pick which side in The Agency.

Sites for the event show up throughout New Eden, but some locations are better than others according to the patch notes.  Here are the details:

  • Crimson Gauntlet and Tetrimon Base combat sites can be found in most areas of space. These sites should be approached with caution, and capsuleers are advised to fly a battlecruiser, battleship, heavy assault cruiser, or even more powerful vessels if they wish to investigate these locations. Rewards for looting the battleship NPCs found at the end of the sites include items that can be traded for isk, skins, boosters, clothing and more!
  • Crimson Harvest Network Node and Tetrimon Network Node data sites are also appearing across New Eden. These hacking sites contain network node structures that can be accessed for more great rewards!
  • Advanced versions of the combat and hacking sites can be found within the areas containing the most heated fighting between Blood Raider and Tetrimon forces: the Blood Raider controlled systems within the Delve region and the low security systems within the Derelik region. These advanced sites are rarer and more challenging than the standard versions of the sites but they provide much greater rewards. Bringing a friend or two helps reduce the risk immensely, but beware of other capsuleers who may be searching for the same loot!
  • The most elusive and valuable strongholds of the Blood Raiders and Order of Tetrimon can only be found by obtaining a rare escalation from the advanced combat sites.

In addition there are the now traditional login rewards running during the event.

Crimson Harvest Rewards

The prizes include skill points, training accelerators, SKINs, and some fireworks.  As usual, Omega accounts get all the prizes, while Alpha accounts only get the top row.  Be sure to log in every day if you want to collect them all.

In addition, the popular Trick or Treat PvP flag has been set for the event, which boosts the drop rate for items for ships destroyed in PvP, with the dial being set to 90%.

More loot on the field

This will no doubt make some pilots quite happy.  Be extra careful flying your freighter through Uedama, the suicide gank capital of New Eden.

There are also various discounts on upgrading to Omega which include SKINs as well as some event theme SKINs returning to the in-game store.  There is also a a destroyer focused Proving Grounds event running that features boosts to Stasis Webifier range, Nosferatu and Energy Neutralizer strength, and Laser turret damage just to maintain the Blood Raider theme.

In addition to all of that, the patch notes also show that CCP is still adjusting the CRAB beacons introduced with last week’s update, with rewards and the requirements to build the beacons being changed up.

There was also an exploit notification posted about CRAB beacons.  Don’t get caught doing that trick now.  CCP is watching.  (Also, another reminder that players will find every flaw in CCP’s plans.)

Related:

The Summon the Swarm Update brings CRABs and Tax Changes to EVE Online

The previously announced capital ship ratting enhancement has finally arrived in New Eden.  With the Summon the Swarm update the CONCORD Rogue Analysis Beacons (CRAB) can now be built and deployed in the game. (“Crab” is the in-game vernacular for somebody who rats or mines or otherwise focuses on gaining wealth, with “crabbing” being the verb, though it is often rendered as “Krab” because the term came from our Russian friends in New Eden.)

Calling all CRABs

According to the patch notes these new deployables, which can only be activated from capital ships, have four phases of operation:

  • 1 – Deployment
    • Anchoring III required to deploy, with restrictions in deployment locations.
    • Limited to Null and Low Security space.
    • Activation delay: 20 seconds
    • Maximum lifetime: 1 hour
    • Shield / Armor / Structure: 50,000 HP / 50,000 HP / 50,000 HP
  • 2 -Linking
    • Once deployed, it will be globally visible via the Overview for anyone to warp to.
    • After its initial Activation phase, it can then be Linked to by pilots in the following ships: Carrier, Dreadnought, Supercarrier, Titan.
    • For the ship that begins the linking phase, it will be locked in place in space for a duration of four minutes.
    • While linking, the following will be in effect: Tether Blocked (Debuff), Cloaking Disrupted (Debuff), Warp Drive Disabled (Debuff), Resistance Bonus of 10% (Buff to all resistance profiles, Shield/Armor/Structure).
    • After linking the above four statuses will clear after a duration of 60 seconds.
  • 3 – Scanning

    • After Linking, the CRAB will begin to broadcast a signal in the solar system that will attract the attention of Rogue Drone NPCs.
    • When Rogue Drones are in proximity of the CRAB, they will block the scanning progress and attack hostile threats in proximity to the CRAB.
    • The Rogue Drones must be destroyed to clear the perimeter so that the CRAB can continue its Scanning.
    • After 10 minutes of uninterrupted scanning, the CRAB will complete its analysis of the Rogue Drones and will have salvaged enough technology to reward players with new Mutaplasmids.
  • 4 – Reward

    • After successful scanning, the CRAB will have mutaplasmids from Rogue Drones inside of its cargohold .
    • For two minutes after scanning, the ship that initiated the CRAB during its linking phase will have exclusive access to the cargo hold of the CRAB.
    • After these two minutes pass, the CRAB will self-destruct with the generated mutaplasmids always safely being found in the wreckage (it will be a 100% chance to drop its contents when it self-destructs).

In order to keep these new modules under control so they don’t get run constantly and lead to some sort of economic overload, CCP has added the following items to limit their use.

  • Solar systems have a new property, “Signal Interference”.
    • Using the new CONCORD Rogue Analysis Beacon repeatedly in the same solar system will saturate a system with interference preventing the CRAB from being able to broadcast a signal that can be isolated. In practical terms, the CRAB will not be able to be linked to if interference is too high as the Rogue Drones cannot locate it.
    • Over time, Signal Interference will decay back down to a quiescent state. This state of decay is always ongoing and not attached to server downtime.
    • The time for a full recovery of a solar system with maximum signal interference is approximately 25 hours.
    • The User Interface has been updated to show Signal Interference in locations where appropriate.
  • Capsuleers now have a reserve of Complex Encryption Qubits (CEQs).
    • CEQs are used when initiating a link to the CONCORD Rogue Analysis Beacon.
    • Over time CEQs will regenerate back to their full reserve, and the regeneration is always ongoing and not attached to server downtime.
    • The time for a full regeneration of CEQs is approximately 22 hours.
    • As CEQs are only required by the CRAB, your current reserves will be visible in a tooltip on mouse-over of the CRAB in your inventory.

Blueprints for the new modules are now available from CONCORD and DED LP Stores.  A 5-Run BPC costs 20,000,000 ISK & 20,000 LP.

These rewards from CRABs include new Rogue Drone Mutaplasmid technology.  These ew Mutaplasmids come in four variations (Durability, Firepower, Navigation, Projection). Each variation will favor positively one attribute, with all other attributes having unknown results.

They also are sorted out by drone type, with heavy, medium, light, and sentry drone variations.  In addition, there are two wildcard modifiers, radical variations, for drones and fighters.

In order to use modified drones players will need to train up the new drone skill introduced with last week’s patch. CCP changed the skill name from ‘Rogue Drone Specialization’ to ‘Mutated Drone Specialization’ with this update.

CRABs are the headline for this patch, but there is another sizable change in the patch notes as well.  The three month tax holiday for NPC stations, which came in with The Grand Heist update back in July, has concluded.

The new base tax rates will be:

  • Sales Tax: 8%
  • Brokers Fee: 3%

The change to base, unmodified tax rates are now (holiday -> post holiday (pre-holiday):

  • Sales Tax: 2.5% -> 8.0% (Previously 5.0%)
  • Brokers Fee: 2.5% -> 3.0% (Previously 5.0%)
  • Total Taxes: 5.0% -> 11.0% (Previously 10.0%)

The minimum achievable tax rates for NPC stations, modified by skills, standings, etc, are now (holiday -> post holiday (pre-holiday):

  • Sales Tax: 1.125% -> 3.6% (Previously 2.25%)
  • Brokers Fee: 0.5% -> 1.0% (Previously 3.0%)
  • Total Taxes: 1.625% -> 4.6% (Previously 5.25%)

Buying things in NPC stations is now more expensive, and the shift to favoring Sales Tax over Broker’s fees means that player owned structures like the Tranquility Trading Tower in Perimeter will no longer be as attractive for sellers or lucrative for owners.

So those are the big changes with today’s update.  There are a few minor fixes… well, maybe not minor when it comes to the MacOS client… but nothing that changes game design.

Related:

EVE Online is Back with Native MacOS Support

Back in the day CCP used to support a native MacOS client.  It was finicky… I once ran it on the wrong MacOS version and got some very odd results… but it mostly worked.  Then Apple swapped over to Intel processors and it became possible for CCP to just use WINE emulation to run the Windows client on Macs.  There was some extra work to do to support that, including contributing code to the WINE project, but it was a lot less effort than maintaining two clients.

And then recently Apple left Intel for their own new M1 processors which led to EVE Online MacOS players potentially being unsupported if they purchased the new machines.

This swap by Apple also prompted Intel to launch a petulant “Apple Sux!” ad campaign because I guess they think Apple will never ever buy another chip from them again or something.  But that is another story.

So CCP was left with a choice.  Given that they are still optimistically talking about growth and working on the new player experience, they opted not to ditch almost 10% of the PC market, which meant going back to native MacOS support.

While 10% might sound like a small loss, CCP knows how many MacOS users they have, so it might be worth it to them.  Also, the 10% number vastly understates the number of systems that might actually be able to run EVE Online.  There are a lot of base model Windows boxes sitting in enterprises and on desks all over the world that aren’t even in the running.  When I go to visit the sprawling medical center where my doctor resides, I walk by dozens of PCs… one at every reception desk, one at every nurse’s desk… they all little desks now because the need to access their PCs… one in every exam room, two in my doc’s office, and more in spots I whose function I could not identify.  And not even one of them is likely ever to load up any video game more complicated that Solitaire… and only that if the IT department hasn’t purged it.

Anyway, the path back to a native client culminated with yesterday update and the new EVE Online X Apple era, whatever that means.

Times Apple? Ten Apple? Kiss Apple? I don’t know

Post update there is a transition from the old WINE version to the new native version which is covered in detail in the patch notes.

To celebrate the update and transition back to native support, CCP has some login rewards for us that run for five days.

Included in the rewards are the usual skill points and SKINs, but there are special Quafe Zero Green Apple flavor SKINs.  While they aren’t the classic old blue Quafe SKINs, they are still good.

And the is also some Quafe Zero Green Apple flavor boosters to go with the event as well.  Per the packaging:

Capsuleers can now enjoy Quafe Zero Green Apple, the new flavor of New Eden’s favorite performance drink with the potency of a booster!
A taste explosion that will help avoid ship explosions, the Green Apple edition of Quafe Zero provides the benefits of increased agility and power with Zero drawbacks!

Benefits:
+5% Agility, +5% Capacitor Recharge Rate. Duration: 1 hour.

Quafe Zero Green Apple is fortified with a proprietary mix of performance enhancers, oxidizers, and natural fruit juices designed to push your abilities to the limit.

The secret is in our patented fulleroferrocene nanite delivery system, which attaches our exclusive pro-capsuleer formula directly to the neurons you want, not the ones you don’t. The result is an immediate and direct boost to your performance, with Zero drawbacks!

For maximum experience overload Quafe Zero Green Apple has been further enhanced with proprietary Quafe nanoparticles responsive to popular brands of subcranial nanocontroller personal enhancements, such as the LD-X100 range from Lai Dai!

So make sure to login and collect your SKINs, skill points, and boosters.

Yesterday’s patch also made some changes to the Dynamic Bounty System thresholds, whatever that means, and continued the iterating on the new skill window and skill plan functionality.  They have already fixed the most egregious issues, like the huge amount of empty space, but there is still tuning to do.

And a new skill was added, Rogue Drone Specialization, which is required for using the new modified rogue drones.

Not present in the update was the capital PvE ratting mechanics, previously announced as Summon the Swarm, which are still brewing on the test server.  That still needs some work.

Related:

EVE Online Gets Another New Player Experience and Skill Training Updates as a New Quadrant Arrives

The summer vacations are over and CCP is back with a new Quadrant.  The Foundation Quadrant is over and the Gateway Quadrant has arrived.

Didn’t we all get stuck out here after that gateway closed?

And with that CCP is focused again on its favorite obsession of the last few years, the new player experience.  This time the NPE has been rebuilt around a new NPC faction, the Association for Interdisciplinary Research which will introduce new players to EVE Online.   The highlights from the dev blog are:

  • More immersive experiences and faster iteration
  • More dynamic visuals
  • Gradual UI reveal
  • Improved UI highlighting
  • An integrated intro video
  • Beautiful visuals

To the cynic in me that works out to “pretty,” “pretty,” “working with the UI we already have,” “working with the UI we already have,” “pretty,” and “pretty.”

I mean, there is room in there for real improvements, and maybe it is a better NPE, but CCP has chosen to emphasize the superficial and that the UI is too much for new players in its own description.  What is that supposed to tell me?

The new NPE is also said to be story driven, but so was the NPE two iterations ago, which was going to be a big new thing until they quietly ditched it, because everything PvE had to go into The Agency…. and probably also because once you got done with the story the actual game is nothing like that, bait and switch not being a great idea for player retention.  I hope CCP learned something since last time and aren’t just jumping back on the same idea they previously axed.

Though the NPE has been through the wringer more than a few times, CCP has been especially adamant about new player retention being an issue since EVE North back in 2019 when they gave us this chart.

How many new players log back in as time passes

As I noted at the time, that seems pretty dismal without any context.  But the one publicly available study on the topic I found seemed to indicate that those retention numbers are pretty close to the industry average for MMORPGs with a free to play option.  Given EVE Online’s legendary difficulty, obtuse UI, and open world PvP, that CCP does so well is probably an achievement.

So while I get that CCP likes to keep reminding us that new players are the lifeblood of the game… and I hope this next revision of the NPE helps on that front… farming the installed player base, the lapsed veterans and such, is how games like EverQuest and World of Warcraft have revitalized their bottom lines.  Here is hoping that another investment in another new NPE pays off.

The NPE is also emphasized in the trailer for the new quadrant.

I feel like I saw that launch sequence in the EVE Valkyrie opening… but I guess all tube launches feel kind of the same.  I’ll have to find some time to give it a try.

So that is the first thing on the list.

Next on the update front is skill training with the introduction of skill plans and a revamp of the training system UI.  This feels like a feature that benefits both new and old players alike.  Players will be able to create plans for specific goals, with milestones to mark improvements for specific configurations, and even certified skill plans aimed at new players to help them decide what to train.

There is also a revamp of the skill training UI.  Being an old fart that has finally gotten used to the current setup, I immediately wondered how badly could they screw it up? This morning already saw calls for the old UI on r/eve, but they hate everything there.  But here is the new UI on day one.

The New Skill Window – The red arrow thing is not part of the UI

For openers, skills now have their own window, no doubt because the game UI doesn’t have enough independent windows floating around, and it defaults to the new training plan UI, which I won’t even delve into right now, but it feels too big and not all that helpful.

For those of us who just want to see our current skills and queue together, the second tab has that, with all the skill groups now in alphabetical order finally.  I know, there is outrage that Spaceship Command isn’t in the upper left, but whatever, and my brain wants to read left to right along rows first, then down columns, and the sorting is by columns, but I’ll get used to all of that.

The window seems bigger than it needs to be.  It defaults to full screen, which is obnoxiously large on my 34″ monitor, but even when I make it a window it remains too wide for my taste largely due to the black dead zone between skills and queue (marked with the red arrow in the screen show above) that cannot be sized down by itself. (The gap between skill names and their states seems pretty wide as well.)

Anyway, there is always EVE Mon still if I need a more compact view.  Oh, and your character sheet is different now, lacking all those skills… and I hope you remembered to put pants on your avatar.

A fuller body view now

All of this comes with a couple of big changes to skills queues:

  • The current limit of 50 skill entries in the queue will be increased to 150 for both Alpha and Omega clones.
  • The current restriction of the Alpha clone training queue allowing only the skills that would start training within the next 24h will also be removed.

As somebody who came from the “one skill at a time and make sure you start a long skill the night before the next patch update” era, these seem huge.  150 skills in the queue will let you build up a might skill plan… I’ve bumped into the 50 skill limit a few times since it became a thing… and the removal of the 24 hour queue limit will be huge for new players.

And old players.  I can even now see people rolling up a new alpha, sending it the ISK for skills, setting up the desired queue, then letting it run for however long it takes until that suicide gank character or whatever is on the shelf and ready to use.  There is no improvement that EVE players will fail to exploit.

There are a few other items with today’s update.  A new skill points for sale pack is in the store.  EVE Online will be available in the Epic Store come September 23rd.  And, in a nod to the promise to relax the economic starvation plan (now planned for November), there was this tidbit slipped in at the bottom of the announcement:

More ice has been brought back into New Eden with its availability having doubled, and the availability of Mercoxit has also increased.

I wonder if the ice availability got boosted due to the jump drive fuel crisis that hit the game when World War Bee ended and PAPI had to move home?  Anyway, there is alleged to be more ice now.

So that is the what has come with the launch of the new quadrant.  Here are the related dev posts for today’s update:

CCP Releases the ESS Reserve Bank Keys and Hands Out ISK in EVE Online

As expected, CCP’s final update for July, named The Grand Heist, went live today.  It brought with it the long awaited ESS reserve bank keys, allowing players access to ~20 trillion ISK that has been piling up and inaccessible since the introduction of the mandatory ESS structures last November.

The Grand yet Slow Heist

In a surprising move, CCP also decided to straight up hand players ISK.  But I’ll get to that in a bit, first the reserve bank thing.

The reserve bank keys are now available in low sec sites that need to be scanned down.  The keys are available in four “flavors” with two variations.  The flavor is which quadrant of space they are useful in, the break down being:

  • SW: Feythabolis, Impass, Delve, Period Basis, Querious, Catch, Esoteria, Paragon Soul, Providence, and Stain
  • SE: Geminate, Curse, Detorid, Great Wildlands, Immensea, Insmother, Omist, Scalding Pass, Tenerifis, and Wicked Creek
  • NE: Cobalt Edge, Etherium Reach, The Kalevala Expanse, Malpais, Oasa, Outer Passage, Perrigen Falls, The Spire, Vale of the Silent, and Cache
  • NW: Branch, Deklein, Pure Blind, Tenal, Tribute, Venal, Cloud Ring, Fade, Fountain, Outer Ring, and Syndicate

The variations are the durations,15 and 45 minutes, which is how long the key in question allows you to siphon encrypted bonds from the reserve bank.  As with the main bank, the payout is in bonds that need to be turned into an NPC in order to convert them to ISK.  So the robber can get robbed trying to cash in.

So you don’t get all the reserve bank, but a steady payout for every minute that you and your crew sit in the ESS, up to the duration of your key.  The payout apparently ramps up over time, with a potential peak payout of 150 million ISK per minute.  That is some decent ISK, though it is still going to be a while before the current 20 trillion ISK is drained.

As I noted previously, some alliances have already nationalized some of their reserve banks, declaring that their output will go into the general funds to support the organization and its programs, like SRP.  Those not nationalized will likely still be harvested by the local residents.

In addition, the ESS structures and UI got a complete overhaul.  The small percentage of capsuleers than actually end up in an ESS will no doubt appreciate the new visuals.

Further details about the ESS update are linked at the end of the post.

But that is not all the update brings.  CCP seems to be all about the ISK at the moment, which seems a bit odd after the panic of the starvation economy and trying to make us all poor over the last year or so.  In order to celebrate the Grand Heist CCP is handing out ISK as login rewards for Omega clones.

Grand Heist Login Rewards

That is hard to see unless you enlarge it, but if an Omega account logs in for six days they will get rewards of 10, 15, 25, 40, 60, and finally 85 million ISK.  Not bonds or other items of value, but straight up in-game currency totaling up to 235 million ISK.

Handing out in-game currency as a daily login reward is pretty common with free to play mobile games, but I cannot recall an MMORPG giving out cash like this.  And this isn’t even an trivial amount.  For a lot of players, myself included, 235 million ISK is a useful sum.  I won’t be resubscribing any accounts to collect it, but I will certainly be sure to log in my subscribed accounts to gather this ISK largess.

But wait, that’s not all!

CCP is also trying to stimulate the economy by declaring something of a tax holiday, reducing sales tax and broker’s fees by 50% for the next three months.  So selling will net you more profit on the market between now and the end of October.

Both the ISK handout and the tax holiday are unprecedented in the history of the game.  CCP not too long ago went through a phase of raising taxes, again due to concerns about too much ISK coming into the economy.  Now they’re giving away ISK and reducing taxes.  It is almost as though they are reacting to something.  Can we be bribed to log in with ISK?

Anyway, I’ll be interested to see if there is a blip in the July or August MERs that line up to these two things.

The update is live in the game now.  Information is available at the following locations:

Addendum:

I now have a screen shot (thanks to Reddit) to prove the keys exits.

The info for a 45 minute SW key

Go forth and heist I guess.

The Hunter’s Boon Update Lands for EVE Online

Last week CCP put the proposed Hunter’s Boon update changes on the test server and today those changes went live for EVE Online.

The July Update

The update represents a variety of changes, but I think the biggest deal in the whole package has to be the removal of skill point loss when you your Tech III strategic cruiser gets blown up.

That was the original cost/benefit proposition for those hulls, introduced back with the Apocrypha expansion in March 2009, that they would be powerful and adaptable, but would also come with a risk of loss.

My first Tengu from back in 2010

Over the last dozen years the fortunes of strategic cruisers have gone up and down with buffs and nerfs and balance passes, most recently being one of the ship classes hit with the removal of interdiction nullification.  Once ubiquitous and powerful, they have been eclipsed by the Heavy Assault Cruiser meta of late.

So, in order to make them more viable, CCP has removed the big penalty.  No longer will you randomly lose a level from one of the skills related to the T3 hull you are flying.  Kind of a big deal.

What else do we get with the update?  CCP introduced the mobile covert cyno beacon.

We got the mobile cyno beacon back in March and it was apparently such a success that we now get the covert cyno version of it.

Covert style now

Blueprints for it have been seeded into the game so industry people can start researching them and begin production.

CCP also introduce blueprints for a new drug, the Strong Veilguard Booster, which increases capsuleer cloak stabilization… that timer that marks how long you can stay cloaked before a Mobile Observatory… something introduced just last month… can decloak you.  That raises the duration to a possible 45 minutes of stabilization.

The role bonus for fleet interceptors (Ares, Crow, Malediction, Stiletto) has been changed to include a reduction in scan resolution penalty while using Interdiction Nullifiers, the role bonus is now:

  • 80% reduction in Interdiction Nullifier reactivation delay, max lock range penalty, and scan resolution penalty.

The nerf bat came out for Marauders, which saw a hit to the benefits of their bastion mode.  The Bastion Module effects were adjusted as follows:

  • Target painter resistance has been reduced from -95% to -50%.
  • Sensor dampener resistance has been reduced from -95% to -50%.
  • Weapon disruption resistance has been reduced from -99% to -50%.
  • Bonus to sensor strength has been reduced from 1,000% to 100%.
  • Removed the ECM Immunity.

Hostile ewar will now be much more effective against those hulls when their Bastion Module is running.

There were also buffs to the CONCORD Pacifier and Enforcer hulls in a bid to make them less niche and more generally viable.

Finally, CCP also has a graphics update, the Bring Out EVE’s Colors plan mentioned previously.  Today’s update includes.

  • The Bring Out EVE’s Colors update is live and introduces a range of huge visual improvements, ensuring that New Eden continues to set a standard as a visually stunning universe. The update includes:
    • PBR shader adjustments, including changes to roughness calculation and visibility factor.
    • Modified lighting with brightened reflection map generation and asset backlighting.
    • Postprocess color improvements – tonemapping adjustments to brighten colors, extend the color range, smooth out gradients, and emphasize highlights
    • Numerous tweaks to assets, environments, and effects to maintain their appearance with the new tech.
  • Characters in windows are now rendered with 4x supersampling when Antialiasing is set to “High.” (DX11 only)
  • Characters in windows now require substantially less video memory to render. (DX11 only)

There were also some smaller defect fixes, which you can find in the patch notes.

The update has been deployed and is now live.

Related: