Tag Archives: MMO Economy

Grousing about the EVE Online 2020 Ecosystem Outlook

Blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought!

Dennis Moore

I mentioned in a cynical aside yesterday that CCP had posted a Dev Blog about the state of the economy/ecosystem after spending most of the year nerfing resource harvesting and wealth generation as hard as they dared.

They say ecosystem, but the focus on the economy

You can certainly accuse me of getting my EVE Online news from all the wrong places… for heaven’s sake, I still check out the official forums and visit r/eve regularly… but my impression has been that any player enthusiasm for CCP’s changes so far has come from outsiders with no skin in the game and via the schadenfreude of players happy to see somebody else getting screwed over.  Granted, the latter accompanies any game change, but this seems a bit more pronounced as usual.

CCP has even put their philosophy into three somewhat nonsensical maxims.

  • Abundance breeds Complacency and Scarcity breeds War

The idea here is to make people fight over resources.  The goal of CCP is always to make ships explode.  Unfortunately there are a few problems with this philosophy, and I’m not just referring to the previous “farms and fields” idea to make people live in the space they conquer.

First, scarcity implies that some people won’t be able to do what they want to do without actively fighting for resources.  People struggle for resources in the real world because they have no choice.  You find a way or you die.  In a video game we have a choice.  Somebody will always put in the effort… people put in crazy amounts of work on things in the game… but others will look at the hill they need to climb in order to do what they set out to do and walk away.

In a year where CCP has said that more people have tried the game than in the last three years combined, but the online player count on the launcher isn’t really reflecting that, some care needs to be take with the scarcity regime.  Or maybe “stop the bleeding” was just a 2019 thing and has been forgotten already.  One guy riding around in an old school bus distributing spaceships should not be the basis of a new player retention policy.

Meanwhile, we live in the New Eden that has developed under the rules and mechanics CCP has imposed in the past.  We have what we have now and unless CCP is going to go for much more active approach to the redistribution of wealth, and those who have accumulated wealth will aim to keep it.  One of the long standing truisms of the game has been, “Don’t undock in something you cannot afford to lose.”  And everybody with a super or a titan right now is going to be aware of how expensive those ships will be to replace now.  Hell, with the price of tritanium, battleships are going to be pricey.

The ironic twist of CCP introducing scarcity to promote war might very well be people docking up their big toys because they’re too expensive to replace and playing with cheaper ships.  Scarcity may prevent war.

  • Predictable Inputs lead to Stagnant Outputs

This one makes my head hurt even though I sort of know what they’re getting at.  It is one of those things that sounds meaningful if you say it quickly and don’t think about it, but falls apart quickly if you stare too hard.  Was this what Hilmar was going on about in wanting resources to not be predictable?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  The statement doesn’t make any logical sense on its own, so it is difficult to take seriously as an economic philosophy.

So let me say this about predictability; it is a basic expectation of many players.

What is one of the first things somebody will ask in any forum post about a new activity in EVE Online?  What is the ISK per hour?  People will gravitate towards the highest RELIABLE payout. Things that are a gamble will tend to be avoided in favor of the predictable.

Being an elf doesn’t make you turn off the rational economic calculator part of your brain.

Edward Castronova

That goes for capsuleers as well.  NPC bounties were the king of ISK faucets not because the content was at all interesting, but because it was steady and reliable.  That was what people wanted, a known quantity.  A   Every NPC has a value amount attached to it.  And, as soon as CCP changed the reliability aspect by allowing somebody to blow through your system and steal all your bounties, NPC bounties tanked hard according to the November MER.

Nov 2020 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

I wish they broke out NPC bounties by high/low/null sec in a form easily read.  I suppose I could estimate it from the MER regional data.  But I suspect that the floor gets you down to level 4 high sec missions being a significant part of that total.  In missions against pirates the bounties are often a much bigger part of the payout than the mission rewards.

And now… now people are moving on to other things with reliable payouts.  Abyssal pockets.  Planetary Interaction.  Burner Missions.  I even dialed up an alt to do some level 4 security missions now and again just to get some LP store items that sell well.  There are plenty of other predictable “solved” and PvE activities out there that people will move to in order to pay the bills.  Predictable is not a dirty word.  But it is something players will gravitate towards.

  • Autarky is Anathema to Free Trade

“Autarky” is a Byzantine sounding word that means “self-sufficiency.” And no, it is not “anathema” to free trade, at least not by any definition of free trade I can find.  I suspect that is because CCP doesn’t really mean “free trade.”  Jita 4-4 is the pinnacle of free trade in the MMORPG genre.  We’re already there.

Instead, this is their vision of a future of economic interdependence, the rejection of the past “farms and fields” policy, the idea that if they scatter resources into specific areas people will fight over them.  They don’t want free trade, they want more resources being schlepped to Jita.  Sure.  Whatever.  I’m not sure “all your tritanium belong to high sec” is breaking new ground, but there is a whole school of economic thought when it comes to raw materials versus finished goods when it comes to trade.

We shall see.

After giving themselves a pat on the back and pointing out how responsive they have been because… *checks notes*…. they rolled back that one drone nerf that broke drones in PVP, CCP laid out some future plans as to where their economic ideas might take them.  They are:

  • Improve customization of player-owned space through iHub upgrades, allowing meaningful choices and trade-offs.

From CCP “meaningful choices and trade offs” means nerfs.  Null sec income remains in their crosshairs.

  • Introduce Reserve Bank keys for the ESS as players start planning heists and/or fortifying their bank defenses as billions of ISK become accessible across all of Nullsec.

The reserve bank thing still needs to be explained in detail.  If there isn’t a way for the locals to access it then there seems little need to defend it.  Right now the main bank is your money if it pays out, but the reserve bank might as well belong to somebody else unless there is some benefit from it.

  • Add more dynamic systems – the DBS has allowed for geographical resource balancing and the plan is to extend and expand on that with dynamic systems for resource distribution and industry. The DBS allows for quick iterations, and there have already been two updates since its release (raising the baseline bounty multipliers in Null and Lowsec).

CCP is going to nerf mining yields in systems where people mine too much next.  Scarcity will get worse before it gets better… and that assumes that it will get better.

  • Continue to balance risk and reward for income with attention as an additional pillar within the risk/reward framework. EVE has low-attention style gameplay and that is perfectly acceptable. However, care must be taken to ensure that the rewards of that gameplay balance attention and risk, and so, the intention is to revisit high-risk income platforms like Carriers and Marauders, and revisit lower-attention options in more precise ways.

Making carriers and marauders more viable could be interesting.  I just worry about the usual unintended consequences rule that always seems to bite CCP in the ass.  The collective mind of the community is like water when it comes to finding the most efficient path through something in New Eden.

  • Address one of the most debated subjects in EVE, AFK cloaky camping, with improved systems to get rid of the frustration of AFK cloaking and its total lack of counterplay without removing the ability for hunters to catch lazy prey, or for spies to be able to scout and monitor systems with strategic value.

I don’t know why this was included in what is primarily an economic outlook dev blog.  Yes, they say “ecosystem,” but it is really ISK and the economy they’re on about.  Cloaky camping has been a thing for so long that its presence or absence has little effect on the big picture.  The sinks and faucets chart above has gone up and down, but cloaking has not been part of the equation.  It is just something people perennially bitch about when it is being done to them and dismiss when they’re doing it to somebody else.  This feels more like a sop to people whose income stream has been choked off.  “But at least we got rid of cloaky campers!” CCP can declare.

  • Further define the differences between the five categories of space and foster geographical variety. The semi-lawless frontier of Lowsec has the potential to become much more than it is now as the Empires’ patience with intrusive Capsuleers in Highsec is wearing thin while wormhole resources will see increased demand.

High sec, low sec, null sec, wormhole space, and… what is the fifth space category?  Faction warfare space?  NPC null sec?  Triglavian space?  Anyway, this looks like another attempt to make low sec a thing.  I will believe it when I see it.

  • Establish a sustainable role for Rorquals and Orcas and do a general balance pass on mining ships to ensure that they each have a unique role and they are balanced in terms of wealth generation and survivability.

Sounds nice.  Probably means nerfs… especially for the Orca, which is now the AFK resource harvester of choice in high sec.

  • Add new personal deployables, both to allow more control of your immediate surroundings, and to unlock brand new meta opportunities.

I like the sound of this, but only because I enjoy shooting deployables.  There are not enough MTUs around now, so more targets are good.  How this applies to the game at large is left unexplained.

Anyway, CCP say that things will get better, even acknowledging that things are not great for a lot of us right now when it comes to ISK; income is down, prices are up, resources are scarce.

It is clearly understood and acknowledged that many players are faced with reduced income and some radical changes to what they have become accustomed to in New Eden. To make it abundantly clear, scarcity is not the new reality, this is a temporary phase and it will end.

The problem I have, the thing that is making me cranky about all of this, is the obvious (to me) conflict between CCP’s vision of how they want New Eden to work and my experience with players in online games since 1986.  As I said above, the mass of the player base is like water and will flow down the most efficient path.

In EVE Online especially, many see earning ISK as a necessity only to enable them to do the things they want.  CCP reaps the benefit of that in PLEX sales for those don’t want to spend the time earning ISK and can afford to bypass that aspect of the game.  But for the rest of us, we grind to play, and CCP seems set on making that more difficult.

And there is a bit of what I think of as the Jimmy Neutron effect in play here as well.  Those familiar with the show back in the day will recall how many an episode ended with Jimmy solving the crisis and expecting to be lauded for it, only to have it pointed out that he caused the crisis in the first place.  Likewise, we’re in a state where CCP seems to be looking for praise for fixing things they implemented.

Anyway, maybe CCP has a realistic plan that will solve the dichotomy of the situation where ISK earning is a barrier to play.  Maybe 17 years of running this game has finally given them insight into what will work and what will not.  But there is a long history of ideas that just made the player base shift slightly and carry on as before.  We shall see in 2021.

Related:

Tax Increase in New Eden

CCP will, at times, let the lore drive changes in the game, or at least pretend to do so.  The local chat blackout in null sec and its indefinite duration was pitched as a Secure Commerce Commission directive to preserve the supplies of “Quantum-Entangled 4-Helium” which are, within the game, said to power the “liquid router network” on which com channels rely.

Now CCP is going the same way with a tax increase.

Last week a CCP posted an in-game news report in which CONCORD proposed the establishment of a “New Eden Defense Fund” in order to raise funds for in order to support the resistance to the Triglavian invasion.

This was followed today by a news report that the CONCORD Assembly had passed the resolution to raise taxes, specifically:

Substantially increased tax and broker fees are to be levied on interstellar market transactions by the Secure Commerce Commission, following today’s passage in the CONCORD Assembly of the “New Eden Defense Fund Act YC121” (NEDFA). SCC markets will see base transaction tax increase from 2.00% to 5.00%, while the base brokerage fee will rise from 3.00% to 5.00%.

Because of the Triglavians you will now be paying more in taxes on the items you sell in New Eden.

And you’ll be defending New Eden all the more so now

Over at INN Rhivre wrote a post calling the first post a sign that a tax hike was coming, though she suggested that her conclusion might just be tinfoil.  But it turned out to be anything but.

In New Eden the broker’s fee and transaction tax come out of the seller’s take, so expect seller’s to boost prices to reflect the increased cut CONCORD plans to take.

The transaction tax will hit everybody.  That is the fee collected on every market sale in NPC stations and player owned Upwell structures.  Boosting from a base of 2% to 5% is a big markup.  At least Accounting, the skill you can train to reduce the transaction tax… because of course there is a skill to do that… lowers the rate by percentage.  With the tax change there will also be an update to the Accounting skill.

With each level of Accounting you have trained reduces the tax by 11%, so those of us with Accounting V trained up get a 55% reduction so will see the fee go from 1% to 2.25%.  If you are a seller in New Eden and do not have Accounting V yet, this might be something to invest those free skill points into.

The broker’s fee side of this will hit those trading in NPC stations, so it will be more of a Jita tax.  Player owned Upwell structures set their own broker’s fee. (So far at least.) The primary way that player hubs like the Tranquility Trading Tower Keepstar in Perimeter lures sellers… at least sellers of PLEX and skill injectors… away from Jita is with lower broker’s fees.

Now the Perimeter market will have an even larger advantage over Jita.

The Broker Relations skill, which can reduce the the broker’s fee in NPC stations (but not at player owned structures), is not as generous as the Accounting skill.  Currently the Broker Relations reduces the broker’s fee by .1% per level trained, so that Broker Relations V knocks off .5%. With the proposed change CCP wants to make that a .3% change per level, boosting the reduction with Broker Relations V to 1.5%.

With the broker’s fee going from 3% to 5%, those of us with Broker Relations V will see a drop from 2.5% to 3.5%.  That should pull some additional ISK out of the economy.

(The EVE University Wiki has more on market related skills as they stand before this proposed change)

And pulling ISK out of the economy seems to be the likely goal of CCP.  In the monthly economic report, the transaction tax and broker’s fees are the two largest ISK sinks in New Eden.  Together in June they pulled about 21.5 trillion ISK out of the New Eden economy.

June 2019 – Sinks and Faucets chart

That amount was approximately one third of the total amount removed from the economy in June.

This should make for a couple of interesting monthly economic reports in the coming months.  When the July MER comes out we will see the effect of the local blackout in null sec, which ought to have an impact on NPC bounties, by far the largest ISK faucet.  And, presuming this tax change is implemented soon (it will be live on the test server tomorrow), the August MER ought to see a boost in the amount of ISK removed via these two sinks.

Also of interest will be the breakdown of where broker’s fees end up.  In the June MER, 78% of broker’s fees were collected in NPC stations, thus were taken out of the game, while 22% were collected in player owned Upwell structures and thus stayed in the economy and were simply put into the pockets of the structure owners.

June 2019 Broker’s Fee Split

If all else remains equal, that balance should tip more towards the NPC side of the equation.  But if the tax drives people to sell in player owned structures, it could very well move the other way. (And no, I don’t know why neither of those numbers, or their total, match the broker’s fee number on the sinks chart.)

All things to keep an eye on in the upcoming reports.

In the mean time, you and I and everybody else will likely soon be paying more for our market transactions.  Whether or not this is part of Hilmar’s “Chaos Era” updates has not been indicated.

Related items:

MER Checking in on Mining before the Nerf

As I wrote last month, I am going to try to look at more specific aspects of the monthly economic report going forward.  We got the March report last week, just a couple days after the April update introduced a series of nerfs to both ratting and mining.  I took a measure of ratting last month, so this time around I want to get the “before” picture for mining.

March 2019 – Mining Value by Region

There was, as usual, a lot of mining going on in March, a good chunk of it in Delve.

March 2019 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

Delve is, of course, where the Imperium lives.  Second place goes to Esoteria.  Both regions were up over February.  Overall, according to the raw data that comes with the report there was about 56 trillion ISK worth of ore mined in February, which went up to just shy of 59 trillion ISK worth of ore mined in March.

The price of ore itself was up just a bit in March.

March 2019 – Economic Indices

I am not sure that is enough to account for the difference between the two months, but overall the count is close enough that the two months are pretty on par.  February being three days shorter than March could make up the difference.  Dividing the total amount by the days shows the per day yield tilted towards February, with 2 trillion ISK per day versus 1.9 trillion ISK per day in March.  Still, pretty close.

Last Tuesday the update hit with nerfs to Rorqual mining, specifically:

  • Reduced the bonus to shield boost amount provided by the Industrial Core to 60% for T1 Industrial Cores and 75% for T2 (was 120% and 140% respectively)
  • Reduced the base duration of the PANIC module to 4 minutes (was 5 minutes)
  • Increased the bonus to mining foreman burst strength provided by the Industrial Core to 30% for T1 Cores and 36% for T2 (was 25% and 30% respectively)
  • ‘Excavator’ Mining Drone base mining yield decreased to 80m3 (was 100m3)
  • ‘Excavator’ Ice Harvesting Drone base cycle time slowed to 310s (was 250s)
  • Excavator drone volume increased to 1100m3 (was 750m3) and Rorqual drone bay volume increased to 8800m3 (was 6000m3)

Reduced yield and slower cycle times for excavator drones are direct swipes at Rorqual mining efficiency.  Reduced PANIC duration makes Rorquals more likely to die while waiting for rescue to arrive and larger excavator drones means that Rorqual pilots won’t be able to stash so many excavators in mobile depots to save them from destruction.

The Rorqual also won’t provide as much protection to mining barges and exhumers in their fleets, though the mining yield for those craft will go up, an incentive to fly the smaller and more vulnerable subcap mining ships.

So the question is whether or not these changes will have any impact.  We will have to wait for the economic report for April to come out next month to see.

Meanwhile, going back to last month’s post, the top sinks and faucets chart shows bounties were down a bit, continuing the trend from February.

March 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

Overall February and March were not that far apart, being about 70 and 71 trillion ISK in bounties respectively, but the chart is trending down and the bounty payouts per day were almost 2.5 trillion ISK per day in February while that sank to 2.3 trillion ISK per day in March.  We will see if the April update changes, which hit fighter damage application against sub caps (which hurts carrier/super carried mining) and nerfs to the Vexor Navy Issue (the favored AFK anomaly sub cap) keeps that trend pointed down.

You can find the full March economic report here, which includes all the usual charts and graphs, plus the data used to generate them.

The MER and Too Much ISK

The EVE Online monthly economic report is out for activity in February and I am not all that excited about it.

It has been two years since I started posting regularly about the EVE Online monthly economic report, this being the 24th such post.  At the start it was about charting the growth of the economy in Delve after we fled there following the Casino War.  Then it became an attempt to watch the economy over time, to chart the course, not anomalies, and to see if changes CCP made would have any impact on things.

Over time the monthly post became formulaic.  You can look at the last few months and see that I have noted a little rise in something here, a little decline in something there, that and event or a war meant people spent less time ratting and mining and more time blowing things up, but otherwise there hasn’t been all that much dramatic.

Basically, the idea has become a bore.  Not very exciting to write and, I suspect, even less so to read.

The New Eden economy is still important and is fairly unique in its pervasiveness in an MMORPG and I still want to write about it.  So, instead of the same dozen charts every month I think I will try to focus on one of two things that are indicative of some problem or change.

This month it will be a problem, and the problem will be that most wicked of problems, money… as in there is too much of it in the New Eden economy and somebody needs to turn down the taps.  The CSM minutes section the economy brings this up, both that it encourages botting and that it is driving up the price of PLEX.

They [CCP] say that the biggest problem is botting which is an ongoing for a long time. In general, CCP wants to tune down the faucets for ISK and minerals which they think are a bit high right now.

Even Hilmar was on about ISK during his AMA on the EVE Forums earlier.

I think the situation with the ISK economy is out of control. There are too many ways to create risk free ISK income streams.

There is a lot of ISK pouring into the game every month.

February 2019 – ISK Sinks and Faucets

Of the 107 trillion ISK that entered the economy via various faucets, 65% of it was from NPC bounties.  And February was a bit of a down month for ratting.

February 2019 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

The month before it was 130 trillion ISK coming into the economy, with NPC bounties holding the same percentage.

CCP has been taking money out of the economy by chasing botters and illicit RMT, as covered over at The Nosy Gamer.  But that is a labor intensive effort that isn’t as easy as you probably imagine it, made even harder by the fact that a false positive… banning the wrong person… is more than a minor faux pas.  Meanwhile clever botters carry on undetected.  So CCP seems to be targeting anomaly ratting again.   I recently demonstrated how that could be a pretty hands off activity, making it a ripe avenue for bots.

While the Spring Balance changes coming in on the 9th of next month are headlined by a rework of remote repairs, there are a couple items in there likely aimed at botting and ISK generation.

The Vexor Navy Issue, the most favored sub-cap hull for null sec anomalies, is having its drone velocity boost removed, so anoms will take a bit longer, and its signature radius increased, so NPCs will be more likely to hit it.  Likewise, the Gila, more of an abyssal space boat, is having its drone hit point bonus reduced from 500% to 250%.

While cast as a PvP change, the planned nerf to fighter damage application versus subcaps will also have an impact on ratting, where the super carrier money machines lurk in relative safety.  This, and the March update to anomaly respawn times could have an impact on ratting income.

Maybe.

We’ll see.  I’d have expected more for such a high priority item.

And we won’t be able to see until May, which is when we’ll get the ratting data from April, so I will have to mark this down as something to come back to.  But I guess that was the idea.

Which leaves what to say about next month’s MER.  I think I will look into mining for that, taking a final measure or the rate of rock crunching in the report on March.

Anyway, all the usual charts and data are still available in the MER dev blog if you want the bigger picture.

Delve – Mining Dominance

The EVE Online monthly economic report for October is out, confirming at least that CCP Quant remains on staff at CCP.  And out in Delve it seems that the Rorquals are running all hours of the day to burn down rocks for ore, as it leads the charts by a significant margin over any other region.

October 2017 – Mining Value by Region

CCP Quant has provided an additional chart to help visualize the mining gap.

October 2017 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

By my back of the envelope tally, roughly one third of all mining value in New Eden came out of rocks in the Delve region.

Value of ore mined is determined by the market value of the ore, so that the number is up from 12 trillion ISK in September to 16 trillion ISK in October might not necessarily mean more ore mined.  Unless the price of ore and minerals went down this month, and they did.

October 2017 – Economic Indices

Mineral prices, having jumped in August and September, were down in October.  So the boost in mining output might have been an attempt to cash in on rising prices, leading to enough pressure to push down the recent highs.

This was all pretty much in advance of the Lifeblood expansion which came out on October 24th.  Next months report should begin to show the impact of the new moon mining mechanics on mining output.

On the bounties front Delve again led the pack.

October 2017 – NPC Bounties by Region

However, the lead by Delve on bounties wasn’t anything like the lead in mining.  Again, a new chart to help compare.

October 2017 – NPC Bounties by Region – Bar Graph

Delve is more than double its nearest competitor… no deployments or wars in or around Delve to slow anybody down right now… so it is all go go go for ratting.

Overall bounties remain mostly a null sec thing, with 92% being paid out there.

October 2017 – Bounties by Space Sec Rating

Meanwhile, on the overall sinks and faucets chart bounties have again crept up to nearly their previous all time high, leading one to wonder if CCP is going to need to nerf super carrier and carrier ratting some more.

October 2017 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

Overall bounty payouts for October were only 3 trillion ISK higher than September, but the trend is worrying.

On the production front, Delve remained a significant player.

October 2017 – Production Values by Region

Once more we have a nice new chart to help visualize how regions stack up.

October 2017 – Production Values by Region – Bar Graph

The Forge region is out in front, and regions around the Jita trade hub (The Forge, Lonetrek, and The Citadel) dominate production, but Delve is not far behind when measuring individual regions.

Finally, the regional summary chart of key indices.

October 2017 – Regional Summary Stats

Sitting in Delve, mining, ratting, and building, one might wonder what we plan to do with all of that economic might.  It has been very quiet down in the southwest for weeks now.

Anyway, these charts and more are posted, along with the raw data, here.

Yelling and Selling in Waterdeep

I remember way back in the early days of what is now TorilMUD… or perhaps I should say, what persists today against the odds as TorilMUD… back when it was called Sojourn, back past the 20 year mark and into the first half of the 1990s, wanting to make sure I got online on a Saturday evening because that was the best time to buy and sell things.

The place to be was in the northern part of the city of Waterdeep, which is where most people idled when they were not out in the world grinding mobs or running zones.

As for how to sell… well, you would just yell out what you had, some stats for it, and your opening price and wait to see if anybody would send you a tell with an offer.  You might want to sell an items straight up, but usually people wanted to auction things in order to get the best price.

In the event of an auction, once you got a tell… or a few tells if you were lucky… you would then yell out your item for sale again and the current bid, and maybe the name of the first bidder if several people came in at the same price, just so they knew who was currently going to get the item.  Then people would send tells upping the price, which you would yell out again when it hit a lull.  Eventually you would hit a point where you had a high bid and nothing else.  Then you would give the three yells, going once, going twice, and finally SOLD with the item, price, and buyer.

For a good item you might go through several iterations of the last three yells, as some people with money would wait to see where the bidding had settled before throwing their hat in the ring.

It was an interesting system that actually worked fairly well.  Auctions happened in a very public space, so were essentially conducted in front of a crowd.  A yell would only go a across a single zone, so you had to be in north Waterdeep, which wasn’t always as simple as it sounds.  There were certain rooms that seemed like they ought to be, but for whatever reason they were actually part of the south part of the city or the tunnels underneath.  And some rooms in the zone filter out yells.  But most people would figure out where to hang out to hear what was going on.

The public aspect meant that a lot of items had a price associated with them, so for some regularly farmed items… as I mentioned in a past post, most items of any value only spawned once per boot and the game would have to crash again in order to obtain another… you could tell if you were getting a good deal or if somebody was asking too much.  That suit of dwarven scale mail armor went for a regular 400p for a long time.  Every caster had to have one. (Old stats shown, like everything good it has long since been nerfed.)

Name ‘a suit of dwarven scale mail armor’
Keyword ‘armor suit mail scale dwarven’, Item type: ARMOR
Item can be worn on: BODY
Item will give you the following abilities: NOBITS
Item is: MAGIC NOBITS
Weight: 13, Value: 1
AC-apply is 20
Can affect you as :
Affects : HITPOINTS By 20

But somebody asking way too much would often hear a counter shout about how much the last couple copies of that particular item sold for.  It was also a way to figure out who had money.  You  could see who was getting rich by how they bid on things.

It was also in most people’s best interest to be around during prime selling times.  As I mentioned above, Saturday evening was a key time.  A lot more would be for sale then and a lot more buyers would be around.  You could probably find an auction going on most days, but the weekend was worth waiting for if you had a mind.  During the week you would only sell to get rid of an opportunistic find that might be too common come Saturday.

People actually adapted very well to the system for quite a while.  People were mostly patient with their auctions, making sure only a couple were going on at once so as to avoid confusion.  People were sincere with their bids and handed over their item at the bank when they were given the right amount of platinum.

Basically, for an online where having 200 people online at once was a big deal, it was an adequate system of exchange.  It wasn’t all hugely expensive stuff either.  It was early enough in the cycle of the game that most people were still poor, so selling something for 5-10p was generally a worthwhile venture.

There was also a way to play on scarcity in a way.  My friend Xyd and I started as elves who, until a recent emancipation, were stuck on the isle of Evermeet until level 20.  It was life of privation on the isle, something I recounted in the Leuthilspar Tales series of posts, collected under a tag of the same name.  Equipment was scarce and we would wear just about anything under the theory that an equipment slot filled with something was better than an empty equipment slot.

But elves who had hit level 20 and made it through the elf gate and on to Waterdeep would return… a hazardous journey for any but a druid or a cleric, as those classes could use “word of recall” to return to their guilds on the isle… with items to sell their poor cousins still stuck on the island.  How we longed for a tiny silver ring, which was AC5 +1 hit, to replace that crappy piece of string from the goblin’s junk pile in the Faerie Forest or that strange ring from the Elemental Glades (I need to write a post about that zone still) that turned out to be crap.

Not only were we short of equipment, but identify scrolls were about ten times as expensive in Leuthilspar than in Waterdeep, so we had to do without.

We would later learn that pretty much everybody had a tiny silver ring in Waterdeep, it being one of the few useful items that spawned on a several mobs each boot.   And they spawned near the inn at the south end of the city, so they were farmed after every boot.  We didn’t know that, we were just anxious to hand over whatever we could scrape together to buy one… or two… oh, to have a pair of tiny silver rings.

The only problem with that return trade in Leuthilspar is that we, as elves of Evermeet, were dirt poor.  We didn’t live in the wild because we loved nature, we lived there because that was what we could afford.  Even the rent in Kobold Village was too much.  (Just kidding, there was no cost to rent at the Inn in Leuthilspar, but the innkeeper used to say something that staying was free for now, as though there might be a charge some day, a threat that used to keep me up at night in the early days.)

But we did have some items on the isle that could be sold in Waterdeep.  As Xyd and I learned once we had been through the elf gate and into Waterdeep.  After hunting buffalo, skirting lake Skeldrach, and walking the salt road… and finding ourselves still dirt poor… we found that we could enrich ourselves by carrying over some common items from the isle.

Bandor’s flagon was a favorite.  In a game where you had to carry around food and drink, having a large, lightweight drinking flagon in your bag was just the ticket.  For quite a while it was the drinking vessel that everybody rich or poor sought.  We could easily sell one for 20-50p every boot, and sometimes 100p or more if the market was hot, which seemed like a hell of a lot of money to us back in the day.

There were some other items that would sell reliably on a Saturday when enough people were around.  The Cloak of Forest Shadows from the Faerie Forest would go for a few plat, though I think more because it sounded cool than because of its somewhat modest stats. (Also, you couldn’t vendor it, so anything we got was good.)

The cloak is still there in the Faerie Forest last I checked

The Elven Skin Gloves from Vokko at Anna’s house was good for a few plat as well.  Again, not a great item, but for an elf hater the material made them a must have item.  The mods later changed them to Kobold Skin Gloves on the general idea that we ought not to have to tolerate that sort of thing on Evermeet.

The cloak off of the Kobold Shaman in Kobold Village was sometimes worth something.  I forget the stats, but casters could wear it and I seem to recall it being +HP.  And the Boots of Water Walking from the Kobold Fisherman could go to somebody who hadn’t picked up the Skiff from the Tower of Sorcery just north of Waterdeep.

So we would collect these items and head through the elf gate to town to join in on the sales, all the better to gear ourselves and our myriad of alts up.  Even when I hit level 50 and had my fair share of decent equipment and was able to go on runs to Jot or The City of Brass fairly regularly I would still recall back to Evermeet on an occasional reboot to snag Bandor’s Flagon to sell.

Of course, things changed over time.  Somebody tired of us shouting in Waterdeep all the time.  At first they coded a limit as to how often we could shout.  Later shouting auctions were banned and relegated to an auction house… literally an auction house… before somebody finally coded what now passes for an auction house in MMORPGs, a board where you could deposit items then list them for sale to the highest bidder, with a minimum bid and such.  All very modern, and it showed up well before WoW was a thing.

And then there was the economy which, as with every primarily PvE MMORPG with many faucets and few sinks, went to hell.  It is called “MUDflation” for a reason.  As noted above, everything was beautiful when we were all mostly poor.  But once people started to accumulate platinum, things went the usual haywire.  Aside from identify scrolls, a few quests, and the rare vendor item, there wasn’t much to spend money on in TorilMUD save for equipment.  And just hanging around you would eventually accumulate a pile of cash, so the price for items going for auction climbed well out of range of any new player, to the point that platinum lost its value for any rare item and people would hold out for trades rather than just piling up more useless platinum in the bank.

It didn’t help that there were some holes in the system.  I made some early seed capital hauling things from one vendor to another because the pricing was messed up.  They fixed that.  Later, after the last pwipe, I found some alligators that dropped an item that could be turned in for a 30p bounty, plus they tended to have 5-10p in their pockets… odd gators… so I harvested them whenever I could because, due to somebody not setting a flag right, they respawned with the item rather than having it only on the first spawn.  I grew pretty well off on that before they fixed it.

But that was all from another time.  We mostly left TorilMUD to play EverQuest II when it launched, then moved on to World of Warcraft.

However, you can see the seeds of the future of MMORPGs in what happened there in the 90s.  The tunnel as trading ground in the Commonlands tunnel… I remember going there at specific times when it would be active in order to upgrade my gear… was clearly foreseen by our yelling out auctions in Waterdeep.

The Plane of Knowledge kills all this…

Meanwhile the auction house that replaced our loud economy was also a precursor to what we now find in World of Warcraft.

Anyway, another tale from the “good old days” of TorilMUD.

Delve – Deploying Means Less Ratting and Mining

The New Eden Monthly Economic Report for August 2017 is out, and while there are some surprises, the economic performance of Delve isn’t one of them.

The Imperium spent most of the middle of the month of August deployed in the north, staging out of the low sec system of Hakonen.  This meant less people ratting and mining, but probably more important, less people defending the home region of Delve.  That led to a sharp uptick in carrier and Rorqual losses.  So, as one might expect, NPC bounties were way down for Delve.

August 2017 – NPC Bounties by Region

Hitting close to 3.6 trillion ISK in bounty payouts, that put the region down almost 5 trillion ISK from July, when the payouts totaled 8.4 trillion ISK.  The August take was just 42% of the July number.

Still, that left Delve ahead of other heavily ratted regions such as Branch, Cobalt Edge, Outer Passage, and Period Basis, all of which remained fairly steady month over month.  The overall effect of the deployment can be seen in the ISK sinks and faucets chart.

August 2017 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

The bounty payouts dip and recover on the chart as the Imperium deployed then returned home.  That dip represents a little over half of Delve’s contribution to that chart, so you can see that it is significant, but also that bounties are being paid out elsewhere too.  With Delve gone bounties would still the largest ISK faucet in the game by far.  And, of course, 92% of bounties are still paid out in null sec.

It is also interesting to note the bump in insurance payouts and transaction tax and broker’s fee deductions during the deployment north as the Imperium bought out supplies in Jita and then lost piles of Typhoons.  The interconnectivity of the economy is one of the powerful aspects of EVE Online.

On the mining front Delve was likewise down during the deployment.

August 2017 – Mining Value by Region

The dip in mining is even more dramatic that bounties, with the value assessed at 2 trillion ISK, down from over 10 trillion ISK in July.  That is an 80% cut, though it is not surprising.  Rorquals, the mining ship of choice in null sec space, were heavily targeted during the deployment.  Many were blown up… the value of ships destroyed went from 1.4 trillion to 2.2 trillion ISK… while smarter miners chose not to expose their fancy ships to the danger.

Likewise, production in Delve was down as well, dipping by 50% as people threw themselves into the deployment.

August 2017 – Production Values by Region

The key economic figures summary chart also shows Delve dropping by half when it comes to trade value as well when compared to the July numbers.

August 2017 – Regional Stats

So that is the economic impact of the Imperium taking its show on the road for a few weeks.

However, we’re back in Delve again now, the defenses are back in place, and ratting and mining are relatively safe occupations for the wary again.  I expect the numbers to bounce back to July levels this month, perhaps even exceeding them as people put in a bit of effort to make up for losses and lost time.

 

Delve – Still Ratting, Still Mining, Still Manufacturing

The New Eden monthly economic report for July 2017 is out, a little later than usual, but better late than never.

Getting straight to the ISK sinks and faucets chart, it does look like the changes in June update regarding super carrier ratting have continued to hold, as total bounties remain on a downward slope.

July 2017 – Top Sinks and Faucets over time

That still seems like a lot of ISK from bounties, even if the trend is downward for the moment.  CCP made no further adjustments in the July update, and tomorrow’s planned update does not mention anything in that regard in the patch notes.

However, while the overall amount from bounties is down, in Delve they are actually up some, topping the July number by about 400 billion ISK.

July 2017 – NPC Bounties by Region

That is still down from the May peak, when the number was 8.8 trillion ISK in bounties.  But the bulk of the reduction in the bounty pay outs seems to be coming from other regions in New Eden.

Likewise, the care bear reputation of Delve is reinforced by the mining output for the region.

July 2017 – Mining Value by Region

That chart shows the value of mining in Delve up from 8.5 trillion ISK in June to 10.2 trillion ISK in July.  Of course, those values are influence by the market value of the output, so if actual ore mined was the same, but prices rose, that output value would rise as well.  I don’t watch the mineral and ore markets, so couldn’t tell you if actual amount mined was up or if prices are rising some.

And then there was production, which was up considerably since June, no doubt consuming all that mining output and then some.

July 2017 – Production Value by Region

Delve became the number one manufacturing region in New Eden, edging out The Forge by about a trillion ISK in value.  Though, if you add up the regions close to Jita, The Forge, The Citadel, and Lonetrek, high sec manufacturing for the Jita market is still dominant.

Looking at the key economic indicators chart, you can see that Delve still imports a lot, most of it from Jita, while the exports are negligible.

July 2017 – Key Regional Stats Compared

So I suppose I can be all “Yay Delve!  We’re #1” and such.

However, since the beginning of August the Imperium has taken its show on the road, landing in Hakonen in the Lonetrek region, where we seem determined to anchor a Fortizar no matter how many attempts it takes.

With all the combat pilots moving north, those left behind hoping to rat and mine in peace have been in for a rude awakening, with Rorquals and carriers going down in flames to roving gangs.  The Delve defense system has been denuded and losses have been mounting.

So the question will be how much of an impact will this have on the Delve ratting and mining numbers?  Will Delve top the charts for player ship losses come the August report? Tune in next month to see what sort of change is in store.

Delve – We Mine Things and We Rat a Little Less

The monthly economic report for June 2017 is out already and the first thing I went to see was whether or not the reduced carrier nerfs that came in with the June update had any effect on bounty payouts.

There is, as they say, a chart for that…. specifically the chart showing the top eight ISK sinks and faucets.

June 2017 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets over time

It looks like the nerf was a palpable hit, dropping bounties back to January levels as well as proving again how much carrier and super carrier ratting was contributing to the number.  Even in Fortress Delve the number was down.

June 2017 – Bounties per Region

CCP Quant did not include the bounties per region chart previously, but Delve’s bounties were part of the region summary chart for May where they were listed at 8.8 trillion ISK.  The June chart above shows just over 8 trillion ISK in bounties for June, so about a 10% hit to the bounty ISK faucet in Delve.  That is actually a marginally bigger hit than in the game overall, where bounties fell from 69 trillion ISK to 63 trillion ISK total, about a 9% reduction.

Of course, that likely isn’t enough and even CCP has said they are not done yet, as I noted in my post about the June update, another blow against carrier and super carrier ratting is planned:

We are working on changes to Anomalies that will reduce the effectiveness of Carriers and Supercarriers. These changes will be announced at a later date.

At least one chronic complainer will cry about CCP never fulfilling their promises… and the company have an admittedly shaky reputation on that front, at least if you take every visionary statement as a promise… but they have been serious about the economy before, and I expect them to continue to be serious.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, there was yet another nerf to Rorqual mining as part of the June patch as well.  Using Delve as the benchmark again, back in May there was almost 9 trillion ISK worth or ore extracted in the region.

June 2017 – Mining Value by Region

In June, with half the month after the latest nerf, the number shy of 8.5 trillion ISK worth of mining done, making for a hit of just over 5%.  Not as big of an impact as bounties.

But then, mining is not like bounties.  Mining does not generate ISK out of thin air, so while it might impact the velocity of ISK, it does not change the money supply.  It is also measures via the market price, so a shift in price can shift that number.

And what is mined is used to produce ships and modules in New Eden, something especially so in Delve.  Aryth, CSM member and economic director in GSF, said on Talking in Stations The Meta Show [edit: was thinking of the wrong Aryth interview] that Delve doesn’t export minerals or ore but actually has to import them in order to feed the engines of production in the region.  I can speak from personal observation that buy orders in the region would keep you from ever bothering to export to Jita, while the production of the region is visible on another chart.

June 2017 – Production Values by Region

Production was actually down most places for June, including Delve, where it was off about 10% from May.  I wonder if that is the Rorqual nerf throttling production or something else.

Mining is, after all, a double balance.  The price of minerals has to be high enough to make mining a worthwhile venture.  However, when the price of minerals goes up, so does the price of everything else.  I’ll let economists argue over which side of that equation is more important.

Overall, the money supply in New Eden went down.

June 2017 – ISK Sinks and Faucets and Total Money Supply

One hundred trillion ISK came into the economy via faucets in June, most of it via NPC bounties.

sixty trillion ISK came out of New Eden via a variety of sinks, mostly NPC transaction taxes, while another 57 trillion ISK came out through player account activity (not sure how that works with Alpha clones now) and GM activity (we all know how that one works, the GM takes your stuff because you got caught breaking the terms of service), for a net reduction of about 17 trillion ISK.

At least the upward trend of the money supply was throttled a bit.  I would like to know how much of that 57 trillion ISK was from GMs taking money from those who exploited the ghost training bug.

Anyway, so it goes.  I still remain slightly amazed that CCP shares so many numbers with us, but EVE Online remains a very different game from its competitors.

Delve – We Build and We Sell a Few Things

We are a week into June, so the time was right for the May 2017 economic report for EVE Online to show up.

As expected, dipping into the data shows Delve still at the top when it comes to ratting and mining.  The Imperium still care bears the hell out of its systems. It is a selling point for the coalition.

May 2017 – Stats for Top 20 Regions

We shall if the Rorqual and anomaly changes coming on Tuesday will put a dent in the mining side of that.

For other economic indicators however, The Forge region, with Jita in the role of central trade hub of New Eden, still ranks supreme.

All Road lead to Jita

For the market size The Forge has no competition, ringing it at 600 trillion ISK for May.

May 2017 – Total Market Trade Value by Region

Domain, the region with the next highest numbers, hosting the trade hub of Amarr, only showed 75 trillion ISK for May.  Surprisingly though, third place doesn’t fall to the regions that are home to the tertiary trade hubs of Hek or Dodixie.  Instead, Delve is in third place with 24 trillion ISK for May.  Not bad for a region held by a single coalition.  We sell a lot of stuff to ourselves.  Certainly the market in the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A seems to have most things I need.

A lot of what appears on our market is shipped in from Jita.  The groups running the shipping services run the Jita to Delve route frequently.  But we do build some of our own stuff as well.

May 2017 – Total Production Value by Region

The Forge is out in front again with 26 trillion ISK in value manufactured.  With Jita being what it is, people want to produce close to market, so The Forge at the top of the list, with adjacent regions of Lonetrek and The Citadel putting up solid numbers as well due to proximity.

But second place goes to Delve which manufactured 20 trillion ISK in goods.  I am sure capital and supercaps figure heavily in the mix.  But there are engineering complexes all over key systems in Delve building things.  You could see a couple in my post about the TNT Keepstar, and when you go into KarmaFleet’s home system your overview is pretty much overwhelmed by citadels and engineering complexes.

So I guess if ratting and mining numbers are seen as selling points for the Imperium, then we might also have a line there for manufacturers as well.