Tag Archives: New Dawn Quadrant

New Dawn heralds Permanent Scarcity in New Eden

The dev blog for New Dawn, the so-called “age of prosperity,” dropped a week back and the reaction has been… vigorous.

Prosperity Promised

Those digesting the dev blog came up with a number of issues, and the hits just keep coming as people try out New Dawn on the test server.

In the face of player backlash, including a protest in Jita that brought the system down to 10% time dilation as angry players shot the monument, CCP went to MMORPG.com, their current go-to site to tell their side of things, in order to proclaim their good intentions and to scold the players for being mean.

This from the company whose motto used to be HTFU.

I found the whole CCP line in that article rather irksome because even the most charitable read of the text has to send the message that the people deciding on game changes are completely disconnected from the players and have no idea what it is like to actually play the game.

Less charitable is that they are shading the truth to make themselves look less ignorant of the realities of the game for players.

The reality is probably somewhere in between, as there is evidence for both conclusions.

The  tale from CCP seems to be that this one particular Dev Blog was being taken way too hard by some of the player base.  The problem is that this view ignores the entire context of the anger, which has been built up over the last two years as CCP proceeded to nerf nearly every player income source.  In that time I think they only passed over wormhole ratting and incursions, the former now being the largest ISK faucet in New Eden.

So when they claim that the CSM didn’t tell them that this dev blog might piss people off or that they don’t understand why things are blowing up so badly right now, they are brushing off two years of context.  People were angry already.  The storm had built up, and then CCP held out hope back in July that scarcity would be ending in Q4.

What they didn’t do was define what that meant.  Even back then I was confused as to where they might go given that the team, led by CCP Rattati, was pretty clear that they felt that economy needed to be “fixed” and brought into a state they felt was sustainable.  I didn’t have much hope that ISK and ore would flow freely again.

But then, on the Tuesday before the dev blog, they did a post announcing its imminent arrival, unveiling the take line for the New Dawn quadrant, “The Age of Prosperity.”

In the article CCP half halfheartedly admits that maybe they could have been better on messaging, but the claim remains that they had no idea the dev blog would be this inflammatory.

But even on Tuesday I knew that unless there was some serious relaxation of scarcity that people would be pissed.  To promise and end of scarcity is one thing, but to promise and age of prosperity, that was setting an impossible expectation.

I left a comment on the post about the Tuesday announcement over at TNG that said:

I am not sure why they felt they needed an announcement for an announcement, but I expect that the phrase “new age of prosperity” is going to come back to bite them by the end of the week if they are not careful.

Guess what, it did.  And when I can predict something it is generally obvious in the extreme.

So when CCP goes on about the CSM only giving them a “premonition” (whatever the hell that means) that the reaction might not be positive, I have to wonder what sort of island they live on.  Oh, yeah, right, that volcanic one in the north Atlantic to which no news travels it seems.

And the update itself, as proposed, seems to be at best a “side-grade” from the current state of affairs.  The dev blog opened big with how resources were going to be doubled… doubled from the low ebb at the end of two years of nerfs, but at least that felt like a step in the right direction… only to get into the details about of waste and nerfs and time sink mechanics that tally up to almost no net change.

Scarcity is here to stay, CCP just wants to cement it in place behind game mechanics like waste and compression.

The crazy thing is that CCP thought we would like this.  One of the new features called out by players is the new compression mechanics, where a Rorqual pilot has to feed resources into a module and wait for them to compress, then do it again, and again, and again, that being the primary function of the most expensive mining ship in the game in New Dawn.

But the article paints something of a Bizarro world view from CCP about that change:

“Compression was intended to be one of the most interesting [additions,]” Snorri [CCP Rattati] stated. “It definitely wasn’t meant to be an oppressive thing.”

And yet as soon as players tried it on the test server, that was the reaction, that CCP was trying to punish Rorqual pilots, which brings us back to the “do they even play the game” question, which comes up quite a bit when CCP makes changes. (Or maybe those who do play can’t tell the boss they have a bad idea.)

CCP asserts in the article that of course they want feedback and of course they will iterate on the design and of course it won’t go live as it stands now.

But it is hard to take that seriously.  CCP has a long history of ignoring feedback and pushing things onto the live server even when problems are presented to them.  Even the problem that CCP sees in the Rorqual, the super mining capital ship, was one of their own making that they pushed into the game in spite of feedback.  Ayrth, then one of the Imperium CSM members, told CCP exactly what the Imperium would do, that we would go all in on Rorquals and mine Delve to an extent they clearly could not imagine.

We’re now doomed to perpetual scarcity, with Rorqual pilots enraged, because CCP couldn’t tell what was good for the economy back then.  So we should believe they are on the right path now?

And then there is CCP Rattati, the Director of Product for EVE Online.  One does not get that sort of position without holding strong views, without feeling like they know the right path forward.

For those familiar with WoW, he has become the Ion Hazzikostas of EVE Online.  He is driving the direction of the game, he holds very strong opinions as to where the game needs to go and how players should be playing, and while he gives a nod towards feedback, he has never once let it get in the way of his own vision. (And he has his own credibility issues.)

And it is hard to argue with the idea that the economy is a core feature to EVE Online, maybe the essential feature of the game, without which everything falls apart.  But I very much get a sense, especially with the talk about the game going on to outlive its creators, that his eye is very much on a generation of new players and the design is focused on how they will advance through the game.  I can very clearly see a new player progression path in all these mining changes, with waste and skills and ships lining up.

That makes him a bit of an inversion of Ion Hazzikostas, who is focused on an established core of end game raiders. CCP Rattati seems fine abandoning the established core of the game in favor of new players.  And new players are important to any game with a long term vision.  But I have yet to see a happy ending for a game that gives up on a large installed base in order to attract and build a new one.

We shall see.

I have no dog in the mining fight, my mining days being many years in the rear view mirror.  I stick around for wars and null sec politics and the story arc created by the players.  But New Eden, for all of its diverse play styles, is an integrated, interdependent unit that rests of the economy.  I hope we don’t end up wrecking that.

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Protests in Jita over New Dawn Changes

Friday’s dev blog outlining CCP’s plan for resource harvesting, the foundation of the “new age of prosperity” they are touting, the gateway to the end of their economic starvation policy of the last 18 months, has ended up getting a thumbs down from a vocal group of commentators.

One wag suggested that the message from CCP in the New Dawn graphic was that you should just fly your mining ships into the sun.

A message received

When picked apart the update seemed to having something for most everybody to hate.  There certainly seems to be some blunders when listening to the complaints.

The low yield, high waste mining crystals I mentioned on Friday as a possible error are apparently a thing because CCP still harbors the delusion that we’re going to go offensively mine out out enemy’s belts, despite the fact that in doing so we would be improving their ADMs thus making their space more defensible.  No, if we’re going to do anything, it will be blowing up their miners because mining is boring and kill mails are awesome.

And the nerfing of Rorquals on multiple fronts then offering a 2 for 1 deal on skill extractors seems too cutesy to be a coincidence, so some are taking it as a big middle finger from CCP, a pre-emptive response to any complaints.

There are always people who aren’t directly and immediately affected by any particular update or who will simply support CCP out of the misapprehension that a corporation can be their friend, so there is a lot of anger at people who are upset about the changes.  But resource gathering is the foundation of the New Eden economy and it feels like CCP has decided to make a dull game play mechanic more annoying to manage.  It is certainly difficult to see how all of this totals up to a “new age of prosperity.”  This feels more like the economic starvation plan being written in stone, with waste and loss balancing out any gains and everything simply being more complicated.  It is as though CCP does not want scarcity to end, and that will ripple up the supply chain.

As often happens when even a few people get mad about some change that CCP has made or proposed, there was a call to go shoot the monument in Jita.  Since this appeared to work during the Incarna crisis ten and a half years back… though I suspect people unsubscribing was the real pressure on CCP… shooting the monument has been the go to option for any slight.

And I will be the first to say that it is a completely ineffective method of protest 99.9% of the time… and probably 100% of the time if people are not unsubscribing as well.  Every time I see somebody calling for a protest in r/eve, call for people to shoot the monument since Incarna, it has added up to a whole lot of nothing.  I check in on the occasional protest that gets some support on Reddit, and if they get more than 100 ships in on the protest it is miracle.

Yesterday’s protest got more backing than the typical Reddit rage, in large part because the the Imperium endorsed the protest and The Mittani was on Jabber pinging out a request for people to join in and shoot the monument at 17:00 UTC.

Between that and calls on Reddit, the numbers in Jita local swelled.  There are generally about 2,000 people in Jita local most days, maybe a bit more on the weekend, but I haven’t seen it past 2,500 in ages.  At 17:00 UTC when I checked in there were already people at the monument and local was past 4,000.

Now, one of the sly things that CCP did when they redid the Jita 4-4 market hub station was stick the monument out back behind the new structure, so it is not visible from the undock where people are coming and going.  They basically hid the traditional point of protest in New Eden, so if you can only get a hundred people out there shooting the monument, nobody is even likely to even see you.

The monument location in Jita

However, when you can get thousands of people to your protest time dilation starts to kick in as the sheer numbers shooting and talking in local begin to have an effect above and beyond the typical protest of since Incarna. Everything in Jita was moving at 10% speed for a stretch of hours on Satuday.  People were reporting problems being able to gate into Jita, with freighters stuck on the gate in Perimeter.

Shooting the monument

Local was giving different readings for different people.  I saw over 6,200 people in Jita reliably at times, but others were reporting numbers higher than that, including numbers past the 6,557 mark that set a Guinness World Record at the battle of FWST-8.

One of my readings during the day

If accurate, that means that almost a quarter of the pilots in game at some points on Saturday were in Jita.  (Even with the protest the PCU for Saturday fell short of 30K, hitting 29,908 at 18:40 UTC.)

Now, of course, all of this ends up with the question as to whether even such a large protest can make a difference.  I suspect that CCP will do what they generally do and push ahead with their plans, dismissing all dissent, if they even bother do acknowledge it.  I suspect they won’t even do that. As I said about the WoW Community Council, a few agreeing voices will drown out a multitude of complaints in the minds of most people.

The view from CCP has always been that nobody tells CCP what to do… except maybe Pearl Abyss, and PA seems hot on NFTs, which probably explains why CCP doubled down NFTs for the second weekend of the Alliance Tournament, even pushing players to link their accounts to some blockchain abomination. So add that to the list of things to be angry about.

But where there are protests there are also actions behind the scenes.  Maybe enough people will unsubscribe for CCP to take notice.  Their economic starvation plan already helped diminish the PCU and made both sides in the biggest war in EVE Online history reluctant to engage in the very battles, the large and costly capital ship clashes, that make headlines and set world records.  The changes they are proposing seem unlikely to bring back those big battles they love to promote.

Prosperity denied.

Meanwhile, the the plan is to carry on with the protest in Jita today whether or not CCP is listening.

Addendum:

CCPs only response to any of this was to say that Jita is capped at 4,000 players and that everybody’s local chat counter was wrong… which tells you all you need to know about how their chat server implementation is going a few years since it was put in place.

CCP says 4K is the limit

I think the 4K cap actually works in favor of the protest.  If the protesters stuff the system and keep people from getting in, that has more impact than just shooting the hidden monument.

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The EVE Online New Dawn Quadrant to Start With Mining Changes

Earlier this week we got an announcement for an announcement when CCP promised us a dev blog today.  And CCP has lived up to that promise, hitting us with the first big dev blog for the quadrant.

Prosperity Promised

The title of the dev blog is From Extraction to Production and it covers a lot of ground on the resource gathering, processing, and production front.

On the prosperity front, the post promises a doubling of many resources found in New Eden

  • All ore quantities are doubled in asteroid belts
  • All ore quantities are doubled in all resource anomalies
  • All ice quantities are doubled (in addition to the previous 200% increase)
  • All Omber, Kernite, and Crokite quantities are doubled in sov anomalies, whilst Mercoxit quantities are increased by 20% (in addition to the previous 200% increase)
  • All Mykocerocin quantities are doubled, whilst spawn chance of extra sites that was added earlier this year has been reduced
  • All Cytocerocin quantities are doubled
  • All Fullerine quantities are doubled
  • Extraction rate is doubled from moons
    • Moon Extractions will take the same time as before, but will yield 2x the quantity of ore when fractured. Extractions which are in progress (and not yet fractured) at deployment time will receive the 2x yield when they fracture

But you will need all those extra rocks to chew on because CCP is also introducing the concept of “waste” in the mining equation.  As CCP puts it, it is “a chance per cycle for resources to be turned into space dust.”  You’ll still get a full yield in your ore hold, but some of what was left to be harvested will disappear.

The amount of waste will be dictated by the type of mining module you are using to harvest, with tech I modules being considerably less efficient than tech II or faction modules.

There is also a big change coming to mining skills and crystals.  Reprocessing skills will be condensed down from 19 varieties covering each individual ore type to 6 to cover the new categories of ore that are being introduced.  They are:

  • Common
  • Uncommon
  • Rare
  • Superior
  • Abyssal
  • Mercoxit

Mining crystals will be reworked to cover just those six categories as well.  In addition, there will be different variants of crystals that are currently targeted as:

  • Standard yield
  • Higher yield, high waste, less reliable
  • Lower yield, very high waste, very unreliable

I may be misunderstanding that third one, but it does not sound like a viable option, but this is just the initial dev blog and things may change.

CCP is going to add compression ability to gas and moon ore.  The Rorqual, Orca, and Porpise will all be able to compress ore, but will require new modules for the type of resources they are attempting to compress. (And the modules will require new skills, so if you got any skill points refunded from the reprocessing skill changes, you can spend them here.)

Also ore and gas compression will no longer be perfect.  Compression efficiency will be:

  • Ore 90%
  • Gas 90%
  • Ice 79%

So, once again, CCP giveth and CCP taketh away.  You’re going to need that extra ore out there in space to make up for this.

There is also quite a bit on ship and module changes, with some ships getting new ore and gas bays, industrial cores being changed for the Rorqual and added to the Orca and Porpise, new gas harvesting modules, and some stuff that has a supporting spreadsheet to illustrate, which is how you can tell we’re really getting into nerd levels of industry.  I always mildly resent people who dismiss EVE Online as “spreadsheets in space,” unless they are specifically referencing industry.  This is where the spreadsheets come into play.

There is basically a lot in the dev blog to unpack.  But it is just a dev blog, which is generally a statement of intent by CCP.  They do, occasionally, listen to feedback on them before pushing the ideas into the live game.  CCP usually does big changes like this in stages, starting with seeding blueprints for modules and skills required in advance.  The dev blog says they expect to start that by the end of the month.

Being more than a decade distant from caring much about industry and mining, I am going to sit back and listen to those immersed in the topic discuss the changes and pass judgement.  Angry Mustache who, along with Kazanir, was on the Meta Show last week for a deep dive into scarcity already has his gut reaction to the changes up on Reddit.

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