Tag Archives: Skill Injectors

Time to Earn some ISK

Back in the late summer of 2017 I was feeling done with null sec life.  I wasn’t sure where I was going to head, but I started pulling up stakes and shipping everything to Jita to facilitate my exit.  I had cleaned up, turned off, and shipped out just about everything when a Reavers deployment came up and I figured that would be my final act in null sec.

And then the deployment and subsequent war lasted for about a year and I was invested again and decided to carry on.  During that time and since I haven’t focused on earning any ISK, save for a brief experiment with Myrmidon ratting, which was as much about seeing how long I would survive as anything.

Being a target for ISK

I have been living off the stack of ISK I had accumulated before along with what I got for selling off various assets in Jita and whatever SRP the coalition has had to offer.  But now that stack of ISK, never that fat to begin with, has stated to dwindle.  I really don’t spend that much ISK, with ships and refits for doctrine changes being my major expenses, but the prices there have been going up thanks to CCP, while SRP hasn’t kept up.

So I want to at least start a trickle of ISK coming back into my wallet.  The catch is that I don’t really want to do any of the standby methods.  I’ve ratted, mined, and played the market enough to bore myself to tears.  So the options I have in my mind.

Sell Stuff

I still have a pile of stuff… piles of stuff…  sitting around in various stations, so this would be less playing the market and more clearing out hangars.  A bunch of it is nicely in Jita already, left over from the great clearing out of 2017, and I can contract other valuable caches to a high sec alt to move and sell.

Good: Easy-ish money, prices are up

Bad: Even I only have so much stuff stashed away, so this would be a short term-boost and not a long term strategy

Planetary Interaction

I pulled up my PI stuff back when and since then there was a UI update to improve the usability of the feature, so I already started on this just to see how much it had changed.  It is, I will admit, better than it was, but it is still opaque enough that I don’t know how anybody figures it out without a guide or a mountain of patience.  As before I set myself up to make components for fuel blocks, as there are always buy orders for that.

Good: Low effort, constant drip of income

Bad: Not really that lucrative unless you make it a job

Abyssal Sites

I have a high sec alt trained up enough to do fierce sites, the middle of the five levels of difficulty, in a Gila.  I have no mind to do any of the higher level ones as you get flagged as a target, but I could see myself running these a bit more regularly.  The problem is that the payout is very much RNG based.  I got a Leshak BPC once, built it, and sold it for a serious payout.  But more often I get dinky stuff to the point that losing a drone makes the whole thing a wash.  And I’ve yet to do anything but ruin modules with mutaplasmids.

Good: Not really that difficult, short duration, can listen to podcasts and audio books, lots of great screen shots

Bad: Payout is all over the map, feels a lot like ratting after a run or two, lost a half a billion ISK Gila stuck on an rock once so I’m already ISK negative

Skill Injectors

This is the “make money fast” arrow in my quiver.  I have a character setup to poop out a large injector every week and they are still going for more than 700 million ISK.  That would refill my wallet much faster than my ship losses are draining it.  There are two issues with it for me though.

First, though I am sure they make a ton of money for CCP, I feel that skill injectors diminished the game.  If I bitch about something and then make ISK from it there is an obvious level of hypocrisy present and, while no life is free from contradictions, I try to at least examine the more obvious ones I find in myself.

Second, while you can do it as an all in-game ISK operation, you are rewarded for spending money.  If I pay cash for the subscription and the extractors, I get to keep the full 700 million ISK per injector.  If I buy extractors on the market that goes down to about 350 million ISK.  And if I PLEX the account I end up getting a few million ISK per injector, which can can make a farm of many accounts lucrative, but makes the single character routine a bit paltry.  And if I am going to spend cash to make ISK I could just save the effort and buy PLEX to resell.

Good: Low, low effort, easy money

Bad: If I PLEX the account payouts are pretty thin, if I pay cash why not cut out the middle and simply buy PLEX to sell

Other?

I need to go back and look at that that “everything in New Eden” chart again to see if I am missing something that aligns to my level of commitment.  I remember a time when just collecting datacores once a year would sustain me for a while.

I’m not dying for ISK.  I could easily wander along as I have done for a couple more years before things became dire.  But I feel like I need a plan for the longer term, even if it means just getting a trickle of ISK flowing in regularly.  All I want to be able to do is keep on getting in sub cap fleets for fights.  That’s what keeps me logging in these days.

Starter Pack Frenzy

I suppose we should not lose sight of a key bit of irony that has stemmed from the controversy surrounding the whole EVE Online Starter Pack thing this week.

The reasonably priced packs

By objecting loudly to the Starter Pack, by bringing attention to it to as many people as possible, those against such things have probably been able to sell a lot more of them than CCP would have otherwise manage on their own.

CCP dropped this Starter Pack update on their DLC page right after EVE North and without any fanfare and a group of angry capsuleers went and did the marketing for them.

One of the arguments for the Starter Pack has been that a million skill points isn’t all that much in the grand scheme of things.  For any but the youngest character a million skill points isn’t going to change the world, and for a crusty old vet like me, with over 200 million skill points on my main, the Starter Pack barely moves the needle.

But that is the wrong way to look at this.  That ignores what will be the motivation for many, which is value.

The blurb on the Starter Pack says “Worth $10,” but that is wrong… very wrong for some people.

A million skill points is two large skill injectors worth.  A large skill injector was selling for around 1 billion ISK when I last checked.  (EVE Market Data confirms that for the moment.)  With PLEX past the $4 million mark each, you need to buy about 500 PLEX in cash to end up with enough ISK to buy two fill skill injectors.  So a million skill points is roughly worth 2 billion ISK, which even at the current end-of-quarter sale prices, comes out to more than double that “Worth $10” statement, if you buy the 1,100 PLEX pack.

But that assumes that you have a character who can get the full benefit of a skill injector, which have diminishing returns the more skill points you have.

  • < 5 million total skill points = 500,000 skill points per injector
  • 5 million – 50 million total skill points = 400,000 skill points per injector
  • 50 million – 80 million total skill points = 300,000 skill points per injector
  • > 80 million skill points = 150,000 skill points per injector

So for a vet like me, a large skill injector is worth just 150,000 skill points.

350K SP go to waste

That means that a million skill points is actually worth almost SEVEN large skill injectors to somebody over 80 million skill points, or 7 billion ISK or 3,500 PLEX or somewhere past $100 even at the current PLEX sale prices.

Basically, a lot of people read this deal and see “Seven Large Skill Injectors for $5!”  Why wouldn’t you throw a bit of change at that, even if you can only buy it once?

And then, with their promise to change the Start Pack, presumably in the near future, CCP has put a time pressure on getting the deal, so people think they have to buy it now or miss out!  I mean, CCP could have yanked it from the buying options immediately.  They have that power.  Instead, they let it linger.  It is still there as I write this.  I doubt it will be gone before Monday.

Hilmar was on Twitter discounting the idea that this Start Pack was going to sell enough units to have any real impact on the financial numbers, but I suspect that whatever modest goals they had for it have been exceeded in less than a week, all thanks to player rage.  Talk about having your cake and eating it.  They get the money, the attention, and the good will for walking back their change, but only after it has had time to sell even more units.

Well played CCP, well played.

That EVE Online Starter Pack Controversy

So as not to bury the lede (one of my favorite things) the title refers to the updated Starter Pack which you can get from CCP’s EVE Online DLC page.  It includes one million skill points and runs just $4.99 currently.

There are, and have been for ages, some reasonably priced packs you can buy to give yourself a leg up on the game.  They have come in assorted flavors.  In the past they were sometimes related to professions like mining or exploring or even combat.  Now they are more generic.

The reasonably priced packs

And then, of course, there is the Galaxy Pack, for the more whale-ish of customers.

The Galaxy Pack!

The theme of these packs has been pretty consistent over the years since Alpha clones showed up.  You get some Omega time, to get you a taste of being a subscriber, you get some PLEX so you can buy something in the cash shop, and you get a some cosmetics, something nice to wear and/or a ship SKIN.  Maybe there is an implant or a multiple character training cert, but that was about it.

Even the Starter Pack used to be mostly that.  It’s previous payload was:

  • 7 days of Omega, ensuring Double Training and many more benefits
  • 250,000 Skill Points, giving you a head start in skill training
  • Skill and Damage Booster (Cerebral Accelerator)
  • A stunning bundle of starter ship SKINs
  • Blood Raider apparel

For no doubt emotional reasons, 250K SP as part of the bundle wasn’t viewed as a betrayal by CCP.  That much was available via a friend referral.

However, CCP changed the Starter Pack so, as the screen shot above indicates, it includes:

  • 1,000,000 Skill Points
  • Skill and Damage Booster
  • A stunning bundle of starter ship SKINs
  • Blood Raider apparel

No more Omega time and 4x the skill points now.

And some people are quite angry about that change; specifically the move to handing out a million skill points.  That crossed an emotional barrier.  And I can see why.

In the three years since what I called the Mardi Gras Release in February of 2016, which brought Skill Extractors and Skill Injectors into the game, the whole skill point market has put a lot of players on edge as they have expected CCP to step over the line and start injecting skill points into the game for cash.

Skill Injectors have also been blamed, and not without merit, for ruining the game already, for specific definitions of “ruin.”

The intentions were, if not pure, at least not straight up evil as presented.  With a then 13 year old game based on the skill training queue, there was a large negative perception that new players could never “catch up,” could never be on an equal footing with those who started before them.

The long held vet opinion that this meant players had to learn the game and that newbies have a place in fleets in things tackle frigates and should work their way up the ladder the same way we did back in the day fell on deaf ears.  Nobody wants to be told to do it the hard way, they want to fly a titan today.

And with PLEX able to turn real world money into ISK and then with ISK able to buy Skill Injectors, anybody with enough cash could fly a titan today.  New players could catch up.  Problem solved.

Well, sort of.  The more likely scenario was this.

Iron Bank buys ALL THE SKILLS

More so than new player, old hands ended up buying Skill Injectors to boost up titan alts and now we have more titan pilots in the game than CCP ever imagined would be possible.

But this did not lead to a wide player revolt like Incarna for a couple of mitigating reasons.

First, you had always been able to buy characters in EVE Online, so technically you could buy your way into a titan pilot before, though getting the ISK was for it was a challenge.

Second, this was not introducing new skill points into the game.  All of the skill points would be extracted from the current player base.  In fact, because of the diminishing returns of Skill Injectors… somebody like me only gets 150K or the 500K skill points an injector contains… it was actually removing skill points from the game.

350K SP go to waste for me…

But most important was what the dev blog about Skill Injectors stated:

It’s very important to note here that this means all the skillpoints available to buy on the market in EVE will have originated on other characters where they were trained at the normal rate.  Player driven economies are key to EVE design and we want you to decide the value of traded skillpoints while we make sure there is one single mechanism that brings new skillpoints in to the system – training.

The mob was mollified, if still wary.

And then CCP started straight up selling skill points they injected into the game.

The daily Alpha Clone injector

This was the daily Alpha Clone injector, which came into the game back in November of 2017.  I thought surely this would be the breaking point, that the mob would come unglued and that there would be rioting in Jita and so forth.

But there wasn’t.  The Alpha Clone injector had just enough limitations to be mostly palatable, or at least not worth an insurrection.   Those limitations were:

  • Only one Daily Alpha Injector may be used per day, per character [not account] (resets at downtime)
  • May only be used by characters in the Alpha Clone State
  • Can be purchased in the NES for PLEX or purchased for your regions real money currency via secure.eveonline.com
  • Can be activated to immediately to add 50,000 skill points to your character’s unallocated skill pool (roughly one day worth of Omega training)
  • Can be traded on the in-game market
  • Does not award Omega Status

Still, the seal was broken, CCP was just injecting skill points into the game for cash.

I guess CCP had been generating them on occasion before, giving out skill points as compensation for game problems.  But the lid was well and truly off last November when they added in the login reward mechanism, and gave us some skill points just to test it out.

And then came the 16th anniversary where any Omega logging in for 16 days got ONE MILLION skill points.  At that point you could argue that CCP was just printing skill points for cash… cash via Omega subscriptions, but cash none the less.  CCP created skill points were now the norm.

Which brings us to today and the Starter Pack and the straight up “give me five dollars and I’ll give you a million skill points” deal.

Things have moved along incrementally.  If you have accepted everything CCP has done up to this point it is a tough be taken seriously if you argue that this is the breaking point, that CCP has gone beyond the pale, that CCP has broken faith with players, that the Pearl Abyss cash shop gold ammo power selling apocalypse is upon us, because we were practically there already.  Why didn’t you say something before?

And, Jin’taan’s unlikely work-around aside, you can only apply one Starter Pack per accoun., (Along with some other fresh restrictions, threw in only after people began to object loudly.)  So what is the big deal?

The flip side of that is how the incremental changes have continued on, which means that they will likely continue on going forward.

Today is it just the Starter Pack, which you can only use once per account.  But if that is okay, if we accept that, then how soon until skill points are part of the Meteor Pack or the Star Pack?  How soon until that $99 Galaxy Pack comes with a Skill Injector or three filled up with skill points CCP created just for that purpose?

That is not at all a stretch.  CCP has been close to this in the past.  They used to sell industry packs that came with Aurum, the old cash shop currency.  At one point Green Man Gaming was selling those for a dollar each (they were normally $10) and there was no limited per account.  So seeing that happen with skill points is very easy to imagine.  After all, CCP didn’t add them to the Starter Pack by accident.  Somebody thought that was a good idea, and nobody objected to it.  Somebody within CCP will always be looking for ways to boost revenue, and skill points are always going to be there as a temptation.  CCP edged back some when it got push back, but the company is certainly looking for that next step forward.

It is hard to stand up to any incremental change because it can be argued away as not being radically different from what you had accepted before.  But in the face of an ongoing march of incremental changes that set a pattern that appears to lead to an unhappy conclusion, it doesn’t seem exactly radical to reach a point where you can see the pattern and feel the need to push back on it.  At some point the frog realizes that boiling is in its future.

So I get why somebody like Manic Velocity, a passionate member of the community, has found his breaking point with this move. (I wonder what would have happened had he made it onto the CSM.)  It isn’t that the move is so radical, it is that it appears to be yet another step on the path towards a game we won’t like.  Sometimes you reach a point where you just can’t go along with it any more.

Most people won’t mind though.  Some people will complain.  On Reddit there will be threads about betrayal, predictions about the next steps, and calls for protest that will be ignored by the vast majority of the community.

I’m aware of the situation, but I am unlikely to walk away from the game.  I see the path being trod, but I am of a fatalist bent and cannot see CCP deviating far from that path as time goes forward.  We can perhaps slow their pace, but in the end they will get there.  CCP will continue on down this trail.  They pretty much have to.  The game isn’t growing, they have no other products, past attempts at other products have failed, so what is left?  Monetize harder!

Meanwhile, the retention rate of new players will remain weak.  I don’t think CCP is capable of addressing that, and I am skeptical that there is anything they could do in any case.  And as time goes forward the older player base will erode… from tiring of the game or from whatever outrage comes along… which will also hurt new player retention… until the population hits a tipping point and the economy starts to collapse.

Then there will be huge inflation as the endless ISK from NPC bounties chases the dwindling PLEX supply while the Jita market deflates otherwise as fewer and fewer players buy ships and modules and ammo and what not.

CCP will step into try and stabilize things.  They’ll hit NPC bounties hard, but that will just drive more players away by then.  They will setup NPCs to sell things again, putting an effective floor on the price of minerals the way shuttles used to, but driving out miners and industrialists.  Pockets of null sec that can maintain self-sufficiency will keep fighting, throwing excess titans at each other and dropping low power Keepstars with abandon as the PCU dwindles.  It will be hilarity, a Mad Max post-apocalyptic spaceship demolition derby, in the midst of tragedy.

The last gasp will be CCP putting out a fresh server so people can start anew.  That will be fun for a bit, but it will kill TQ and signal the beginning of the end.  CCP won’t change their ways and all the old problems will crop up, in weeks or months this time rather than years.  We have seen that in every retro server.  The go back in time only accelerate it.

Eventually a few old players will be sitting around chatting in local about what a great game it was.  What other online game let you do even half of what EVE Online did?  What a wild ride it was while it lasted. And then Sadus will remind us that WoW was the first MMO.

Or maybe it will all work out.  We’ll see.  Either way, CCP has a PLEX sale going, because of course they do.  It is the end of the fiscal quarter and CCP has to make Pearl Abyss happy with their numbers.

The Triglavian’s only known weakness: PLEX

Because if they don’t make Pearl Abyss happy… well… buy some PLEX today or we’ll be buying skill injectors and gold ammo tomorrow.

Other coverage:

Malcanis Picks Winners

We can’t win against obsession. They care, we don’t. They win.

-Ford Prefect, Life, The Universe, and Everything

There are a lot of words here, so I’ll get to the point up front.

TL;DR – If your conspiracy theory is more easily explained by Malcanis, your conspiracy theory is probably wrong.

There, saved you 3,000 words.  Also, don’t take this all too seriously.  This was very much a stream of consciousness “blast it out in one go” sort of post.  More so than usual even.  Of course, in saying that I know people will take this as seriously as suits them.  Such is the way of the internet.

Malcanis’ Law.

If you play multiplayer games… online multiplayer games… and you are not aware of Malcanis’ Law, then let’s correct that right now. Here is the most common version.

Whenever a mechanics change is proposed on behalf of new players, that change is always to the overwhelming advantage of richer, older players.

Examples of it show up all the time, especially when you consider that “older players” is a category that includes not just age but skill, experience, depth of knowledge, and even a commitment to a game and its mechanics well beyond any new player. It explains why game companies do not do certain things and why, when they do, they do not turn out as expected.

Like any such “law” it is a general statement and applies to trends in a population rather than specific individuals. New players, after all, do not remain new players forever. Well, some do, certainly. We’ve all seen them. But many become the rich(er) and older players who then become the beneficiaries of change. Others become former players, but that is another story. But the law continues to apply even as individuals move from one group to another.

Sometimes the exchange doesn’t seem so bad.  Sometimes you just let the vets have their thing just to get something to new players. Blizzard giving a level boost out with the expansion gets new players into the current content and up with the bulk of the player base, the latter probably being more important than the former. It doesn’t make a new player a good player or given them much in the way of special insight into the game or how to play their class, but at least they are likely to be in the same area as their friend.

A veteran player with a character boost will quickly have a potential new alt with all of the account-wide advantages and the knowledge and gold to make that character a winner quickly enough. That isn’t an overwhelming advantage… I think Malcanis overstates that in the law… but it is clearly an advantage.

If you want a more egregious example of the law, we need only look at skill injectors in EVE Online.

EVE long had a perceived problem with its skill training system. Since it runs in real time, there was no quick way to gain skills. You had to fill up your queue… or pick a skill regularly in the days before there was a queue… and wait. You could optimize a bit with attributes and implants, but in the end time had to pass.

This meant, as an example, that somebody who started in 2003 was always going to have more skill points than somebody who, like myself, started in 2006, so long as we both stayed subscribed and actively training. Thus one oft heard complaint was that new players could never catch up, and as the years went along the perceived gap between new players and veterans only grew.

The solution to this problem was the aforementioned skill injectors. Now a new player could… by spending real world cash on PLEX since they certainly hadn’t earned enough ISK in game to pay for it that way… catch up with veteran players. And I am sure a few did.

Mostly though it wast the rich getting more powerful as a result. We saw IronBank use their casino ISK to max out all possible skills. What happened more commonly was that rich players were able to bypass the nearly two year training cycle for a titan alt. That was likely a greater limiting factor on the number of titans in the game than anything else by the time skill injectors rolled around. That the Imperium was able to field nearly 500 titans for the final Keepstar battle at X47 was largely due to skill injected alts.

Basically, to avoid Malcanis you have to make changes that are so crappy or so innocuous that they don’t really impact new players or old.  Something like Alpha clone skill injectors you have to buy daily and which only boost you up to the point of Omega skill training speed, which no vet would likely bother with.  But since we already have regular skill injectors, why would they?  They’d have to unsubscribe and go Alpha for no reason.

LOL! Drink a pot noob!

The thing about Malcanis is that it works both directions. The corollary to the law might well be that any mechanics change that is proposed to limit or retard richer, older players will harm new players even more so. There was an example of this in EverQuest II. Back in EverQuest there were complaints in the forums about twinking. Yes, there were complaints in the SOE forums about almost everything you can imagine, but the company seemed to listen to this complaint.

Twinking is using your high level friends or alts to power up a low level character in order to speed up leveling. Back in the day in EverQuest this was pretty common, something inherited from its DikuMUD origins. Gear wasn’t bound to a character and had no level restrictions, though sometimes a proc would only work if you were above a certain level. I recall Ghoulbane, an undead smiting paladin sword, having a level limitation on its proc, though the sword itself could be wielded by a level 1 pally. And, likewise, high level buffs that gave huge boosts to stats and hit points were free to be applied to low level players.

When EQII rolled around SOE seemed to have gone way out of its way to close off twinking. Gear had level restrictions. Buffs were of very short duration, scaled down to low level players, and in some cases could only be applied to people in your group. There was a formula that dictated the maximum level range of players in your group, so players too low in level would not gain experience. And then there was the whole encounter locking aspect of things. Gone were the days of happily buffing low level players. The only thing they missed initially was bind on equip gear, which they fixed as soon as that started to kill the market for player created items.

And this created the usual divide. Sure, at launch the difference between new players and veterans was paper thin, but it was telling. People entered the veteran class by showing up with friends, forming a guild, and grouping up to play. A regular group was a ticket to success, especially since a lot of the content past the fields in front of the opposing cities of Qeynos and Freeport were heavily skewed towards group play, which caused the minor gap to become a major one past level 20 or so for a lot of players.

While SOE eventually reversed course on nearly everything I just mentioned, this somewhat overt hostility to solo play and helping anybody who wasn’t near your level and in your group was another nail in the coffin for EQII once solo-friendly WoW launched later in the same month. (Why solo was, and remains, important is a whole different topic that I might have to revisit.)

So when I hear people suggest that the Monthly Economic Report indicates that sovereignty fees or structures ought to cost more, I know who can afford any price increase:  The rich can.  Goons can.  Raising those prices would only harm smaller organizations and put a limit on the ability of newer organizations to enter null sec.  And that was what Fozzie Sov and increased population density was all about, giving those sorts of groups that opportunity.

Because, of course Malcanis extends itself beyond players to groups as well. As noted in the EQII example, a situation existed where being a part of a group gave an advantage and went far towards setting up the optics of the veteran/new player, rich/poor, winner/loser split.

Malcanis favors those ready to take advantage of change, which brings me back to EVE Online. Gevlon, who once swore he was done talking about the game, cannot let go and has recently been back on his “CCP picks winners” excuse for leaving the game. Well, there was that and the fact that CCP Falcon made fun of him, but that was so mild and of absolutely no consequence as to sound crazy as any sort of excuse.

Anyway, his note of late was that citadels were a gift to Goons, proof that CCP favors them over other groups in the game.  This was a change from his original position, that citadels were a gift to whoever ran the trade citadels in Perimeter, but the base angle remained.  It is, as always, a corrupt developer story (the corrupt developer career path being a thing in his world view), his usual fall-back to explain the world when it isn’t working out as predicted. (I can hardly wait to see the tale he weaves when lockboxes aren’t universally banned this year. I expect a lot of explaining about what he really meant and how the Netherlands are essentially the whole world so he really was right.)

From my point of view, which is from within the Imperium and thus on the side of Goons, this theory looks more than a bit off. Certainly anybody who spends any time in the GSF forums will start to get a sense of the institutional paranoia Goons have about CCP. While they may be Lowtax’s chosen people, they certainly do not feel like Hilmar’s favorites. Some of this is just paranoia I am sure, but the relationship between Goons and CCP has been peppered by enough events over the years, from the T20 scandal (one of the rare cases of actual developer corruption, but did not favor Goons) to the “No Sions” rule for the CSM a couple of year back.

I don’t buy into it myself. CCP seems ready to ignore input and inflict pain on all comers at times, but the downtrodden under dog origins of Goons seems so essential to their identity in game that I doubt it will ever go away. To merely survive against the odds you see stacked against you is to win, and to actually win in that situation can be transcendent, even if it is founded in a fiction.

Were citadels a gift to Goons? They sure didn’t look like it when the hit. The Citadel expansion went live in late April of 2016. And where was the Imperium living then? In the Quafe Company Warehouse station in Saranen. I mean, we still held much of Pure Blind, and Vale of the Silent was technically not lost yet, but that was all well on its way to being lost. Circle of Two had betrayed us and swapped sides, SpaceMonkeys Alliance was spent and left the coalition to recover (only to fold up shop), FCON headed out the door without bothering to stop in Saranen, RAZOR looked to be on its way out, and membership in the surviving alliances was in decline. Darius Johnson, having somehow been given possession of the original GoonSwarm alliance was calling for “true Goons” to come fly with him, an offer which found few takers but which was exploited for propaganda value.

The North – April 28, 2016

And in the midst of that, while we were living in a low sec station and undocking daily to take the fights we could manage, citadels showed up. Soon there were three Fortizars and an Astrahus on grid with the Quafe Factory Warehouse station, all hostile, while in 93PI-4 there was an enemy Keepstar anchored so the Moneybadger Coalition could dock up their supercapitals just on gate away from Saranen, from which they could drop on the near portions of Black Rise as well as covering Pure Blind.

That was a hell of a gift for somebody. It sure didn’t seem like it was addressed to us though.

The war was lost. We obstinately held on until June before calling it quits, after which we began the migration to Delve. There we had a region to conquer, though the weakness of the locals meant there wasn’t much of a barrier to entry. The only worry was if the Moneybadger Coalition would live up to their promise to keep us from ever forming up again. As it turned out, that was mostly empty talk. The new north was too busy settling into their new territory to bother and thus only made a few minor attempts to thwart us in Delve before giving up to fight amongst themselves.

At that point pretty much all of the major null sec changes were in place. The regions had been upgraded so there was no more “bad sov” to avoid. Any system could be made a ratting and mining paradise with the right upgrades. Fozzie sov was in place.  And citadels were now the new thing, allowing groups to setup stations wherever, with the Keepstar variety allowing supers to dock up, allowing those alts to escape their space coffins.

While we had to police Querious and Fountain to keep hostiles at bay as well as dealing with the dread bomb threat from NPC Delve, much of the months after taking Delve were relatively peaceful. We were not at war and we weren’t keen to get into another one having been soundly beaten. Instead, the institutional paranoia served us well as the coalition began to work to stockpile ships, material, and ISK to defend our space lest our foes unite and come after us once again.

But nobody did. PL and NCDot turned on TEST and CO2 and threw them out of the north, while the rest of the sov holding victors settled into their new northern fiefdoms. So the Goon drive to restore its power was mostly unchecked. Soon we had our own Keepstar, then two, then many. They were a part of the game and we were going to use them. KarmaFleet expanded to become an even more essential part of GSF as the long insular Goons sought to expand the levee en masse option that Brave Newbies had championed and that Pandemic Horde used so effectively during the war. Ratting and mining was deemed important, both to raise defense levels of systems and to feed the expanding war machine of Delve, so incentives were offered including, for a while, PAP links for mining and ratting fleets. You could fill your monthly participation quota by making ISK.

Then there was the Monthly Economic Report which, as Ayrth put it, became one of the Imperium’s best recruiting tools. Come get rich with us in Delve! We were not only getting rich, but we were living out the “farms and fields” idea that had long been proposed for null sec. If you lived in your space you benefited. If you just held it but lived elsewhere you did not.

And yes, this is all a dramatic over simplification told from my own point of view, omitting various details, both pertinent and not. But the overall point survives even if you tell it from a completely Moneybadger perspective, call it World War Bee, and emphasize the failings of the losers.  The Imperium lost the war and won the peace.  That’s what the Monthly Economic Report tells me.

As an organization the Imperium was both prepared and motivated to adapt to the changes in the game and to take advantage of them in ways that almost no other null sec entity was. When external casinos were cut off as a source of wealth in the game, did those who depended on them change their ways? Last year, when moon mining went from a passive activity to the new active collection method now in place, how many other groups adapted as well?

The only old school revenue method left is rental space, which I am told NCDot does very well by. The lack of bad sov anymore means their rental base can be smaller… once a huge swathe of null sec… yet viable.

But overall Goons adapted to the changes, and worked very hard at it along the way, while other groups did not. So if you are putting forward the proposition that CCP picks winners, that they have chosen Goons to win EVE Online, whatever that means, it is pretty much on you to explain what CCP should have or could have done differently that would have changed the outcome.

  • Did Fozzie sov changes favor Goons? It sure doesn’t look like it.
  • Did null sec density changes favor Goons? They didn’t save us during the Casino War.
  • Did citadels favor Goons over others? Just saying it doesn’t make it so, you have to prove that their lack would have changed something.  Otherwise no.
  • Did removing casino wealth favor Goons over others?  Only over the groups that depended on it. Who will raise their hand and claim to be in one of those?
  • Did moon mining changes favor Goons? It seemed like we were doing fine mining moons the old fashioned way.  Goons had to change like everybody else.

That is four negatives and a semi-sorta for specific entities.

In the end, saying that CCP favors Goons sounds a lot like an excuse for those who would not put in the work and adapt to changes. But I guess “Well sure they won, they took advantage of the changes!” doesn’t sound as good.

Basically, it is all on Malcanis here.  The group willing and able to take advantage of the changes rather unsurprisingly came out on top.  That is what the rule always sums up to in the end.

And now there is a new war in the north and the Imperium is spending its accumulated wealth and putting hundreds of titans on the field.  Keepstars are dying and the combined losses overall reach into the trillions of ISK.  We’re throwing ISK and resources onto the fire of war.  I don’t know if we’re going to end up like the Serenity server in the end, where one group emerges as so dominant that null sec is effectively over.  But if EVE is dying at last, it won’t be because CCP picked the winner.

Follow on thoughts:

  • It would also be very much against CCP’s best interest for them to pick a winner, so why would they?
  • Not picking specific winners is different from not favoring specific play styles.  CCP’s vision is clearly that null sec is the end game and other areas suffer for it.
  • Null sec coalitions are inevitable.  There will always be a blue donut.  While there were a bunch of new groups in null with Fozzie Sov, eventually everybody had to find allies to survive.
  • While I poke at the Moneybadger Coalition for not following the Imperium to Delve to keep them down, it is remarkably difficult to suppress a group that otherwise holds together.  I am not sure it can actually be done.  Lots of groups have suffered catastrophic setbacks and returned to be a power.  Some examples of this are the Goons in the Great War, TEST after the Fountain War,  and CO2 after The Judge betrayed them and GigX was banned.
  • Real world analogies, especially WWII analogies, are always wrong.  New Eden isn’t the real world.  We don’t live there and, more importantly, we don’t die there.  We respawn and carry on.
  • If your comment on this post immediately jumps into RMT… then welcome back Dinsdale.  Haven’t seen you for a while.
  • If “Winning EVE” is leaving the game behind, is quitting and being unable to let go actually “Losing EVE?”

New Skill Injectors for Those on an ISK or Skill Point Budget

In addition to the announcement earlier about new PLEX being paid out to those remaining holders of Aurum, today also brings a new type of skill injector to New Eden.

With today’s update (I’m a bit surprised CCP didn’t hold this for the YC119.6 update, but sometimes you undock as soon as you’re ready to go I guess) there will be two flavors of skill injectors/extractors on the market.

Things capsuleers do to themselves…

The previously existing injectors, which hold 500,000 skill points will now be prefaced with the word “Large,” while a new set of injectors/extractors will be available today with the word “Small” up front.  These new small units will work pretty much the same as the old injectors, they will just do so in increments of 100,000 skill points.

As with the original extractors the amount of skill points delivered will depend on how many skill points your character already has.

For Small injectors:

  • For characters with less than 5mil SP:  100k SP
  • For characters with 5mil – 50mil SP:  80k SP
  • For characters with 50mil – 80mil SP:   60k SP
  • For characters with more than 80mil SP:   30k SP

For Large injectors:

  • For characters with less than 5mil SP:  500k SP
  • For characters with 5mil – 50mil SP:  400k SP
  • For characters with 50mil – 80mil SP:   300k SP
  • For characters with more than 80mil SP:   150k SP

Of course, skill injectors have been around for a while.  They went in with the YC118.2 update on Mardi Gras last year and there was immediate activity. as well as the usual comedy and abuse and commentary in the community.  At Fanfest this year CCP gave us a peek at how popular the skill trading, as they refer to it, really was.

Skill trading stats as of Fanfest 2017

There is something telling in those most extracted/injected skills.

For me, with the characters I use well over 80 million skill points, injectors seem like a waste of ISK.  I continue to skill up the old fashioned way, by simply waiting.  But I have an alt who, when he isn’t training a skill he needs, just trains up skill points to extract, something that has provided a decent income.  I sold an injector in Jita on Sunday for 740 million ISK which, less the price of the extractor (I bought a pile of those when there was a bit of a glut on the market) netted me some spending money for other things.

Now we will have both large and small injectors on the market.  Price wise, large injectors should be five times the price of small injectors, so small injectors ought to show up somewhere between 140 and 150 million ISK, if the price of large injectors holds stable.

But will there be demand for smaller injectors?  All things equal, one large is the same as five small and the prices should be locked together by the 5 to 1 ratio in Jita.  However, markets are not always logical, at least not in the short term.   If 100K skill points isn’t as desirable as 500K, will the new injectors end up being a drag on the price?  We shall see as time rolls on.

A Few Slides from the Fanfest EVE Online Keynote

EVE Fanfest kicked off in Iceland yesterday and included the EVE Online keynote.

Fanfest 2017

Some of the keynote was spent reviewing what happened over the last year… or year and a bit in one case… with some statistics.  And I love statistics so, since I happened to be home and able to watch the keynote, I grabbed screen shots of some of the slides with numbers to share and have to hand to compare against any future updates.

Citadels

Citadel stats as of Fanfest 2017

Citadel stats are something where I have a previous count from EVE Vegas 2016, which happened at the end of October last year, so we can see how that has progressed:

Deployed:

  • Astrahus 14,322, up 7,632 since Vegas
  • Fortizar 1,772, up 1,025 since Vegas
  • Keepstar 38 , up 24 since Vegas

So the count for all citadel types have doubled since the end of October 2016.

Destroyed:

  • Astrahus 2,353
  • Fortizar 270
  • Keepstar 4

Engineering Complexes

Engineering Complex stats as of Fanfest 2017

Engineering complexes came in with the Ascension expansion on November 15 of last year, taking over production abilities from the old school Player Owned Starbase, or POS.  In the less than five months since then they have sprung up all over.

Deployed:

  • Raitaru 5,522
  • Azbel 875
  • Sotiyo 123

Destroyed:

  • Raitaru 471
  • Azbel 72
  • Sotiyo 4

Alpha Clones

Alpha clone stats as of Fanfest 2017

Alpha clones, the limited “free” option for EVE Online, was the big feature that came in with the Ascension expansion last November, and they have popped up all over.

Alpha Clone Stats:

  • Ships Lost 1,217,366
  • Final Blows Landed 40,941
  • Ships Destroyed by Alpha Fleets 32,065
  • Ship Manufacturing Jobs 228,342
  • Module Manufacturing Jobs 580,657
  • Market Transactions 33,377,966

Those numbers would be more interesting if we knew what percentage of the total of New Eden they represented.  But Alpha clones are out there.

Fighters

Fighter stats as of Fanfest 2017

The coming of the Citadel expansion in late April of 2016 not only brought new structures to New Eden, but also force auxiliary capital ships and changes to carriers and super carriers.  Rather than drones and old-style fighters, they would use a new type of fighter.

Produced:

  • Heavy 5,686,882
  • Light 4,104,542
  • Support 355,939

Destroyed:

  • Heavy 10,419
  • Light 205,112
  • Support 11,286

Of course, I wonder how many fighters have been lost ratting as opposed to PvP.

Skill Trading

Skill trading stats as of Fanfest 2017

Skill trading, skill injectors, and skill extractors came along in February of last year as part of what I called the Mardi Gras release, since it fell on fat Tuesday.

  • Skill Extractors Used 2,227,528
  • Skill Injectors Used 2,198,120
  • Skill Points Extracted 1,113,764,000,000
  • Skill Points Injected 832,396,750,000
  • Most Extracted Skill – Mining Barge
  • Most Injected Skill – Drone Interfacing

So there are/were 29,408 skill injectors on the loose or on the market representing 14,704,000,000 extracted skill points.  Of course, the one stat I really want is how many skill points disappeared because somebody took a 500K SP injector and only got a 150K SP boost.

Battles

CCP also highlighted three large battles that took place over the last year.  Last Fanfest took place during the Casino War, but any large scale battles from that had already occurred and we were in the midst of the three months of skirmishes before the Imperium moved south to Delve.  However, all three of those battles can be seen as fallout from the Casino War and all involved Circle of Two and citadels.

Conflict with Neighbors

The Battle at Oijanen in November of last year was over a Project Mayhem Astrahus and saw the Drone Region Federation lined up against alliances from the north including CO2 and TEST.

Death of a Keepstar

The final battle around the CO2 Keepstar in M-OEE8 in December was the culmination of the invasion of Tribute by Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion.  Once the Keepstar was destroyed, CO2 and their ally TEST evacuated the north to look for greener pastures.  I was there for this battle.

Two Fortizars coming online

The battle at F4R2-Q in January was the other side of the coin from the battle at M-OEE8, as it represented CO2 and TEST attempting to grab new territory in null sec from the Stainwagon coalition.  The battle itself was sparked by two Fortizars coming online, one for CO2 and one for TEST, that would give them a foothold in the Catch region.  While they lost both Fortizars, Stainwagon resistance crumbled and the alliances have taken over much of their old space.

I was also there for this battle which will be remembered as the one where we managed to get Asher to give us 10 participation links, something he has vowed never to do again.

Anyway, those were the review slides that held statistical or historical interest for me.

Skill Injectors, Meet Experience Injectors

I believe that whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes youstranger

-The Joker, The Dark Knight

Daybreak Week continues here at TAGN as the company continues to cough up good news to counteract last Friday’s announcement.  (Though not all of the news this week is good.) This time it is on the EverQuest II front, though there is a bit of an EVE Online theme mixed in, as the title suggests.

There was a live stream earlier this week by the legacy Norrath team that listed out all the things they have planned for Game Update 100.  Feldon at EQ2 Wire has it all summed up nicely, and I will say that it is a ton of stuff.  As Bhagpuss noted, there was enough stuff on the list that it would count as an expansion for some other MMORPGs… though since you have to be a Daybreak All Access subscriber to get some of the new stuff, maybe the line between updates and expansions isn’t colored in as thickly as you might imagine.

Of course, some bits are making people cranky.  The fact that the team is re-using some old zones to host new content is being unfairly dismissed by a few in the comment thread.  Personally, I am a huge fan of that idea.  For example, they are using one of my favorite mid-level zones from the original release, Zek, the Orcish Wastes, to host a new story in what will be called Zek — the Scourged Wastes.

The Outpost?

The Outpost where Zek starts

I love this.  It is a great zone, but it is a level 30 zone in a game where the cap is level 100 now and the rate at which players level is so fast now that you’ve level out of the zone long before you’ve finished the main quest line.  So it seems right to re-use this landscape for another story line, complete with new orc models, while the old version remains in place.

Again, I am a big fan of the idea, and this isn’t the only zone they are going to use.  The landscape artists are no doubt busying working on new zones for this year’s expansion, so this gives the team a way to deliver some new content without an impact on that time line.

There are a number of other items listed out for the update, but aside from the content based on reusing zones, there was just one that leaped out at me.  This one:

XP Vials

Adding a new system called an XP Vial where you can Siphon your excess XP into an XP Vial which you can sell to other players on the broker or transfer to alts. You can claim a bunch at a time. It is a tradeable item. Empty XP Vials must be purchased from the Marketplace. Combat XP only.

Where have I heard about this sort of thing before?

Oh yeah, back in February, with what I called the Madi Gras release, CCP introduced its skill point trading system, wherein players could remove skill points from one character via a skill extractor and sell them on the market, allowing other players to buy and inject the skill points into their own character.

For lore reasons this may hurt a bit...

For lore reasons this may hurt a bit…

This set the market aflame in New Eden, with skill related transactions making a lot of people pretty wealthy.  The traditional method of advancement, basically time, was unglued from reality and the character bazaar was suddenly a place to harvest skill points as opposed to buying a character with the skills you needed.  A skill point from Fleet Commander V is the same as a skill point from Caldari Frigate I when it is in a skill injector.

In fleets people were talking for weeks about injecting skills to fly new ships.  I know people in-game who have a million skill points injected and unallocated, set aside in case they need to learn a new skill quickly.  And, of course, there was the character that was boosted up to have all the skills, using up 1.8 trillion ISK in injectors.

Also showing off with that wallet balance

Also showing off with that wallet balance

This idea is coming to EverQuest II.

Not that this is the first time SOE/Daybreak has taken an idea from EVE Online.  PLEX was without a doubt the inspiration for Krono, which plays a similar role in the markets of EverQuest and EverQuest II.

All About Krono

All About Krono back in 2012

But, while Krono sort of works in Norrath… the market isn’t as brisk as in New Eden, it is divided up across multiple servers, and in a game you can play much of for free there isn’t as much incentive to use them… I do wonder how Experience Vials are going to work out.

To start with, there is the stark difference between skill points in EVE Online and Experience Points in traditional MMORPGs, mostly because EVE doesn’t have something as straightforward as levels..  People often conflate the two, mistaking skill points for a form of experience.  Aside from the fact that you earn skill points even when logged off, skill points have always stuck me as more of a skill tree/specialization system of sorts, where you choose the shape of your character’s knowledge, rather than something as linear as simple level advancement.  There are a lot of parallel paths for skill points.

And those paths are deep.  Iron Bank up there with his 474 million SP represents more than 20 years of continuous training, at a decent 2,500 SP/hr rate, in order to get all the skills full trained.

Compare that to the effort required to get a character in your standard MMORPG up to the current level cap.  Barring the sort of meandering efforts I have been prone to at times, that is a time frame where years don’t really enter into it.  We are talking about efforts best measured in days or weeks for most of us, or maybe hours when talking about those intent on the goal.

So the potential market doesn’t seem to be nearly as vast, while the ability to generate experience to be extracted into vials seems ripe for optimization.

Then add in the fact that you can simply buy a level 90 character for Daybreak Bucks, or whatever the micro-currency is called these days, and it doesn’t seem like there would be sufficient demand.

And to top that off, it is just combat experience, at least initially.  If you could extract for AA experience or, even better, crafting experience, I could see at least a somewhat expanded market.  I would be tempted to buy some crafting experience at times.

All in all, the Experience Vial thing feels like one of those classic SOE, “Don’t think about it, just do it!” moments we’ve all grown used to over the years.  I will be interested to see how this turns out and who will end up being the market for these vials.

If you are interesting in seeing the EQII GU100 live stream, it is now up on YouTube.

Further Anecdotes from the Skill Injector Front in New Eden

It has only been a week since the Madi Gras release, when skill injectors/skill extractors hit EVE Online, and already we have some of the usual stories.

My view on skill injectors was that they were perhaps a necessary evil in a game where skill advancement is a function of time subscribed.  You can argue as to whether new players really need to be able to “catch up” or if they should build up their skills the old fashioned way… by waiting… so that they grow into their abilities, but after more than a decade sometimes that skill point wall can seem pretty damn huge.

For lore reasons this may hurt a bit...

For lore reasons this may hurt a bit…

However I forgot one of the iron rules of MMOs in general, and of EVE Online in particular.  That rule says that there is almost nothing you can do to a game to help lift up new players that won’t benefit older players even more so.

And so it goes.

First we had the tales of Spaceman and Stromgren, alluded to over at TMC, who used skill injectors to get to the top of the skill points chart over at EVE Board, a site that lets you track and compare characters that register with the site and which is used as an adjunct to the character bazaar, so you can display what you’re selling or see what you’re buying.

Spaceman, a 2003 character, went for the “just a bit better” route to top the previous champion, and also of 2003 vintage, Dr Caymus.  Then Stromgren, a character also dating from 2003, decided to go for a decisive lead.

Neither of them stayed at the top of the list long when, as noted over at EN24, the gambling site I Want ISK took a brand new character named IronBank, created on February 11th of this year, and decided to learn all the skills available in the game.  That character had an average skill points per hour rate of 4,441,578.9 as I started writing this and has apparently “won” EVE Online or some such.

Also showing off with that wallet balance

Also showing off with that wallet balance

That leaves the skill point leader board at EVE Board looking like this for the moment:

Top 5 highest skill Points

  1. IronBank (473,344,000)
  2. Stromgren (400,795,578)
  3. Spaceman (291,817,863)
  4. Dr Caymus (291,375,384)
  5. Shaleen (278,343,002)

All of which goes to prove that nothing now stands in your way of getting the skills you want, or even all the skills available, if you have enough cash.  The total spent on IronBank was calculated at 1.8 trillion ISK, which if you acquired through the purchase of PLEX via real world money, would total up to something like $25,000. (You can see where I stand in the rankings.)

The secondary lesson is, of course, that if you make a leader board of some sort, somebody will try to get to the top of it for no other reason beyond being number one on that leader board.  Whee, internet fame!

Meanwhile, in the land of less ambitious immortals… for through the miracle of cybernetics and infomorph psychology all capsuleers are effectively immortal… skill injectors are now the answer to all problems.  Can’t fly a ship, new doctrine requirements got you down, want to fly something new without all of that waiting around, then skill injectors can help you out.  I have heard a fair share of comments in fleets over the last week about pilots boosting up to a skill they wanted via injectors or people being admonished to inject to be able to fly a given fit.

Which is fine I suppose, provided you have the ISK to buy them skill injectors.  If you’re setup to AFK carrier rat for hours on end our in a quiet null sec system, you can afford some.  If you are a new player… well, I have seen some injector hand outs for new bros and such.  But you’re unlikely to be able to afford an injector on your own… unless you go buy some PLEX.  And PLEX is moving pretty well since the introduction of skill trading.  So I am sure that, from the CCP end of things, this new feature is looking pretty good.

But I have a hard time seeing this as anything but the rich… those rich in ISK and skill points… simply getting richer while the average low skill point player continues to grind on.

I am also sort of surprised at how many people with more than 80 million skill points are willing to buy and use injectors at only 150,000 skill points a shot.  That is about three days of training.  For the 650 million ISK price I’ll just wait the three days.  But I am a notorious cheapskate, and also not a fan of waste.  Watching 350,000 skill points disappears doesn’t make me happy.

  • < 5 million total skill points = 500,000 skill points per injector
  • 5 million – 50 million total skill points = 400,000 skill points per injector
  • 50 million – 80 million total skill points = 300,000 skill points per injector
  • > 80 million skill points = 150,000 skill points per injector

I will be interested to see if CCP gets together some data on the whole skill trading scheme.  I’d like to hear how many skill injectors went into pilots in the various skill point ranges… and how many skill points disappeared from the game due to the built-in wastage.  How much did it off-set normal training?

Of course, I suspect if the data shows the whole thing ended up as a case of the rich getting richer that we won’t hear much about it.

Others still commenting on Skill Trading:

 

 

First Night of Skill Point Trading in Jita

It was fast times in Jita last night as a mass of traders, speculators, scammers, and other interested parties descended on what one might call the Commonland’s Tunnel of New Eden, the economic capital of the game.  A record number of players were in the system, thanks in large part to the fact that the Brain in a Box feature, which came in back with the Parallax update last November (which was also the last named update in Syndicate), let CCP increase the hard cap they  have on the system to 5,000 players.

So there was room for more.

Still, ~3,600 pilots in the system is a lot of people.  At 6VDT-H, still the biggest battle in EVE history, we topped 4,000, but that was a special occasion and the system was heavily reinforced by CCP and we still ended up with time dilation so bad that the UI simply wouldn’t respond for extended periods of time.  But then, we were also shooting at each other too.

Anyway, lots of people were in the system, and they were there for skill trading, which went live with yesterday’s update.

That is 30 billion skill points extracted by 21:00 EVE time yesterday.  That is a lot of extractors purchased and used, considering each one only grabs half a million skill points. 16 billion skill points were applied with a reported wastage of 5 billion skill points… 10,000 skill extractors worth of skill points gone missing.

Of course, that was 60,000 skill extractors obtained through various means yesterday as well.  Since you have to buy them via Aurum, which somebody has to purchase through a straight up cash transaction at some point, it looks like something of an immediate, if minor, economic victory for CCP.

I can remember it for you retail...

You can even buy they for cash directly…

Of course, I had to log in and take a peek.  I had my alt sitting in Jita and when I logged in CCP was night enough to let me know right away that skill point injectors were available and how many skill points I could add to my character with each one.  However, since he is past the 110 million SP mark, that wasn’t very much per injector.

350K SP go to waste for me...

350K SP go to waste for me…

I also saw the scam du jour in Jita local, which was to offer a contract allegedly for a skill injector at 50 million under the current market price when, in fact, the contract was for a a skill extractor, hoping some anxious buyer looking for a bargain wouldn’t notice the difference until it was too late.  One can learn many lessons about unscrupulous behavior in Jita local.

The market price for skill injectors in Jita last night was up above 650 million ISK per, with plenty listed on the market.

Injectors on Feb. 10 ~05:00 EVE time

Injectors on Feb. 10 ~05:00 EVE time

Skill extractors were running at about 300 million ISK per unit at the same time.

Extractors on Feb. 10 ~05:00 EVE time

Extractors on Feb. 10 ~05:00 EVE time

So, at that moment at least, 500,000 skill points looked to be worth about 350 million ISK after costs.

Of course, this was the first night and the market was flooded with excess inventory, fresh demand, and a full of people trying to figure out how to make some ISK out of the whole deal.  Gevlon reported making 350 billion ISK yesterday on skill sales and extractor arbitrage  How the market will look in a week, a month, or a year may change, but last night was the crazy time.

JonnyPew emptied out a 121 million SP character to boost his main from 7 million to 80 million SP, letting 41 million SP disappear forever.  Some people do things just to say they have done them.

Noizy reported that PLEX sales in the first six hours of the day were way up and suspects that yesterday might have been a record day for sales overall.  The price of PLEX itself was up to the 1.3 billion ISK mark, making my six year old stock screen shot of PLEX on the market even more comically out of date.

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

If you had bought at this price in late 2009 you would have made a billion ISK

As for me, I neither extracted nor injected, I just watched the whole thing for a bit before going off to read a book.

Some day, if I need to boost up a cyno alt quickly or some such, I might buy an injector.  But for the moment I have no skill points I consider excess on either alt or main and both have so many skill points already that they are far end of the diminishing returns.  They can train an injector’s worth of skill points… 150K for either of them… in a little over three days, so I’ll just do it the old fashioned way.

EVE Online and the Mardi Gras 2016 Release

CCP has given up on naming their seemingly now monthly releases (though I think YC 118.2 might be an option), but that doesn’t mean I can’t give them names myself.  Happy Mardi Gras 2016 release!  Laissez les bon temps roulez, such that they are.

Anyway, the baby in CCP’s king cake today is likely a skill point extractor, as that is the big thing coming with today’s drop.  CCP riled up Noizy by doing their first reveal on Twitter, but they were also having some logon issues, so maybe that went out prematurely.  In any case, they followed up in the manner to which we have become accustomed and put out a Dev Blog-like post on the prices and the various methods by which you may obtain skill extractors.

Skill Extractors - Base Price

Skill Extractors – Base Price

If you want to skip the Aurum or ISK route and aren’t interested in the bonus extractors with subscriptions and what not, there is also a straight up cash price for them as well.

I can remember it for you retail...

I can remember it for you retail…

And, as is the way of things, all the essential information is spread out over three sources.  So in addition to the above post, you need to look at the Skill Trading Dev Blog and the Release Notes for today’s update.  The release notes give the most conscience round up as to how things work, including a short list of skills which may not be extracted.

While I am still not sure how I feel about the whole skill stripping thing, as with so much in the game these days it seems like a lot of complications for a limited amount of benefit, I am, as always, fascinated to see how this plays out.

The eventual pricing for skill injectors, once things settle down, seems to be contentious, with Noizy calling 300 million ISK a floor for the pricing (with a final price estimate of 720-750 million ISK per based on the injector pricing post) while Gevlon has declared that the ceiling price.

We shall see how that plays out.

Other than that, there are just small items in the release notes.

Wrecks, which uniformly had 500 hit points, will now have hit points based on the size of the ship which the wreck represents.  This is the new break down:

  • Frigate, Rookie Ship, Shuttle, Small NPC: 700 hp
  • Destroyer: 1000 hp
  • Cruiser, Mining Barge, Medium NPC, Generic NPC: 1500 hp
  • Battlecruiser, Industrial: 2500 hp
  • Battleship, Large NPC, Officer NPC: 3500 hp
  • Carrier, Dread, Rorqual, Orca, Freighter: 15000 hp
  • Supercarrier, NPC Supercarrier: 25000 hp
  • Titan: 30000 hp

If nothing else, nobody will be popping a titan wreck before it has been looted on accident.  I wonder how much extra ammo will be expended destroying wrecks now, something occasionally done to deny the enemy loot.  Somebody call CCP Quant.

Strategic Cruisers have been given the Pabst Blue Ribbon (Physical Based Rendering) treatment, so they will now look a little different… expect shiny gold trim on your pimp Legion now… display kill marks and may some day be eligible for SKINs.

T3s and cheap beer do mix...

T3s and cheap beer do mix…

Deep down in the list of user interface tweaks is a notice that the beta camera is now an opt-out option.  If you want to stick with the old, reliable, and slightly boring camera view we have grown used to over the years you will have to find that option in the setting.  Otherwise you will be using the new camera when you log in today.  If you want to use the new camera, there is a dev blog about that.

And there are some new skills on the market for the upcoming FAX machines (Force Auxiliary capital ships) and the fighters which carriers will use when the big capital ship change up comes in the spring.

There are a bunch of the usual tweaks and fixes in the Release Notes (and not much at all on the now somewhat neglected Updates page) but those are the things that mean something to me.  Well, all that and the usual musical number, the hallmark of every update.