I logged onto the Test Server and gave it a try. Here are my initial impressions.
good stuff, people will like it
why does CCP hate the Porpoise?
The Rorqual has a few new capabilities:
Bridge mining ships like a titan can do
Conduit Jump mining ships like a black ops battleship can do
Jump or Bridge to an Industrial Cyno Beacon
The basics of these capabilities was first noticed in hoboleaks last year and discussed in various Dev Team chats since.
A huge change is allowing the Rorqual to jump and bridge to Industrial Cyno Beacons. This has been requested often in the past and will be of real help in not just mining ops, but in the thankless world of logistics where this improvement makes space work a little less painful. A cargohold rigged Rorqual is still way limited compared to a Jump Freighter, but it does give the Rorqual a bit more utility and get them into space more.
The basic operation of bridging is basically the same as titans and black ops battleships. Right-clicking on the Rorqual shows the Jump option.
Again, the conduit jump mechanic is almost exactly the same as the black ops battleships, except it works on mining ships instead of covert ops.
The opportunities for organized mining fleets and other hijinks will allow simpler group activity to get rolling and more people into space.
The one drawback to the current design in that Orcas and Porpoises are excluded from the bridge and conduit jump features.
While it can be understandable that the Orca is excluded since is a capital ship (kinda) and has moon ore compression capability, there is no reasonable excuse as to why the Porpoise is excluded. The Dev Blog dances around this in a non-answer of basically, “If we let the Porpoise use the bridge, the big brother Orca will have it’s feelings hurt.”
It’s clear that the design intent is to get Rorquals into space by any means to provide targets for the poor, underserved whaling community and that by excluding Orca & Porpoises, pilots will blindly put their Rorquals into harm’s way.
But EVE pilots always route around poor design and will simply put a Porpoise in the Rorqual Ship Maintenance Bay, jump into the target system and have the Porpoise pilot in a Venture come along. Once landed, the pilot simply swaps ships and gets the Porpoise into space.
Again, the players are going to get the Porpoise on field, despite the Dev Team’s concepts, just adding a little more headache to the game for no real effect.
Just let the Porpoise take the bridge/jump.
No need for more weaponized inconvenience.
Industrial ships for hauling are also excluded, which is not horrible, but again runs into conflict with previous design changes. CCP made a big point to mention that they expanded the capacity of jetcans to make players happy. Yet jetcan mining has industrial haulers as a key part of the process. But with this new capability, they are excluded. Why? What is the thought process here?
As usual, players will work around this by either bringing hauling ships in the SMA or cargo depositing packaged ships & fittings into structures to be fit on site and used. This is just more inconvenience for an unknown purpose.
And that’s just the tricks I came up solo on the first evening. Once the EVE hive mind really gets up to speed I’m sure other options will pop up and be put into use. I’m sure someone will figure out a way to put the Clone Vat Bay into use in some combination with alts to optimize some of these roadblocks.
The build cost is probably somewhere around 400 million ISK, which is in line with other capital modules of high utility. I expect the blueprint to be quite costly. With the capital compressor module blueprints well over a billion ISK each, the Industrial Jump Portal will probably between the titan jump portal blueprint cost (481 million ISK) and a billion ISK.
Overall, this is a welcome improvement the game and should lead to increased group activity and hopefully some emergent gameplay shenanigans.
The Dev Team is trying to bring some new opportunities into the game and this will create some interesting situations, which is what players are looking for.
I hope the exclusion of the Porpoise will be reconsidered, as it really wouldn’t create any issues. Unless the Dev Team fears a new aggressive fleet doctrine of Battle Porps, which I would argue would be a VERY GOOD THING for EVE.
P.S. Reinforced Carbon Fiber and Pressurized Oxidizers are Composite Materials not Intermediate Materials and deserve their own unique artwork.
CCP released the Road to Fanfest Dev Blog this week after an informative livestream. A good dump of info across a range of topics that players have been vocal about recently. Some significant changes to battleships and resistance modules are on the way, but I will leave commentary to those that know what they are talking about like Ashy on Bolstered Bulkheads.
And no, I have no idea about why combat around Customs Offices is a focus. IDGI
I have now spent some time on the test server with the new mechanics and did my best to grok the Masterplan. This is a brief discussion of what I saw and my thoughts.
The new compression mechanic is good and a welcome change.
Previous complexity is reduced, but still some weirdness around Mercoxit for unknown reasons.
Compressed ore quantity change (from 100:1 to 1:1) will take time to become familiar.
The UI and bugs in the new system need more work before release.
How compression works
The addition of Compressor high slot modules creates the equivalent of compression Command Boosts. Unlike other Command Burst modules, they do not use interchangeable charges and are entire modules that must be swapped out to change functionality.
There are five types of compressors: Asteroid, Ice, Gas, Moon Ore, and Mercoxit. The first four make sense, but I don’t understand why Mercoxit requires it’s own module, other than creating some extra headache. Perhaps, long ago when Tech 2 industry was released, a clear separation of Mercoxit mining was needed, but we are way past this. Kinda feels like some weird stalker behavior, obsessed with an old celebrity that is no longer a real celebrity anymore.
To start compression, you need to activate the Industrial Core module. There are Indy Core modules of various sizes for the Rorqual, Orca, and Porpoise. Once the Indy Core is running, you can activate the compressor modules. The compressor cycle is one minute, during which any ship in range and in fleet can compress ore while in space.
The ship compressing cannot be on tether. I just locked the Rorqual/Orca/Porpoise during testing. Compressing while mining makes this a non-issue.
The UI is a bit clunky. A window pops up, you click confirm, and then is sits there until you close it. It’s kinda like the reprocessing window, but like a bizzarro world version, as it offers no additional information or usefulness.
But it works! The stuff gets compressed and that makes life just a little easier for moving materials to markets and industrial use. Kudos for this improvement.
Part of the change is to the ratios of compression and the idea that compressed materials will be 1:1 with uncompressed materials.
Asteroid and Moon Ore will be compressed across the board 100:1 in volume. Ice and Gas will be compressed across the board 10:1 in volume. Simple and understandable.
A little more complicated is the change to how compressed materials are represented in game.
In the past, if you had 100 units of something like Veldspar is would be compressed into 1 unit of Compressed Veldspar. Going forward, it will be 1:1, meaning 100 units of Veldspar becomes 100 units of Compressed Veldspar.
This is a wee bit confusing and complicated enough that CCP is literally deprecating all previously compressed ore as “Obsolete” and making a whole new typeid for nu-compressed ore. You can hear the wailing of spreadsheets and online tools in the distance.
Remember with the units of compressed materials not being a ratio anymore, the math is a bit more complicated when you compare old versus new. It requires division, multiplication’s tricky friend.
A few examples:
100 units of Veldspar (10 m3) = 1 unit of Obsolete Compressed Veldspar (0.15 m3) = 100 units of nu-Compressed Veldspar (0.1 m3)
In this case, the compressed volume in now smaller than before. (This is a good thing)
100 units of Mercoxit (4000 m3) = 1 unit of Obsolete Compressed Mercoxit (0.1 m3) = 100 units of nu-Compressed Mercoxit (40 m3)
100 units of Jaspet (200 m3) = 1 unit of Obsolete Compressed Jaspet (0.2 m3) = 100 units of nu-Compressed Jaspet (15 m3)
But for these and a few other items, the compressed volume is now larger.
I don’t believe this is game breaking, but there will be some noise about this. In some uses, the nu-compression will make logistics harder with some compressed ores being larger than previously.
Once the gas has been compressed, it must be decompressed back into usable gas. There is loss in this step. Players are used to a similar loss when all types of ore and ice are reprocessed into materials, but gases are used directly in their gathered state.
Players have the choice to haul gas uncompressed and avoid loss, or compress and then take some loss when decompressing. This lines up with other resources, but there is likely to be some gnashing of teeth over this.
The decompression UI is still in an Alpha state (I hope!), but will likely be improved to match the usefulness of the reprocessing window.
I did see a little strangeness when trying to compress multiple types. Using a ship with all the Compressor modules running, a ship in fleet was unable to compress all the materials. I tested several times, and there appears to be some bug when running multiple compressors
Seems likely that people will only fit the needed compressor modules for the specific op they are running, but worth understanding if this is intentional
What might improve the changes
As stated previously, changes to Rorquals have moved them from a mining role to a support role. This leaves a lot of Rorquals in hangars and some frustrated pilots with a lot of ISK and skill points invested.
The rationale for the compression change is to get more mothballed Rorquals into space. Give pilots more reasons to fly them and put them at risk for a rewarding activity. The simplest change to get them moving around again is to let them dock in Athanors.
Athanors are by far the dominant structure for moon mining and with limited defensive capability, hostile fleets can fight around them without huge issues.
When the Rorqual is at work with the Industrial Core running, it’s as vulnerable as ever to hunters and other ne’er-do-wells.
Allowing them to dock would enable things like moving ships & ore to locations, refitting for different tasks, and allowing the Rorqual pilot to not be forced to spend their playtime sitting in a space ship with nothing to do but float on tether. Giving the Rorqual pilot the choice to switch into other industrial ships, like their own exhumer or cargo ship opens the game play options for the player.
Despite the current clunky UI, the compression boost effect should act like other fleet boost effects. Players in fleet who can compress should see an icon similar to mining or combat boosts that inform them that the capability exists.
Personally, I’d love to see a neat effect in space when the Compressors cycle, similar to command bursts.
I’m not sure what photos of Hilmar the Big Mercoxit industry is using for blackmail or if Mercoxit means something funny in Icelandic, but separating out this one ore from the other larger resource groups is quite strange.
At one time, Mercoxit mining may have been some exotic task, but today, trying to draw some distinction is not really adding anything to the gameplay and is just adding some burden to the task with no differentiating benefit.
Just wrap Mercoxit compression into asteroid ore compression and be done with it.
CCP took the time to listen to feedback from the first compression concept and was willing to revisit their idea at the fundamental level and come up with a good, workable plan. Kudos on this step forward.
Hopefully they won’t rush this and will spend the time to work out bugs and improve the UI to make for great launch of a new industrial era.
Also excited to test the Industrial Jump Portal Generator and how it will change mining fleets once it’s on the test server. This got a little mention, but should be a real improvement to group mining fleets including the opportunity for some emergent gameplay.
P.S. I was blown up several times on the undock in M-0EE8 testing compression by the local denizens for lulz. Perhaps guidance that the undock is not for fighting would help get more testing done.
P.P.S. Reinforced Carbon Fiber and Pressurized Oxidizers are Composite Materials not Intermediate Materials and deserve their own unique artwork.
After a tumultuous year of war and game mechanics disruption, 2022 begins with EVE Online players looking for change and inspiration. The forums, Discords, and subreddits are full of disgruntled players.
The landscape of players is complex and the concerns are not uniform. There are definite groupings of players that have different and sometimes opposing points of view on the game.
This is a brief look at those groups:
The Mechanists – These players are focused on the subtleties of modules, ship fittings, and much of the complex interaction that leads to PvP combat metas appearing and disappearing. These are the folks angry about the Surgical Strike changes to resistances. They are upset at the HAC meta. They argue about the viability of battleships. They discuss sig tanking, feathering, and the best way to slingshot.
What will make them happy: Relentless ship balancing and tweaking. Even then, they will still have personal pet peeves that they will rant about for hours on end.
The Relaxed – These players don’t read /r/eve or the EVE forums regularly. They just log in, mainly in high sec space, and simply play the game in whatever way makes them feel good. They first hear of changes via the launcher and say “Oh, that looks interesting”. Special events, mission running, and mining are what these achievement oriented players enjoy.
What will make them happy: No more ganking in high sec. Gankers make them consider filing a suit under Texas Law. Besides that, there may be individuals with pet peeves, in general they are already happy.
The Admirals – These players are always looking at the horizon. Typical leaders of corps and alliances, they tend to be concerned about the long term direction of the game, motivations for their members to log into the game, and the continued introduction of new content into the game. A key focus on the overall flow of industry, wars, and new objectives to keep giving their community goals to strive for in the future. They engage in a lot of kremlinology regarding CCP’s motivations and moves.
What will make them happy: A longer term vision or roadmap for EVE and regular changes that keep players, especially long term core players, enthusiastic about the game. This allows them to create elaborate plans and designs that don’t survive long once the changes actually hit Tranquility.
The Chatterboxes – These players spend most of their time in comms, talking about pretty much anything. Social butterflies, they have found ways to monopolize the conversation and go on for hours about various topics until you want to simply throw your headset across the room.
The high achieving Chatterboxes include drinks and drugs into their repertoire, making listening to them even more soul crushing.
What will make them happy: A new topic to talk about. They have rehashed every old story and need fresh things to spend hours smothering comms with their ‘wit’. They don’t actually undock, so changes in EVE matter little to them.
Templars – These players tend to loudly support all of CCPs plans and decisions. You will find them on the EVE forums and Discords, continually defending the Dev Team’s decisions and coming up with elaborate rationales. They will spend hours going over a Dev Blog syllable by syllable as if they had unearthed secret treasure map.
Their belief system is unshakeable, drawing elaborate conclusions and grandiose hypothesis from casual comments as if they were handed them on stone tablets from a burning bush.
What will make them happy: When a CCP senpai notices them.
The Reversers – These players want the EVE of the imaginary past. They long for old sovereignty mechanics, passive POS moon mining, and other relics of the years gone by, suggesting that those were part of some sort of Golden Age when players had no complaints and gameplay was perfect.
When confronted with the actual challenges of past gameplay, like pre-TiDi fights, POS repair, and clone upgrades, they plug their ears and chant “Bring back tracking titans!”.
What will make them happy: A time machine. But they are also upset about the Doctor Who event, so time machines are pretty much out as well.
The Trolls – These players revel in being negative, contrary, and insulting to any new idea, change, opinion, or comment. They hate everything about the game, complain constantly, and haven’t logged in in several years.
They take pleasure in dragging the unsuspecting into prolonged interweb arguments using every logical fallacy available.
What will make them happy: Nothing. Their sad miserable lives are broken. A couple years of therapy might help.
Hopefully this helps you understand a little more about what might take to make EVE players happy and why that is a Sisyphean task.
The last couple months of 2021 have seen a lot of anger and energy in EVE Online from players over the direction of the game.
It is easy for frustration to turn into rants, which rarely help the situation, and tend to cloud the discussion. Also, players who support and defend CCP’s decisions often attempt to isolate changes and glaze over the big picture trends.
I will go over the lead up the recent anger briefly and try to identify the key issues. Covering the last two years can lead to a long article so…
CCP is no longer the “janitor of New Eden” and is now the angry coach telling players they aren’t “doing it right” and making them run extra laps
Players have lost trust in CCP to create interesting new paths in the game
Let’s look back at when this all started, summer of 2019.
The game meta at this time was about Rorquals and Capitals/Supercapitals operating under a “supercap umbrella” that allowed fast response to any attack on these resource/revenue generating ships.
There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over this by some players who wanted a change that allowed more of these ships to die.
CCP had similar thoughts about changing the game meta and embarked on what is now known as the “Chaos Era”, starting with Blackout, which was switching null sec space to delayed local chat.
While a small group of players found this change fun and exciting, many players reacted negatively and the player counts dropped precipitously. CCP reverted the change in under two months, but the idea of changing the game meta stuck and they decided to create an Ecosystem Team to focus on the goal.
The Ecosystem Team began changing resources quickly, reducing availability without any warning. Not even the CSM was informed of this major directional change.
The Ecosystem Team felt that the New Eden economy had too much ISK and too many resources and that this was the source of the problems in New Eden.
I will not go deep on the post itself, but it was full of generics and hand waving about making the economy “healthy”. No specifics or targets or anything a player can look at to see progress was mentioned. In CCP livestreams, concerns about the high numbers of capitals and supercapitals was mentioned, and it became clear that the Dev Team wanted the loss of these ships to matter more and also wanted many, many of them destroyed. They also mentioned “stockpiles” that needed to be used up.
Over the next year, the Ecosystem Team repeatedly changed resource gathering to attempt to make players engage in different behaviors, like living working in low sec space and putting more capital ships at risk.
Changes to the market systems and tax rates are also implemented to try to pull more ISK out of New Eden and punish behavior that CCP did not like, like 0.01 ISKing.
A key change was changing ore distribution to prevent the gathering of all the minerals needed to build capital and supercapital ships in null sec alone. The Dev Team was warned that players could simply import anything they needed, as they did for other industry materials.
Many players were frustrated with these continued changes as their time in the game putting in effort was rewarded with less reward. Their playing time was being devalued by the developers. This was tremendously discouraging, as there was no end or goal in sight.
World War Bee/Beeitnam began in July 2020 and industry went into overdrive to prepare with enormous amounts of capital and sub-captial ships being built, along with all the needed modules to fit them out. Despite the ecosystem changes, every group had what they needed by simply hauling in resources from Jita or Amarr.
With individual battles soaring into the trillions of ISK lost for even single day fights, like an attempted Keepstar anchoring, the industrial groups on both sides continued to easily produce capitals, HACs, and other needed war material.
During the war, CCP continued to try to drive player behavior with many significant changes like Quantum Cores and repeated changes to player structures making them more time and ISK intensive to deploy and manage.
October of 2020 sees the introduction of ESS and Dynamic Bounty System which again attempts to get players to use and engage in space the way that CCP intends. Again, many players see this change as yet another attempt to get them to spend more time and get lower payback for their effort.
Around New Year’s of 2021, the two battles of M2-XFE killed the greatest number of supercapitals the game had ever seen. Yet, after half a year of hellwar, the industrial groups continued to simply replace destroyed ships with even more building, replenishing the war capability within weeks.
It was clear at this point the changes in ore and minerals alone had not stopped capital and supercapital building. This key design change has failed utterly after a year of Shortage to meet the goals. As a result, the Ecosystem Team decided to implement a significant change to industry.
In short, the building of larger ships became much more complex in every sense. A wide new variety of components were needed, skills required were significantly increased, and the overall cost of the larger ships doubled or tripled easily.
Industrial players were given a month before these changes were implemented and began a furious effort to build even more capital and supercapital ships than ever.
Once the industry changes went live, basically all capital and supercapital production stopped. These ships were available everywhere and the build costs of the ships far exceeded the market value of the ships. This entire part of the industrial chain simply stopped. The demand for the new special components was weak.
Meanwhile, the War continues to keep most players focused, yet the drumbeat of “more carrots, less stick continues to increase. Frustration of players about items like the cost of battleships and some faction ships is repeatedly mentioned.
By July 2021 the frustration is palpable, and the Dev Team rushes out a promise that the “Shortage Phase (or Scarcity)” will end by the end of 2021. This is done to calm the player base, and pause the growing outrage.
At this point we are about 18 months into the Shortage Phase and there is no evidence of change in things like capital and supercapital use. If anything, the amount of these ships available for use is at peak levels never before seen in New Eden. Hundreds of titans are available on a moment’s notice. Dreadnaughts are basically throwaway weapons.
After 18 months of Shortage, we have the exact opposite of what CCP was attempting to do with the ecosystem changes. That, and a frustrated playerbase.
The War ends in early August 2021 and many of the combatants face the task of rebuilding and rearming. Without the constant fleets and fights, the player attention turns to the Ecosystem Teams’s work and frustration grows.
After so many months of Shortage and so many “sticks”, many players are counting on a major change that in some ways feels like a carrot after almost two years of sticks.
This brings us to the New Dawn Dev Blog, referred to as a “new age of prosperity” by CCP, which rather than being greeted by rejoicing of the players, was met with angry protests and vehement opinions on the entire rationale behind the Shortage phase.
In the first days, CCP’s response is almost antagonistic to the complainers, further infuriating people and polarizing opinions.
After much sturm und drang, the release is quickly reworked to remove the worst problems, a few values are tweaked on ships/modules, and it’s pushed into production. Thus the New Dawn has begun.
After two years of Shortage, sticks, nerfs, and frustration, what do players see as the result?
The capital and super-capital numbers are at maximum.
The space rich got richer over the last two years.
Joining a mega-coalition is the optimal path to wealth
Their time playing the game is worth less.
It’s reasonable to ask what was solved after all this change.
Why did we go through all this pain?
A long awaited Winter Dev Blog arrives, and is more of a retrospective than anything forward looking or offering any new vision for EVE. Basically it told players that the same meandering path of “trust us” game design will continue and resumed trying to blame the Rorqual for all of New Eden’s problems.
Offering new PVE experiences isn’t a new direction, it’s more of the same.
Despite Dev forum posts to backtrack a bit, many in the playerbase are still angry and CCP attempts to calm the waters with a livestream Q&A session.
The livestream is a formal Q&A and has real non-softball questions.
The Ecosystem Team is directly asked about KPIs (key performance indicators) and metrics they use in measuring the the ecosystem changes. The answer is a meandering dodge that gives no direct answer and avoids being specific at all. Further it includes some strange permutation about supply and demand so far unknown to economic theory.
“So we had to kind of have that run its course, and now its done, kind- uh pretty much on time, uhh, compared to the original plan, so that's the the big thing, we have ship stockpiles, but they will, you know, as manufacturers start to kind of see their ship prices, er manufacturing ship prices get closer to the prices that the owners of the stockpiles hold we'll start to see them come together at some point... these stockpilers will have to give in and start selling at the same price as the manufacturers so...”
To many it seems like a word salad rather than a cohesive plan to manage the economy.
The Dev Team then tries to put some kind of data on the screen to answer the KPI question.
At some point this mining graph is shown:
This graphic shows the amazing data that the “Rorqual Issue” was solved by the changes at the initial announcement of the ecosystem changes. After more than 18 months of Rorquals being the boogeyman of the economy and the New Dawn nerf, CCP is showing publicly that Rorquals have not been the driver of mining as they were in the past for over a year and a half.
Absolutely infuriating to see this after the entire Shortage Phase. The entire justification for the Rorqual nerf is basically tossed out the window in one slide. Literally unbelievable to many that the Dev Team felt that this graphic helped their explanations.
The stream goes on to try to describe the “stockpile” situation with more graphs:
Again, this image does nothing to help their case.
EVE players are nothing if not detailed oriented and this graphic has been striped of anything helpful to understanding it. EVE players debate the subtle changes in 5% versus 7.5% and 20 m/s speed increases. Everything is in the details.
Yet CCP puts up this graphic which leads to another torrent of questions?
What is it actually measuring? Minerals? Raw Ore? Gases? PI? Ships?
Does it include items in Asset Safety? Hangars of players that don’t log in? Corp hangars?
Again, no clear answers, and that makes the concerned players even more concerned that there are no real metrics and that the Ecosystem Team is flying by the seat of their pants.
CCP has the resources and know-how to give compelling presentations and deliver clear narrative. They have done so many times in the past. However, the latest livestream appeared to be a depressing, poorly planned afterthought, given after being forced to answer.
They have done much better. They can do much better. They all love EVE and the players, which makes the recent communication failures all the more surprising and disappointing.
As the year ends, CCP faces a declining player base that is frustrated with both communication and execution of ideas that appear to be a push away from the sandbox and toward making players play EVE the “right way”.
After almost two years of making player effort less valuable, many have lost faith in CCP and their ability to create new and interesting paths to follow and achievements to reach for after years of playing.
Even if you take out all the issues surrounding Rorquals from the discussion, it’s easy see the last two years as spinning wheels in mud, making a big mess, but going nowhere. Leaving the game with the same power dynamics from 2019 and overall lack of direction and inspiration.
Players love playing EVE, the communities they participate in, and creating fun and havoc in the sandbox. CCP has lost sight of their role as janitor and appear to be crudely throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks, hoping it solves something, anything.
As a result, we have a lot of angry players that feel that the last two years were a worthless pursuit of an unmet goal, wasting a lot of time, and losing many friends who stopped playing.
I have been in the room with the developers and seen how the sausage is made. CCP is full of smart, engaged people who can do amazing things. I know there are great ideas lurking, waiting for the opportunity to see the light of day. It’s time for CCP to stop wandering off into the tall grass and get back to the workshop and hammer our some great, mind-blowing stuff.
Personally, I am hopeful for the future, but I continue to push the Dev Team is to remember that players want to enjoy EVE and feel rewarded for their effort. If that gets lost, nothing else really matters.
I have spent a lot of time on the test server, listening to other industry/economy players, and trying to map out how players might min/max.
These are my thoughts from this brief look over the weekend.
tl;dr • Opportunity exists for more resources to hit the economy, but it creates negative effects • Increased time/effort of resource gathering runs counter to making resources less ‘scarce’ • The basic ISK/hour metric for most players in resource gathering appears to be going down • Mix of good changes are included alongside the highly controversial ‘nerfs’ • These changes will not make the average player feel a “new age of prosperity”
FWIW, I tend to view EVE Gameplay in terms of enjoyable time/effort. In other words, “am I having fun or find the playstyle I enjoy rewarding?” Does playing EVE hit those dopamine triggers that keep people coming back?
You might have your own metrics, but IMHO if EVE does not feel rewarding, it is failing to achieve it’s purpose.
It has been argued that CCP needs to make these changes to put in the ‘handles’ to be able to adjust the game economy as needed and these are necessary pains.
Here is an allegory to consider:
Many have heard the story of how to boil a frog. You put a frog in a pot and slowly increase the temperature until the water is boiling and the frog doesn’t notice the slow change.
CCP’s recent approach is to first boil a pot of water and then throw the frogs in.
When the frogs complain, CCP says “oh, is that too hot?” and wait a long time before turning down the temperature.
What we are seeing with anger and protest are frogs not wanting to be placed directly into boiling water again.
Let’s break down the large Dev Blog into several sections:
This is one of the main positive aspects of the changes. Increasing the amount of raw materials available is always welcome. Resources are not ‘dynamic’ yet, but this is a positive step toward allowing more wealth to find it’s way into the wallets of players.
However, the addition of Waste and Lossy Compression reduce the overall availability of resources significantly.
The changes are complicated and there are many conflicting changes that don’t make it simple to say how this is the “end of Scarcity.” For example, my friend Angry Mustache reminds me, the elimination of minerals from R4 moons, makes them basically not worth mining and continues to increase the logistics needed to move minerals like Pyerite from high sec to other places.
Reduced PI needs
One of the oft-voice frustrations with the New Industry changes regarded the use of Planetary Interaction (PI) materials. The inclusion of bulky P1 materials (water) was a particular point of pain.
The new plan reduces the dependence on PI materials, but it is difficult to predict whether this will bring the construction price of capital ships down significantly. With such a large, multi-variable change to all resource gathering, it’s not possible to make accurate calculations. It’s reasonable to expect the build price down somewhat, but to what degree is unknown. For example, the reduced P4 costs may be offset by increased Pyerite costs.
Industrial Subcapital Ship Holds
The addition of specialized hangars to allow easier hauling of resources (gas, ice, & moon ore) are welcome changes. Commonly used in short hauling runs where freighters are impractical, this change rounds out the industrial line and makes life just a little easier for players.
My beloved Primae now has an excited future ahead!
Kudos on getting this done.
Lossy compression is not a bad idea in itself, but the complexity is a bit overwhelming.
I don’t mind complexity and do T2 & T3 industry for fun, but even I was a bit baffled on how it worked.
Over the weekend, I spent many hours on the Test Server, actually doing compression in-game.
For Orca & Rorqual compression, the process itself is frustrating. Move from ore or fleet hangar into cargo bay, load module, wait for module to complete, move compressed product out, move more into cargo bay. Doing this for a while is a lot of monotony.
Besides the clicking, the time durations are painful. People are going from instant compression to this and waiting several minutes for each cycle. It’s repetitive ‘micro’ clicking and hangar moving, clearly based on the existing ammo loading mechanism, hampered by this limitation, as it feels like a jury rigged system to avoid writing to much additional code.
At scale, it becomes unrealistic to do the straightforward task of mining a moon and compressing it. Asteroid ore, gas, and ice will likely be done in Athanors to avoid the time and risk, unless someone it living in exceedingly safe regions.
The variety of different compression modules is daunting. For the Orca there are 28 different modules, for the Rorqual there are 38. Even if you want to bring along some variety to refit, they are 1,000 m3 each. Lots of frustration just on choosing how to fit the ship.
The overall take is a lot of complexity and time spent with a high risk for a ‘simple’ task like compression. The simple change to lossy compression is a hard enough pill for most to swallow, adding the elaborateness of the actual in-space compression process might make it an unused feature by most miners.
Again, if there was some reward or payoff mechanism it might be received differently. Like occasionally the compression module spat out another ore or item or some kind of slot machine payoff as something “found in the compression process” it might induce players to do this kind of thing. Compressing Veldspar and occasionally a small chunk of compressed Spodumain or Pollucite pops up as a reward to the compressor, for example. Variable ration/variable reward mechanisms motivate people very well.
The skills map to the modules, but again, those are a lot of skills to train. Million SP trains are not fun. Several of them are fist clenching. Unlike the capital production changes requiring Science V skills, these are skills that are difficult to share responsibility. Putting Rorquals on field these days is risky. Expecting multiple Rorquals to be coordinated to spread the skill training needs, be fitted properly, and flown together is something only a small handful of the largest groups could pull off.
Mining waste is not a bad idea, but the end result is counter-productive to getting lower SP players involved with mining and getting more people in space.
EVE players are min/maxxers and the proposed design leads to natural path of basically excluding as much waste behavior as possible. This means the rich get richer and the poor get kicked from mining fleets as the Tech 1 modules low SP players use simply waste too much of the valuable rocks.
The change to make all mining drones create waste is a huge impact to players in industrial support ships and again, reduces the ISK/hour of resource gathering as in many groups, mining waste will be anathema, and the time it takes to gather resources increases significantly.
The idea of offensive ‘waste mining’ fleets is raised, but it seems fairly unrealistic we are going to see this becoming a common tactic. Mining ships are so paper thin that this kind of fleet would be more a meme fleet that a serious economic attack.
The entire waste paradigm needs to be flipped in some way so that the rich & high SP players can’t simply get more ability to dominate resource gathering.
Again, an opportunity to create variable ration/variable reward mechanisms is something that should be considered. Having a chance for a lucky waste roll to pop out something valuable would do a lot to soften player resistance.
Combining lossy compression and waste in the mining general case (T2 modules + Athanor compression) easily turns the 100% increase in resources to maybe a 50% actual increase in resources. This doesn’t consider the additional changes to mining ships that realistically increase the amount of time spent in the act of mining, lowering the ISK/hour.
Mining Ship Changes
As has been hinted previously, the Porpoise, Orca, and Rorqual are not going to be mining ships going forward. This is tremendously frustrating to those players that invested a lot of effort into flying these ships to see them be purely support ships. Besides providing mining command bursts and the newly changed compression modules, these ships are high cost ships with low value to the pilot flying them. The idea that a Rorqual is going to save paper thin exhumers from a Blops Drop is laughable. Everything on field will die.
Saddling these billion+ ISK ships with the mind-numbing task of sitting on field to compress materials painfully while a command burst cycles endlessly is just no fun at all. If fielded, a huge target for hunters, with no realistic way for the ship to earn its way into profitability.
Players who own Orcas/Rorquals are owners of ships that don’t justify their build costs. Only the safest and wealthiest areas in New Eden will see these fielded, further pushing the player meta to join only the biggest and most powerful groups, reducing diversity in corps and alliances.
So, if a player owns a Rorqual with Excavators, suck it up buttercup, you are SOL. Might not feel like the “new age of prosperity.”
I don’t Rorqual mine, but I do have one that’s used for logistics purposes. That usage appears intact. A kind of Poor Person’s Jump Freighter.
The most used mining ship in null sec, the Procurer, is nerfed. It’s role as bait with the capability to fight back removed almost entirely.
Eliminating the gas mining bonus for Ventures again removes a good way for low SP players to earn ISK. It has to be asked, why? Isn’t getting new players into space flying around to huff gas a good thing? Why was the Venture deemed too overpowered and harmful to the gas economy of New Eden?
The rest of the mining ship changes are a haphazard mix of tank buffs/nerfs/bonuses that make a halfhearted attempt to get players to fly expensive Exhumers into harm’s way. It’s like a wheel of change was spun and the random result chosen instead of a serious look at why players use the mining ships that they use.
The more I looked at it the less I could get a clear picture of what is trying to be achieved other than “don’t mine so much stuff” which seems counter the theme of New Dawn.
Condensing Reprocessing Skills and Mining Crystals
These changes toward the end of the Dev Blog are welcome and even reduce the complexity of mining a bit.
With Reprocessing skills and mining crystals previously specific down to the ore type, these changes make the training of skills and crystal usage simpler to understand (once we learn the new terminology like “Supreme Ores”) which is a good thing.
For those players with perfect refining characters, it’s actually a skill bonanza as there’s the possibility for several million unallocated skill points to be gained.
The mining crystal changes again simplify the game a small amount and offer some options not previously available. While avoiding waste in sovereign space is a big issue, if I’m on a high sec mining character and just want to spend 45 minutes running asteroid belts, the higher yield, high waste crystals sound pretty good. My corp mates aren’t going to be angry if I dumpster a few belts in unowned high sec space with waste.
These changes exemplify what CCP should be doing, making changes that mix good improvements, with options that appeal to varied playstyles.
So what’s next?
I think the Dev Team is taking the community reaction seriously and trying to listen to the concerns. This is a good thing. We have their attention.
The ball is in their court as the CSM and players can offer a look into how the denizens of New Eden would use or abuse the current design.
Personally, I was hoping for more information on the mention last July about “Rework of the industrial index including greater choice over the distribution of resources” which is important to my group. But we need to get through New Dawn first.
My ask of the Dev Team is to remember that players want to enjoy EVE and feel rewarded for their effort. If that gets lost, nothing else really matters.
Thanks for reading to the end of this write-up. There’s a ton I didn’t cover, mainly because the interconnectedness of all the changes make it difficult for even an experienced industry enthusiast to keep in their mind at one time.
As we begin 2021, CCP faces a dilemma on the future direction of EVE Online.
At it’s core, the appeal of EVE Online is it’s ability to provide a sandbox where players can create their own stories, rather than simply following a storyline created by a game developer to guide you between elaborate cut scenes.
Whether it’s the solo player looking to achieve their own goals in industry, the PvPer that wants to rise on the killboard, or the large group looking to crush opponents and steal their star systems, EVE Online allows those stories to be written.
More recently, the CCP Dev Team has been more focused on directing action in the sandbox than they have in the past. Specifically, the Ecosystem team has been trying to “fix” the economic resource balances in the game and reduce the ability of the wealthy players and groups to project as much power.
This comes into conflict with some of the core marketing needs of EVE Online that are used to attract new players.
“If it bleeds, it leads” is a core tenet of attracting attention in news organizations, and CCP’s marketing relies heavily on bloody conflict to create headlines and stories that circulate on gaming sites and social media.
Popular articles about EVE Online are invariably about large scale conflict, mass destruction, world records, and personal conflicts that spin out of control into wars. Occasionally something like Katia Sae breaks into the news cycle, but the vast majority of eyeballs are drawn to gigantic fleets slamming into each other and expensive wrecks littering the field.
Rarely do you see an article about some small gang battle in a random system popping up on Kotaku or Polygon. No one is writing articles about achieving Mastery levels in manufacturing or mining quietly in low sec for Crokite.
There is no book of “Small Frigate Fights of EVE”.
The server-spanning, empire-crushing, tens-of-thousands-of-players wars are what get books written about and are the stories told for years afterward.
Unfortunately for CCP’s Marketing team, the game design is pointing in a different direction currently. The continuing changes to resource availability, reduced ISK generation, infrastructure investment, and capital ship gameplay are basically disincentives to the exact kind of conflict and battles the are the lifeblood of CCP’s ability to get attention.
While these disincentives are frustrating to most players, they show no sign of effectively stopping “capital proliferation” or large scale empire power projection, some of the stated goals to justify the “starvation” that players are dealing with currently.
The frustration continues unabetted with no public design targets, timelines, or tangible “carrot” for players to be looking forward to besides “weaponized inconvenience”.
The on-going server spanning war is completely player driven conflict. The war has nothing to with the economy or scarcity, and is based on a combination of grudges and existential threats that go back years.
While the current war has been helpful in generating headlines so far, the future is not so bright for new headlines. The debacle of the second fight in M2-XFE effectively ended the possibility that we will see a record breaking battle of that scale again. The lesson learned was that “people tanking” is a thing, and that pushing the server too hard is tactic. Leaders will avoid the situation of being humiliated in a battle due to the game itself falling over.
The Dev Team response to M2-XFE gave no sign that the situation with player numbers in fights would see any improvement in the future, further dampening enthusiasm for these kinds of titanic battles. Not that there is an easy solution here, but the game meta has changed significantly due to M2-XFE.
Beyond that, once this conflict is over, we are faced with a game system that pushes large groups into the most economically rational decision; turtle up, generate resources, avoid losing powerful ships as they are hard to replace. For smaller groups, the protection of the larger groups and defensible infrastructure becomes more attractive, reinforcing the conclusion that the smart move is it be part of an umbrella.
Once this war is over, the likelihood of large scale, newsworthy stories drops precipitously.
War is not profitable.
Generating resources, ISK, and ships in wartime is painful and frustrating.
Even the victors in war need time to rebuild their wallets. The losers, even if they are eager for revenge, will be far away from striking back. Considering the direction that game design is heading, all sides will need even more peace time to regenerate strength.
CCP is committed to the current design path with economy for the foreseeable future, creating quite a dilemma. Continue to reduce the rationale for war and ability to create large scale conflict, or enable conditions that create the events that make headlines.
Not an easy one to solve.
People play EVE Online as an escape for the humdrum and horrors of real life. They will endure some inconvenience in the game, but their willingness to grind in a system that is literally working to make their time less valuable has limits.
I don’t have any answers on how to solve this, but CCP is going to have to grapple with this dilemma at some point, sooner or later.
When this war ends, many players are going to be taking a hard look about how much they log in and are willing to grind. It’s one thing to endure frustration, while striving to support The War Effort, but another to see it as the New Normal.
The next six months will be interesting to watch, as CCP begins to reveal their plans for 2021 and which path they intend to walk.
The revised ESS system was released this week into New Eden. As a former member of the CSM, I was aware of the basic idea for a long time, but now feel free to comment on the actual final design outcome.
The ESS posed some difficult design problems that have been addressed by fairly strict limitations on the environment in which players can interact.
Stepping back, it’s safe to say that EVE players are some of the most dedicated min/max gamers around. They will relentlessly test, iterate, and hone in on ship fittings and tactics to master specific environments.
Much of the hardest PVE content in the game has been mastered in this way, to the point that a player faces no real difficulty. Burner missions, 10/10 escalations, and Abyssal space are intended to challenge players, but due to min/maxxing, they pose no real threat to players with the information on how to beat them. They have become ISK printing machines, not challenges.
PvP is quite different than PVE, but even in PvP we have seen this same min/maxxing lead to optimal fits and tactics with little room for variation. Abyssal PvP encounters rapidly became only run by a limited group of players due to their mastery of the specific fits and tactics there were basically optimized for the environment.
The live events team has done a great job with the Abyssal Proving Grounds, where the environment is rotated through to keep interest levels up and prevent long term stagnation. Even so, optimized fits rapidly emerge and dominate the environment.
Which brings us to the revised ESS system. The environment has been very strongly controlled to remove many options from ship tactics to attempt to “force” good fights to occur.
The issue is whether completely optimized fits and tactics will appear for the “robber” side or the “defender” side creating a situation that is not fun for players.
The fewer the tactical options due to the environmental restrictions, the simpler the task of optimizing is for theorycrafters.
We are still early in the ESS Era, but watching the ship doctrine choices in ESS encounters will be telling on whether players will be able to master the ESS, as they have every other limited environment in EVE.
Only time will tell, but I’ve learned to never bet against on the hive mind of players to solve any puzzle placed in front of them.
I am occasionally on EVE talk shows and tweet about my feelings on the game. People sometimes ask why I am “against change” and “refusing to adapt”. Here’s a slightly longer explanation about my views on the Ecosystems work for clarity that doesn’t fit well onto Twitter, Reddit, or Twitch.
Why am I frustrated?
My frustration with the Ecosystem changes over the last year is simple, they are dull, boring, weaponized inconvenience with nothing exciting for the average player.
Let’s compare to other major changes in EVE. Each of these changes were radical and changed fundamental aspects of the game at the time. Whether you like them or not, there is something about each change that created excitement, enthusiasm, and gave players significantly new things to do in EVE. We can argue if they were long term good decisions, but it is inarguable that players were hyped and enthusiastic about the innovative changes.
Capital Rework – 2015
Near complete rework of the way Capital ships operate – introduction of modern fighter mechanics and creation of Force Auxiliaries.
Result: Entirely new fight dynamics for capitals ships in almost every situation. New roles for pilots, new escalation metas, new PVE opportunities.
Aegis Sovereignty – 2015
Complete work of null security space sovereignty system
Result: New war strategies, increases involvement of sub-capitals, new entosis strategy & doctrine, significant redrawing of the null sec map.
Upwell Citadels – 2016
Replacement plan for POS (Control Towers)
Result: New fight dynamics, new avenues for industry, un-coffined supercapital pilots, new choices for structure placement and use.
Athanor Moon Mining – 2017
Complete rework of moon mining process
Result: New shift in revenue streams from passive to active, allowed wide involvement from many pilots, created open trade in moon materials, created high risk locations for fights.
Again, you don’t have to think all of these changes were great, but in each cases they were new, enticing activities for players that created enthusiasm and new emergent gameplay. Many will argue the pros & cons of each major change now in hindsight, but there is no doubt that the changes brought out excitement and enthusiasm in the players.
Now consider the changes to resources in the Economy work
Resource Redistribution – 2020
Resources are harder to acquire.
Result: Mine in other places. Haul more. Stuff costs more.
No new ships No new incentives No new strategies No enthusiasm
Even the most positive comments are “It won’t be that bad…”.
The most enthusiastic players have pinned all their hope on some great, unannounced future feature set that will make all this “eat your vegetables” talk worth it.
Imagine for a moment that it was the Aftertimes, and CCP was presenting at Fanfest or an in-person meetup and that the big keynote message was “Nocxium is in low sec now!”
Do you think there would be cheers? Do you think this would create excitement in the room?
Of course not.
As I have said before, this is all stick, no carrot.
More “The beatings will continue until morale improves!” than “Here’s cool new ideas!”
And all this Ecosystem change is about getting to ‘Healthy Ecosystem State’, a state that has never been described, never been detailed, and worse, never explained to the average pilots why it matters.
Players are told “Trust us.”, which is code for either “we don’t know” or “we don’t think you are smart enough to understand”, both of which are terrible.
In previous large changes, explanations were simple: “Large Slowcat carrier fleets are basically invulnerable and have no counter, they gotta go. Capital ships need to blow up a lot more often.”
Most frustratingly, we see innovation from CCP sneaking in around the edges. Filaments, EdenCom ships, Proving Grounds, and Space Weather all have generated recent excitement, but that excitement continually tempered and diminished by the overwhelming wet blanket of the Ecosystem changes repeatedly smothering enthusiasm.
Players need incentives Players need excitement Players need innovation
That’s not what players are seeing, they see harsh tweaks to force players to act in very specific ways, which in the sandbox universe of New Eden, is about as un-EVE as it gets.
Yes, bashing structures is painful with little reward.
Yes, as a former CSM member, this was a topic brought up to CCP and discussed.
That said, I feel that the announced change will not get the desired results of more sustained conflict.
tl;dr: They are burning down the house to kill the spider.
The change will cause corp & alliance logistics team headaches, leading to some consolidation of structures in a familiar form of “weaponized inconvenience” that we have seen with Ansiblex relocation and Abandoned structure states. People like me who do this kind of work will complain, but much like the other changes, the job will get done and the organized groups will continue on unscathed.
I’m not against change or some version of the Quantum Cores, but the proposed implementation is unlikely to create the results expected by the Dev Team.
Personally, I’d rather spend alliance ISK on blowing ships up rather than on paying a retroactive tax on maintaining the status quo as most larger groups will do.
The change will lead to fewer structures in space and further incentivize players to concentrate in space and travel less. Again, the optimal strategy will be to join larger groups for better protection from attack.
As we have seen with other major changes intended to create conditions for conflict, this will likely fail to do so as well. Scarity has failed to create conflict. Nerfs to supers and capitals have put fewer targets in space, reducing the ability of “hunters” to find prey, continuing to reduce people fighting in space. Mining has moved in dramatic fashion to minimal risk High Sec space.
Yes, for the first few weeks there will be an orgiastic spike of destruction, much like the Abandoned Structures change, but once that is over and areas are purged, there won’t be many new structures being put up to replace them.
If you couldn’t defend a structure from getting blown up the first time, you certainly aren’t going to anchor a new one in it’s place to get blown up for a second time.
Industrialists will likely see structure construction wind down to a trickle. Between the great unanchoring of citadels pre-Abandoned change and new consolidation, the stockpiles of structures and standup modules will be significant. I’ve built over 200 citadels myself and don’t expect to build many more in the future.
Structures consumed a lot of P4 material in the past, so we will likely see increased supply with lower demand leading to further prices drops, accelerating price declines. Besides having less to build in this area, smaller industrialist will likely find fewer places to build and those will likely have higher indexes.
I’m not a High Sec person, so I can’t speak with any authority, but based on what I saw during the first weeks of Abandoned states, I wouldn’t want to be a high sec structure owner that can’t easily form 250 person fleets for defense. Bob help the structures in High Sec if the Null Sec powers decided to ‘farm’ them for Cores rather than buy them. As The Mittani clearly showed in Niarja, the force that can be brought to bear from large Null Sec groups is extreme and outstrips any typical High Sec group capabilities.
As I mentioned in my time as a CSM member, there is a disconnect between how the Dev Team thinks players will react to changes and how players actually adapt to change. We have repeatedly seen design changes that do not work in creating conflict and getting more players going more places, just in creating speedbumps for people looking for fun.
If it wasn’t for the purely ego and grudge driven conflict we see in the current wars, New Eden would be fairly dull place with small groups filamenting around hoping to catch a ratting Myrmidon (if they are lucky).
Being on CSM 14 was an honor and a privilege. I got meet many people and I learned several things.
Here are three things I’d like to share:
CCP is a business
Players can easily get caught up in the subtle nuances of their playstyle niche, but CCP looks at EVE Online development with two key goals in mind: bring new players into the game & generate revenue.
CCP is a business and they need to continuously grow. Whether players want to hear it or not, catering to the person who has been playing for 5+ years is not CCP’s primary goal. Development is always going to prioritize work that directly influences the new player pipeline over other needs in game. We are seeing a balance in development currently, but bringing new players into the game is almost always going to be prioritized heavily.
Monetization can be a dirty word to some players, but without generating revenue, there will be no EVE Online. Some monetization ideas are non-controversial, like ship SKINs, while other options, like those involving skill points, are highly controversial. CCP will continue to look for ways to make money, and players should expect them to do so.
You cannot please all the players
Being on the CSM opened up my communication with a large number players with various viewpoints. Even on topics I expected to be non-controversial, I heard from players with serious concerns, some with serious vitriol.
Every change to the game will be faced with criticism by someone. As I have previous described, “CCP could cure cancer, and some players would complain that they are putting doctors out of work”.
Trying to make all the players happy is a fool’s errand. You cannot ignore player concerns, but you have accept that someone is going to absolutely hate a change with fist clenched anger, regardless of the benefits other players might see.
EVE is more complex than you can imagine
After playing EVE for over 12 years, I thought I had a good understanding of most aspects of the game. I could not be more wrong. The deeper you look into any playstyle, the more strange and byzantine it gets. Esoteric missions from the first days of the game with significant rewards that the developers have no idea how they were created. Obtuse ways to calculate the industrial production across the universe. Use of PVE oriented modules to influence PvP success. Elaborate manipulations of high sec crimewatch and war dec mechanics. Endless attempts to predict and force wormhole behavior.
Yes, as you read this, you think to yourself, “naw, I know about all that stuff”, but you are wrong. There some crazy ass shit that goes on quietly behind the scenes that the CSM discuss among themselves and even stranger stuff you hear from the developers during late night drinks in Reykjavik.
The intensity of thought and persistent effort that players put into EVE to gain an edge is unmatched in video gaming. I was continually surprised by information discussed on the CSM as to whether a complex and convoluted action was simply innovative gameplay or abuse of the game. No single player knows it all. No developer knows it all. It’s simply to much for any one person to grok.
Part of the continuing allure of EVE after all these years in the mind numbing complexity and the impossibility of truly mastering the entire game. There is always something new to learn or white rabbit to chase.