When Skill Points lose their power

The kids have had their school holidays and we undertook the at least once in a lifetime obligatory pilgrimage from the southern states of Australia to the Queensland Gold Coast, to visit the Theme parks.

In the lead up I was too busy to log into EVE much, then I decided to leave my gaming laptop at home while we were away. My in-space structures ended up being left to their own devices for a couple of weeks.

We have been back for almost a week, and I am still not inclined to log in. Not even the oddly fast-tracked resurrection of the Skills for Kills event has had an allure.

I did notice the EVE September Economic Report is out.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pyuqzi/monthly-economic-report-september-2019

I wanted to go back and look at the graphs I made last month. To make interpreting it trickier, the Null Sec Local blackout finished (mid-month on the 16th) and the new Cyno changes were introduced (earlier in the month on the 10th).

I added the September data to my spreadsheets. I am using the bounty payout amounts as a very rough measure of undocked activity across Null, High and Low Sec within EVE.

In September the bounty amounts collected were:

85.8% in Null Sec (17.4T ISK (against 51.8T in 09.2018))
11.8% in High Sec (3.7T ISK (against 3.4T in 09.2018))
2.4% in Low Sec (0.5T ISK (against 0.3T in 09.2018))

There wasn’t an immediately obvious rebound from returning Local to Null Sec as I was expected – although it might have arrested what could have been an even larger fall. The highest bounty earning ships in Null Sec are Supers – which now can no longer fit Cyno’s. Maybe this stifled bounty earnings while the Null Sec Alliances came up with new tactics and rules.

If I go back to eve-offline.net again, the average daily online user counts for the:

Last 12 months has been 30,000
Last 6 months has been 26,000
Last 3 months has been 21,000
Last 1 month has been 17,000 (19,000 last month)

 

 

This continues the downwards trend, but it does appear as if there is an increase in online pilots over the last few weeks, particularly on weekends.

Nothing entirely definitive, so we wait again for what October might show. I am guessing next month will see a bottoming out of the downward trends, and what should probably be an uptick. Of course that depends on the next version of chaos CCP try injecting into the game.

Teenager

Elmis turned 13 today.

He has just under 280M SP.

He is currently training Amarr Titan IV, Caldari Titan IV, Gallente Titan IV and (you guessed it) Minmatar Titan IV.

His training queue is 331 days long. It is mostly Capital related, although I have no current plans to use them again. That is around the length of time he is subscribed for.

After re-creating his Party of Alts, he has 100B ISK in cash and 50B ISK in assets (approximately).

I have had bursts of busy periods in game over the last year – particularly around manufacturing. There have also been some quiet times where I have barely logged in.

I should make 14, based on Subscription alone.

I can thank (or blame) the blog for still playing. It adds a metagame aspect to EVE for me. In its own way it also adds a partial sense of community.

I am a bit ambivalent about EVE and my future within it. The game still offers so much promise, but after years of CCP stumbles and missteps, and the toxic input of a minority but vocal segment of the player base, I am weary.

I try – some days very hard – not to be a bitter vet.

One or the other

I regularly remark to my son that he is whinging. He retorts that his comments are not whinges, but observations. His favourite observations are that he is tired or hungry. Or tired and hungry.

I have been contemplating this as I’ve been reading lots and lots of commentary on EVE and the Chaos era. What are whinges, what are observations? Where do my related posts fall?

I’ve done little in EVE since the end of the Skill Point related events. Hilmar warned of weekly chaotic changes, but that hasn’t really come to pass. Instead it feels like I am on hold – waiting for – something, anything to occur which will define what EVE is meant to become.

The notable changes that have gone in, the Null Sec Blackout, the recent Cyno updates, have had fundamental impacts on many players. So much so that I’ve been thinking CCP probably can’t reverse them. They will not be able to pretend it never happened or undo all the damage done. I suspect finessing is the best we can hope for.

I am waiting with interest for the minutes from the latest CSM summit. CCP seemed to be a bit gushy about how positive the whole thing had been, but I hope to get a sense of how the CSM and CCP really interacted and if there is positivity towards any coming changes they discussed.

I have read a lot of blogs and articles about the apparent initial impact of the Chaos Era. As with I, a lot of authors have been guarded in making any definitive calls, but there seems to be a feeling of disquiet. I remember Hilmar exclaiming about how exciting the initial statistics were from the first days of the Null Sec Blackout. I thought at the time he was premature to say that, and I am not aware of him repeating this more recently.

There is a risk that all the negative conjecture could fuel a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve idly wondered if CCP might work to cut off some of the statistics we are using to evaluate their changes. They could stop the feed eve-offline.net uses for its online user counts. They could stop or dramatically modify the Monthly Economic Reports. It might give them some breathing space, although at what cost.

The latest EVE Pulse is out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQyNkyq3zlw

They discussed how normal Cyno’s can now only be used on Force Combat Recon cruisers or Black Ops battleships. In an irritating understatement, CCP Falcon said that lighting a Cyno will now be “a little bit more expensive”.

I wonder if this post is a whinge or an observation.

I almost forgot, I did do – or tried to do something a bit different in the game recently.

While moving around BPO I noticed some of those pesky roaming Triglavians hanging around my Abzel. I quickly docked up and took control of it.

When I attacked the Triglavians, they shot back. They didn’t do enough damage to overcome the shield regen and the Azbel never got below 100%. I got log messages that the Standup Neutralizers worked, and once in a while I’d land an ECM Success (even though it would have had no impact), bu the Standup Missile Launchers did not seem to do any damage and never appeared in the combat log.

I then launched fighters – but I could not see them outside the station, no matter what I did or tried with the overview or bracket settings. In the end I could not tell them to attack the Triglavians. I even watched some YouTube videos to try and work out if I was doing anything wrong.

When I stopped attacking the Triglavians they stopped attacking me. In the end I warped another character in to find the Triglavians had warped off, even though I could still see them from within the Abzel.  That didn’t work out as expected.

Bounties

The EVE August Economic Report is out.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pxf0wt/monthly-economic-report-august-2019

There are plenty of interesting things you could delve into, but I thought I would just concentrate on one – Bounties.

Traditionally, the biggest source of direct new ISK into the game has come from NPC Bounties.

Since February 2018, players have collected a total of 1,138 Trillion ISK in bounties.  Between February 2018 and June 2019 (17 months), this was at an average rate of 63.8 Trillion ISK every month.

In mid-July, 2019, CCP introduced the Null Sec Blackout.  The Null Sec Local Chat channel went into delayed mode like Wormhole space – so that pilots no longer appear in Local unless they type something.  This makes Null Sec a more dangerous place for many pilots.

By the end of July, after two weeks of Null Sec Blackout in effect, the amount of Bounties collected dropped by more than 50%, to 29.1 Trillion ISK.

In August, with Blackout in effect for the entire month, the amount of Bounties collected dropped further to 23.8 Trillion ISK.  It had dropped so much that Commodities moved into the top source of direct ISK coming into the game.  That is ISK income from various sources, such as selling Overseer Personal Effects or Tags to NPC buy orders.

CCP’s monthly Economic reports shows the percentage of bounties collected across Null Sec, Low Sec and High Sec.

Between February 2018 and June 2019, bounties were collected each month on average:

  • 93.7% in Null Sec (59.8T ISK)
  • 5.7% in High Sec (3.6T ISK)
  • 0.6% in Low Sec (0.4T ISK)

It appears taking the Risk to live in Null Sec is very Rewarding.

For the last two full months of July and August 2019, bounties were collected each month on average:

  • 85.2% in Null Sec (22.6T ISK)
  • 12.8% in High Sec (3.3T ISK)
  • 2.0% in Low Sec (0.5T ISK)

As I have said before, that is a big reduction.

Interestingly while High and Low Sec have taken more Bounties as a percentage, the value of those bounties hasn’t dramatically changed.  In fact, the moderate uptick in values could be explained in part by the Skill Points for Kills event.  It also suggests people who spent less time doing PVE in Null Sec did not particularly move their PVE to Low or High Secs.

The first graph below plots the monthly Bounty Payments over the last 19 months for Null, High and Low Secs.

 

The second graph plots the monthly Bounty Payments over the last 19 months for just High and Low Secs, to better see their changes.

There is an apparent uptick over the last 2 months, but as I said, this would have been influenced by the Skills for Kills event.

What else might be influencing this?

At the end of July, soon after the Null Sec Blackout, CCP introduced changes to the Vexor Navy Issue and the skills an Alpha Clone can use to reduce their ability to farm Null Sec NPC’s.  From reports and comments that should have had an noteworthy impact.  We don’t have any statistics to see just what that did however.

CCP continues their war against RMT and Bots.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pxf0x3/monthly-security-report-august-2019

Maybe they hit some particularly profitable pilots over the last couple months?

If I go back to eve-offline.net again:

https://eve-offline.net/?server=tranquility

The average daily online user counts for the:

  • Last 12 months has been 31,000
  • Last 6 months has been 27,000
  • Last 3 months has been 22,000
  • Last 1 month has been 19,000

The average numbers of users online for the last month have been 39% lower than compared to the average over the last 12 months.

The value of bounties collected for the last month have been 60% lower than compared to the average collected over the last 12 months.

The graphs suggests it hasn’t been a linear relationship, but having almost 40% less players online would account for some of the reduction in bounties being collected.

The graphs also suggest that these people now not logging in were probably not doing much PVE in High or Low Sec.

So while the Null Sec Black out would be having a large impact on the value of NPC Bounties being collected, it won’t have been the only thing.

Cracking an Egg

Rixx Javix wrote a blog post about the reasons for and changes to his decision making about when to Pod another pilot and when not too.

http://eveoganda.blogspot.com/2019/08/why-do-we-pod.html

He has had a couple early comments on his blog from people who tend not to pod in Low Sec because of the extra security status hit, and the impact it has on their need to access High Sec.

Aside a skin, you can not fit anything to a pod. It has no weapons, no extra propulsion, no extra tank. There are still a surprisingly number of factors in play however if your pod gets warp scrambled. You might escape based on your distance from gates or docking, external intervention, your ability to fast or sweet talk, or the distraction level, ammunition level, rules of engagement or whim of the aggressor.

Jixx covered many reasons for his decision making on when to crack open an egg or not – tactical, economic, even a touch of OCD for the accumulation of statistics on his killboard.

There was one area I would have liked to have heard about that is of interest to me. The battle is done, the target no real threat. When Jixx talks about making decisions based on his judgement of the performance or behaviour of the other pilot, or his own bushido code, he is talking about power. The power he has over another player in that moment.

I find that aspect of EVE interesting. What is the meaning behind the exercise of that power, what reward does the player gain from it?

For some it is just a game so the decision might be a purely unemotional, intellectual one.

Some might feel satisfaction or pleasure from doling out revenge or karma.

Some might feel good about being magnanimous and sparing the other pilot.

For each pilot it could change day to day, moment to moment, but power is one of the factors to podding. You only have to look at the number of references to tear harvesting.

For me it is almost a moot point. The handful of times I’ve been in a position to make such a decision I’ve mostly just done what the FC has instructed. I have pointedly destroyed Pods to stop them being a source of Intel. I have also pointedly removed Pods when the pilots have clearly been AFK. Regardless the situation, I have generally just felt a bit bad about doing it.

EVE Portal 2019

The latest iteration of the EVE Mobile companion App is now available:

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pww4x0/introducing-eve-portal-2019-edition

I installed it on my iPad and am mightily .. unimpressed.  It is in a fixed orientation (portrait) and a fixed (small) size, taking up only a fraction of the screen.  The interface is crowded with headings and field contents overlapping. It is just unpleasant to look at or use.

I installed it on my Samsung S8 phone.  While it is again stuck in Portrait, the resolution is far better and the app is usable.

It shows basic information about your character, SP Total, ISK and PLEX balance, current location and boarded ship, jump clone locations and availability and current implants.  You can see, add and remove or re-sort your skill training queue.  You can see and respond to EVE Mails.  You can buy stuff from the New Eden Store.

Not terribly important for a solo player, but I might leave it installed on my phone.