Money

CCP have announced price increases for their subscription and plex options. 

https://www.eveonline.com/news/view/plex-and-omega-price-changes

The news item suggested it is the first subscription rate increase since 2004.  I don’t remember there being a general across the board increase before, but I do recall there were some price increases for individual currencies.

CCP’s explanation – “This adjustment reflects global trends impacting general production costs and accounts for years of inflation.”

Fair enough.

You can not buy Subscriptions or PLEX directly in Australian Dollars.  I think I am forced to pay in US Dollars.  That means how much I have paid for my EVE accounts has been impacted by the vagaries of the exchange rates, which causes swings of as much as 30%. I have had price increases and decreases every year…

So how much were the increases (where there is a rough corresponding product)?  Assuming my Math is right…

Subscriptions (USD)

1 month – from $14.95 to $19.95 (+33.4%)

3 months – from $38.85 to $47.98 (+23.5%)

6 months – from $71.70 to $86.95 (+21.3%)

12 months – from $131.40 to $149.90 (+14.1%)

Yikes on the 1-month increase.

PLEX prices (USD) are not as directly relatable.

Now 110 for $4.99, 4.5c each. Will be 100 for $4.99, 5c each (+10.0%)

Now 240 for $9.99, 4.1c each. Will be 250 for 12.49, 5c each (+20.0%)

Now 500 for $19.99, 4c each. Will be 500 for $24.99, 5c each (+25.0%)

Now 1,100 for $39.99, 3.6c each. Will be 1,000 for $44.99, 4.5c each (+23.75%)

Now 2,860 for $99.99, 3.5c each. Will be 3,000 for $124.99, 4.2c each (+19.2%)

I understand and accept the need for CCP to be profitable and acknowledge the lack of increases in all those previous years.  A 20-30% increase however in one hit is substantial. 

It comes at a point in time where I see my EVE subscription being the poorest value it has ever been for a solo / hermit playing the game.

I have spent time in game recently, moving all my assets and clones into the Jita system, readying for a long term or permanent hiatus.  This price increase makes that transition easier.

If you see a future in playing EVE however, it might be worth grabbing some extra Subscription time or PLEX now.

(Note I plan on dropping my evehermit domain and paid for Word Press add-ons.  When those lapse, I presume the site formatting will mess up a bit and Ads will be inserted into pages and email updates.  I am not planning to delete the blog.)

Reviews

My wife’s COVID infection was short and mild, and she is back out in the world again.  So far, my son and I appear to have avoided catching it from her.  After you have been positive the State Government here gives you 8 weeks where you can ignore testing and isolation rules.  The cycle of repeated infections across a household however is very disruptive.

Some hardware reviews, as I am wont to do on occasion.

. My new PC Case – the Corsair iCue 7000x RGB, is glorious.  It looks stunning.  It is also extraordinarily heavy, difficult to maneuverer, and requires two people to carry it.  The weight is there in the specifications, but I did not pay it close enough attention.  The tint is also so dark that it really dulls interior RGB, and it requires almost daily cleaning as it shows every single speck of dusk or touch.  A bit too impractical.

https://www.corsair.com/us/en/Categories/Products/Cases/Super-Tower-and-Full-Tower-Cases/iCUE-7000X-RGB-Tempered-Glass-Full-Tower-ATX-PC-Case/p/CC-9011226-WW

. I have a new keyboard – for now.  My old 18 Macro Key Corsair K95 randomly stops working, so I replaced it with a Corsair K100 Cherry MX Speed.  I did not like the feel of the OPX keys, and the Speed were close to the Cherry Red I prefer.  It is however too twitchy for me, registering key presses I don’t want.  More interesting is how easy it is to brush / activate the lower function keys – for all sorts of hilarious and unexpected results as you type.  I have used Corsair keyboards for years, but I might have to consider a different brand as I don’t like the direction they are taking with their keys.  Impractical in day to day use for older hands.

https://www.corsair.com/us/en/Categories/Products/Gaming-Keyboards/RGB-Mechanical-Gaming-Keyboards/K100/p/CH-912A014-NA

. I have installed two BenQ ScreenBar Plus Monitor Lights.  These are overly expensive, and I had expected were overly hyped.  Instead, they are fantastic.  In my defence I did try a cheaper Amazon option first.  I was impressed, but it was too flimsy and a long reach to turn on and off.  I then got one of the BenQ’s, which was more practical and lit up half my desk well. That prompted me to get a second one for the other side of the desk.  This has been one of the updates which I didn’t expect much of but turned out to be impressed by.  Ambiance is nice, functionality of reading stuff on my desk improved, and my eyes get noticeably less tired.

https://www.benq.com/en-au/lamps/computer-desklamp/screenbar-plus.html

World of Warships is one of the few games I have installed, but like EVE, don’t tend to play.  It remains accessible because of the amount of time and money I have invested in it.  Most of their frequent social media output seemed to be originally in Russian, and I had wondered what impact sanctions would have. 

The Wargaming company have now announced that they had moved their live games business out of Russia and Belarus, and entirely separated themselves from it.  It was moved to Lesta Studio – who was until recently owned by Wargaming, so the difference would likely be more technical in nature than a full divorce.  Online gaming is one of those mediums that can cross economic, social and political divides, and I think can make their players more worldly.  I understand why Russians are being punished for being complicit in the actions of Vladimir Putin – but I can also see the slip into his authoritarian rule has happened over 20 years, with their freedoms lost in small steps along the way.  I wonder at what familiar faces will survive on their social media platforms.

https://wargaming.com/en/news/business-operations-worldwide/

And last on to EVE.

CCP have released another Dev Blog outlining their latest changes as they move towards Fanfest 2022.

https://www.eveonline.com/news/view/road-to-fanfest-full-throttle

I’ve remarked on it before – but when CCP keep using the word “exciting”, you can tell they are probably doing something dumb. 

The latest nerf of Upwell structures are in game – creating more “exciting” gameplay for attacking and defending them.  Attackers will find them easier to kill – which is more exciting.  Defenders will find they require more people and more ships to defend – which is also apparently more exciting.  CCP does not want you to get bored by the successful defence of your structure.

The Rorqual can now jump mining ship fleets, which is kind of cool.  They also refer to the Porpoise getting a purpose, but then don’t say what that is. 

The Proteus has been given a buff.  I will have to contemplate looking at my fits.  I stopped using them when Drone use became too much of a pain.

The new Feature Preview system is live, allowing you to opt-in early to some of the ongoing and unfinished developments.  That might be worth considering looking at.

They have also changed the Daily Login rewards again.  I haven’t bothered logging in for them, so the old regime had lost its lustre.  They have made more and better rewards available, including skins and regular skill points instead of the blocks of points available after x number of days.

It was this last change that prompted me to log in last night.  I have found despite using my new PC for a while now, I had not done anything to setup the EVE client properly.  I’ll have to contemplate that.

Round Two

After only a two-week absence, COVID returned to our household. This time my wife has it.  It is a miracle it took this long for her to catch it.  She mixes with a reckless number of people and groups every week.  Her symptoms have been mild so far.

I am slowly working through my new PC configuration and resolving issues.  I think the 3070 Graphics card I got for it is faulty.  On random days one or more of the 4K screens attached to it will flicker off for half a second, every half a minute or so. There are no error messages to be found.  A restart or removing and replacing the cable will generally resolve it for a day or three, but then it will return.  Since I am using two cards and six monitors, I have plenty of options to swap cables and screens and the ports I am using.  Still – it is an awkward problem to get technical support on.  I am going to test the system with a 3060Ti I picked up today – which will eventually make its way into my Daughter’s PC.

I am still not logging into EVE – and articles like this makes that an easy state to remain in.

https://www.eveonline.com/news/view/road-to-fanfest-ever-closer

When CCP introduced structures, they made some assertions regards their safety and usability.  Since then, they have been nerfing them over and over, making them easier and more profitable to kill, and harder to defend.  CCP calls them “improvements”.  They were meant to be suitable for Solo use – and I went through the process of building, anchoring and using some of them, but it was borderline if it was suitable.  That was many iterations ago – now you would be foolish to use them solo.

Still, I am trying to gather up some enthusiasm for what might be announced at Fan Fest, but the talk of NFTs, Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, pay to earn and so on fills me an with an overflow of Meh.  Somewhat more interesting are comments about a UI unification project, and a Feature Preview system. 

Drama Drama Everywhere

Call me Nostradamus. We had COVID visit our household shortly after my last post. My 13 year daughter picked it up at school. A week of isolation for the family, with my Daughter further confined to her room and the adjacent bathroom. Copious use of masks, sanitiser and disinfectant, and communication through phones, video chats and yelling at doors, and we got through the week without anyone else catching it. My daughter had moderate cold symptoms for a day, mild symptoms for a couple of days, and then has been fine. I however foresee more isolations in our near futures.

I have my new Desktop PC. I splurged a little more than I might usually, getting some of the latest 12th Gen / DD5 etc tech. I have been reminded about why I don’t historically get the latest and greatest – with little niggly issues and unfulfilled promises. In some cases I am stuck waiting for resolutions to randomly turn up in firmware updates. Meanwhile my Son got his first Desktop PC that he sized and paid for himself from his two part time jobs. He took my sage advice and got 11th Gen / DD4 etc tech, saving himself $1,000 on his build and having it all work effectively straight out of the box.

I installed EVE and Pyfa on the new PC, but have not taken to logging back in regularly. Turns out however that you don’t need to play EVE for there to be plenty of drama to peruse. I am of course talking about the Blackout campaign in protest against being able to buy a Retriever via an Account Pack.

I don’t need to write much about it – Wilhelm Arcturus at The Ancient Gaming Noob covers it well:

To selectively summarise, there are a small number of players protesting, a small number of players championing it, and a “great uncaring mass of players who likely don’t know and probably don’t care either way“.

CCP has been conjuring up ships out of nothing for years. Look at all those special edition give away ships, such as the Praxis and Gnosis from the Society of Conscious Thought. You got extra of these if you were a paid subscriber. I am pretty sure I got extra through purchasing some of the special EVE books – although I stand to be corrected. Those hulls are much more impactful than Retrievers.

While I get the focus on the ship being conjured instead of made by players – people have long been able to conjure up stuff for themselves in game by buying things like PLEX and converting it into ISK. It is not like the game is some pure microcosm.

Having said that – it is worth being mindful of one of Mr Arcturus’ quotes on the possible mindset of some protestors “If you don’t push back today, tomorrow the company will do something worse“.

Meanwhile in the little I have read on this topic, I note this from CCP:

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/an-open-letter-to-ccp-from-current-and-former-csm-members-on-the-prospector-pack/352742/1346

We hear your worries about the continued escalation of this kind of sale and want to reassure you that our design will remain directed towards new players finding their footing in New Eden.

One of the topics for Fanfest is a new project that we’re in the middle of developing, that will transform these and any future packs – a paradigm where packs of this type will be supplied by players, ensuring that any ship we offer to new players through sales, will have origins from actual player work in New Eden

A possibly complicated solution to a problem that may not have needed to be solved.

Now I return you to your regularly scheduled program.

First One

Welcome to the first post of the year.  Time slips quietly by on the blog, while in real life it is more like a screeching out of control freight train.

Last year a lot of my posts had comments about COVID; on how lockdowns gave me time to play EVE, and a need to play for the distraction.  After a couple years of imposing heavy restrictions to suppress COVID, just before Christmas our State flicked a switch and went in the complete opposite direction.  Now we live with COVID.

At the moment we were allowed out our front door, my EVE time vanished.

My wife went berserk.  Concerts, shows, social events, activities, outings for her and the kids – every day out of the house, usually multiple times.  I wasn’t pleased at the extreme risks she took – but she ignored me.  As much I would like to use the word irresponsible – it was more a mental health reaction.  For her, living is being out of the house doing things, and she had just spent two years not living.  That was not good for her.

We went from not knowing anyone who had COVID, to half our friends and colleagues having had it.  My wife and kids have had so many close calls that it is unfathomable as to why COVID hasn’t been through our house yet.  I expect it sooner rather than later.

My wife’s rampaging made my normally busy schedule worse.  Add a chunk of busyness around my daughter moving from Primary to High School, a sibling being diagnosed with cancer, and my father needing care after an operation, and I have ended up more tired and fed-up than my normal high levels of tiredness and fed-up-ness.

So, EVE.  I am not playing it.  I am so busy – or otherwise brain dead, that I really need something to spur me to login, but there is nothing that interests me enough to want to do it.  I thought I might have a look at the Dr Who event.  I watched some of the introduction videos and blog posts, but it was just old game mechanics with a different skin.  It has been the problem with EVE for a long time – tweaks and rehashes of the old.  If something new is added – it tends to be focused on you losing ships.

I have recently ordered a new custom PC.  My Desktop gets turned on most days at around 6am and turned off after Midnight.  It is used constantly, so I normally replace it every 5 years, to try and keep in front of any catastrophic board / Power Supply failures.  This time I am replacing it after 4 years.  Over the last two years the availability of PC Parts has been poor and unreliable.  It was just starting to improve but now Mad Man Putin is reminding the world that placating megalomaniac bullies entrenched in echo chambers of their own making was never a good idea. So, before the parts disappear again, or even worse happens, I have an i7 12700K / DDR5 / Liquid Cooled / 3070 based system on the way. Maybe that will get me to log in?

I am still here

I found myself logging into EVE a little more than usual over the last month. I didn’t get up to much – just mindless moving and sorting stuff, hunting down some new skills, plus a bit of trading. Life has been so hectic that I needed a place to retreat too for some downtime.

One of the things I did do was biomass a very old character that I never use. I applied the $6.99 USD Starter Pack to give the account Omega status for 7 days. That allowed me to move stuff around easier, and it also gave me the 13 Days of Nexus Omega Gifts which included a bunch of Skill Points.

After selling off the character’s skill points and assets I went to look for the process of deleting an Account. (They don’t want you too – you have to email a request to CCP, which seems to have been put in place to meet privacy laws.) While looking around I noticed this special offer for the account:

Given I had just purchased about the cheapest pack you could, I was surprised that the personal offer was so expensive. 12,960,000 Million Skill points also seemed very specific.

I also noticed – to my horror, that by buying 7 days of Omega time as part of a pack, that my account had been automatically converted into a paid subscription. I had no payment method attached to it, so it wouldn’t have worked, but to do that without my permission or notifying me is pretty shitty. There are a couple of areas like that were CCP try to tick customers into paying them money. It does not reflect well on them.

Anyway – a Happy New Year to you all. I hope it is a safe year with plenty of time spent with family and friends.

Sounds all the same

The new warp sound changes I remarked on were only recently added.

EVE Version 19.10, patch 2021-11-09.1

“Updated ship engine audio making the sounds of all engines more contextually dynamic and linked to velocity.”

Now that I have flown a few different ships around, I have found (surprisingly) it is another change that breaks my immersion. The sound itself is cool – but it is basically used under Mircowarpdrive or in warp for all ships. There needs to be different sounds for small, medium, and large hulls. Hearing my Orca making similar sounds in warp as my Malediction ends up not working for me.

Other patch notes I noted

EVE Version 19.10, patch 2021-11-16.1

“Updated the Alliance Tournament Monument in the Manarq system with a new structure honoring HYDRA RELOADED’s victory in ATXVII.”

I have never checked that out. Given it happened to be close to where I was at the time, I ran across to look.

Cool enough.

There were also 4 new exploration sites introduced – 3 found via scanning and 1 escalation.  One is in Poochyen and 3 in Low Sec.  They seem to be high end content for capital and super capital components.

“Added the option to sort and filter the content in the redeeming queue. It will also no longer select all items by default upon opening it.”

These changes are good and removed a mild irritation with the feature.

Fingers do not fly

There are warp engine noises I am suddenly hearing in EVE. They sound sort of cool – somewhat Star Wars like. They are however a bit disconcerting, since there are mini explosions in the soundtrack. I expect I will turn the sound down on them sooner rather than later. I am not sure if they are a recent addition, or I am only just noticing them as I adjusted sounds to increase the chance I hear when my cargo is getting scanned.

I’ve read some of the commentary regards CCP’s changes to mining. I need to do a lot more reading before I have a proper opinion. My initial view it is negatively impacts solo play – and is a continuation of CCP trying to force people to play EVE the way they want them too.

I purchased a PS5 the other day. These have not been advertised in stock since November last year. Retailers get small allocations at random times with no warning, so generally operate store by store waiting lists. Last weekend I was in an Electronics store looking for Christmas Gifts when I remembered Grand Turismo 7 was coming in 2022 so I asked the Salesperson if they had a waiting list for the console. He said they unexpectedly got several units in that morning, and I could have one if I included some extra purchases (I grabbed an extra controller and a couple games).

Our main TV is 4K and has a Sound Bar, and the PS5 looks and sounds great on it. The kids were delighted, but it was meant to have been purchased for me. I am starting to wonder however if I am just too old for it. It comes with Astro’s Playgroup – a simple but enjoyable 3D platform game designed for you to get used to the DualSense controller. The kids fly through it – but I am just not getting the coordination right. I also got the W2C 10 Rally game. I can’t yet drive the cars precisely enough. Even when I get things half right, some of the tracks are so tight that there is absolutely no room for mistakes – and I make mistakes. I had been practicing my handbrake turns for 20 minutes on a test track when my daughter asked to try. She beat my time on her second lap, and despite never playing a rally car game before was sliding and drifting and power steering better than I was within minutes. Last of all I got Call of Duty Vanguard. My initial forays into that last night did not go well.

I will continue my 20 minutes practice each night after everyone has gone to bed to try and improve.

A $181.52 mistake – or was it

After 260+ days of accumulative lockdowns we were allowed to get haircuts and go into retail stores again. The kid’s schools, sports and activities restarted – often with clashing overlaps as they all try to salvage some face time before the end of the year. While very much appreciating the freedom, the adjustment to the new level of extreme busyness has not been easy. Nor has carrying the dispiriting shadow of individual lockdowns that hang over you any time you cross paths with COVID. With our schedule, it is not a matter of if, but how many times that happens.

In amongst the chaos, I knew my EVE subscription was coming to an end and had set my mind to let it lapse. I no longer get value for money from it and have not for some time. I had previously cancelled my automatic payment and while I tried to do some preparation by moving a few ships and assets about, I mostly lost interest.

To my surprise CCP then cheerfully told me that they had automatically renewed by subscription for another year. A $181.52 charge at current exchange rates. They no longer warn you that they are going to do that – an irritation I have remarked on before, obviously designed to reduce the chance people cancel their payments.

I logged in to see I had not cancelled the payment. I could have sworn I did – but must have been my mistake. So, I cancelled the payment, and put in the reason that I did not like how they did not warn about automatic payments going through. I hit submit and it accepted it. Then I double checked – and found my automatic payment was still active. I repeated the cancellation – but this time with no explanation, and it went through OK. It looked like I could only cancel my payment when I did not tell CCP why.

So now I have an active account until October next year.

I note there were riots in Jita again. I saw the call for it in one of the EVE Facebook groups I am a member of. It was about mining changes. I figured 7 people would turn up, but apparently, they capped out the Jita population. I might have to look into the mining changes when they hit Tranquillity. There is no rush, I have another 11 months.

I wonder why

I’ve set myself the goal of keeping on top of reading the patch notes.  I have already assumed I will fail.

As I go through a copy of the notes, I generally highlight relevant or useful or interesting lines in either pale yellow or pale green. 

Pale yellow is to remind me to investigate, action and/or follow up.

Pale green tells me that I have noted, investigated, actioned and/or followed up.

The next pale yellow entry in my OneNote document is:

EVE Version 19.08, patch 2021-09-14.1

“Completed the construction and opened for Capsuleer visitors the new Pator IV (Matar) – Thukker Council Halls of Liberation station in Pator.”

I use one of my Shuttle Maledictions and fly the 20 odd jumps to check the station out.  It does not take very long – the ship flies.

I fly around it, dock and undock.  I presume it is using a different Skin.  There are other stations already in the system, and I am not sure what this one’s purpose or meaning is.  I must have missed some EVE Lore related post or comment or YouTube video. 

I fly back to my staging system.  Again, it does not take long.

The sparkle in your eyes

A couple of months ago EVE had a visual update.

EVE Version 19.06, patch 2021-07-13.1

“The Bring Out EVE’s Colors update is live and introduces a range of huge visual improvements”

I’m not sure if it is just me, but I found the impact to be hit and miss.

The interior and exterior of stations seemed to improve – they look to have more depth and detail.  Likewise, some planets seemed to be sharper and more eye-catching.  A lot of my ship hulls however now look flatter and duller.  They stand out from the space around them, but not in a good way.

Lighting seems to play a big part.  The Gnosis above has this great looking rear, but then the front is awkward in comparison.

I will be warping through space and the ship will be lit in a certain way and really look great (as above) but as you slide further past the sun you are back to looking flat.

Nothing earth shattering, and it does look as if in the long term it will be for the better.

15

The other reason I have had a flurry of EVE activity – Elmis turns 15 today.  5,479 days of continually paid subscription.

He has 327M Skill Points – an increase of 23M from last year.  That was all from normal training and login / activity bonus handouts.  The handouts really add up, and he has a bunch of unallocated points.  On the occasion a new skill is released those unallocated points generally allow me to train them to Rank 4 immediately.

All the skills he uses in game are already at Rank V.  The training queue was 197 days long, with skills I don’t use and am unlikely to use.  Currently being worked on was Torpedo Specialization V.  I added a bunch more skills in the process of writing this entry, taking the training queue up to 475 days.  I hit a limit (I assume 500 days). 

Elmis has around 125B ISK in cash and 15B ISK in assets (approximately).  His wealth increased a little over the last year, but I made no specific effort to do so. 

Interestingly my Bitter Vet levels dropped.  That has however been because of caring less. 

If it wasn’t for COVID lockdowns it is unlikely I would have been writing this post.  I would have fallen further out of the habit of playing and slipped quietly away. 

The end of my EVE playing would not have been through the actions of CCP or other players.  It would not have been because I play a Hermit game instead of a social game.  It would not have been because I found a new game to invest my time in.  It would simply have been caused by an overly busy real life.

I will fall back into some new level of overly busy life next year.  Without change I will be back in the same boat, sliding quietly out of EVE. 

We have made some huge sacrifices for our kids in recent years.  They have had some amazing opportunities as a result, but outside of lockdown I spend many hours every day driving them to and from places and waiting for them in between.  I cannot announce that is all going to change because they are taking too much time away from my online space game.

I do find when I log in to EVE that I am spending too much time on housekeeping and trying to catch up.  I have always had a very organised but large collection of ships and spares.  They allow me to cover a great deal of contingencies when I play.  With CCP’s constant small changes however all this preparation tends to end up less than optimal or even obsolete.  I log in, spend an hour or two trying to rectify, then log off without doing anything.

While I have this extra time, I think I will try to balance undocking to do things I am interested in, with trying to really simplify what I keep in game.  Maybe that will help me be around for birthday 16.

Urlen

While the Lockdowns have dragged me somewhat back to EVE, I have been more focused on the value of them after the first death of someone I knew which was impacted by COVID.

We met his family in the maternity ward when our sons were born and have regularly caught up in the 16 years since.  Our sons have been friends from a very young age, and currently go to the same High School.

The man had been feeling unwell but delayed investigations during the early COVID lockdowns.  Initial appointments and tests were further dragged out by COVID restrictions.  When he was diagnosed with Cancer, subsequent appointments, treatments, and surgeries were all impacted by COVID restrictions.  When it was apparent the prognosis was poor, he spent most of his remaining time confined to his house, unable to do what he might have wished or to see friends or family.  His time in palliative care and who could visit was impacted by COVID restrictions, his funeral is impacted by COVID restrictions, and the grieving process will be impacted by COVID restrictions.

It was a rare and aggressive cancer, and I do not suggest his life expectancy would have been any different without the COVID impacts on his health care.  But his remaining life was made so much poorer, and I hope such a price was well considered and completely justified.

More distractions needed.

EVE Version 19.07, patch 2021-09-01.1

“New Caldari landmark sites can be found within the New Caldari and Urlen systems.”

I travel over to Urlen from New Caldari, cringing at each Gate session change.

Again, there are two Celestial Beacons in the system – one labelled an Abandoned Caldari Outpost and one the Urlen II Provist Riots Memorial. 

I warp to the Outpost to see what the older Landmark looks like.

There are some rat wrecks on the structure that I salvage while I look around.  It is hard to find a photo worthy angle.  There is not much information to be had – something about it being a ruined Guristas site of some kind.  Or maybe the Guristas ruined it.  I’m not sure I would make a good tour guide.

I warp over to the Memorial.

Again, the new landmark is visually pretty.  The description of the site is less pretty.  It is a Caldari State memorial to citizens killed by terrorist acts enabled by the at the time de facto leader of the Caldari State.  Or something like that.

Some real life to push and a single line in a patch note and two dozen jumps later you have played EVE.

New Caldari

For a long time, I just resigned myself to our Lockdowns.  We were told over and over that they were saving lives and protecting our health systems from being overrun.  As time has gone on and on, I find myself less amenable towards them.

When compared to the rest of the world we do seem to have saved lives.  How many will have to be calculated after we have moved to living with COVID and deaths spike.  Then we will see what our expected 280-300+ days of city-wide Lockdowns have paid for.

So, distractions are more and more important, and EVE offers up a little of that.

EVE Version 19.07, patch 2021-09-01.1

“New Caldari landmark sites can be found within the New Caldari and Urlen systems.”

I do not generally check out new landmarks – but I decide to do so this time.  I head over to New Caldari in a very dirty Astero.  I have been spending a lot of time in Pyfa, revisiting again what might be the best Hi-Sec Data/Relic Exploration hull now that the Pacifier is in the mix.

There are two location beacons in system – Derelict Ruins and Landfall Kutuoto Miru Orbital Center.  I presume the second site is the new one.  I’ve paid little attention to Landmarks outside of Cosmos systems, so I check out the Derelict Ruins first.

Not much to see and no real description.  There are some Rats on the object, and I clear them out to collect my bonus Skill Points for the day.

I then warp over to the Orbital Center.

A bit more development effort has gone into this one and the description is several paragraphs long.  I will leave it for you to track down the details, but in summary it is a Caldari Cultist Education Camp floating over a big Graveyard.

You could create an EVE blog just by visiting and documenting all these landmarks… You could call it EVE Travel or the like… 

Flung down the Rabbit Hole

The City I live in is some 40 days into COVID Lockdown 6.  I think we have been in Lockdown for 225 days now – and projected to remain in lockdown for least 60 days more.  That is when we should reach 70% of the population being double dosed vaccinated.  We don’t know what freedoms we will get back at that point – so it is not clear if we will remain in Lockdown or not.  In 80+ days we should reach 80% double dosed vaccinated, when more freedoms will be returned.  I am left with the impression that the Leader of our State has no other ideas.

It does leave me with more time for EVE.

I still loath the Gate Jump transition.  I am irritated by it every single time.  I go through the client settings once a week hoping to find CCP has added the option to turn it off – to no avail.

I am trying to get back into the habit of reading the patch notes.

EVE Version 19.07, patch 2021-08-10.1

“Increased the maximum volume level in-game videos can be set to. Set the default volume of videos to be at max volume.”

That item gave me a mini-heart attack.  The Videos had sound?  I had visions of how Facebook inserts Video Ads at 100% volume (or 50% volume if you find and turn on quiet mode).  I immediately went looking for how to turn this down.

But there was no setting.  I think it is just the World Level volume.  I have that set to a low background mumbling, and there seemed to be no impact from CCP’s update.  Crisis adverted. 

Matters Not

The system of Uedama lies between my current home system and Jita. When I want to go to the game’s biggest Trade Hub, I need to pass through it.

Uedama has a security level of 0.5 and is a suicide ganking choke point. In my unscientific observations it seems to be much more regularly camped now that Niarja was ripped out of known space and into Pockven by the Triglavians.

I have never lost a ship in a chokepoint system – or a trade hub for that matter. I have always made deliberate and careful decisions around the size of the ships tank and the value of fittings and cargo I move through such systems. I might end up making twice as many jumps, but I try to find the point where I am not worth the effort to Gank.

With CCP’s big economic adjustments over the last year or two, they have both reduced the general income in the game and made larger ships much more expensive. In Hi-Sec that has seen the Orca price increase to around 1.7B ISK, and Freighters to increase to over 3B ISK.

Out in NULL sec, the new price of Capital and Super Capital ships has apparently seen a reduction in the willingness to risk such assets in a fight. A sort of own Goal by CCP, although I am not suggested they did not need to do something about wealth generation and inequity.

In Hi-Sec the increased hull prices of capital ships seems to have triggered a psychological change in Suicide Gankers. I keep any eye on the killboards for Uedama and other choke point systems. I am seeing a consistently larger number of empty Freighters being ganked than what I would expect. It seems an empty and unprofitable 3B ISK Freighter kill is worth it – because they know it will hurt the pilot, and it pads the Killboard.

What it means is that if you pilot a Freighter around Hi-Sec, there are no deliberate or careful decision you can make to give you a comfortable risk verse reward calculation. You are at real risk while doing nothing to generate ISK.

This is not a cry for a risk-free EVE, or a demand for more income in game or less, or wanting ships to be cheaper or more expensive, or ganking to be easier or harder. It is an acknowledgement of an aspect of the game where your decisions now matter less, and randomness matters more.

Meanwhile I finally got around to undocking and looking through my EVE Assets. I had four Orca’s – purchased for between 600 and 800M ISK. I sold two for 1.7+B ISK each.

To exist

We are in our sixth COVID lockdown here. More than 200 days of dispiriting personal, education and business confinement and restrictions since the pandemic was declared in March last year.

In Lockdown 1 to 5 our leaders could gloss over the notable costs by looking at the final successful suppression of the outbreaks. Lockdown 6 however has not been so successful, with the Delta variant slowly spreading and growing regardless.

There is little hope being offered up, just a perpetual lockdown for the rest of the year until Vaccine supplies improve. Our response to COVID has been directed by Medical Bureaucrats, who understandably try to save every single life regardless the cost. I have friends who applaud it. The result however is that we exist, but do not live.

I went through my EVE Game logs earlier. I have mostly remembered to collect the daily rewards. It has been around 6 weeks however since I logged into a Station, and 12 weeks since I undocked. I have thought to play a couple of times, but it is almost like I am hesitant to do so as it will break my run of not playing.

It was an email from World of Warships offering me free Premium ships if I returned that got me thinking about EVE again.

I did start up my gaming laptop tonight. I had in mind transferring some assets between my Main and an Alt on an Alpha account. You can not run an Alpha and an Omega account at the same time on the same computer, but you can (shhhh) on different computers at the same time. The problem is it had been more than a month since I last started the laptop and I spent 60 minutes on and off applying Window, Intel, nVidia, ASUS, Security and multiple game patches and updates. My interest waned. Maybe next time.

I did allow the automatic payment of my WordPress upgrades to go through. I obviously haven’t quite given up just yet.

Will it make you log on?

We found ourselves in a fifth COVID lockdown over the last couple of weeks. I think the characteristics of the Delta variant will mean frequent lock downs from now on until someone makes the decision to move into the COVID endgame.

No one is really talking about the endgame here. The point where everyone who wants to be vaccinated is vaccinated. When the hospitals and funeral parlours are prepared as they ever will be. The point where they let COVID spread.

There will be a harsh reality at that point. A statistically horrific number of people will die. Maybe 1 in 500, or 1 in 1,000, or 1 in 2,500. It will be thousands of deaths. However – society will cope and function. Most people won’t personally know someone who dies of COVID. That would be the brutal reality of it.

In the meanwhile, we will be in lockdown limbo for the foreseeable future. On the plus side both my wife and I have been fully vaccinated now. The statistical odds should be in our favour, particularly as the Government has already ordered supplies for a 3rd booster shot next year.

The last lockdown gave me some extra time in EVE. This time I’ve just been watching the Olympics. I log in for the daily rewards, but I don’t enter the station. I have effectively stopped playing EVE. I don’t know if that will be permanent or not.

So why am I posting today? To rant about the COVID situation here? No – what triggered my post was the latest limited daily login campaign giveaways.

235M ISK for subscribed accounts if you log in for 5 days over The Grand Heist event.

I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth and will endeavour to remember to log in to claim it. 235M ISK is still a noteworthy amount for me.

Maybe CCP is hoping it encourages people to log in and do something with the ISK in an easy come / easy go manner. I am not sure what to think.

I do know I preferred the old days where you would get skins that you could inject, trade, or store away in hope of a windfall years later, instead of just ISK. I find it all very odd.

2B ISK ORCA’s!

For around the 20th time, COVID19 has escaped hotel quarantine in Australia, and the city I live in finds itself back in its fourth lockdown as they pursue the eradication of community transfer.  On the bright side there is suddenly a much greater interest in vaccinations and the opening of eligibility (my age group is now allowed to get them, so I am booked in on Saturday), and I have 20+ extra hours free a week because I am not transporting the kids too and from school, band, karate, roller-skating, hockey, or the myriad of other activities they are involved in.  The result has also been that I have undocked in EVE a few times.  Go COVID.

I do not think I have remarked, but I have finished my move away from Domain.  I do not have a single asset or jump clone there anymore.  One of the last things I moved was my BPO collection.  It has an in-client value of more than 5B ISK, but that does not factor in that almost everyone is fully researched.  I took all of them in one trip using an Interceptor. 

I would not like to calculate how long the entire move took me.  With 38 jumps between my old and new home, it was a laborious chore.

CCP did finally introduce the ability to store multiple Jump Clones in the same NPC station.  I moved some 25+ clones across several accounts into just a couple stations.  That makes the management and use of them much easier, although I am mindful of the danger of a Triglavian invasion version 2 and possibly losing a heap of clones.  At the moment, convenience trumps risk.

With the latest patch that went in last night there are four new gates in EVE.

Hykkota (The Forge) ↔ Ahbazon (Genesis)

Irgrus (Metropolis) ↔ Pakhshi (Genesis)

Kenninck (Placid) ↔ Eggheron (Solitude)

Saminer (Tash-Murkon) ↔ F7-ICZ (Stain)

I checked in game, but it seemed to have made no difference to the Hi-Sec route between Amarr and Jita, or Amarr and my new home.

I did not involve myself in the gathering of resources for the new gates.  I did not even manage to get all the login bonuses, which might be the first time that has happened for an event.

What I did notice in my latest COVID endorsed undocking was the price of ship hulls.  With CCP’s continued reset of the game economics the humble Battleship is now up around 300M for most hulls.  My long-term favourite ship – the Orca, is now up around the 2B ISK mark, and the humble Freighter around 3B ISK.  That is a big step up for newer players.  It also makes the Hauling or Roaming Home Orca that much bigger of a target.  It doesn’t really matter what you carry – you are a juicy killboard padding target empty. 

I think I have 4 Orca’s in my fleet.  Most would have been purchased at around the 600-800M ISK mark.  All are now worth 2-3 times more.  It does seem to be the way.  The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

There are rumours the lock downs will ease on Friday.  I will see if I can squeeze in some more undocking before then.

EVE’s 18th Birthday

Another 7 weeks passed between posts – where does the time go? I am not playing EVE, but it is not just EVE’s fault. Real life is smashing me to smithereens. I have been saying that for years, but it just keeps on getting worse. The extra job I reluctantly took on before Christmas has resulted in a stupid amount of additional hours, far too much I am not paid for. My wife – whose scheduling of our kids lives long ago passed child abuse levels, has gone berserk. There is no room for EVE. There is no room for me. It is all just very unpleasant.

On a more cheery note, EVE has now turned 18. In Australia it can buy and consume alcohol. I wonder if it would be the type to be responsible, or go off the rails?

There are 8 days of daily login birthday gifts, including (apparently) 450,000 Skill points if you have a paid account.

Worth launching to the log in screen to collect.