A flat bounce

The EVE November Economic Report is out.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/q2981h/monthly-economic-report-november-2019

In November the bounty amounts collected were:

93.9% in Null Sec (39.0T ISK (against 70.0T in 11.2018))
5.3% in High Sec (2.2T ISK (against 3.8T in 11.2018))
0.8% in Low Sec (0.3T ISK (against 0.3T in 11.2018))

Back to eve-offline.net again, the average daily online user counts for the:

Last 12 months has been 29,000
Last 6 months has been 25,000
Last 3 months has been 22,000
Last 1 month has been 22,000 (20,000 last month)

So, it looks like the downward trend was arrested by CCP with taking the chaos out of chaos and a regular flow of login giveaways. This rebound however has plateaued at or just below where it was before the start of Chaos. Not yet the overall rejuvenation being looked for when they started down this path.

Scooped

I have looked at the new Hypernet Relay several times. Oddly it has been positioned under Finance in the NeoCom.

I find the interface awkward. You can’t resize it; you can’t change the number of raffles that are shown. You get 12. I am not sure if they are the closest 12, the newest 12, the oldest 12, or a random 12. If you want another 12, you hit refresh. You can’t go back to the first 12 though. There are little forward and backwards icons that appear to give you that functionality, but they instead just move you through the Browse / History / Create tabs if you have previously looked at them.

You can filter the raffles to specific items, but for me personally, I am not likely to come to the Hypernet Relay to look for something specific. I want to look at a big bunch of random raffles for things I didn’t know I wanted.

On occasion I have seen some cool stuff.

There was a T2 Nemesis blueprint up for raffle. It had an asking price of 352M ISK for each of 512 tickets. That’s an overall price of 180B ISK. That was cool to see.

Almost every other raffle however was shite. Most creators are looking for 50 to 100% higher return for their item than what they can get off the market. Looking at the image above you have 80M for a 60M Astero, 1,100M for a 500M Ikitursa, and just cropped off 1,250M for an 865M Large Skill Injector. There are costs to run a raffle – and risks if you price things wrong and it doesn’t succeed, so I expect a margin on top. I am just not that inclined however to fill the pockets of the greedy.

I thought it would be better.

Speaking of things I thought would be better – I recently made a concerted effort to look for Abyssal gear for some of my ships. I have a couple items I picked up by chance which have cool enough stats, but here I went looking for specific modules for specific purposes. You find lots Abyssal items on Contract and on the Hypernet relay. The vast majority of these however appear to be failed upgrades people are trying to get their money back on. The rare good item you come across in a sea of crap tends to be stupidly overpriced.

Anyway – it seems too easy to find things to gripe about, so let me answer the question you never asked, why did I anchor an Astrahus?

Because, I did something I said I wouldn’t do – I unanchored my Azbel.

It is a shitty mechanic for solo play, but I figured I would give it a go anyway.

The actual process is straight forward. You open the Structure Browser, select the My Structures tab, right click on the Structure and select “Decommission”.

The status of the structure changes to unanchoring, and you wait for 7 days until you can scoop it up from space. In this case – it required a Freighter.

I had thought you could scan the unanchoring structure to see its timer, but that was apparently false. Unless you witness the status change, the only way to know the time is by having the appropriate roles to see it in the Structure Browser.

That means with the appropriate precautions, it is not as risky a process as I had thought. 7 days is still stupid.

So, my observations for solo unanchoring:

. It is safer if you first anchored the structure in a location where it was not visible from any station, or belt, or planet, or moon, or gate or so on (tick)

. It is safer if you haven’t previously allowed any other players to use your structure (tick)

These two measures mean no one should be observing the structure by chance. They will need to have probed it down as it won’t have appeared on the system wide overview. If you were even more paranoid than me – you could try a deep space location out of D-Scan range and not in alignment between any space sites. Out of sight, out of mind.

. This is obvious – but pick your time for the unanchoring. The system should be quiet or empty when you decommission it, and at your best guess is likely to be the same in 7 days’ time.

. Also, obviously – ensure you will be available when the unanchoring process finishes, and don’t forget it!

. If you suspect the process might be compromised, cancel and try again in a few weeks or so.  It is easily done via the Structure Browser, but the process resets to 7 days

. Don’t act all suspicious like

Don’t change your in game behaviour. Don’t make it obvious that you are emptying the structure of fittings, ships and assets. A steady stream of pods warping off from a station then coming back with ships, over and over, may be noticed. Don’t have an army of alts sitting in combat ships on the structure in the hours leading up to the unanchoring. No one should be curious about what you are up to – it should look boring and routine.

. Have your hauler at least 250km away, so you can warp to zero on the drops.

 

So, this is what I did.

I picked a time the area was generally quiet.

I used an out of Alliance scouting alt to keep an eye on the comings and going of people in system, and to be available to use combat probes to scan down any freighters that might be in space if I was concerned at the last minute.

I left the structure in power mode but stripped it of all assets and fittings aside one service module and a bit over a week’s worth of fuel. I did this when no one was around to watch.

I moved my alts and suitable combat vessels into place well in advanced, leaving some logged off.

I was able to use my Astrahus as a staging location. (It was the replacement.) I parked my freighter and spare combat ships in it.

I only logged in my first Alt four minutes before the unanchoring finished. I warped them down to the Azbel in a combat vessel with three minutes to spare, watching D-Scan.

I logged my Freighter pilot in a couple minutes left to go and undocked with one-minute left. I aligned to the Azbel maintaining the full undocking speed, and fleeted with the other Alt. I used an Overview that showed everything – just to ensure I would see the unanchored and dropped items on my overview.

I hit warp (from about 1,000km away) as soon as the Azbel and container of fuel and the service module appeared on overview.

A few minutes later they were scooped, and I was docked safely with the Azbel, likely no one else any the wiser.

7 days is still stupid.

Welcome

The Raznaborg NPC’s have had a surprisingly negative hit on my EVE play time.

I abandoned finding a Gnosis fit that could Combat Scan and Tank / Kill 5 of them. The fittings were getting too expensive. I ended up with a Claymore Command Ship with a dual rep Shield tank. That enabled me to kill them safely and easily – when I could find them. (They have a knack of turning up when you don’t want them, not when you do.)

As expected however their salvage prices quickly tanked, and there is little incentive to clear them as they just immediately respawn somewhere else in the system.

I think I read a comment somewhere that suggested they might have been nerfed a bit, but they still appear to hit hard enough that it isn’t worth mining anymore. The regular interruptions and damage dealt make them far more irritating than other players.

Similarly, I stopped doing PI. The Raznaborg Triglavians also hunt Custom Offices. Using a Transport Ship means you can tank them fine as you turn around and warp away, but my lower SP Alts have trouble in their T1 Industrials.

Mining and PI were both casual endeavours that tended to hook me into proper play sessions. Without them, I play EVE noticeably less.

Woe is me – the nasty NPC’s require me to concentrate 100% of the time undocked in High Sec. The thing is, I regularly need to step away for a minute or two. I am forever at the front door seeing family members off or letting them back into the house. Life is full of short interruptions and I need to be able to walk away from the game for a minute or two. The cycles of docking and undocking end up being too much of a drag.

I also anchored a second Structure – an Astrahus, 1,000km off but aligned with the Azbel.

Welcome Solitude to the Hermit Collective.

Solitude also racked up my first Structure kills – working unlike the Azbel did to clear Raznaborg NPC’s when I notice them.  (Yes I know the target painter would help, but I was checking the logs for just how much of a difference there was with using it and not using it.)

I regularly find them shooting at my Structures – giving them odd little red paint jobs as they subsequently repair themselves.

 

Philip Hue Review

For many years I have had a Bose 5.1 speaker system in my Study, connected via a Yamaha AV Receiver to my PC, PVR, DVD Player, PlayStation 3 and a wall mounted TV. It was part of my vision of the dream Study. Over time however it has got less and less use.

A few months ago, we upgraded to a 4K main TV and added a soundbar with sub. The results were better than expected, and it became apparent that I wouldn’t be watching movies in my Study anymore. Consequently, I ended up removing the speakers, Receiver, my PlayStation, and copious meters of cabling.

I was happy with having a less cluttered Study.

I regularly peruse the Battlestations Subreddit on Reddit, enjoying seeing how people configure their computer set ups.

https://www.reddit.com/r/battlestations/

(If my wife knew she might prefer I looked at something more risqué. It would be cheaper.)

With newfound desk space, I thought I might try some of the room mood / RGB lighting that is popular on the subreddit. After investigations on function, price and availability of the various options, I settled on trying the Philips Hue “Smart lights”.

https://www.meethue.com/

I ended up with a Hue Bridge controller, two light bars, one coloured globe and a wireless dimmer switch.

The tldr summary is I found it easy enough to setup and surprisingly impactful in influencing the ambience in my study.

In more detail.

I thought the Philips Hue range was for the most part extraordinarily overpriced. I understand there needs to be a margin for the research and development that went into them, but the products felt much cheaper than their asking price, and I expect would cost only a tiny fraction of that to manufacture.

There were cheaper start-up kits, but these were focused on the American Market and use primarily screw in bulbs where in Australia bayonet sockets are far more common.

(They might have been shoplifted regularly, as in most shops they were not on the shelves and you had to ask for them at the counter.)

The various components connected quickly and reliably to the Bridge controller / hub and could be found and configured in the Smartphone app or the PC Sync Software.

Updates seems to be pushed regularly to the various components. This process often seems to freeze, but when you exit and come back into the application, the updates have usually been applied.

As I have found with most lighting related software, the configuration of the lights seemed a little more awkward than it needed to be. You add your lights and configure them to rooms and zones. You then had separate concepts of entertainment areas and scenes to configure, plus automation routines and timers available. It meant there were lots of ways you could use them – but at the cost of being somewhat unnecessarily complicated.

Even so, I thought the product line was more mature than I had been expecting.

I found it wasn’t a good idea to use the coloured bulb in the main light socket in my room. It was too easy to get out of sync with the other lights, particularly any time my wife walked into the study and thought it was too dark. I ended up purchasing a new lamp for my desk for that bulb.

The dimmer switch can be programmed with several scenes you can cycle through and was the much better way on a day to day basis to turn the system on and off than using your phone.

You could set up environment options – where the lights react to either music or video. Aside seemingly being a bit behind the action, it didn’t do much for me except get annoying.

I had an unexpected issue of note. Because the Light Bars angle cross-ways instead of straight down, they really show up dust! Things still look dusty almost immediately after diligently cleaning around them.

I must admit that I have enjoyed using them more than expected. I like having a few go-to ambient scenes to use. For example, I particularly like the red scene when I am playing EVE. It adds- an undefinable – something.

The system can also incorporate additional home automation systems and options, which is part of the reason I went down this path in the first place.

I would say – ignoring price – it has exceeded my expectations.

(Interestingly Bunnings have halved the price of lots of the range – after I had finished my purchases. That is indicative of there being huge mark ups.)

There is a little bit of EVE stuff coming – but it is waiting for the conclusion of things in game before I speak about it.

Attention Seeking

CCP is giving away more free Skill Points (amongst other things) with their Black Friday Log on boosts.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/q1mqjb/get-the-black-friday-boost

Log in daily between November 27th and December 3rd to collect.

I don’t recall a previous period where CCP has so regularly given away free stuff before.

 

CCP’s latest patch this week incorporates changes to how Bookmarks are managed and shared.  It also seems to have stopped my ESC key from bringing up the EVE client settings window.  That is the way I have always logged off the game.  Now I seem to have to use the Neocom menu.

 

In what I assume is part of their Chaos Era, CCP has also announced its version of player run SOMER Blink / Raffles / Gambling / Microlotteries.  It should be in game on December 10th.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/q1muog/introducing-the-hypernet-relay

One of my pet theories is that the more spin and hype in a CCP article, the more contentious the change.  This article has statements like “today there is great excitement”, “will stimulate the economy of New Eden by increasing the trade velocity of items”, and “the potential increase in access to coveted items for players through asset redistribution is also a very exciting prospect!”.

This new feature is called the HyperNet Relay.  It allows you to run your own Raffle by paying CCP (directly via the New Eden Store or indirectly via the market) a fee based on the value of your Raffle, in a new item (currency?) called Hypercores.

I wonder what the scam to valid lottery ratio will be?

The feedback thread is here, and promises much:

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/introducing-the-hypernet-relay/203064

Having said that – remember this?

The Starter Pack that comes with 1M Skill points that there was such a huge player furore over?  The one CCP suggested they would reconsider?  It still gets advertised on occasion on the game launcher, including just the other day, and players no longer seem to notice or care.

In all honesty I am not fussed by this “feature”.  I might use it a handful of times for my own amusement, but otherwise I will ignore it.  My mind boggles however at the can of worms CCP is opening for themselves.  Even ignoring the initial player aggravation, there are all the complexities such how legal it is in each individual country, problems related to gambling additions, and so on.  Why would CCP go down such a path (aside the obvious hoped for profit)?

 

 

Inequity

(My consumption of EVE related media tends to be sporadic and varied, so don’t assume what I remark on here covers a fraction of what might be worthwhile.)

I watched the 2019 EVE Vegas presentation by CCP Larrikin on Data and Botting, which was uploaded to YouTube a few days ago.

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

I wasn’t a fan of the slow speed of some of the animated graphs used during the presentation, but there was plenty of interesting things shown. It was cool to see Australia punching above its population size for things like Titian ownership and mining volumes, but rather shocking to see how overly impactful US based players are on the game.

Some examples of what was shown:

This graph shows the average daily Character PVE incomes in Sov Null Sec from Q2 this year. It is grouped in 10% ranges, so the bottom 10% of characters earn less than 10M ISK a day while the top 10% earn almost 700M ISK. Look at the curve of the graph, and how the highest incomes are skewed towards a relatively small number of players.

This graph instead shows the average daily PVE incomes in Sov Null Sec for Characters viewed as likely to be cheating. Note instead how linear the income is. That makes sense – assuming they are using similarly effective bots, the income might come down more to how long they are run each day. The likely cheating accounts are all earning substantially more than normal players in the same percentile.

And then you have the same sort of information – grouped in 25% income ranges across the last half year. The blackout reduced the income of the bottom 75% of Sov Null Sec PVE characters by between 38 and 43%. It reduced the income of the top 25% earners by only 12%. That was an unexpected worsening of the already unequal income distribution.

It was pointed out that the richest players in EVE do not do PVE. They were described as a minority of very smart players who “value add”. That is an interesting term. I expect many are traders – who buy at low prices, pay others to move stuff around, and then sell at high prices. Technically they don’t really add much aside to their own wallet and extra inflation.

In the end CCP Larrikin said it was time for a discussion amongst players and CCP about what they can do to change this unequal income distribution.

Dove too deep

CCP Falcon has left CCP. He does not appear to have a job to go to, but it seems to have been under his own volition. CCP are now looking for a new Senior Community Manager.

https://twitter.com/Verone3784

https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/dtd6db/ccp_falcon_leaving_ccp/

https://massivelyop.com/2019/11/08/eve-online-senior-community-manager-ccp-falcon-departs-ccp-games/

X-CCP Falcon and Hilmar were the very public and vocal face of the start of the EVE Chaos era. He wore his heart on his sleeve, championing the salvation of EVE through a glorious dystopian PVP blood bath.

And then reality slapped him in the face. In-game activity instead slowed, and CCP reacted by redefining Chaos into something rolled back and less chaotic like.

I am not a game developer; I play EVE in a solo centric way, and I sit in my comfortable study chair some 16,800 kilometres away from Iceland, but I have an opinion.

X-CCP Falcon ridiculed those into PVE while championed those into PVP. He, Hilmar and CCP repeated the same common misstep. They did not maintain focus on the symbiotic balance between the hunter and prey, the builder and the destroyer, the pacifist and the warmonger.

They should all go watch the Lion King.

The blackout could have added something meaningful and important to the game – if it had been refined. Have it applied just to Player Null-Sec. Allow the inhabitance of that space to build and fuel structures that allow them to turn local on (or switch it off when it suits). Introduce Ship classes and modules that interact with Player Null-Sec Local – Burst Pulses to temporarily show Local, or Analyzers to temporarily hack structures to turn it off.

Choice and counters for both prey and hunter, an adjustable and changing landscape, a better differentiated Player Null Sec, more dynamic interactions.

If CCP wants to arrest the games stagnation and slide they need to have people as brave and as passionate as X-CCP Falcon, but with a sharper, more inclusive focus.