Swinging sticks

The latest Dev-Blog is out – detailing large increases to in-game sales taxes and broker fees.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pvewgz/updates-to-sales-taxes-and-brokers-fees

The maximum taxation you will pay in NPC Stations with no standings or trading skills has increased from 5 to 10 percentage points. That is not a subtle difference.

The degree this will impact you will of course vary. Your trade skill effectiveness will increase (by almost 19%), but overall at a minimum you will pay an extra 2.25 percentage points taxation in NPC structures (from 3 to 5.25, up 75%) and an extra 1.25 percentage points taxation in player owned structures (from 1 to 2.25, up 125%).

The feedback thread on this is interesting.

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/devblog-updates-to-sales-taxes-brokers-fees/178876

Just what is CCP trying to achieve?

Some point out that the biggest percentage point impact will be on alpha and low skill characters, however I don’t really buy that argument. Technically it is correct – but what is a couple percentage points on the price of a standard T1 frigate?

It will impact traders. It will impact players when they buy and sell items worth hundreds of millions. It will impact those buying and selling PLEX in volume.

Are they trying to push more of us to use Citadels instead of NPC stations for our market sales and purchases? How did that work out last time? If it did work this time, wouldn’t that risk giving more money to the Perimeter cartels?

Personally, I never sell out of a Citadel, and I never buy unless I am docked there. This won’t change my mind.  In fact, the cries to change or remove the asset safety mechanism see me even less inclined to do so.

Is this just an effort to take more ISK out of the game?

Do we have our next weekly “Ooo Chaos” change?

Who knows?  CCP didn’t think it important enough to provide context.

Skill point Explosion

What do you do if you are CCP and are trialing Blackout – one of the bigger changes made to EVE in some time?

You collect before and after data and carefully monitor the reaction and behaviour of the players to the changes.

It also seems if you are CCP, soon after Blackout begins you kick off the Season of Skills. This is a series of events to encourage people to subscribe and to log in daily to get extra skill points. It is the sort of thing which will skew some of the statistics that CCP should be looking closely at.

It must never have crossed their minds.

An overview of the events can be seen here:

https://www.eveonline.com/now/season-of-skills

From a law perspective, CCP is giving you extra Skill points so you can better respond to the threats posed by the Drifters, Triglavians and the Blackout.

 

The first part – announced on the 15th, and expiring on the 17th, is a bonus with 3-month Omega subscriptions:

https://www.eveonline.com/article/puowou/season-of-skills-3-months-of-omega-with-usd1-mct-offer

If you get a 3-month subscription, for $1 more you get three months of Multi-pilot training on that account. (It is limited to once only for each account.)

It should be noted that you do not get Multi-pilot training certificates (which could be sold on the market). Instead training for a second pilot is immediately activated on that account – so you will have to log in and manually start the second queue. Ideally you might want three months of training planned and lined up in that queue.

I grabbed two of these deals for my two Omega accounts. (I actually had training I wanted to do for an Alt on each of them, so this was fortuitous.)

The second phase of the Event is a week of getting bonus Skill Points if you log in each day between July 17 and 25th. Alpha pilots will be able to claim up to 200K SP, and Omega 650K. There will also apparently be Cerebral Accelerators.

The third phase runs between the 24th July and 21st of August and gives you between 10K and 50K SP for killing NPCs. I presume the exact rules will be shown via the Agency or the like.

The fourth and final phase will be between August 23rd and 26th. Log on each day and get more Skill points, up to 75K for Alpha pilots, and 250K for Omega.

I will likely log in for most of these. I guess that will make me part of the proof of the roaring success of the blackout – even though I am unlikely to visit Null Sec in that time period.

I’m just not sure what to think about it all.

Inflation, Economics and the Lack of Light

I’ve been moving old ships around. As a precaution I do a quick review of their fit and its value before I undock. I am finding many of the faction modules I’ve been using have dramatically increased in price over the last year or two. Some so much so I’ve had to remove them and go for cheaper options, otherwise I make myself far too much of a gank target.

I wonder at the cause of this inflation. Is it a reduction in module supply? Is there more competition for the original supply? Is it – as I’ve read elsewhere, related to there being so many super rich players willing to mindlessly pay a premium to pimp their ship hulls?

As announced, Local disappeared in Null after Downtime on Friday.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/ went into private mode for a while as acknowledgement of the change. It was back to normal by this morning. With more impact, https://zkillboard.com/ went black and is not showing any information. It will return after Monday’s downtime, but they are looking to implement an hour delay in future before displaying API sourced kills, making it less of an immediate intel source.

Well organised corporations and alliances will adjust and even benefit. The disorganised and more casual player will suffer. For solo Null Sec players there will likely be a big shift in the risk verse reward equation. The risks increase with limited options for them to mitigate it.

Interestingly not all hunters are crowing. One remarked on a recent roam that covered 60 Null Sec Systems, where they saw only 9 other players. If they entered an empty system, they could immediately see that and move on. Now they will have to scan / probe every system they travel through, including the dozens and dozens that have no targets. I guess you need to be careful what you wish for. That does open the opportunity for solo players to still ninja resources from quiet systems.

What I am not sure about – does NPC Null Sec still have Local?

What I am sure about – this change has caused the strongest and most angry PVP verse PVE player hate that I have seen in a long while. I am reading comment after comment about how much better off the game will be if people who don’t focus on PVP get up and leave.

I wonder at the lack of basic economic common sense.

It is hard to get people to subscribe and stay subscribed to EVE.  In the long run an overall reduction in subscription numbers hurts the game. It doesn’t matter if in the eyes of those remaining it becomes a better game. Less subscribers means the game becomes less economically viable. Lose too many subscribers, and you lose the game.

People who PLEX accounts are in fact financially contributing to the game. This is because someone has had to pay for those PLEX for them to be available. Once the PLEX is spent, it stops being deferred or unearned revenue. That has a positive impact on CCP’s balance sheet.

So – even if you are philosophically opposed to the concept of a Carebear, most Omega Carebear accounts contribute financially.

They also contribute by giving PVP players extra targets. If players struggle to hunt these extra players, then the solution is not to get rid of them, but to campaign for balanced game rules that give both the hunters and prey choice and fun.

There are some areas where I feel CCP has managed to get this reasonably right.

When I haul goods, I am a target. However, there are a wide range of skill training, hull, fitting and tactical choices I can make to impact the risk verse reward equation. I can choose between volume and tank and speed and value of what I haul.

It is the same when I mine. I have real choice between where I mine, what I mine, the yield I achieve – against the cost of the hull, its tank and its capacity.

I am not that enamoured with the simplistic idea to just turn off Local in Null as an experiment to see how it goes.  I’m still hoping CCP has additional development ready to be released to suggest they put more thought in to it.

As with Hauling and Mining – I would prefer a situation where there is real choice for both Prey and Hunters in Null.  Have Local turned off – but give the defenders / prey choices.  Have anchored and vulnerable to attack infrastructure that turns Local back on.  Give it more than just a fuel cost.   Have a system with Local spawn fewer and less profitable combat sites and smaller and less profitable asteroid belts.  Allow attackers to hack these structures to remove their names from local.  Create new pulse or probe equipment that temporarily shows the number of pilots in local – while also telling everyone else in system that they are there.

These are just thoughtless ideas and I am not suggesting at their balance or suitability as a solution.  The idea however goes back to giving all types of players choice.  Instead what we have ended up with so far seems unnecessarily toxic and damaging to the game.  It doesn’t feel like it needed to be that way.

Oh look – some wreckage

 

I wrote the other day that I did not think much of the reaction of some of the Null Sec leaders to their Drifter invasion. They seemed to want to lash out and damage the game and other players instead of – at least publicly, being constructive in their feedback and lobbying.

Mike Azariah went a little further.

https://mikeazariah.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/why-i-aint-in-charge/

It is fascinating that it is even possible for them to do it – but probably doesn’t speak well of them from a personality point of view.

What I might not have been clear on is that I agree with many of their concerns and complaints.

On one hand I don’t mind that CCP introduces new things as a back story, and that players need to work things out for themselves. The Drifter invasion however seems to reduce player against player interactions in Null Sec and sounds tedious and unrewarding.

https://tagn.wordpress.com/2019/07/04/drifter-change-up/

Like the Triglavian invasion, the Drifter invasions are changing over time, but CCP has just ramped that up even further:

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pu69gy/nullsec-local-blackout-incoming-during-july

At some point soon, CCP will be switching local chat in all Null Sec over to delayed mode. It will operate as Local does in Wormhole space. The back story is that CONCORD’s resources are stretched due to the invasions and they are having to turn it off.

We don’t know if it is temporary, or a trial to becoming permanent, or if CCP will be releasing new tools or Upwell structures to allow Null Sec residents to combat this change.

The feedback is about what I would have expected.

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/local-comms-blackout-discussion-thread/171935/43

There are some very unhappy people, and some very happy people goading them and gloating over the impact.

It turns out CCP has encouraged player verse player interactions – it just happened to be on the forums where the consequences are lost good will and subscriptions.

If I was in Null Sec I would not like that change – but then I am not the sort of player CCP seems to favour.

My god I hope you know what you are doing CCP.

Meanwhile, I think I might get the hell away from Jita.

Mood Lighting

The April release has just gone live. This item is immediately noticeable:

“Graphics:
This release sees the first update of an ongoing iteration of hangar visuals. Hangars have now been moved over into our Space Object Factory system, which improves maintenance and allows easier updating of the visuals going forward. What you will see is brand new lighting! The lighting has been reworked with a focus on the ship, with more contrast, color and life being the order of the day.”

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pphodr/patch-notes-for-april-2019-release

First impression is that the background now looks a little too dark.  A bit like how the game can be I guess.

 

EVE VEGAS 2018 Ships and Balance

I was pottering around in EVE earlier when the notification for the live broadcast of the Ships and Balance presentation came up.

There wasn’t a huge amount in it for the way I play EVE, but it did have a few items I noted down.

The four new Triglavian ships were better explained. They will be the:

. Kikimora – Destroyer – Slots 2 high / 3 mid / 4 low – long range skirmisher
. Drekavac – Battlecruiser – Slots 4 high / 4 mid / 7 low – multiple flexible roles
. Rodiva – T1 Logi cruiser – too early for stats
. Zarmazd – T2 Logi cruiser – too early for stats or image

The Remote Repair Module will spool up in effectiveness like the Disintegrators work. That means the Triglavian Logistic Cruisers won’t be as good if switching targets for their reps. They will work better if they are pre-repairing priority targets, such as the FC.

What I had not realised was that CCP plan to keep adding a lot more Triglavian hulls.

CCP will also be releasing new Mutaplasmids for Damage Upgrade Modules and the Disintegrators.  This made the crowd – who have seemed really subdued in earlier presentations – cheer loudly.

It was also remarked that resources for building and flying the Triglavian hulls will be carefully looked at. The statistics show that the cost of the skills, hull and disintegrator mean the Damavik (Fridate) and Vedmak (Cruiser) are not being used as much as they would like. I concur with the costs being unbalanced to get into those ships.

The ECM update was discussed. Some of the buffs they are looking at is to increase the jam strength and range, reduce the signature of ECM ships, and increase fitting options for the Widow, Rook and Falcon. The idea is that they can tank better or have more rounded fits, now that their victims can shoot them.

I will say that I do appreciate being able to shoot at the NPC’s who happen to jam me.

Broken Eggs

The July 2018 release is scheduled for Tuesday. Reading through the patch notes..

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pbgg7h/patch-notes-for-july-2018-release

.. and I noticed this:

“The standings penalty for podkilling a player in an NPC corp has been reduced significantly”

My immediate thought was why was CCP was making it less costly to pod players in NPC corps!?  Then I realised the penalty reduction was for NPC Corp standings, and nothing to do with Security that I had mindlessly thought.  I wasn’t aware, but if you pod a player in an NPC corp when you are not free to do so, you took a massive standings penalty against that NPC corp.  I can see it impacting the White Knights just as much as the Griefers in game, so probably a worthwhile change to I assume a very old mechanic.

I also noticed this:

“In high/low security space, scooping an unanchored structure that does not belong to your own corp is now considered a suspect act. It will require you to set your safety accordingly, and will trigger a suspect timer.”

What!?  So that was how so many people stole unanchoring structures, because whomever scooped it first was protected by the EVE security system.  What a horrible design choice.  Glad they are changing it.  (Even if I wasn’t aware of it in the first place.)

Last – there is a CCP developer video about the release.  I think it was one of their more professional and well done ones.

Oh, how long have they been signing off with “Fly Free” instead of “Fly Safe”?