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.

Bounty Bounce

The EVE October Economic Report is out.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/q0k0bo/monthly-economic-report-october-2019

In October the bounty amounts collected were:

93.5% in Null Sec (41.5T ISK (against 72.5T in 10.2018))
5.5% in High Sec (2.3T ISK (against 4.1T in 10.2018))
0.9% in Low Sec (0.4T ISK (against 0.5T in 10.2018))

The expected rebound in Null Sec bounties occurred. The 17-month average for Null Sec bounties before the black out was around 64T ISK. The 41 Trillion Figure in October represents about 65% of that previous figure.

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 20,000 (17,000 last month)

 

So, the decline bottomed out and started to reverse, and we saw an increase in 3,000 in the average numbers of users online at any point during the day. This would have been influenced by the continuation of the skills for kills event and the Halloween daily log in rewards but it is still moving in the right direction.

So, what does all this mean?

Overall, the impression I get is that EVE was in a general state of stagnation through the first half of 2019. In an unusually brave move CCP rushed in an era of Chaos to rejuvenate the game, starting by making the game more difficult for PVE players.

This saw an appreciable drop in activity, the slack not taken up (as I’m guessing CCP hoped) by the PVP players. CCP reversed and softened its changes, which halted the decline.

I think it is fair to say the game is still in the same state of stagnation, just now with less activity and less players than before CCP’s Chaos era started.

At this point CCP really needs to do something to rejuvenate the game. Instead, CCP – burnt again by their boldness (recklessness) have decided to play it safe. They are now calling normal ship balance changes chaos, suggest at a fairly blank road-map forward, while again focusing primarily on new player retention.

I understand statistically why CCP are doing this – but I suspect they are forgetting that any new players they do ensnare will join to find jaded and less loyal veteran players.

Anyway, that is what I think.

Can’t recommend

CCP wants you to log in again.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pzvxm1/eves-halloween-horrors-are-upon-us

There are 5 days’ worth of Halloween stuff to collect – including some skill points, fireworks, and some skins. It is active now.

One of the skins is for an Avatar Titan. I wonder at the thought process behind that. Let’s give every Omega Pilot a skin for a Titan that only a tiny fraction of them will ever have. CCP seems to view Titian skills as so rare even their EVE Portal App has reported my training in them as unknown skills.

Oh well, gift horse, mouth, and all that stuff.

The “Shocking” PVP event mentioned starts shortly – from 11:00 UTC on the 29th of October through to 11:00 on the 5th of November. Called trick or treat, 100% of the loot will drop from PVP kills. If you die, all modules and cargo drop. That removes the gamble from suicide ganking, so expect a lot more of it for a week.

You probably need to halve the value of any ship fit or cargo you are comfortable flying around in during Trick or Treat, or just don’t undock.

I had a moment of clarity regards EVE the other evening. I was talking to an x-player, who tends to come and go from the game. They mostly play solo, and like mining in High Sec and accomplishing industry type goals. They had heard that the game had become a lot less friendly to his style of play and asked if I would recommend it for him right now. I wouldn’t recommend it was my reply.

Please log in

Another bonus skill point week has started – between 200,000 and 650,000 free skill points per account for just logging in each day for a week.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pzgyjs/bonus-skill-point-week-has-kicked-off

CCP indicate it is part of the lead up to Halloween celebrations, but it is odd to see it rushed back so quickly.

Unlike the Skills for Kills event ( https://www.eveonline.com/article/pyoxkd/skilling-spree-returns ) – which I haven’t bothered to collected this time even once on any of my accounts, I was enticed to log in for a couple of minutes to collect this bonus.  But that was all it was – a couple minutes to redeem then I logged off again.

A more positive reason for being online is that CPP have now made a bunch of ships warp quicker, and autopilot to also be a bit more efficient.

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pzeyjl/warp-drive-active-warp-speed-changes-now-live

Wilhelm Arcturus goes into a bit more depth, but improvements of a third to a half for many medium to large ship hulls have been noted.

https://tagn.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/warp-speeds-raised-in-new-eden/

I’m not sure the Nestor, which has always been a nice Battleship to warp around in, was buffed to keep it in quite as a unique place.

 

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.