Archive for March, 2011


Eve Fanfest 2009 Retrospective

CCP’s Eve Fanfest 2011 just concluded. A number of aspirational videos were aired, grandiose claims were made, and promises taken at face value.

This, dear readers, is not how Eve players behave.

Eve players are wily – they dodge scams and thefts on a daily basis (when they’re not perpetrating one themselves), and have learned not to trust anyone else. So, I am saddened and disappointed at the rampant wide-eyed naivete displayed recently about all the magnificent changes that will happen in Eve Real Soon Now ™.

To give you a quick dose of Standard Reality Booster, let me present, from the hazy past of forgotten promises and missed deadlines… Fanfest 2009.

Fanfest 2009 Highlights

  • COSMOS social network (later renamed to Eve Gate) DELIVERED but terrible
  • Tech III Frigates NOT DELIVERED
  • Tech III Loot / Modules NOT DELIVERED
  • Fleet formations NOT DELIVERED
  • Alliance Treaties NOT DELIVERED
  • Comet Mining NOT DELIVERED
  • Planetary Interaction DELIVERED eventually
  • Planetary Interaction feature development NOT DELIVERED
  • Dust 514 NOT DELIVERED
  • New Doomsday weapons DELIVERED
  • Multiple displays DELIVERED
  • Dominion Sovereignty changes DELIVERED then not iterated upon

And there’s likely many more broken promises buried in round-table discussions, such as the Eve font, corporation logos on ships (2007!), faction warfare and so forth. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, settle down, take a deep breath and stop believing everything you see.

Or if you can’t do that, I have a station in Delve that I’m willing to sell you for a very reasonable price…


Nullsec Anomaly Commentary

Mord Fiddle:

For myself I need to sit down and have a think over this one. It’s a change with a lot of twists in its tail, not all of them necessarily bad.

Kirith Kodachi:

Give us the models, show us how you expect to see the outcome of more conflict out of this. Show us what you expect to be acceptable losses in null sec populations. Make us see what you see, Greyscale, ’cause its not coming through at the moment.

Nasty Ripard Teg:

CCP, what the fuck are you thinking?!

Nice Ripard Teg:

[…] So as I said, this change makes total sense.  Except for the minor detail that we’ve already been down this road, and we’ve seen where it goes.  It creates space that is not worth fighting for and space that is worth fighting for, and concentrates the conflict into the latter regions.

Liang Nuren @ eve online forums:

I could go on, but basically this whole thread boils down to a bunch of “Elite 0.0 Pro PVPers” (read: massive ****ing carebears) that have a massive ISK faucet and they don’t want to let go despite the fact that it is destroying the game.


Whilst it’s possible that we would see a ‘dash for the cash’ as the Null Sec Alliances raced to land grab the most valued systems and the attendant conflict that would result once the dust has settled EVE would fall back into stagnation.

Scrapheap Challenge posters:


Spirited discussion, Eve style

As can be seen, opinions are divided and I don’t think we’ve seen the last change to nullsec in the next twelve months.

As for me, my opinions remain:

  • The raw isk amount coming into the game will be lowered. This is good for the game.
  • Relatively undesirable nullsec locations are good for the nullsec ecosystem, even as they are bad for existing owners.
  • The number of nullsec inhabitants supported per system may drop. This is slightly bad, but players adapt.
  • The average nullsec player won’t get as much income compared to level 4 missions in Empire. This is slightly bad, but if nullsec alliances think about it, they didn’t want those carebears anyway.
  • Fights will still break out over territory; which territory is fought over and how it is divided will change.
  • It’s still way too early to tell the full ramifications, especially with changes to exploration and infrastructure hub upgrades in the development pipeline, so these changes need iterating.

Nullsec Income Changes

Another thing to note about the nullsec anomaly changes mentioned recently:

CCP Big Dumb Object recently mentioned that DED sites are getting some love.

For those who aren’t into exploration in Eve, DED sites are hidden complexes that New Eden’s spy network (called DED) has flagged, but doesn’t have the resources to do anything about. Capsuleers scan them down, and an info beacon pops up saying “hey, there’s some bad guys in here, please fix thx” and you go in, kill hard NPC ships and take all their stuff. The sites are rated from 1 to 10 in order of difficulty.

However, at the moment, there aren’t DED sites of all levels for each faction; there are gaps, sometimes important gaps. For instance, the Serpentis pirates don’t have a DED6 or DED8 complex so in nullsec, it’s DED10 or nothing. Since each region only has a single complex of each type simultaneously, a Serpentis-oriented region may only have one plex for the entire region where others have several to share.

The change will fill in these gaps, meaning that cosmic anomalies that ordinarily wouldn’t offer an escalation into a DED complex (like the Serpentis Hubs into a non-existent Serpentis DED6) will now escalate properly. Sure, this probably won’t offset the massive ISK faucet of clearing Serpentis Sanctums with carrier support, but it will ameliorate some of the hurt for alliance rank and file.

It’s also prudent to point out that the faction modules looted from DED complex wrecks are ISK-neutral from an economic perspective; any money you get for your module came from someone else, not from thin air like pirate bounties from anomaies. In fact, if that module later gets destroyed, it’s ISK-negative 🙂

In summary: the nullsec anomaly changes will result in less income for players, but the DED changes will take the edge off the pain.


Nullsec Anomaly Rebalancing

CCP Greyscale announced plans to rebalance sovereignty-related cosmic anomaly spawn levels so that system security level affects the rewards.

There has been a huge outcry, with posts and blogs opposing and supporting the change, with some even criticizing CCP for not going far enough.  A post that struck a chord with me was from Claudius XIV, who wrote:

While 0.0 should be more lucrative than empire due to the risks, the main draw of 0.0 is the ability for players to strike out into the unknown and make their mark on the cluster without the shackles of Concord, not its ISK value. There was plenty of conflict in 0.0 before anomalies went in and there will be plenty in “worthless” regions if the proposed changes go through.

There are small groups fighting all over New Eden to be the top dog in some backwater lowsec system. Providence was far and away the most populated and developed null-sec region pre-Dominion, with crap NPCs and moons, and there was plenty of PvP action to be had.

Clearly Providence residents did not have access to the riches that anyone with sov and an ihub does now. Despite it being one of the consistently most violent regions residents still managed to replace ships. So counter arguments based around being unable to afford PvP have little merit from where I sit.

I guarantee that if you make vast tracts of 0.0 “worthless” in the pre-Dominion Provi sense, you will still have people staking a claim there. These people will still (as-always) be at the mercy of the big powers knocking over their sand-castles. The difference will be there will be much less incentive for powers to fill that space with renters after knocking the sand-castles over.

So called “little” corps/alliances in this thread worry they won’t have a chance in null sec because they won’t be able to make their rent? They could grab this “worthless” space that supposedly no one would want and save on rent!

I do agree that CCP really don’t understand their game so this is a right change for the wrong reasons. The reason for the influx of people to 0.0 is not because there is suddenly more isk to be made there. The reason for the increase in 0.0 population is that current mechanics provide an incentive for the great powers to offer security in exchange for rental fees.

Unfortunately the double edged sword of making all space desirable rental property, is that you reduce the diversity and quality of conflict in 0.0. The best conflicts are ones in which both sides are in the same class, and where numbers on both sides allow it to be playable. Sov battles between two renters of neighboring superpowers will inevitably escalate into full block warfare.

Lots of “worthless” space allows what some may term “cripple fights” and encourages gathering of coalitions of the same “class” rather than a superpower that can maintain balance with other superpowers and it’s sea of renters.

Yes NAPs and power blocks will always remain in a sandbox game, but all space being equal value (combined with the ease of projecting power, and the ability to knock over empires in a fortnight) encourages power blocks to grow as long as they can find renters to fill their conquests.

Making space “worthless” to top tier power blocks encourages the formation of more independent middle and low tier blocks. Mix that with making projection of force more difficult and you have things going in the right direction as far as encouraging variety in 0.0 conflict.

I have spent time in Providence so I know what it’s like to be in a hard-scrabble alliance, hurting for cash. I also know that the Dominion upgrades made Providence just as valuable to the average alliance grunt as anywhere else in null-sec, so I also know the feeling of being kicked out of your territory by a larger fish. I’m not saying the proposed changes will reverse this (especially since alliance-level income like supercap production and moon minerals remain unchanged), but I am mindful that the best place to build up your skills and strength is a backwater where you won’t get immediately kicked out by someone a lot stronger. Being a renter alliance does nothing for your independence; being a guest still does little better. Standing on your own requires a backbone.