2nd Summer of Rage – You reap what you sow

I tend to abstain from EVE drama for the same reason that I abstain from real life politics, it rarely affects me and if so, I can’t do anything about it anyway.  But I feel compelled to add my voice to the chorus of screamers, may my two remaining loyal and intelligent readers forgive me. I’ll be quick.

So, background, this week, CCP announced several changes to carrier and Rorqual income generation that collectively aims to reduce income from NPC (carriers) and mining (Rorqs) significantly.  The only relevant forum for EVE players – r/eve is writhing in spastic convulsions, unsubbing en-masse and shooting monuments.  EVE is dying, dead and buried, a decaying corpse, Gevlon was right etc etc.

When I started reading it, I was not sure I could trust my sensitive eyes (wormholers are used to live in the dark).  People were complaining that they could not achieve their risk free carrier “ticks” of 150mil + ISK.  Or they complained that the 15bn Rorqual now is now only twice as good as pimped out mining barge but of course much more expensive.  As an example, when our corp runs C4 sites with T2 fitted Dominixes, we may pull in together 1bn / night in loot and salvage that we need to export before we can realize the value.  Sure, you can make (much) more in C5/6 but you are putting a lot more ISK at risk as well and of course once you known in WH circles that you fly blinged out PvE ships you become subject to eviction.

So, I was truly blindsided by the whining of players who mine or rat in the safest possible place in New Eden (deep, sov nullsec) and make literally per hour solo what we make as a 10 man team. But unlike us, they have access to unlimited “Havens” or other PvE content.  I.e. afk mining with dozens of Rorquals and carriers is a viable method for risk-free ISK accumulation.  No wonder CCP saw this and counteracted.

CCP_Quant said very clearly:

CCP_Quant Responds

I totally agree with CCP_Quant that this is not sustainable.  The raw ISK faucet without risk and without real activity is damaging to the game and the community. It needed to be changed.  And I do believe many rational EVE players would see it the same way.

So, what the problem. CCP_Quant (or anyone else) fail to acknowledges’ that the screw-up is entirely CCP-made.  Moving the Rorqual from a mining support ship to the (by far!) best mining ship in the game should have given everyone pause.  Of course, they would run dozens of them afk for as long as there was ore, what were you thinking?  That people didn’t have Rorqual pilots?  Oh, you introduced injectors.  Anyone can have a Rorqual pilot within a few minutes if he throws down enough money.  Same with carriers. The high-end PvE was never supposed to be solo-able.  When they came out, carriers (all caps) were a thing of rarity and – like Incursions and that Blood Raider citadel now – were meant to be team work.  But skill and ISK inflation allowed individuals to skill into massively expensive ships that obviate the need for team play.

CCP solidly goofed – again – by not realizing that EVE is a system.  Yep, the company that become famous with the butterfly effect ad, blatantly forgot that every change and new feature will always be used for a single purpose: to reduce risk/reward.  And once that math is set, players will be scaled until a ceiling is reached. Unlimited rocks +  Rorqual afk mining + skill injectors = expectations to farm unlimited ISK forever.  Same for carriers of course.

So, while I wholeheartedly agree with CCP_Quant that things needed to change, I am annoyed that they goofed so hard, so solid and that it can impact the game that I actually like.

So, what to do?

  1. CCP does need to unscrew their economy and take the marketing hit that comes inevitably from dozens of Nullsec players verbosely unsubscribing their human bots.
  2. CCP needs a massive balance pass on all things PvE.  I personally would advocate removal of all bounties from nullsec and as consequence add value into the salvage, exactly as in Wormhole space. I don’t specifically care about the ISK itself but the market has to create a ceiling in the value of the activity, not endless bounties from Concord.
  3. PvE needs to be engaging, valuable and worth it.  I.e. Havens and Sanctums and whatever the end-game content in Nullsec are called need to be re-done with the oh-so-hyped new AI mechanic that took the goons nearly a week to figure out.  Or similar.
  4. EVE needs more conflict drivers in Nullsec and Lowsec.  There have to be hard reasons for fighting and taking regions. Evicting the goons during Worldwar Bee was a fine reason but player-made.  At the rate the goons accumulating assets and installing citadels, this will likely never happen again.
  5. New players need to be far more engaged in the game than they are with the NPE currently.  Missions, PvP, faction war, all of this needs a balance pass that borders on replacement.  New players can not just be cannon-fodder for the large coalitions, each one of us started at some point and discovered what we liked by trial and error.  All of EVE needs to change to make it a solid experience that generates stickiness and ongoing revenue.

Phew. That’s it, politics hour is over. Now I can write positive things again, for example how elated I am that the current balance pass on my beloved Proteus probably allows me to keep flying it.  Yes, that’s my big thing for 2 years of product development in EVE.



8 responses to “2nd Summer of Rage – You reap what you sow

  1. Expectation management at CCP games is a conundrum in itself.

    The Rorqual has a drone bay of 6000 m3 and a drone bandwidth of 125 Mbit/sec

    The ‘Excavator’ Mining Drone has a bandwidth of 25 Mbit/sec and 750 m3 volume.

    Simple increase of + 5 Mbit/sec to the Excavator drone could gain great net results.

    Regards, a Freelancer

    PS: you forget to add point 6, add Walking in Stations for more PvE options 🙂

    • Oh man, yes WiS would have been a thing. They did burn that bridge thoroughly, eh? Maybe, just maybe the new FPS thing they are talking about allows them to actually do that…

  2. Good read !
    Awesome call out by CCP Quant. About time they returned to the HTFU process and ignored 1% of the players for the benefit of the majority. When it comes to balancing Eve has become the old lady that swallowed a fly.

    • Yeah it was a good call and all power to CCP to correct what THEY screwed up. Unlimited ISK -> Buy Injectors -> make more ISK with alts and high-end ships is not a smart game design. Actually, lets put it this way, skill injectors as a means to drive revenue were not a good idea. They don’t go to newbies who want to graduate from Frigate to Destroyer but to 100+k SP characters who want to inject instant skills to fly massive ships. Bad move

  3. “I personally would advocate removal of all bounties from nullsec and as consequence add value into the salvage, exactly as in Wormhole space. I don’t specifically care about the ISK itself but the market has to create a ceiling in the value of the activity, not endless bounties from Concord.”

    From the Thirty Thousand AU perspective I rather like this thought as it feels coherent that Concord wouldn’t commit so much ISK towards meddling outside their purview – Empire space. That said, nullsec (and wormholes) rely on ISK so a lot of explanation for why the Secure Commerce Commission still manages to hold sway there when Concord doesn’t would have to be provided.

    While trying to balance an economy where ISK is generated only in High & Lowsec would be terribly troublesome (especially in nullsec’s drone regions where drones drop no loot beyond bit of salvage), it also strikes me worthy of serious consideration possibly worth the histrionic howling even mere mention would create.

    • Yes, I agree, from the lore perspective it doesn’t really make sense. My main beef is with the earnings ceiling that – by design – can not be reached. As far as I can tell, Nullsec anoms spawn as fast as they are taken down and I have seen systems on Dotlan that had more than 25k NPC kills 50k / day. (edit, I just looked up CONDI space on Dotlan…)

      Wormholes show that you can have excellent earnings potential without bounties, so I don’t think the system itself is flawed. Same with PI (very passive income). Let the market decide the balance between ratting and mining and I think the economy would be in a better place.

      Lastly, the logic of bounties and salvage does not fit into conflict-narrative of EVE. Players are supposed to take resources from other players, not from NPC.

  4. Right now r/eve feels more like everybody likes to bitch because it brings upvotes. There are some very good posts which summarize all those things which CCP has neglected over the years. Some could have been avoided, some couldn’t. But this perfect storm of vitriol and frustration might have been mitigated if CCP would have been more thorough with their communication with Eve’s player base.

    • Yes, the salt on reddit reached new heights. How dare CCP to take their 100% safe afk ISK milling machines away? How will they make 10bn / day while watching Netflix?

      This was not only about communication, this was about pandering to the nullsec crowd, pleasing the reddit circlejerk and not thinking through their own game.

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