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I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for a while, but with one thing and another I kept putting it off 😉

How can I stand behind the title in the face of the billions of ISK people have been making with Factional Warfare (FW for short) cash outs? Because it is completely true. In fact, and hear me out, FW cash outs are an ISK sink!

The TL:DR before people flame me 😉

  • FW rewards a player Loyalty Points (LP) not ISK
  • Buying many of the items from the LP store cost that player ISK (which is actually removed from the game).
  • The FW player comes out of a cash out with less LP and ISK, but with items worth ISK to other players.
  • The FW player puts the items on the market (costing a small amount of ISK which is removed from game)
  • Other players buy the items, giving their ISK to the FW player (minus the market fees which are removed from game).

No ISK is created in the process but a small amount is removed. The new-found billions the FW players have in their wallets has come from other players’ wallets. This isn’t unique to FW either, this is the case with all LP stores (which is why CCP like them, they are one of the few actual ISK sinks in game).

Now you might at this point say I am splitting hairs but here is the issue. If you speak to CCP and complain about how FW is creating ISK, their in house economist will smile politely and tell you that you are incorrect. If you are going to engage with CCP on certain issues you have to make sure you are not making basic mistakes with the subject. CCP are usually looking at the economy as a whole so you have to as well.

Sources and Sinks
Players as a whole also seem to confuse many of the ISK sources and sinks in Eve. I’m not an economist, but I’ve listened to one talk about this subject and also in some cases had the “Hold on, wait, that isn’t right… ooooh I see now >.<" moment. So what are the sources and sinks in Eve? Well I'll list the common ones here but I might have missed a few. Sources

  • Mission Agent Rewards
  • NPC Bounties
  • Insurance Payouts
  • Incursion rewards
  • NPC Buy orders (tags etc)

As you can see, not very many.


  • Insurance Payments (i.e. insuring a ship)
  • LP Store purchases
  • Market Transaction Fees
  • Manufacturing job Fees
  • NPC controlled Corp tax
  • Buying NPC supplied items
  • Sov Bills
  • PI Fees/Taxes
  • Clone Replacements / Upgrades

Edit: This is a good link with numbers, thanks to Cass Lie for passing it on – ISK Faucets and sinks for 2012-01

More sinks, but they are not capable of dealing with the amount of ISK added to the system on a daily basis. In fact the amount of ISK in Eve grows by trillions every day. Also it is interesting to note that each time CCP remove an item from NPC supply, such as POS control towers, they actually remove an effective ISK sink.

Next I’ll tackle a few of the common points raised.

Blowing up ships removes ISK from Eve
Incorrect, blowing up a ship (usually) causes an insurance payout. In the case of a concord kill the insurance isn’t paid out, but still no ISK is lost. Even the player losing the ship doesn’t lose any personal ISK when the ship is destroyed. They do however lose the ship and a number of the modules.

But when the player replaces the ship, they lose ISK.
If the player decides to replace the ship then yes, that player’s wallet will drop; but that ISK goes to another player, it isn’t removed from Eve (apart from the market transaction fees which are a fraction of any insurance payout).

Buying Plexes creates ISK
Incorrect. Buying a plex gives you a plex, selling it on the market gives you the market price in ISK from another player. No ISK is created and only a small amount is removed (via the market transaction). A plex item sale is no different from any other market transaction in Eve.

Using a plex or otherwise giving it to CCP removes ISK from Eve
Again incorrect, using a plex removes a plex from Eve (and gives you the Plex’s true value, which is 30 days more gametime). If given to CCP (such as as entry to a PVP tournament) they may choose to give it to another player as a prize in which case it isn’t removed at all.

So mission runners and ratters are the biggest ISK source in Eve?
I believe this was the case the last time I saw any figures. It could change depending on how many insured ships are lost during that time period. But yes, Mission runners are causing the creation of trillions of ISK in Eve each day not FW or other LP based systems.

In the end, if you are talking about ISK being created or destroyed in Eve, you have to take the bigger view and not just your personal wealth (or lack of ;)).

I’m not saying there isn’t/wasn’t a problem – I’m saying that you need to specify the correct problem when talking with CCP 😉

There has been a lot of talk lately about off grid boosting being harmful etc. As usual there is a clear divide between those who have them and those who don’t (for the record I have max leadership skills (except mining links :P), all maxed command ships and T3s so I am clearly one of the haves in this discussion).

But there is a clear risk reward disparity and on top of that the dedicated command ships actually push less bonuses than a max skilled Tech 3 cruiser (and at a quicker training time). Of course a true command ship (field command ships like the Sleipnir don’t count) can run 3 links before needing command processors but a T3 can fit enough command processors for 3 or more links and be almost impossible to probe out. And of course lets not forget the totally risk free (other than friendly fleet shenanigans) boosting from a pos.

Now, the obvious answer would be to limit boosts to ships on the same grid (I.e. shows up on overview) and make the command ships tank much harder, but CCP :effort: means this isn’t likely for a while. A possibly easy change would be to block activation of command modules while inside a pos shield. I believe that “unprobeable” ships are now discoverable, but it is probably something that needs to be kept an eye on (I’m not keen on requiring implants to make this viable).

Another interesting change would be to include fleet boosters on killmails (pick a random link as the weapon and 0 damage). The intention here is to “out” the booster alts. Also intended is to make it clear when a solo kill wasn’t really solo 😉

Now I realise this would make running a command ship a good way to ninja killmails, but killboards could easily filter out boosters from scoring (if people actually give a crap about killboard scores ;))

As with most things in eve, there are many intended and unintended consequences of changes, but my gut reaction is that off grid boosting feels wrong (even though we make use of it along with many other pvp alliances). The benefit is too high for the minimal risks faced in most cases.

I’ve been getting back into the swing of things, moving ships etc and catching up on changes. Something that has been hard to ignore is the back and forth arguments about the new war dec mechanics and the upcoming fix/nerf (depending on your point of view).

The problems
It is my understanding that there are two issues reported with the new war dec system

  1. The ability for a defender to hire (or obtain for free) allies to help them and then make a war “mutual” locking in the aggressor and everyone until one side or the other surrenders.
  2. Many corps/alliances are willing to assist in wars for free (the so called dog-piling) which pushes mercs out of the market.

These combined features caused an amusing use of the gameplay mechanics where after getting war decced by goons and receiving assistance from people wanting to shoot goons, Star Fraction were able to turn the war mutual and lock everyone in.

CCP’s fixes
The relevant changes CCP are putting in to “fix” this

  1. Allies can not be part of mutual wars – defender cannot hire allies into mutual wars and existing ally contracts are cancelled (with a 24 hour grace period)
  2. Hiring more than one ally now incur a cost that goes to CONCORD. The cost rises exponentially the more allies are hired into the same war.

There are a few other changes to cap the base price of wars and add fixed 2 week length to ally contracts, but we’ll discount them for now.

Of course these changes were not well liked by some and applauded by others – not a shock really ;). However what has been interesting is the level of tinfoil on one side with accusations that it was for the benefit of the goons who are currently locked into this mutual war.

Widely quoted is a rather interesting post from CCP Soundwave.

CCP Soundwave wrote:
The other thing is that war dec prices are determined by the value you get from them. If you want to go to war with someone, a higher number of potential targets should be more expensive. If you’re a smaller alliance, this makes you a less attractive target, unless you’ve made someone angry in which case you’re responsible for any social repercussions you’ve created.

Letting attackers add allies conflicts with the notion that attacking someone is risky. If you decide you want to go to war with someone, the consequence is that he could punch harder than you anticipated. If this is just about stacking up allies, the power of that choice fades away a little bit.

Which is interesting because that cuts both ways under the inferno 1.0 system and actually less so in the 1.1 fixes. Goons are against so many “allies” in the star fraction mutual war not because people are friends of SF, but because of the Social Repercussions of various goon actions over the years 😉

Ok, so lets take a closer look at these two separate things.

Should a defender be able to hire allies then turn the dec into a free mutual war? Short answer, I don’t think so under the current system.

Whilst the current 1.0 system allows this behaviour and it is quite funny I think the CCP intent was for you to hire allies (or mercs) to defend your assets and drive the aggressor to drop the dec. The emergent gameplay that Star Fraction and others found is a good example of the creative players, but it also causes other issues.

I would suggest it should be allowed but without the current “free” system and lock in. The aggressor should still pay their dec free but the defender should also pay something to make it mutual (and perhaps pay more per ally included). Also escalation could be allowed such that once the defender makes a war mutual then the initial aggressor can also hire allies to help. How is that for Social Repercussions 😉

Clearly I’ve mentioned the sliding scale things above based on the other change that CCP have put in, however I think the exponential scale talked about is to high and they need to consider something lower. Another intriguing thing is this post from CSM representative Alekseyev Karrde

I’m the one spearheading for reforms to the Inferno war dec system (not Mitanni) and the CSM has pretty solidly been behind the changes we discussed prior to and during the CSM summit.

The slight cost added to taking new allies was not one of those changes, I do not support it, and I do not think the CSM as a whole is too enthused (though Issler doesn’t support it for different reasons than the rest of us do: it’s still ****).

The worry here is that not only does this remove a lot of the risk for an aggressor to dec smaller corps (unless the defender wants to spend a huge amount of isk or can find a few really large allies to help) but that it could be counter productive to the merc marketplace too.

It will be very interesting to see how this shakes out and if CCP really can enable a new merc marketplace when there are so many players willing to shoot people for free.

No really, undocked and everything…

… Just not on my main account 😉
I found an alt account was eligible for 15 days free time, so I thought I would check Inferno out.

Tea's alt is grumpy at the loss of her headpiece
Tea’s alt is grumpy at the loss of her headpiece
First task was to use the char creator now it is enforced. It’s better but I still maintain it is a long way off being able to truly be called the worlds most advanced char creator (it’s just a simple fact that the creator has many many limitations compared to the ones other games have. You might be able to say it is the most photo-realistic but not advanced).
Second task was to turn off the captains’ quarters 😉

Then I realised that I had carefully moved almost all assets to my main account so had very little to work with and almost no ships 😉 A quick raid of the alt corp wallet and I was back in business, with a L4 Mission BS anyway. Pvp is planned however and I will of course post about it later 🙂
So far the UI looks a bit crisper (I guess the new font is in) and the autopilot changes are good. The inventory changes though… Well the loot all button is nice 😉
The random nature of windows moving around the screen between docked and undocked and the trees hiding are less nice. It’s work in progress I know, I will reserve judgement. That said the filters are long overdue and having estimated item values is quite nifty.
Not sure yet if I’ll be around past the free time, but never say never 😉


Recon pilot forever!

Yes that is me back on the agony forum. Due to an “accident” by a site admin last year my account got trashed and I took it as a sign to take a break from Eve totally.

You know what would be a nifty feature for Eve Online? The ability to pause your subscription before taking a long break 😉

This started as a reply to Trebor’s blog post but I expanded it a little (for some reason I can’t post a comment there ;)). Please read his post for context, though I’ve gone a bit off topic in places 😉 Consider it a stream of conciousness piece.

Also while checking out other blogs, see I Was There by Kirith Kodachi and Reality Check by Seleene.

Also please note that one of the main issues I had with incarna was a feature that still hasn’t (as far as I know) been mentioned by CCP in public and thus might no longer be planned and yes I am aware that after telling CSM5 a number of times that it wouldn’t be an option that CCP talked about letting people opt out of CQ. Hold them to it 😉


Trebor, CCP were at this crossroads at least 18 months ago. At that time they decided to ignore any negative assessment of Incarna, 18 months and the general focus of Eve (Don’t worry guys it will be AWESOME! Trust Us”.

This isn’t a slight at those hard working people at CCP who have no control over the big decisions, however there are clear signs that even some of the staff are not happy with this current direction. Yes it is wise for CCP to branch out and get a second revenue stream, this is expected and required. However the point I kept on making and was probably laughed at for was this:

CCP have 600 staff many supporting families that are being supported mostly by the income from a single product and any venture capital they raised for additional projects. This is not the time to dick around with the cash cow, this is the time to take care of it whilst the other projects are prepared for release.

But CCP are fearless (some might say clueless :P) and instead decided that they could continue the stagnation of the core game (other than some quick fixes), add enforced bolt ons such as Incarna (sit alone or get shown the door) and remove the face from every character in the game without providing enough flexibility in the system to allow people to create something similar. There is no evidence that they considered the jarring effect this would have (an aside here, look at the thought Blizzard have been putting into protecting the way people’s characters look while they discuss updating the models, they have spoken about the issue a few times recently – did you notice that CCP? I know many of your staff are wow players).

Yes enforced avatar removal might seem like a petty complaint to some people (especially given my stance on incarna), but it was utterly unnecessary and as the infrastructure in place is just serving out static images it could have been preloaded had CCP actually cared about existing player immersion. The fact is it was done for two reasons. 1) somebody in art direction hated the old faces so didn’t want to see them anymore and 2) CCP wanted to claim they had the best character creator in the industry when clearly APB was far more advanced ;)) It was a case of CCP know best and players can deal with it or quit.

Speaking of ABP, we come to another problem. CCP are now actively discouraging or scared of letting players use the sandbox. The “time to penis” excuses are just CCP derping. They have the ability to set the rules on the creation of content (even restricting the publication of new items to accounts over a certain age to stop alt account spamming), but it would put the players at odds with CCP’s double dipping if players were able to create and sell clothes etc to each other.

Look at second life for the concept of player driven content done well and making money from it. Players create the items, they pay a small fee to upload them (A service which CCP could have handled as a one off charge with microplex) and can then sell copies to other players – wow, player driven market, how scary. CCP could have taken this concept further and made the upload into a type of clothing BPC which needed PI materials to create (for example). A BPC means that you can charge for another upload in future which would be worthwhile to the creator if the item is popular etc. See CCP, it is possible to think up content for players in stations that builds on the old flying in space features (though describing PI as part of FIS is a stretch ;)) without enforcing use of one or the other. A player market would develop for these clothing items and expanding the amount of things that can be provided from PI whilst keeping the number of structures a single person can manage adds more choice to the production. I wouldn’t care if such a system was developed because I had no interest in playing avatar dress up – but I know some people do. It is possible to cater to both sets of people without pissing them off if you provide choice not enforcement. You might think it is a terrible idea, that’s cool I’m not a game designer and never claimed to be. Point is there was never any discussion with the CSM about how player produced content could be handled. We just get “time to penis” as the reason behind it.

Anyway, Virt level WOT aside 😉 the take home point here is that both Wow and Eve have recently been focusing more on attracting newer players (wow by redoing all the low level content (plus making level 1-20 free) and Eve by trying to cater to the sitting in stations market) and both have seen a significant drop of paid subscriptions (if Eve PCU is an indication though apparently wow is picking up a good number of trial accounts). Both companies assumed the limited high end content would keep their long term players happy but it is clearly not the case and long term players are burning out at a faster rate than newer players are signing up.

As people wondered a while ago – 18 months started when?


Firstly I would like to point out that just because I’ve decided Eve is no longer the game for me it doesn’t automatically mean your choice to continue to play it is wrong. Nor am I going to try to make a case why you should quit, I believe in the “play what you enjoy” mantra and it would be a very dull world if everyone had the same opinion about everything.

So, why did I cancel two of my six accounts last year and the final four yesterday?

Simply put, CCP promised that Incarna would be optional and it is now clear that it is not going to be. The Captain’s Quarters (CQ) being the first part and having seen the plans for the other bits due this year the rest won’t be optional in any real sense (I hope they change their mind but in any case the discussion was buried under the NDA banner so I can’t go into detail). For me this is a deal breaker.

I can handle the existence of Incarna to cater for the people who are looking forward to it. I can even handle the reduced development of the flying in space part of the game (after all, due to CSM pressure we have a team working on quick fixes). But forcing me to use the avatar environment – sorry no, this is not the game I enjoyed. To some people this isn’t enough of a reason and they claim I’m being an idiot – well I point you to the first paragraph.

It would have been an easy thing and a big win for CCP to retain the docking into hanger as an option for those of us who have zero interest in the avatar engine stuff, but CCP have decided not to. I can only assume they don’t want metrics showing any significant number of people not using the avatar stuff and also I sense the hand of marketing. It should not be the job of the CSM or the players to make a case for why a disruptive change shouldn’t be put in game, it is the job of CCP to make a case for why they want to put it in!
In this case the best answer I got was “Because it will be awesome” which I don’t find an acceptable reason (Awesome has lost its meaning now, it is no better than using nice ;))

Am I bitter? Not especially. I’m more disappointed with the current trend at CCP for enforced participation in new features. The loss of the existing character portraits broke any significant investment in my eve chars and the broken promise of Incarna being optional made the decision to leave fairly simple.

Some will claim that I should wait and see, but the CQ blog confirmed what I already knew from the summit. I’ve already waited to find out if they would take the optional comments on board. For the Incarna fans there is more to come but unless CCP pull a 180 on some plans I will like it even less than the enforced docking into CQ. Rather than continue to raise red flags and call bullshit on various things (as CCP’s CEO wanted us to) I will focus my energy into other projects.

The thing I’ve found the most amusing is the amount of vitriol directed towards me by players (some with known CCP connections) for daring to suggest the CQ be optional. I didn’t want to take the shinies away from you, so what difference does it make to your gameplay if I would rather see only my ship in the hanger than a room? Again, justify a disruptive change instead of asking me to make the case for retaining existing systems. It could have been an optional change and everybody would have been happy.

Then come the comparisons between opting out of an interface and opting out of PvP. No that analogy is flawed because there is a simple difference between player driven behaviour and a chat UI.

As I said at the top, if you still enjoy Eve then I don’t think you foolish for playing it. This is not an either or, them and us, for or against type of situation. I respect your choice, why is it so hard for people to respect mine?

No you can’t have my stuff and I’m not going to biomass my character. Never say never. Maybe in a couple of years I’ll come back to see what Eve has become, but for the first time in about 5 years I can actually walk away from it…

The minutes are in the usual places – CSMdb or Eve Wiki

We’ve been working on the Incarna letter discussed at the end of the meeting but it isn’t likely to be released to the public any time soon (many people on the CSM feel we should give CCP even more time to sort their shit out). As mentioned in the Minutes, the Incarna team have yet to engage in discussions with the CSM since the summit (it would appear the person in charge is bored already and is making videos of the new char creator instead ;))

I’ve been keeping track of the issue about concord killing Incursion remote repair fleets (due to global criminal flagging if a person being repaired commits a criminal act) and it was mentioned as a potential issue ages ago. Hopefully whatever quick fix they put in place doesn’t make matters worse.

A heads up for all you Eve purists, I will probably start covering non-eve stuff soon. The simple reason is that I’m playing less Eve and more everything else right now.

There are many reasons why this is the case but primarily it is my utter disappointment with the way that CCP have handled the recent CSM summit and the future direction of Eve.

Happy new year!

Hopefully I’ll find more time to post here this year, we’ll see how that pans out 😉

Currently the main news is that the CSM December summit minutes are being passed around within CCP for participants to contribute their notes too. Whilst this should stop the “Huh?” moments within CCP when the minutes come out, be assured that if we feel CCP are trying to play the NDA card too much we’ll push back before publication. This process might take a week, please be patient, stuff is happening.

I am however rather burned out again what with the shear amount of idiocy with a specific feature and the inability of CCP to make a case for its existence. I’m willing to be proved wrong, but so far on “Excellence” and “Microtransactions” we’ve been right on the money…