Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Analysis: PLEX Prices Are Falling

CCP recently announced that beginning January 1st, 2015, input broadcasting and input multiplexing (read: ISBoxing commands across multiple clients with one click) will be against the EULA.

The price of PLEX has been falling in light of this announcement. Why? I'll tell you.

ISBoxers PLEX multiple accounts to multibox at the same time. When ISBoxing becomes against the EULA, they will no longer be able to use those accounts for their original purpose. It is therefore likely that they will stop purchasing PLEX for those accounts, the demand for PLEX will fall and so will the price of PLEX in response.

But that is not what is causing the immediate price decrease. People with any sort of economic insight will foresee the demand decrease for PLEX and associated price decrease and will start trying to liquidate any PLEX that they might be holding on to, before they start losing ISK as the prices adjust. This is classic speculation at work.

Now, notably, as the price of PLEX drops, those who buy PLEX with real dollars and convert them to ISK will suddenly be receiving less ISK per PLEX than they used to. For some people, purchasing PLEX with real dollars will no longer be worth it and they will stop. This will reduce the supply of PLEX on the market, counterbalancing the impact of the decrease in demand.

What does this mean? It is almost certain that in the short to medium run, the quantity of PLEX on the market will decline. The impact on the price of PLEX is uncertain - in the immediate short run, prices will fall due to speculation and then demand declining. After that, the prices will stabilize at a new level that might be higher or lower than their initial value yesterday. I would imagine that the prices won't stabilize until after January 1st, when we see how the rest of the markets react to a lack of ISBoxers.

Buckle up folks, we're in for a bit of a ride.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bait Mining Fleet

I managed to log in to EVE to do something other than processing applications to EVE University and processing the title requests of existing members (I'm a very busy bee). As I logged in I heard a familiar voice explaining to members of the Amarr Mining Campus (AMC) how they would gain access to Innuendo, our home wormhole. Sounds like they were going to be learning how to mine in unsafe space protected by PVP-hungry wormhole dwellers that always jump on any opportunity for a fight.

Our high-security static was two jumps from Amarr and as a result our wormhole was pretty busy. We had day trippers coming in to find themselves relinquished of their ships and shown the fast way home thanks to bubbles from HICs. But we also had a neighbouring wormhole connection that had a relatively new wormhole corporation inside.

There was some movement by this new wormhole corp as they lost a few ships to us. I think they managed to get eyes on our mining fleet and decided that they wanted to take them out. We warned the miners that they might be getting some company but not to fear as some of us were waiting on the sidelines, hungry for blood. "Bonus points if you tackle while continuing to mine," someone quipped as we reassured our visiting carebears.

It wasn't too long later that we saw a Deimos on d-scan with an Impairor and Condor. I'm still not exactly sure what that noob ship was doing there but what can I say, this is a really new wormhole corp. Shortly after that we heard from the miners that the Deimos had landed on grid after getting a warp-in from a cloaky Helios.

10 of us descended on the ore anomaly in rapid succession, including a HIC for snagging the pods. As per usual, I rode my trusty Myrmidon into battle (it's becoming a running joke that I always bring my Myrmidon even in the shiniest of fleets). It wasn't too long after that when the dust had settled and we had shown them the shortcut back to k-space.

Let's see, what else is new? My HIC training is done so I picked up my Devoter that I bought off of a friend and brought it to our home wormhole. While I was at is, I purchased a Guardian (my first one ever!) and also brought it back. I'm about 2 days from Logi 5 so I'm looking forward to having that done. Of course, now I'm space poor with less than 40m to my name. Time to make some money so I can buy my first Legion.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Introducing the E-Uni Podcast!

I wanted to share with my readers a new project that has popped up at EVE University: the EVE University Podcast. I've listened to the first episode and found it quite interesting. The first episode features hosts Kazon Necht (Assistant Personnel Manager) and Danielle en Divalone (Student Advocate) along with their guests Azmodeus Valar (E-Uni CEO) and Krevlorn Severasse (Teacher). 

Here is how Kazon introduced this new project:

The EVE Universe is big and filled with a lot of people who enjoy providing information for all of its players to enjoy. Among the social media experts, bloggers and podcasters are a lot of people who cover various aspects of EVE. We felt that there was a gap in the New Player Experience area and so the EVE University Podcast was born. 

Your hosts Kazon Necht and Danielle en Divalone will take you through various aspects of the University throughout each Podcast, picking an area or topic of discussion and focusing on how it impacts the Uni and the new player experience. At the end, they will evaluate the changes in the most recent patch and talk about upcoming changes in the next proposed patch.

The release cycle is scheduled to be every three weeks or so to allow enough time for events to transpire.

In the first episode we have an interview with EUni CEO Azmodeus Valar where we ask him about himself, his time in the Uni, what he's done and what he might have planned. Azmo then joins us again, after a shortened version of "Introduction to Eve University" from Krevlorn, to chat about the upcoming changes in Phoebe and what they could mean for our members.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them in soundcloud or send Kazon and Danielle a forum message or in game mail.

Where can you find the podcast link and more information??
Go and give the first episode a listen and let me (and us) know what you think!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Three Domis, a Golem and an Ashimmu

This past weekend I finally had time to get some actual play time in EVE. It's been a while since I logged in and actually got to join in on a PvP fleet in our wormhole. 

A ping went out for three domis running sites a few jumps down our chain. I logged in and grabbed my trusty Myrmidon and formed up on the outbound wormhole to the good-natured heckling of some of my fleet mates - I was the only one not in a T2/T3.

Our scouts reported that the domis had turned back and entered their home system, a C5 with a very active d-scan. Apparently there were a lot of pods moving around reshipping into stealth bombers and then vanishing off of d-scan. As it turns out, they were heading out a frigate hole into another wormhole system where they were busy trying to kill a Golem (which they managed to do). 

We knew that they had scouts out and about so we tried baiting them with three T1 BCs and two Augorors, hoping that they'd see the T1 logi and come try to pounce on us. Unfortunately they didn't take the bait (or didn't see us, since at this point they were still busy with the Golem) so we had to switch to plan B. 

As we slowly moved our fleet closer and closer to the wormhole leading into their system, there was some debate about whether we should race to their frigate hole, toss a bubble up and try to get some kills, as we had been sitting around not seeing any action. Our FC ended up reaching out to them and organizing a fight. 

They jumped into us with a bunch of stuff, including four Guardians and a bunch of T3 and faction ships. We had one less Guardian than they did, so we tried to focus one of their Guardians off of the field. However, we were fighting in a Cataclysmic Variable system so remote repairs were boosted making taking down logi rather difficult. Our FC called for us to switch our DD suddenly to one of their DD, and he almost went down. Lucky for him his logibros were paying attention and brought him back up. We switched back to the original Guardian and almost broke him. At this point, they decided to bail back to their home C5 system. 

Now while most of the fighting had gone on sitting at 0 on the wormhole, a lone Ashimmu had burned out to go try to neut someone on our side. When his friends jumped back to their home system, we turned our attention back to him and subsequently blapped him. Yes, you did see that correctly; our CEO, the Director of HR and the Director of Education are on that kill mail. See, management get to have fun sometimes!

All in all, we ended up having quite the fun fight with these guys. Additionally, we had the most people online in fleet that any of us had seen in quite some time. It's been a while since we were able to field a fleet this size, since we've been losing a lot of our more experienced members to higher class wormhole corps. 

Next on the docket for me: bringing in some ships for PvP that aren't T1 BCs. I did finish up the training to fly a Legion, but I'm not quite prepared to buy one just yet. I still need to get myself a Guardian into the wormhole as well as finish up my Logistics V. Always more to do!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Research Race

CCP has annouced an in-game event regarding a research race having to do with sleepers in w-space. Until downtime on Thursday October 14th, turning in Neural Network Analyzers and Sleeper Data Libraries will contribute to your faction's progress. At the end of the event, the order in which the factions received the highest amount of blue loot will determine the order in which a new technology will be introduced.

I'm very excited to see what this new technology is and how it will impact w-space, if at all. Tell me, are you going to be donating your loot instead of selling it on the market like usual?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Things have been busy

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I last updated my blog. Things have been so hectic at work in real life that I have had less time for EVE than normal. Let's go over some of the recent events that have happened over the past few weeks.

Hyperion has come and gone with the new wormhole changes. The changes to C4s have made chains considerably longer in my experience, and even the presence of more wormholes all together has made things rather interesting. Frigate wormholes are plentiful but I haven't been seeing too many people take advantage of them. Frigate doctrines have been discussed but not much has happened yet. I believe I saw a post by corbexx saying that his corporation was using them to gank site runners, so that's a useful application.

Crius' industry changes have had quite a bit of success, with increases in manufacturing increasing by 27% and with research increasing up to 165% due to the slot changes. Still, 27% more activity in manufacturing is a huge change and I'm betting that a large majority of that is thanks to how much easier it is to manufacture now.

CSM Matias has resigned and has been replaced with Asayanami, a WH candidate. I'm pleased with having a second wormhole representative on the CSM so this is good news for us wormhole people. I'm looking forward to see what Asayanami has in store for us.

Oceanus releases on September 30th and will be featuring more changes, including some visual updates to wormholes and a bunch of balance changes. Interceptors and interdictors will be targeted off the bat. Something not coming in Oceanus are changes to invention and reverse engineering, which should be interesting. Hopefully they don't make a change that will make all of my invention training useless!

Well that's about it for now. I'll continue to track the Oceanus changes as they're announced and post about them here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wormhole Town Hall: Audio Recording

So we had our short notice wormhole town hall meeting on Sleeper Social Club's TS3 server tonight. All in all, I found it to be a very interesting and informative session on the wormhole changes, including a mention about a change to the mass jump distance when going through wormholes, which will now also depend on the state of the hole!

For those interested, here is a link to the audio file.

I will probably follow this up with an analysis of what was said.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wormhole Town Hall - TODAY at 22:00 UTC

I just found out about this myself, but there is going to be a wormhole town hall meeting regarding the Hyperion changes at 22:00 UTC - that's 30 minutes from now. CSM Corbexx and CCP Fozzie will be there, plus potentially more CSMs and more devs. If you're interested, get TS3 downloaded!

So posting to let everyone know I'm hoping to have a town hall for wh bro's on the date above. I've been temp green lit to use SSC's joint TS.
Focus will be on the wormhole dev blog here, ... -unknowns/
Apologies for the short notice I'm hoping to sort a couple moderators and some one to mediate. With luck we should have a Dev or two there.
Ideally I'd like as many people there as possible espically people from lower class wormholes, If you are coming please make sure to read the dev blog before hand.
Once Ihave the final ok on TS details I'll post them as well.
Will probably be some other CSM people on as well but there will be no derailing from topic. Its a wormhole town hall first and only
CCP Fozzie confrimed to be there.
The teamspeak address is "" with no password. The channel will be "WH Town Hall" which will be moderated.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kronos down!

I logged in today to hear that we were forming up for a gank in one of our nearby connections. The first thing I heard was that there was the potential to kill a Kronos, which sounded fantastic. Our bait site running ship called out over comms that a Pilgrim landed on grid and started neuting him. This was followed by the Kronos and a Proteus.

Our fleet jumped in and rushed to support our bait ship. The Pilgrim was taken off grid first followed by the Kronos, who - for some reason - switched into bastion mode. Once he went down, we turned our focus towards the Proteus and took him down easily too.

In total, we killed about 1.7 billion ISK worth of ships. Unfortunately we didn't get the pods since we didn't have a HIC or dictor but otherwise it was a lot of fun.

Here's a link to the kill mail.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

The Sky is Falling (Wormhole Changes)

The other day, CCP Fozzie posted a dev blog discussing the wormhole changes that will be coming with the Hyperion update near the end of August. The reaction to the majority of the changes have been positive, as there will be additional statics in C4s, K162s won't appear until you jump through the first time, there will be more wandering wormholes and there will be a new type of wormhole that only frigates, destroyers and double-bubbled HICs can traverse. 

However, the biggest source of contention right now is the proposed changes to where you spawn when you jump through a wormhole. It is described as follows:

The next major change we are proposing to wormhole mechanics is a variable adjustment to the distance that ships appear at after jumping through wormholes.This change is intended to ensure that all attempts to control the local wormhole environment are open to risk of player disruption. We are not satisfied with how easy and safe it is to close wormholes that could potentially allow other players to interact with W-space operations, as the risk of player interaction should always be the main source of tension and danger in W-space.
CCP is not wrong in this regard. The ability to close off all incoming connections to your wormhole and safely run the sites is the opposite of what w-space should be. CCP wants to add an element of risk to the rolling procedure, and as such they have proposed a system that increases the distance you spawn from the wormhole with the higher amount of mass that your ship has. This means that Orcas and capitals, ships usually used for rolling, will be put at more risk as they won't spawn within immediate jump range.

I think what CCP might have underestimated was the amount of rolling that goes on to find new content as opposed to hide from it. I know that we will always roll our static if there is no interesting PvP or PvE opportunities in it. Now from my point of view, since we use battleships to roll our holes, these changes won't mean too much extra risk for us. For C5/6 corps that use capitals to roll their holes, that's a lot of ISK to put at risk when rolling, especially considering that they spawn further from the hole than battleships do.

However, how would you add risk to rolling holes for those trying to hide from other people while simultaneously not discouraging people from rolling holes to find new content? If I knew the answer to that, CCP might as well hire me on as a game designer. It's an interesting conundrum, there's no doubt about it.

One way CCP has added risk is by implementing these mass-regenerating holes for frigates and destroyers. Because they regenerate mass and have mass limitations on them, it will be next to impossible for someone to roll them to close them off. That means it's possible that using these small holes to gank site runners will be a new thing to do. I think that'll be pretty interesting!

Finally, I don't know what is going on but it feels like the wormhole community has transformed into a bunch of WoW babies crying about these changes. They're crying about how the sky is falling just because of these changes, particularly the wormhole spawn changes based on ship mass. If you take a look at the EVE Online forums you'll see a bunch of people saying that this is going to ruin w-space and people are going to choose to POS up and log off instead of roll their holes.To me, this is unbelievable. If you have a dead connection, you'll roll it regardless of the spawn, because why not? If it's dead then you won't be risking your ship by jumping it through. It will make combat rolling much riskier, and maybe that's a good thing.

I'm interested to see how these changes pan out. Hopefully CCP will release more dev blogs on the topic soon! Until then, don't worry, the sky isn't falling. Be happy that CCP is turning their gaze towards wormholes and (hopefully) POSes too!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Quiet Weekend

This was a long weekend for us Canadians and I was hoping to use some of my extra time off to get some things done in EVE. Wormhole life is great because you don't have local, which means you can sneak an entire fleet into a wormhole and they won't notice unless they're smashing D-scan (which they should be).

We formed up for many potential fights this weekend but every one seemed to fall through for one reason or another. We spotted some people down our chain and decided to put a bait ship in their system. Turns out they didn't bite, but they convoed us to tell us they couldn't bring a fight, even though they had more people than us. Apparently, they thought that because we were E-Uni we had more people waiting to join in. In reality, we didn't. Of course, by the time we got back home someone else from their corp convoed us saying that they could fight, but by then we had lost some of our pilots and couldn't bring a fight.

We had some sort of connection with Hard Knocks yesterday, we saw one of their pilots and one of their alt pilots in our connections. Unfortunately we couldn't find where they were coming from and they didn't come try to jump us while we were running sites.

We also had a distress call from one of our members in low sec. I guess he was ratting in a destroyer so we all abandoned our site running and spiked local as we jumped in and warped to them. Some of them warped off and two of them kited us out to 250km+. In local they accused our member of baiting for a fleet. I'm not sure if you've ever seen a bait Algos before, but I sure haven't. As I said, he was in the low sec system which was the static of the system we were running sites in, so we were happy to go soil their pants for them. I shot them a quick wave as we left the system as quickly as we entered.

We also played various games with people sitting on holes, including an Abaddon that jumped out through an EOL hole that we didn't want to chase and a number of covops ships that were popping on and off of d-scan.

We also had a pilot find some nullbears mining ore in one of our null sec connections. They quickly POSed up when they saw him in local, so we tried waiting a while and jumping in and charging for them. They were warping off even as our interceptors arrived on grid, so they were doing a good job of mining while aligned. Good for them, that saved them their ships.

I'm sure I'm missing something, but for me this was a quiet weekend for PvP. I did get to run a number of sites and an Instrumental in a C5, so at least it was a good ISK making weekend.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Drone Avionics Fix Incoming

The fix for the Drone Avionics skill has been tentatively scheduled for tomorrow's extended downtime, according to CCP RubberBAND. While this took longer than I would have liked to reach a conclusion, it seemed evident that the bug impacted characters in different ways, so it is understandable that it took them longer to sort through what happened.

They have already announced that tomorrow will be an extended downtime to fix bugs related to skills, so I'm assuming that this is confirming the date mentioned by CCP RubberBAND.

I'll be glad to regain access to my DLA2s again, so hopefully this fix tomorrow solves all of the problems.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Drone Avionics Bug with Crius 1.2

You might log in to EVE today to find that your Drone Avionics skill has decreased with the 1.2 patch that was released this morning. Here is what was supposed to happen:

In the Kronos release the required skill for Drone Link Augmenters was changed from Combat Drone Operation to Drone Avionics. This was done without ensuring that players who fulfilled the skill requirements of those modules would still do so after the change. In this patch we are bumping up the level of Drone Avionics for all players to the same level that they had Combat Drone Operation when we deployed Kronos. Players who have trained Drone Avionics in the meantime will be given unallocated skillpoints instead up to the amount that their skill would have been adjusted.
What happened instead is people found that their Drone Avionics decreased because of the split in Kronos that required you to only take your Scout OR Combat Drone Operation to 5, so Drone Avionics is now showing you your pre-Kronos Combat Drone Operation skill level. 

CCP RubberBAND has confirmed this bug and it is being investigated:

I have confirmed that the skill was incorrectly lowered for some players. It was meant to be a bump. Currently under investigation and added to the known issues.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Crius Aftermath

Crius dropped yesterday, bringing a ton of new industry changes and bringing a lot of uncertainty as to how the markets would react to all of the changes. Already, the issues have been piling up and CCP already released Crius 1.1 today to fix several bugs that have popped up.

The EVE Online forums have been swamped with new posts about the industry changes. Usually, they're complaining posts or reporting unusual activity in the industry interface.

Apparently, there was a gold rush for moon spots in the high security systems that opened up with Crius. There are allegedly hundreds of moons that have been taken by anchored small towers with tags saying that they are all for sale.

Industrial activities taking place in systems for the first time have also been causing problems with the new "system cost index", which was particularly troubling for those in wormholes conducting industry for the first time. This was apparently fixed with the patch today, but I haven't heard whether or not it has been fixed.

I took a quick look at market prices to see what is going on. I'm pleased to report that the average fuel block prices have not changed too significantly, although Caldari fuel blocks seem to be having the most changes right now. The average price of small Caldari Control Towers has also spiked over the past two days, probably reflecting an increase in demand for research POSes. It looks like the medium and large variants have not had any impact on their prices.

Third party applications such as EVE Isk Per Hour (IPH) have not yet been updated to Crius, rendering them fairly useless for the time being. I have read that IPH is in the process of being updated. As you can imagine, with all of the Crius changes it will probably take a while to finish doing the updates.

It'll probably take a while for things to settle down, but hopefully everyone has been enjoying the industry changes so far. I know that I'm personally looking forward to trying out all of the new changes, just as soon as my character finishes training those T2 skills!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Crius is Here!

Well, this morning around 10:00 EVE time I was up for work and decided to patch my client for Crius before leaving so that I wouldn't have to do it when I got home. Luckily, it's been deployed without a hitch so hopefully there are tons of people excited about the changes to industry. I bet there's a bit of a race right now for people clamoring to get the best moons in high-sec systems that you couldn't previously anchor POSes in.

One issue right off the bat is that blueprints locked in containers cannot be used for industry, so this bug could be affecting some people. This is not the only bug right now, so if you have issues, be sure to check out the Crius Issues thread.

The corporation that my wormhole alt is in, The Wakizashi, is both a wormhole and industry corp. Therefore, Crius should be a big change for everyone in the corp. Additionally, my manufacturing alt is still training up the skills required for T2 production. At 10 million ISK per skill book, I have quite a bit of ISK to spend to be able to even produce a decent variety of T2 items. Nonetheless, I'll be looking forward to starting manufacturing with her. Hopefully I'll be able to get a better handle on whether or not to move forward with a POS or do manufacturing and research in a station. I do have a POS already anchored so finding a free moon won't be an issue unless I feel like moving.

Either way, I'm excited to see what changes Crius brings to the market. Hopefully you're prepared and ready to hit the ground running!

POS Bashing Ishtars

This past weekend I was heading down one of our chains to fix up the bookmarks when I ended up in the last system in the chain. I hit d-scan out of habit, like usual, and saw 2 Ishtars with the same name pop up. I wondered if they were at a POS, since only one planet was within d-scan range and I did see an active tower with a force field on d-scan also.

I warped to the tower and ended up being over 200km off the POS. But interestingly, the Ishtars were even further away and had Bouncer IIs out. What? Were they not inside of the force field but outside? Are they bashing the POS? I started slowboating into range and called out on comms asking if anyone was interested in ganking a pair of Ishtars.

As I was moving into range, a fleet formed up and headed to one jump out. We managed to get a cloaky Proteus into the system and I was able to provide a cloaky warp-in for him. As he was warping to me, he uncloaked and gave the order for everyone else to jump through and charge for the wormhole that I was in.

Almost immediately, I saw the Ishtars begin aligning and they warped away to a safe somewhere. As it turns out, this POS bashing multi-boxer had another alt in the low-sec system leading into the wormhole and either he saw local spike or his alt was cloaked on the hole and saw our guys warping to it. Either way, he laughed in local and ended up safe.

Now, interestingly, he missed my covops and a corpmate's cloaky Proteus getting into the system. If we would have had a cloaky fleet, we probably would have gotten the drop on him. This is especially true as he wasn't watching d-scan in the hole. I decided to try to scare him off and troll him by dropping combats and scanning him down. I lazily did it with multiple passes and he never noticed. As I was leaving to head back to our home system, he said something in Russian in local that roughly translated to "finally heading home?"

Although we got outsmarted by the extra careful guy with eyes both in the hole and outside of it, I was happy that I generated a bit of content on an otherwise quiet afternoon, even if we didn't get the kill. Had we had a wormhole to wormhole connection into that system, he would never have seen us coming. I hate local! Still, finding us a gank was a lot of fun. Hopefully I'll be able to find more in the future.

Note to self: I need to fit a point on my covops so I can hero tackle the next time I find someone. T3s and their delay when uncloaking means that someone paying close enough attention can get away.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Analysis: Investing in PLEX

As promised to Kirith, this post will be investigating the use of PLEX as an investment vehicle. I find this to be an interesting topic as I have read other bloggers, like croda, are using PLEX as a cash sink when they have too much ISK to use in their daily activities.

Let us start with the usual caveat that my results are based on the validity of the data that I am using. I am using EVE Market Data, and I have no reason to believe that the information isn't solid (unless you guys tell me otherwise).

On Friday, I analyzed the recent increases in PLEX prices and attributed it to a number of factors, including suppliers declining at a faster rate than buyers and market correction. There is no doubt that if you invested in PLEX as early as a few months ago, you have earned a tidy profit thanks to the rising PLEX prices. It is clear in the graph above that PLEX prices have historically been trending upwards since 2009 at least, as that is the earliest data that I can collect.

One of the things that stands out to me immediately is that there is evidence of recurring seasonal variation in the historical PLEX prices. Indeed, approximately every 6 months, PLEX prices spike and settle back down again. If you take a look at the dates, the spike in PLEX prices coincides with the release of previous expansions (in November and May, generally). However, after the expansion, things settle down and prices fall, often lower than what they were just prior to the expansion. For an example, let us take a look at the period from November 2012 to November 2013.

This time period is a great example of the seasonal impact of expansions on PLEX prices. If you purchased PLEX in November of 2012, you will have made a loss selling it at any point prior to November 2013 (maybe late October, if you were lucky). In this case, you can see that the mid-year expansion in May did not have enough of an impact to bump prices up above the levels in November 2012.

Now investing in real life is important because of inflation. A dollar that you had a year ago does not have the same value today because prices have been increasing across all commodities that you buy. Therefore, people choose to invest idle money so that their money grows and hopefully matches or outpaces inflation. In EVE, there is no inflation built into the system. Rewards from missions and selling blue loot to NPCs always gives the same amount of ISK, and prices for manufactured items tend not to find themselves constantly rising unless forced to by external factors (like a CCP expansion).

So the question is, why do people in EVE feel the need to invest? For one, idle money isn't growing. If you're a trader or manufacturer, you put ISK into buying goods that you turn around and sell at a higher value. In this type of situation, your ISK is making you more ISK based on what you're doing with it. So I'm guessing that people who are used to taking a certain amount of ISK and making more ISK with it don't like the idea of having just sitting ISK. I know as a trader myself that ISK sitting in my wallet is not earning me any money, and therefore that is a waste.

Now, to the topic of using PLEX as an investment vehicle. PLEX is one of the few items (that I can tell) that has seen such a pronounced upwards trend in price. As a result, it has been a fairly safe long-term investment for anyone willing to hold on to it for a long enough period of time. Additionally, since it is so expensive to purchase, it can quickly eat up that idle ISK, which I imagine makes the process of getting rid of idle ISK quite easy.

My main concern about PLEX prices now with regards to investment is that since CCP has switched to the 10 expansions a year release cycle instead of 2, we are not likely to see major spikes in PLEX prices around expansions like we previously did. Take a look at the small increase in the price of PLEX in May of 2012 and this is the type of modest increase we might be seeing in the future.

If I were a PLEX investor, I'd be concerned about the new release cycle from CCP. The lack of big expansions bringing in a bunch of people to the game (and therefore driving demand for PLEX up bringing prices along with it) means that PLEX prices might just stabilize in the not too distant future. As I mentioned in my last post, I believe that PLEX prices will still be increasing in the short run as the market equilibrates. After that, however, it's possible that the new release cycle will flatten price changes in PLEX. If true, this will mean that anyone buying PLEX in the short to medium run could be finding themselves losing ISK as opposed to gaining ISK.

Now, to finish off this blog post, let's take a look at the current state of affairs leading up to the release of Crius, that will be happening tomorrow at downtime.

It's pretty clear that over the past three weeks, PLEX prices have been steadily increasing. With the imminent release of Crius, it's possible that people are buying PLEX to keep a supply of ISK steady and stable because they're not sure what is going to happen to the prices of manufactured items.

Interestingly, however, there are no prominent changes in demand or supply, meaning that the current spike in prices is happening due to speculation rather than market forces. This shows you the pure power of speculation on prices in the PLEX market, which would also concern me if I were a PLEX investor as the same type of speculation can swing prices downwards, too.

All in all, PLEX has been a solid choice for investing ISK over the past several years as long as you were willing to wait and hold onto them before selling. Now, with the changes to the release cycle of expansions, the impact on the PLEX market might not be as noticeable as it was before. For small expansions with little to no new content, we could see stable or declining PLEX prices as opposed to spiking PLEX prices that we observed before. Ultimately, PLEX investors had better be keeping a finger on the pulse of the market, because the status quo before has been shaken up thanks to CCP, and that is going to affect the bottom line.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Analysis: PLEX Prices

Recently quite a few people have been talking about the spike in PLEX prices, reaching a high of around 810 million Jita sell a few days ago. Kirith and Gevlon have recently analyzed the PLEX prices and player activity, respectively. Kirith's belief is that demand and supply have fallen; Gevlon believes only supply has fallen.

The truth is, both supply and demand have fallen but not at equal rates. Now as some of you may know, I am an economist in real life and my area of specialty is trade. After reading those two blog posts above, I decided to pull the data and do a miniature analysis of PLEX prices. I pulled the last year of PLEX data from EVE Market Data. The usual caveat about the analysis applies; it's only as good as the data, so I'm assuming that the data is relatively sound. 

A cursory look at the quantity versus the number of orders over time shows that both the supply and demand have fallen over the past year. Also, interestingly, the supply is always higher than the demand. This has implications for the market that I will discuss later.

It's abundantly clear after applying a simple linear trend to the data that the supply of PLEX has fallen at a faster rate over the past year than the demand for PLEX. If you have taken a first year economics course at any university, you will know that supply falling faster than demand will increase the price of the good. However, you should also know that if we are at a point where there is more supply than demand, there should be downward pressure on the price of the good. So, we have two opposing market forces at work here. What do we observe happening in reality?

The average PLEX price has been steadily increasing over time. However, the gap between supply and demand has also been decreasing over the past year and has simultaneously become less volatile. So, what's been going on in the PLEX market? This is market correction happening in front of our eyes. We have a case of the market being outside of equilibrium. Luckily, the price impact of the decrease in PLEX suppliers has been off set by the fact that we have more PLEX supply than demand in the game. While the price has still been increasing, the fact that demand is less than supply means that we aren't seeing higher spikes in PLEX prices. In fact, the current PLEX spike is less than it would be if there were less PLEX suppliers in the market.

The (sort of) good news is that with the declining gap between suppliers and buyers, we will reach an equilibrium in the market at higher prices and a lower overall supply. An equilibrium in the market would mean that prices would stabilize, albeit at a higher price than they are at now. The bad news is that if the number of suppliers continues to decrease after reaching that equilibrium, we're going to see much higher spikes in PLEX prices in the future. If we continue on our current trend, we could be seeing PLEX prices at 1 billion ISK in one year from now. We don't know how long it will take for the market to stabilize. Only time will tell.

Crius is Coming

Crius is just a few days away now and CCP has released a final dev blog to go over all of the changes that have made it into the release, and also to go over all of the things they talked about but decided not to add to the release at this time.

This release is set to really shake up industry with the removal of slots, the removal of the standings requirement to anchor POSes, "teams" that bring buffs, and a rework of the ME and TE (previously PE) system.

For those of you who are interested in industry but might be confused about the changes or want a good overview from someone who knows industry well, EVE University member Tinman Spectacular will be holding a class on all things Crius on Monday July 21st at 00:00 (Sunday night for those in the Americas).

Here's a quick bio on Tinman:

I'm a former producer whose made everything from frigates to dreadnoughts, and a lot of stuff in between. I've made mistakes, I've made enemies, and I've made my fair share of billions. My lines were shut down about a year ago, my star-bases shuttered (except for the high-sec POS I gave away), and my blueprints were all packed away. With the industry changes coming I found renewed energy and enthusiasm for all things Industry, and have spent a great deal of time preparing for next week when I plan to jump head first back into production. See you there!

Finally, there is still some work to be done reworking the old Material Efficiency skill, which is being renamed to Advanced Industry in Crius and is changing from reducing the materials requirements for production to something else. What is that something else, you ask? Well, it's still in the air. Right now it's a slight time reduction but the community and now CCP Greyscale think that we can do better. If you have an opinion for the skill, be sure to check out the threadnought on the EVE Online forums.

My manufacturing alt has been cooking for some time now. I'm now at the point where she basically only needs to train the specific skills required for T2 production. That means that I'll be able to dive into T2 production soon after Crius lands, but after the initial shock that the market is going to have as it adjusts to the Crius changes. Yes, I am predicting a shock to the market when Crius releases as manufacturers adjust their supply chains and prices to account for the changes to installation costs all around EVE. Also, some manufacturers who used to build T2 items in a POS might now manufacture in a station at slower speeds (as to not risk their BPOs), and that could mean less supply for some T2 items in the short run. Again, I'm expecting there to be a shock but it will stabilize with time as everyone becomes more comfortable with the Crius changes.

All in all, I'm looking forward to the changes and I'm excited to get my industry alt started in the new environment that Crius will bring.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Efficient Site Running

One of our fellow campus members has recently started up a topic on running sites efficiently, using a doctrine from a fellow blogger. This has to do with blitzing C3 combat anomalies by using a single T1 logi, a recon ship (for target painting), and a few attack battlecruisers.

Anyone reading that doctrine might think that it's just plain old silly. However, we have been testing it in our C3 statics and as it turns out, it works fairly well.

The difference between this doctrine and normal site running is that you can do this with relatively few people, as long as you have people that can fly the necessary ships. Because you're using ABCs, the recon ship with the target painter and the webs is necessary to allow the ABCs to hit the frigates. This is good news for wormhole corps that have relatively few people, or have time zones that are under represented.

The other difference is that this doctrine requires paying much more attention than normal site running. It has been very important to keep transversals up against battleships especially, and more than one battleship can tend to cause a bit of a problem without transversal going. Two battleships is okay, three battleships is probably too much. You'll also want your Scythe pilot to have Minmatar Cruiser 4 at a minimum, as 3 seemed to be cutting it too close. Further, the logistics drones are a key part of this doctrine and need to be utilized, especially with only one logi.

Now, I suspect that if you get jumped with this doctrine, you're pretty much toast. The ships do not have points on them, and the recon is the only ship with webs. If your attackers were stupid enough to come in at range, you might be able to blap them before they get to you. But if a Proteus decloaks right next to the ABCs, you can probably kiss your ships goodbye.

All in all, this doctrine has proven itself to be quite useful. I've been training up my Minmatar cruiser skills so that I can fly the Scythe for this doctrine whenever necessary. Also, the sites do tend to go quickly with the high DPS of the ABCs, so that's another bonus. This is definitely worth a shot for any new wormhole corps out there.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Friends in Need

EVE University's campuses are distinct and spread out. We have a campus in high-sec Amarr (mining), a campus in high-sec Solitude, a campus in low-sec Placid, a campus in null-sec Syndicate, and a campus in wormhole space. Each campus has separate management, separate requirements for joining, and a separate community.

However, the campuses within the University are like a family and no matter how spread out they are, if one campus needs help the other campuses will be there to pitch in a hand.

A little while back, RvB (the two corporations always at war) decided to team up and war dec the Uni, setting up a staging area within Aldrat, our HQ system. Campus members poured out of the woodwork, swarming Aldrat with highly skilled PvP pilots and FCs that were ready to take on what RvB brought to us.

Now, there's word that one of our sister campuses needs help in their local area. The other campuses are voting overwhelmingly in support of deploying to the region to help out. Indeed, logistics and doctrines are already underway in preparation.

These deployments are incredibly fun. I had such a fantastic time during the RvB war. I had never PvPed prior to that, and the experience of being in a fleet taking on another fleet gave me the confidence I needed to start engaging in more PvP. I cannot emphasize enough the amount of fun and content that these deployments can generate. I always encourage our newbies to come out and join these engagements, even if they're flying a tackle or EWAR frigate.

There is also another lesson to be learned here, and that's the power of having good relationships with those around you. By showing up to help a fellow campus (or friendly corp, or alliance, or just a capsuleer), you build goodwill with them. You can rest assured that the next time you're in need of assistance, the people that you have helped will remember how you helped them and come running. More than once I have read blogs by others where their corporation was aided by friendly corporations that they have taken the time to develop relationships with. It's important to grow these relationships wherever possible.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Are Watchlists Too Powerful?

I saw an interesting post on the forums with a suggestion regarding limiting the usefulness of watchlists. Here is part of his argument:

Watchlisting is one of the most used and easy intel assets at the moment. People just have to put you on watchlist and provide free and easy instant intel. There are alliances that have every single Super and Titan-pilot watchlisted and it makes it almost impossible nowadays to log in a SUPER or Titan pilot without the enemy instantly knowing it. This makes boring game play and prevents covert CAPITAL operations. This will also generate big-bloc power projection since nobody wants to fly his Super or Titan with smaller Alliances because they know that big blocs like Pandemic Legion have them watchlisted and will hunt them down as soon as they log in. So there is only one choice left and that is to join a big bloc or loose your Super to them because they have you watchlisted.

I find this to be a reasonable and interesting argument. I don't know much about the importance of super capitals or titans in sov-null space, but it seems to me that the watch system does provide a large amount of intel for free.

Personally, I don't use watchlists very often. If I need to interact with someone in my corp, I can add them to my watchlist when I see them online. Otherwise, it tends to collect dust. Some people use watchlists for tracking war targets or knowing when one of them is online. I don't bother with this; I'm a wormhole dweller, the risk of non-consensual PvP is natural to me.

The OP went on to suggest that a new feature be added where you personally need to approve someone adding you to their watchlist. I'd say a nicer solution might be that someone with positive, non-neutral standings should be able to watch list you. This would cover your friends, corp mates, anyone you, your corp, or alliance deems decent enough to turn blue. I'd almost suggest extending this to war decs (i.e., once you war dec an alliance or corp, both sides can watchlist each other). The flip side to this is that maybe the power blocs will perma-dec corporations with super or titan pilots in them so they can continue to watchlist them.

I'm in favour of some method of reducing the usefulness of watchlists, since they are free. Another option would be an ability to bribe locator agents so that they sometimes give the wrong location to anyone inquiring about your location. Perhaps incorporate standings to this, and a sliding scale of probability that interacts with the amount you bribe them with, plus your standings. Maybe older pilots also have a multiplier that means they need to pay more to achieve the same probability as a newer player paying the same amount, with the same standings. Of course, CCP could keep this probability hidden and bounded strictly less than one so that even if you pay billions of ISK, there's a chance that the locator agent will still tell them your true location.

Definitely an interesting topic. If you have ideas, feel free to chime in!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

First Time Logi Bro

"Guys, my ship is on fire."

I logged on to Jeff today and saw that our fleet only had a few people in it. Immediately, I heard "Jeff, can you fly an Exequror? PvP in Z2!" Luckily, I had previously trained a bunch of T1 logistics skills in the past and I had always wanted an opportunity to try it out. I grabbed an Exequror out of the communal POS and warped to the Z1 hole, waiting for my logi bro to join me. As we were forming up, I listened to the fact that they had found some active people two wormholes away and it seemed like they were itching for a fight. There was even a Loki hiding on the other side of the hole that almost caught my logi bro as he was heading back to grab his Exequror.

The plan was simple: we'd wait on the Z2 hole in Z1 and wait for the fight to come to us. They'd be polarized if they jumped back through to their home hole (Z2) while we could follow them and extract easily if necessary. We set up with two DD and two logi and waited for the fight to come. Unfortunately, it didn't. As another DD came into Mumble and joined us, our FC decided it was worth it to bait them by going into their hole and start shooting at their Hurricane Fleet Issue while the logi waited on the other side of the hole. They took the the fight and followed through when our DD jumped back into Z1.

This ended up being quite a long fight. We ended up fighting them in Z1 and continued the fight on the other side of the hole. As they approached low armor, they came back to our side for repairs. There was a lot of jumping back and forth. In the end, we ended up killing three Hurricane Fleet Issues, an Exequror Navy Issue, a Gila and someone's pod. In total, we ended up killing over 1 billion ISK in ships and fittings.

For my first time as a logi bro, I think I didn't do too bad. We sat far off the hole, kept everyone alive and ended up with a bunch of good fights in local. I think now I might have been bitten by the logi bug. I've gathered some skill books for Amarr ships so I can fly the Augoror in the future. Maybe T2 logi will be in my future!

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Right Fit

This is blog banter 57:

Obviously that is a not just a bad fit, it's horrific. But the guy might not know any better. We get these all the time circulating social media and corp/alliance chat. How do we educate players on fitting? This guy has been playing four months and can fly a BC, but has no idea how to fit one. What could be done to help bro's like this?

EVE can be a complicated game for people coming from other MMOs. Other MMOs don't have the risk that EVE does, so fitting your ship with the best of the best isn't the best idea. We've all seen the killmails posted on Reddit of multi-billion dollar losses for ships that should never have been that expensive. And then you have fits like the above, and you wonder where people get their fitting advice from.

The fact is, EVE is a game about doing research. It's inefficient to try to come up with your own fits unless you're experienced enough to know what you're doing and know what you're giving up when you add that other module in place of another. But, these fits need to be found and for that you need to go on Google and look for them. This is in stark contrast to other MMOs, where newer items are always better than older ones and you should put them on right away without consideration of how they interact together.

I look at the fit above and again, this just comes right around to the new player experience. Obviously, the game has failed in some way to teach him how to fit. When you think back to how you learned how to fit your ships, it wasn't the tutorials that really let you know how to fit your ship. It was people you encountered, it was people posting their fits in the Rookie chat, it was people in your corp giving you advice or links to different pages (like EVE University's wiki page).

How do we help people like this? I think these "people" fall in to different categories; some can be helped and others cannot.

1. The Eager Newbro

This is a new player who's ready and willing to learn, but might need to be pointed in the right direction to find the resources that they need to learn how to fit ships properly. They don't think they know better than you, and they've already learned that more expensive does not mean that they should be fitting it. These types of people are excellent candidates for joining learning corporations like EVE University (yes, I'm plugging my own corp, shut up).

2. The Clueless Newbro

This person mistakenly assumed that EVE is a game that you can pick up and start playing without having to consult materials outside of the game to learn how to play. One prop mod makes you go fast, so two obviously makes you go faster, right? What do you mean I can plug resistance holes with my lows? It's not that these types of people can't be helped, they just need to become aware of the resources around them. They need to be pointed towards wiki pages with fittings or join a corp with friendly members who can give feedback on fits. Or they need to join a corp that runs doctrine fleets so that they're told specifically what to fit so there is no room for error. Just because they're clueless does not mean they're helpless, that's the next case.

3. The "I know better than everyone" Newbro

This person cannot be helped. This is the type of person who thinks that they know everything about everything and they're going to fit two prop mods because reasons. They can post their fit, hear about how bad it is and just ignore it because even though they've only been playing for a short while, they know the game better than someone who has been here for years.

4. The "mountains of ISK" Newbro

This might not apply in this case, but as I mentioned at the beginning, we've seen cases of people who just buy a bunch of PLEX and fit their ships with a whole bunch of faction mods and then get lossmails that end up on Reddit. This person might be a combination of clueless and "I know better than everyone", but really they fall into the category of "I have a bunch of money that I'm willing to drop on the game and don't care if I lose expensive ships". I might also call this type of player "stupid" but that's just me.

The blog banter included some additional questions as well that I'd like to answer:

Furthermore, what (if any) responsibility do veterans players have in finding these players and instructing them on the finer arts of ship fitting? If it exists, does it extend beyond them into teaching PvP skills, ISK making skills, market skills, social skills, life skills...
First of all, veteran players don't have any responsibility in finding these players and educating them on how to fit their ships. However, EVE is a great game where people will go out of their way to help others as long as they're willing to be helped. How many times have you seen someone gank someone and follow it up with a convo to discuss how they could have done better, or what they should try next time? Not everyone is receptive to these types of things, but if they are, they can learn a whole bunch.

As someone who is in a learning corp, we have a bunch of players who have taken it upon themselves to educate these players and give them advice on ship fittings and other things. Certain things can be taught, passed down from older player to newer player, and paid forward when the time comes. EVE University is full of these types of things. Old players move on, new players take their place as teachers and pass along knowledge to new players where they can. It's a fantastic model, and it's clearly working. The best of the best corporations come to us to recruit, because they know our graduates have learned these skills or at least, have the capacity to learn.

And another question you can think about is this: do purposely wrong fits, aka comedy fits or experimental fits or off-meta fits, offend you or your corp? Would you, like Rixx Javix when he was in Tuskers, face expulsion for fitting your ships differently than the accepted standard?

Heh, no, these types of fits don't offend me and don't offend my corp. There's something to be said about learning by doing, and experimenting is one way of learning how to fit your ships. If you play around with different modules to see how it impacts your ship, you learn quickly what you need and what you don't. Experimental fits and off-meta fits don't bother me, because it's these people who might find the next great fit. Comedy fits? Who cares? If someone wants to mess around, all the power to them. It doesn't affect my game, other than potentially having one additional target in w-space that will be easy to kill.

All in all, veteran players passing down their knowledge to new players is a great way to ensure that there are new players to fill the shoes of older players who leave the game. But, the key is having new players who are willing to learn, willing to accept feedback and willing to put in the time to do some research and learn about why they're fitting their ship in this manner. Some corps exist out there that provide a platform for new players to learn how to fit their ships, too. But some players will have to learn by themselves, maybe because they're stubborn or maybe because they truly just don't know better. But I can imagine that the person who killed the guy above sent him a convo afterwards to give him fitting advice. And that's one of the great things about EVE, people are willing to help. The question is, was he willing to listen?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pioneering in W-Space: Part 10

I logged in the other day to find out that the POS had been built and fueled and we had a good connection to a nearby trade hub. My mentor was bringing in the necessary gas and BNI were out in our static ganking freighters or indys as they went by on their way to the trade hub. We gathered at a nearby station and undocked at the same time, ferrying a bunch of gas quickly to the wormhole in one trip, and took it to the POS to get the reactions going. Now the reactions have started.

I'll be the first to admit that it's incredibly difficult to judge where you are with reactions if you don't have access to view it. My limited access is understandable, though, as the set up required has cost hundreds of millions, which has all been paid by my mentor.

We have a spreadsheet shared between us to keep track of certain things, like fuel and reactions and the necessary gasses and their associated costs. One thing I was most surprised about was the high cost per day of running reactions. If you have the capital to start with, I suppose daily cost of running reactions isn't as bad. For someone like me who is relatively new to the game and isn't swimming in ISK, the thought that 24 hours of reaction materials will cost 50 million is quite shocking. Ideally, you run your reactions with a full silo so that you don't have to babysit it daily. For some reactions, that's 200 million. And these aren't the most expensive reactions out there, either.

Now, to add to this, the prices of both the inputs and outputs fluctuate wildly. Profitable reactions one day become unprofitable the next. One of the two reactions that is currently being run is showing as being unprofitable right now. As I am editing this post, it has swung back to being profitable. Whether this is due to the input prices or output prices I am not sure. I do think it would be a good idea to maintain a detailed log of input costs and output revenue to ensure that profits are being made.

There is still much to learn and more things to do. Fuel will pretty soon be something that I need to think about, and I'm going to see if I can manage to manufacture it myself. That should be interesting.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pioneering in W-Space: Part 9

In my last entry I mentioned that I had come to an agreement with a reader of my blog about joining his industrial corporation that is currently doing reactions in a C1 and was offered a mentorship of sorts. He has offered to set up a POS with two lines capable of running reactions, plus a drug lab, and also offered to pay the fuel for the first month. In addition, he will give me starting money to purchase the initial gas. In exchange for all of this, I will be producing PI to offset the fuel costs, I will be manufacturing fuel blocks in high sec to save some ISK, and I will also be sourcing the gas at trade hubs and will be placing buy orders.

The other day I scanned down the high sec static from the old system and found out that I was only 6 jumps from the high sec static for the new wormhole. How lucky is that? Thank bob! I quickly jumped in and began setting up my PI chain for producing robotics. Luckily, this system has all of the planets needed to produce POS fuel, and I decided on robotics as it's the most cost intensive component of building fuel other than isotopes.

Now soon the POS will be put up and we will begin with the initial reactions. The most important consideration is deciding what reactions to run. Of course, I am limited in two ways: by the sheer cost of stockpiling certain types of gas, and the logistics of hauling that gas in. However, a third limitation is the fact that this needs to be profitable. No one gains anything if the reactions don't pay for the fuel (at the very least).

A Gallente fuel tower costs in the ballpark of 640,000 ISK per hour to run. This means that running a reaction needs to make more than that to break even, and the reactions need to be running the entire time or you will start cutting in to your bottom line. Chatting with my mentor I was told that it is best to diversify the reactions being run because the prices fluctuate wildly. Therefore, I need two different reactions that will be worth more than 640k an hour in order to break even. It looks like we have a preliminary idea of what to run, based on the reactions he's already running in the hole.

Over the next couple of days I will be setting up a factory planet to convert my P1 into P2 and then P3 Robotics. I will also hopefully see the beginnings of the reactions, too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Solo Site Running

If you're a wormhole denizen or wormhole dweller wannabe, I'm positive that you've heard of the Drake and it's ability to easily run sites solo. For a while now, I've wanted to learn how to make a good fit to run sites solo so I could make some ISK during quiet times.

Now, I used to be a Caldari pilot when I first started playing and I used to enjoy using Missiles. Drakes are well known for running sites solo because they have a massive tank and they also have the ability to kite the Sleepers and shoot them with missiles from long range. However, Caldari ships (shield-based) are not very useful in wormholes because they need to use their mid-slots to shield tank. Mid-slots are also used for PvP mods, such as warp disruptors and scramblers, so shield tanked fleets are a rare sight in wormholes. That is, unless you're in a Pulsar, which gives massive bonuses to shield capacity. Indeed, if you're fighting inside someone's home and it's a Pulsar and they're shield tanked, you better hope you have shields also or it isn't likely that you'll win.

Anyway, our doctrine in the Uni is armor tanked ships. We fit armor, we fit points and webs, and all is good. That means that I learned quickly that I needed to switch from Caldari to something else, and I ended up picking Gallente at the recommendation of several people. So, long before I ever joined the Wormhole Campus, I switched to Gallente and started training my drone skills. I like drones because they remind me of missiles. They go out there and do their thing at range, and I can sit back and reap the rewards. I've invested heavily into my drone skills now so that my drones can hit decently hard.

So, in order to do solo site running, I needed to find a ship that was capable of doing it that I could fly. Turns out, I ended up fitting a self-repping Myrmidon with T2 reppers for it. A friend of mine was planning on running sites in his Ishtar in a C2 connection we had, so I went with him. It was a pretty neat experience. The biggest problem was certain sentries being far away on the initial warp in, so I had trouble getting in range to command my drones to take them out. I think I also lost a Hobgoblin on the very first wave. Either that, or I only brought 4 along with me for some unknown reason.

Otherwise, things went well. I made sure to avoid the triggers by using EVE Survival, and I was able to handle the incoming damage using one repper the majority of the time. The only time I had to switch to two reppers was when I was tanking the battleship. That thing was hitting me pretty hard, but I also wasn't moving. Maybe I should try getting my transversal up next time.

Also, while d-scanning, we spotted a Manticore briefly. Hm, wonder what that's doing? Now, this had been a pretty busy system. We had seen other ships popping up on d-scan also, like a Proteus and others. Near the end of our sites, I saw the Manticore decloak next to me and send off a volley of torpedos. I don't know what he aimed for, because it didn't hit myself or my friend. Maybe he was trying to help kill the battleship that was still on grid. I started locking him up to take him out with my drones and he warped off and cloaked. Erring on the side of caution, we finished what we were doing and came back with a salvager. I brought a Tristan for defense in case he showed up again. He didn't, and all was well.

My next steps are going to be to skill into sentry drones to be able to hit things further out and for more damage. Since T2 sentries are a long train, I'm going to end up using the faction versions that can be used with the same skills as required for the T1 variants. The faction versions have many of the benefits of the T2 versions but without the heavy skill requirement. However, they also don't benefit from the increased damage as you increase your sentry drone skills. However, in the mean time, it's a good option. I'm less than a day from being able to use the faction sentries, and I'll be heading back out to try them soon.

One last thing I need to remember to do is to get my Salvaging skill to 4 so that I can salvage the Sleeper battleships. I don't think battleships spawn in C1s but they do in C2s, so if I want a chance at getting more loot from them, I'll need to be sure to train up my skill by one.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Plug Your Holes!

The past couple of weeks I feel like I've been reading and writing more about EVE than I've actually spent playing it. I've also been busy in the Personnel Department of EVE University. So, this weekend I decided to get some good playtime in on my Uni character.

I logged in and, like usual, immediately checked the mapper. Our mapper is used to track our connections and it also gives me an idea of who is where and what ship they're flying. At a glance, I can tell if we have people out scouting down the chain or if there are people running sites in our static. As it turned out, people had just started running sites.

I grabbed my trusty Myrmidon and joined them. As a fairly new player, I'm fairly used to getting smashed by the Sleepers when they turn their gaze towards me. For those who don't know, Sleepers will auto aggress as you warp in to the site and they will randomly switch targets until they're dead. This is in contrast to the "tank and spank" method that appears in other MMOs.

So here I was, minding my own business, my drones happily off chasing Sleepers when suddenly I started hearing the audio queues of an aggro switch and suddenly I was yellow boxed and then red boxed, a steady stream of damage incoming. There also happened to be a battleship up on grid, as we were on one of the last waves, and it was rocking me pretty hard.

After we finished running the sites, a few of us started looking over my fit. One person, who was flying logi, asked about my resistances. As it turned out, my explosive resistance was lower than all of the rest. Whoops! I had always been wondering why I seemed to get hit hard by the Sleepers, and it turns out that a hole in my resistances was to blame. So for all the future site runners out there, be sure to plug your holes!

Friday, June 20, 2014

New Player Experience

There is no doubt that EVE is a complicated game. Before I started the game, I did some research on it and heard all about the difficult learning curve. One of the best things I ever did was stumble upon the EVE University wiki pages and apply to join the corporation afterwards.

EVE University is a training corporation for new players. With on-going classes, events and campuses in various areas of the game (high-sec, low-sec, null-sec and w-space), there is something there for everyone. Whether you are interested in PvE or PvP, there is something here for you.

I know that I wouldn't be the player that I am today without the support of my corporation. I also don't know where I'd be or what I'd be doing if I decided to go down a different path with my EVE career. It's possible that I might not even be playing the game now if I didn't join.

The new player experience is very important to all players and CCP. New players breathe life into the game and help to provide more content in all aspects of the game. Therefore it is important that these new players are set up to succeed from the beginning so that they don't get frustrated and leave the game before they've had a chance to experience it.

My question is, are new players set up to succeed when they first start playing?

New players start off completing the career agent's missions, immediately exposing them to several aspects of the game. It provides an all around good introduction, although some of the missions aren't clear. For example, there are some missions where you require a certain item to complete it but the agent doesn't give it to you and there's no indication that you need to go buy it. This unnecessarily complicates what should be a gentle first step into the world of EVE.

I've found, however, that once you're done the career agent missions, you're sort of left on the side of the road with no clear indication of where you should go next. Other MMOs have "breadcrumb" quests that gently lead you to where you're supposed to go. That's fine for a game where the path you follow is fairly linear. In a sandbox such as EVE, that won't work. How do we give new players the equivalent of a breadcrumb quest?

In my opinion, Aura should send a mail to a new player and let them know that there are certain training corporations in the game that a new player should look into to help guide them on their next steps. EVE University is the first one that comes to my mind, clearly, but there are others such as Brave Newbies and RvB. Setting a new player up with this knowledge from the get go could go a long way to helping them lay a solid foundation in the game, which in return will ensure that they enjoy playing and will stick around for a longer time.

I've recently become a Personnel Officer for EVE University, so I can see that there is a solid stream of new players lining up to join. These people find EVE University from all types of sources. That's great, but I wonder how many more there are out there that have never heard of us but would greatly benefit from what we offer.

What do you think of the new player experience? Do you think more can be done to help new players lay a solid foundation? Let me know in the comments. And if you're a new player and have questions about EVE Univesity, feel free to reach out to me, either here or in-game.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Crius: Scaling Costs and POSes

One of the big changes coming in Crius is the removal of slots for manufacturing, research and invention. Instead, CCP has decided to implement a scaling cost system that increases as industry activity increases in the system. In addition, you will be able to bid on "teams" for a particular system, and these teams will have certain bonuses that will benefit you in some way.

On one hand, these changes will remove the barrier to entry to T2 production. It has been well known that the wait for research slots in high-sec is extraordinarily large. Up to now, these long wait times have made owning a high-sec research POS all but mandatory for T2 production. With scaling costs, anyone will be able to conduct research anywhere, the only limitation being finding an appropriate station and having the ISK available to install your job.

However, these scaling costs will mean that systems located close to major trade hubs such as Jita will likely experience high costs as manufacturers look to minimize the distance needed to transport their final goods to the market. Depending on the activity in the system, the installation costs might skyrocket, meaning that people will need to spread out to keep their costs down.

Alternatively, you can invest in a POS. However, the scaling cost system will unintuitively apply to POSes as well. A POS located in a system near Jita with many other manufacturers will have high installation costs just like those manufacturing in a station. Although there are linear bonuses that apply when you have more than one assembly online at your POS, for small items the sheer number of assemblies that are needed will only benefit those who manufacture very large amounts of small T2 items. To receive the maximum bonus from ammunition or component assemblies, you would need to have 50 of them for a bonus of 25%. This seems unrealistic and poorly thought out by CCP.

From an economics point of view, investing in capital should decrease your variable costs for manufacturing. Someone who installs a job at a station should have a higher variable cost because they have invested 0 ISK into the capital required to manufacture their items. If you have a POS, you need to purchase assemblies (capital outlay), so you should expect to receive some benefit. Yes, you do build things faster by using a POS assembly as opposed to using a station. But why should the installation costs in my POS be related to people installing jobs at nearby stations or other POSes? CCP justifies is as the cost of hiring skilled labour, since apparently these arrays now need workers too. Apparently, it even applies in w-space.

As a budding T2 manufacturer, I won't be taking on these additional costs as cuts into my profit. I'm expecting to see the prices of T2 items increase with Crius, reflecting the higher cost of installing jobs. We'll have to wait to see how the market as a whole reacts to these changes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pioneering in W-Space: Part 8

It seems like my arrangement with the new residents of the wormhole might be short lived. It seems that the new residents killed someone from an alliance and as a result, ended up being camped for days on end. I was even advised not to enter the wormhole, although I had never left. Some of their towers are no longer showing up on my d-scan, so I'm left wondering whether they left with their tails between their legs and just haven't let me know.

Interestingly, the person I was living in here with prior to the new people moving in had no issues with other people. Perhaps this is because the purpose of his corp was industrial operations only, and you don't make waves when you aren't blowing up ships of kids who apparently take it personally and proceed to camp you for days.

I've read conflicting reports on how industrial corporations are dealt with in w-space. I hear a lot that some corporations take offense if another wormhole corp doesn't put up a fight. To some, even offering a 1v1 is better than sitting in your POS and waiting for the incoming connection to collapse. I have read stories of people evicting corporations that won't offer up a good fight, because a lack of content in wormhole space can sometimes be a problem. This is especially true if you end up with bad connections or chains.

Wormhole life as an industrial corporation can be quiet if you don't make waves or annoying, depending on your luck with connections. But it certainly can be lucrative, as certain arrays can only be anchored in 0.4 and lower security space.

A few days ago I received an EVE mail from someone who has been reading my blog. He has a corporation in a C1 with good PI planets and is doing reactions and is looking to start up a second reaction tower, along with a drug lab. The idea is that I'd be able to help him with sourcing the gas in known space, get it transported to the static, and help with ferrying it in. Eventually as we worked together longer, I'd gain the necessary permissions to have more control over the POS, including being responsible for fuel and babysitting the reactions. It seems to me that this is a good way to start learning reactions, as the individual is willing to front the capital (in terms of the POS, fuel, initial gas, etc) while I help with logistics. This will be the second learning opportunity to come from someone who has read my blog, and hopefully we will be able to move forward with this. I expect the next Pioneering in W-Space blog post to have more information on this endeavour. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Crius: Invention Changes

The industry changes coming to us with the Crius expansion have now hit SiSi, meaning that everyone who is interested in seeing what's new can log on there and check it out for themselves.

Since I'm working on a manufacturing alt, T2 production and the invention that is associated with it is something that I have been reading up on. For example, it is currently necessary to make max-run BPCs of the T1 BPO for T2 items that you wish to make. This is so you will be able to have a max-run T2 BPC with a successful invention. This will no longer be the case in Crius.

There are three important changes to invention coming in Crius:

  • Copy times for T1 blueprints are being reduced below the build times.

  • Invention now only requires a one-run BPC. If you use a BPC with more than one run, the invention process will remove one run from the original number of runs.

  • Extra materials have gone the way of the dodo bird, making it easier to see at a glance how many materials you will need.

  • These changes will improve the quality of life for T2 manufacturers as they will help to reduce the number of clicks that are required to start invention jobs. Additionally, they will help improve the quality of life for all manufacturers.

    One thing I never understood was the extra materials. In addition to not being impacted by ME research, the fragmented nature of the materials meant it would take a longer time to tally up how much you needed to buy in order to install a job. Like others, I'm sure, I have been relying on IPH to let me know how many minerals I need to purchase for x runs of a manufacturing job.

    It's important to note however that Crius will have many changes for industry as a whole, but not invention. More changes to invention will be coming after Crius goes live, according to CSM mynnna.

    For me, these changes will be easy to learn as I haven't started working extensively in T2 manufacturing as of yet. For others who have been doing T2 manufacturing since before I started playing, it might take some getting used to. Either way, these are but a taste of the changes to invention that will becoming later down the line. I'm looking forward to seeing what CCP has in store for us.

    Monday, June 16, 2014

    Getting Started in Industry

    I have a wide variety of interests. Of late, I have become interested in developing a manufacturing alt. There are so many skills required to make a profitable manufacturer, and some of them are a long train. In particular, Material Efficiency 5 is basically a mandatory train and took quite a while to complete.

    There does not seem to be much profit in T1 manufacturing. At least, not in the system where I will be selling my goods. Therefore my goal is to move into T2 production where some of the profits lie. T2 manufacturing is interesting because of the invention mechanic, where you have a chance of inventing a T2 blueprint copy (BPC) from a T1 blueprint original (BPO) and a couple other items.

    As of right now, you're all but required to have a research POS to do T2 invention in high-sec. This is because the majority of the research slots are being used and the wait time for them can be staggering. This is set to change in the Crius expansion where the limit on the number of research slots will be removed and instead and cost will scale with the demand at that particular station. This means that new industrialists looking to do T2 production will be able to do so without the use of a POS.

    What this means is that as a new industrialist myself, a POS will not be necessary at low volumes of goods. However, as a stubborn individual, I will probably use a POS regardless and try to manufacture enough to at least cover the costs of fuel. It's possible that the changes to POS anchoring in high-sec will increase demand for POS fuel, driving up the price and making my tower more expensive. If that happens, I'll need to rethink things.

    In the meantime, as I'm gathering skills for T2 production, I need to find what products I'd like to manufacture. It can be difficult to find profitable markets with the prevalence of tools like ISK Per Hour. It seems to me that people spot newly profitable things and rush to manufacture it, driving down the prices and profit. I was looking at the reactions market the other day and noticed the same thing. One particular type of reaction was very profitable and a few days later it had become much less profitable. I'm guessing that it's due to the fact that people switched their reactions and flooded the market with supply. Then again, it could also be due to changes in the price of the inputs. I haven't really looked into it more closely than that.

    Luckily, I have time to figure out what I want to manufacture as my core skills finish training. Once those are done, however, I need to have a grasp of what I want to manufacture as I'll need to train the specific skills to be able to manufacture those specific T2 items.

    When I actually start into T2 production, I'll post again with the challenges I've encountered and the lessons I've learned.

    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    Farewell, Niss

    Note: This post is behind by a week due to how I schedule my posts.

    Recently, the Wormhole Campus (WHC) manager announced that he would be leaving EVE University to join Adhocracy Inc., one of the wormhole corps that live in higher-class wormhole systems.

    As a fellow Canadian, it was easy for me to develop a liking for Niss. Although I wasn't around when he first started his tenure as campus manager, from what I've read and been told, the campus is a much better place because of the work that he's done. It seems like every time I logged into comms he was on there giving a detailed explanation to a question posed by one of the campus members. There was never a moment where he didn't have time to answer questions about the game, and that's one of the things that I'll miss most about him.

    EVE is an interesting game, not because of the game itself but more so because the game is driven by content that comes from the community that you get involved in. Living in wormhole space is tough, and the lack of proper permissions on POSes means that you really need to have trust in those who can easily access all of your valuable belongings. It is for this reason that the friendships that blossom in w-space are strong, and the sense of comraderie is forever present.

    One of the traditions of the WHC is to have a send off for pilots who are leaving us. Basically, this involves the campus getting together to shoot whatever ships are left and say our goodbyes. But just shooting his ships didn't seem right for someone who has made such an impact on many of our experiences in the campus, so an outgoing present was organized for him. As a dedicated Gallente pilot, it seemed only right that he received a Proteus filled with all of the necessities to have a fantastic party: exotic dancers, strippers, alcohol and drugs were all placed inside the hold of his ship. As we landed on grid, people shot fireworks at his new Proteus and it was a great experience.

    We'll miss him around the campus, but Adhocracy has certainly picked up a fantastic new pilot. Farewell, Niss. Fly dangerously and we'll see you down the rabbit hole!

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    Market PvP

    In real life, I am employed as a trade economist. Naturally, the EVE economy has been something that fascinated me from the minute I stepped into the game. The more that I have played, I have become more interested in the economy and how to interact with it.

    It was a blog post by croda that got me started with creating a trading alt. Croda has made billions by exploiting variations in market prices and has amassed an trading - and now manufacturing - empire. His success prompted me to try my hand at trading.

    The markets in EVE are not unlike markets in the real world. There are places where the high supply of goods drives down the price, and there are other places where either a lower supply or higher demand push the price higher. These variations mean that there is the potential to make a good amount of ISK by buying in one location and selling in another.

    I started in a similar fashion to croda, buying small things from Jita and selling them in a distant trade hub. As my wealth increased and I started buying more expensive goods, I decided that I couldn't keep moving 120 million worth of products in my destroyer. I outsourced my transporting to PushX, a group similar to Red Frog Freight, who are able to move my goods relatively quickly for a low percentage of my profits.

    However, life is not as easy as it seems for a regional trader such as myself. As more and more people realize that there is the potential to make a good amount of ISK in the market, the competition to sell certain items grows, cutting into your bottom line.

    I have found that some people engage in "market PvP", which sounds unusual but it is exactly what it implies. There are people out there who aim to do better than other players. In combat situations, this means killing your ship. In the markets, it means getting a sale by any means necessary.

    Undercutting is easily explained by economics. If you are making positive rent from an item that you are selling (that is, the profits are greater than zero), you can afford to cut into your own rents by undercutting your competitors to get a sale. On one hand, you lower the amount of profit that you make by doing this. On the other hand, you increase the likelihood of selling your product by having the lowest price in the market. It's very easy to get caught up in the undercutting game and forget your bottom line. More than once I have noticed that in my haste to undercut a competitor, I have ended up setting a price that is lower than what I paid for the item in the first place. Luckily these mistakes have not cost me too much in terms of raw profits, but the lesson has been learned.

    Another type of undercutting is this 0.01 ISK undercutting game that many traders seem to play. Everyone undercuts each other by 0.01 ISK, since the lowest price gets the sale no matter if it's 0.01 ISK lower than the next highest seller or 1 million ISK lower. To me, this seems very tedious. When you're managing in excess of 60 different items that you need to update your prices on daily, why bother undercutting someone by 0.01 ISK? It's extra typing and is more prone to making a mistake. Sometimes I login to find that I've been undercut 15 times but the price is only 0.15 ISK lower than my original price. This is nonsense, I revise my price by -100 ISK and call it a day. I don't have time to worry about all of the decimal places, and it seems to work fine for me.

    The final type of market PvP that personally drives me mad is when someone comes in to a profitable market and destroys it by selling at cost. Usually by cost I mean selling at the NPC seeded value for skill books. Technically, this is unprofitable due to the taxes and fees that are charged on the sale. However, people still come into the market and sell 50 skill books at NPC seeded cost, shutting the rest of us out of the market. It is my hope that the unprofitable nature of doing this will drive the offender out of the market, but perhaps his hope is to reclaim the market by himself once the rest of us leave.

    I still have a lot to learn about trading in EVE. Hopefully I can continue expanding like croda did and build up a trading empire. That's the dream, the tough part is achieving it.