It’s now been almost one year to the day
that EVE Online
officially got a limited free-to-play option, and it’s certainly been a boon for the almost 15-year-old MMO. There’s been a significant increase in new players asking for advice on the forums and in-game channels, and activity levels have been bolstered
by the increased numbers. Some of the game’s largest corporations have opened their doors to hundreds of newbros this year, and the best is yet to come. Next month CCP will be lifting some of the restrictions
free players are currently placed under and allowing them to access to larger ships, helping to close the power gap between free and paid users.
While the expanded free tier will open up a lot more gameplay to free users, there are some tricks new players should know to maximise the effectiveness of that tier. There’s even a way for returning veteran players who find themselves constrained by the free tier’s limitations to get a full Omega level subscription absolutely free and even to make a profit in the process. Whether you’re on a free Alpha account or an Omega subscription, there are also a few sources of easy ISK that will take relatively little time each week to manage.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I give a few tips new players can use to squeeze more out of the free tier and look at a way for returning veterans to get Omega subscriptions for free.
Though EVE Online
has a reputation as a cut-throat PvP sandbox where anything goes, the fuel that fires its conflict engine has always been PvE. Players collectively pump over 100 trillion ISK into the EVE
economy each month by hunting NPCs all across the game, and at the same time they mine around 40 trillion ISK’s worth of ore for ship and module production. Over 90% of NPC bounties predictably come from people farming in the player-owned nullsec regions where some of the largest PvE rewards can be found, but data released earlier this year showed that 7.2% of bounties actually come from high-security space
It’s unsurprising, then, that CCP chose high-security space as the test-bed for an entirely new casual PvE format with the release of Resource Wars in the recent Lifeblood expansion. The expansion also saw the return of the Crimson Harvest event and the release of a new tool named The Agency that helps players find nearby PvE content. I’ve been getting stuck into all three of these this week and seeing how it all ties together, and I’m now more convinced than ever that we could be heading for a full-scale PvE revolution.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss Resource Wars as a new model for PvE and consider how The Agency could be expanded to help promote casual pick-up PvE groups in EVE.
If I had to pick out one thing that EVE Online
does exceptionally well, apart from the political betrayals and thefts
that regularly grace the gaming headlines, it would be the ability to build a real home that you’d want to protect. This year we’ve seen players erect thousands of citadels and engineering complexes all over New Eden, from the colossal 300 billion ISK Keepstars
owned by the largest military alliances to tiny Astrahus citadels and Raitaru factory stations owned by one-man corporations. The stage is set for the next wave of Upwell structures with refineries and moon mining gameplay hitting on October 24th in the Lifeblood expansion.
While adoption rates of the new structures have been immense, not everything about them has gone over well with players. The game is becoming littered with cheap and often abandoned structures mostly because they’re difficult to destroy and there’s no incentive to do so. The battles that occur when players do fight over structures have also become stagnant thanks to the emergence of a few clearly optimum strategies. So while developers prepare to launch into the future with Upwell refineries and beyond, they took a pause at EVE Vegas 2017 to peer back at the past year and committed to some big improvements to structure warfare. … And this time they might have goddamn nailed it.
Read on for a full breakdown of the new details of EVE‘s upcoming moon mining feature and a look at the future of structure warfare with the Upwell Firmware Upgrade 2.0 update.
The EVE Online
twitterverse exploded late last night with the news of a political twist so enormous that it’s become the largest recorded theft of in-game assets in the game’s history. In the middle of the night and without warning, major EVE
military alliance Circle of Two (or CO2 for short) was betrayed by its diplomatic officer
, a player with the ominous name of The Judge. In addition to cleaning out the alliance war funds and assets to the tune of over a trillion ISK, The Judge also transferred ownership of CO2’s 300 billion ISK keepstar citadel in its capital star system of 68FT-6 to a holding corporation, effectively stealing the alliance’s home space station.
News of The Judge’s betrayal trickled out of EVE all through the night, and it wasn’t long before the full extent of the incident was known. The 68FT-6 keepstar was sold to enemy alliance Goonswarm Federation, while CO2’s smaller citadels throughout Impass are now in the hands of TEST Alliance. The theft combined with the value of the citadels is estimated at over 1.5 trillion ISK, easily beating the 2011 trillion ISK Phaser Inc scam to become the highest-value theft in EVE‘s history. The actual damage done is even more extensive, injecting a huge dose of chaos into CO2 alliance and throwing fuel on the fire of the southern war.
Read on for a detailed breakdown of last night’s record-breaking theft, the reasons behind the betrayal, and the political situation that led us here.
EVE Online players have been up in arms this week over sweeping nerfs that are about to hit to high-end farming gameplay styles in the player-owned nullsec territories. It started when CCP Games announced that the Excavator drones used by Rorqual capital industrial ships would be getting a sizeable mining yield reduction and that a respawn delay would be added to ore sites in nullsec. As players were still reeling from that unexpected news, developers then announced a surprise general nerf to fighter damage with the goal of making carriers and supercarriers less effective in PvE and PvP. This significant balance change was just announced on Friday 9th June and goes live on Tuesday 13th, prompting outcry from the community over the lack of feedback-gathering on such a significant change to capital ship balance.
These nerfs both seem to be reactions to the latest few Monthly Economic Reports, which showed that the total money supply in the game economy is over a quadrillion ISK and rising rapidly. The detailed breakdowns of economic activity in the reports tell a more complex story, with ISK supply from bounty prizes roughly doubling over the past year and mining in the Delve region shooting off the scale in the past few months. It seems that a large number of nullsec players are spending more time farming and building up resources, and it’s the scale and efficiency of the top-tier farming setups that has CCP worried.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss the upcoming Rorqual and fighter nerfs, look at the economics of farming, and explain why this trend could be a more serious indicator than CCP realises.
When I first discovered EVE Online
back in 2004, it had been out in the wild for just under a year and was a much simpler and friendlier beast. There were fewer than 50,000 players in total and most of them were flying around in tech 1 frigates and cruisers, either mining, grinding their way up top level 3 mission agents, or PvPing. Most corporations lived in the relative safety of high-security space and warred with each other for all sorts of reasons, and some power-hungry corps tamed the lawless nullsec regions to hunt battleship NPCs and mine ores containing valuable Zydrine and Megacyte.
Low-security space offered a tempting middle-ground for players back then, a place you could go to reap better rewards than highsec but at the cost of a proportional increase in risk. Pirates faced much lower consequences for attacking another ship unprovoked there than in highsec, and the areas around stargates and stations were kept safer by automated sentry turrets. The delicate balance between risk and reward in low-security space began to fall apart as the sizes of player groups in EVE increased and ships got better at tanking the damage from sentries. Nearly a decade later and with very little done to revamp the area, today’s lowsec still suffers from this legacy and has lost much of its identity. But how can this problem be solved? Hints may come from recent rumblings at EVE Fanfest 2017 on the future direction of PvE.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the reasons I believe low-security space has lost its identity and a few of the ways CCP could inject some much-needed personality and speciality into this neglected area of the game.
If you’ve been reading the gaming news this week, you may have heard about the enormous amount of wealth that was recently removed from EVE Online
‘s economy when the players behind EVE
gambling website IWantISK were banned for real money trading. The figure was initially rumoured
to be around 40 trillion ISK, but the only sources for this information at the time were one of the banned players himself and a third party using guesswork. With the release of CCP’s latest monthly economic report
, we now have a verified primary source to work from.
Digging into the CSV records attached to CCP Quant’s October economic report, we were able to see that on the day of the ban (October 12th), total ISK supply dropped by 24.85 trillion ISK overnight. Accounting for the average upward movement of ISK over the previous month gives us a figure of around 25.77 trillion ISK that was likely part of the ban wave. This amount of ISK could currently buy you around 20,295 PLEX game time codes on the in-game market, which have a real world value of between $303,000 and $405,000 US depending on the price paid per unit.
Keep in mind that these figures account for only the liquid ISK in the banned players’ accounts. The value of any assets frozen on those accounts could bring the total even higher, but the frozen assets can’t be verified at this point. The bans came after intensive investigation of the accused players for real money trading offences, and happened on the same day that CCP announced that all third-party EVE gambling websites would have to shut down.
We’ve heard a lot recently about huge territorial wars raging
in EVE Online
with thousands of pilots taking part, which some consider to be the ultimate endgame of EVE
. PvP on that kind of scale and with real consequences and territory on the line is certainly one of the game’s primary draws in an MMO space that is getting more crowded every year. The problem is that the kind of time investment and commitment required to be an active member of a large territorial alliance that’s under pressure can be excessive. The average PvP operation in EVE
lasts several hours, and some players even set alarm clocks to get up for battles in the middle of the night.
The demands placed on fleet commanders, corp organisers and community leaders are even more intense, to the point that they may spend all of their free time engaged in EVE-related matters. Those of you who remember my early EVE days from 2004 to around 2012 will know that I used to play EVE pretty hardcore, doing everything from helping to run a nullsec alliance and managing public corporations to running investment schemes, faction warfare groups, incursion fleets, and lucrative wormhole expeditions. I probably spent over six hours per day playing EVE during that time, but like many players, I’ve found my available play time each day has decreased over the years. Nowadays I find myself doing something that many people outside of EVE say isn’t feasible but that is actually far more common than they think: playing EVE casually and enjoying it.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the split between the power players of EVE and its not-insignificant casual playerbase, and I discuss a few of the most casual gameplay activities that can fit into very limited play time.
is typically thought of as being a heavily PvP-oriented game, and for good reason. Players can attack each other anywhere in the EVE
universe with varying levels of consequences for their actions, and most of the big stories about the game do seem to revolve around players smashing spaceships together or screwing each other over in some manner. Even playing the market is considered PvP, as traders attempt to corner the market for particular items and force the competition out of business. Despite all of this, stats on the EVE
playerbase have always shown that a lot of players engage primarily in PvE activities, and NPC bounties always come top of the ISK faucets lists in EVE‘s monthly economic reports
All players have to kill a few NPCs now and then to pad their wallets, but PvE covers more than just shooting NPCs and many aspects of EVE‘s PvE gameplay are woefully outdated. Mission-running is an archaic system that provides little challenge or variety, mining is a severely unrewarding profession, and the Sansha incursions should have been replaced or heavily expanded on years ago. We found out at EVE Fanfest 2016 that CCP now has several new teams working on PvE, and this week game designer Linzi “CCP Affinity” Campbell released details of an interesting new PvE event called Shadow of the Serpent that will be kicking off at the end of the month. But what would our ideal PvE systems look like, and what more can be done to improve EVE‘s rapidly antiquating NPC-smashing gameplay?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at what the Shadow of the Serpent event means for the future of PvE and delve into four key PvE improvements that I think would improve EVE Online for all involved.
Among the patch notes for EVE Online‘s recent Citadel expansion release was a fairly innocuous increase in the fees for listing items on the in-game market from a minimum of 0.25% to 2%. While most people saw this change as fairly minor, one player by the name of “probag Bear” figured out how to use it to multiply his ISK by temporarily cornering the market for PLEX, one of EVE‘s most highly traded commodities. The player realised that if he set up buy orders for PLEX before the patch, he’d pay the old tax rate of 0.25% for setting them up while anyone buying after the patch would pay the higher 2% rate. This would give him a competitive edge and a higher profit margin than other players.
The second part of the scheme used an odd quirk of the Margin Trading skill mechanics to set up hundreds of buy orders worth thousands of times the ISK actually invested. The result is that probag Bear now has the ability to buy and sell over 17 trillion ISK worth of PLEX at higher profit margin than anyone else can obtain, giving him temporary control of the PLEX market and turning his 70 billion ISK investment into over 300 billion ISK profit. Some players have called this confusing scheme a borderline exploit, but CCP is not expected to interfere. Emergent behaviours like this are often considered part of EVE‘s sandbox gameplay, and players may yet build a low-tax trade hub citadel to nullify this market advantage.
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