Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week in the Life: Heavy fuel

Here's a week (well, ten days) in the life of the least regarded of the ice products, Heavy Water:

Market speculation, in my EVE?  What's going on?  Well, you can blame the starbase changes that were announced on 7 November.  In that devblog, CCP Greyscale announced that the five POS fuel PI products and three ice products would be converted into "fuel blocks".  Those fuel blocks would consume:
  • 8x Coolant
  • 4x Enriched Uranium
  • 400x relevant racial Isotope
  • 4x Mechanical Parts
  • 20x Oxygen
  • 1x Robotics
  • 150x Heavy Water
  • 150x Liquid Ozone
I blogged about it the day that it happened.  The one thing I didn't blog about that day was the distribution of fuel, because I wanted to see to my own strategic reserve first.  ;-)  Anyone smart who maintains a capital ship or POS keeps a strategic reserve of fuel on hand to shield themselves from fluctuations in the EVE market (and to potentially profit from such market fluctuations).  I am no exception.  As I said in that blog post, I have a medium faction POS, and I had a year's worth of fuel for it in reserve.

Turned out on the 7th, I didn't have a year any more.  I had varying quantities that might or might not equal out to a year, and I wanted to make sure that I bought additional stocks of the missing bits as needed to get my strategic reserve back up.

My POS was used for research.  Fitting a POS is like fitting a ship or a PI colony.  There are POS modules that eat grid or CPU just like your ship fittings do.  Weapons tend to eat grid.  EWAR tends to eat CPU.  POS shield hardeners eat both.  Research POSs use Mobile Laboratories, which eat CPU... a lot of CPU.  POSs consume all types of fuel in equal measure, except for Heavy Water and Liquid Ozone.  The more grid your POS uses, the more LO it consumes.  The more CPU your POS uses, the more Heavy Water.  With me so far?

When Greyscale set the POS fuel consumption numbers, he set the Liquid Ozone and Heavy Water usage to near their maximum values.  The good news is that every POS will now consume the same amount of these resources, making book-keeping easier.  The bad news is that every POS will now consume the maximum amount of these resources.  Therefore, my research POS strategic fuel reserve was OK in terms of Heavy Water, but in order to make up the difference, I was going to need more Liquid Ozone.  A lot more.

However, my research POS is not the typical example.  There are lots more armed POSes out there than there are research POSs, and most or all of those POSs didn't require all that much Heavy Water.  That's why that commodity has been stuck at 20 ISK/unit for months or years, whereas most ice products are worth more.  But now, there were going to be a lot of alliance and corp POS managers that were going to have to greatly increase their Heavy Water stocks.

Before and after this change, my medium faction POS consumed fuel in the following quantities, per month:

Fuel TypeBefore Crucible    After Crucible
Heavy Water (CPU)34,27237,800
Liquid Ozone (Grid)    8,06437,800
Enriched Uranium13441008
Mechanical Parts20161008

As you can see, things changed quite a bit.  My PI products were generally in line.  I needed a few more of some things for my reserve (like Oxygen), and less of others (Mechanical Parts, Robotics).  But I was going to build up my ice products some.  I'd need a small additional quantity of Heavy Water.  But my strategic reserve of Liquid Ozone for my POS was about 100,000 units.  After Crucible, I'll need almost 500,000 units: five times as much! 

But for most POS operators, the opposite was true: they need four or five times as much Heavy Water.

And that's why you're seeing the spike in Heavy Water prices the last ten days or so.  It's impacting Liquid Ozone too, but not nearly as much, since LO is used for other activities as well (notably, lighting cynosural fields).  On the flipside, as the impact of this change starts to spread, you'll probably see Robotics prices fall a bit, since they won't be as universally useful.

Every time patch changes are announced, you see this sort of market speculation.  And it's no different from Wall Street once it's announced: those that respond quickly make ISK, while those that miss the implications get the shaft...


  1. No, No.... you don't need more Heavy Water, now you need to go and get yourself a bunch of fuel cubes, lol (which hopefully are easier to haul than heavy water- I'd be more concerned about the extra hauling than the extra cost)

    Kidding aside, I'm sure people that sell heavy water are happy, the stuff was all but worthless before- on the other side of the coin, they cut Robotics usage 60%, and that shit was over 70,000 ISK per unit.

  2. You missed the fact that for racial ice, you get 2x the amount of heavy water as LO. There is no way that cynos and JBs use enough to make up for that, which is why it was so cheap (and will return to cheapness, at least compared to LO)

  3. I didn't miss it. It just wasn't particularly relevant. Even at 100 ISK/unit, Heavy Water is still very cheap compared to any other ice product. At some point, it needs to be given another function or the amount of it refined from racial ice should be reduced.

  4. Robotics will go up.

    Prior to this all Starbases used the same amount of robotics regardless of size (1 per hour), now they will be consumed 2-3x more for medium to large POS'.

  5. The POS fuel PI products have been trending up heavily since CCP announced the new customs office changes coming soon. Everybody is stockpiling against the day when customs offices start to disappear in low/null sec, and have to be replaced with player-owned ones at considerable expense. I imagine the price spikes when that happens will make these seem like a mere hiccup.

  6. I have read back through your posts and some of the links to Dev Blogs et al...

    I have thought long on this and I'd like to weight in my ISK 0.2 on POS fuels. Everybody is soooooo happy with the fuel changes and in general all around nerfing of POS management... Yes, I said NERFING.

    You see one of the primary reasons I love EVE is... IT IS VERY VERY DIFFICULT. It 'costs' you time and thought and effort to deal with the COMPLEXITY of many of the things we do here.

    Why? Because in the real world (EVE being an attempt at a Sci-fi virtual "reality") you do not get to say, "God I am so sick and tired of how long it takes to make gasoline from oil... can't somebody make it so it takes, like, a day please?" and TA DA, God steps in, says "Gee, I don't like that you are unhappy, here, I will make a oil sea in Texas and you can just pump it right up to this magic box and BLAM, in one day you have all the gas you need!" "Are you happy now you sissy effin whiner?"

    POSes are not "easy" to put up and run for a reason... Imagine, if you will, the time, logistics and costs that would be involved in REALITY if one was to plan and implement a project to put up a real Planetary Orbital Station...

    OK, so in EVE, RIGHT NOW, it is vastly easier and less time consuming than it would be in real life... but it is difficult and costly and time consuming and a bother... Good I say, keeps the 15 year olds out of EVE.

    What's next? Damn all this 25 real days to learn a skill!! Can't we have ALL skills maxed at, say 5 days? Please??" Oh yea... lets have THAT one... the 15 year olds will be here in DROVES the next week.

    For me there are two things that the sheer complexity of EVE boils down to...

    (1) It is workable (in a virtual sense) while being as difficult as possible yet remaining playable and rewarding and...

    *****(2) it is sooo difficult it keeps the tech smart CHILDREN out.*****

    There are a lot of teens and preteens out there who are more than savvy enough to play EVE, they don't because it rewards the long term view, the long term planner and the person who is mature enough to work for the long term reward.

    The difficulty of EVE, POS setups and fueling pains included, is simply not rewarding enough for their instant-gratification souls to deal with... so we get to have ONE MMO for adults, or at least semi-mature people...

    And yes, I have seen my fair share people out there of highly questionable emotional maturity... fly with some of em daily... LOL but that is true for some 50 year olds I know in RL too.

    So far as I have been able to tell, I have not flown with anyone under 20somthing... if so, he/they were mature enough to deal with this wonderfully complex virtual life we all live out on the servers of CCP.

    Please... please don't forget WHY EVE is so difficult and why it should remain so. If the whiners get their way, one day there will be a virtual Children's Crusade in EVE and we will ALL ragequit. At the very least, I will...

  7. Our POSs inside the WH have very low CPU and PG usage. Our fuel bill is going to skyrocket and our reserves got chopped from 9 mo to 3.

    In order to keep things running, we're going to have to drop one POS, or just accept a huge increase in our fuel bill.

    Not sure how this will all shake out. I think it will depend on what our replacement rate for POCOs will be. If they last many months before one gets popped, we might be ok. If its a weekly loss, there's no value in keeping on.

  8. @Tur

    You misinterpret this change.

    The new fuel block process adds a new step to POS fueling. You still need to calculate the material list to build the fuel blocks. This makes the fueling process more complex, not less.

    I'd like to point out you have a lot of flawed perceptions. You seem to judge people based on age, as if older player were more mature. You need to think back on your arguments.

  9. @TurAmarth

    There's good complexity and bad complexity. Good complexity adds choices and interesting subtleties to decisions. Bad complexity adds mindless drudgery and obfuscates the decision making process to no good purpose- or at least, the cost involved is out of all proportion to the value added.

    POS fueling was bad complexity.

  10. And that's why don't play the market - I just don't think in this way. Luckily for me, our strategic reserve was specced for maximum fuel consumption anyway.

    And the spreadsheet jockeys will be happy: now they can calculate whether to build their own fuel blocks, or buy them on the market :)

  11. Being in a wormhole, there is no reason to not max out your cpu/grid usage all the time:

    1. Heavy water and Ozone make up a small percentage of the costs before crucible, and being dangerous space there is no good reason to not have as much ewar/guns/hardeners online as your tower could easily come under attack at any time.

    2. Isotopes have always been the largest percentage of fuel costs, and that does not vary - in fact it will drop with the expansion. PI fuels are easily made inside most wormholes to offset those particular costs. With the ability to easily manufacture fuel at towers, well things will get a lot simpler as you don't have to juggle hw/loz usage ratios everytime you make a change to the online configuration.

  12. @ Tahna Rouspel said...

    You misinterpret this change.

    OK, I may have... I will admit to not fully understanding 'all' the details of the new changes. If I misinterpreted, my bad and apologies to all. I will wait and research and see...

    As for my flawed perceptions... well, all I can say is I judge people based on their actions, and I am guilty of generalizing about people, something which can be sticky wicket in it's own right.

    I used the "15y.o." as a general label for the large group of people who, while smart enough technically, are not mature enough to take the long view and accept the rewards for doing things, especially in terms of games, that take a long time and are very complex.

    I actually was working from a direct example... a blogger told of how his 15 y.o. son and a friend watched him play EVE and thought it was cool... they wanted to try it... OK.

    He setup 2 trial accounts, sat them down together and walked them through char creation, then he sat back and waited...

    It took just about 2 hours before both boys said, "OH Screw this!!! Five DAYS to learn how to use that!?!?!". When he explained how some skills can take 20 or more days to learn, they both walked away saying what a complete waste of time EVE was... leaving dad smiling happily to himself as he logged back on.

    I'm 51 myself. I have kids. I fly with my son, my CEO and a Marine in RL. And I have younger kids and I know many kids and teens... and for the most part, until they reach a level (which can be measured for "most", not all, in years) of maturity required to be capable of taking the long view... I, for myself, do NOT want to fly in EVE with them.

    PS, I also know a few 40 and 50 year olds that are not mature enough for EVE either...

    No offense intended, just one man's opinion.

  13. Wow TurAmarth you seem bitter.

    When it takes more then 2 Hours to anchor and online a Pos + Mods thats not "difficult" its just tedious.

    If you want eve to be a huge pain in the ass just so you can feel elitist fine, everybody is entitled to his opinion.
    Personally i don't play eve to spend a whole evening just anchoring a Pos.

    The POS changes have nothing to do with a "long view", they just make handling a POS less painfuel.

    Deciding which "mods" to put on a POS, calculating at which Point it generates Profit, figuring out the best mods for defense are Complexities.
    Fueling and Anchoring/Onlining a Pos is not, its just an annoyance.

    It takes about 400Minutes to Online + Anchor that pos for example

  14. @Tur

    I tend to agree for the most part. I'm not a young buck either and have played a ton of games, as well as online and networked versions. One of the earlier ones, Asheron's Call, I remember when the whole clan would get together, every Wed night, everyone would get high level skill buffs, and then stand around trying to learn their new spells by experimenting with component combinations. It was a big deal and everyone cheered every time someone got the rainbow effect when they learned a spell. Crafting was a fair bit of drudgery too at times, but you understood what was being made and why. Little calculators came out later to auto-research spell combinations, and that took a lot of the fun out. Then they went easy mode and you just buy the spell books and took away most of the crafting. Players lost interest, and the game is a shadow of what it once was. Many games up til now followed the same path. The games were optimized to draw in the console kiddies with the attention span of an ice cube in a frying pan, and that alienates "true" gamers. True gamers aren't necessarily people that play games all the time/a lot, a true gamer appreciates the "art" of learning to play the game. Many gamers today are just looking for a VR fix, and then move on.

    Moving forward 10 or 15 years, there's WOW. Not a bad game when it first came out, and it had sufficient complexity to keep gamers interested. Now, with the min/maxxing, power levelling, increased XP, it takes a couple days to get to what used to take months. There's no challenge to it anymore for serious gamers, and people are leaving in droves. A gamer needs to have the game push back against them the right amount, to make it still feel challenging. Too much, and it's too hard and people get frustrated and quit. Too little, and it's too easy and a gamer loses interest. Eve produces a different kind of counter pressure in that once you have max level implants, the main back pressure exerted is "time". All you can do is wait for the skill to train.

    CCP needs to expand it's player base, but it's a very fine and vaguely placed line that manages to keep the interest of both gamers AND console kiddies. Maybe there isn't a way to do both. With the new blocks, logistically, you don't need to track individual items and their consumption rates based on POS usage anymore - that's a good thing. Now, it's just blocks - added complexity to make them, but added simplicity to manage them. Still probably a good thing. All towers now use the same amount of fuel, all the time, regardless of what is running. That's not a good thing for supply necessarily, but it's a good thing for figuring out what you need. It doesn't do much for people with faction POSes though - not a good thing.

    I wonder what it would do to the fuel market if a fuel block could be made, minus the water component, and that could be added later? Anyway, I think most see the fuel blocks as a good thing because it makes the mental task of tracking fuel usage easier, while not making the process of getting/making the fuel easier. That's a pretty cool thing to be able to do, I think. It's easier for players to manage that part of the game, without making that part of the game easy-mode.

  15. @Pointy Sticks

    Damn... [Yoda voiceover] "Outclassed I am!"

    You said it so much better than I my friend. And I am not bitter... well, not any more so than bein 51 and seein moar of the road here than of the road left ahead can make one... Probably why I spend so much time flyin with the young bucks in EVE... LOL

    This is what I was trying, so very badly, to say... But, there are possibilities...

    This article "http://freebooted.blogspot.com/2011/10/free-to-play-eve-online.html" in Freebooted was, I felt, quite well thought out as far as a concept for a Free-to-play / MT style account in EVE.

    I feel this would serve CCP well. Create a whole new profit stream, add to the over all user base, and expand variety of the already amazing Things-to-do-in-EVE... all things I would love to see. =]


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