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.
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Disappointment has a name

Back in April, I was living in Pure Blind when CCP decided it would be a good idea to stick the business end of a blender up the collective rear end of everyone that was living there (and across the north) and hit "Frappé".

The consequences of this change have been well documented in this blog over the months since.  As far as I'm concerned, it was a statistically significant factor in the fall of the NC.  I even speculated when this change was announced that CCP might not be above directly attempting to influence the in-game politics of New Eden.  Today, in Pure Blind, there are a grand total of six systems at Military Index 5, up from a low of four a couple of months after the nerf was implemented.

Give CCP this much, though: at least that change was directly announced.

Word is now coming out of the care-bear alliances living throughout the Drone regions of two significant changes that have taken place affecting the sites there:
  • the amount of drone alloys per site has been greatly reduced; and,
  • the drones in the site are now coming in in waves that must be killed in order before the next wave spawns.
The impact of the first change should be obvious.  And the reduction is apparently quite significant.  One player claims that a common site that used to drop 15 million ISK in Plush Alloy now drops only 6.5 million.  The impact of the second change is that those living in the Drone regions have -- until now -- aggro'ed all of the spawns in a site as they entered the site.  Once that was done, they were then bringing in their Noctis to salvage the site as they killed it, confident that the drone rats would not target the helpless salvage ship.

Did I say this change wasn't announced?  I guess that isn't completely fair.  CCP Greyscale did mention that he was going to rebalance the anomalies.  We should have remembered what Greyscale means when he uses that word.  ;-)

Now that the blender is again spinning in the innards of a new set of victims, those of you who enjoy tears will find your full measure in the EVE-O thread on the subject.  Many of you will even say that the tears are richly deserved.  And hell, you might even be right.  These are demonstrably not poor individuals being affected by this.  And given the number of people that Drone region residents have driven from their virtual homes in the last two years or so, you might even say that some karmic justice is justified.

Still, it's hard for me not to have a certain amount of sympathy for those affected.  It's not like it's moon goo that's being nerfed here, so like the April nerf, the people who are going to suffer most from this are the line PvPers that rely on sites to buy and build replacement ships.  And to a lesser extent, the rest of us are also going to be affected by this: Drone region alloys are a major source of the minerals that all of us ultimately need.

On the positive end, though, it's going to be a lot tougher and a lot less profitable to run bots in the Drone regions now.  That was almost certainly the objective.

But the question I asked back in March should again be asked: is CCP attempting to influence the politics of New Eden with in-game changes?  The evidence that points to a "yes" answer is certainly piling up!

EDIT (1/Dec/2011): Addendum to this article: while initial unconfirmed reports from the Drone regions indicated that the amount of drone alloys per site had been reduced, follow-up reports from people who live there (see the comments) indicate that this is not the case. While the individual sites will have to be run more slowly, the value of the individual sites has not been reduced, and might have even been increased slightly.


  1. one thing abotu the change ot the wya drone anoms work, accordign to ccp ( i tihnk it was greyscale that said it) the change ot the way the spwans work was a bug fix, they werent intended to work the way they work

  2. Yes, it will affect the "line" PVPers...but should one region's regular players be able to rake in so much more isk than the others? I'm all for having some regions be worth more than others to avoid stagnation, but the sheer amount of isk that Drone players could throw around was staggering at times...this also leads to the "brick wall" effect they display, where they're so well-rooted and rich that nobody can break in and take the place (read:stagnation). Not to mention the Northern Wall of CCP constellations that kept the NC from absolutely steamrolling IRC.

  3. Also I need correct, as Iam living in the drone regions, the ammount of mats that are being dropped, is the same as it was before.
    I tested it on Singularity and I did some Hordes already on the release date of Crucible.
    So no changes there.
    Only change is the wave respawn on that site. So now it works like it should be.
    Also, that´s the first site they repaired in the drone regions, only some more to go (like the hidden plexes and magno/radar sites).

  4. Changes with such an influence should be made public more clearly.

    But as a professional Miner the idea of less minerals from npc loot is good in my opinion. If you need a serious amount of minerals you should mine or pay miners for it. A system getting cash out of drones without bounty is still missing, maybe ccp will work on that issue.

  5. I certainly have no issue with CCP re-balancing all the sites, and fixing a know bug, which it appears they have. The consequences of this are noticed everywhere across k-space and w-space, so let the tears flow... Wah

    And if by politics you mean botters and folks exploiting a know bug, then apparently yes. Don't stop...

  6. The change to the drone horde sites was specifically noted in the comments thread after that devblog. Greyscale says that the change was not part of the rebalance, as it was considered a bugfix and borderline exploit fix since the hordes were not intended to have such huge profits.

    See https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=377219#post377219 and https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=395193#post395193 for details.

    I think you may be getting a bit paranoid on this issue.

  7. 1% problems the rest of the 99% could give a rats ass about tbh. Stop exploiting and get down to business like the rest of us. Bots are bad. Can't be any gray area imo.

  8. I must say that I am very happy about the carebear tears flowing from the drone region. I have several times flew through this area and found many many booting systems with gates completly surrounded by warp bubbles to give them time to get to a safe spot whenever someone entered local. This to me was total risk aversion in action and being able to make risk free isk.


  9. @Raivi: interesting, thanks. Still, it should have been directly published in the patch notes as a bug fix. Do you agree?

    @Djm: thanks for the info!

  10. Heh. One thing I can attest to above all else is this: the guys making these changes don't give one fuck about 'politics' in EVE. It makes for good tinfoil, but once you start doing this kind of stuff as a job, the political pixels don't matter. :)

  11. @Rixx: Because clearly everyone who live in the drone regions are botters. And all high-sec residents are carebears, and all lowsec residents sit on gates and gank newbs. Aren't ignorant generalizations fun? Why is something that doesn't personally affect you not worthy of notice even if it affects thousands of other players?

    Drone anomalies were not rebalanced in this patch, and the total yield from them has remained the same in my experience and in the experience of others in the alliance to which I belong.

    The only drone anomaly which was affected was the bunker-type drone horde, where the player had to shoot central bunkers to trigger new waves. For those not familiar with drone anomalies, a drone horde is the equivalent of a sanctum elsewhere. Prior to the patch, there was a bug where insta-popping a bunker would fail to trigger a new spawn. For whatever reason, Greyscale decided to address this bug in Crucible; since drone anomalies haven't received any real bug fixes in a long time, and have been ignored so far by devs working on new DED complexes and anomalies, I'm not sure what prompted this sudden attention.

    Sadly, it appears that the team working on that bug fix either could not fix the bunker triggers, or Greyscale didn't like the speed with which bunker hordes could be run. According to his comments in the anomaly dev-blog thread, he thought that being able to trigger all the spawns at once allowed players to generate exploit-level amounts of ISK. Not sure how he came to that conclusion. He admitted that CCP doesn't know how to valuate drone anomalies. If we use common sense and simply add up the market value of the minerals obtained from refining alloys dropped by drones in a drone horde, then pre-patch the ISK per minute which a person with two accounts could generate running drone hordes was on par with the ISK which a person with one account could generate running sanctums.

    Right now, drone hordes yield less ISK than sanctums yielded before the Crucible buff. The buffed sanctums now yield up to twice the ISK per minute of drone hordes. I personally am not affected by this change, since I run drone patrols, which still thankfully yield about the same amount of ISK as havens elsewhere.

    But it doesn't feel like an intentional nerf. It feels more like a gross oversight, but that is not unexpected. Greyscale has amply demonstrated that he does not understand how the drone regions work. I only hope that he does not change rogue drones to drop bounties.

    For an analysis of ISK per minute generated by drone hordes before and after Crucible, see: http://www.orderofatlas.com/eve/newhordes.pdf

  12. Apologies, linked to the wrong PDF. Here is the full analysis of the changes:


  13. It would be ideal if they could list every bug fix that effects the economy in the patch notes, but I understand if they have trouble documenting all the buxfixes in the notes.

    I'm pretty confident that CCP isn't trying to mess with the politics using balance, beyond the very broad goal of "some space should be better than other space to generate conflict". It's easy to feel like your group is being targetted by a change (hell, ccp nerfs my alliance's playstyles in almost every patch) but it's a way of thinking that's best avoided as it makes it too easy to blame failures on CCP instead of taking responsibility and improving.

    The devs have a hard enough time keeping up with the fast-changing state of the game and predicting the outcome of balance changes. I'm pretty sure that they're not up to the challenge of puppetmastering 0.0 politics via indirect manipulation. :)

  14. From a Drone Region Ratter:

    The number of alloys dropped has not changed... if anything, the number of alloys I'm getting per horde has increased slightly...

    To the whiners that are complaining about the spawns coming in waves:

    There is a mechanic to prevent your noctis from getting targeted by spawns:

    NPC rats do not target pods. If you (and most people do) rat in a carrier, why don't you just dock the noctis up inside the carrier until the next wave's aggro has been drawn? even better, why don't you hop into a DPS ship and help kill the waves as they spawn, and towards the end switch back into the Noctis.

    It doesn't take me any longer to do a horde start to finish now, than before the expansion.

  15. @Dannar: Yes, if you've been completely clearing out drone hordes, then your ISK per minute per account hasn't changed. The problem isn't so much that hordes were nerfed or sanctums buffed, but the manner in which this happened.

    The problem is that Greyscale has said outright that CCP doesn't know how to properly valuate drone anomalies, yet insists that the pre-Crucible way of running drone hordes produced a "broken" amount of ISK despite evidence that pre-Crucible hordes yielded LESS ISK with two accounts than post-Crucible sanctums do with a single account.


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