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, May 21, 2014

Prophet and loss

I hate to keep following up on previous posts I've written, but the changes that are happening pretty much daily in EVE right now are kind of demanding it. So let's do a double follow-up, one related to Kronos changes, one not.

As I noted in my post about the freighter/jump freighter rebalance, the addition of rig slots to freighter mated to large nerfs in cargo hold and/or align time and/or tank (depending) was leaving JF pilots with one and only choice: fit cargo expander rigs. The original idea was to put some customization into freighter fittings and CSM8 felt like rig slots would be an interesting way to do that. We had also talked about low slots instead but the idea of rig slots was slightly more interesting to us: we had the idea that players or corps that do heavy-duty logistics might create a small fleet of freighters specialized to different tasks.

In practice, it's clear it wasn't working that way and yesterday CCP Fozzie announced they were dumping rig slots on freighters and JFs in favor of three low slots for freighters and JFs, as well as some new low slot modules to increase base warp speed and (eventually) jump fuel conservation. For those who only care about cargo, three T2 Expanded Cargoholds will increase freighter capacity by 21-25% and JF capacity by 1-2%.

That opens up a few more choices (as well as making those choices non-permanent). JF pilots will be able to jump out to null with full cargo loads and come back with Inertia Stabilizers or the new Hyperspatial Accelerator low-slot modules with much reduced cargo loads. Freighters will have a bit more freedom to customize in both directions since their base cargo is starting above 435k.

So overall, a little bit less interesting but a positive change, I think!

In the same post, malko asked in comments:
You cheerfully admit having invested in that type of salvage material the day it's been made public. Did you already know, as a former csm member, that this resource would be involved in that rebalance pass?
More generally, do you guys, part of the csm, have a code of conduct to respect regarding speculation and nda-protected information?
And those are really good, interesting questions! The second one, regarding the "code of conduct", refers to a quiet little trolly rumor going around that although CSM8 member mynnna can't profit from changes that CCP tells him about, there's nothing stopping him from hinting (falsely) to players that changes are in the offing and then delighting as they lose tons of ISK on bad bets based on those hints.

What will EVE players think of next, right?

Here's my response:
CSM members are not allowed to profit by things that we learn that are NDA'ed until those changes are made public. Larkonis Trassler was famously removed from the CSM for breaking this rule a few years back. The finances and inventories of CSM members are periodically audited to make sure this isn't being done.

However, there is no ethical code of conduct for CSM members whatsoever. CSM members can be as evil as any other EVE player and indeed can use their position to be even more evil. Mittens famously ran a supercap third party service scam during his time as CSM chair, for instance, and Darius III famously scammed for votes directly.

To answer your coy little question, there is nothing at all preventing mynnna or anyone else from driving people toward hugely unprofitable investments (hinting that those investments would be made profitable by future changes to the game) and then laughing up his sleeve at any who fall for them. That said, there's no evidence that I've seen that he's ever followed such a strategy.
I later added:
[This] includes alts and corps owned or directed by alts.

Example: at one point during the CSM8 term, a dev made a reference to something that I had stored in a cargo can owned by my alt corp in an office hangar.

CCP has VERY good tools to link the movement of ISK and assets around different characters.
Yes, once a change is made public, a CSM member can compete on the market along with everyone else.
So there you go. If you had questions along those lines, hopefully that answers them. Thanks for the question, malko! Quite a good one!


  1. Fozzie - this guy is f**king good at his job. At least there is one dev at CCP whose head isn't up his a** and isn't afraid to sweep a bad plan off the table, to replace it with a better one. One which still makes game play more interesting, but without raising the ire of the players nor sparking off a s**tload of unnecessary unsubs.

    Now, compare this to Greyscale who posted the following, in his follow-up thread to the blueprint research changes:

    "We do have our fingers in the industry code right now, so small changes to eg formulas are on the table if we can justify them; larger sweeping changes are *not* on the table"


    Here's a dev who just doesn't get it, and never will.

    1. Oh, he gets it. But I don't think you understand the difference between Greyscale and Fozzie's jobs. They are both game designers, but ones with very different mandates.

      Fozzie's allows him to rip a feature out and change it very quickly(in the grand scheme of things). This makes him look like a Hero to you. "This man gets it!".

      Greyscale on the other hand has a massive undertaking on his hands, one with multiple teams working on several different widgets. They hit feature lock long ago. They've got some wiggle room, and they can push it back a bit, but they are not going to shaft a year's worth of man hours on a project and start over. He may agree with you, he may not, who knows, it's not the type of thing that's going to be aired publicly. But it's not his choice on if the whole thing needs scrapped and rewritten. On a project this big, with the time and resources invested... Greyscale may have been the one who said it, and he could have phrased it better, but it ultimately isn't his choice what is and isn't on the table. With the resources CCP has invested in the industry rewrite, that sentiment came from Hilmar.

    2. Fozzie, like the various Little Things teams, has the pleasure of being given a task that amounts to "Make easy changes that make the game better, and by extension, the players happy".

      Greyscale's been given a task with high complexity, high technical risk, and perhaps worst of all, designed to alter player behaviour that's been in place for years. Long term combat ship pilots, Bear or otherwise, are all used to ships changing out from under them: I've no real panic that I might need to trade my Vargur for a Panther when the Blops changes make it king of L4s. I'm not concerned that my drake isn't very good any more and the ferox somehow is. It's nice that the best ISK isn't in L4s, it's in one of Incursions, Wormholes or FW or Sanctums or whatever, and that does shift aroudn over time.That's just life.

      For the casual indy crowd, they're used to change in what they make and sell, but not /how/ they make, and they're (perhaps rightly) concerned that the game might not be the same kind of fun anymore.

    3. "But I don't think you understand the difference between Greyscale and Fozzie's jobs. They are both game designers, but ones with very different mandates."

      Bullshit. They have the same job - game designer - and same mandate - to create & balance content to keep the game fresh & interesting. If they do it well, then current customers (players) keep paying and new customers sign up.

      The difference is that Fozzie is smart enough to solicit player feedback before a new feature/change needs to be chiseled in stone. Greyscale is not.

      For every feature/change that Greyscale has made to the game, he has always had both time & opportunity to discuss new features & changes with the players, long before a single line of code was written. He does not do this. His usual method is to implement a feature, throw it on Sisi for a month or so, ignore any negative feedback from players, and then push it on to Tranquility.

      Fozzie designs the game for the players; Greyscale designs for himself. Ultimately, this is the key difference between a successful game designer and a failed game designer.

    4. Actually he doesn't get the scope of the two types of changes.

      Fozzie may have swept all the proposed Freighter changes away and gone back to the drawing board, but nothing in the original plan, or the revised plan is little more than changing some values in a data-file. Everything is already programmed into the game, and will just work.

      Wheras the changes that Greyscale is talking about are actual code changes. They need a programmer to sit down and implement new code to make them work. That code has to be tested to make sure it does what it's supposed to do, edge cases need to be found - and potentially corrected for. Then after the code changes are made, they've potentially got to add attributes to a lot of items, or change attributes to a lot of items - or potentially like the ME/PE changes they need more code to go through and adjust the values for every item in the game (and that code would need to be tested etc etc in the same way)

    5. "Wheras the changes that Greyscale is talking about are actual code changes. They need a programmer to sit down and implement new code to make them work."

      But couldn't Greyscale have come forward with the ideas BEFORE all the code was written? Just because its too late now doesn't mean it was too late 5 months ago.

    6. Remember, Fozzie does things other than ships and modules. He was right in the middle of the moon-goo changes, for instance.

      I do agree that in general, Greyscale tackles tougher, more contentious assignments. He seems to be drawn to them.

    7. Jordan is correct.

      Irregardless if you are working on changes to code or changes to data, you always vet the changes with the client (in this case, players) BEFORE you actually start writing any code or tweaking the database.

      This is especially true for "tougher, more contentious assignments", where reversing poorlly-designed changes will ultimately prove far more costly.

      The fact is that Greyscale is the wrong person to be leading a major design team. He is better suited to be a number cruncher, working on minor tweaks to the database.

    8. I'm pretty disappointed that Greyscale has taken this stubborn stance. My corp mates told me that this would happen, but I was still holding out for Seagull to announce that they would be rethinking the industry changes.

      About 1/2 of my corp are casual players who are allowing their subs to run out, so I'll be joining them in July, since I don't have RL time to redo all of the effort I put into industry or move it to null.

      All for the better, I suppose - I won't need to take my gaming laptop with me on vacation this year to keep up with my stuff in EVE and my wife will have $100 more per month to spend on souvenirs. MMO addition isn't quite as bad as gambling, but.... :)

  2. Is there anything for "friends"? I mean if everyone but you in Rote Kapelle would invest into something that will have its price skyrocketing at Kronos, based a yet unannounced change, would you be in trouble?

    1. You are an idiot, Gevlon, if you really need to ask this question.

    2. Is there anything for friends...

      He doesn't need to ask it, but it doesn't hurt to make a statement as a rhetorical question that everyone already knows the answer is "yes."

    3. NO... Gev just asking this question doesn't make him an idiot... that's unfair and untrue... and calling him an idiot is rude to the other idiots.

    4. If there was even the smell of a hint of a CSM member tipping off their friends or allies as to certain changes coming down the pipeline, you'd hear about it from CCP as that CSM member was being shepherded out the door.

    5. "Is there anything for "friends"?"
      Yes there is. It is the NDA itself.
      As I do not know the content of the contract, I can only guess but corporate legal teams tend to err on the harsh side when it comes to breaking these things (at least in my experience).

  3. Jester, I am of the opinion that mynnna used advanced knowledge of the forth coming changes to steer the goons into a rental empire. Something completely adverse to their ethos. (if the goons could be said to have one). The idea that a spy would "suddenly" discover this information is a pantomime. For a group which prides themselves "the best economic minds" in Eve; but are unable to read a in-game map, count NPC kills vs population - to obtain a bear minimum gauge of space real-estate worth. One is left wondering where farce ends and fiasco begins. The individual can be certainly be altruistic, (and thus outside of CCP's realm of discovery of malfeasance) when the group so benefits.

    And no, I am not Dinsdale.

    1. And I'm of the opinion that your opinion is garbage.

      Your move, Anonymous Not-Dinsdale.

    2. C'mon, Dinsdale. That's a stretch even for you.

    3. The finance team had been arguing for renting for years. You're right that it didn't take a spy - it took the public admission of how much was lost when the N3 rental empire sov drop & theft happened to give us something very large and obvious to slap the doubters in the face with.

      @Jester: You're glossing over an obvious question in this article. Just how much did you lose (or gain) on your salvage investment? ;)

    4. Thank you for confirming that the spy story was just that, a story. It was a bit ludicrous that the CFC didn't know... I don't know if you can answer this mynnna, but why even bother with said story?

      Now this other question that follows you can ignore due to its tinfoil content, but for your amusement: was the entire point of the N3 sovdrop/theft to make public the amount of isk renting brought in? ;)

    5. I respect your opinion, but it's wrong. As much as it is possible, I believe the Goons were surprised by the moon changes that resulted in them having to become "rental slumlords." I wrote my opinion on this last August:


    6. First off, I don't bother posting anonymously. I don't hide behind the shield of anonymity. I have stated time and time again that mynnna et al have a vast network of friends and friends' alts that can buy and sell items quietly many weeks or months before the changes are released. Jester says that CCP tracks the CSM members and their alts. He never said that the weasel's or aryth's or any other member in the goon inner circle's alts are tracked by CCP. It is too large a job, and it become more and more clear every day that CCP is terrified of the repercussions if they announced that goons were indeed profiting with inside knowledge. That extends to the rest of the cartels as well.

      And I will say it again, for the umpteenth time. There is zero probability that the goons would develop so many sophisticated out of game tools, and put in so many man-hours managing the goon empire for no real life gain, especially since when trillions of ISK / month (maybe per week) flow through their hands. These guys are very smart, and could take that time to earn real money in other endeavours, and there is no way they sacrifice all that time and effort in the game, "Just for fun."

      Someone is supplying the RMT markets with ISK, and it is ludicrous to believe that the cartels, the ones with the largest supplies of ISK, are not heavily involved.

    7. @Dinsdale 6:40am - Agreed. The logic can't be denied. The problem is that the naysayers will demand 'proof', and without that proof somehow your arguments become nothing but conjecture.

      The reality is that no person or group of people (gamers) would go through all of this effort and real money investment into a 'game' unless they were profiting from said game.

    8. Where is it writ that you can not apply the same level of intellectual rigour to leisure pursuits as you would to your livelihood.
      "Professor" mynnna (the "Napoleon of [markets]) plays mind games because that is what makes EVE real.
      Dins ad nauseam repetition is starting to sound like Goon disinformation propaganda. Are you in bed together? Surely not.

    9. I'm going to have to go with 3/5 on the Dinsdale Bingo. No joy today, please play again.

    10. "without that proof somehow your arguments become nothing but conjecture"

      Funny how that works, isn't it? It's like magic~

  4. @Anonymous:
    It didn't take insider knowledge to know that CCP wanted to shake up and devalue moon goo. I've been hearing about 'CCP will have to change that sooner or later' since I learned enough about the game to be paying attention three years ago. Renting is a mechanic that is relatively immune to changes other than mobility -- the efforts of players in nullsec will always have some value, and conquering territory to extract a tax from that is a very safe investment. I would be very surprised if Goons didn't also stockpile their wealth in diverse commodity-based assets instead of stockpiling moon goo, for the same reason that if something happened to the goo they would still have something of value.

  5. nerfing jump freighter cargos by more than half? nerfing freighter cargos by 1/3? can someone explain to me how this is a good thing?

    For low slots?

    1. I can only think of a single time I filled my freighter to the top: I was moving a big load of tritanium. Anything else, I wouldn't dare fill a freighter.

      So yeah, having the ability to increase agility and/or warp speed will be quite handy for me.

    2. I'm an ice hauler, traditionally, and that high-as-ball volume low-value stuff is great in a huge freighter. And now, I can make the thign 25% or so bigger when I'm hauling blocks to a refinery, and refit it to be a buttload faster to take the melt to market, or buff it's EHP to Orca levels if the price of the ice products go up faster than the price of catalysts.

    3. My corp uses a freighter regularly to empty orca's work with mining fleets in hisec being able to do this in one trip (not having to dock each time) was the bonus....I guess we'll have to experiment.

    4. "I wouldn't dare fill a freighter." - Jester

      That is because you are not a full-time hauler, and you have not done the math. Flying with less than a maximum load is equally as stupid as flying with a hold value which makes you a target for gankers. You need to balance the value of the goods in your hold, and this means hauling a mix of items of varying bulk and value. So, if you have a few expensive items in the hold, you will fill up the extra space with trit or some other lower value bulk item.

      Flying a freighter is about economics, not PVP fits. This is what you PVPers don't understand.

  6. I thought the rigs thing was kinda cool because it respected the historical "no slots on freighters" thing. I'll admit this meant I did not closely examine the cost implications, which would have actually hit me pretty hard in the wallet, because I fly a jump freighter.

    But, if you thought people would suddenly start having a fleet of freighters that they take out at different times... that seems really implausible, unless you somehow know a lot more people who already have both a Minmatar freighter for the align time and a Gallente (EHP) or Caldari (even more cargo hold than Gallente) freighter already. In my part of the universe, our JF pilots have maybe the freighter they bought before they could fly a JF and that's it. That wasn't gonna change when you introduced rigs.

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  8. Jester,

    What you didn't address is the idea that as a CSM member, while you cannot take direct action to profit from a change before it is announced, you could potentially put the pieces in place to be in an advantageous position the moment the announcement is made. Waiting with your finger on the trigger, so to speak, while everyone else still has to load their guns. Is this sort of activity monitored at all, or is it even considered an abuse as long as the actual purchases/sales don't take place until a public announcement has been made?

    1. Still no response on this, and the silence speaks volumes.

    2. This is actually a very valid point, a blurred line that would be worth defining perfectly defined by your gun allegory. Jester probably followed closely the terms of his nda contract, and as he said, nothing forbids him to do so and he couldn't be blamed for a lack of rules.

      But seeing the way markets go mad after the slightest rumor, blog post or tweet, this is worth considering as it definitely brings an advantage to be earlier than early on this.

    3. God I wish I could edit my comments. ;)

    4. Well, I suppose since the blog is shutting down that we will never get an answer on this. That pretty much leaves us with speculation and reading between the lines. Seeing as this sort of activity has not been outright denied when the opportunity was given to do just that, I can only assume that it is standard operating procedure for CSM members.

  9. Hey Jester,

    I should have guessed that after 9 councils, our Icelandic community managers had taken measures to prevent abuse from the position elected players are in. I'm even quite impressed by the proficiency of the tools you mentioned.

    But no matter how efficient are these safeguards, I believe it's just impossible to cover and monitor the extent of players interests, relationships and influences. It's not even an option since excessive surveillance would raise privacy concerns
    A possible way to balance that fact would be to believe that voters would endorse representatives that they can trust, council members who will work for the good of the community before thinking of their own private matters.

    These civilization aspects take decades... centuries to reach maturity. I wouldn't expect much from a 11 years old chaotic and limited pseudo-democracy but it's good to see it's being considered. That could even be a topic of interest to throw at the csm members. Something to think about, something to work on. I'd love our representatives to be involved in these kind of societal topics. How big is gonna be my cargo or how fast am I going to be able to warp is a thing, but these background topics shouldn't be left behind as it makes Eve such a unique game.

    Oh, and for clarifying, I was just passing by and, interested as I am in virtual economies and their similarities with the real world, your words sparked my curiosity on how does CCP deal with this matter of insider trading. So, no sneaky allusion to Mynnna (with all due respect, I don't know much about him) or whoever currently involved in or exposed to this kind of activity. I was just curious!

    Thank you for your answers Jester.

    1. We've had modern democracies for more than a couple of centuries now, and each year, the corruption seems to get worse rather than better. I see no reason to expect anything different from the CSM.


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