I bring this up because the simple fact is that at this point, we know almost nothing about the state of the ISK faucet-sink relationship in EVE Online. The last QEN was based on data before incursions got started. It was based on data prior to the Sanctum/Haven nerf in April. It was published before the NC fell, before the DRF took over half of space, before the current CSM took their positions.
The last QEN is ancient history. At this point, we have no hard data on what's going on with ISK faucets and sinks in EVE, and it seems likely that that data is not going to be shared with us in the future. Other than occasional useless market profiles, Dr EyjoG and team may as well have been part of the lay-off for all the visible good they're doing EVE's players.
But, presumably, they're off somewhere doing something or other, because today, CCP Greyscale put out another devblog about null-sec anomalies. In it, he states that the Sanctum/Haven nerf in March/April was:
...a bigger nerf, to more people, than we had assumed they would be. We're not happy with the way they've turned out, so we're making some changes to address some of the problems.But we're not told what the "problems" were from CCP's perspective, either. We're only given a hint: they wanted to nerf null-sec anomalies "without driving substantial depopulation of large areas of space." Whoops.
Way back in March, I wrote a post called "Bargain basement" about this even before the full scope of this nerf became public. In it, I made two predictions:
- that null-sec as a whole would stagnate, driving day-to-day conflict out of worthless regions of null; and,
- that small sov-holding alliances were going to end up getting smashed or pushed aside by the larger players, or would see their members abandon them to join these larger players.
One thing is very clear, though: at the time a lot of us were predicting these things, Greyscale made fun of us and our supposedly poor "models of nullsec causality." Now that he's "not happy" and has come around to our way of thinking, I'm going to chalk this mistake up to the same CCP arrogance that brought us Fearless and :awesome: and hope it stays in the past where it belongs. But before I do, I have to get one message for Greyscale off my chest: "Phhbbbbbbbbt."
Thanks. I do feel better, actually. ;-)
Anyway, let's turn our attention to the change itself. Anyone who is familiar with null-sec anomalies is probably familiar with this "chart" that describes the ten levels of null-sec anomalies (from worst to best):
Burrow < Hideaway < Refuge < Den < Yard < Rally Point < Port < Hub < Haven < SanctumI don't claim to be a ratting expert. It was fairly rare that I would rat when I lived in Pure Blind, and I almost never ratted in Scalding Pass. Still, I did enough of it that I'm familiar with it. Let's look at Sanctums first. There are two types, the so-called "station Sanctum" and the so-called "ring Sanctum". Both are currently worth between 25 and 35 million ISK if you complete them on your own, something that's quite achievable in a solid L4 missioning ship or the equivalent. When I would rat, I would dual-box Sanctums with a Tengu and Nighthawk, each assigned a flight of five fighters from a safed-up carrier. Doing it this way, I could finish a ring Sanctum in nine or ten minutes. Station Sanctums took longer. Overall, if I really really pushed, I could make about 125 million ISK/hour solo if all I did were Sanctums (which was rare). There were also two types of Havens, worth 25 million per site. In actual practice, I'd end up mixing Sanctums with the one type of Haven I liked. I could pull in about 100-110 million ISK/hour doing this.
I didn't do this very often, because it was stressful... more stressful than PvP, at least for me. ;-)
If you couldn't do Sanctums or Havens, though, the bottom dropped out. The Hidden Hub, the best type of Hub site, was only worth about 9 million ISK. Basic Hubs were worth about 6, and Forlorn Hubs weren't worth doing at all. Rather than doing a Forlorn Hub, you'd do a Forsaken Rally Point, which was actually worth more than most Ports. In any case, if you were forced into these lower end sites, you could expect your ratting income to be cut by about two-thirds, if not more (since assigned fighters weren't as useful in these lower-end sites). In short, you could make more with most Empire means of PvE than you could with any null-sec anomaly that wasn't a Sanctum or Haven.
So, when Sanctums and Havens were nerfed out of existence in many parts of 0.0, ratting pretty much stopped. And then, of course, high-sec incursions came along and put any null-sec region that didn't have a Sanctum or a Haven out of the PvE business. Hell, even Goons seem to primarily use incursions for their PvE, and they own some of the most Sanctum/Haven-rich space there is.
And that's where we are today.
It's tempting to look at Greyscale's new blog and dismiss it as "Great. The rich are just going to get richer. Nice job there, Greyscale. I'll go out and invade Goonswarm or the DRF so I can have Sanctums and Havens again right now. NOT." Still, if you read it closely, there's some good news there, and it's kind of obscurely hidden in the second to last paragraph:
It's reasonably non-trivial to estimate true ISK/hour numbers for sites, given the wide range of setups that players use to tackle them. We can however look at some straightforward stats like the average ISK:EHP ratio. The best site currently on TQ, the better of the two Sanctum sites, has (in the Angel variant, for precision) an ISK:EHP ratio of 97. The top six Angel sites now all have an ISK:EHP ratio of 90 or better, and the next four are all above 70.What this seems to be saying is that Sanctums, Havens, and the first Forlorn and Hidden Hubs will now have similar values from the stand-point of opponent EHP versus reward. If that's the case, it seems to imply that if you take a pair of Tengus into Hidden Hub, you'll make similar ISK/hour that you would in a Haven. It also seems to imply that the remaining Hubs, the Ports, and the Rally Points, will provide about 75% of that pay-out or a bit more. If that's the case, then that's encouraging. The anomalies in the area I'm living now are total and utter crap, but after the 29th, I'll make some time to undock and try out the new ones. And who knows, with improved Sanctums and Havens, maybe Goonswarm will do the same up in Dek and leave some low-sec incursions for other people. ;-)
For now, though, I stick to my position that incursions are the only PvE in EVE that is working properly. I would somewhat reduce the frequency of high-sec incursions and increase the frequency of low-sec ones, but that's something I should expand upon in another blog post.