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...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mine all mine

Here's something a tiny bit annoying.

On March 15, FluffyDice noticed that the BPOs he had for two now-defunct items, an Anaconda Mine and a Python Mine, had gone missing.  Mines were an item that existed in the game at one time and did pretty much exactly what it sounds like they did.  ;-)  But since they were both area of effect weapons and triggered by proximity, they caused a huge amount of lag, particularly in the quantities that I'm sure you can imagine that EVE players used them in.  So CCP decided to remove them from the game as an early lag-fighting effort.

The mines were decoupled from the means of launching them, but the mines themselves were left in the game, as were the BPOs.  And in the time since, these have become collector's items.  I had a goodly number of Python mines myself, stored away for amusement value.  They (along with a single Interbus Shuttle) are probably my only real EVE collector's items.

I say "had" because they've been missing since the March patch as well.  Over a thousand items were removed from the game during this patch, most of them test items of one sort or another.  The same day, CCP Greyscale (there's that name again) owned up to the deletion:
Yes, this happened because of a thing that I did. We're looking at our options right now, but there are some other things I have to sort out first today. We'll get back to you!
And he eventually said that the mines and their BPOs, along with a few other items (including the Mimir Blueprint!), had been unintentionally deleted and these items would be restored and returned to their owners.  The full list of items that will be returned to the game:
  • Anaconda Mine
  • Anaconda Mine Blueprint
  • Asp Mine
  • Asp Mine Blueprint
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Cobra Mine
  • Cobra Mine Blueprint
  • Hellhound I
  • Mimir Blueprint
  • Mining Drone - Elite
  • Mining Drone - Improved (with fixed name)
  • Python Mine
  • Python Mine Blueprint
So that's something, then.  There's only one problem.  Well, only a few problems.

One is a guy named Entity.  For those of you who haven't heard his name, he's trying to collect one of every single item in EVE Online.  And this also affected a few other EVE players that had samples of some of the deleted items that aren't being returned to the game.  And who paid billions of ISK for those items, many of them one-of-a-kind.  Apparently, there's a whole sub-culture of EVE players that collect this stuff.  Entity's only one of them.

Needless to say of course, Entity isn't happy.  And Greyscale added fuel to the fire by subtly implying that one of Entity's items had made it into the game "illicitly".  I'm sure he didn't mean that Entity did something untoward to obtain the item, but that's how Entity seems to have taken it and he's been rabbling about the issue since.  The fact that this problem will be six weeks getting solved and will still result in several one-of-a-kind items disappearing forever from Entity's collection doesn't help.

Another EVE player expressed some very casual rage over the issue...
I think I'm starting to fall in love with Greyscale. He really is working his hardest to represent CCP's desire to disconnect from their community as much as possible and destroy their existing playerbase.

Whether you feel the affected items should be in the game or not, there's no question that players associated an ISK value and an emotional value to them.  Entity's last post about one of his missing items -- a capital-only implant -- was two weeks ago and he hasn't mentioned it since.  So it'll be interesting to see if it comes up again after the Escalation release.


  1. Feel free to delete all T2 BPOs Greyscale.

  2. I don't think that emotional value or even ISK spent explains why should a defunct item exist in the game. If we go down this road we can say: the old, fleet-destroying doomsday of titans had huge emotional value to titan owners. They also spent hundred-billion ISK for a ship which is now just a glorified jump gate. GIVE IT BACK!!!! [insert picture of 1-year old giving a full-blown fit].

    1. http://www.lolroflmao.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/motherfucking-game.png

      Yeah sure, these are mere pixels on a screen and an arbitrary row in a database.

      But in a way this is loosely tied to achievements. Before achievements became a game mechanic and developers started putting them in their games players have always set their own goals. Goals that don't even have to benefit the player, things like making a house out of pillows in morrowind, or visiting every place in a game even if it isn't needed, or collecting a million gold in a game where it is pointless to do so.

      Being a collector is simply a branched form of that. Collecting comes natural to humans, just think of the stamp collectors, tradable card game collectors, collectors of tiny giraffe statues, etc..

      It would be foolish to think this wouldn't carry over into the virtual. Especially in a game like eve in which players are free to do what they want.

      These pixels, these values in a data row, these represent achievements for the collectors that own them. Those are very real albeit not physical in nature, nor purely the random data in the database.

      If one could just modify the database and give themselves these items they wouldn't hold the same achievement value. It's the collecting, the effort and the rarity that makes it an achievement, and this goes beyond mere pixels or database values

      CCP should imho wake up, acknowledge that this is valuable, that this is content in their game, and facilitate that this can continue to happen without "mistakes".

    2. Krixtal IcefluxorApril 18, 2012 at 4:09 AM

      I take it you own nothing even resembling a Spock Plate. ;)

    3. Oh lord, are you really serious here? Unless you think that Entity is going to somehow be taking over Delve with an army of almighty mining drones and mines that can't be launched, give the whole "but poor titan" pilots thing a rest. Pretty much ANY change leads to Titan tears.

    4. Nice Imagery, I like it..... I'm unsure if this is a troll or not, but I will bite for sake of argument :)

      Look at it this way, you get into game tomorrow, and that titan isn't there... Bet you want it back now huh.

      Defunct Items, sure no need for them to be in game, but if you spent ISK on it, you may want to keep it even if it does nothing.

      What you are intimating is the function that's important (ie the doomsday), not so, for many it's the item itself (ie the titan) that has intrinsic and/or sentimental value.

      So yes, your titan might not destroy half a battlefield with an AOE weapon any longer, it might be useless paperweight destined to do nothing... It still cost you 70B ISK, took you years to get and achieve, it's one thing for it to no longer kill stuff, it's entirely another to have it removed from game entirely.

      With no compensation or warning I might add, as well as nonchalantly glazing over it's removal like it was an unintended bonus.

      An entity, whether a business or a person is measured as the sum of it's assets vs the sum of its liability.

      Assets are measured at the market rate (ie what someone will pay for it) this is also called net realisable value, if it grows you get a capital gain or an impairment if it depresses.

      Ok, so it is not a liquid change, but they are effectively changing the total value of the Eve economy and adjusting it's Gross domestic product, not something I expected to be taken so lightly if I'm honest.

      In economic terms Greyscale's change eroded the Market economy, sure it may have only been a fraction of 1%, but by manually effecting the economic throughput, taking value out of the market unnaturally so to speak,well fundamentally that's exactly the effect RMT has.

      I wonder if they considered that?

    5. Gevlon,
      you have it wrong. Doomsdays on titans were changed, not removed. The people upset about this are not throwing a tantrum. They are upset that items they have been collecting for years (myself included, full disclosure, I had two mine BPO's and mines) were removed from the game and we were told that we had gotten some of the items illegally. The items mostly have no use in game and just are trinkets that have an isk and sentimental value to the players. If I do not get my stuff back I want compensation, fair and square.

    6. Your inability to understand subjective value is the most laughable aspect of your entire project. You are a trader who doesn't understand that you make your profits by supplying people what they want. You don't seem to get that people are allowed to like different things than you, people are allowed to want different things than you. If you had even taken the time to read Entity's post, you would have seen the following line:
      "I'm firmly believe items should be left alone unless they break the balance of the game. A bunch of drones, implants and other crap that has no measurable effect on the game? Why delete it if they give people joy?"

      Joy is precisely the point. People have set themselves a harmless goal that they are pursuing with passion and joy. Random destruction of cherished possessions is a dick move, end of story. Failing to restore items after how many weeks is simple incompetency. If the logs show nothing, then the logs are an ass.

    7. Gevlon: For collectors, a complete collection is the goal.

      They would be entirely happy if the item no longer functioned offensively in the game, as long as they could still trot it out to show.

      There are a lot of folks with grandfathered caps in highsec who are more than willing to not use them offensively and just showboat them.

  3. Yet again, it is important to remind everyone that players do not *own* anything in the game. Read the EULA. It all belongs to CCP.

    And if CCP ever decides to shutdown EVE, or goes out of business, then all of those items go bye bye.

    So, word to Entity: Don't get emotionally attached, eh?

    1. That is legal bullshit. CCP wants players to be emotionally invested in their game so that they invest themselves in creating content and paying subscriptions and buying PLEX. All the EULA says is that they can fuck you without consequence, it doesn't mean they aren't still fucking you.

    2. Yes, CCP has the legal right to do this. But is it the smart thing to do?

      I don't think so.

    3. Is it smart for players to get emotionally invested in digital data?

      I don't think so, either.

    4. If they didn't invest some emotions in game play, then what is the point of playing?

  4. Krixtal IcefluxorApril 18, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    This is the equivalent of having a signed Andy Warhol lithograph on your wall disintegrate into dust at random.

    BAD BUSINESS practices are BAD BUSINESS.

  5. "I'm going to fix up the name on the Improved drone and put that on the to-replace list too. I've not heard a good argument for anything else beyond those drones and the other mentioned types, though. The capital hardwiring, for example was the *only* implant of that entire set existing on TQ, and I find it hard to believe that exactly one implant found its way into the game through wholly legitimate means. Further, in this particular case, we've deleted *all* the capital hardwirings because we didn't have any intention of releasing them any time soon. Leaving one of these things in the DB because some player has acquired one illicitly means that this exact kind of problem, where we have things in the DB that appear to be in game but which nobody can remember *why* they're ingame, is more likely to happen in future. This is exactly the kind of ongoing problem that we were trying to prevent in the first place with this cleanup."

    Yeah, greyscale certainly seems to be doing his best to try and get people to leave in this thread...

    1. I was within a hair's breadth of flagging this post of his on the forum, and petitioning it (yeah, for all the good it would do).

      Professionally speaking this particular comment of Greyscale's was absolutely reprehensible, to make such wholly unfounded allegations of illicit, illegitimate activity in such a cavalier manner and without reasonable support. Honestly, it _should_ be grounds for an official reprimand to be placed on the man's permanent record; and at the absolute least, it demands a public apology to the person he leveled it at.

  6. I think I have to side with the collectors on this one. There's no real reason why CCP would have had to remove the items from the game, irrespective of their desire to "tidy up". Its not as if CCP doesn't know collectors have been slaving away collecting these things, and its an harmless pursuit. Every MMO has its collectors, and for developers to go out of their way to antagonize them is senseless in my opinion.

  7. Most "bittervet HTFU" players = played for 3+ years generally, and are l337 PvPers, virtually none are carebears.

    Gevlon = played for what? 3 months so far? and pretty much only does bear shit... but beats the "HTFU" drum harder than a lot of the bittervets I've seen.
    Just an interesting observation.

    Ready for another of my immodest proposals?
    Since the server tech has been quite nicely upgraded, we have TiDi now, etc... lag shouldn't be such an issue. Bring the mines back. ;-)
    Or would that cause too much of that "[re?]emergent gameplay" that Greyscale dislikes so much?

  8. I don't see why this is a debate. I think it's pretty obvious that removing defunct (<--- notice this please) items that have no value except for collectors can only be a bad thing.

    This is one of those cases where something wasn't broken, and then they "fixed" it. The curse of software designers everywhere. Or rather everyone else.

    Any rate. Simple logic:
    Leaving items in: possible database creep*
    Taking items out: Some players lose arb items they collected.

    By taking out those items, eve's history is lessened. There is a story behind these items and its something someone somewhere will write about, or talk about on TS, maybe a few lulz will be had. This makes eve more than just shooting other dudes. This is key to EVE's success and one of the things that puts EVE ahead of other MMOs that will inevitably go for the whole "single shard sandbox" schtick (because this will happen as technology develops).

    * Database creep? Of a 1000 odd items out of how many? Are you kidding me? WTF? I doubt it was worth the dev-time to CCP.

  9. Dig under the covers, and I suspect Greyscale removed the items because they clashed with his sense of EVE's "reality". And I use the word "clashed" in the fashion sense. He seems to think that such things shouldn't be in player hands because they were never intended to be in player hands.

    Which is of course why the players that have these items like them, and is probably the core of the whole issue. It's like having an early pair of Gordon Freeman's glasses, only they're hot pink or wireframe because they hadn't decided on the character's "look" yet. To a player, it's an item of MASSIVE value. To the devs, it's an embarrassment.

    1. This is a fairly common mistake, where someone oversteps their areas of expertise.

      Greyscale is clearly a software dude, and clearly not a game designer. He should not be authorised to make the sorts of decisions that he makes.

      It's like getting construction workers to design a building. It is a recipe for disaster.

  10. I had forgotten that mines existed at one time. OT, but could they be a possible answer to the question of mining op defense, perhaps with a specialized minesweeper destroyer hull?

  11. Was it too hard to make a database count on each item type before removing it?

  12. Yeah, Greyscale shows once again that he just doesn't "get it." I think I might run for CSM next year on the sole platform of "Seriously, why has Greyscale not been fired yet?"

  13. It's not that hard for a dev to change an item so it cant do anything while staying a collector... Removing them totally is unneeded...

  14. The mistake was admitted to, and near as can tell will be fixed. So am not sure why it is still such a big deal. We all make mistakes, and Greyscale is doing his best to rectify the error. I've disagreed with the man numerous times, most especially on both the sanctum nerf and the drone alloy removal, but I would never argue that he is not trying to do what is best for the game. And he does listen to players; some folk seem to forget that listening and agreeing are not the same thing.

    That said, the EVE database has tens of thousands of item types, and probably upwards of a billion of unique item IDs. Not sure why keeping a handful of defunct items in the game was seen as such a big deal by the developers. Database bloat may not be aesthetically pleasing, but in this day and age, having a few additional entries should not cause any database lag.

    As far as I am concerned, once an item is obtained by players it should remain in the game, regardless of whether it was put into the game intentionally or by mistake. The an item should be taken away from a player only if (1) it irreparably breaks game balance or (2) it was acquired through an exploit. And in the case of (1), the players should probably be somehow compensated. See the "Cockroach" kill for how such instances should be handled.

    That does not mean an item should never be modified. I am not sure why Gevlon even brings the subject up. No sane person has suggested that item stats should be immutable.

  15. cleaning the database from "old and unused" items seems a fine idea from a technical standpoint, however EvE history is filled with items introduced in the game, that were one of a kind (Fed Issue Mega, Corvus, etc) only to be left there and never revisited....but still part of eve history.

    Now to be the devil's advocate, i would like the database to be trimmed, eliminate all "basic" and civilian modules no uset on the tutorials, and periodically cycle among the unique-type one of a kind ship/modules as prizes for the Alliance tournaments....

    It makes no sense to have items in the loot tables, that weren't supposed to be there in the first place, and were a data or programming mistake from CCP (which of course they wish to correct)...

  16. greyscale is the worst

  17. Sounds like Greyscale suffers a bit from OCD. Everything has to be exactly perfect or it gets changed/removed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44DCWslbsNM

  18. I haven't play EVE in years, I wonder whether my unique collection of Concord ship which I payed half trillion ISK for are still their... Fuck, I doubt it... Err... Oh well, it's just a game anyway.

  19. as many times as I've disagreed with Greyscale's actions, this time, I have to give him respect for admitting to the mistake and taking steps to put it right.

    not a lot of content or depth to this post, but a 'good job' to him. maybe not for screwing up, but for not passing the buck and blaming anyone else. (which would have been way easier)

    1. the 'not a lot of content or depth' comment was meant about my post, not yours, Jester. I find your blog a useful and pretty accurate source of info. (and much entertainment)

  20. Gevlons been beating the HTFU Drum in WOW for years before he started playing Eve.

  21. Still waiting for my Python Mine BPO to be returned...


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