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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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blood for oil

Before I start this one, I want it understood that I haven't had any access to any NDA material yet.  So don't read anything about EVE's current or future direction into what I say in this post because I'm not operating with any sort of inside information.  This is just my opinion.  And even if I knew what was going to happen, I'm still entitled to my opinion about it... right?

So let's talk a bit about ice mining.

For quite a while now, there's been a persistent rumor that CCP Soundwave has wanted to move all ice mining out of high-sec.  Now, there was a certain amount of factual basis in this rumor; he's mentioned it in passing from time to time in public arenas such as video and audio interviews.  In one video I saw, he stated that he wanted ice to "be the oil of New Eden"... something that was in and of itself a conflict driver.  But he also made it clear enough that this wasn't his decision... just something that he felt would be a good balance point for the game.  And there was a second persistent rumor associated with this: that Soundwave had brought this proposal before EVE's game designers including CCP Unifex... and he'd been shot down.  Unifex, went this rumor, didn't want to break the cycle of ice-mining in high-sec, he just wanted it to be less bottable.

In the days leading up to Fanfest, the rumor took on a third aspect -- almost certainly started and fueled by the Goons -- that Soundwave had gotten his wish and that one of the announcements that would be made at Fanfest was that ice mining would be banned from high-sec forever more!  Now of course we now know this isn't the case.  But the rumor was believable and viable enough that leading up to Fanfest, ice product prices took a big spike upward to 750 ISK per unit for most of the isotopes.  This lasted for a little less than a single day before the strategic reserves of a lot of Jita alts came out to dump some supply and steady the prices back down to normal.  And by the time Fanfest started, ice prices had settled down to their pre-rumor levels of about 450 ISK per unit.

At this point, of course, we know what happened at Fanfest.  Ice will continue to be available in high-sec, low-sec, and null-sec, but will be contained in anomalies instead of static positions.  These anomalies will contain a finite (rather than near-infinite) amount of ice.  In particular, CCP Fozzie specifies that were all available high-sec ice collected on a daily basis, it would provide about 80% of the current needs of the game, therefore "at least some of the ice mining must be undertaken in lower security space."

But that assumes that the amount of ice in use in the game stays constant.  Anyone want to take bets on how likely that is?  Lots of players have contacted me to let me know that they will be un-anchoring long-held towers.  Ice harvesters will cycle twice as fast in the new system, but that does nothing for the overall supply, which will be falling.  With supply falling, the market reacted predictably: most isotopes are currently in the 600 to 700 ISK per unit range, about a 50% increase over pre-Fanfest prices.  Mining Dark Glitter in low-sec might turn out to be the most lucrative type of mining there is.  At today's prices, it's an activity that will be worth more than 60M ISK/hour once Odyssey drops.

So, Soundwave got part of his wish, not all of it.  Sooner or later, presumably at least some null- and low-sec ice mining will have to take place.

I keep flashing back to the first Goonswarm Gallente ice interdiction that drove the prices of Oxygen isotopes past 1000 ISK per unit.  At the time -- that interdiction was almost two years ago now -- I was living in high-sec and spending most of my time running incursions while I decided what I wanted to do next in EVE.  Funnily enough, when the interdiction started, I had to explain what it meant to a lot of incursion bears.  They had, you see, almost no idea what isotopes were or what they were used for.  As I wrote at the time, one of them finally pointed out...
"So, it's a bunch of null-sec guys scamming a bunch of other null-sec guys for something only null-sec guys need."
And yeah, that's essentially what the interdiction was.  There aren't a lot of Gallente towers in high-sec, after all.

And that's been the context that I've been thinking about this change in.

I might annoy some players by saying this, but I'm coming increasingly to the opinion... that Soundwave might have a point.  Why not move ice mining to low- and null-sec?  Yes, it would double or maybe even triple the price of isotopes.  But unless I miss my guess, this is one of the few cases where the bulk of that expense would fall firmly on those most able to afford it.  High-sec players don't need a lot of isotopes.  Yes, it would drive up the cost of T2 manufacturing right across New Eden, but as I've covered before, high-sec players don't use a lot of the output of T2 manufacturing.  While high-sec players buy the occasional T2 ship or module, they don't lose very many of them.  It's mostly null-sec players actually consuming T2 ships and modules so the increase in prices would mostly fall on them.

The rest of the is going into fueling towers and capital ships of the largest alliances in New Eden.  The small alliances don't need a lot of towers, and don't need to move thousands of capital ships.  And if the cost of ice doubled or tripled, suddenly low- and null-sec ice mining wouldn't be worth 60M ISK/hour... it'd be worth double that.  You'd see a lot more mining ops of various sizes going after the goods.  It would certainly change the dynamics of the industry!

EDIT (8/May/2013): Derp, referred to a Venture mining ice when I was looking at a Skiff on the market at the time...

On that scale, the Odyssey change to ice mining is very small beer indeed.  Strategic reserves will draw down as people keep critical towers fueled, and then prices will edge up a bit more, perhaps to the 750 ISK per unit price we saw on one day before Fanfest.  After that, it will come down to demand.  If demand remains steady, this change will impact players, sure, but it's a pretty small scale impact in the grand scheme of things.  But will demand remain steady?  Will a lot of the towers that are up today stay up?  Will the current almost casual movement of hundreds of caps and super-caps around the game continue?  The big question -- and it's going to be one I ask come the winter summit at the end of the year -- will be "How much did this change affect the number of isotopes actually consumed?"

And the really big question: once POSes do get rebuilt, if POSes are eventually going to be something that "everyone wants", how will the increased cost of keeping them fueled change that?  Making those POSes more expensive to operate could put a damper on that feature before CCP even gets around to writing it...

All in all, interesting times ahead!


  1. Isotope needs might even increase due to changes in T2 production chains and moon goo distribution:
    [...] we will be seeding R64s into 227 existing moons in lowsec and 0.0 [...] from http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/resource-companion-blog/

  2. Minor correction: I don't think a Venture can ice mine, at all.

    1. the ventures' cargo hold is 50 m^3 therefore you'd have to break up the slabs into 1/20th sized ice cubes & CCP Fozzie has said in forums this is what is preventing it from working for a couple reasons

    2. but its ore hold is 5000m³ or 5 blocks.

      Do you have a link to that comment Darth?

    3. retriever and mackinaw have 450 m^3 cargo holds which also isn't large enough to hold a full ice cube, and yet the ice belts are infested with retrievers and mackinaws happily mining ice (where happily = afk); so this theory does not make sense. Do you have a link to Fozzie stating that cargo hold size has anything to do with ice harvesters not being enabled on ventures, or is this just baseless rumor?

    4. Cargo and/or ore hold sizes have nothing to do with it.

      Ice harvesters can only be fit on mining barges and exhumers. This was a deliberate design choice by CCP.

  3. As far as I'm aware, you cannot mine ice in a Venture sir. If we could however, well, that would be an almost viable way to make ISK once Odyssey arrives. As a lowsec resident myself this would be great way to supplement my income relatively cheaply...

  4. There is one crucial thing that wasn't mentioned, neither in this article, nor in CCP communication: the racial distribution of ices. The price of the four racial isotopes isn't in line, due to the different consumption. Most capitals are armor tanked, using Gallente and Amarr fuel. Highsec towers are mostly Caldari for research.

    It is possible that Gallente isotopes will cost 2-3x more than Minmatar for example.

    1. With the changes to the Naglfar, shouldn't that bring prices more in line?

  5. You forget the problem we have in wormholes to get that ice products. If it would be moved only to low and null we would become pets of another cartel.

  6. honestly I don't understand the guys putting down their pos because future might get tight on isotopes.
    The impact of this Ice changes is yet to be seen and if ice mining in 0.0 is maid well you will have some isotopes coming from there too. If you want this nice dark litter belt despawn you have to kill the prestine white ice. Not as much value as DL but once miners are on it they will take it.

    My main concern is about the distribution of the racial types of isotopes. If they are only available on a regional basis you would have to have access to 4 different regions of space (or everything is still moved to jita and bought in jita). Controlling 4 regions is unlikely so we still would have big coalition NAPs and a powerbloc 0.0.
    Instead of regions it could be brought down to constellation. The entities in this region might fight over access to this or that kind of racial isotope.

    But this only works if you really have to fight over it. In current state (and especially after the change) it is much easier to simply perma camp your enemies ice systems to prevent them from becoming self-sufficient.

  7. There are many MANY others who use & need POSes besides those huge null sec alliances, & although in the grand scheme of things those WH/high sec Corps are just nickel & dime operations, these changes are impacting them/us greatly. & it's not as easy for us to just laugh/shrug off the added costs by dipping into our nigh-endless reserves.

    Seems as though both you & CCP completely forgot about the Little Guys, we DO matter, you know. More than slightly disappointed at the oversight.

  8. Something you should keep in mind, Jester, is that the high sec industrialists have massive stockpiles of fuel for their towers, stored in NPC stations.

    Before the ice interdiction, stockpiles were usually sufficient to last 1-6 months.

    After the interdiction, most industrialists increased their stockpiles dramatically, in anticipation of another interdiction. Many of the stockpiles are now sufficient to last for 2-5+ years. One industrialist I know has 10 years of fuel for his high sec towers.

    The 80% of ice remaining in high sec should be more than sufficient to keep these stockpiles topped off for years, even if it isn't all mined.

    So, thanks to the Goons, most of high sec POSes should not be seriously impacted by the change to ice - at least, not for several years (by which time CCP will probably have decided to change it all around again).

    Which is probably why there hasn't been all that much ranting and raving on the forums from the majority of the high sec POS owners.

  9. How about upping the cost of isotopes cratering the need for POS's, making CCP happy about not having to redo content that it has no desire to redo? With Alliance stations getting upgrades, I think a little tinfoil hattery is needed.

    When dealing with software people, I always assume they will do what is easiest for them while being most inconvenient for the end user.

  10. The economy is more complicated than that.

    Fuel blocks contain both ice products and PI products, and POS are made form PI products.

    So reducing POS usage means what you'd be looking at is a reduction in demand for PI - which probably would affect a lot of high-sec dwellers.

    1. That's actually an interesting point - a reduction in demand for PI (a noticeable component of WH corps' income) at the same time that POS goes up in price (an unavoidable expense for those who live in WHs) has the potential to make a significant dent in wormholers steady incomes. This will make bad months much less comfortable, and good months a bit less profitable.

  11. Increasing the price of POS fuel will drive a lot of people out of wormholes. We live in them over here, and we don't even have access to ice. So if it cost over a billion to fuel a single pos, you can believe wormhole will be empty except for the most organised.

  12. Jester:

    When you get under the NDA ask CCP how many Gallente Towers are in Hisec.

    You might get a shock. I know one that I harvest ice for in hisec on a weekly basis to maintain out corps fuel stockpile. Being a hisec indy carebear if one is to get a head being able to run me/pe against a BPO is a requirement and frankly a hisec POS is needed to do that (and don't start waving the risk vs reward flag here).

    The effort involved for a large corp to setup a POS in hisec is incredible and not to be discounted.

    Your suggestion is quite short sighted (as was Soundwave's) and is the sort of statement that I have come to expect from real world 2 faced political hacks right after the election....thanks for making EVE real.

  13. There's an unintended consequence of moving all ice to dangerous space.

    Some areas are really safe. Branch for instance - too far to roam to, good intel, blue for 3 regions in any direction. Malpais - PL renters, no one wants to wake up the angry dragon.

    Some areas are constantly roamed or camped. And this is particularly true for new entrants to null sec.

    Is it intended that this change should excerbate the incentives to blue doughnut all of null?

  14. Until the decision not to revisit the legacy code on POSes is reversed and corporation roles are modified as well it's a pretty safe bet that "everyone wants" one will never happen.

  15. According to your logic if you want to be fair, ice anomalies should also spawn in w-space. A tripling of isotope costs would hit WH POSes disproportionately hard.

    I am surprised that you would support the removal of ice from highsec. I don't think it's necessarily good for the game to allow nullsec to wall itself off from the rest of the universe. Don't you think overall that it is better to ENCOURAGE the interaction of everyone with everyone else as much as possible? Many of these latest moves are doing just the opposite.

  16. Wow. Drinking the Kool-aid already.

    That was quick.

  17. Well... there ya go. SO POSes are a Nullsec ONLY issue Ripard? Uh... have you forgotten that those of us that live in holes already huh? And WE have no Outposts or Stations we can run to after we offline the towers we might have to take down...

    And yea, we do make pretty good ISK in holes, bur that ISK is not the same as null ISK and it has to go alot farther than null ISK. If ALL ice is moved to null, Anoikis will be dependant ON null... and that, IMHO, is unacceptable.

    1. Wow. Did you and Mord read the article? Yes people in all types of Space require POSes, those in WH are most dependent on them sure but even if you are one of the larger WH entities in a big WH the number of POSes you can have is quite limited the issue for WH is much less the price of the fuel and much more the logistics of even getting it into the WH.
      For the big Nullsec entities the very mechanics that make them so powerfull depend on POSes; power projection: to make a Titan you need a POS, to keep a Titan safe you need a POS, for a Jumpbridge you need a POS and do not forget that the very action of projecting power also uses ice products. If those get more expensive projecting power becomes more expensive.

      On the income side, where do the big Nullsec coalitions get their money? Moon mining, and apart from the fact that this is recieving quite a nerf you need POSes to do that the higher the fuelprice the lower the income from moons.

      Sure everybody will feel the increase, I have a reasearchPOS myself and am not too happy about the prices but the basic premise that an increase in prices for ice products will hurt the biggest consumers of those most is probably right.

      That said I read and enjoy both your blogs ;)

  18. I wonder if this code for ice supply is going to be - highsec_ice = 0.8; or highsec_ice = 0.8 - current_inflation_adjustment; i.e because now this isnt fixed the supply will adjust just like kill mail drops.

  19. The removal of ice from High sec will not necessarily move more traffic into low and nullsec. It will however mean that fewer POS are built by carebears in High Sec. This in turns may mean that fewer players gain experience with POS operations and - like your incursion runners - will assert that POSes are something for nullsec players only.

    Also, I know, we don't count in CCP's number game but but us Wormholers are 100% dependent on ice product imports from "somewhere". I am not advocating ice belts in WH space but if you make the logistics of fueling WH POS even more painful, fewer players want to set up in WH space. Sure, the big and established corps will still maintain their presence but newer corps with less ISK and logistics will suffer.

    If ice (and not Tech) is the new "oil" then lets invent "shale gas", i.e. a way to generate ice products from resources available in empire. Sure, its more expensive but it would set a ceiling to the price. Why not make a special refining process to Veldspar that results in a tiny little bit of ice products (or something like that).

    Bottom line, the upcoming implementation with its exhaustable ice belts is a pretty good middle ground for now. Splatus

  20. Venture frigates cannot mine ice, only barges and exhumers, which makes ice mining in low-sec a suicidal activity.

    I would prefer if high-sec had 40% of the overall supply, spread ALL over eve within anomalies (not just some systems)...and then low-sec and null-sec had the rest.

    Also, the mining tools per se, need to be adjusted and balanced, we have mining lasers as turrets, and strip miners lasers.....the latter almost invalidates the first.

  21. First off,just a conspiracy theory, maybe CCP is purposefully making POS more expensive so that players are not as interested in them. CCP can then drop improving POS as a feature and work on other features.

    I spend 7 hours mining ice a week for a POS depending on orca support. With these changes I am worried that when my 2 hour window of play time comes around there will be no ice available to mine. I will wait to see how it goes and adjust my gameplay as needed.

    My idea would be to move ice mining to PI. Ice planets you would be able to extract as a raw material. On Temperate and Ocean planets it would require a new building to convert water into ice.

    In hi-sec with the limited PI materials and taxes you would be able to make just enough ice to fuel a small tower for a month. Now in Low-sec you could make enough ice to fuel a medium tower for a month and null sec would be able fuel a large tower for a month.

    Now, I would tie in Dust 514 into the equation somehow for low sec and null sec. Such as allow Dust 514 missions to blow up POCOs. If you want a POCO on the planet you better have a Dust 514 corp to defend it.

    1. "First off,just a conspiracy theory, maybe CCP is purposefully making POS more expensive so that players are not as interested in them. CCP can then drop improving POS as a feature and work on other features. "

      lol Machvelli would be proud of that one :)
      Although CCP did say they didn't expect peeps to be moving into a hole anywhere near to the numbers that have.

  22. Hey Jester, I hope you realize you just said something similar to what created 2step POS threadnaught? That POS are for a few people only. What is funny, is that I'm pretty sure most of these guys doing industry on high or elsewhere, outside of powerblocs, voted for you.

    Raising cost of POS for some high profit things is okay, but there MUST have a way to use a POS for cheap, or else only a minority will use these, and it's not a good thing.
    Tinfoil hat mode ON : CCP raise fuel cost so that way less people use POS, new players don't try as it's to costy. Those forced to use them have no choice but to accept the price, plus the littlethings of Odyssey. Result : POS revamp can be delayed way more as you killed a good chunk of those interested in it.

    1. ^This. I voted for Ripard, thinking he gave half a damn about the issues confronting the currently oft much-maligned high sec carebear. My mistake, I should have known that all politicians, virtual or otherwise, just say whatever they have to to get elected. Well done.

  23. Wormhole dwellers say hi.

    As far as I know, we haven't run all the numbers to see how this shakes out for us, but my major concern is not so much price as availability. It's much harder for us to stockpile resources than it is for people in other parts of space, because we have no reliable access to stations.

    We'll have to see how this shakes out, because there are a lot of variables in play, but it looks like it'll make our logistics even more interesting.

  24. You are correct that when price rises, some of the market adaptation will be a reduction on the demand side. The question here is how much. It seems reasonable to think that there are many towers in the game that, economically speaking, are either money-losers or not making much. However, I strongly doubt that 20% of towers are in this category.

    Meanwhile, on the supply side, it will be very interesting to see how much ice highsec actually manages to mine. Even getting the 80% of current levels that will supposedly be there is going to require significantly stepped up mining activity. Currently ice miners do not have to be spread around the map. They don't have to move systems or move around an ice belt. They certainly do not need to coordinate with others to know the gold-rush time of remote ice fields.

    As for who would be affected by high prices for ice: it would be pretty much all materials except for basic T1 manufactures. And even those, to a degree. There may not be a lot of Gallente towers in highsec. But there are a lot of Caldari towers there. These towers are, among many other things, doing research on T1 blueprints.

    All that said, I do think moving ice out of highsec entirely is a reasonable idea. On the other hand, even the 80% amount is going to occasion a lot of whining. And I think that some interesting meta game will come of it.

    Consider the situation of the New Order. Currently, if you do not pay your mining permit, and you mine AFK in a skiff, it's not that big of a deal. The NO can theoretically ogg you, but ganking skiffs is hard, and there are usually softer targets around. The NO can bump you out of the field, but this just costs you a relatively small amount.

    After Odyssey, when each ice anom lasts roughly 50 minutes, getting ganked or bumped out of a field is a big deal. The gold rush is on and you're not mining! So CCP may well have created an interesting highsec conflict driver. Imagine a corp hiring gankers to remove their competition from "their" ice system.

  25. I am not a market guy or really great at math so I'll skip the price and demand speculation stuff.

    As for POSes, I've always thought that there fuel use should be much more tied to the modules that they use. A large deathstar or dickstar should use 2-5 times the amount of fuel now. But a tower that is basically a undefended home in the void. Just hangers and storage, does that need to use fuel at all? Should there be different size fuel blocks to put more granularity in the system? If they do a full module POS revamp, I would be really interested in a lot more options for fuel use based on what the POS is doing. Could it be the manufaturing POS only uses more fuel when the factories are actually running?

    Could you have an outside the sheilds, solar panel that powers passive modules and the normal not reinforced shields?

    1. Nononononono! That's how it was before fuel blocks and it was a huge pain in the ass. Let's not go backwards, please :)

  26. As if keeping a tower in a WH supplied with fuel was a pain in the ass enough...

  27. Dinsdale PirannhaMay 8, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    So you have already started speaking like just another lackey of the null sec cartels. That didn't take long.

    A few points about this:

    1. If all ice is moved out of high sec, that, like the imminent huge buff to null sec low end minerals, is just another massive shift of wealth generation out of high sec to null. But we all know where the allegiances of the CSM, game designers, and devs reside. Who was the last CCP employee plucked from the Eve player base who was a high sec player, and when?

    2. If you think that this will be a "conflict driver", you really don't have a clue how null sec sov space works. As soon as ice mining gets into the 50 plus million / hour range, the botted mining fleets will kick into high gear in the highly secure enclaves in deep alliance territory. A botting fleet in a cyno protected system, far from the prying eyes any player who would report botting activities, will represent just another income stream for the RMT cartels. Oh, and when I lived in Pure Blind in a null sec alliance I witnessed the botting Hulks grinding through the belts in a dead end system with over 100 bubbles on the sole gate. You think that these kind of ice mining operations in far more secure surroundings won't soon common? Bubbles, cyno jams, and botting make for huge income.

    3. Guess you haven't flown around 0.5 and 0.6 space in high sec much. There are few available moons for POS's. Granted, a goodly number are dead POS's, but the majority are in full activity mode. And contrary to what the null sec propagandists would have you believe, a LOT are used for manufacturing, not just R&D. A smart industrialist does not rely on the vagaries of NPC station manufacturing slot availability. He knows that time is money, and having character manufacturing skills sitting idle with job's queued at stations is just plain dumb.

    But this is just part of the overall plan being orchestrated by Soundwave and his ilk in conjunction with the CSM/ null sec cartels. They want to wipe out high sec industry, by mounting a campaign to drastically reduce or eliminate high sec station slots (which hurts the casual industrialist, not the hard-core ones), and at the same time make high sec POS ownership prohibitive in cost. I imagine one of the first things on the agenda of this CSM, if it is not already in the pipeline, is the nerfing of T2 industry in high sec, with either some kind of invention penalty, or mfg penalty, or just an outright abolition.

    It is truly death of a thousand cuts to high sec industry, as part of the overall strategy of the null sec zealots like soundwave, fozzie to obliterate all high sec income potential, and drive as many income streams as possible into the hands of their null sec RMT friends.

    1. Wow, I can see you are passionate about this subject, and it is hard to forgive CCP employees of the past affiliations, but, damn. That's a tad harsh.
      My guess - judging from the recent Origins vid - that HighSec is going to become increasingly inhospitable for Capsuleers of ANY ilk.
      Adapt or die, I'm up for the challenge.

  28. One thing I didn't see you mention was the effect of all this on wormhole dwellers, the uber red-headed stepchildren of EvE. Wormhole dwellers expect CCP to be ignorant of how their changes affect wormhole life, but we'd like to hope that those on the CSM would have us more in their thoughts. Parenthetically, my ideal CSM member would be thinking about all aspects of the game, even those bits they have no direct experience with. Also, I voted for you and am damn happy with what I've seen so far - keep up the good work, but don't forget EvE is highsec, lowsec, nullsec and wormhole space :)

    Unlike nullsec, wormhole denizens require ice products simply to exist in the space. Ice products are nice for nullsec, but if all ice was taken from the game tomorrow, nullsec could go on without, just without caps, supercaps, jump bridges, etc - there are levels of survival null residents could endure. I wonder if CCP has even considered what effect this will have on w-space? Or maybe they have, and this is part of their move to 'fix' w-space to better match their initial vision of w-space as places people raided but didn't live in?

    And yes, there's lots of money to be had in w-space, and yes, w-space folk could probably just buy all their ice products instead of mine them, but what about the smaller groups of people living in the small holes? I am one such person, and watching the corp wallet bleed isk for ice since fanfest is making me wonder just how long we can remain in our hole.

  29. about the towers and only large alliances need them.
    i remember my time in providence 3 or 4 years ago. our alliance hat 6 systems and none of them had any moongoo that would even pay for the tower fuel costs. we were a small alliance and a poor one. but in our 6 systems were 130 pos online all the time.
    buying moongoo in jita, put them in your pos and sell the refined products in jita is the way most small 0.0 alliances do.


    i had a chat with one of my old friends some days ago. we were talking about how 0.0 sucks atm.
    in this chat i told him that capital jumpdrives and bridges the reason for everything that goes wrong in 0.0
    what would happen if ccp removes all capital jumpdrives and all kind of bridges?
    capital ships are allowed to use gates to move.

    maybe make them warp even slower or align slower or what ever.
    what if it would take a day to move your titan fleet from one side of your boarders to the other.
    suddenly eve would be much larger. you cant just go to the other side of eve, reinforce everything and be back home after 1 hour.

    thatwould mean the global politics would break apart and in every corner of eve there would be again someone who thinks he is the bigest fish in eve.
    due to the distance, those biggest fishes will never fight each other, so they have no clue how that fight would go.
    sooner or later there would be a big battle and if everyone thinks he is about to win this, something like the battle of askasi will happen again and agin.
    as it is right now, there will be no supercap fight within the next 3 year because now its clear what will happen. the next failjump titan will just die.

    wwell my friend mentioned that thiswill never happen, but if isotope price is going up high enough it would have the same effect.
    but i think that would only strenghen the strongest and stop the weaker alliances from using capitals.

  30. Karbox DelacroixMay 8, 2013 at 7:27 AM

    I would very much like you to ask a Dev the following question: "Will I be able to use combat probes to warp to zero on miners in the new ice anoms?"

    If the new anoms behave like the current grav sites, the answer is no. This would be a huge stealth nerf to suicide ganking. I have yet to find a straight answer to this question.

  31. Those of us with WH operations are sensitive to ice pricing. Its not like we can have any other type of home. Although we are already used to hauling ice products, without hisec ice being available, sourcing ice products on a regular basis will be problematic

  32. Posts like this are what make this blog so good. What a great read; full of questions and intrigue that actually mean something to the game.

    Keep up the good work!

  33. You're absolutely right about hi-sec POSes; we can do without if ice prices go too high. But high ice prices could take a serious bite out of WH space profits. Small corps in class 3 and below should probably start looking for a new place to call home.

  34. We would need ice spawns in Wormhole space. Discussion of WH alliances is notably lacking in your post - by and large, we're on the smaller end of things (less than 300 members), yet we are extraordinarily reliant on POSs, usually having one POS for ever three or four members.

    Dramatically increasing the cost of ice is fine if the only people affected by it are groups with extremely deep pockets like Goonswarm and Pandemic Legion, but your average wspace dweller will either need readily available sources of ice or a way to become less dependent on POSs.

  35. Did I miss something? last time I looked, ventures couldn't mine ice

  36. Your question seems to boil down to "Will ice consumption stay the same or go down?". I propose one factor that may serve to drive ice consumption _up_: the new R64 moons.
    With the new moons and the adjustments of moongoo requirements for T2 components, I think the total amount of T2 stuff that New Eden can produce per day will go up, because Technetium will no longer be so limiting. [Caveat: I haven't done that math. I could be wrong] To supply the moongoo for all of that T2 stuff, more moons will have to be mined, both the new R64 moons and many existing marginally-profitable moons that have been ignored to date.
    Supplying towers for all of those will take a lot of isotopes. I don't know which way the price of isotopes will go, but I think there are factors trying to push the price both directions. A leading indicator could be the price of moongoo and T2 components in the weeks after Odyssey drops.

  37. Another interesting aspect that you mention... Could it also be some kind of nerf to an alliance ability to move across New Eden?

    My guess we will see more of these kind of indirect capitals nerf as we get closer and closer to capital rebalancing.

  38. "...if POSes are eventually going to be something that "everyone wants", how will the increased cost of keeping them fueled change that?"

    That's... a really good question. The one thing that's been bothering me about the 80% figure is if the number is dynamic and adjusted every downtime or something or if it is just a hardcoded value set at 80% at that time. If it is indeed just a preset value, we're in for some interesting times if/when the POS expansion is released. If it's dynamic, however, wouldn't not much change other than POS operating costs being worth more compared to the tower itself?

  39. "And the really big question: once POSes do get rebuilt, if POSes are eventually going to be something that "everyone wants", how will the increased cost of keeping them fueled change that? Making those POSes more expensive to operate could put a damper on that feature before CCP even gets around to writing it..."

    This. I would like to see POS's as something almost everyone wants to own. For this to happen, they, POS's, would need to not suck to use, and they would need to not suck to maintain.

  40. While I hesitantly like the idea of the ice/oil analog I feel I have to ask: what about wormholes?

    100% of all wormhole alliances and organizations subsist on PoS and by extension PoS fuel. Unlike low/nul we have no locally available ice. All PoS fuel MUST be transported into our home system and there are never guaranteed supply lines for C4+ wormholes. With T3 ships in the pipe for "changes" the cost of living in a wormhole is already increasing, if ice products become prohibitively expensive for high sec dwellers then that will also translate into an increased cost of living for wormhole space.

    I'll just point out the obvious solution to this particular hypothetical: allow ice anomalies to spawn in wormholes?

    1. just join the CFC or HBC that is obviously what ccp wants considering the direction of the new patches. hey and u wont even be living in sov null you will end up in low sec.....thats right CCP really thinks if they put expensive resources in low that the CFC and HBC wont move in........HBC already has moved into adria......

  41. Unfortunately, the change to ice mining is mostly going to benefit the botters, not the players.

    From what I've been told, new bot scripts are ready, to adapt to the changes in ice location and respawn times. Apparently, most of the code had already been written, for bots which were originally designed to mine grav sites.

    The bot fleets will clean up most of the 80% of ice in high sec, and make even more profit from the higher prices due to the limited supply.

    So much for the war on bots.... :{

  42. are existing ice rocks destructible? if so, does shooting them get you concorded? if not how many catalysts are required to gank one? see what im getting at?

    1. While you're at it try ganking a veldspar 'roid :P

  43. The venture cannot be used to mine ice, only gas and rocks.

  44. Jester,

    Don't forget about WH residents. We don't have revamped outposts to live with and although everyone says about the riches in WH space, it is only like that in the C5/C6 bracket.

    If you are starting a WH corp and trying to build your positions from C1 to C4 you will need at least one, and more likely several towers.

    1. and ideally a small tower in every possible spot that you aren't using - slows down invaders anchoring theirs to base.

  45. It's probably been pointed out already, but a Venture pilot can't mine ice in any case. A ninja ice miner would really have to use a Procurer or a Skiff...

  46. Ice mining will not make 30M ISK/hour for a Venture pilot with any skill level, since the Venture can't fit ice harvesters.

    More importantly, you examine how this would affect highsec by discussing how often highsec players use ice products. You completely ignore the fact that it's another source of income being taken away from them. It's true that increasing prices of items that mostly nullsec players use while also guaranteeing that only nullsec players can produce them wouldn't hurt highsec players by raising their costs, but removing their ability to sell those items cuts down their income.

    Why is it necessary for every expansion or set of changes to the game to shift more wealth and power to the big nullsec blocs? We seem to have reached a point where it's just assumed that sovereign null "should be self-sufficient" while no other area is (see, e.g., no ice in w-space). Given your argument (which I agree with) that nerfing highsec into oblivion will cause highsec players to leave the game rather than go join TEST, do you not have any concerns about taking more and more steps in that direction?

    Oh, and as for "the oil of New Eden" thing, I'm pretty sure there's already a category of resources that only lowsec and nullsec have access to.

    1. yeah they say they want to nerf the blue doughnut and that its bad for eve but then their next expansion does nothing but boost mega coalitions GG CCP GG

    2. NULL actually additionally getting another fucking resource buff with new moons added. HI SEC is now getting resource nerfs after nerfs from my PoV.

      HI SEC is dependant on NULL & WH's for the hi quality items NULL should share some dependices like the rest of EVE yet its getting dependence which will only lead to a bigger,richer fat big blue doughnut way things are playing out with the big bloc alliance buffs .

  47. Living in a wormhole and already sorry I voted for you Ripard. You are going to be horribly null and low sec biased. After all that is where you live. Try living in a small corp wormhole and tell me if you can then tell me how easy it is to go to low or null for fuel and Jita for other stuff, super sucks. Also you writing off all the hi sec inducstrials with this just sucks too. So sorry I voted for you, betrayed in the very first post. You are out of touch with everything but null and low and should have been truthful and ran as one of their candidates.

    1. its not jesters fault the devs decided that 58% of players were doing it wrong and need a nerf so they join the CFC or HBC like the other 43% of the game. obviously the blue doughnut is what is best of eve........

  48. Ok I think I'm finally out of eve if you manage to move all the damn ice to low/null sec. I won't be able to afford my POS and I like hi sec industry and doing RvB for fun. Not really interested in joining a null bear blob and too new a player to qualify for elite PvP. Couldn't join a wormhole either as they will be completely over a barrel for Pos fuel if you get your way Ripard.

  49. "those people that think they know it all, really annoy those of us that do."

    Venture frigate can not mine Ice. unless there is to be released an ice turret for it? (under a Not Dare Admit). so what venture can 30mil per hour?

    Ice Interdict. There was supposed to be one a year ago. But someone didn't get permission from directorship - so it was called off at day two. buy cheap, and sell high when the interdict has skied the price. its not about the impact on other null powers, its motivated purely by greed.

    as for a push of pilots into low/null. industrials don't go to null for isk, but go because gankers don't sail in the sea of blue.

    removing ice from high? from this industrialist, I don't care. I don't mine it. and just like the tax hike on PI - we can pass the cost of running the POS on to the customer.

    as for tech2? bah. most meta 4 is cheaper to obtain and easier to fit. and faction ammo is a bit of LP. bugger the goons and their moon goo. I am not funding it.

  50. Time for a T2 Venture. Can fit Ice Miners or new Ice Turrets. Mines the Ice twice as fast as the new times. Can only hold like 1-4 blocks. Basiclly fills in one or two cycles. And of course can't do a partial mine. Has to mine full cycle to get ice. Have to bring a buddy to jetcan mine with or travel back and forth a lot.

  51. @ All the WH Bears raising pitchforks at Ripard

    Why is it such a big deal that your operating expenses rise? You are operating a business in WH space producing a product to sell back in hisec markets. Most of your products are probably being sold to null sec residents anyway. Pass on the raise in operating expenses to your customers.

    The rise in operating expense is across the board to all your competitors. Nothing will change for you except you will sell your product for a little more and any competitors undercutting you will lose isk from the increase fuel prices and eventually adjust or die off.

    This is no different from fossil fuel price increase in the real world. Cost of gas gets higher? Companies pass on the cost to you the customer.

    Why all the fuss? I am glad Jester is thinking outside the box. Don't let the game stagnate because your afraid of change.

    1. That's all very well - for the WH carebears. But what of those who live there for the fights? We do PI, suck gas, and shoot sleepers to fund our habit of shooting each other.

      If POS costs rise and PI profits drop (and if they drop from decreased demand for T3s, sleeper profits will drop some too) we can't afford as many shiny new ships to get blown up in. Where's the fun in that?

      A lot of us don't play EVE to make pixelated money - we play EVE to shoot pixelated spaceships, and reduced profits diminishes our ability to do this.

    2. The issue is not operating expense, it's logistics. Although, for smaller corps in C1s, the increased expense might be enough to cripple them.

      We can't stockpile fuel effectively (where would we store it? a POS? D'oh!), so we have very little buffer against vagaries in supply. I expect to see exactly none of the ice mined in nullsec (it will all get used nearby), and lowsec mining will probably continue to be insignificant, so that leaves high sec--whose ice supply is getting massively constrained.

      Between that and our always-unreliable access to high sec, I'm worried that we might run out of fuel. Bad things happen when you run out of fuel in a WH.

      However, we'll see what happens. I agree that if the net effect is that wormholes are less fantastically profitable for the residents, then we'll just have to figure out how to deal with that somehow. ;-)

  52. Several interesting points in the comments:

    Lots of people assuming any ice not in high must therefore be in null. What about low-sec?
    How about moving most/all ice into low-sec only?

    Wormholes might get harder/more expensive to live in.
    I've never tried it, but it sounds plausible. If it really turns out to be true, is that actually a bad thing?

    As for fueling capitals, again I have no direct experience, but I think it would be interesting to drastically reduce jump bridging. Capitals appear to be able to move vast distances very quickly. Anything within (the very long) range will be hotdropped out of existance. Yes, this may need organised logistics now, but that doesn't appear to be enough.

    Turn capital fleets into something more like WW2 carrier groups (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrier_battle_group).
    Relatively slow moving fleets (including necessary support) with scouts out looking for enemy fleets.
    Would this help resolve the blue doughnut issue?

    1. only the high level WH are comfortably profitable, smaller corps in smaller wormholes will take a real beating which isn't good for game progression of groups knowing small scale non-blob PvP.

      Besides why does everything keep going to Null or Low and WH's get no new toys, what is so sacred about Null and Low?

    2. WHs corps can charge their customers for their additional maintenance costs. You absolutely need them for T3 and I don´t see a decline in T3 usage.

      Low sec did not get any love for ages, it has been promised since ages to "fix" low sec.

    3. T3 production is not the only product to come out of wormholes, not by a long shot. It's only the higher-end wormholes that produce enough T3 product to make it worthwhile doing T3 production. The smaller holes mostly run on PI, sleeper blue-goo, and nanoribbons, almost nothing of which can simply be sold for higher prices (because it won't sell).

  53. had to drop my wh towers to smalls......it will not only effect sov. I think its funny they say 58% of their players play solo so they come up with a patch that nerfs the shit out of solo gameplay. no rats at mag sites and now u have to have friends to scoop all the loot....that was the most profitable site in the wh until they remove them NPC. NE way im thinking darkfall is looking better and better after june. Not a good showing for this new crop of devs imo u got your work cut out for u on the CSM jester

  54. What about the near double ice yields we will see supplying the market, and the ABC refineing yield buff? Imagine what that 3-4-5-6 ice mining alt fleet is going to be able to yield in 2-3 hours now vs. 4-6, or the faster levels of capital production from the ABC ore in low-sec space.
    The game is better with these changes. Ice today is a joke of a commodity that is not fostering any kind of game-play behavior that CCP and the community wants in Eve. The game will be more active and exciting than it is today with it's perma-afk ice mining and the near limitless supply. Very few things in eve should be both near-limitless and very afk-friendly. Ice will actually matter to the game now. Empire will cost more and yield less compared to low/null.
    More folks will dip their toes into lower sec space, drawn in by the better earnings vs empire. That will get more folks playing eve together vs. solo. Low/Null mining fleets will have to really be on their toes, making it a more involved activity. All good things imo.
    Wormhole folks will also be enjoying the huge buff to ABC ore, so I bet it will still be a net gain for them even with the higher ice costs settle down. Imagine the increased capital production levels in WH space after the ABC ore buff. You wont be caring about the added ice costs when you pumping out capitals/supers x% faster with all that additional trit/py from ABC ore.

    1. Not so for many in WH space - capitals are pretty close to pointless if you're in a C1-C4 WH. As for mining - it's going to have to increase in returns [i]enormously[/i] before it replaces gas mining for those of us not running bots - and it's very, very seldom I see a miner on Dscan in wormholes.

  55. If Eve is going to grow to its full potential this nonsense with nullsec favoritism has to stop. Your post from last year about null sec sov was a step in the right direction. This ice idea most definitely is not. The nullsec cry babies love to talk about a sandbox environment and then whine and stumble around kicking dirt until they get to play with all the toys.

    1. You really think that it is a bad idea for force null sec players to farm their god damn ice themselves in null, instead of paying peanuts for monkeys that farm ice?

      Now move some moon goo into high and I am happy. High Sec wars would suddenly become interesting. Remember, no jump bridges and caps in high sec.

  56. Moving ice to 0.0 hmm. Why would that be a good idea. I mean does the moon goo not show how that will run? 0 people will cartel the ice and game it. If they dont fight over trillions in moons why would they fight for ice?

    1. Soundwave believes that everyone should play in null, not in high - which he sees as only training ground for noobs.

      Unfortunately (at least according to Soundwave), a rather large number of players will not make the move to null. They are perfectly happy playing in high sec. So, naturally, he wants to increase the pressure to force them to make the move.

      This is the real reason behind the changes to wardecs, the bounty system, Tags4Sec, and the suggestion to move ice to null.

      The concept of the casual player - who wants to mine, run missions, or engage in consensual PVP with organizations like RvB - simply escapes him.

    2. There is a big difference between moon go and ice. Moon goo is passive income that can only disrupted by large fleets because you will not steal that easy a moon from a block power.
      Ice at the other hand, all you need is a few stealth bombers and from time to time some little hot drop.

      Moons should have been the oil of null, but instead they ended up to establish block powers with nearly unlimited. resources, which than are used to hire hordes of slave workers that gather ice and other raw materials. Shifting ice into low and null means that the blocks have either farm it on their or invite even more care bears into null and protect them.
      Real control of systems becomes in this scenario important in either case. Small scale pvp becomes more important for the meta game. Sounds good to me.

  57. " Why not move ice mining to low- and null-sec? "

    Because Null/LO sec already have a huge monopoly as it is with moon goo and NULL has another monopoly with ABC's ( shared with WH's correct?). HI Sec's only resource monopoly= level 1-2 missions ( I recall lo sec has 3& 4 missions it doesn't have 1& 2 does it? )

    HOW MANY MORE null MONOPOLIES before I am forced to quit or move out of HI? ( expect the former becuase while I do visit all spaces I perfer the casualness of HI )

    1. Than stay in high, nothing is forcing you out. You lose nothing, and now don´t tell me that ice mining was something worthwhile to actually DO in high sec.

  58. 80% from high sec but will they all be mined? Some systems are frequented by gankers. Some are in pockets cut off by low sec.

  59. I think the bigger question about if they will all be mined or not is anchored firmly in the fact that most people currently mining ice in empire do it as a very passive activity, and with alts that are really only geared to that kind of thing. It sounds like these are going to be probed anomalies rather than simple on-board scanner sigs. If it was just on-board scanning required, then I could see myself taking the time to set up to mine some of these belts as passively as I currently do. I really can't be bothered to train these alts for probing and setting them up probing ships, regardless of the per hour income increase. At the end of the day, I wouldn't be surprised if only half of that 80% is ever actually mined in empire, but I would be even more surprised if anyone at CCP actually cared.

  60. I would condone moving ice to low and nullsec only if and only if the ice ore sites respawned by constellations or regions, rather than the same system. With ice respawning in the same system, it will be far too easy to interdict a low or null mining operation by simply parking a few AFK cloakers there and occasionally bridging in a blackops strike team.

    I also want to remove Nocxium from Pyrox (replace it with Pyerite) in order to push more value into non-hisec mining.


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