Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

On the fence: Process them

I really like most of the features in Odyssey, but there are some that I'm still on the fence about for various reasons.  Given the way that comments work around here, I'd like to list these items as separate posts.  That way you as a reader can skip over the ones you don't care about and just talk about the ones that you do.  These posts are not written with any inside information of CCP's plans for anything.  They're just my opinions of features that are included in the publicly-available version of the game we're all playing.


First one I want to talk about is this:
To better distribute the demand for moon minerals, we have created two new Intermediate Materials, four new Composites, and rebalanced certain T2 Construction Component blueprint requirements.
Moon materials are a problem.

Now in one way, moon mining is great.  It drives a huge amount of conflict within the game.  I think we can finally put the "wars start for reasons of rage and hatred" meme behind us.  The Mittani didn't even try to justify the CFC's invasion of Fountain with any other reasoning other than "This region has moons.  We want them.  We like ISK.  Phhhbbbt."  I don't think they would have cared who the region was held by.  The Goon moon-scanning team went in, no doubt determined the gold-farming value of the region, and that value over X time period exceeded the probable cost of an invasion of and conquering that region.  Decision made.

So yeah, I completely grant that moon mining drives conflict.

But it also perpetuates the horrible way in which null-sec is completely broken right now.  As it stands right now, it is all but impossible to take or hold sov of any value without already holding sov of great value.  It's not like a new player could have come in and invaded Fountain.  So in essence, once it's determined by the big alliances where the high-value moons are -- whether in Fountain or otherwise -- they're going to sweep in and take those moons.  And once they have those moons, they continue to be essentially risk-free sources of unlimited wealth. 

The only risk associated with taking a moon is that someone even bigger than you might come along and take it away.  For the groups currently fighting, there isn't anyone bigger.

The net result will be to replace the technetium cartel with identical cartels for the new materials.  OTEC, which generally successfully controlled the price of technetium and therefore essentially set the value of the construction of every T2 product in the game, will simply be replaced by a cartel with a new name that will continue to set the value of the construction of every T2 product in the game, perhaps divided by four for the four racial sets of T2 items, but more than likely not.  Either way, chances are the same coalitions are going to control that ISK the same way they've controlled it for the last three years.

The only real change we're going to see is a hopefully temporary increase in the prices of T2 ships and items as the uncertainty in the short-term drives some T2 manufacturers out of the business entirely, and causes the other to hold back supply.  At the very best, the increased costs of processors and the meta-materials that they're now built on will have a downstream effect on the price of every T2 ship and item.

Seen this way, the Goon invasion of Fountain is simply their attempt to maintain the status quo they've enjoyed for the past three years.  That amount of time has given them enormous wealth sufficient to build up a massive strategic reserve.  Given the patience, persistence, and organization that the Goons have displayed over those last three years, there's every reason to think this attempt to perpetuate the status quo will eventually be successful.(1)  TEST might squirm a bit, they might destroy a few supers, they might win a few battles.  But they simply haven't displayed the discipline that the Goons have for system management at this level.  And even if I'm wrong and TEST is successful, that simply means that TEST will control a big chunk of the cartel instead of Goons.  The essence of my complaint remains the same.

That means in a half a year or a year, we're going to be right back where we've been for the last three years, enriching the cartels whose players by and large have to do no grinding and no work at all to be maintained in fleets of PvP ships.  Meanwhile the rest of us will continue to be consigned to the hell of EVE's horrid PvE and/or using market PvP to fight for the scraps of the cartel trillionaires and multi-trillionaires.

Meanwhile, CCP will no doubt be congratulating themselves on creating lots of new conflict drivers.  But they won't have addressed the main problem at all: even if you change up the materials and how they're used every few years, moon mining remains an essentially risk-free, nearly entirely passive wealth fountain that perpetuates and maintains a top-down wealth and sovereignty system.

If you're a fan of that, then you're going to hate this post.  If I were in a position to benefit, I'd hate me for bringing it up, too.  But what do the rest of you think about it?  So yeah, maybe "on the fence" isn't exactly accurate about my feelings toward this one.  Yep, moons are a great conflict driver.  But I am still of the opinion that they have way more down-sides than up-sides.  At this rate, I have a sick sense that we're still going to be talking about moon-mining and its inherent flaws... in 2016.

Next up: Tags4Sec.

(1) In Christianity, there's a saying: "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist."  The greatest trick the Goons have pulled is convincing many in New Eden that they are bad at this game.  Individually, here and there?  Yes, maybe.  Collectively?  Hell no!


  1. That's how war and diplomacy have worked throughout history. You're either one of the strongest people around or you're friends with one of the strongest people around.

  2. Two words: Ring. Mining.

    Moons shouldn't even PLAY a factor in doing anything but placing starbases for manufacturing/research. Hell, moons shouldn't even do that, I'd like to be able to put starbases ANYWHERE.

    In short, I agree with you and honestly, unless CCP look at the core problem of wealth, and power projection, the problems will remain.

    1. Moon Interaction (MI) for short.
      Take away.

      The GOONS need a distraction, like a BORG incursion.
      When you get that big, you need a BIG isk sink.

      Or how about the Sansha get Salvage Corvettes from Homeworld.
      Capture and use their ships against them.
      The Sansha feel threatened by their taking over too many R64 moons.

    2. Moon interaction doesn't need to go away full stop, it needs to be made irrelevant. Like Jester and others have said, there needs to be bottom up income not top down. Likewise, sov costs need to take into account member count, and number of actual characters that are blue (taking into account other alliances who are blue and their member count, as well). Such that if you get too big, the costs spiral out of control, so that it limits your expansion and projection kind of like how the ancient roman empire found it reached its own limit to how much land it could control without breaking.

  3. I endorse this view point and/or idea. Now just to see if ccp will listen to you CSM people...

  4. Forum warrior Andski doesn't like this idea, as discussed in this thread on the forums.

    1. Andski wouldn't like it because Andski is a goon, and it would make the goon lifestyle difficult.

    2. Ya know, it would put a big damper on the pocket book.
      They wouldn't be able to do things like Burn Jita.
      No money for tagsforsec.

      They would have to cutback on a lot of frivolous things.

  5. Unfortunately I have to agree with you here, I see moon mining as something which will in the end cause stagnation in this game and unfortunately we can not rely on the players to police themselves and keep alliance sizes small enough to ensure that the game can continue to be interesting.

    To be honest though I am not so much anti moon mining as anti the current methods, moons should be important conflict drivers, they should however have some active requirement from the moon holders in order to harvest their resources fully.

  6. The idea that OTEC "controlled the prices" is probably one of our better trolls. I really ought to do a tmdc post on what it really meant one of these days.

    1. The "it's a troll" thing would be more convincing if every time someone "broke OTEC" there wasn't an immediate rush to claim their moons. ;-)

    2. I'm not saying that OTEC wasn't a thing. There were no price controls, no production quotas, none of the stuff that you'd expect given the name it borrowed. At most we encouraged CFC members to utilize intelligent sales techniques when selling, and later we (and most of the rest of the CFC) sold it internally to members who reacted nanotransistors or fullerides. And that, frankly, served more to allow us to expedite the sale than anything else, as internal sales got money in our pocket much faster than sales to Jita.

      The part of OTEC that was a thing was what it really was, which was a NIP, an agreement to not shoot each other's moons. Three guesses what "breaking OTEC" actually meant and why they lost their moons; first two don't count.

      The fact that it's such a succinct explanation is probably why I've never written that article, hrmm...

    3. Price control cannot happen without production control. The members can't control their production without producing less than possible. As moon materials don't run out, if you don't mine today, you lost the income forever. No one does that.

      Also, the "moon riches" are a Goon propaganda myth. Even if they make 3T a month, there are 30K mouths to feed in CFC, so they get like 100M/person. A solo highsec miner makes it in an afternoon while AFK.

    4. Gevlon how can you say 'the "moon riches" are a Goon propaganda myth.'? What other alliances have Capitol ship funds that they're just giving out to skilled members?

  7. Options to improve moon mining. Make it PI with POCO's for moons. You can shoot POCO's and later maybe dusties can effect them.

    Put the Moon Miner outside of shields and let a fleet of about 50 500 DPS ships take it out in 10 mins.

    Or take it out of the realm of Passive, and make a new mining barge that mines moons actively.

    1. Like the Romulan mining ship.

  8. Isn't one of the main problem power projection?

    The moon wealth is supposed to be spread out more, but what's the real difference if you can be anywhere in new eden in a matter of minutes.

    Compare it to wormholes; wormhole corp have very little power projection. It's very hard to keep reliable control of more than one system. If you split your force, you are half as strong everywhere.

    In nullsec, you don't have to deal with that. You don't have to compromise your force to control larger territory.

    So lets put a damper on power projection.

    1. the best thing would be to completly remove all jumpdrives and bridge types from the game. (ok maybe except black ops)

      let capital move through gates and all force projection problems are solved.
      oh and limit clone movement(wake up station change) to once every 24 hours.

      that would also solve problems with moving equipment around. i can move any amount of equipment from jita to any 0.0 system in less then 15 minutes. why should someone bother to build something?

    2. Black Ops should stay imo.
      And capitals travel via jump drives is in itself an ok mechanic, just limit the range/speed of travel and remove the jump bridge and the jump freighter. Jump Points sound like a good idea as well. Free Cynos simply do not work very well outside of stealth ships as a game mechanic.

      Instead of jump bridges hangar space could be a good solution to determine how many ships you can get with our titan when jumping. And yes, this means that a titan has to jump together with his fleet.

      No point in implementing everything at once, just one piece after another, lets see how this works.

      Personally I would like to see jump points seeded first and conventional cynosural fields removed. Jump points can be scanned down and people should be able to build a pos and jump bridges at them, and they have destination systems, which means you can follow enemy fleets along their path.

      In essence jump points would be the same as star gates, just without the gates build, ships that want to use them have to have a jump drive or be "docked" to a ship has a jump drive. Oh, and yes, this means that capital ships can use their jump drive at any star gate as well, those gates are build on jump points. In high-sec again out of luck, jammers should stay a thing to prevent unauthorized jumps.

      Just 2 cent on the whole travel problem.

  9. This game needs to have moon mining converted into ring mining. I would hope that its near the top of the priority list, because of what it would bring the game in both balance and a new player activity.

    1. Ring mining possibly.
      Moon Interaction is another option.
      How about a Capital mining ship like the Romulan mining ship from Star Trek.

  10. Pi has resource depletion. If moons had a mechanic where after a while their extracted resource slowly depleted, and possibly new sources of those resources were discovered, this could become an ongoing driver.

    1. Sounds like an interesting start, but I'd perfer something like ring mining that good be done a bit more bottom up then tottally passive

  11. Dinsdale PirannhaJune 13, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Gee, what a revelation you have had here.

    Of course people like me have been screaming about this for a couple years, and getting banned on the forums by the cartel controlled ISD and CCP lackeys for stating the obvious.

    There is serious RMT cash in moons, and the cartel leadership is not going to give that up.

    If you seriously think that the moon goo income stream is going to change any time soon, you are mistaken. You are going to have a front row seat to the politics of RMT from your seat on the CSM.

    Well, that is not entirely true. The real action occurs when a certain game designer gets on the phone with the failed lawyer and the other cartel leaders to sort out precisely what game mechanics are going to be changed in subsequent releases to enrich the pockets of said leaders and their friends on the inside. Then those changes are presented to the CSM for approval.

    Moon goo will eventually go to a mining setup much like the ice belt mechanic that was just introduced. However, the location of the belts will not be randomized to cover an entire region, as it should.

    And secondly, the ring mining mechanic won't be introduced until other radical changes have been made that either give null an insurmountable advantage in T2 mfg, or the complete abolition of T2 mfg in high sec. Either way, the T2 material cartel profits will look like tip money compared to the money that will be made in the T2 mfg process when the lion's share on T2 industry is forced there.

    You will see another huge increase in null station slots, particularly in copying slots, which is the bottleneck in any T2 mfg. This is on top of the absolutely huge buff we just witnessed.
    You will also witness a corresponding 10 or hundred fold increase in high sec NPC industry slot costs. But as I said, the key will be the restriction of POS-based copying and invention slots in high sec, which the cartels can't control directly, so I am betting that CCP will be introducing the abolition option I mentioned.

    We are already witnessing the player-controlled increases in null sec station refining costs, and seeing leaked goon memo's telling indy alt corps to pay up or else. Can you imagine the kind of ISK (which translates into rubles, pounds, and dollars) that will be flowing to station owners when they can charge whatever they want for copying slots, because they will be essentially the only game in town?

    1. You get banned because your paranoia causes you to accuse CCP staff and volunteers of favouritism and outright game manipulation rather than because of anything else you write.

      You would be in a far better position to be heard and be listened to more if you were not obviously the same rank of fanatic that you accuse your opponents of being.

    2. I do wonder how long until the current reallocation becomes just another aTM machine for some big alliance leaders while the little guy look & despair at ever having SRFs

    3. If you have evidence, CCP Internal Affairs and/or the relevant law enforcement authorities would love to have it.

      If you don't have evidence then you're posting baseless accusations against CCP developers on CCP's forums, and no, that's not going to ever end well for you.

  12. This made me stop and think about moon mining in Odyssey.


    I'm not sure how much of it's true, how much of it is the market in flux, and what part is WAGs. But it was food for thought, I haven't came to a personal conclusion on it yet.

  13. Who says meritocracy says oligarchy.

  14. If I can step in with a bit of off-topic pedantry here, I'm about 95% sure this:

    "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist."

    is from The Usual Suspects, not any work of Christian philosophy.

    1. No, it's at least a hundred years older than that.


  15. There are two core problems with moon mining.
    They are scalability and force projection.

    1. Scalability
    The number of Moons is finite, the users of T2 products are not. No matter what ccp does with moons it will be static source hardly influenced by player activity. The industrials can't influence the production of moon goo, neither with industrial activities nor with pvp in any form. The only thing that could be achieved is reducing the production by RFing the mining towers repeatedly. But that leads to problem 2.

    2. Force projection
    With capital fleets and titan bridges (and the jump bridge network) the effort to relocate large combat groups is a daily business and nothing exceptional anymore. A large group of people have no trouble with defending towers spread over 8 regions because they can travel there in a matter of minutes. And thats not with a fast moving scout team but with tiny little titans and SCs. Defending against a Cynoship that only has to last 10 seconds to bring in 250+ enemies is far out of scale to the risk.

    The force projection completely destroys the risk vs reward ration for big entities as no challenger can hope to succeed in the long run. If he manages to rip down the pos and place his own it will be RFed within days and the one single timer will be a small scale op for the big one of less than an hour.
    And there is no way to evade the point to give your money to the big guys to get the material you need to fight them. There is no "riskier but achievable" way to get that material.

  16. I'm not so sure that Odyssey didn't help the moon situation, if only because it spread the bottleneck from one resource (concentrated mainly in one area of space) to four (spread over far more of nullsec), and for those four resources, alchemy is a more viable release valve.

    So, even though it's still a situation of he who controls the spice controls the universe, it's harder for a single group, or even a consortium, to control all the spice now.

    Even so, the *other* problem of nullsec, the ease of force projection, still remains. As many people have pointed out, there are dozens upon dozens of systems in nullsec that don't really get use. Moving large forces from one side of the map to the other is still very easy, and that effectively magnifies the territory that a single group can control.

    It's just my opinion, but I think if it were harder to do significant force projection in multiple regions, this might go a long way towards revitalizing nullsec and making room out there for "new blood" to come in and start taking part in this area of the game. As strong as they are, if GSF or TEST (or others) could only realistically hold one region of space, there'd suddenly be a lot of systems up for grabs.

    The real question is how to do it. Making moon mining a bottom-up activity where you need active participation from players attacks the ability of large alliances to maintain sov over so many system (sov is expensive). Changing the way jump bridges work makes projecting power across multiple regions much harder, although gate-to-gate movement within one's own region is still possible.

    Of course, CCP could also just add space, too. A bigger fishbowl can hold more fish. But it might get a bit lonely for folks until it filled up.

  17. Someone call in the DUST mercenaries ! On a DUST battle map on a goo moon, there will be no blobbing.

  18. I agree with you 100% on this. The arguments some commenters are presenting are invalid in the sense of temporal resources. In the real universe, most everything is finite. There comes a time when they is simply no more. Look at de-forestation, strip mining, etc, etc. It ravages the resource to the point of exhaustion and we're forced to move on.

    EVE is a static backdrop and for me that's one of the things I am bothered by most. Make EVE a living, breathing universe and the player dynamic will always be in motion.

  19. The solution is simple. Players reduce or abandon tech2 useage. then the moons are irrelivant - since they would become worthless.

    There are only a few instances in the game where tech2 beats meta4 modules. Commonly tech1 hulls can be fully insured against loss - which tech2 cannot.

    Nothing wrong with market PVP. Don't like Burn Jita, Ice Interdiction or Hulkageddon - then don't fund it.


  20. I'm not a professional game designer, but I just can't see a satisfactory, truly effective way out of this power-balance problem than a reset. (Probably good thing I'm not on CCP dev staff then, eh?) Even if CCP change moon mining and all the other income-related things we Eve players have been talking about for (insert really long time), the problem is that CCP has let the problem exist and fester for *way* too long.
    Let's say some amazing, perfect system gets implemented. All alliances of relative size have equitable incomes. Those who have been at the top for so long *still* have waaaayy more than anyone else saved up. No one will be in an appreciable position to make them lose much, both because of this fiscal head-start and because the mechanic will not be made to balance the playing field, only the income.

    It just isn't very encouraging. I'd love to see more power struggles and more territorial wars amongst more groups, but I just don't think that's going to happen w/o artificial limitations and motivators, something most players would throw a bloody revolt over.

    1. The problem is that whenever CCP decides to do something, they always do it as vikings.

      "Let's implement features that allow players to build empires" they said, and then they did so while stacking all the advantages at the empire-building side of the equation and none at the empire-crumbling one. The obvious result is that big empires keep getting bigger.

      Diminishing returns is a sizable portion of the answer, not just in the size dimension, but also in the time dimension. The problem is you try to explain that to certain black-and-white devs and all you will get is a "but then what is the point" response, not realizing that the point is having an internet spaceship empire for a few months or years. It doesn't need to last forever, nor it should.

      A static map will always tend towards static relations among player entities. That a change in resource distribution already led to new conflict is awesome. It just needs to happen more consistently. Push the top dogs to keep collecting enemies, specially among themselves. Good internal&external organization will mitigate the damage, but in due time strains will inevitably appear in the structure.

    2. The idea of a dynamic ressource distribution has been brought up in several discussions, although, i think, within a too small scope.
      What we might need is a dynamik map, changing more then the ressource allocation.
      A universe like a river stream constantly destroying and building new habitats at different turn-over rates. We can have short lived space for opportunistic play-style (compared to the annual habitats on the river banks) and longer lasting, constant space for empire building (like the floodplain forests)

      Since players are missing "the Unknown" in the Eve Universe, and we can't expand the map size itself (not enough players)... a dynamic map might solve more then moon mining by adding constantly a littel Unknown to the standard map layout

  21. You want to solve this problem? Cut POS hitpoints by 50-90%.

    IF you could have small gangs threaten these resources in small windows, it would require active defense of all systems, or at least semi-active.

    But I have no hope for CCP on this topic.

    1. and then you have actual powers in the game able to deploy multiple (super)caps to a system and wipe out every POS in a manner of minutes. What did that achieve?

  22. new model for moon mining

    1) mining arrays sit OUTSIDE starbase shields, they are exposed to sabotage (thus moon-goo income can be raided)

    2) two types of mining arrays, surface and deep core

    3) 4 types of moons: icy, rocky, metallic, exotic
    Icy moons have Gases and less rarity 8
    Rocky moons have rarity 8 and less rarity 16
    Metallic moons have rarity 16 and less rarity 32
    Exotic moons have rarity 32 and less rarity 64

    Deep core arrays focus on the harder to get rarity.

    4) Moon mining cycles give a SPREAD of a category of moon materials, not a single one. Therefore there are no limited sources of any type of moon-goo, while exotic moons still retain their value.

    5) The real effort in creating wealth for the alliance is then based on the logistics ability and coordination of the reaction chains.

    1. Everything that gives me the opportunity to actually raid something for profit sounds good in my book.

      While we are at this subject, can we get something similar for PI? Raid targets for smaller groups, maybe with a dust514 link?

  23. Disclaimer: I am a member of TEST Alliance.

    Ok so first off, I think you are not giving TEST enough credit. We are an alliance that is going toe to toe with a coalition right now (remember there is no HBC anymore). While there may appear to be a lack of organization, I assure you there are enough folks that know what they are doing, and we are helping the newbies along the way. Are we a spergtastic autistic bunch of cats? Yes. Now, having said that. There is nothing stopping anyone in the game from forming an alliance bigger than TEST, or a coalition bigger than the CFC. There is no secret sauce, anyone can do it. Everyone and everything starts from somewhere. Are the barriers to entry high? Possibly? Unscalable? Definitely not.

    1. a sapling stomped firmly to the ground, repeatedly, is not going to grow to become a large tree.

  24. You have pointed out something that i saw a lot of in this expansion, nothing they changed really fixes anything it just puts a new skin on it. I was so unimpressed with this expansion i quit eve for the summer and if the winter expansion is more useless fluff I wont be back. It might be harder to change null sec and make it work but id prefer that to what they are doing with band aids.

  25. I'm interested to see how this all falls out.

    I think it may be enough that things have been shuffled and diversified. Look at Pandemic Legion: Everyone expected them to side with CFC after HBC fell apart, because of moons. But from their perspective, why would they prefer to deal with one extremely powerful coalition for moons when they could play three, or four, or five against each other, shore up whichever is the weakest side, and maintain their own base of moons in their area of low sec? It's in their economic interest to go back to being a tactically disruptive force, now, and it'll be much more fun for their pilots, too.

    Far better to have multiple moon-having sov holders dealing with you as peers (in the worst case) than to have to treat with one, immensely powerful holder.

    This may be an interesting summer for sov null. It may not, but the potential is there if the residents want to seize it.

  26. In essence you are complaining that the goons have won the game.

    So what? That is the basic of a good sandbox game, someone will win his sandbox and crown himself, until someone is pissed enough about the king to kick his arse and become the new king.

    You do not like the goons winning the game? Gather your buddies and do something about it. And no: This is not a question of free resources from those moons, it is a question of determination. If you care more about a single moon than the goons do, than you WILL kick them out of it. The goons are in for the money, smaller alliances have to go in not to get the moons, but to hurt the goons.

    And so, after stating the obvious of eve wars, I have to say something even more obvious. "Nobody" cares that the goons have won the game, because there is more than enough resources left for everyone else. We have more or less unlimited resources in eve, a single guy can farm his own titan and some actually do.

    The problem is not that the moons are so lucrative, the problem is that resources are not worth much fighting. And why is that so?

    Fights are easily avoided on any level of the game. The most legitimate why to be a pirate in eve? Suicide gank in high sec. We have this trillion isk empires in 0.0, and the most valid way to make some isk via piracy is ganking in high. Does speak volumes about the game, doesn't it?

    And now I should leave, before I start ranting against jump freighters, and other risk averse game mechanics of eve-online ...

  27. Seems Mynna disagrees with you....

    1. Each CSM member is entitled to their opinion. We're not going to agree on everything. That's why there's more than one CSM member. ;-)

      These posts detail what I think about various features, not what the CSM thinks.


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