Introducing Refineries and New Moon Mining

2017-03-24

CCP has yet to announce the next official expansion, but a few days ago they announced one of its major features, Refineries. These were referred to as “drilling platforms” in discussions revolving around EVE’s new structures. The Upwell Consortium continues to evolve, with the introduction of Citadels last year, and Engineering Platforms six months ago. This week, Refineries were unveiled. However, they will arrive “when they’re done,” which can be anytime between Fanfest, in April, and the end of the year.

A second devblog was released on the same day to review past game development, and changes to the development pathway. CCP is going to split development into three parallel paths — fix bugs on released structures, deliver more service modules, and create new structures. That split may have caused the expected Spring expansion to push until after summer. Veteran players will remember CCP releasing two expansions per year, with “Jesus Features” to boot. They will also remember all the broken mechanics that never got fixed. Today’s EVE is a tighter experience, with “bad” gameplay removed from the game, like Teams, scattering ghost site loot, and Drifter Incursions.

Refineries

Refineries are the headquarters of your harvesting efforts, for the most part. These structures will house ships, warehouse your ores, refine asteroids and scrapmetal to minerals, and compress it for more efficient hauling. It will be the only platform that can react moon minerals. If fitted properly, they can also defend your mining fleet. Like all structures a refinery can be placed anywhere in system, but when it is placed near a moon, it does its best work – Mining.

New Gameplay: Moon Mining

Moon Mining using Player-Owned Starbases (POS) was introduced in 2004 and has not changed since then. The process of setting up a mining operation was one of the few dinosaurs left in EVE. The interface was confusing, and you could easily make a mistake that would cost you dearly.

Moon mining in EVE Online

Despite the ancient interface, alliances fight hard to control rare moons, sometimes losing billions of ISK in ships defending them. Some of the best brawls were over moons. When controlled, the moon could be mined around-the-clock, creating lucrative passive income for the owner. Normally, moons were controlled by alliances or corporations. Assigned corpmates act as gardeners, fueling the POS and emptying the silos. The income of mineral sales would go to leadership, which would share it as they pleased.

CCP Fozzie, the spokesperson for Refineries, stated that their goals for a new mining system were to “create a new form of active group gameplay… The new system must support gameplay for many different types of players, involve strategic choices, and reward players who can cooperate well.”

How it will work

The Refinery, if in range of a moon, will arm itself with a Death Star-like “drill” that blasts the moon, breaking off the part of the surface, causing it to drift up towards the Refinery. The Refinery operator (foreman) then blasts it again to break it into thousands of asteroids, creating a mining field. While his teammates mine the asteroids, the foreman blasts another chunk off the moon allowing it to drift. The foreman controls the tempo, but each cycle takes one to several weeks. An active group could mine every week, or every few weeks.

Anyone can mine the field, and the activity for a moon is logged so the foreman can see how much is mined per teammate or stranger. The foreman can also use the Refinery’s defenses to defend his fleet or ward off unwelcome miners. Mining belts you do not own are the new “siphon” gameplay; Siphon units will be removed from the game.

The asteroids from the moon are new, but the materials inside them are the same raw moon materials as before. Refining the rocks will work as it does for normal asteroids, but reacting the raw moon materials will use the industry interface. A new skill will increase the amount of reactions you can run simultaneously.

Fallout

This is a major change to the status quo, and a lot of attention is focused on how this will affect low-sec groups that are not known for holding territory, or using miners. Much of their wealth came from dominating moons militarily. That is no longer enough. Perhaps they can rent them out, but valuing a moon’s worth will be more difficult than before because there no clear way to know how much material will come out of the moon, how much will be mined, and who will mine it. More importantly, low sec uses all-or-nothing fights over moons as big set piece battles. It is hard for them to imagine removing a three-timer Refinery will be as dramatic, considering there are no limits on how many can be put on a single moon. To be clear, only one drill can mine at a time, therefore only one refinery can posses the moon at a time.

Larger sov-holding entities that may have an easier time of it, since most of them are “space holders” that use the resources under their domain. Well controlled and policed areas, like The Imperium’s Delve region or Providence, are expected to do well under this new gameplay. You wouldn’t know it by the silence in leadership circles. Most veterans are taking a wait and see approach because all this means little without knowing the material composition details. When CCP Fozzie gives the details, EVE spreadsheet artists will attempt to quantify the impact of the changes.

CCP has once again created something no one saw coming. Blasting off a piece of a moon to create an asteroid belt is epic gameplay. The EVE that gets talked about out there may be combat related, but it is creative features like this that set this game apart.

CCP Fozzie will be appearing on the Talking In Stations podcast, recorded live on Imperium news Twitch. Watch it live Saturday, 15:00 UTC on https://www.twitch.tv/imperiumnews.

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Comments

  • Pew Pew

    In terms of Lowsec it would be good if there were fleets of miners flying around regularly. I think that would be good for the piracy ecosystem.

    March 24, 2017 at 9:47 AM
    • Matterall Pew Pew

      The problem with pirating is the conduct of pirates. There was a time when “honorable” pirates were a thing. They caught you, ransomed you and if you paid they let you go, as promised. Over time the lure of killmails over-rode good judgement. Now the ransom prices are absurd, and you get killed if you pay. I don’t pity pirates at all, they did not pass down the “code” that was set up early on, so their children can starve, imo.

      This is a topic that saddens me, becasue something really cool was lost. An ecosystem – a profession.

      March 24, 2017 at 4:42 PM
      • Axhind Matterall

        Yea. It’s hard to shed tears for poor low sec crowd. They can sit in their fancy implanted clones and cry about the moon mining change while rest of us laugh our asses off.

        March 24, 2017 at 7:25 PM
      • Pew Pew Matterall

        This could turn out to be rambly but I think it’s quite interesting.

        So basically the study of this sort of thing falls within evolutionary game theory. Basically asking questions about games where there are many players each able to adapt their own strategy. Obviously the outcomes are very complicated (they always are in EVE, for example).

        An interesting example is that apparently in WW1 if you left the same Allied unit facing the same German unit in the trenches for long enough they would stop shooting each other. Basically because if you stopped shooting them, after a while, they would stop shooting you.

        They often developed detents where, for example, if you shoot 1 shell at us we will shoot 1 back but only 1. So it becomes very clear it’s up to you how much you want to get shelled. They had to rotate the units around to stop this from happening.

        A similar thing could happen with pirates vs miners. So as you say if you are a lone pirate and you offer a ransom, and the ransom gets accepted, you have two options, you can honour the ransom and not shoot, or kill the miner for the killmail + loot.

        However a big factor is how many times you’re going to see this miner in the future. If you know that miners are extremely rare and only come around once in a while then why not betray? It’s not like you will see them again.

        However if you chase this miner every day then your incentives are very different. You could honour a ransom every time you caught them and get a string of ransoms. Or betray 2-3 times and never get a ransom accepted again. The first strategy starts to look better when the interaction is repeated.

        The broader point is that behaviour is generally better towards people you think you will have to interact with again in the future.

        So who knows, if the miners get tough and stick in a single area for a while those merry privateers will start to emerge again, and displace the desperate brigands.

        (I always like to have a chance to use the word brigands 🙂

        March 24, 2017 at 9:24 PM
        • Matterall Pew Pew

          Fascinating. “Brigands” is a great word.

          One of my favorite encounters with a CCPer was talking to Falcon, who was in a past life a king among honorable pirates – Veto. As such he only ever kicked one guy for violating the policy of honoring ransoms. He made an example of that one guy by taking all his stuff and kicking him from corp then blowing him up on his way out. Podding him too – which meant something in those days. It was a ruthless punishment for everyone to see.

          March 25, 2017 at 1:00 AM
          • Pew Pew Matterall

            Eve has the best stories.

            March 25, 2017 at 9:15 AM
      • Rhivre Matterall

        There was no golden age of piracy, much like today there are pirates who ransom you and honour it, and pirates who do not.

        March 25, 2017 at 11:45 AM
  • Alot

    Many Bothans died to bring you this information.
    Pity there is no mention of the blasts causing permanent scarring to the moons. Co-operative and interactive gameplay additions (in the mining sphere of all places) is a welcome addition and all that, but being able to systematically carve initials or logos onto moon surfaces is a meta in and of itself -.-

    March 24, 2017 at 11:22 AM
    • Pew Pew Alot

      “systematically carve initials or logos onto moon surfaces ”

      I think we all know what’s gonna get carved on there. Enormous, moon sized logos.

      March 24, 2017 at 1:52 PM
      • phuzz Pew Pew

        YUGE logos! the biggest…

        March 24, 2017 at 4:10 PM
      • Matterall Pew Pew

        Haha. it will become a race to dick-pics on the moon, or game of throne spoilers. No way.

        March 24, 2017 at 4:36 PM
  • Rawwr

    I take great offense to the description of gsol as gardeners.

    March 24, 2017 at 12:31 PM
    • Pew Pew Rawwr

      Are you gsol and think gardening is lame or are you a gardener and think gsol is lame?

      March 24, 2017 at 1:51 PM
      • Matterall Pew Pew

        That was my question becasue gardeners are awesome. They fuel the plants with water and fertilizer, and prune the leave off and hall them away. They are the caretakers of the growth cycles.

        March 24, 2017 at 4:38 PM