CCP Fozzie opens up the [June] Nullsec Asteroid Cluster and Excavator Drone Changes forums post with this quote:
“We continue to keep a close eye on the impacts of the changes to mining ships that have been made over the past six months. After this observation we have decided that we need to make another intervention to keep the economy healthy. This isn’t the first of such changes, and once again it is unlikely to be the last.”
I don’t know which to tell you is the more disheartening to players. Is it the actual changes being made or is it the comment at the end of that quote that indicates more nerfs are coming?
CCP is confusing players with the whole Rorqual ordeal. The real questions are why did CCP open with such an obviously overpowered Rorqual? What did CCP envision as the role of Rorqual when they did? What does CCP envision as acceptable levels of mining? What are the statistics CCP is looking at making them think they need additional nerfing? Should rebalancing minerals play into this effort to a greater degree?
These are the questions that players need to know the answers to. It is unforgivable that CCP knew they were going to need to significantly nerf rorqual mining before they even released it.
What was the Real Intent of the Initial Change?
Part of the angst and confusion among players is that they are left wondering what CCP’s real intent was for the Rorqual and how much they can mine before things are an issue. Did CCP just think that something that could mine the same as 5 hulks would not become the de facto standard of mining? Did CCP envision 2-3 Rorquals in a belt of sub-cap miners? This seems to be the most plausible non tin-foil hat conclusion.
Querns of Goonswarm Federation had perhaps the best comment in the forums:
“Eh, yeah, I figured it was coming. The May MER should be interesting. It seems like we could probably save both our time and your time by meeting you guys halfway. What’s the maximum amount per day we should be permitted to mine?”
As this re-nerfing drags on I have to believe CCP envisioned the last option. 2-3 Rorquals sitting there boosting. Historically the Rorqual had been of limited use. Relegated to sitting in a POS remote boosting a fleet of miners. Sitting there burning heavy water and compressing their ore as they brought it back to the POS. They also had a dual role as a small poor-man’s jump freighter. The uses were extremely limited for a capital ship. CCP wanted a real use for the much maligned and little-used ship. So a purpose they gave it. They made it expensive too. Nothing like a nice juicy Nullsec miner target.
June Patch Changes
- About 9% less yield for Ore Excavators
- 12.5% lower speed for Ore Excavators
- About 11% longer cycle time for Ice Excavators
- 10% lower speed for Ice Excavators
Asteroid Cluster Anomalies
- 20 minutes for the Small Asteroid Cluster
- 1 hour for the Medium Asteroid Cluster
- 2 hours for the Large Asteroid Cluster variants
- 4 hours for the Enormous Asteroid Cluster variants
- 5 hours for the Colossal Asteroid Cluster variants
The Player Response
Let me preface the following with a reminder. CCP was repeatedly warned by the CSM that the original release of the Rorquals and Excavator Drones were far too over-powered. CCP said they were aware of this and they were doing it so people would use them. Read into that what you will.
The forum post isn’t eliciting a positive player experience from the replies in forums so far. There are over 21+ pages of mostly anger at CCP and CCP Fozzie more specifically. There are a few Grrrr Goons and a few indicating this change is great. If you look the anger isn’t isolated to Goons. Players are realizing this will affect other organizations and small groups more severely than it will impact Goonswarm.
As I have said in other articles extreme nerfing is a strategy gaming companies need to move away from. Games, where the player base buys the game and plays for a few months to a year, can better weather the nerf drama. In games like EVE Online where the player base is long-lived extreme nerfing has an overall detrimental impact. Over the years you eventually get a reputation for large mistakes feeding those in the player base who question the capabilities of the developer. The Rorqual fiasco will go down as another huge mishandling of players and items in the game. I remind you here that CCP was well aware the Rorqual was over-powered. When a developer moves forward with change and that level of awareness about the change they deserve every ounce of player vitriol they get.
CCP isn’t helping their case with players. After the first nerfs you already had tin-foil hat types claiming it was all to boost CCP profits by selling PLEX and Skill Injectors so players could get into the Rorqual faster. This nerf is now paired with the 15% sale on injectors just starting. With everyone threatening to extract Rorqual and mining skill you have to wonder if those tin-foil hat types might be on to something.
The result of this will be a capital-boosting ship with a yield little more than a hulk. The cost/risk ratio will be completely out of whack with yield. Small time miners will be affected the most. Players with limited play windows and few accounts will see a significant impact. This will extend time looking for what they need to mine and where to do it. Since time is what those players have as a limiter they will quit or move to greener isk pastures.
For the die hard miners with many accounts little is likely to change. They will control the timers and cherry pick the best ores as they hop from system to system. You can see this in Nullsec ice belts over and over today.
The player experience for the more casual player will be degraded.
Mining Anomaly Respawns
This one is directed at Goonswarm. Not because they are Goonswarm but because there is no other organization as large and as organized as Goonswarm in the game. They understand how to optimize game mechanics. I think the fear here is even with the Rorqual nerf getting close to a single Hulk and not really bearing out a meaningful change in the 6T monthly mining in Delve. Imagine if this change cuts that by 15%-20%. It’s not significant. CCP had to realize that even eliminating the rorqual would not significantly impact the mining in Delve.
Looking at the MER data these minerals are not being exported. Delve’s exports aren’t even high enough to register an amount. Imports on the other hand where 34.6 T in April. Second only to The Forge at 72.8T. With all that mining Delve is not even close to being self-sufficient. Above and beyond all this rorqual ruckus is a mineral balance issue that is not addressed by this change at all.
Mining is unbalanced. The ratio of refined minerals to what is needed is wildly out of whack. Players will continue to complain and some will quit and un-sub accounts. Most players will adapt. It’s what EVE players do.
The reality of the situation is the largest and most organized groups are going to be able to optimize the use of any change to the game. That’s reality. That’s real life. If you try to game mechanic around that you lose the “sandbox” designation. CCP is already dangerously close to if not already crossed that line.
Many are assuming Goonswarm is negatively impacted by this change. I would counter that with any group that has SOV in a large area based on per capita and can ensure a reasonable level of safety isn’t really going to see a significant impact. You will see more cherry picking drama but mining amounts are not going to significantly change for those large groups.
Malcanis’ Law (Thanks for the link Querns) will be in full effect. Large groups will continue to adapt and max/min whatever they want. Maybe that is why they keep growing.
The bottom line is we have more ships, more production, more mining, more reacting, more asteroid belts and more space than is needed by the current player base.
For those who do not mine and just rat….you’re next.