More Rorqual and Nullsec Mining Anomaly Nerfs on the Horizon

Erick Asmock 2017-06-02

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

Excavator Drones

  • 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 Effect

Drones

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.

Reality

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.

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Comments

  • Thomas Hagan

    Great article Erick!

    June 3, 2017 at 12:44 am
  • CK

    Can we call it a bait & switch scam by CCP yet?

    June 3, 2017 at 12:57 am
    • Erick Asmock CK

      You can….I danced around that. 😉

      June 6, 2017 at 4:26 am
  • Gee

    Well said Erick! though i would say that as a dynamic system eves natural resources and manufactured goods currently have no decay or depreciation factor at all, which is terribly unnatural for an efficient and holistic system that it strives to be.

    CCP has added some degree of capping with the changes to roid cluster respawn timers BUT and this is a big but, its hard to see how they’ll be able to work out if its those changes or the rorqual changes that affect the mining yields coming out of a region after these changes take effect.and so making subsequent iteration on it will be a blind stab in the dark.

    June 3, 2017 at 1:00 am
    • Erick Asmock Gee

      That challenge they have is that the only remaining change is to really remove the mining capability from the rorqual and make it a pure booster. Once that happens it becomes a cheap target that people can throw away. They really don’t have much recourse left if the Delve numbers are not significantly lower in the June MER.

      June 6, 2017 at 4:25 am
    • I still think it would be cool if CCP effectively did with resource spawn rates what they do with complex spawns: make it so that when you use a particular area exhaustively, the resources in that area are exhausted and you end up having to move somewhere else to get rich. Remember when people used to actually compete (as in, viciously) for resources? Those were the days…

      June 6, 2017 at 5:18 am
  • chuck

    Good article Erik, this all points back to one thing, CCP made a shit ton of money off of the original rorqual changes. Op success.

    June 3, 2017 at 1:46 am
    • Ryan Perry chuck

      I think that’s an unfair response: CCP didn’t make money with the changes, certainly not directly anyways, and unlikely in any fashion. This is a process we’ve seen CCP go through multiple times and I am surprised so many people are taken aback by it all. Hell, they even said there would be changes to them at some point as they knew more about how they would impact the game. We can’t honestly say that we weren’t warned.

      I’m not defending the fact that this change will impact others and probably wasn’t the best way of doing it, but I hope no one was under the allusion that things would stay the way they were released forever…

      June 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm
      • Erick Asmock Ryan Perry

        I think you are demonstrably wrong. I could document people I interviewed who used real money to buy skills and items only to have them nerfed significantly a few days later. The transfer of $ to PLEX to isk to get things in game is a direct impact to CCP income.

        Not every player spends time to read everything. Some just want to log in and play.

        It all comes down to the vibe you want to create for your game. Do you always want people upset, stressed out and threatening to quit? Or do you want players who are largely happy and enjoy playing your game?

        June 6, 2017 at 4:20 am
        • It’s just part of the cancer that is F2P game design. It was the same way with League of Legends– every time they make a new champion they come up with ever-more ludicrous abilities that the characters get to keep for a month or two before they’re either nerfed or replaced by an even-more-ridiculous champion (or both). Like literally in the beginning there’d be a champion with a six-foot dash move to close range and people were like, “Wow, cool!” A year later there’s champions that can rocket-jump 300 yards over walls while turning invisible and shit. It’s just stupid.

          We’d be foolish to think CCP wouldn’t engage in a bit of this behavior. At least they haven’t been as egregious as some other developers :

          June 6, 2017 at 5:14 am
        • Mintaki Erick Asmock

          That’s not making money from the changes: it’s an indirect effect from people making the decision to inject and do those things. I don’t think you can demonstrate that they intended that either. At best you can assume.

          June 7, 2017 at 12:24 am
  • Good read, thanks

    June 3, 2017 at 5:22 am
  • Pew Pew

    This is exactly why the game is most broken. Whenever CCP nerfs something people get upset about it. So anything which is introduced in a dumb way can’t be rolled back.

    Did you ever think that if they nerf everyone it really changes nothing for you personally?

    Like say there is a war between two 100 man corps. Each corp mines and makes their own ships. If the mining gets nerfed then both corps have less ships so both are relatively in exactly the same position.

    June 3, 2017 at 9:58 am
    • Rhivre Pew Pew

      I think these changes were a weird combo and feel like a knee-jerk.

      One of the changes at a time would be a good way to gauge effectiveness. Both together makes it difficult to see which is the one that is causing changes in behaviour.

      Also, if they want to impact the economy, they could, for example, increase mineral usage.

      June 3, 2017 at 12:18 pm
      • Erick Asmock Rhivre

        Or Balance the yield. I bet there is a lot of unsed trit in Delve that will never be used in another 20 years.

        June 6, 2017 at 4:14 am
    • Erick Asmock Pew Pew

      This article isn’t about me. 😉 I am not upset by the changes in per se. I think the point made was this impacts smaller NS entities to a greater degree than larger ones. That CCP was well aware they would have to significantly nerf the Rorqual before they released and did so just to get adoption knowing they would negatively impact players.

      I also have a general dislike for nerfing things you knew were OP and a proponent on more conservative enhancing than go big then nerf big.

      June 6, 2017 at 4:14 am
    • Fewer.

      June 6, 2017 at 5:04 am
  • Caleb Ayrania

    Nice a moderate points. 🙂

    June 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm
  • Mynas Atoch

    You are wrong about the Rorqal’s only role being to sit in a POS before the change. The de facto standard was two rorqals supporting a hulk/mackinaw/skiff fleet of 8-15 and a player built station or capital assebly arrays in the pos. One rorqal was in the pos running boosts and the other one hauling from belt to storage. Capital tractors were glorious. And where the miner would just warp to a pos for safety, the hauling rorqal had the option of jumping to a beacon. It was ALREADY an essential part of mining fleets – overbuffing it said volumes about the design team’s weakness in understanding their own game and the idiot players they gave voice to.

    June 3, 2017 at 8:09 pm
    • Erick Asmock Mynas Atoch

      Certainly an option on the two rorquals. My experience showed players using lesser ships to ferry. That is certainly not conclusive and you are correct in the possibility.

      June 6, 2017 at 4:09 am
  • So glad I spent a huge amount of money on a Rorqual before I quit EVE. Losing 8b or whatever it was on a ship that will now be equivalent to a Hulk is a real motivating factor to resubscribe. Fuck CCP and CCP Fozzie in particular: that dude is un-ironically worse than Greyscale ever was.

    June 4, 2017 at 4:16 am
    • Erick Asmock Ganthrithor

      There is much more to EVE. I am sorry you quit. I advocate time away from EVE every so often.

      Come back and have fun. EVE has many things that are fun. Help us help CCP to understand how to positively impact players rather than what they do today.

      June 6, 2017 at 4:28 am
      • TBH mining and industry were pretty much the only EVE things I hadn’t done yet, and in my last few months of EVE I did T1 and T2 production and mining. I’ve done enough PvE (belt ratting, anoms, plexing / exploration, Incursions… basically everything but WH farming) to know that it’s all repetitive dog shit, and I’ve done PvP for 11 years straight– everything from T1 cruiser PvP to massive fleet ops to solo-dropping stuff in supercaps.

        Last time I came back to the game I found the PvP seriously boring due to a combination of low stakes (everyone is rich, and people tend to fly a lot of small, garbage ships that aren’t fun to kill) and a profusion of various “taxi” hulls (travel ceptors, yachts, covert/nullified T3s, etc). Basically the only thing I witnessed that was at all rewarding or funny was people multiboxing smartbombing battleships and blowing up morons who warp to zero on gates in their taxiceptors, and even that failed to be fun enough to be worth the :effort:.

        I tried the whole making-and-selling-things thing and while I got into it enough to commission a Rorqual and was thinking about doing some cottage industry capital production (more for fun than profit), but I never ended up actually using the thing: first there was a war to mess about with (I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to make life miserable for TEST), and then real life stole my EVE time before I could even move my space guys back to Delve. So I have a virgin Rorqual sitting in station somewhere that’s never even been undocked.

        Sucks that it will be worthless, apparently. Oh well. Honestly I just don’t have the time to play EVE anymore, so it doesn’t really matter. If I end up with a bunch of spare time on my hands again, I’ll probably come back and find a way to make the money back, but it won’t be my mining in an 8b isk ship that only mines marginally more than a Hulk 😛

        June 6, 2017 at 5:01 am
  • Erick Asmock

    There is something to this. If I did not need the cynos I would have less accounts. When the new moon mining comes I will have at least 1/2 the accounts I pay for today. I think that change is going to be significant change for the negative in relation to accounts.

    I don’t mean that is a negative way. I just will not need those accounts to do what I do today. I will have adapted.

    June 6, 2017 at 4:23 am