The Ecosystem Report: Livestream Transcript

2020-09-27

Header Art By Quendan Comari

Editor’s Note: This is a transcript of the September 25 Ecosystem Report livestream, edited only to remove stutters or unforced repetitions and including an effort to provide appropriate punctuation to aid readability. The decision to publish this otherwise full transcript of the stream was taken in light of the significant nature of some comments made, and is provided for the sake of published referencing.

Carneros: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to CCP TV’s presentation of the ecosystem report. My name is Carneros, I’m your host today, and let me take a moment and introduce you to our guests. Looking at the stream here to see what we got: upper left corner, this is CCP Rattati, who’s our Lead Producer for EVE Online’s ecosystem. Then on the upper right corner, you have Caleb Ayrania, who’s a commentator for Push To Talk and Talking in Stations sometimes, and is CEO of Invisible Exchequer, and he’s also an EVE economist. Thank you for joining us.”

Caleb: “Hey guys.”

Carneros: “In the bottom right we have CCP Psych, who is Lead System Designer, and one of the authors of the dev blog today, and in the bottom left we have CCP Goodfella, who is a EVE Brand Director. Thank you very much guys. So, the big subject today was this bombshell of a devblog we got to see, and I should point out that it’s in a series of devblogs in a larger program that’s been continuing over time, I think we started about a year ago, is that right?”

Psych: “Almost – December 2019.”

Carneros: “Okay. I’m going to trust that you guys have all read, well you in the audience, obviously everyone on the stream has read the devblog. But I’m gonna trust that you guys out in the stream have also heard it, and then you know, let’s jump in, ask a few questions, I’m also going to take questions from chat, and we’re going to have a Q and A session dedicated to it, and then we’re going to pass on to an aftershow afterwards. And I’m getting comments that we need to increase our mic volume a bit, so I will speak louder into my mic, and CCP Tyr, if you can fix that along the way, that’d be great.”

CCP Tyr: “It’s at max.” 

Carneros: “Well, thank you. Okay, in the last dev blog, in March of this year, we described three phases: Shortage, redistribution, dynamic distribution. So am I understanding correctly that we’re at the end of shortage, and the beginning of redistribution, or is this actually part of both, am I right?”

Psych: “Almost. We’re still in the shortage phase, we’re still trying to reduce inventories, but we made a decision because we didn’t want to wait longer to start the process for the redistribution part, which is allocating resources in a very different way. And as we said, I’ve just come from a CSM meeting, I want to point out that—don’t burn the CSM, they had nothing to do with it—as in any other blog we’ve had with the resource distribution stuff, this is specifically the way we operate, and we have our reasons to keep the CSM in the dark. So please don’t start complaining to your CSM members about why they didn’t tell you or why didn’t they do anything. So yeah, we’re still in the shortage phase, we are adding the first steps for allocating resources in a very different way, and I can’t stress enough, this is a step, this is a transition, this is not a permanent thing, this not how things are gonna be from here on now. It’s a stepping stone. The way we said that in the blog in March, there are a lot of steps. There are three phases and there are multiple steps within each phase, and we’re trying to get somewhere. The first thing we’re trying to do is correct the mistakes of the past, and that’s the hardest part, and it’s the most painful one, but it’s required. I’m positive that the hardest part is gonna be behind us after this release, I’m confident that this will be the hardest of the steps we have to take so far and until we reach our goals.”

Rattati: “I think I’d like to point out that because it’s a multi-phase project and we have a very complex economy, and all of these are levers in the whole economy, and we simply can’t taint our experiment with changing all of them at the same time. So that is why it’s been rolled out in these phases. But, we learned something every time we’ve done it, and that’s why [redacted] or no, I’m sorry—doxxing again—CCP Psych is right, we are kinda seeing the end of the tunnel here, and I think we can start looking forward to very interesting changes, more I think ambitious changes, and not nerfs or perceived nerfs. I think this needed to happen. We needed to tackle ore, how ore works – part of why we had to build the foundation of the redistribution phase and the dynamics, is that we needed to change how ore DNA works, because otherwise we didn’t have the tools that we wanted to be able to do those things.”

Goodfella: “Are we still live?”

Rattati: “Did the stream crash? Oh wow, okay.”

Carneros: “It does look like the stream died. Can we do anything about that?”

CCP Tyr: “No, we’re live.”

Caleb: “It’s still up for me.”

Goodfella: “Yeah, okay. But if I can then just jump in and add, like CCP Psych was saying, before this started in December, the team is on a journey with this, there’s a clear plan in place with steps in between based on what’s happening, learnings, and lessons. That’s the main point. Whatever happens, there’s a plan behind it, everything is being observed.”

Carneros: “Okay, with that in mind, let’s go to some of our questions that we have prepared. So this week we saw the August 2020 Monthly Economic Report, very interesting. We saw that mining had in large part moved to Empire space, other than Oasa. Do you see mining moving in a meaningful way into low security space with this change?

Psych: “Define meaningful.”

Carneros: “Okay. It would have to be a lot larger than it is now for it to be meaningful.”

Psych: “Yes, we do expect that. We do expect to see increased mining activity in lowsec, whether it’s going to be meaningful is more difficult to answer. Because I wouldn’t define meaningful as simply having more volume, and having more activity, it depends on what is happening around that activity. As with the conversation we had earlier with the CSM, another thing we already know is what will happen to the people already in lowsec, is that it’s gonna affect them, is the way that it’s gonna affect them a problem? So it’s not as easy as saying ‘there’s this one number that we moved up, and everything is fine.’ It depends, but that goes both ways – if, for example, if we forced a playstyle to change or adjust, that doesn’t necessarily mean that is a bad thing. We need to evaluate it according to what else is happening in the environment around that. What we’re doing with these specific changes is about this box called lowsec, it’s a very specific space, it’s very different from anything else. So you can call this not a gambit, not a test, but it’s an opportunity for us to examine what exactly is gonna happen, how the players will behave from all parts of the universe when there is so much attention around this small part of the universe. And that’s where this is not a permanent thing comes into play. It might be, it might not. This is where we will evaluate what is good for the general health of the game, according to the data that we will see.” 

Rattati: “I think this offers a new opportunity for players. Whether you live in lowsec or you want to expand into lowsec, it’s just a completely different challenge. It hasn’t really been done for a very long time. Will there be mining fleets, will nullsec move in, will they be able to control space? No, so what’s gonna happen? Will pirates start selling Nocxium? I don’t know, we’ll see, but we want to provide geographical distribution, we want there to be a meaningful reason to be in all of these spaces, and this is what we have implemented.”

Caleb: “This might inspire me to add a question that is related to that, and that I didn’t write down but that a lot of the player base has responded with. They all mention that this is gonna hurt the little guy. It’s just that, as far as I can tell, that’s really not a valid argument, because when you see the way this whole thing landed when it comes to the mining price index, that really doesn’t fit with the little guy getting hurt, right? He’s actually getting sped up in terms of how he catches up. Could you comment on the redistribution will potentially either make that better, or make it even easier to acknowledge and feel as a new player?”

Psych: “So, this is one of the most difficult questions to answer, the little guy, and I’m not – I won’t agree nor disagree with your statement, but what I’ve said in the past is that what we’re messing with is macro scale, the goal we’re trying to achieve is macro scale, which means we have to look at everything with a bird’s eye view, which means the higher level of what is happening across the universe. That does have the pitfall that we might miss what has happened to the little guy, so I hear that, it’s not something that we shouldn’t be concerned about. As for the fact, if we’ve actually hurt them them or not, we don’t really have any data that says yes, the little guy is hurt. And as you said, with the MER and with the indexes, it feels that no, actually everybody – the time spent mining, at least the last six months has increased the value for the income of the miner, of the single miner.”

Rattati: “Exactly, because scarcity raises prices, and miners are now benefiting from that, and we see no reason why that’s not going to keep happening.”

Psych: “So to answer your question about how, if you can phrase it again, what the distribution…?”

Caleb: “What’s the next phase going to do, because the next phase as we can see is really about where do you actually get the different types of ore, how is that going to influence, call it a barrier of entry to these things for a new player? I know that people like to say that, well, it’s a downside for a new player, but it’s really only if he’s trying trying to do everything himself, especially if he has to source all the minerals for say, something that requires pretty much every type, then he’s going to have a little bit of a difficulty, so how will this impact that type of gameplay, and how is it then eventually tied into the next phases of this whole rollout, which will be things like industry and related areas?”

Psych: “So, one of our goals is that we don’t at this point want people to be self-sufficient. This is a goal we’ve stated, we have put it out there, it’s known, it’s public, we’re not hiding it, it’s what we’re driving towards, which means if you want to be self-sufficient you will need to do hard work. Going into what the next steps are, and how we’re gonna move forward, it depends. Especially for the very very next step for resource redistribution, and it depends on what will happen in lowsec. So this place we’re in now, or we will be in a couple of weeks when the release comes, is a milestone. What you’re seeing now, we didn’t come up with this idea last month. This was actually a table I had on my PC back in December, before even we did the asteroids, the first asteroid pass. So this is an actual milestone of what we’re trying to achieve, because we’re getting clearer on what the goals, what the end result will be. That doesn’t mean that we have set our mind that this is the new status quo, this is the new world order, and nothing’s gonna change that, no. And that’s why we needed to do steps and that’s why we still have a lot of steps. Imagine if we did all those changes, like moon mining and the first sov anomaly changes and what is happening now in one go. It would be chaos, it would be a mess, we wouldn’t even know what we were doing. Even if we did, we wouldn’t even know how to read the data that was happening and that we collect out of that. So there are more steps. That doesn’t mean that every step is defined 100%, so depending on what is gonna happen now, what’s gonna happen in lowsec, what’s gonna happen in the rest of the universe and how people will react, that will define the next steps, because we keep our opportunities open, we keep our options open when it comes to the specifics. What we do know is that we’re gathering and we know or we’re going towards the place where we know the numbers, we know how much does the universe need to be able to provide, what is the actual demand from this player base for a healthy economy in EVE, in New Eden, and this is not something we can just talk about and say ‘well I think it should be three kilos’. It can’t be done like that, we need concrete numbers, and as we stated in the March devblog, there are inputs that change those numbers, and we need to be able to verify and validate those inputs and how much they affect those numbers, because that’s the only way we can get to a dynamic distribution era.”

Rattati: “I’d like to address, I think, the perception that we’re throwing stuff at the wall, I think is the short description of it, not even close to it. We are marching along a multi-step journey that we planned, started out a year ago, it’s all highlighted on our internal documentation, and you actually haven’t seen nothing yet. We have lots of things coming out, many different changes, and a lot of those changes will validate what we’re doing. So I think trust is a hard thing to ask for, but it’s definitely something – the game will be in a healthy state once we’re over, once we’re done with this.”

Goodfella: “I think with the track record since December, there have been clear steps taken in the same direction. Whether people agree with them or not, that’s definitely very valid, I mean to each his own on that subject, and this sensitive and difficult and complex subject. There is a plan in place, and I think just looking at the track record of the team you can see that. Obviously the next steps of the plan cannot be shared, first of all because it depends on how things progress, so instead of sharing a plan and then having to change it – the dates or the content or whatever, it’s better just to stick to our guns. Second of all, you can just look at the market from today after the announcement, to see the impact of the announcement and what it has on the market. So if we announce everything in the plan, it’s not going to have the true impact on the market, if that makes sense, but definitely very valid things to ask and to question.”

Rattati: “Absolutely. One thing on the CSM feedback, we talk to the CSM every day about all the things that we’re doing, except these changes, and we’re working very well with them across the board. We leave them out of this because of the implication. If you know what is going to happen to the universe, it is simply very difficult data to have as an insider, and we just don’t want to put that responsibility and potential, I would say distrust, from the rest of the community that they actually had this information earlier than anyone else. So they were informed at the exact same time as everyone else. And that was a conscious decision that has nothing to do with working with the CSM.”

Goodfella: “They are experts and it’s fantastic to work with them and get their feedback. One thing also that’s been discussed, people having concerns about the impact this will have on new players. First of all I think it’s fantastic how concerned the community is about new players, and I’m not trying to be funny or anything; I genuinely think it’s awesome because it’s a journey we’ve been on with the community since Amsterdam 2019, when we talked about it there. This will of course also be monitored, has been monitored, and I have a graph to show later in terms of the DAU of new players coming into the game. This is of course a very valid concern, and fantastic that it’s being flagged, but this is also a known thing, and not really a thing to worry about.”

Rattati: “On the feedback to the CSM, obviously they weren’t happy, but that’s something that we understand. This is a big change, we understand that there is a reason to be emotional, there’s a reason to have to re-evaluate a lot of things, re-plan a lot of things, and without context, it may be inconceivable at the time to see the light at the end of the tunnel but that’s just something that we understand. We know that it’s hard, but I think you are all going to basically get it when you see what’s next, when everything’s out in public. But like Goodfella said, everytime we do something, it taints the data in that sense. When this blog went out, things happened on the market immediately, so we can’t measure anything else when we’re doing that. So now we just have to wait this out, and then we’re gonna make the next change, and keep on going.”

Caleb: “I’m a little bit curious about this, because some of the things that have been commented on and discussed is really about the next phases of this, but have you actually done some preliminary crunching of numbers when it comes to how the balance of trade between these different areas that will now have almost exclusivity in the specific types of minerals – are the numbers actually making sense? Because as you already know, the mineral baskets required for different types of ships and hulls and fittings are a little bit off, right? So this whole distribution as someone has already crunched is maybe a little bit misbalanced, as if it doesn’t hit everyone equally hard, so how about that when it comes to logistics, moving this around, making sure that there’s no area that has a massive benefit when it comes to the trade balance?”

Rattati: “Absolutely, this is fantastic.”

Psych: “You’re correct about the statement that not everything is balanced, not everyone is hit the same. But the question you’re asking can’t really be answered now, because the answer will be different in two months, and that’s when we’re actually going to answer it, with a very specific change, and in some cases maybe before that.”

Rattati: “I can take the line on… So we’re actually making geography more important, in this sense, because now you’re basically saying you have to set up your industry pipeline either close or far from highsec, if you want that tritanium. How do you set up your Tritanium source – do you set up a corporation, do you buy it from the market, how do you transport it and all that, so now geography actually starts to make more of a difference. Delve, close to highsec markets, do you wanna be in safety and far away from everyone? Okay, then your logistics pipeline or industry pipeline is farther and more dangerous, so now it actually starts to make more sense, so that’s one. Second of all, lowsec becomes a thing to deal with, properly to deal with. Now you have to maybe negotiate with them, set up operations etcetera. So there’s a lot of things that change with geographical location and that’s what we want to do. We want to make space different, that’s one part of these things.”

Carneros: “Okay, speaking of space being different, talk to us about wormholes. What’s the story on mining in wormholes, how do you envision it in this phase of your continuum?”

Rattati: “Wormholes already have T3, so they already have this geographical difference from other systems, so that’s one. But wormholes is a part of the solution, they will be addressed. We’ve talked, we’ve alluded to it before, but there’s definitely a change coming that will kind of validate that.”

Caleb: “I think this is one of the weaknesses of all of this when when you’re looking at this in isolation, and it becomes very difficult because you guys are saying you have these things down the pipe, but it’s not necessarily easy for someone that has a specific gameplay style to see how this is going to benefit them, and maybe they don’t necessarily have the patience to wait, to see that benefit to hit them in two months, or three months, when the effects of what you guys are doing is actually going to start benefiting them. How are you going to make them feel comfortable that the things that you have in the pipe, not the ones a month from now but also the ones three months from now, because it’s one thing to just say ‘oh trust me, we’ve got this under control’. I personally trust you because I’ve seen kinda the direction maybe more than others do because I look at this from a very big macro-economic point of view, but I can understand the suspicion, right? What are you going to do with these people?”

Rattati: “Trust needs to be earned, for sure, and we’ve probably let you guys down before with lack of iteration. So I think what we have committed to is to react very quickly to this, the launch, within a week, two weeks, three weeks, so we’ll be monitoring the situation in high detail. Then we basically, we just say, stick it out, it’s going to get better, we’re closer to the end of the tunnel. And if you choose to, let’s say, discontinue, if you had Athanors back in the day or some big operations that you say basically ‘we don’t trust you, we’re just going to stop doing this’, feel free to pick it up again. But my message at the time was stick it out, maintain operations, maybe reduce your investment until it becomes clear, but my recommendation is stick it out. If you don’t, you’ll be back when you see the big picture.”

Goodfella: “Yeah, we are… I know this is not the exact specific details that everybody wants. I totally understand that. We are setting up EVE for a third decade, we’ve talked about it before, these are steps that hurt for some people. Not going to brush that off. But at the end of the day, it would be an extremely valid business strategy to just write off EVE into the sunset, not worry about these things, EVE still has a healthy [EPITAPH?]. But these are steps being taken so that we can see EVE in the third decade.  I get it, I know this is not the exact detail that people want, but like CCP Rattati said, if they don’t believe it now, I know they’ll just come back when they see it come to fruition.”

Carneros: “Rather than jumping all the way down to walking away, let’s talk, let’s back up for a moment and address one or two fears that people have. Let’s talk about botting, because it looks to me like putting key things in highsec with Orcas is likely to lead to botting. What can you say about that, how is that being addressed, we need to keep a level playing field here.”

Rattati: “So, we’re planning to come out with more information very soon about our anti-botting or anti-cheating operations. We have been literally doubling the team on anti-cheat, we have been making huge investments into both software, external software and making our own, and we’re rolling out new detections, new methods every day, so we have never been better equipped to fight bots than at this very moment. One of the things that we have been doing, and I think it’s okay to share this, is that we’ve been trying to fix high-impact botting first. So we haven’t been focusing on visible botting, if you understand the difference. There’s a lot of people who maybe see a bot doing Tritanium, or a suspected bot, I guess, in highsec. But that bot isn’t doing a huge harm to the ecosystem, there are worse offenders out there. So what we have been doing is focusing on the high-impact botting for the last nine months, and the results of that are super clear. We can see that RMT ISK price has more than doubled in the last year. So we’re making a meaningful impact on the ecosystem’s health by fixing high-impact botting. But it’s understandable that not everyone sees that when they jump into a system and they see suspected botters jump or warp to safety, I think that’s understandable. So one of the key initiatives that we’re actually focusing on right now is to improve botting detection in highsec, specifically, we want to kind of eliminate this illusion that new players come in and all they see is bots, so we’re going to redouble our efforts on that. We’re actually working on a new reporting mechanism as well, so we’ll hopefully deploy that soon, so that we can use the report ISK spammer thing for more than just ISK spamming which isn’t a thing any more. So it’s going to be more visible, and we’re hopefully going to get way more bot reports from highsec once we get that out.”

Goodfella: “To add to that, I think there’s actually some players in the EVE community who are monitoring RMT pricing as well just to see our efforts. NoizyGamer I know sometimes does blogs on it, and it’s fantastic to see the interest from the community on this. I think it was the end of July when we released a security blog on the progress of things, the number of bot reports submitted, the number of bots banned, and I think it’s like 20% of all bot reports end up in a ban, which if you compare it to other games is actually really high. Which means that EVE players are taking this seriously, not just spamming it randomly but are helping us in the fight against bots, which is just vital.”

Rattati: “On the specific topic of Orcas, we’ve actually talked about that as well, Orcas are… We want to take a look at Orcas and Rorquals and what their true purpose is in the ecosystem and the fleet doctrines. It’s a difficult ecosystem, because of suicide ganking in highsec, so we’re taking a look at it.”

Psych: “It’s the other part of the coin, right? It’s the actual mining, it’s how you get the resources.” 

Rattati: “And we actually want to get Rorqs back out there, that’s a stated goal. We just needed to take them off the market for a while, while we fixed the foundation. Not in the same way, a different way.”

Carneros: “Okay, well that’s good news.”

Caleb: “Related to that, do you have any comments on… some people have talked about the risk of inflation, because currently a lot of AFKish or even botting activity is directly on ISK printing and pure ISK and nothing else, which will potentially have a compounding impact on this current price increase on things like minerals, so having that and then the added effect of too much ISK coming in compared to resources, we will have a price inflation risk. What are you looking at, is this going to be something that is considered soon?”

Psych: “Yes. The short answer is yes.”

Goodfella: “Just worth calling out – the people that buy illegal ISK are 100% part of the problem also.”

Caleb: “Someone has mentioned that when it comes to something like both resource gathering and if you also start hitting on something like ISK printing income, this will disproportionately push nullsec alliances, because of course there’s always the ‘adapt or die’, but it does actually push them into a position where their revenue streams are not as easy to work around. Have you guys considered where is the secondary or alternative income stream for these entities going to come from, where are they going to be able to get the money that it takes to run big alliances?”

Psych: “Well that is assuming that nullsec and sov space will remain as it is today.”

Caleb: “So that’s a soon™.”

Rattati: “Now let’s talk about this at high level. So, we want hard choices for nullsec alliances. Let’s say, theoretically, that there’s a scarcity in Nocxium, and there’s no way to get it. We don’t want self-sufficiency, at all, but if we were to grant some kind of self-sufficiency, it wouldn’t be a complete self-sufficiency. Let’s say that you could, with sov anomalies, and now I’m just designing out of my head, so no commitment, but what if you have to make a choice. So if you upgrade your iHub, then you can choose between getting Tritanium or Nocxium or something, to actually control a bit the flow of minerals into sov. That’s something that could be done as a way of redistribution. We could also have randomly spawning things in nullsec, where you actually get a huge batch of Tritanium in a comet or whatever, there’s all kind of ways to get these things back into nullsec so they can harvest it and make money off it and utilise. But we have to have a geographical location specific in the universe for that source before we can actually start giving it out to everyone.” 

Psych: “Yeah, we need to make room, if you will. But one thing that I think we can share is that close to what the end goals look like is for sov space, there needs to be a meaning for you to have to control the space. And the meaning that we are aiming at, hopefully, is choice. Because sov space will be, ideally, the only place that you can have a choice. Or, if you want, an easier choice. That’s assuming with the details of the dynamic distribution which, it’s a lot of steps to get there, but choice is one of the most important things that we want for sov space.”

Rattati: “A lot of the twitch chat is projecting, or trying to figure out a way, when I say ‘let’s bring Rorquals back’, it doesn’t mean into this new norm. It’ll be a new normal, with Rorquals, new roles, and with then obviously some purpose for them, not in this exact mining or mineral distribution. So, it all works together. We’re not saying… This isn’t the fixed future. We’re adding more into the game in the next steps.”

Carneros “Everyone’s curious to know when this is going to be ready, and…”

Rattati: “It’s ever evolving, EVE is never done.”

Goodfella: “To CCP Rattati’s point there, just look at how the economy, the meta, everything was in September last year when we started doing rapid iterations on balance changes, started tackling the economy, started being more hands on with botting, compared to where we are now. Totally different landscape, of course it’s going to be a totally different landscape one year from now. But of course, I think it’s fantastic that people are speculating about the Rorqual, and starting theorycrafting and everything. There’s no reason to panic on that, or anything now.”

Caleb: “Goodfella, now that you’ve brought it up yourself, I will actually have to segue a little into what was done earlier. Is there any chance, because now the effects of cooling down the market – that whole patch actually did its job – can we get some of the high-frequency trading back? Because if we get volatility back in the economy from something like this, it might actually be a good idea to not have a modification cost that is massively disincentivising.”

Goodfella: “I think it’s great feedback. I will discuss it with everybody that’s involved. I don’t have any answers right now, but this kind of stuff is fantastic to bring to us.”

Caleb: “It’s just that we lost a lot of the day trading types, and if we are splitting up space and making differences in highsec space again, and differences between the different types of space, and even potentially differences in the future of regions in null, we need the ability to actually trade a little bit faster than we are right now.”

Rattati: “We’ll take a look.”

Psych: “That’s a fair point.”

Rattati: On that, the diversity, it’s one of the things we’re striving for in the ecosystem as well is a diverse meta, and I think if anyone takes a look at the, what is it, 49T, I can’t remember…”

Carneros: “49-U6U, two nights ago.”

Rattati: “Yeah, that battle. You can see that the diversity in those fleets is actually really amazing, and that is not random. It’s a lot of work by the ecosystem teams to actually try to get it into a healthier state. We were not in a healthy state a year ago, and I challenge anyone to say that the ecosystem was in a healthy state a year ago as well. So, I think it’s difficult sometimes to remember how it was back in the day, we are everywhere, across the board, much better, in a much better state.”

Carneros: “I might point out, though, that some of those ships lost in that are irreplaceable in today’s ecosystem. The only way you can replace them is stockpiles of previously built ships or previously mined minerals. What would it take to… how long would one have to mine to collect the stuff to build a Caldari Rokh battleship, for example? It’s not sustainable at the rate we were operating at 49-U6U the other night. Sorry if my microphone is too low.”

Goodfella: “Just to jump in there, I think the key here, Carneros, this is just a very good discussion point and I know I saw this in other places just before we went on stream – I think the key here is also the current part of your description, the current ecosystem. Like the guys have been saying, like CCP Psych was saying, this is the….”

Rattati: “Not the new normal.”

Goodfella: “Yes, exactly, and this is going up very soon. This is the darkest days, we’re in the area of those days, like CCP Psych was saying, so that would be my immediate answer to your question or comment.”

Psych: “I was about to ask, when? You want an answer to that for now, two months ago, three months in the future, a year in the future? Because it will be a different answer, so that’s why I was smiling and didn’t really reply.”

Carneros: “Roger. Okay, so we have to be patient, this is one moment on a timeline. Things are going to get better, we’re just in the medicine treatment phase of this recovery, so to speak.”

Caleb: “I’m curious about something that Rattati just said, that ‘how bad it was’. Have you guys considered doing something equivalent to a longer session or a devblog explaining how bad it actually was, and what specific things it is that you’re aiming to actually resolve? Because it’s been in the devblogs but it’s very vague, so people that don’t necessarily know what you mean when you say it’s completely out of whack, it need some explanation.”

Goodfella: “I think that’s a great question, I think it’s just much better to look ahead instead of dwell on the past, and discuss the past, and point fingers at the past, or whatever. Since December, the team is on a journey to change the ecosystem of New Eden. People, not even everybody, some people have not liked the changes but this is the way forward, and changes are being made instead of dwelling on the past or whatever, I don’t think personally that’s the way to go.”

Rattati: “I think it’s well worth mentioning that EVE hasn’t been, EVE the game and its player base, it’s numbers, haven’t been in this good a state for a long time. We are the healthiest we’ve been for a very long time.”

 Goodfella: “Yep. CCP Tyr, can you just show the different…”

Carneros: “The DAU charts?”

Goodfella: “Yeah.”

Carneros: “That’s insider-speak for Daily Active Users. I think CCP Tyr might have something for us to show. Not that one, bro, yeah, that one.”

Goodfella: “So I’m going to open up the stream and see what’s being shared.”

Carneros: “There are three colours there you need to explain to us.”

Goodfella: “Yes, okay. So this is business metrics for EVE Online, which is also very important to discuss. This shows the daily active users of five-to-ten year old players, ten-to-fifteen year old players, and fifteen-plus year old players. EVE Online does not have a long-term retention problem. In fact, the baseline of this DAU group has never been higher. Of course there are spikes where we do big login campaigns and such, but that’s just the fact.”

DAU of players from 5-10, 10-15, and 15+ years of play

Goodfella: “If you go to the next for me please. So this here is the problem. There are not enough people becoming one year old veterans of EVE – this is DAU for one-to-five year old veteran players. If you go to the next one. This has been a big part of our focus, improving the early journey for EVE players so we can get more players into the next age group, then the next age group, and then the next age group. This is the DAU of one week, one week to one month, etcetera. It’s a layer cake, and you can see how more and more players are going into the later stages of this group, and then with our continuous effort in the NPE that started a bit more than one year ago, you will see the older groups of players grow. Of course the whole world being locked down helps numbers, like obviously, everybody is fully aware of that.”

DAU of players between 1 and 5 years of play

Rattati: “Not before November ‘19.”

Goodfella: “Yes, exactly. But this is a trend that we’ve been seeing for a longer time, and there are other ways also to look at it. And this is one part of the journey, improving the NPE, and also setting up the EVE ecosystem so that it is better for new players both to join and also to stay in EVE. In terms of just pure business numbers actually again, sorry to always call you out, NoizyGamer did a blog on… He always listens to the quarterly earnings for Pearl Abyss and writes a report, he has written a blog about EVE Online’s Q2 earnings, so I just encourage everybody to take a look at that, and then August was a record month for a long time in terms of numbers as well. So things are looking good for EVE, we just announced yesterday Japanese localisation, re-entering that territory, we’re not focusing there on just translating it into Japanese, period, but better understanding the players there, getting more players to join etcetera. Then after Japan we will move on to the next territory to continue to add more players to EVE.”

DAU of players from 0-30 days, 31-60 days, 61-90 days, 91-180 days, and 181-365 days of play

Carneros: “We also had some really, I want to call out Angry Mustache for a really good post today, where he thoughtfully asked a number of questions. I’ve put down where I put that…”

Rattati: “I have the reddit open here. I’m actually gonna answer that after this talk or maybe tomorrow morning, but those points are all very valid, they’re all very well thought of, and when I look at it, our plan has something as an answer for all of these concerns. That’s how I see it. So go ahead, look at that thread, and these are all things that we have already identified, and they’re all part of the plan as to how to address those things, and fix them in some cases, stop them when they need to get stopped, but mostly this is basically the problem space that we’re looking at.”

Goodfella: “I think also there just to shout out, us and so many people are monitoring what the community says, whether it’s on reddit or forums or discord, different discord channels. I think the ideas and the feedback and the discussion is fantastic – not everyone agrees with what we’re doing, very valid. People are entitled to their opinions. But we are monitoring this feedback, and always welcome cool ideas or suggestions or whatever.”

Caleb: “I’d just like to, for my part, finish on a bit of an important issue, and I know that it’s kinda been there a little bit, but to Rattati, I know I’m not going to try and give you a flashback, but I’m going to say pretty much the same as I think I said last time. Are you aware that this shock to the system, everything at one, a devblog with this much consequence, is maybe not the best way to handle ecosystem and economy changes, because the player base is basically going to react exactly the way they’ve been doing? Of course you’re getting a lot of feedback, but do you see what I meant when I said ‘trying to introduce these things in smaller steps’, so we don’t get this explosive shock to the system. I just really don’t want people to leave the game because they don’t trust you.”

Rattati: “Yeah. I think… So, all at once, we don’t learn anything, and it’s very unpredictable, so I don’t think that’s the right idea. Some people might, and actually advocated, let’s do just everything at the same time. Rip the band-aid off, this is the new future, let’s get it done. I don’t think that would be the right way to do it because we have to learn, because this is a dynamic system that depends on player input. If this were an MMO without player input, it’s much easier. You can nerf all the dungeons in World of Warcraft, it doesn’t change anything. You know you set all the NPC prices beforehand. This doesn’t work in that way. We have a complex economy, it’s more complex than any other game in the universe, in the world, same thing, except maybe. But that’s not the right way. I think prolonging it also, with small cuts, like a thousand paper cuts, would also be a problem. I think reducing gas one month, and then the next month, and it just becomes a never-ending cycle of nerfing, or perceived nerfing, to playstyles. So I think in retrospect I don’t think it could have been done in a different way, and I think now we’re at the end – maybe not the end but mostly, we still have to react to what is happening and what’s going to happen after this change – but I think this has been a year of change, not even, nine months. We’ve seen things happen slower and faster in EVE over the course of the years, and I think we’ve actually been quite proliferant in what we’re doing, and a lot of the things that we have been doing have been set up, shelved, and ready for release. So that’s how we can roll out faster if we want to in the near-term future.”

Goodfella: “I actually think it may be less controversial, I don’t know. I just think the time to market here is something that could be debated in terms of us talking about it today, but it going live in the middle of October, it will linger on now as a discussion instead of it just starting. I think that’s more of a valid thing, I think Rattati was spot on when it came to it’s just incredibly challenging to do this, but I think they’ve found a good size limit for these updates.”

Caleb: “I was not arguing against the changes at all, I think everything has hit pretty much exactly in a similar area that I expected and would have wanted. I’m just sure that it would have been easier to swallow this pill if there had been a little bit of an upside, a little bit of a ‘every time something changed, there was bad, bad and then good.’ It’s just psychologically, this is really like smacking the player base, and some can tolerate it, this is the whole resilience thing I know that CCP Ghost is such a fan of, but not all of our player base is equally resilient and equally adaptable. So there is a bit of a risk of losing them if you don’t also give them a bit of a lollipop when they need to take the medicine.”

Rattati: “Yep, I agree. But we only have a limited amount of resources, we can’t do all of the things that we want to do at the same time, we’re fixing all kinds of things across the game that you don’t see, necessarily, like that aren’t a part of the resource gathering changes or that part. My, or our, attention is across Talos, the anti-cheating perspective, and we also have a lot of teams that are churning out content, and we can’t forget that. Team Ra, all of these teams are putting out interesting gameplay all the time, Team Event Horizon, Triglavian Invasion, all of these are investments into the game, and I think just that fact, the fact that the player base is growing, the business has never been better, we’ve never been in a better place with botting. I think it just all points in the same direction. We are doing better, and we are investing a lot of money and resources into making this game, because we want to make it last literally forever. We want to get to the third decade, and nothing that I’ve seen or heard here today makes me feel differently.”

Carneros: “One of the things we talked about in a previous devblog, when we worked on the moon mining minerals, was that there would be a use for R4s coming up in the future. Any progress yet on that?”

Psych: “Yes, definitely yes.”

Rattati: “Plenty of progress.”

Carneros: “Okay. We’re looking forward to that. At the moment I just stick it in a hangar and wait for it, it’s just a pretty number.”

Rattati: “[laughs] You’re stockpiling.”

Carneros: “What about the mining changes pushing us more towards the Tech 2 ship meta, such as Heavy Assault Cruisers, Muninns. Do we see a solution for that coming up soon?”

Rattati: “So the HAC meta is being looked at by a different team, Team Talos, they are investigating – not from a resource perspective – but just how it works in the meta. So I think everyone is, well, a lot of people are tired of the oppressive HAC meta. We’re just taking a look, it probably needs pruning, we just need to find a good alternative. What is that ship role, what is that class role, is it encroaching on other classes? Can you separate them, can we make something more meaningful as a second option. Just literally what we’ve been doing with the supercap meta, and we can see that healthy diversity is clear. FAXes, supercarriers, titans, dreadbombs, these are all starting to work better as a rock/paper/scissors trifecta rather than the ‘who has more titans wins’ at the moment.”

Carneros: “That’s true, dreadbombs are a lot of fun. But I will say that who has no titans loses in today’s EVE. Hopefully we don’t show that.”

Caleb: “I did get a little bit of a question and I’ve read some of the comments on this before, but these changes are potentially not going to scare away sheep, but some of the resource gathering could tank even further before they pick up again. Since a lot of that has historically been a little bit of a content driver and something that brought PvP, what does this potentially do to the PvP in areas like nullsec and well, pretty much everywhere because you can’t kill Orcas in highsec? PvP took a big hit at the last phase, right, how are you guys considering to, I would call it fix, PvP and maybe put other incentives? Because we were discussing that maybe one of the main problems of a lot of the PvP is related to something I think Alizabeth wrote on INN, that the loot fairy is not very nice to PvP lifestyles. Have you considered looking at other ways to incentivise and motivate and drive PvP except hunting sheep?”

Psych: “I think we talked about this the last time, or at least one thing that is coming, right?”

Rattati: “Well, what we have been focusing on is trying to find small roaming gameplay, PvP, that’s what we want to support, and we have a couple of things in the pipe for specifically addressing that.”

Goodfella: “If I can just, or are there more questions?”

Rattati: “I think on the stream there’s a lot of wormhole concerns, and I think that’s part of the catch-all ‘we’re giving value to everyone’, and we definitely intend to give value to wormholes as well in the right amount. So there is no reason to panic, even if you don’t have one of the resources in the devblog.”

Carneros: “There have been questions about gas mining as well, some in wormholes, some in K-space, both of them.”

Rattati: “Psych, maybe you can expand on the two different approaches.”

Psych: “What is the question? Is there a specific question or do you want a comment on the changes?”

Carneros: “Well, because the questions have all been fairly vague, go ahead and go with a comment.”

Psych: “So, the changes that we’re doing with everything that is not ores at this point is what we did with ores in December, where we touched asteroids in a way that didn’t really matter. Back in December, the change didn’t really affect anything, and we knew that. It was preparing for something bigger, for example the removal of Veldspar from nullsec. That was one of the first changes, and that was just to pave the road ahead, and as you can see now, Tritanium is not existing in nullsec, that was the idea back from December. With gases and ice, we are at that step. We know some things that are coming, and it’s the same process of evaluating how much is enough with the current demand, how much is actually being supplied, and how much is available. So those three things are being estimated, and we are adjusting in a way that when we introduce some other changes, we will be in a better place to understand the numbers that we will need to hit for the dynamic distribution. I’m expecting a follow-up question, I’m not sure if this is clear enough.”

Rattati: “I just wanted to add that we also wanted to add more exploration upside for new players. So we want to also incentivise that as a thing to do for new players regardless of the corporation status, if they’re in a corporation they can always provide value, and one of those things was to actually do what a lot of new players think is the most fun in the game, or at least the most appealing part of the game, is exploration, scanning down wormholes and huffing gas, if you will. So I think that’s something we wanted to give more value to as well.”

Carneros: “Okay, and then the fullerite gas on the wormhole side? Fewer spawns, larger spawns, I guess that’s so there’s more chance that the NPCs show up to shoot you, is that what that is, making it harder to ninja-mine it?”

Psych: “No, at this point it’s more about clearing the space, and allocating more specific resources across that space.” 

Caleb: “Maybe back to Rattati a little bit on the same topic, are you actually looking at putting some T3 utility boosts back in the game to fit with the whole stormchaser changes, right? So that trade balance for wormholes gets there in a meaningful way, so that they have something that is not only unique but unique and valuable, because right now it’s not as valuable as it should be or needs to be in the future.”

Pysch: “That’s the idea.”

Rattati: “I think T3s became a side-grade to other ships that kind of encroached on them, so I think we need to find something that makes T3 even more interesting. I don’t want to say more powerful, but at least more interesting, so they actually have a strong niche. And contrary to what twitch chat thinks, exploration is something that is just very… It’s what drives people in the sci-fi genre a lot, that is the first thing that people say when they are surveyed about what they want to do in EVE. They don’t want to do mining, they grow into some of these, but they kind of all enter the game with this exploration, they want to travel and just the idea of scanning down a wormhole, going into it, getting ganked by someone or finding sleepers or whatever you do in that phase. It is very meaningful to new players to build on that. Exploration is key. All of the sci-fi brands I think build on that – Star Trek, ‘the undiscovered, what is that for me’, even if it’s not undiscovered for the rest of the population of EVE, you are discovering it yourself for the first time.”

Goodfella: “Yeah, we’re doubling down on it in marketing because it’s working, 100%.”

Carneros: “Okay, we’ve done a good job going through questions, and people are continuing to put questions in stream chat and also PMing me and us in various forms, very helpful, thank you. There’s an interest in seeing more information about the botting, the anti-botting, there’s questions being asked about adding moon minerals to capital construction, you know, balancing again, Tech 1 versus Tech 2 versus Tech 3, y’know, all good questions people are interested in.”

Rattati: “I’ll shed more light on botting in a botting report that we’re planning, so that will handle that specifically. On the other things, those are great ideas – theorycrafting is always fun. I think one of the things that Angry, it’s hard for me to say this username, it’s hard to lend gravitas to someone called Angry Mustache, but I’ll still try. But the last sentence really nails the whole thing, like, by having capitals and supercapitals not in a different industry lane, no one saw this coming. The original design intent was that there would be a handful of titans in the universe, but then we didn’t. But when it’s balanced in the same way as everything else, it’s very hard to contain. So I think that’s absolutely the problem, now it’s just how do we figure out an elegant way back to something that’s sane, if you will.”

Caleb: “How about the related topics to that, right? Infinite docking, that basically completely changed how supers and titans behave. Things like the fact that it’s very, very difficult to destroy an installation that’s building these things today, there’s so many reasons for things like proliferation in these areas. Are you looking at some of those old solutions to these now-arisen problems, and not just for supers and titans but also for things – well I know with the Quantum Cores, but also for things like structures and the whole way that industrial stuff ties together, because of course everything needs grass and the whole mineral stuff. But it’s also all the other steps along the way, the blueprints and the industry skills, and the fact that some things are way too easy to build and some things are way too difficult to build. Are you looking at all the next steps, and if so, can you tell us a little bit about how soon, because again, ‘trust me’ doesn’t really work with the EVE player base because there has been too much neglect in the past.”

Psych: “We’ve been talking about all those things for, well, for at least a year now.”

Rattati: “For a year.”

Psych: “[laughs] For at least a year, and not soon. And that’s what Rattati said earlier, there’s a limited amount of resources we can spend and right now, what we’re doing with resources and other stuff is taking up all the available time. But it also creates this room that I was talking about earlier, and it brings us into the room to talk about the stuff that we just mentioned, like structures, what’s happening in industry – industry as a whole, not just how you manufacture  with just blueprints but which then goes to that, yeah, it’s all very interconnected.”

Rattati: “Sov. It’s all very linked, it’s all very linked, but we have to fix the foundation, I’m very optimistic that when we’re through this phase, and through the resource gathering, redistribution, and dynamic distribution, we’re in a much healthier place to start talking about these things. But we also have cool things that are underutilised. We have the system manufacturing index, it was meant to replace the industry slots, like, we just need to take a look at these and see if we can bring back a bit of sanity. If you look at the MER, you notice the outliers. We all notice the outliers, and they usually indicate there’s something wrong somewhere. But we need to figure out where to fix, where to start fixing it, and then build ourselves upward.”

Carneros: “Alright. There are some great questions coming through, we have an opportunity to continue the discussion at another show. So I want to thank you all for joining this special stream today, I want to say thankyou to CCP Psych, CCP Rattati, CCP Goodfellow, and Caleb Ayrania for coming in today and working with us today on this. Much appreciated.”

Goodfella: “Thank you, and if I can just add, like, yes there have been mostly sticks so far in this journey, not going to argue against that. But the carrots are coming, 100%. If you don’t believe me, just look at the progress from December, we’ve always said this will be more and more, now we’re saying the carrots are coming. Take my word for it.”

Rattati: “Yeah. You can beat up Goodfella at FanFest.”

Goodfella: “Yes.”

Carneros: “Thank you very much. We’re going to transfer the audience next, over to Talking in Stations, which has a reaction show ready to go, and a panel to discuss even additional questions on this subject. So thank you very much, and CCP Tyr, if you could send us over whenever you’re ready sir.”

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Comments

  • Gray Doc

    First, thanks for providing this. Must have been a nerve-shattering task to transcribe this event. Second, I can’t help but think of Dutch Van der Linde: “I HAD a PLAN.” So, CCP has a plan. Let’s hope this works out better for New Eden than it did for Dutch’s gang. “You just have to TRUST me; where is the trust, the faith?”

    September 27, 2020 at 10:29 AM
    • Garreth Vlox Gray Doc

      ” I can’t help but think of Dutch Van der Linde: “I HAD a PLAN.” The story of CCP’s existence, they’ve had about a thousand “plans” over the years, and they pulled off about a half dozen. the remaining 994 continue to shit up the game to this day. And I fucking love the RD2 reference its perfectly appropriate here.

      September 30, 2020 at 5:30 AM
  • Simon Chui

    Where Goodfella says “EVE still has a healthy [EPITAPH?]”, I believe it’s “EBITDA”, which is the acronym for “Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization”.

    In terms of human psychology, when there is uncertainty, people generally stockpile, and they don’t commit to big investments. The shortage phase has been going on for so long now, but people aren’t going to empty their hangers full of minerals because CCP keeps saying “we can’t tell you what will happen, but trust us.” They’re creating the very uncertainty that is preventing their shortage from working the way they want. If they want a sure-fire way to draw down those stockpiles, they need to tell the players on no uncertain terms that our minerals will be worth less tomorrow than they do today. Maybe then we can get over this shortage phase more quickly and finish these changes already.

    September 27, 2020 at 1:08 PM
  • Garreth Vlox

    “I’m positive that the hardest part is gonna be behind us after this release”

    I’m more positive by the day that CCP has no idea how to actually play the game they run.

    September 27, 2020 at 11:24 PM
  • Menaiya

    This hurts so many of the new players its not funny. Prices are still going up and up on everything which encourages plex purchasing…

    September 28, 2020 at 3:18 AM
  • Ian Whitchurch

    I’m pretty sure none of the people on CCP’s side know how any of mineral compression, jump clones, jump freighters or alt corps work.

    October 11, 2020 at 11:05 AM