The Circle of Life | EVE Online

The Circle of Life

2010-03-30 - By CCP Chronotis

Our next expansion is focused around planets and all the cool stuff going on there as outlined in Hammer's recent blog.  There will be many more blogs to follow covering the details of the first release of planetary interaction and other gritty details on Tyrannis in the weeks ahead.

The focus of this blog is to talk about upcoming changes covering two important and linked topics, life and death and something of everything in-between, or, more specifically with less analogies: minerals and ship insurance. 

The ABC's of Minerals

Minerals come from three distinct sources in EVE: Asteroids and Mining, NPC combat and loot reprocessing, and Rogue Drone Compound reprocessing.  Of these, mining of asteroid ores and reprocessing of rogue drone compounds are dependent on the value of the minerals to determine that activity's relative income level, whereas NPC loot is one of the total rewards given for NPC combat.

Houston, we have a problem!

Ideally, mining should be the greatest factor in determining the value of minerals since miners can target specific ores where these ores are available and, therefore, specific minerals.  Next up should be rogue drones and their compounds, with the distinction that this activity is not targeting specific minerals but collecting them en mass to exchange for money. 

However, the value of minerals is increasingly being determined by the diffused loot reprocessing source which forms only a small portion of the overall NPC combat rewards, yet devalues and slowly cripples the specialist activities, as NPC combat is not as adversely affected in income terms from mineral values decrease, whereas the specialist activities are.

This means long after miners have stopped mining as the ore values drop and you have long lost interest in the drone regions, loot reprocessing will still be carried out since it is only a part of the NPC combat activity and a supplemental rather than only source of income. 

It is this scenario we want to make changes to, by altering the mineral sources in such a way that each activity gets a fairer amount of the relative mineral income value. Thus ensuring that the specialist activities control more of the supply of the overall proportion of mineral supply.

So what are you changing with the mineral sources?

NPC Loot

We identified a core set of loot tables which are responsible for contributing to the majority of the NPC loot sourced minerals and these are the first ones we want to adjust with Tyrannis, reducing the quantity of the Tech 0 items being dropped and substituting it with a variation of scrap metals or tags, for example.  There will still be the same amount of Tech 1 meta 1-4 modules being dropped and these will still act as mineral faucets if you desire a source of minerals still from NPC combat.

Whilst this will reduce one of the secondary incomes from NPC combat initially, this is weighted against all the potential rewards of NPC combat activity. With less overall mineral supply, the lower quantity of minerals still possible from loot reprocessing will eventually be worth more.

Rogue Drone Compounds

The rogue drone compounds had three distinct problems.  The first being the specific type of NPC is found marauding through drone space and the second, what they dropped in component terms, as well as what the components reprocessed to. The overall supply was far from the actual demand rates required by manufacturing meaning there is excess in some cases of certain minerals. 

The fundamental focus of our changes are to alter both the quantities dropped of each drone compound from the NPC entities but also change the quantities of minerals they reprocess to, so they more precisely fit with the ratio of materials required by manufacturing and therefore the market demand.  This will help generally decrease the volume of the loot so will be easier to haul the compounds to station for example in addition. 

This provides the additional benefit of allowing drone region dwellers to be more self-sufficient by having a better ratio of all minerals for their own production whilst not adversely oversupplying the global market with certain excess minerals.


Asteroids and mining are a little trickier, economically; you are following the correct signals which are to mine what is most valuable and exchange these for the least valuable minerals.  You would eventually if left reach a point where the supply rate of the rare ores would continue to increase and saturate until you should switch to other ores (dynamic equilibrium in ore values) or reach the physical global supply rate limit of the high end minerals. 

In the short term with just the changes to loot and drone compounds, you would experience increased income but only until the economy re-adjusts and more miners return to the arkonor, bistot, crokite asteroids.

The initial changes will introduce higher amounts of low end minerals such as tritanium, pyerite or mexallon to low sec or certain null sec ores ensuring you can make it worth the effort to mine these as a viable alternative instead of purely mining the ABC asteroids constantly.  Here we are following the same principles of better balancing the supply to the demand rate ratio.

And now onto Ship Insurance :o

Ship Insurance is our mechanic by which we compensate you for death, essentially.  By risking your ship in combat and giving you some compensation to allow you to get back in space and continue fighting whilst ensuring combat and death and the economy that springs from it, is both meaningful and relatively easy to recover from.

The core principle is you are compensated some of the ISK cost needed to replace your ship.  However that payment was based on static ship values decided at the launch of Eve when we set the value of all minerals on the market.  Since those days we removed those caps and relied upon the scaled potential supply and demand rates of each mineral source to maintain relative value.

However these supply sources and rates have changed over the years as we added new sources or favourable activities but the insurance values never changed relative to the market cost of your replacement ship.   This means you might end up getting more money than is really desired to the extreme of occasionally getting more than the replacement cost of the ship itself making death meaningless and going far beyond the intention of allowing you to pick yourself up again.

So ship insurance will be marked to market?

Yes, ship insurance will now revalue itself periodically based on a trimmed mean of the ship's manufacturing materials global market weighted average prices.  This means the insurance quote when you are buying insurance will be now estimated and may change if the payout occurs during the next insurance period.

But there is more to discuss!

Our new insurance system recalculates the value of all ship classes which includes Tech 2 and Tech 3 classes establishing the base material cost of the ship.   To this we have added the ability for us to define more precisely how much of the total material value of each ship class should be paid out.  Our intention is that we can make certain ship classes pay out much less, some closer to the full value. 

Here we can then say that a tackler class which is a highly dangerous role and prone to see you dying a lot might pay out more than say a specialist covert ops class of ship has a higher survival rate.  So players who fly the ships with short life expectancies will be more sustainable to fly on lower incomes, and the same can be applied to more casual ship classes such as cruisers or battlecruisers used more by newer players to allow them to get to grips with the game whilst not losing everything constantly.

On the high end game play side of this is the role of strategic ship classes as valuable targets.  Here we refer to them as supercapitals, the largest classes of ships in the game which cannot dock in stations.  Currently they get a default payout of 40% of the old static value of the ship which is around 5 billion ISK for supercarriers and 20 billion for titans. 

The idea is that these are cut to a fraction of their current payout values so they might only get 1-10% for example of the base build value of their ships.  This is done with the intention of making strategic ship classes be more valuable targets and their death have much stronger meaning and value.

We have our own ideas for how much of the full insurance value we want to payout for each ship class which generally is 100% for Tech 1 ship groups, 20-60% for Tech 2 and 100% for Tech 3 ships (those this is only a portion of the value of the entire ship since subsystems are not included currently).  However we are interested in your feedback on what you think they should be for each ship class and why.

In closing

So there you have it, many and wide reaching proposed changes to many parts of the proverbial circle of life of the capsuleer.  This is understandably a large balancing change and one which many of you undoubtedly have opinions on.  We would love to hear your constructive feedback and your own ideas.  Look out for updates and new threads in the test server feedback forum in the weeks ahead as we move to public testing with more specific details on the gritty numbers on each of the changes.

Ave - Chronotis