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Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:15:00 - [1]
 

Edited by: Nyphur on 20/08/2007 15:31:35


As a followup to this article I posted a month or so ago, I've decided to go over some of the more pressing recent issues in the same context. I'll then go on to describe a new mining system to rectify the current issues.

Introduction
Back in the olden days, we had NPC mineral buy orders that set the minimum price for a given mineral. These were removed as the market stabilised and mineral prices correlated with the NPC base prices. Over the years, mineral prices have fluctuated wildly based on market pressures but they tended to remain about the npc values.

But eve's economy is entirely player-run!!!"12
This is quite simply not the case. The eve economy is only run by players up to a point. There are a number of artificial stabilising agents at work that force eve's economy to play nice on various levels. These stabilising agents come in the form of NPC sell orders, NPC buy orders and the insurance system. Strontium Clathrates, for example, will never be worth more than 4k because it's a component of npc-sold scanner probes.

If strontium prices ever rise above 4k per unit, people can simply purchase Observator probes and refine them, getting tech 1 minerals and 8 strontium per probe (minus waste). With each probe costing about 31k, this sets the upper limit price for strontium clathrates at 4k by increasing the supply at that price to infinity.


Wait, what was that about insurance?
That's right, Tech 1 ship insurance stabilises the marketplace. Specifically, platinum insurance cost and payout force the tech 1 mineral, module and ship markets to behave by adding a floor to the mineral prices. It's a bit more complicated than with the strontium example because every ship is made up of a mixture of the seven different minerals tritanium, pyerite, mexallon, isogen, nocxium, zydrine and megacyte.

How it works is that the absolute minimum a Tech 1 ship can be sold for is 70% of the insurance payout. If the total mineral cost of any given tech 1 ship costs less than 70% of the insurance payout to build, it will actually be profitable to build the ship, insure it with platinum grade insurance and then self-destruct it with no modules fitted.

Say we have a dominix. The "NPC base price" according to the eve database is 62,500,000 isk. This is used as the insurance payout price and is based on the build cost of the ship if the mineral prices exactly conform to the old NPC base mineral prices. Platinum insurance always costs 30% of this base price, so if you can get a dominix for under 70% of 62.5 million isk (43.75 million), you'll profit from building, insuring and destroying the ship.


How does this affect the mineral market?
It should be immediately obvious how this affects the entire mineral market, ships can only get so cheap and the minerals to build them therefore can only get so cheap no matter how much supply there is. Demand for the collective minerals to build a dominix is practically infinite for prices under 43 million for the load. It's the same as if there were npc buy orders for dominixes at 43.75 million.

By now you will have realised why it's not as simple as the strontium example. Each mineral price is separate and since not all modules use all minerals and minerals are distributed unevenly due to refining of mission loot, ore distribution in high sec to lowsec and 0.0, drone missions and exploration complexes and of course ratting in the drone regions.

Mineral supplies and demands are not equal across the board and so we get the kind of situation that I detailed in the article linked at the start of this post. When zydrine, isogen and nocxium prices crashed hard due to ratting in the drone regions, the severe oversupply drove prices down on those minerals so far that in order to maintain more than 70% build cost for tech 1 ships, the other minerals had to increase in price markedly.

Continued....

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:16:00 - [2]
 

Edited by: Nyphur on 20/08/2007 15:35:23

...continued.

All tech 1 mineral prices are interdependant as a group, always reaching market equilibrium at a price scheme that maintains at least the 70% build cost on tech 1 ships. This comes from the ship market and has a knockon effect into the modules market, so all three markets (ships, minerals and modules) are price-fixed within given limits based on their deviation from the mineral proportions for tech 1 ships. If a module uses a higher proportion of tritanium than a dominix, for example, its price will vary based on tritanium prices but if a module used the same exact proportions as a tech 1 ship, its price would be fairly constant.


So where's the actual problem with this system?
There are a number of problems, the main one being that mining as a profession is dependant on the mineral market and moreover that the risk versus reward scheme breaks down with mining in different sec levels if the mineral prices don't vaguely resemble NPC base prices. I'd like to offer you a comparison of isk per hour based on my mining character in a hulk with standard tech 1 stripminers. I'll point out what's wrong with the scenario and what it should look like with NPC base mineral prices enforced correctly.

Yield in Isk-hour:
Veldspar - 4,860,629.46 ISK
Scordite - 6,207,932.84 ISK
Pyroxeres - 5,277,473.54 ISK
Plagioclase - 6,321,136.08 ISK
Omber - 6,918,784.74 ISK
Kernite - 8,295,788.80 ISK
Jaspet - 5,493,532.48 ISK
Hemorphite - 7,032,177.52 ISK
Hedbergite - 8,882,443.22 ISK
Gneiss - 12,918,478.00 ISK
Dark Ochre - 12,697,244.14 ISK
Spodumain - 8,917,439.12 ISK
Crokite - 22,995,332.74 ISK
Bistot - 28,599,937.30 ISK
Arkonor - 34,459,786.16 ISK
Mercoxit - 28,570,896.61 ISK

Veldspar to Plagioclase are highsec ores. Omber and kernite I think are lowsec ores but don't quote me on that one. Jaspet, hemorphite and hedbergite are lowsec ores, only found in 0.4 to 0.1 systems. Gniess to Mercoxit are found exclusively in 0.0, with gniess typically found nearer empire and bistot, arkonor and mercoxit only found in very deep 0.0.

It should be immediately obvious that something isn't right when we see scordite is worth more than pyroxeres and even jaspet. I can make more isk per hour mining scordite in high security systems in perfect safety than I can mining jaspet in lowsec systems where it's extremely dangerous to field a hulk and even hemorphite isn't much better than jaspet.

In lowsec, even hedbergite isn't even good enough to warrant the risk. 0.0 ore we can see is still worth it, except for spodumain which has been the most worthless 0.0-only ore in existance for almost as long as I've played eve. This is due to megacyte prices not being at the NPC value of about 8k but rather floating around 4k. The main problem is that highsec ore is worth several times what it should be.

So how does this list compare to using npc base mineral prices, the kind that are used to calculate insurance prices that hold the mineral market in rough equilibrium? See for yourself:


Veldspar - 2,150,721.00 ISK
Scordite - 3,581,064.00 ISK
Pyroxeres - 4,167,517.00 ISK
Plagioclase - 3,929,100.00 ISK
Omber - 7,210,317.00 ISK
Kernite - 7,396,648.00 ISK
Jaspet - 6,528,979.00 ISK
Hemorphite - 8,732,554.00 ISK
Hedbergite - 10,498,688.00 ISK
Gneiss - 13,466,269.00 ISK
Dark Ochre - 14,037,097.00 ISK
Spodumain - 19,452,772.00 ISK
Crokite - 24,446,440.00 ISK
Bistot - 45,859,388.00 ISK
Arkonor - 67,271,090.00 ISK
Mercoxit - 60,571,648.00 ISK

Continued...

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:17:00 - [3]
 

Edited by: Nyphur on 20/08/2007 15:34:22
...continued.

This is how the developers originally intended the proportions to be years ago, albiet the actual numbers were significantly reduced because yield was a lot lower back when everyone was mining in cruisers with tech 1 mining lasers. There's a clear progression from highsec to lowsec and then 0.0. Lowsec mining is worth double what highsec mining is and deep 0.0 mining is off the charts. Interestingly, spodumain is actually a decent ore in this scheme. Obviously, this scheme no longer applies so why exactly do insurance costs still use it?


MORE POWERRRR!
The other major problem lies in how patch trends interact with the issue. It's a standard feature in every MMO that new content tends to be in all ways better than old content. The diablo 2 expansion pack featured countless items that were simply better than the items in the original game, for example. This is a technique that's used in game design to keep players interested.

Think about it, would you have been as excited about the new tier 3 battleships if they had been additional tier 1s with the same rough stats as the dominix etc? Every major update has to offer more power - at least a few things like more damage, more variety, more ship fitting slots, better tanks, stronger npcs, faster research and of course better mining. If it didn't, people wouldn't be as interested or excited about the changes.

Because of this, each major update to mining has done pretty much nothing but add higher yield. Rather than reduce mineral yield from refined mission loot drastically or nerf the hell out of rogue drone mineral highend and midend yields, CCP's solution to keeping mining ahead of the game has always been to increase mining yield.

We've had barges, Tech 2 stripminers, mining crystals, Tech 2 barges, an 8-turret battleship for every race, mining laser upgrades, mining foreman ganglinks, mining foreman minlink implant and soon to come is the Rorqual capital mining-support platform ship. All of them offer one thing over all else: Higher yield. The unfortunate side-effect of increased yield across the board is that the market reacts badly.



But more minerals means cheaper minerals!
Not true, unfortunately. Increased yield across the board means increased supply of minerals across the board. This increases the volumes of minerals for sale, which you would assume will drive prices down. However, since the mineral market prices are fixed within given limits and yield was increased across the board rather than just in one area of the game, it can't drive prices down.

All that happens is there's a glut on the market of minerals to be sold. If the yield is only increased in one area of the game, such as with the Rorqual being physically restricted to lowsec and 0.0, the result is quite different. Instead of increasing the income from lowsec and 0.0, this will cause the value of the minerals mined there to drop because while supply has increased, demand hasn't.

The mineral price drop could feasibly negate the entire yield bonus in isk/hour. Because of the way the market meets equilibrium around the cost of tech 1 ships, this drop in highend and midend mineral prices will increase values of lowend minerals to maintain 70% build cost on ships, thereby increase values of highsec ore.

The end result is that the rorqual will increase income from 0.0 places due to its logistical capabilities and will increase highsec ore prices due to market pressures but won't do much for lowsec. What it will also do is steadily increase the volume of minerals on the market, which means any changes made to counteract the mineral prices will take longer to perpetuate as the stockpile of minerals availible must be bought out before the prices can adjust.


Continued...

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:18:00 - [4]
 

Edited by: Nyphur on 20/08/2007 15:24:30

...continued.


When the drone regions came out, it was assumed that they would be used to fuel construction of ships for local forces that would fight over the area. Player logistics was ten steps ahead of CCP and instead the mineral markets across the game crashed due to oversupply. It should be clear by now that unless demand outweighs supply of a given mineral, increasing the yield of it from mining will not directly translate to increased profit. And right now, demand for most minerals is nowhere NEAR the supply, as is evidenced by the stockpile of minerals building up on the market sell orders daily.




Stop grousing, what would YOU do any differently?
I'm glad you asked that, Nyph. There are a whole mess of things I'd do differently and I'd like to split them up into groups based on severity of change since I know sometimes a subtle change is more easily accepted than a stark one. I'll start by asking myself what I want mining to be like, not just in profit but also in mechanics. Once I've defined some of the attributes I want mining to have, I'll discuss how this could be achieved in game mechanics. Finally, I'll draw some conclusions of how my ideas would impact the game if implemented. Let's get started.



The proposal


What I think mining should be like:
1 - The primary source of minerals for construction, rather than logistics.
2 - Availible to all players in some form or another.
3 - Better ore availible in lowsec with higher profit.
4 - Even better ore availible in 0.0 with even higher profit.
5 - Best ore availible in deep 0.0 with the best profit.
6 - Should be required for good 0.0 operations.
7 - To maintain regionalisation, it should be cost-effective to mine all the minerals to build a ship locally anywhere in eve. (compared to hauling minerals in)
8 - It shouldn't be so boring or static.
9 - It should have more of a corporate teamwork goal to mine together for funds or production while still allowing miners to make isk solo on it.
10 - It should be difficult for sweatshop workers to make a lot of money from it.
To that end, there will need to be some changes put in place, some more radical than others. I'll address each point in order:

#1:
Your gut reaction might be telling you to increase mining yield but as we discussed earlier, that will do more harm than good. There's no two ways about it, the only way to do this is to reduce mineral supply from non-mining sources without upsetting the current risk-reward balance. There are three main sources of minerals that aren't mining. Those are:
- Refining of ratting or mission loot.
- Refining of drone minerals.
- Hauler spawns.

Ratting and mission loot is an easy one to fix, though it may cause a lot of complaint. Increase the drop rate of named loot from belt, mission and complex NPCs and reduce the drop rate of standard tech 1 gear drastically. Place an automatic 50% refine rate on all modules, increased by 5% per level of scrapmetal processing. That means that scrapmetal processing is still useful as level 5 gives you 75% of the minerals from modules instead of 50%. This also maintains the income of missionrunners that loot their missions while knocking 25-50% off the minerals that come from this particular avenue of gameplay.

Drone minerals are a touchy subject since we now have an entire region of rogue drones rather than just the occasional mission or complex. It used to be the drone 5/10 complex that was farmed for zydrine, then it was the drone regions and now they've been nerfed. It's clear that CCP never intended ratting with a six month old character to produce more minerals than mining for the same length of time with a completely maxed out character with 10 million skillpoints invested in mining skills and a hulk. Drone minerals will be reduced significantly and to compensate a bit their wrecks will be able to produce all types of salvage and in higher quantities than normal.

Continued...

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:18:00 - [5]
 

Edited by: Nyphur on 20/08/2007 15:30:46

...continued.

Hauler spawns seem designed to give out millions of trit in 0.0 and virtually nothing in lowsec. I really don't know what to do with them, I guess they're fine.


#2, #3, #4 and #5:
I'm grouping these ones together because my solution to them encompasses all four points at the same time. This one is tricky because as we already know, mineral prices do not conform to the NPC base prices so the value distribution of ore can be made to go completely out of whack by market forces. There needs to be a way to make sure lower security ratings of systems have better ore and more isk to be made than higher security rating systems.

The current system is that the lowend minerals are found in ores in high security systems, mid-end minerals like isogen and nocxium are best found in lowsec ores and megacyte and zydrine are best found in 0.0. This system does not ensure that the value of mining is always better in lowsec than highsec as different minerals are found there. It relies on the npc base mineral prices that are no longer effective at governing the market.

My solution is to completely redesign the ore distribution system. This is one of those radical changes I was talking about. Instead of relying on the npc base mineral prices to determine which ores are worth more, all ore should be found everywhere (excepting regionally varying ore like omber, kernite and pyroxeres) but in varying quality levels. The percentages below refer to the refinery yield obtained, they would obviously be given names like "Flawed Jaspet" and "Traces of Bistot":

High sec ores: (Found in 1.0 to 0.5 systems)
+0% Veldspar
+0% Scordite
+0% Plagioclaise
+0% Pyroxeres
-10% Kernite, -20% Kernite
-10% Omber, -20% Omber
-40% Hemorphite, -50% Hemorphite
-40% Jaspet, -50% Jaspet
-40% Hedgerbite, -50% Hedgerbite
-80% Gneiss
-80% Dark ochre
-80% Spodumain
-90% Crokite
-95% arkanor
-95% bistot
-95% mercoxit
Note that the higher end ores could be put in lower sec levels between 1.0 and 0.5, but I've grouped the entire group of sec levels together because the risk factor in them all is practically identical.

Low sec ores: (Found in 0.4 to 0.1 systems)
+40% Veldspar, +50% Veldspar
+40% Scordite, +50% Scordite
+20% Plagioclaise, +30% Plagioclaise
+20% Pyroxeres, +30% Pyroxeres
+0% Kernite, +10% Kernite
+0% Omber, +10% Omber
+0% Hemorphite, +10% Hemorphite
+0% Jaspet, +10% Jaspet
+0% Hedgerbite, +10% Hedgerbite
-40% Gneiss
-40% Dark ochre
-40% Spodumain
-80% Crokite
-90% arkanor
-90% bistot
-90% mercoxit

0.0 sec ores: (Found in -0.1 to -0.5 systems)
+100% Veldspar, +200% Veldspar
+100% Scordite, +150% Scordite
+40% Plagioclaise, +50% Plagioclaise
+40% Pyroxeres, +50% Pyroxeres
+20% Kernite, +30% Kernite
+20% Omber, +30% Omber
+20% Hemorphite, +30% Hemorphite
+20% Jaspet, +30% Jaspet
+20% Hedgerbite, +30% Hedgerbite
+0% Gneiss
+0% Dark ochre
-10% Spodumain
-10% Crokite
-50% arkanor
-50% bistot
-50% mercoxit


Deep 0.0 ores: (Found in -0.6 to -1.0 systems)
+300% Veldspar, +400% Veldspar
+200% Scordite, +300% Scordite
+90% Plagioclaise, +100% Plagioclaise
+90% Pyroxeres, +100% Pyroxeres
+40% Kernite, +50% Kernite
+40% Omber, +50% Omber
+40% Hemorphite, +50% Hemorphite
+40% Jaspet, +50% Jaspet
+40% Hedgerbite, +50% Hedgerbite
+10% Gneiss, +20% Gneiss
+10% Dark ochre, +20% Dark ochre
+0% Spodumain, +10% Spodumain
+0% Crokite. +10% Crokite
+0% arkanor
+0% bistot
+0% mercoxit

Those numbers are obviously subject to balancing, but I'll explain what the intent is behind the design. Instead of finding different ore depending on sec level, you literally find better ore. No matter what the mineral prices are all across eve, lowsec will always inherently be better for mining than highsec. If pyerite prices skyrocket, for example, you can mine better scordite in lowsec than you can in highsec. 0.0 is also inherently better than empire for mining.

Continued...

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:19:00 - [6]
 


..continued.

This new system allows all minerals to be mined in any sec level while keeping the maximum isk income in highsec and lowsec in check. Arkonor or jaspet in a 0.5 system, for example, wouldn't be worth as much as veldspar in the same system. In that way, mining for isk isn't changed much because the best ore in a given place is still roughly what it is now. However, it keeps the markets in check better as not only people with access to 0.0 can mine megacyte etc. This prevents the prices from being too excessive on any mineral and allows people to mine highends without entering lowsec, albiet 20 times slower than normal.

Allowing people to mine highends at any rate in highsec may seem like a bad idea on the surface but if you take a look at mission loot currently, you'll see that it would produce a lot more zydrine or megacyte per hour than -95% Arkonor. The only practical difference with my system is that it lets miners make as much of highend minerals as missionrunners, putting more emphasis on mining being for mineral aquisition.



#6: (Should be required for good 0.0 operations.)
In order to force 0.0 entities to actually have an industrial portion with miners rather than just logistics and builders, mining all minerals locally for production must be made more viable and mineral transport logistics must be made less viable. The nerf to module refine rates descrived in #1 should take care of mineral compression modules and the rorqual can have its compression rates halved and its "hidden capacity" removed without significantly impacting its ability to function as a mining logistics platform and jumphauler for a mining op. Mining locally will be more desirable than transporting materials in.



#7: (To maintain regionalisation, it should be cost-effective to mine all the minerals to build a ship locally anywhere in eve.)

The most notable part of the mineral list above is the vast increase in veldspar and scordite yield for 0.0. This is intended to make people more willing to mine it rather than importing it. It won't force them to but it will make it less pointless to mine veldspar in deep 0.0 if you get five times the tritanium from it. I also don't believe those numbers on veldspar and scordite are too high, take a good look at the mineral value per hour on them compared to other ores. They will not be mined unless needed for construction. With the changes mentioned in #6, it is cost-effective to mine minerals locally in deep 0.0 rather than transporting the minerals in from empire.

For empire, the ability to mine all the minerals you need while making less isk/hour mining them gives the miner the choice between mining the crappy arkanor for his megacyte or mining veldspar, selling the tritanium and buying megacyte. The second option is financially most effective and is exactly how things work right now but the first option involves no hauling and trading of minerals and thus saves some time and effort. This means that even making half the amount of isk he could mining veldspar, someone in highsec might choose to mine the ****ty arkanor. The point is that he has a choice in the new system while right now he doesn't.

Continued...

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:20:00 - [7]
 


...continued.


#8: (It shouldn't be so boring or static)
There is no doubt in my mind that what I am about to describe would be good for Eve. This is something we have been promised since I started playing and I'm really saddened that CCP keep making mediocre attempts at it. I'm talking about system-wide asteroid belts, asteroid belts that occupy an entire planetary orbit just like a planet does. We've been asking for this and have been promised it for a long time and instead we've gotten useless things like exploration asteroid belts. How would they work, then?

A system-wide asteroid belt occupies an orbit ring and would be so massive that it's impractical to render them as individual asteroids. Instead, ships will be given a special built-in ore scanner the same as how all ships have a built-in encounter scanner. The ore scanner would have a 50 au range and a 30 second scan time. Mining barges would have a better ore scanner, having a 200Au range and 15 second scan time or just getting bonuses per level to them. So how would it work?

Say I want to mine some Hemorphite in my favourite little 0.2 system. I undock in my barge and hit the ore scanner. 15 seconds later, a list of ore hotspots pops up on my scan result list. These are just randomly generated spots on the orbit ring of an asteroid belt in the system and include spots already generated by previous people having warped in and spawned the grid. This is to prevent you from finding empty belt grids, which would happen if all the ore was distributed into random belt grids that you couldn't find.

Upon warping into any spot whose co-ordinates lie inside an asteroid belt's orbit ring, a grid full of roids spawns. You're confronted with asteroids in all directions (not just a ring or horseshoe shape) and of random sizes and types appropriate for the system. Ice asteroids would also be thrown in for good measure here, quite a large number of them strewn about. A significant number of rock asteroids should also be barren rocks. Rock asteroids should visibly look like a barren rock with the ore sticking out of it or being part of it (kind of like how omber looks) and when an asteroid is mined dry, instead of disappearing it would turn into barren rock of the appropriate size. This grid would disappear if left vacant for over an hour, with the reason given that your sensors lost track of its location.

Instead of individual asteroids having ore seeded into them at downtime, star systems would have a single ore total for each type of ore into which ore is seeded at downtime. When a belt spawns, it takes from this pool. When the pool is empty of a particular ore, therefore, you'll not find it in that system no matter how many scans you take with the ore scanner. When a belt grid disappears, its ore is added back into the system's pool. The reason for belts disappearing after an hour is that it would let you find new belts as well as old ones other people have been mining in.

Essentially, you're charting a new sector of the belt which itself "rotates" around the sun, churns up the roids and changes shape, explaining why the same bookmark can produce two different areas after just an hour of it being vacant or the next day. The ore scanner could also be used to find gas clouds and, more importantly, rogue asteroid clusters and moving comets that have broken away from the asteroid belt's orbital ring. It's important to note that the ore scanner is actually only scanning for belts that have already been spawned and then generating a few random warp-spots within the belt's orbit ring that will spawn new belt grids when you warp in.


Continued...

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:20:00 - [8]
 

Edited by: Nyphur on 20/08/2007 15:30:07

...continued.


#9: (It should have more of a corporate teamwork goal to mine together for funds or production while still allowing miners to make isk solo on it)

Points #2 to #5 describe a scenario in which mining solo is still a good isk-maker. The increased yields of lower-end minerals in lowsec and 0.0 make it a good idea for corporations that live there to mine for production goals such as battleships, funds or capital ships. It also makes mining expeditions a LOT more desirable, making the Rorqual more useful.


#10: (It should be difficult for sweatshop workers to make a lot of money from it)
With the new system, expertise is required to make significant isk and lowsec/0.0 have the best income rate. This makes it more difficult to macro and more risky to be very profitable in. I guarantee that sweatshop workers will keep at it, though.



The impact of this new system on eve:


Now that I've detailed the ideas I've had, it's time to detail the impact it will have on eve. I'll split this section into three important parts - the impact to miners, the impact to pirates and the impact to the economy. I'll do the first two parts by way of a story :).

The Miner's Day:
I need a new battleship. Guess it's time to go mining, so I'll hop in my barge and head to Hek. Hek's a nice 0.5 system and I've been mining the Dull Omber (-20%) and Dusky Omber (-10%) there. I open the scanner and give the ore scanner a quick push. 15 seconds later, I find five ore hotspots. I warp to the first one and it's occupied by corps on large mining op. They're mining the omber too, so I'll try my luck at the second belt. This one's empty, so it must be a new spot nobody's been mining in yet.

There are a lot of asteroids here, so I'd best find a clump of Omber. I warp about the belt and use my survey scanner to find a nice clump of Dusky Omber and settle down to stripmine it. A few hours of stripmining into cans and going back to get a hauler to collect them once full later, I have all the Omber I need for the isogen for my new battleship. I'll just buy the zydrine and Megacyte off the market, no way am I mining up asteroids with only tiny traces of arkanor all week to get enough. I'm going to need a lot of tritanium and nocxium, though.

Instead of mining this crappy Flawed Jaspet, I'm going to head over to that 0.4 system next door called Otou. It should have some proper Jaspet and if it's safe I might even mine the Compressed Veldspar (+50%) and Compressed Scordite (+50%). It's better than the standard crap we get in Hek, anyway.


The Pirate's Day:
Another day, another noob. I've got a covetor on the scanner in Otou. He has a jetcan nearby so he's definitely mining. This Thorax of mine can't use scanner probes to hunt him down but I'll try the ore scanner and see if I can detect the belt he's mining in. 30 seconds later, I have 4 hotspots to check. He could be in any of them, but I'll just cycle through them until I find him. He wasn't at the first one or the second one and I'm warping to the third one now. There he is, 340km away. I warp to an asteroid near him, microwarpdrive up close and target him. I've scrambled him, he's not going anywhere and his armour is melting fast. The noob was mining veldspar but he's got to have some isk. I'll convo him and ask for a ransom fee.

Ever since this new mining system came in, it's been harder to find targets in belts and if they're far away from the warp-in point, sometimes they get away before I can warp to them. On the other hand, there are about ten times more miners out daily because they all think it's so safe and I'm quickly learning to adapt to the new system. We've got this amazing covert ops guy that has bookmarks all over the belt ring and he uses probes to find targets and warp us in right on top of them.

Continued...

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:22:00 - [9]
 

Edited by: Nyphur on 22/08/2007 16:40:37


...continued.

Economic and gameplay impact:
- Mineral prices are as stable as they are now because despite the reduction in minerals from nonmining sources, that supply of highends and midends in highsec has been replaced by mining.
- Mining is the primary source of minerals by far.
- Mining the higher quality ore is not good for profit but IS good for local construction.
- Profit from mining scales directly with the maximum risk associated with the area they're in based on security rating grouping (highsec, lowsec, 0.0, deep 0.0).
- There is a direct benefit to mining in lower security ratings no matter what ore you're mining and no matter whether you're mining for production minerals or profit.
- The most profitable ore in a given sec level is the same as it is now, no change there.
- Mineral compression use is significantly reduced and no longer required.
- The Rorqual is a mining support platform rather than a jumpfreighter for compressed veldspar that can hold about two freighterloads worth of tritanium (yes, that's what it's like now).
- No matter WHAT the prices get to on minerals, it's always better to mine in lower security ratings. The only change is what ore you're mining. Right now, nobody with sense mines in lowsec because one of the most profitable ores in lowsec is scordite and it's no different to the type found in highsec.
- Mineral markets should become more regionalised in lowsec and 0.0 due to the increased mining. Jita will still be the trade center but we should see less volume traded there.
- The "MORE POWERRR" problem with increasing refine yields shouldn't affect the market as nobody in their right mind would mine +50% Jaspet for sale in deep 0.0 when they have arkonor. They might mine +50% Scordite in lowsec when they have hemorphite, depending on market values, which should help stabilise prices of minerals more than the current system, where scordite is worth far too much.
- Finding asteroids to mine is a more fun, active process.
- Anchoring secure cans all over the belts won't work since the belts move.


The reintroduction of semicompetitive NPC mineral buy orders could be examined as a way to relieve the market of vast oversupply but at the cost of increasing the rate at which isk enters the game. It would need to be manually balanced and trialled.


A possible addition to mining could be something similar to Mobile warp disruptors except they are a deployed POS bubble shield. They would have to be anchored to or near an asteroid and would use isotopes to power a shield. They would only have a few thousand hitpoints and would cover an area 30km radius with no overlap allowed (must be at least 30km from another shield bubble). Anything inside the shield would be untargettable so the generator itself would have to be blown up first. It doesn't have to have a lot of hitpoints, either, but it would give miners a chance to evacuate. This would be restricted to 0.0.


Thank you very much for reading any or all of this thread, I know I type in inordinate amount of text to make my points. Let the feedback begin! And don't DARE say "But it'll require extra programming :(" Razz.

FIN.




EDIT: Some updated thoughts:
http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=579110&page=2#50



Bruno Bonner
Gallente
Lutin Group
Posted - 2007.08.20 15:58:00 - [10]
 

Interesting proposal, and you adress quite a few things.

However, this has economic ramifications, which should be considered, not only the fact that a mineral has value or its availability, but what kind of BPOs use it and what quantities. The fixed prices forced by NPC-related mechanics and all that.

To me the basis of the problem lies in the ore-compression techniques that exist today, or the distribution of some BPOs mineral requirements. That imbalances the whole deal....and i suspect thats why Chronotis wishes to end it.

I'll have a few more reads on the thread, as it certainly requires more thought, but i support your view that the way "source materiales" are treated today needs a review.

regards
Bruno

Pang Grohl
Posted - 2007.08.20 21:07:00 - [11]
 

That umm... rocks!

It's good to see that I'm not the only who has noticed the oversupply of minerals.

I especially like the idea about the system wide belts. To help prevent client overload, you wouldn't even need to render the belts until someone warps to it.

Venkul Mul
Gallente
Posted - 2007.08.20 21:26:00 - [12]
 

Edited by: Venkul Mul on 20/08/2007 21:27:46
There are several points where I disagree, but a serious reply require a lot of preparation. In the menatime I want to keep the thread in the first page as it worthy to read.

Some initial thought:
- from what I read the NPC buy orders where balanced by NPC sell orders for double the base prices

- searching another post I did fount this quote from you
Quote:
I've also noticed the shuttle problem. They're an infinite tritanium supply at 3.2 isk per unit, therefore limiting the potential price of tritanium to below 3.2. Removing them without sorting out the problems with the current oversupply of other minerals and undersupply of others, however, would mean that the prices could possibly increase over 3.2.


I recall to have seen a post about a NPC sold module with even lower priced tritanium, one of those with high compression ratio (at least the shuttle have a bad compression ratio).
I will see if I can find the exact reference. But that kind of sell orders will damage greatly your proposed model.



Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 21:33:00 - [13]
 

Edited by: Nyphur on 20/08/2007 21:33:52
Originally by: Venkul Mul

I recall to have seen a post about a NPC sold module with even lower priced tritanium, one of those with high compression ratio (at least the shuttle have a bad compression ratio).
I will see if I can find the exact reference. But that kind of sell orders will damage greatly your proposed model.


I'd be interested to see that if you could find the reference, of course. I haven't heard of any npc-sold module that gives cheaper tritanium than shuttles and I highly doubt that such a source would somehow obliterate the entire scheme I have designed. If you can show that this is the case, I'd be very interested and would ammend the proposal to counter the problem.

Bunyip
Gallente
Center for Advanced Studies
Posted - 2007.08.20 22:01:00 - [14]
 

Edited by: Bunyip on 20/08/2007 22:05:32
Originally by: Nyphur
Your gut reaction might be telling you to increase mining yield but as we discussed earlier, that will do more harm than good. There's no two ways about it, the only way to do this is to reduce mineral supply from non-mining sources without upsetting the current risk-reward balance. There are three main sources of minerals that aren't mining. Those are:
- Refining of ratting or mission loot.
- Refining of drone minerals.
- Hauler spawns.

Ratting and mission loot is an easy one to fix, though it may cause a lot of complaint. Increase the drop rate of named loot from belt, mission and complex NPCs and reduce the drop rate of standard tech 1 gear drastically. Place an automatic 50% refine rate on all modules, increased by 5% per level of scrapmetal processing. That means that scrapmetal processing is still useful as level 5 gives you 75% of the minerals from modules instead of 50%. This also maintains the income of missionrunners that loot their missions while knocking 25-50% off the minerals that come from this particular avenue of gameplay.


I can see a few big problems with this one.

1) To start off, the price of named modules will plummet (due to the much higher supply). While they'll probably still be above basic T1 prices, they'll still drop significantly.

To fix this problem, make drops occur much more infrequently, so that salvagers have to more often than not go to empty wrecks to salvage them. If a level one mission drops more than one or two items (with possible exception of the huge level 1 missions like Worlds Collide), it should be a rare and treasured occurance.

Again, you'll have to compensate for this as well. Increasing bounties will probably be sufficient, maybe by about 50%. Therefore, that Gistii Hijacker that you just killed in the belt will be worth 6k ISK rather than 4k, or that 0.0 BS spawn would be worth 150k rather than 100k.

2) What mission runner would train Refining and Refinery Efficiency to 5 just to get Scrapmetal processing if those two prerequisite skills only affect ore.

The answer to this is to drastically reduce the requirements of Scrapmetal processing. I'm thinking somewhere around Salvaging 3 and Refining 3 would work. You would also need to increase the rank of this very useful skill, to something like rank 6.

However, now those that transport ores in compressed form items would be angered, as their refine rates are 30% or lower. You could reduce the scrapmetal reprocessing rates across the board to 30% for items or 50% for ores, which makes sense due to the complexity of breaking down an alloy.

This still needs some work, but it is a basis. Any constructive criticism is welcomed.

Venkul Mul
Gallente
Posted - 2007.08.20 22:03:00 - [15]
 

Can't vouchsafe for the precision of the original post, as I haven't checked the refining rate of the item, but here it is:

Originally by: Crocodylus pontifex
If you've ever wondered why trit is steady at 2.4-2.5 isk/u in empire, coupling arrays are the reason. They're an NPC seeded item that costs 2.25m and refines into 830,366 trit and 80 megacyte. Selling off the megacyte gives trit that costs about 2.3 isk/u. With a 20% loss, they'll only give 664,292 trit and 64 megacyte, giving trit that costs 3isk/u. With the rise in trit prices that came after revelations, they became a major source of trit and have pretty much replaced veld mining.


Compression isn't so great, but the trit cost is low Sad.

It will not invalidate your argument, but the existence of similar modules can create serious unbalances (and is creating today serious unbalances too, i think).


Venkul Mul
Gallente
Posted - 2007.08.20 22:12:00 - [16]
 

Originally by: Bunyip
Originally by: Nyphur
Your gut reaction might be telling you to increase mining yield but as we discussed earlier, that will do more harm than good. There's no two ways about it, the only way to do this is to reduce mineral supply from non-mining sources without upsetting the current risk-reward balance. There are three main sources of minerals that aren't mining. Those are:
- Refining of ratting or mission loot.
- Refining of drone minerals.
- Hauler spawns.

Ratting and mission loot is an easy one to fix, though it may cause a lot of complaint. Increase the drop rate of named loot from belt, mission and complex NPCs and reduce the drop rate of standard tech 1 gear drastically. Place an automatic 50% refine rate on all modules, increased by 5% per level of scrapmetal processing. That means that scrapmetal processing is still useful as level 5 gives you 75% of the minerals from modules instead of 50%. This also maintains the income of missionrunners that loot their missions while knocking 25-50% off the minerals that come from this particular avenue of gameplay.


I can see a few big problems with this one.

1) To start off, the price of named modules will plummet (due to the much higher supply). While they'll probably still be above basic T1 prices, they'll still drop significantly.

To fix this problem, make drops occur much more infrequently, so that salvagers have to more often than not go to empty wrecks to salvage them. If a level one mission drops more than one or two items (with possible exception of the huge level 1 missions like Worlds Collide), it should be a rare and treasured occurance.

Again, you'll have to compensate for this as well. Increasing bounties will probably be sufficient, maybe by about 50%. Therefore, that Gistii Hijacker that you just killed in the belt will be worth 6k ISK rather than 4k, or that 0.0 BS spawn would be worth 150k rather than 100k.

This still needs some work, but it is a basis. Any constructive criticism is welcomed.


From soem Dev post they are thinking something around similar lines, not as much increasing named items as adding some new kind of item used for production of the modules instead of completed modules (was only vaguely delined, I don't have idea if they meant BPC for named items, modules damaged but repairable with the right skills or other useful items), but the idea seem to be to reduce the recycling loot (already partially done with the introduction of salvage and the reduction of loot it was cupled with).

In general I am favorable to a generic reduction in recycling efficency, even if not so drastic as Nyphur proposed. Something like max efficence skill getting to 95% but with a starting results for people without skill almost equal to today results.

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.20 22:39:00 - [17]
 

Edited by: Nyphur on 20/08/2007 22:41:18
Originally by: Venkul Mul
Can't vouchsafe for the precision of the original post, as I haven't checked the refining rate of the item, but here it is:

Originally by: Crocodylus pontifex
If you've ever wondered why trit is steady at 2.4-2.5 isk/u in empire, coupling arrays are the reason. They're an NPC seeded item that costs 2.25m and refines into 830,366 trit and 80 megacyte. Selling off the megacyte gives trit that costs about 2.3 isk/u. With a 20% loss, they'll only give 664,292 trit and 64 megacyte, giving trit that costs 3isk/u. With the rise in trit prices that came after revelations, they became a major source of trit and have pretty much replaced veld mining.


Compression isn't so great, but the trit cost is low Sad.

It will not invalidate your argument, but the existence of similar modules can create serious unbalances (and is creating today serious unbalances too, i think).



I'm testing that now but if it works, it would be an unintended game mechanic. POS modules refine into small amounts of minerals because they're not MEANT to be refined. Even 200m control towers refine into the same tiny amount of minerals. Things like this are an issue, but aren't gamebreaking in either the current mining system or my proposed one. NPCs sell modules at something like triple the npc base mineral prices, limiting the maximum price of minerals. That's always happened.

Originally by: Bunyip

This still needs some work, but it is a basis. Any constructive criticism is welcomed.

As with any idea, if you have issues with it, bash away. It always helps to develop ideas if people bring up constructive criticisms.

You're right that it may be difficult to balance loot drops and it may not even be required if the reduction in module refine rates goes through. It's not pivotal to the major points of my proposal, however, and is just designed to help give mining an even bigger edge as the primary source of minerals.

Nicoli Voldkif
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Posted - 2007.08.21 00:10:00 - [18]
 

I like the basis of the idea though numbers may need to be tweaked as necessary. I had the idea that the Isk/hour of mining should be more determined by the sec status of the belt rather then the actual ore types in it. The equivalent of trace elements of Ark or Bis in high sec that when mined still produces the same relative profit as the more common ores. People shouldn't scoff at mining trir in 0.0 they should just get tons of it compared to empire. Call it Compressed Core Veldspar or whatever.

Good idea and hope that mining and POSes get a major revamp soon.

Falbala
Gallente
Ishtar's Destiny
Posted - 2007.08.21 00:38:00 - [19]
 

Edited by: Falbala on 21/08/2007 00:38:47

Tritanium should cost 1.0 if it was following the npc market no? But it costs around 2.20.

CCP could play with the belts repop time to create penuries. Then the NPC products would be recycled but what if it was limited in quantity?

Nice work by the way.

Karanth
Gallente
RONA Corporation
RONA Directorate
Posted - 2007.08.21 00:45:00 - [20]
 

I want to have your children. This is perfect.


MotherMoon
Huang Yinglong
Posted - 2007.08.21 01:01:00 - [21]
 

so making insurance more player driven?

Morcam
Posted - 2007.08.21 01:09:00 - [22]
 

Shocked Want

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.21 01:39:00 - [23]
 

Originally by: MotherMoon
so making insurance more player driven?

I don't think insurance will ever really be player-driven and the proposal doesn't touch on insurance but rather solely on mining.

Tevlent
GoonFleet
GoonSwarm
Posted - 2007.08.21 01:51:00 - [24]
 

I really love all of your ideas. If CCP puts even half of them to use Eve will be a much greater game.

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.21 02:09:00 - [25]
 

Originally by: Tevlent
I really love all of your ideas. If CCP puts even half of them to use Eve will be a much greater game.

You never know, they apparantly read every thread on this forum for new ideas and they might implement some of the ideas I've come up with. It wouldn't be the first time!

Jurgen Cartis
Caldari
Interstellar Corporation of Exploration
Posted - 2007.08.21 03:20:00 - [26]
 

Someone actually posts a mining idea that wouldn't screw miners? Shocked

I rather like it! Excuse me while I set my Covetor on the Traces of Flawed Pale Arkanor to get the 35 megacyte I still need for that new battleship. . .

It's rather long, but worth reading. Not so sure I like nerfing refine on loot drops, but drastically reducing loot frequency/refine value would also have a nifty little side effect of making T1 production much more viable. I just ran an L4 drone mission and was rather amazed at the amount of stuff they dropped.

Personally, I would have all minerals available in any given area, but not all ores. Some should be regional, the way Caldari space currently has no omber, and Gallente no kernite. However, very diluted high-ends in highsec do make sense, as they would have been mostly mined out years ago by the empires, but some of the less valuable slag is still left for those who want it.

Mathias Zealot
MAIDS
Posted - 2007.08.21 09:35:00 - [27]
 

Very long, but very much worth the read. Given the changes and updates to the other professions in eve, mining has changed the least since eve began. We have better mining ships and super lasers now and even some new things and places to mine in, but the mechanics of mining and the same as they were over 3 years ago. The changes you have proposed would be a breath of fresh air into the now stagnant profession of mining.

The concept of the system wide belt has always been something I've longed for. The potential of a location as large and varied as an asteroid belt in both atmosphere and encounters is nearly limitless. It wouldn't be entirely improbable to find an NPC base among the asteroids there.

Better veldspar in 0.0? yes please. Laughing But really, the veldspar in 0.0 sits untouched for years because of the difference in value. Having something like Supreme Veldspar sitting in the belts which is actually worth mining rather than importing it from the nearest compressed modules factory in empire and likewise the option to mine up those traces of arkonor left behind by the empires instead of importing it all from 0.0 or drone missions would be a massive improvement.

The reduction in T1 mission loot is also not a bad idea, though not necessary for the idea in my opinion. If it were to be implemented it I would suggest that the compensation be in more frequent named items rather than higher bounties to prevent a jump in inflation.

Overall, I'll buy a years supply of beer to the dev that gets this in Wink

CCP Oveur

Posted - 2007.08.21 11:29:00 - [28]
 

Excellent, the old forum ***** in me loves this. You describe in detail what you believe the problem is and how you want to address it.

I don't agree with some of your assumptions and certainly not all of your suggested solutions, but suffice to say, we're talking about some of these topics already, especially after our economist joined us.

The rest of the game design team is also here watching you Nyphur Wink

Hykke
Free Imperial Vikings
Posted - 2007.08.21 12:25:00 - [29]
 

I vote for Nyphur as game designer at CCP :-)

Actually I think that some ore types should still only be available in low sec and 0.0, otherwise the macro miners will start putting megacyte on the market...
I like the idea of higher quality tritanium in low sec. I might even consider mining there... Nah no way I'm risking my hulk if I can get everything I need in high sec

Nyphur
Pillowsoft
Posted - 2007.08.21 13:12:00 - [30]
 

Originally by: CCP Oveur
Excellent, the old forum ***** in me loves this. You describe in detail what you believe the problem is and how you want to address it.

I don't agree with some of your assumptions and certainly not all of your suggested solutions, but suffice to say, we're talking about some of these topics already, especially after our economist joined us.

The rest of the game design team is also here watching you Nyphur Wink

Damnit, now the pressure is on Razz. I'm not sure why I even started this thread, I just had a waft of inspiration and a clear head a few days ago and spent the majority of the day coming up with these ideas and typing them up.

My assumptions are based on experience with the in-game markets and watching it react to player-influence and patch changes. If any are faulty, you should definitely get your new economist to come up with some counterpoints and draw his own conclusions. I don't know how much experience he has with theoretical economics as opposed to real-world economics but he should come to some important conclusions if he does his own studies, particularly since you devs have extra statistics and information to play with.

You've mentioned that you don't like all of the suggestions so I would point out that the proposal I've made is highly adaptable. For example, you don't have to go the whole hog and make traces of arkanor availible in highsec or even lowsec. You could go straight ahead just introduce higher yield lowends in lowsec and 0.0. However, I believe that it would be a mistake to introduce high-yield lowends in lowsec/0.0 and not low-yield highends in lowsec/highsec.

You'll undoubtably have an initially negative reaction to highends being availible in highsec ore but if you actually take a look at the profit rate, with a 5% maximum refinery rate on the highends mined in 0.5 systems and 10% in 0.4 to 0.1, you'll end up with far less profit by mining it than you would by mining the ore that's currently "supposed" to be in those locations. It's important to completely get rid of any notions of the current mining system and judge these ideas as a package on its own merit.

I want you to go out and run a pack of level 4 missions in highsec and lowsec. Collect all of the loot and refine it. Now try to tell me that being able to MINE all those minerals in those proportions in highsec/lowsec is a mistake with a straight face. It's not a mistake, it just gives miners better highend mineral aquisition abilities than mission-runners in any given sec rating. It's silly that the best way to get zyd in highsec is mission-running.

CCP Chronitis suggested an idea I also came up with that was interesting and you're probably talking about internally. He suggested "blast-mining", an illegal type of mining you can only get away with in lowsec and 0.0 that lets you blow apart rock type asteroids like veldspar to increase the concentration of minerals and therefore the mining or refining yield. I deliberately didn't post that idea in this thread because it conflicts with the proposal I made to simply automatically increase the refine rate of lowends depending on sec rating.



You might also want your economist to take a look at NPC supply of minerals objectively. I certainly don't have the time or resources to write a program to trawl through the data exports and put the information into a spreadsheet for analysis but then I'm not being paid to do it. While an important isk-sink, supply of minerals at close to reasonable rates from NPC sell orders limits the maximum value of certain minerals to a certain ceiling value. And as I said before, due to the 70% build cost insurance mechanic, there's also a certain collective floor for mineral prices.

This means that not only is inflation negated due to tech 1 ships and equipment always being the same rough price no matter how much isk enters the game but also you don't see a huge difference in mineral prices when there's a vast oversupply.


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