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Kirith Kodachi: First Step, Alchemy. Second Step?

So, I’ve had the weekend to ponder over the dev blog from last week (don’t worry Ripard, you’re still in my crosshairs once you’ve recovered from your alliance tournament run) and I’ve had some thoughts beyond the “alchemy is a nice overture but woefully inadequate for the Technetium problems.

First let’s look at what CCP Fozzie said:

There are more problems with our current system of moon mining and tech two production than just the price of Technetium, which is why we now have a comprehensive plan to address these issues over multiple releases. The end goal is for the materials for tech two production to come from player activities that require group gameplay and risk taking, and that provide appropriate rewards. This will eventually involve changes to both resource collection and the build requirements for construction of tech two materials and items. A responsible first step in this plan is to ensure that as much as possible the tech two components market is shielded from unnecessary price shocks.

Those of you who have been playing for a while may remember that there was a system introduced in 2008 for this exact purpose called Alchemy. It allows players to replace one moon mineral type with another in a reaction; simulating the innovation that occurs in the real world when supply of a resource is tight (the fuel conservation innovation that resulted from the 1970s oil crisis springs to mind). The details of the system are available at CCP Greyscale’s original alchemy devblog for those who are interested.

Our first step in fixing the moon mineral and tech two production economies is to expand alchemy to every applicable reaction. You will soon be able to create Platinum Technite without using Technetium if you so desire.

(Emphasis mine.)

What’s the next logical step? In order to accurately answer this we would need to know what CCP actually thinks the problems are from an official standpoint rather than a personal individual dev standpoint which can vary from dev to dev. We at least have a statement in that dev blog about where they want to go: “[t]he end goal is for the materials for tech two production to come from player activities that require group gameplay and risk taking, and that provide appropriate rewards”. From this statement we can draw two conclusions about what they think the issues with moon mining in general is (and highlighted in stark contrast by Technetium). Materials for tech two production:
1) do not come from player activities that require group gameplay;
2) do have appropriate levels of risk involved; and
3) have disproportionate rewards.


The Alchemy solution in this blog addresses neither points one nor two but does provide a bit of a relief value on moon goo prices so that helps address point 3. The other two points essentially stem from the same source reason: moon mining is done automatically by harvesters anchored on Player Owned Starbases, requiring minimal human effort (compared to say, mining or ratting for example) and no serious group activity until defense of said POS is called for.

Therefore its safe to say that moon mining will either be augmented or replaced by a new mechanic that requires more player interaction, more players in general, and is probably not tied to a POS since its a bugbear of terrible legacy code according to reports from the dev trenches. Assuming this is very true and developers choose to circumnavigate the POS code for now, some new mechanic is going to be introduced to provide a new source for moon materials.

Enter planetary ring mining. This has been brought up before and now seems like a good time to work on it. Scannable locations near planets with rings that have special asteroids (or ice blocks) that can be mined by new modules (based on new ships or existing ORE ships) and produce moon materials. The types of moon materials that can be mined can be controlled by true security status just like asteroid ores and rat quality. The volume that can be mined per player would be significantly lower than a moon harvester per hours, but you can have as many miners as you want as opposed to a single harvester per moon goo (IIRC). This addresses problem points 1 and 2 by encouraging groups of players to venture out in vulnerable fleets that can be found and attacked by small groups of enemies without the defensive capabilities of a POS.

Then once ring mining is firmly entrenched and contributing to moon material volumes, CCP can start scaling back and eliminating moon mining. As long as CCP does not do something foolish like regionalize the available moon materials to a few select regions (again), the cartels of the few will be broken and material prices will start to reflect the benefits of wider competition.

– Kirith Kodachi

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45 Comments

  1. ViperRum

    1) do not come from player activities that require group gameplay;

    Not so sure about that. You'll need people to run the POS extracting the materials. Then the products need to be moved to where they'll be reacted into various things like nanotransistors. Then those will need to be moved to either the market or to where they will be used in the invention process. Then the BPCs will have to be used in the build process as well.

    This needs:

    1. Moon materials,
    2. PI materials,
    3. Various ores,
    4. POS, lots of POS
    5. Probably some jump freighters.
    6. Some freighters.

    You'll need characters that can mine, do PI, set up POSes, fly JFs, build stuff, and even sell stuff. That is alot of characters. Could one person do it? Sure, but man that sure is a recipe for burnout.

    Hell, just doing the invention stuff will burn out a player after several months if he tries to do it by himself.

    And once you start farming this stuff out to more and more pilots the risk of being ripped off increases. The only type of risk is just pew pew.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm Reply
    1. ViperRum

      And the alchemy "solution" as it is currently set up will do Jack and shit and Jack is backing right now. The ratios don't work with the current prices. As such nobody will do it at current prices…so it will have no impact on current prices.

      Now if they changed the ratios to match the current alchemy process that are currently in game….

      July 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm Reply
      1. The Observer

        This is true. The amount you get is only 1/20th (in most cases) the amount you would make if you had an actual pos harvesting the materials. All of these alchemy reactions don't even cover the cost of running the towers.

        July 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm Reply
        1. damn ccp

          ITS NOT SUPPOSED TO MAKE AS MUCH AS A HARVESTING POS OF TECH.

          It's a relief valve on the cost of tech, if tech gets too high people with shitty moons start reacting and refining and dumping it on market to lower the price average…

          The issue is that a large POS doesn't react that much, and on top of that at current values, it will have issues surpassing fuel costs + reactant costs.

          July 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm Reply
          1. ViperRum

            It is a relief valve that at current prices is not kicking in. You will lose money right now at the price of 155,000isk/unit of Tech. Even if the price of platinum technite tripled you'd make a modest profit.

            Really, learn to read and learn some basic math.

            In other words, it will only provide relief when things are fucked beyond belief.

            July 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm
      2. ViperRum

        WTF is with all the negatives? Seriously, are people opposed to the truth? Currently the new alchemy processes will do fuck all to platinum technite prices and as a result nothing to prices of things like nanotransistors.

        July 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm Reply
    2. The Observer

      I'm not sure how you run your POS, but I do it all myself. Granted, I use 2 toons to do it, but it's still just one person. I buy the fuel blocks and ship them to the nearest safe system, then I ship them from there on an as needed basis to the pos. I do the same with the moon materials, except in reverse. move to nearest safe system, then ship in bulk to the nearest trade hub. I could do it with only 1 toon, but my market alt does all the selling and buying (so I guess maintenance is with only 1 toon).

      FYI, you don't need ore (or any minerals for that matter) for moon mining.

      July 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm Reply
      1. ViperRum

        Sure, one person can run one or even several POS. But that isn't all that is done. Reaction will often require a number of towers. Then there is the moving stuff around, and either selling it or using it in the building process…making T2 materials is not something 1 person can do from beginning to end.

        July 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm Reply
      2. ViperRum

        Tech 2 production needs more than just moon goo. I could be a smart ass and type, L2Read or some shit, but note the post says, "Materials for tech two production:"

        Materials for T2 Produciton:
        1. Reacted moon materials (e.g. nanotransistors)
        2. PI materials (e.g. robotics, mechanical parts)
        3. Ores such as tritanium
        4. A T1 version of whatever you want to build
        5. A T1 blueprint that has been researched
        6 Datacores
        7. Racial interface.

        Plus on top of that you'll need stuff for your invention POS, so indirect inputs are

        1. More PI stuff
        2. Ice products

        Now moon goo is the big cost driver as the other stuff is pretty much readily available and cheap. And the biggest cost driver by far is technetium since it has the highest price and is needed in many T2 items.

        And even if we limit it to just a moon mining tower, are you:

        1. Mining all the PI materials yourself?
        2. Are you building the fuel blocks yourself?
        3. Are you using a jump freighter, if so,
        3.a. Are you mining the ice yourself for the jump fuel,
        3.b. the strontium,
        3.c. and the liquid ozone?

        And what happens when it gets attacked?

        My point is that it is pretty damn hard to play Eve and do everything in the game. I used to do invention and I never did all the stuff necessary for invention from top to bottom. Even simply buying stuff off the market means I was relying on others playing the game to accomplish whatever goals I set for myself. Yeah, in that case it was a distributed group play in that I didn't set up a mining op for just my needs. But that is the beauty of markets…they allow for spontaneous order via price signals.

        Mining planet rings would allow for a type of group play, but mining is always boring as Hell. I doubt many will do it, even for a few bits of technetium. Especially as it will likely be confined to just null sec where the risks will likely outstrip the rewards.

        July 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm Reply
    3. Rob

      I run moon mining POS's by myself…… news flash……. the hardest thing about running a POS is learning how to run it, once you have got a routine down, it's nothing.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm Reply
      1. Pos Peon

        Setting up and running a POS is easy but requires many hands to mine the Ice and produce the PI for fuel. On top of that is the constant hauling of goo and either jumping to market or further production into finished product.

        July 24, 2012 at 12:45 am Reply
        1. Keepa

          If your running your own POS, for moon mining you don't actually have to mine your own ice, Ice is actually sold on the market, you can if you want, I suppose it all depends on what you think your time is worth.

          July 24, 2012 at 1:16 am Reply
          1. Bittervet

            The difficult thing about moon mining isnt the pos, or the reactions, or keeping it fed.

            Its keeping other peoples battlefleets from turning your automated mining installation into scrap.

            Me, Im *entirely* in favour of making T2 minerals minable via ships from comets, or in wormholes, or around planets, and that will do for T2 production what Invention did for T2 blueprints … but to say theres no group involvement in producing T2 minerals is just false.

            The group involvement is in the fact other players have been stopped from blowing your automated mine up, and that you have a secure line of communication to get fuel in and minerals out.

            July 24, 2012 at 3:24 am
          2. Shogun

            I think the point that was being made is if you want to run a POS off all your own PI, and want to mine your own ice then that's your prerogative, it's probably not worth your time, but you can do it if you want….. You know that dude in your corp, or alliance that multiboxes like ten accounts in ice belts? that's the dude you probably want to talk to. That dude has min/maxed his mining, and probably does PI on all of those accounts also, so for him it makes sense to mine ice, or do PI.

            TL;DR version……. Time is money, and unless you have a good setup for mining ice you shouldn't even bother with it, go buy it off the market, or talk to corp members and make a deal to buy what you need off them, and the same goes for pretty much everything else in the game.

            July 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm
          3. ViperRum

            Somebody is still mining it though. The idea that it is something a single player can do is not true…at all. That you use the market to, in effect, enlist the assistance of other pilots proves the point.

            July 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm
          4. Shogun

            Why in gods name would you mine ice when you can for instance make three times as much ratting, and buy ice? your still working for the isk to buy the ice, you can just buy three times as much as you could mine….

            It like those dudes in highsec that mine all their own mins to build a tier 3 BS(worth 150 mil) and then sells it for 80 mill and thinks it's 100% profit b/c he mined everything himself….. what he is too stupid to understand is time is money, and he could have simply got all the mines off the market for ten BS's, and made much isk more for the same amount of time.

            July 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm
          5. Simon

            Like the other guy said if if you can make more isk doing incursions, or ratting, then you could mining then that's what you should do. Some random dude selling you ice on the market isn't helping you fuel your POS, he's making isk off you, and more then likely is making a living off ice mining. Really unless you can run 4, or 5 accounts mining it (probably) won't be worth your time.

            July 25, 2012 at 1:37 am
  2. ViperRum

    Jack is packing…damn typos….

    July 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm Reply
  3. Yeah, taking and holding tech moons is totally a solo activity.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm Reply
    1. M1k3y

      Harvesting & processing technetium is what makes the isk, and it can be and is done 100% solo.

      Taking & holding the tech moon is just more structure grinding & POS warfare.

      July 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm Reply
      1. Gerard

        An activity that clearly does not take massive group coordination. Clearly anyone can get up an go take a moon, put a tower on it and start harvesting tech.

        July 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm Reply
        1. Peggy from prime

          Clearly….you have missed the point.

          July 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm Reply
      2. damn ccp

        ya for some reason the article says manufacturing / t2 but thats not the issue

        The issue is moon goo, and thats it… T2 production isn't bad its a large consorted effort from all aspects of the game, which is nice…

        But the fac that the goo is such a bottleneck and easily locked down by 1 group … well ya

        July 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm Reply
        1. Rob

          The fact that you need so much tech for anything t2 makes the bottleneck, which is the biggest problem in my opinion. R64 moons should be more valuable then tech moons, which are R32 moons.

          July 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm Reply
    2. Corteztk

      The idea is that CCP doesn't want it so large alliance can control the whole supply. If for instance it could be harvested from 1000's of different planets then even the goons couldn't control it. Moon Goo as of right now, especially with the power projection that titans and jump bridges provide is easily controllable by one mega large group.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm Reply
  4. Hans Arienth

    There was a dev post somewhere that basically said ring mining had been pushed back 12-18 months because all the developers working on it had been re-assigned to reworking the POS mechanics, per the agreed CSM and CCP priorities. I don't have the actual link, sorry. I hope it isn't true as I think Ring Mining is exactly what this game needs right now.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm Reply
  5. Mono

    A well sourced article that adptly discusses and intresting point that affects every eve player in one way or another. Its a shame i dont like it atall solely becuase the title could have been :
    First Step, Alchemy. Second Step, ????. Third step, Profit.
    For those who get the reference it is chuckles all round and for those who dont wont mind atall. It was a win, win entirely missed by the author.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm Reply
    1. Rob

      The alchemy change in reality won't change a thing, it costs way to much time/isk (at least with the figures shown in the dev. blog) to be worth it.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm Reply
      1. Mono

        so, you dont get the reference?

        July 23, 2012 at 10:16 pm Reply
  6. As long as CCP does not do something foolish like regionalize the available moon materials to a few select regions (again), the cartels of the few will be broken and material prices will start to reflect the benefits of wider competition.

    So what your saying by fixing this issue with moons as they stand now would be an acceptable fix? Why in the FUCK would you want CCP to spend hours and hours of coding to introduce another BORING and MINDLESS task to this game? I guess you really want CCP to go under!

    A simple dynamic moon system would resolve this issue which is preventing anyone from getting a strangle hold on raw materials! This would open up high end moons to whoever goes and finds them!

    CCP SPEND YOUR TIME FIXING SOV, SO THE REST OF US CAN ENJOY EVE TOO!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:08 am Reply
  7. DarthNefarius

    TBH the Alchemy solution reminds me of the Incursion 'rollback' solution. Nuthing will change unless the real problems are addressed and enough people scream so CCP will put up a real timeline instead of Soon(TM).
    The day CCP's fixes stop sucking is the day they start fixing vaccum cleaners.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:16 am Reply
    1. Random Miner

      nothing the players do, aside from mass unsubbing, will make ccp want to do something about anything anymore. They already showed how they will spin in game protest in the future.
      SO they are kinda saying they'd let the game failscade before ever listening to lowly players of this computer game

      July 24, 2012 at 2:50 am Reply
  8. Random Miner

    the biggest problem with eliminating moon goo, and moving it to ring mining is:

    1) People Hate Mining
    2) The people who like to mine prefer doing it in safe areas (High sec, etc.)
    3) If ring mining is only in null, who does it? And can it possibly keep up with current production of moon mining, which leads to
    4) Will it just make moon goo more expensive in the end?

    CCp is clearly doesn't know what to do, and it's understandable why…

    July 24, 2012 at 2:58 am Reply
    1. Gary

      CCP announced a 5-year plan for nullsec almost exactly 1 year ago. You'd hope they have SOME idea of where they're going with all this. Unless they laid off all the people working on it at the end of 2011.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:29 am Reply
    2. BZD

      1) get people in your alliance which love mining, there are plenty of them
      2) you just need to "close" a few systems, then its safe, its like building supers on a POS
      3) if the price rise, more people will do it
      4) i dont know

      July 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm Reply
      1. Ashesofempires

        Just because a lot of people hate mining doesn't mean that they won't do it if it is profitable enough.
        High-sec is arguably more dangerous than elsewhere, because of the prevalence of suicide gankers and the current inability to do anything about it on the player's part. At least in 0.0 if you see someone you don't recognize or trust, you can immediately get the hell out, and proactively have your buddies shoot them.

        Ring mining will probably be available in low and high sec, just with less valuable minerals.

        If push comes to shove, and it turns out that either we have cartels controlling bottlenecks to industry, or a shitty system that means all around high prices because people aren't willing to go out and mine enough to bring the prices down, then CCP can always rebalance ship build costs, which is probably going to happen anyway. It's also much faster (spreadsheets in a DB rather than a whole new mechanic).

        TBH I'm interested in getting all of the info CCP was talking about during ATX put into a couple of dev blogs so that they can expand on the 15 minutes or so of chat they had about their upcoming works.

        July 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm Reply
        1. Random Miner

          i mine in a tanked hulk, and there has not been a single successful gank on me yet. I've even killed a few gankers and stopped some ganks with my mining ships drones alone (hilarious to see a km where a hulk killed a destroyer btw) so anyone who dies from ganking catty's gets no real sympathy from me unless they are total noobs, and got no skills.

          Although it will probably all be a moot subject when the new mining ships come out, but who knows, most of my mining friends just keep showing how they can only shit fit their miners…

          July 24, 2012 at 10:59 pm Reply
          1. Ashesofempires

            Your ability to survive is more because the gankers underestimated you. All they have to do to succeed is either bring a tornado or more thrashers.

            In null sec space you have enough warning between hostile entering local and hostile landing on grid to get to a POS or station. In high sec, you're mining away, and the next thing you know a ganker has arrived on grid, and is shooting you. Successful gank or not, the fact that they got close enough to attack means you are less safe. At some point, someone is going to kill your tanked hulk.

            July 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm
          2. Random Miner

            the amount of ships and isk it would take to kill my hulk would create more lolz for me then satisfaction for them, and since i can keep mining for hours, after reshipping, i make more isk over all. rather then having to run when ever someone comes into local

            July 25, 2012 at 12:07 am
    3. Shogun

      Did you just imply mining in highsec is safer then null? Does your nullsec alliance not have an intel channel?

      July 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm Reply
      1. Random Miner

        i also put "etc." lol. I mine in wh alot, because all you need is to see the probes in dscan to bug out

        July 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm Reply
  9. CFC grunt

    Your article is fail in every possible aspect !!!

    1.) Switching income from alliance level to player level harms alliances conflict content. As a Result you wont see "epic fights" anymore, only daily grief-ganking of (ring)miners , fantastic, NOT !

    Whine about the big alliances sitting on gold mines and that you little empire noob dont have the chance to make a fortune from those sources, but accept the fact, that does alliances are the factor that make PvP in EVE different from any other game.

    2.) Your doing exactly the same as CCP did 2008 , nerfing Dyspro/Prom … twice .. getting new and even more server imbalances…..

    => Alchemy is the proper corrective, dont mess the whole T2 thing up by double or tripple nerfes

    further correctives could be revamp of AdvCapComp requirements. Those created the Tech hype and marginalized the value of truely rare moons, which i think is a bad thing.

    Switching T2 to a completely new ressource system is simply insane. CCP has a proven track record for revamping major design parts in all in one … a very bad track record. Dont let them do this, its gonna end up in the same manner as SOV revamp.

    Having that said, i am open for ring mining as NEW and ADDITIONAL gameplay for and ADDITIONAL ressource cycle giving new reasons to go to 0.0

    PS: although i profitted from OTEC quite well :-) i am happy, that it ends with alchemy changes quite soon. It was insanly imbalanced and its good that that comes to an end

    July 25, 2012 at 4:37 pm Reply
    1. Simon

      Alchemy won't change anything, the cost for what you get is too great, and too everything else… of course you don't want it to change corp/alliance/coalition basically print isk out of nothing, I don't expect anyone in OTEC to say they want it to change.

      July 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm Reply
  10. Hans Arienth

    Yup, that is the link. So they didn't talk about a timeline, but it sounds like it will be after the POS overhaul and I think we can expect that to come no earlier than the winter expansion.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm Reply
  11. Peggy from prime

    Yeah and funny how everyone that comments positively on sound wave's post seems to be a goon…removing tinfoil hat now….

    July 24, 2012 at 10:07 pm Reply

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