Thursday, April 9, 2015

The State of EVE - Ship Kills from December 2014 to March 2015

A while back, I started tracking monthly ship kills in EVE, collecting data from as far back as 2010. Ship kills in low sec and null sec are a small indicator of the amount of PVP activity in the game, which is itself a small indicator of the game's overall health. December 2014 from March 2015 marks a distinct phase in the game's life, insofar as Phoebe (with its jump changes) released in November and Rhea (with the introduction of Thera) released in December. March represents fanfest and the start of discussion of "fozziesov," including announcement of the upcoming structure rebalance and initial changes to null sec sov coming as soon as April. So, let's look at the past 4 months of ship losses in low sec, null sec, and both regions combined, and all of them indicated on the purple line:

If you attended fanfest or watched the streams (or read the follow-up blogs) you likely got a sense that many players are concerned, but not pessimistic or completely unhappy, about low security space. The graph explains a bit about why players who PVP in LS are a bit concerned: LS ship losses in February and March drop below the losses in 2013 and 2014. Now, to be frank, 2013 and 2014 were both fantastic years for LS PVP, and 2015 is following similar trends, but many have a sense that LS needs more players, more content drivers, and ultimately more PVP. Non-FW LS (it exists!) in particular needs help, and faction war needs an iteration that will 1) expand it and 2) make PVP more central no matter the state of the tiers. However, because of recent events LS PVP will spike in April and after....what recent events? Well, obviously, the fact that BRAVE moved back into LS, making their new home in Defsunun the top system for ship kills in LS by far since their arrival. The uptick should not be taken as evidence that low security space is in a satisfactory place: it does need iteration, and unfortunately there are simply not enough devs at CCP to iterate on everything that currently needs iteration. Now let's turn to ship kills in null sec, a completely different story...

 That's right, null security space saw more ship kills in March of 2015 than any other month in any year prior in 11 years (expect the anomalous April of 2012). It seems that all null sec needed was not actually a change in sov, but a mere suggestion that sov would be changing, in order to see more activity. CCP's best tool for increasing activity in game, it would seem, is merely suggesting that they will change that area of space. In any case, the activity in null sec during this 4 month period is due in large part to the fighting in Catch, the general "thunderdome" or "farmingdome" of EVE, as well as increasing activity in Fountain and Delve. Null sec, from these numbers, is looking to be in very good shape, and even if "fozziesov" is only a moderate improvement on the current sov system, given the current level of activity in NS, we should continue to see the ship losses and PVP activity skyrocket in April and especially in June/July when the bigger changes come. This should make the summer of 2015 the most active period of PVP in EVE Online's history... Summer is coming, indeed!

Here, finally, is what LS+NS look like combined, an important stat considering that many players (such as most of BRAVE) go back and forth between LS and NS. (I myself have been more active in NS lately in virtue of the amount of the PVP there, so in many cases LS players count as NS players and vice versa):

Combined, the total ship losses suggest that PVP activity in EVE is pretty good. In fact, it is close to all time high numbers, and on the uptick (much more so than in previous years). Simply from this graph, one can tell that there is a lot of excitement about EVE right now that simply wasn't present in March of any other year. Summer is coming indeed.


  1. Ship losses are a problematic indicator.
    I track the CFC losses based on downloaded zkillboard data. Here is March:
    They lost 51.5K ships. 38.5K kills were responsible for 1/6 of the ISK lost. So if CFC would double losing frigs (90K kills instead of 51.5), their losses would increase by 16%.

    The problem is that we can't know if the increased kill number is because of increased fighting or only because BRAVE were busy losing frigs.

    1. Right, the ships lost statistic does not track anything about the value or quality of those losses, so someone who thinks frigate losses are inconsequential will be uninterested. However, I am more interested in tracking ship losses because each loss at least indicates a pilot out in space, and I'm interested in what the overall trends and spikes suggest.