I don’t normally do TL;DRs, but in this case I’m making an exception:

New Eden is dead, we’ve already killed everybody. Twice. Mathematically, there shouldn’t be anybody left to run the stations, farm the planets or maintain your clones. In which case you should be dead too.

You can skip to the end for the important numbers, but they might not make much sense without understanding how I got there. Read on for an explanation.

The Big Question

After researching and answering the ‘Does Your Ship Have a Crew?‘ conundrum to my satisfaction, I mistakenly thought I could rest on my laurels, read the comments of others as they came in and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well researched. I was wrong.

One particular comment was from Robert, and what he posited wormed it’s way into my head and wouldn’t go away. He raised an interesting point regarding the logistics of ships crews. Putting to one side his valid arguments about the maintenance and funding issues, which I won’t go into in this post, it was Robert’s concerns regarding the sheer turnover of staff that started gnawing at me. He commented,

And where do you find all these people? Think of the consistently massive recruitment and training effort needed to replace all those crews all the time. Where do they pull all these people from in the far reaches of nullsec, and are they all equally willing to have their lives thrown away casually?

An intelligent question that needed an intelligent answer. So off I set on another information crusade, this time to determine how the population of New Eden copes with the constant loss of life that must occur as the heavens are rent asunder by we petty gods. Here’s what I found.

Firstly, a disclaimer. I’ve never been much of a mathematician and I’m certainly no Hari Seldon. In order to arrive at any sort of a conclusion, a lot of assumptions and estimations were required and so this entire topic is largely conjecture (with a hint of Psycho-History).

Counting Planets
Initially, I wanted to determine the approximate population of New Eden. Working on the basis that humans could only naturally survive and thrive on temperate planets, as supported by the Evelopedia quote;

Life-bearing worlds are often referred to as “temperate”, as their mild temperatures are one of their defining features. Planets with existing, stable ecosystems are prime targets for colonization efforts as they are generally easier to make fully habitable; as a result, the majority of highly populated worlds are of this type. Indeed, it is not altogether uncommon for detailed surveys to reveal signs of previous settlements from various stages of New Eden’s history.

According to the same Evelopedia entry, there are 7,200 temperate planets throughout New Eden. Now although I am sure that humanity isn’t evenly distributed amongst those planets, we need a ball-park average to work with.

Earth’s population is currently estimated at just under 7 billion (6,869,500,000 according to the United States Census Bureau), but that’s because we don’t have a choice. The cultures of New Eden are hugely advanced and have the capacity to spread to other worlds and construct vast homes in space. Therefore I’m sure they would be able to maintain planetary populations at optimum levels. But what is optimum? This essay suggests that it is 2 billion for Earth.

As I said before, I accept that whilst the central Empire systems like Jita, Amarr and many others have populations that vastly exceed that, countless others would be less densely populated or even uncolonised. Plus there are colonies on many other less inhabitable worlds, although I would expect those populations to make a neglible contribution. So we’ll go with:

7,200 temperate planets x avg 2,000,000,000 population = 14,400,000,000,000.

That’s a total planet-bound population of 14.4 trillion people.

Docking Permission Granted

Now for those in space. This figure is a lot more nebulous if you’ll excuse the pun. I tried to find some definitive figures on the population of stations, but the only relevant reference I found was to 600,000 deaths when a Nyx Supercarrier crashed into the Ishukone headquarters in Malkalen. Since the station remained structurally intact despite massive damage, I assume there were survivors. So I’m going to guestimate a total station population of 1 million.

According to Grismar’s EVE database explorer tool, there are 4888 NPC-controlled stations available to dock at. Most of them are possibly less grand and thus less densely populated than the HQ of a Caldari Megacorporation, but let’s be generous.

4,888 NPC stations x 1,000,000 population = 4,888,000,000.

I’ll round that up to 5 billion for simplicity. Now take into account Sovereignty structures and stations, Player-owned-Starbases and the countless Deadspace strucures we see in missions, I think we can conservatively multiply that by a factor of ten or more. let’s say by a hundred to be on the safe side.

5 billion stn. pop. x 100 to account for deadspace/POS/Sov structures = 500,000,000,000.

Five hundred billion souls in space. Add that to our estimated planetary population and we’re just short of fifteen trillion. So there we have our total population of New Eden: approximately 15,000,000,000,000. At least I think that’s what that says, I’m starting to suffer from zero-blindness.

The Pan-Galactic Massacre

Another elusive figure to determine was the number of ships destroyed throughout the galaxy in a given time-period. This would be necessary to extrapolate the ongoing mortality rate of starship crewmen. The number of capsuleer’s ships destroyed in the previous 24-hours was easy enough to find – it’s displayed at the top of the in-game Sovereignty information window, under the ‘world’ tab.

10732 capsuleer ships were shown as destroyed on 18th September. Although only a single sample, it was a twenty-four hour period including a friday night, so it included some peak time and some less so. A fair spread, it will have to do.

Determining the number of NPC ships destroyed was another matter entirely. I looked on the in-game map displaying ‘Pirate and police ships destroyed in the last 24 hours’ and chose one of the busiest regions (Lonetrek) and one showing little NPC destruction (Feythabolis). I then used DOTLAN Evemaps and painstakingly added together the NPCs destroyed, system-by-system. Roughly 60,000 NPC ships had been destroyed in the quiet backwater region of Feythabolis, six times more than all capsuleer ships! But even that is insignificant compared to the bloodbath in Lonetrek, with 500,000 ships having fallen at the hands of capsuleer ratters. Let’s average that out, so 280,000 non-capsuleer ships are being destroyed daily in each of 64 regions.

280,000 NPC ship x 64 Regions = 17,920,000 destroyed NPCs in the last 24 hours.

It’s hardly worth adding the capsuleer losses, but it ends up just shy of 18 million ships that had been obliterated in the last day. Now to figure out what kind of ships they were on so as to estimate a crew compliment. I knew from the previous Ship’s Crew research what sort of crew compliments some classes of ship had. Frigates averaged two or three, cruisers were around seven-hundred and battleships about 7,000. I started attempting to squeeze useful figures from the Quarterly Economic Newsletter, but despite initially useful looking information on popular ship types, it was ultimately not especially helpful.

Instead I opted for an arbitrary average of 1,500, which is somewhere between cruiser and battleship and probably not far off battlecruiser crew numbers. With frigates, shuttles and the like off-setting the occasional average-busting capital kill, 1,500 was as good a figure as any.

So we’ve got 17,930,732 ships being destroyed daily with an average of 1,500 souls aboard:

17,930,732 x 1,500 = 26,896,098,000 souls involuntarily ejected into space per day.

Nearly 27 billion frozen corpses. Daily.

But I haven’t taken escape capsules into account I hear you cry. I have no idea what the survival rates are for scuttled ships, but various Chronicles tell tale of escape pods and survivors. So lets generously split it straight down the middle at 50%, halving our daily mortality rate to about 13.5 billion.

That’s still 4.9 trillion per year.

Umwot? Didn’t we figure out earlier that the total population of New Eden is 15 trillion?

So the capsuleers of New Eden will annihilate all human life in a little over three years. At that rate, the research I did into birth-to-death ratios is entirely redundant. And since they’ve already been exploding ships with wild abandon for seven years, technically the population of New Eden is already at about minus twenty trillion.

The end of New Eden isn’t nigh, it’s already happened.

Somebody please explain.

Eenbal · 18/09/2010 at 09:59

AWESOME!! Anyway have you seen a movie called Moon(2009)? If you haven't they basically clone one dude loads of times and stick them in the freezer, to be defrosted when the current clone starts dying. In this, very advanced, universe of new Eden is it wrong to assume that every ships crew would have to be trained from scratch? Or even that they are all different crew members? I like to think that our crews are all the same as they are all cast from one crew. They are merely clones of that crew, this also means that it doesn't matter if the crew dies. Who cares about clones anyway? I haven't researched anything with regards to EVE canon (I'm just too lazy!) and I know that cloning is complicated but they would only have to be updated should equipment change as the captain/egger does all the strategic mumbo-jumbo and it could explain why npc's are so frigging easy to kill! /me waits for holes the size of solar systems to be blown into his theory.

Jared Reidel · 18/09/2010 at 10:18

I Don't have the answers but wanted to say what a cracking post this is! Great work in taking the trouble to go through the numbers…maybe cloning or artificially shortened gestation / maturation periods is the answer?

belamar · 18/09/2010 at 10:35

Ok, the big issue with these numbers is the assumption that they're all killed. Being a crew member on a ship is risky, not a death sentence.

Oxidizing Agent · 18/09/2010 at 10:57

Fantastic. Really does give the old grey matter a good work out.

Kirith Kodachi · 18/09/2010 at 11:15

Logic? In my space fantasy?! Get out!

Seriously, I think you can save a lot of lives by positing that the crew numbers typically seen in the background material are for non-pod pilot ships, and that the crew numbers for capsuleer ships are much much lower.

Also, it has been speculated that the vast majority of Pirate ships destroyed in belts and missions are vastly undermanned and sometimes operated by AI drone code, hence their stupidity.

TYR3L · 18/09/2010 at 11:34

Great post! Guess its time to reboot the Tube Child program.

Do the Dotlan numbers include NPCs in missions? Missions and their NPCs seem to lie outside the realm of logic. Can see how they would especially throw off any calculations.

Personally I like Eenbal's theory (although a spoiler alert might be needed). πŸ˜‰

Aldariandra (Robert) · 18/09/2010 at 11:41

Fantastic Post! CCP Needs to have a look at this πŸ˜‰

As to the cloning question. Canon tells us that its the very cloning part that sets capsuleers apart from the ordinary citizen. Only the capsuleers or the otherwise super-rich, can afford the privilege of having one or multiple clones, and the enormous costs associated with the upkeep and support.
The Cronicle "One man too many" gives an example of a businessman who uses jumpclones to get around, and then there is the example of the Broker.

Eenbal · 18/09/2010 at 12:24

As to the cloning costs, I'm thinking more along the lines of (Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones) mass produced clones of a few people(Template crew 01). It would make sense as mass production is usually very cost effective. I also like to think that when you buy a new ship part of the cost is for a complete(though small)crew as you don't have to hire crew for your ships.

Arvash · 18/09/2010 at 13:20

This is a great post – even bettwr than the crewpst. Good research and analysis. Looks like the PF folks might have a bit of work to do…

Dax Jr. · 18/09/2010 at 13:36

If it makes you feel any better, I recycle Sansha slaves.

Seismic Stan · 18/09/2010 at 14:20

Kirith makes a good point, that I've based my assumptions on full crew compliments across the board.

There would be reduced crew numbers aboard many capsuleer ships (although the figures show that podder ship's lost is a drop in the ocean). Many NPC ships may well be under-staffed (which might explain why they're so much more rubbish that capsuleers).

However, even if you assumed every NPC ship was running with half the recommended crew, that would still effectively only double New Eden's lifespan to 6 years.

Which means we killed the last ones off about a year ago.

Titanius · 18/09/2010 at 15:11

This is an incredibly well researched and well thought out posting. However, it also illustrates that this world, once again, is a fictional world. Unless humans could breed like rabbits all of a sudden.
To be honest, I have a feeling that CCP would bs its way out of this if their feet were held to the fire.
Wait, I just got it. EVE Online doesn't exist. The only way we could kill so many and not go extinct…
It's the Matrix. EVE Online is the Matrix. It all makes sense now…

Seismic Stan · 18/09/2010 at 16:46

@Titanius, heh I did idly think about the idea that all capsuleers are stuck in their clone chambers because there's no-one left to release them after the last clone jump. As as result they're all dormant and in a feverish communal dream whilst waiting for the station power to run down.

@belamar The figures don't assume that crews all die. In one of the last paragraphs I arbitrarily throw in a 50% survival rate. Even if that is increased to 90% there's still a phenomenal atrition rate.

Latro · 18/09/2010 at 17:30

Nice math exercise, but you posit an avg. of 2M per each of 7200 Temperate worlds. Any manipulation of that number will have a huge effect on the base population numbers. I would argue that since humans tend to spread/breed like rabbits, with advanced medicine and technology to counterbalance the threat of non-Earth environs, there is a much higher concentration of planet-bound population, to include non-T planets.

Seismic Stan · 18/09/2010 at 17:53

Good spot Latro. Fortunately it was just a typo due to my zero blindness. The result was still based on 2bn rather than 2m.

I agree you could play with the planetary population figures hugely, but even with a much larger galaxy population, there principle remains the same. The sheer loss of life is unsustainable.

Anonymous · 18/09/2010 at 18:02

Absolutely fantastic read!

To play the devil's advocate though, a day in eve some years ago would not have been as busy as now.

Capsuleers might have caused everyones death 'just' once, or there might still be 5-10 people per planet left to kill.

Either way, I don't like the idea of crew on my ships. It's nicer to imagine that the capsuleers brain takes care of everything through a direct neural interface.

Luccul · 18/09/2010 at 18:59

Thanks for this post – it covers what I've been wondering about but never took the time to sit down and mash the numbers.

I've always felt that Eve couldn't happen in real life with the typical in-game attitude towards ships, simply because you'd never get a crew for a capsuleer ship. Not for a PvPer anyway. The admonition among PvPers is that you expect to lose your ship (therefore don't undock in a ship you can't afford to lose). With that attitude, you see some players lose several ships in an hour or two. Ships are cannon fodder – would you want to be a crew on a capsuleer's ship?

So, I play assuming that there's no significant loss of life to crews – either they aren't there, or they have escape pods of some kind that get them clear. Or they're robots. Otherwise no one would be able to treat a ship as disposable as we do because you'd never get a crew.

Imagine a game where you're ability to get a crew is part of being able to field a ship. If you lose ships frequently, and the crews perish, you can't get a crew for the next ship. Wouldn't that put a damper on PvP play. What a boring game that would be.

Haddasha · 18/09/2010 at 19:21

I think I love you.

Anonymous · 18/09/2010 at 19:31

Though this is pretty interesting, I would just ignore it. Movies that don't try to explain their sci-fi babble come across as more believable than ones that do.

They're hacking our internets!

How many?

All of them!

Shandir · 18/09/2010 at 21:36

I'd imagine that the crew numbers for NPC ships should be skewed heavily towards frigates – you fight a *lot* more frigates than anything else, even in higher end missions.

Then there are drone missions, which have a total of zero crew for the entire mission – maybe 1 in 10 missions is against a drone hive?

I like to think that capsuleer ships have lower crews, given they don't really need a set of officers (they do all of that) – what they really need is mechanics, loaders and unloaders, and other such manual tasks.

The numbers for the planets are probably reasonable – but I believe non-terran planets probably are habited, at least barren, oceanic, and ice worlds could be. Probably also lava.

And I suspect that stations are more populated still.

But like someone above said, I think it makes most sense if EVE ships have few or no crew, whilst this does contradict canon explicitly – it does make more sense. Unless capsuleers are just paying people *that* well – which isn't beyond belief.

We do have "The buying power of governments" after all.

Mynxee · 19/09/2010 at 01:17

I swear, great friggin' blog! This was an awesome post.

Sujanra · 19/09/2010 at 13:48

Also remember that a huge proportion of those deaths are of members of pirate alliances. Do they have billions of members to lose, anyway?

I think this is one of those things where you have to chalk it up to game mechanics vs fiction. In the "real" EVE universe, there's no way the death toll is that high. Unsatisfying, I know, but can you imagine the carebear tears if the l4 mission runners got told they couldn't do them anymore because all the pirates were dead?

Xeross · 19/09/2010 at 21:18

Even if you could spread out more wouldn't the planets have more than 2b each, now that's a lot in 112 years I guess but still.

I guess most of the vessels flown by both the Empire factions and pirate factions are operated by AI, and rather poor AI at that.

manasi · 20/09/2010 at 12:02

There is no crew the pod does it all.

Great post and decent logic.

Jim diGriz · 20/09/2010 at 15:50

If all those stations have populations, why don't we see more NPC traffic?


Logan Fyreite · 20/09/2010 at 16:23

What a great post! Thank you for taking the time to work out the numbers on this! You didn't even have to reference the number of people skilled enough to do jobs on starships to show how crazy the process is.

On the other hand I wonder if this could be worked around by changing both the base population (increasing overall population numbers by some factors or changing what planets are considered habitable. With advanced technologies comes the ability to seed smaller, but still noticeable sized populations on barren or even other planets, maybe only numbering 1M-1B per planet but still worthy in large enough numbers to change the outcome. Also the numbers of people in space could be interpreted differently. Take for instance all those stations found in the middle of space in said missions, that would both change the number of deaths and the total populations.

Finally I think that CCP has some Canon in place to deflect this math a bit. They said in the burning life novel that most crew on ships spend most of the voyage pre-loaded into escape capsules. They could argue that survival rate of crew is as high as 95% if not higher in a normal situation, such as not in a bubble or without smart bombs present, significantly reducing the number of dead from each battle.

We know the crew is minimally skilled, so perhaps it would be fairly easy to secure more crew to clean the hallways than we think.

Khalia · 20/09/2010 at 19:25

Highly approve. Frak those crew! πŸ˜€

sonoftheflame · 20/09/2010 at 21:29

I always figured that crews were dropped in the wreck containers and pulled on to the first ship to open the container.

I talk about it more at http://www.99redbeacons.blogspot.com

LostTemplar · 02/05/2011 at 17:05

I thinkyou forgot one thing in your accouting:


Per day.

I'd say that unless the universe is in decline, you'll easelly get a number that will match or topple the deaths per day, meaning you actually wold have a aging population.

Mat Westhorpe · 02/09/2012 at 22:46

Just been reading through these comments again – (very) belatedly in response to LostTemplar's comments about the birthrate – he must have missed my closing comments about birthrate being irrelevant. While he may be right about the birthrate, based on the attrition rate as detailed in the above blogpost, all that should now be left in New Eden are planets full of toddlers.

Mandrill · 12/03/2014 at 14:45

Humans are innovative and adaptable. With the use of the high levels of tech available in EVE universe I would assume that any planet could be made habitable with a little ingenuity and tech. How do the numbers look if every planet has a pop of 2bn?

Mat Westhorpe · 13/03/2014 at 00:18

I did some more generous calculations in the follow-up post 'New Eden is Saved' 'New Eden is Saved' but the batteries have run out on my Casio calculator now, so I'll be buggered if I'm going to do any more maths.

Anonymous · 22/08/2014 at 13:22

What if they use the Caldari tube children cloned as a low grade clone capable of speaking and mopping would cost 10isk and you could in theory mass produce these clones with the more capable ones being capsuleers

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