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).
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.