Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Changing Landscape

While Eve News 24 has decided to cover games other than Eve Online due to stagnation in null sec, those of us who live in high sec are noticing changes in New Eden.  Mabrick, a serious high-sec industrialist, sounds like he is ready to abandon the security umbrella of CONCORD for greener pastures.  While I agree that CCP is looking to make high security space less profitable than null sec, I disagree that the reason is to support DUST 514.  I just think the changes are part of CCP's long-time desire to make Eve's player-controlled space look like fully formed nation-states rather than mere fight clubs.

Last August CCP Greyscale posted two dev blogs about a long-term (5 year) plan to improve null sec.  In the first, he laid out the background of the latest effort to develop a "Unified Theory of null sec development":
"In the past we've often started thinking about nullsec again because we were unhappy with our sovereignty mechanics (again), which leads into a nice self-contained area of work. This time our initial discussions were about resources and industry in nullsec, which are things that we've not really tackled "for a while" and "in forever" respectively. Asking ourselves "so, uh... how should industry work in nullsec" set us off down a rather interesting path of putting aside the sovereignty mechanics (for the most part, for now) and looking at everything else.

"It quickly became apparent that we needed to take a more structured approach to deciding exactly where our focus should be, leading to the resuscitation of an old project which you could somewhat-charitably describe as a Grand Unified Theory of nullsec design - a proper ground-up breakdown of how nullsec as a whole should work. This project meshed nicely with an internal drive we've been having recently in EVE Development to create and refine more robust roadmaps for where we want to be five years from now and how we'd like to get there, so it quickly got greenlit and we got to work.

"What followed were several rounds of brainstorming, filtering, analysis and discussion. We formed an internal group of about twenty CCP employees with an interest in nullsec and held a series of brainstorming sessions; we got feedback from the CSM and ran an open session with them during the spring summit; we even consulted with a few of the Alliance Tournament experts while they were over here, because it seemed like a useful opportunity. All this input was condensed down into two large wiki pages and one very crowded whiteboard, and then refined into a sizable collection of "Epic Stories" for our Scrum backlog"
CCP Brainstorming About Null Sec In 2011
The fact that Mabrick feels that the alchemy changes CCP is making in response to OTEC will not help high sec tech 2 manufacturers means the feature is working as intended.  In CCP Greyscale's second dev blog last summer he set down some guidelines on how industry should develop in null sec.
  • 99% self-sufficient by volume
    • For further discussion. People building things in nullsec should only need to travel to empire (or more than a couple of regions across nullsec) for low-volume supplies. This requires that industrialists have a ready supply of low-end minerals available nearby in nullsec, without breaking other systems or goals. (Likely means some way of mining low-ends in a massively more rapid manner compared to current tools.)
  • Geared towards T2
    • Our current proposal is that hisec is for volume T1 goods, lowsec will be for meta/faction gear eventually, nullsec is for T2, and wormholes are for T3
  • Lucrative
    • Building T2 modules/ships in nullsec should be a good way to make a lot of money. There are many inherent drawbacks in doing industry in nullsec and we need to balance out these hidden costs.
  • Requires investment
    • Again, we want the real wealth-generation machines to require people to settle down and spend some money, because it encourages concentration of effort and makes for interesting targets to attack or defend.
  • Accessible to all in small volumes
    • Anyone should be able to build enough bits and bobs to support a reasonably frugal lifestyle, anywhere in nullsec. This allows small groups to feel self-sufficient provided they're all prepared to work for it, while still encouraging specialization efficiency for larger groups.
I highlighted two sentences because I believe they explain why the alchemy changes are evolving they way they are.  Quite frankly I expect the other changes in moon minerals and tech 2 production to make null sec the center of tech 2 industry.

I will admit I am not a dedicated industrialist and have not followed the discussion surrounding null sec industry and what these outlined proposals mean for industry throughout the game.  But I am betting that this general guideline will influence game design decisions over the next few years.  For example, the financial incentives to faction warfare introduced in Inferno make more sense when fitted into this framework.  The loyalty point changes make actions in low sec a greater source of loyalty points and thus faction equipment than running level 4 missions in high sec.

As the carebear lifestyle in high sec becomes less and less profitable I foresee an exodus of some of the more serious carebears to other regions.  I personally am feeling my way though low sec because the thought of making meta-level objects is intriguing and am willing to wait until that is introduced.  Others who are already involved in tech 2 industry will eventually move closer to their sources of supply.  While Mabrick is concerned that "elite PvP" alliances will not allow carebears to join, I'm betting that the smart alliance leaders are already looking to bolster their industrial capacity.  If CCP does successfully push tech 2 production into null sec, then the only alliances that will have tech 2 ships to fight in are those who build their own or beg them from their masters.  After all, alliances are called pets because they have to beg for things they cannot obtain on their own, right?


  1. Basically get more industrials into lo/null to keep the target count up.

  2. I'm sorry but what CCP wants to achieve is theoretically impossible. See tomorrow's post on my blog.

  3. Almost all large alliances have industrial backbones.

    I am primarily a lowsec/nullsec pvp'er but I also run a reasonably sized industry empire on the side (separate from my pirate corp or their 'protection' too btw).

    It's a myth that you can't be successful as a lowsec or nullsec industrialist without being part of a large PvP alliance, look no further then all the 'renters' in nullsec for proof, trust me they're not paying rent because they aren't making a profit out there...

    You can also be successful in lowsec as an independent industrialist, funnily pirates need ships and if you can provide those at say Jita prices without them having to organise logistics from Jita... You'd be surprised what you can manage to negotiate (like blue standings, leaving your poco's/towers alone) if you can fill custom orders in their space at reasonable rates.

    Fact is most hisec indy's are much to comfy and would rather complain then actually explore opportunities, hence they never find the opportunities either.

  4. People seem to be oblivious to the fact that there are people who are not interested in PVP at all. They just like building things, or pve, or flying around in spaceships. Lots of players aren't interested at all in the extra mental effort or attention needed to "play" there. It's not "playing", it's not fun. If CCP makes a non-PVP play style a no-go in high sec, high sec players won't move to other game areas, they'll move to other games.

    1. What makes you think you *must* PvP to live in low or nullsec?

      My main lowsec industry toon lost 1 iteron IV in the last year and a half and even then only because I go distracted by one of my cats. Other then that she never was involved in any PvP at all.

  5. I very well done rebuttal Nosy Gamer! You make some very, very good points. I salute your fact finding and your conclusion. Regardless of how it shakes out,I doubt that industry will ever get the front row seat I want it to. Most (all?) conflicts are driven by resources. To that end, CCP will develop industry in all regions. But the overarching drive to that development will be to promote more conflict. Industrialism is merely a means to an end with CCP rather than a bonafide play style sans violence (but certainly bonafide WITH violence *wink*.) So Eve will become more like RL. Unfortunately, many play Eve to escape RL and the shit storms that happen there. CCP takes that into consideration too.

    1. *I hope CCP takes the into consideration too.

  6. "As the carebear lifestyle in high sec becomes less and less profitable I foresee an exodus of some of the more serious carebears to other"(regions)GAMES.
    There fixed that last part for you..Regardless if you like the fact that some people don't want to pvp or not,there are lots of people who play Eve that don't want to pvp under any circumstances.
    I also understand that CCP really doesn't give a rats *ss about those customers,but hey, lots of them have 2-4-6,maybe over 10 paying accounts..
    Is that a long term goal for the company to have,slowly getting rid of a lot of paying customers???Hell maybe it is???

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Deleted for bad language that didn't contribute anything of value.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. "This is the worst EVE Blog ever"

    1. Good thing this isn't really an Eve blog, isn't it :-)

  10. I love your blog even if random cursing people don't. <3

  11. Some folks need to realize that anger management is a positive thing.

    I dislike pigeon-holing. If they wish to make it so you can make measurably more ISK doing T2 work in null, then great. But the goal should not be to make t2 work in hisec unprofitable. Similarly, t2 production should be more profitable in wormholes than in hisec or losec, as the risks are far greater. I can understand, however, if the profitability is lower than in (regular)null. Just like doing t3 work in (regular)null should be less profitable than doing it in wh space, but more profitable than doing t3 in hisec.

    I just hope that if planetary ring mining for t2 materials is a go, that wh planets are included.

  12. There will always be profit to make t2 in High sec. The thing is that moon goo is stituated on the opposite side of null sec from where the minerals are collected. Ie some of the tech 2 moon goo for amar ships can only be found in Minmitar space. while the 1 mineral for ammar ships can only be found in ammar space. except when coming to Ihub mining up grades.
    The main source of Data cores will be faction warefare.

    IN the end you will see the cost of t2 production equal that of null sec, where now you need to pull data cores from high sec, etc.

    With the expanded alchemy you will be able to use more and more high sec moon goo to make the T2 components required.