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|
- 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
- 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 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?