In a practical sense, I am not concerned with the economic geography of the entire galaxy. Interested? Definitely. But I am currently in the processing of moving into Minmatar low security space so that is where my focus lies. Over the course of my research I ran across a lot of facts that people who are not geography geeks like me may find interesting.
How big is Minmatar low sec? Before answering how big Minmatar low sec is, the first question to answer is how big is the Minmatar Republic? I think most people know that the Minmatar govern the regions of Heimatar, Metropolis and Molden Heath. Those three regions contain 41 constellations and 280 total systems.
|Region||Constellations||Low Sec Systems||Total Systems|
As the chart above shows, 104 of the Minmatar Republic's 280 systems have a security status under .5. Can the Republic really claim control if its navy cannot patrol a system? Officially yes although I don't doubt that some residents of Molden Heath would dispute the claim.
The above figures may surprise some people as the fame of the Heimatar systems of Rens and Amamake might lead one to believe that Heimatar is the biggest, most prosperous region in the Minmatar Republic. Perhaps for mission runners, but from a resource distribution view the region falls far behind Metropolis. I would argue that, as a whole, Heimatar low sec is the least valuable territory in the Minmatar Republic.
Planets - One area of interest is the number of planets in low sec. Planets not only provide resources through planetary interaction but are a passive income source for those owning POCOs (player-owned custom offices). Planets not only are a conflict driver in space but soon will see warfare waged on the ground once DUST 514 is launched. The distribution of planets is shown in the chart below.
One thing that struck me is that while Molden Heath only had 3 more low sec systems than Heimatar, Molden Heath has 51 more planets in low sec than its more populous neighbor.
Moons - The number of moons is important for two reasons. The first is that the number of moons determine how many POS (player-owned starbase) a system can support. The second is that in systems with a security status of .3 and below moon mining is possible. Yes, another passive income/conflict driver. The below chart shows the number of total moons and the number of moons that potentially can have moon mining operations set up on.
|Region||Minable Moons||Total Moons|
The chart shows how a system's security status can make a system more valuable. Even though Heimatar and Molden Heath have the same number of moons in low sec, Molden Heath's generally lower system security status results in almost twice as many minable moons in Molden Heath than in Heimatar.
Belt Mining - I know that belt mining in low sec is frowned upon by high sec miners worried about maximizing their profits. The draw of low sec mining is supposed to be the ore that high sec miners cannot access except by scanning down gravimetric sites. The ore available in .3 and .4 security belts, kernite, I do not see as an enticement to mine in an asteroid belt. While the ore contains the highest concentration of mexallon plus a good amount of isogen, those minerals are available to the high sec Minmatar-based miner in plagioclase and omber. For me, the draw to belt mining in Minmatar low sec is hedbergite. Found in systems with .1 and .2 security status, the ore produces two minerals unavailable to miners operating in the Minmatar Republic's high security systems: nocxium and zydrine. So with that in mind, what is the distribution of belts found in Minmatar low sec?
|Region||Hedbergite (.1-.2)||Kernite (.3-.4)|
Looking at the numbers closer revealed that Heimatar only contains one system with a security status below .3.
NPC Stations - Up until now I have looked at the natural objects that players can exploit. But what about the existing NPC infrastructure available to support economic activity? If CCP truly seeks to push high sec industrialists to move to low sec, a theory I support, then what exists to support that move? The below chart offers a quick look at the number of factories and research stations in Minmatar low sec.
The number of research stations really doesn't come into play as the wait times are less than in high sec. Something about players are afraid of pirates because every system in low sec is gate camped 23/7 by them. The number of factories is important to determine if low sec currently has the capacity to absorb an influx of high sec industrialists. Perhaps the infrastructure is not enough and some sort of boosts to low sec stations will occur.
This high level look at the low security space of the Minmatar Republic just scratched the surface of the analysis in which one could engage. I may write a couple more posts on the subject just because I still have some questions I want to answer. But I don't plan on extending my studies outside the Republic any time soon. 280 systems is a big enough pool of systems to look at. Imagine analyzing the Amarr Empire whose 102 constellations spread over 8 regions almost equals the number of Minmatar low sec systems. On second thought I'd rather not. I'll stick with the area I call home.