Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ghosting Through Venal

Last night I conducted a survey through the region known as Venal. My CEO, Eperor, asked me to look for a moon producing a particular raw material that was unoccupied. So I spent several hours flying around cloaked, looking at said moons, and pondering the state of the economy in EVE.

Venal is NPC space. The Guristas Pirates hold sovereignty in every system. Which means that basically, its up for grabs. My survey shows that it is mostly populated by blues, and has a fairly vibrant marketplace, with significant quantities of goods, at least raw materials up for sale.

I visited 30 moons which, according to the database at DOTLAN, provided the desired material. Every single one of them were already being worked. All but about 5 by the same alliance, all save about 10 by the same corp within that alliance.

One of my first reactions was, "Good Lord, there's a lot of work going into servicing all those POSes". You see, with the Planetary Interaction feature that started about six weeks ago, all the fuel to power those stations is made by players. It's somewhat time-consuming, too.

The first reaction of most corps that have POSes was to sign up a few, or maybe several players to provide the fuel for the corp's POSes. This has led to burnout, and complaints about "clickiness". These complaints typically come from people who have 8 characters each running 5 planets, and resetting extractors daily. I run 5 planets with one character, resetting extractors takes about 10-15 mins. However, the goods must be hauled somewhere as well, and so the owning character must visit the planets where the goods are being produced to gain access to them. So there's more time.

I get it. I wouldn't think that doing this times 8 every day would be much fun, either. There's a simple alternative, though. The fuels can be bought on the market from other players, decentralizing the economy.

But apparently, human beings come with a built-in desire to not do this. "That's not the way we do things" is a phrase I've heard when I bring this up. Vertical monopolies may have worked well for Andrew Carnegie, but I don't think they do all that well in general. There's too much diffusion of effort, lack of specialization.

That corp that has 25 moon-mining stations in Venal does not produce fuel for those stations itself. Guaranteed. Those POSes produce an enormous amount of value, at least, if they are mining the valuable thing at the moon, and not some junk. And now, some of that value is going to go to other players, to pay for the fuel that runs the poses that mine it.

Furthermore, those other players aren't necessarily the rich and powerful senior members of EVE. No, it takes maybe two weeks to train up the skills for a fairly robust operation - five planets with advanced command centers. So the lowliest carebear can run a planetary operation and make some cash. Given where prices are, it's a decent bit of cash. And it's clear that many of the wealthier, more senior players of EVE don't like it.

Control of their own destiny has been taken out of their hands and put into something called "the economy". Apparently trusting in the marketplace is a hard thing to do.


CCP is on record as saying things like "we want to see more people in 0.0", and "we will be seeking to provide alternate pathways into 0.0". The space where my alliance has Sov, in Deklein, is reasonably well populated, but nothing like the major high-sec systems. The space I flew through in Venal was very sparsely populated. I flew into one cul-de-sac where the entrance was bubbled off and a few people were in there, presumably mining the highest-value ore. It may be "NPC" space, but it's their llittle private dominion, just the same. There is a great deal of value there. Large value divided by small population equals great riches for a few people. That's something worth fighting over.

And CCP of course wants to give people something to fight about. The question is then, why aren't these POSes attacked more? Most of them were small, it wouldn't take that long, or that much effort to put several of them in reinforced mode in one night. However, the mobility that titan bridges provide make the defense able to mount a mobile response. Hence, it's all about who can field the biggest fleet at any given time.

Now there's something very EVE about the rich getting richer. However, nobody should be getting a free ride, and nothing should be safe. I applaud CCP's efforts to spread the wealth around. PI certainly does that, and I'm looking for more.

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