I still haven’t stopped laughing over the minutes from the Winter CSM summit. Especially the nullsec bits. Heaven help me, but I do love a good puppet show.
The best bit was the lords of nullsec and their hangers-on stepping up one by one to say how awful it is in nullsec, how broken nullsec is, and how nobody wants to go to nullsec because it’s so hard to make the Iskies. And how, oh how, can they possibly get those lazy and risk-averse carebears to come out to dreary, awful, broken (did we mention it was broken) and dangerous nullsec given the status quo?
You’d think nullsec was the nerdy frat-house on campus and couldn’t get anyone to join ’cause all those cool highsec frat houses were giving away free sex and cocaine at their rush parties. Meanwhile poor nullsec house was stuck serving fruit-punch and two-day-old sushi.
I swear, musical themes from La Bohème must have been swelling in the background as the blue doughnut’s proxies (BDPs) warbled as one from the ‘Farms and Fields’ songbook, held forth on nullsec’s terrible state and prophesied darkly ‘pon the consequences of CCP inaction. Of course, in a later session UAxDEATH sneers that a trillion ISK as mere pocket change for a nullsec alliance (at which you could practically hear Alekseyev Karrde’s jaw hit the floor).
Ah, the poor, lonely, rich boys of nullsec. It just breaks the heart, doesn’t it?
The TLDR of the BDPs’ demands, as expressed in the CSM minutes and in the forums, amounts to this: Change mining and manufacturing mechanics across New Eden so that these activities are far more efficient in sovereign nullsec than in empire or NPC nullsec. Which is to say they want the baseline cost of manufacturing a given ship or module in empire to be higher.
Yeah, that’s right. The BDP wants you to pay more for ships and modules. No, really. Twocores/Mynnna even put it in print.
Why? Well, according to the BDP, they want you to pay more for ships and modules so they can have economic independence from the cruel tyranny of Jita. Of course, nobody’s twisting the BD’s collective arm to buy and sell at Jita. And, if markets provide any indication, nullsec absolutely loves to shop at Jita. However, the BDPs hold that, despite nullsec’s near monopoly on high end manufacturing inputs, there is simply no way they can possibly develop industrial capacity within their domains that will compete on a price basis with empire imports given the present mechanics. No way. It’s just not economically feasible.
Despite all the BDP sturm und drang at the CSM summit and in the forums, developing a nullsec industrial infrastructure competitive with highsec imports is perfectly achievable with the current mechanics. Is it harder than having CCP hand you the wherewithal on a silver platter? Of course. But none of the changes the BDPs are lobbying for are required to get it done. As I pointed out in Comparative Advantages, back in July:
“If [nullsec's] economic ministers are truly interested in developing the farms and fields paradigm, building up nullsec’s industrial capacity must become the primary focus of their efforts. That will take some clever thinking on their part and require an incentives program geared toward creation rather than merely destruction.”
I have done industry in nullsec. I know the difficulties involved, and know how nullsec alliances can overcome them. Like as not, there are a large number of forward thinking industrialists, some in nullsec, who could point the way as well. And, happily, you don’t have to take my word for it. As a reader recently pointed out, an article posted on Goonswarm’s own propaganda outlet demonstrated that the lords of nullsec on CCP’s Serenity server have overcome the industrial problem that has Twocores/Mynnna and the rest of the nullsec brain-trust throwing up their hands in despair.
I suppose it’s possible that Serenity’s lords of nullsec have out-thought their Tranquility brethren or are simply better managers. And it is certainly possible that I am just infinitely smarter than the combined talents of the GoonSwarm Federation Economic Cabal; the self-proclaimed ‘foremost authority on Eve Online economics and game play’. Or perhaps the lords of BD nullsec simply lack the energy for enterprise, preferring a free hand-out from CCP to rolling their sleeves up and doing some honest mental heavy lifting.
Improving 0.0 industry (the reason POS changes are being so aggressively pushed by the BDPs) is certainly worth talking about.
However, speaking based on experience, the primary problem with industry in nullsec is mismanagement, not game mechanics. Nullsec is what its owners make of it. If the BDP truly wants to develop an industrial infrastructure, they have it in their hands to do so. Nullsec management hasn’t made a serious effort at optimizing their space for industry with the tools at hand. I see no reason to reward their lack of initiative with new special advantages for nullsec. Nullsec has plenty of advantages as it is.
Some folk can’t be happy unless they’re holding *all* the toys.
But, let’s be charitable. Let’s assume the BD lords of nullsec and their proxies know they can produce competitive ships and modules given the right policies (Industrial optimization, open carebear immigration, low use fees to incent industrial activity, etc.). Let’s assume they know that independence from Jita is theirs to grasp without any, (or only modest) changes to game mechanics. Why then, are they insisting the economic playing field must be tilted to their absolute advantage over both highsec and lowsec. Why are they so anxious to push up the cost of cartoon spaceships.
Here’s a possibility:
In the Economic section of the December CSM summit meeting, UAxDEATH states that Technetium can be nerfed if the desired ‘Farms and Fields’
changes replaces that income stream. None of the other BDPs record any objection to this statement. This speaks volumes to revenue yields the lords of nullsec expect from ‘Farms and Fields’. Reading elsewhere in the minutes and the forums it is evident that ‘Farms and Fields’ is expected to provide nullsec alliances with a new large-bore stream of revenues from taxes on industrial activities.
- Mord Fiddle
About the Author: Mord Fiddle’s writings are an invitation to high tea in a world of rave parties. His readers gather at fiddlersedge.blogspot.com/ for thoughtful analysis, daring prose, deep insights, and Mord’s tendency to use words not writ nor spoken conversationally since Middle English went out of fashion.