Blood Money: Part 2 the Income Gap

This series of posts is intended as a discussion and my thoughts in how ISK affects PvP and how PvP Affects ISK; further entrys can be found here.

As I discussed in my last post as an individual pilot in 0.0 income directly through PvP is almost non-existent for the majority. But there are plenty of money faucets in 0.0; so where is the money going? The simple answer is “To a select few leaders”. Most people are well aware of the RMT trade, and the accusations (and indeed evidence) that most large Alliance Leaders are earning a real life wage from their ISK profits. Assuming that this is the case (Alliances aren’t in the habit of giving out API account access to the public), what’s gone wrong. Why is there such a gap between the “wage” of the 0.0 pilot and a 0.0 Alliance leader?

My simple brain tells me that there are two basic ways for money to flow in a hierarchical system such as EvE:

Bottom Up (Socialist)
Where the pilots earn the money and pay a (small) fee to those above them for the privilege of using their money making system. The current Corporation Tax system would be the foundation for such a system. A pilot makes money by running PLEXs & a small percentage of this money goes to the corporation. But we would need to extend this to the alliance level with a percentage of the corporation’s profits being paid to the alliance. In this system every pilot would be able to make a profit, those who take on roles in corporations or Alliances would be able to draw an additional wage from the coffers of their employers.

Top Down (Capitalist)
This is where wealth is gained by the Alliance and distributed downwards through wages and subsidisation. For example an Alliance gets money from Moon Goo, and pays its Corporations and Leaders for their contributions to the cause. Corporations then in turn pay their Leaders and active members and/or subsidize the cost of helping to hold this space i.e ship replacement programs.

Of course this is a polarization, and a mix of systems can also exist.

As we can see both systems already have some supporting functionality within EvE. However it’s very rare to experience either in the wild. So what is happening? To me it would at least appear that simple human greed means the money rarely flows up or down the systems. Pilots don’t want to share the rewards of solo pursuits through huge tax rates, and Alliance leaders don’t want to distribute the Moon Goo wealth downwards to subordinates.

This is what makes the Income Gap so large in 0.0 Alliances. Pilots are left to earn what they can to survive, while Alliance High Commands earn wealth intended to fund entire Alliances.

So how can we fix the System? If CCP wanted to fix the current system without adding new features, they would need to greatly increase the rewards of Solo 0.0 money spinners (Plex, mining & anomalies), while reducing the Organised Money making opportunities until they could support only a few people (Roughly the number of people needed to run the schemes and their equipment).

But what about in a dream world; how could we close this gap?

The first step I think would be to implement a “wage” system into the game. Allowing CEO’s, Alliance leaders, Diplomats and other alliance positions (right down to Player) to draw a wage would go a long way to allowing both top down and bottom up systems to work. We would also need CCP to recognize Alliances as an entity in itself, allowing a wallet and API to be given for it.

– In a top down system this would allow Active players to draw a regular wage for their efforts.
– In a bottom up system the CEO and other official positions would be able to draw a wage from the funds for their additional efforts.

Once this is in place we need to make a choice between systems and Bias the income streams towards those methods. To either make the individuals dependent on the group or the group dependent on the individuals. As we are talking about a dream world here, adjust the Sov mechanics a bit. In order to place TCUs an alliance must first place a capital TCU in a system. These function exactly the same as normal units (for a higher price) except they have a toggle switch*:

Socialist Government Infrastructure Node
– Moons can now be mined using Crust Buster Lasers
– Each player using a Crust buster laser is charged a fee linked to the market price of the Goo
– All Plex and Ratting bounties are increased by 20%
– All Corporation, POCO & Alliance tax rates cannot be set above 20%

Nomadic Infrastructure Node
– Alliance wallet disabled
– Moon Goo yield reduced by 50%
– Plex and anomaly bounty increased by 40%

Capitalist Government Infrastructure Node
– Corporation, POCO & Alliance tax rates cannot be set lower than 80%
– Moons can now only be mined by Moon Harvesting Arrays
– All players are paid a basic wage for being (active) in the alliance (active requirements set by the alliance)
– Bonuses can be automated for activity’s such as joining fleets
– Bonuses can also be paid out manually by Alliance Directors

By forcing a single revenue stream either at the top or the bottom of an alliance the members would be forced to move wealth up and down the levels. A Socialist Alliance would soon keel over if members stopped passing money up the chain of command. After all who would go to the effort of running an alliance for no money what so ever? Equally if the Alliance earned all the money and passed none to its members (who could no longer earn any independently) they would soon quit (or go bankrupt).

This all ties in quite nicely with my last post. Is this where that middle ground lies? If Alliances and Corporations were forced to provide for their members (or vice versa) we wouldn’t not be opening a new ISK faucet, but instead redistributing wealth to the masses. By stopping the accumulation of vast wealth we may even be so bold as to suggest that the RMT issue might be reduced. Of course for those who hold capitalism dear, using the capitalist methodology would still allow for vast accumulation of wealth by Alliance leaders, but only if they can persuade their members to put up with it.

I won’t sit on the fence on this one like I did the last post. Instead I’m going to straight up admit that I would love to see this system implemented; but I doubt it will. CCP have said they intend to adjust how players make money in 0.0, and even mentioned moons becoming player mined so who knows maybe something is in the works.

Thanks for reading

Hark¬

*Disclaimer, all numbers and figures pulled from my arse, but you should get the gist.

2 thoughts on “Blood Money: Part 2 the Income Gap

  1. Tom says:

    A fascinating idea. I freely admit I joined a null sec alliance looking for major wealth and was somewhat disappointed. I really don’t know how the numbers add up though, I mean my corp had a ship replacement scheme, and I don’t think our leadership was creaming it too much, but the alliance must have been making MAJOR iskies (all the tech moons in tribute + half of venal?) and I am not too sure where that money went.

    In the end I left as too much of my time was required to shoot POSes and I couldn’t afford to replace my ships as I couldn’t spend enough time ratting. (I love flying shinies, and I am very good at losing ships, so my running costs are on the high side.)

    • Harkconnan says:

      This is the problem I’ve always had with big alliances (I’ve been in a few). Luckily now, the group I’m in is pretty transparent in the ISK department. Incidentally if your alliance was based in tribute there is a good chance I have flown against or with you at some stage ;).

      The cost of PvP is an issue which could use some thought in the upcoming “war themed” patch. but despite the post, I honestly don’t want to see PvP become a profitable exercise, as this would change the way we PvP to much (as I discussed in Blood Money part 1). But perhaps just making it not hemorrhage money at quiet such a rate would be nice…

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