Posts Tagged ‘Industrialists’

Expanding the IP

DUST 514 is going to hit the market (well the F2P market) very soon, and CCP is likely hoping its success could spell the end of its reputation as a one trick pony. With Dust now almost in the bag (at least in terms of release, success is never guaranteed) and World of Darkness deep into development (?); CCP should be looking at further ways to expand its IP and game portfolio.

I believe that with two very different markets covered CCP should be looking to reinforce their current holdings by brining in further games which strengthen their position in the market, while providing potential additional income streams. In layman’s terms: Create some easy to play games which hit the biggest potential markets, and encourage people to try out their core holdings.

IP expansion objectives (in rough order):

  1. Publicise existing products to the biggest market
  2. Encourage new players to try existing games
  3. Create new profit streams for CCP
Now for the purpose of this blog I am going to ignore Dust 514, for the simple fact that I really don’t know enough about it to make observations on game play expansions (or relocation) to other platforms. But for eve I have some thoughts:
Case 1: Browser Games
In this example lets look at a VERY wide market area CCP could expand into; the Browser game market. Other AAA titles such as Age of Empires and Command & Conquer have successfully explored this market and CCP has what I think is a great basis to create a Browser game on. Most browser games are based around construction, as the “build times” allow for a slower pace of game play bringing players back at regular intervals to refresh their build queues and units. Lets look at my idea of an eve IP browser game.
Players log in to create and manage a planetary extraction and production chain. Players are given an initial planet at random on which a command centre in placed. With this they can begin extracting materials from the planet. To begin with players are limited to extracting raw materials and placing them on a market (available to eve players & other PI players). However once the begin earning money, they can spend ISK on upgrading the science and capacity of their planet. This leads to further extraction plants and processing facilities being added to the planet over time. At the top level players will have manufacturing plants on several planets (advanced players may even have holdings in different regions, which require them to use eve courrier contracts to move goods around) and buy and sell goods on a regional sale to and from eve players.
Objective 1 is met: browser games can be played by anyone with a PC
Objective 2 is met: the browser game would introduce players who enjoy management games and industry to eve, and encourage them to jump into the deeper world of eve for further fun. We could get a whole new generation of industrialists
Objective 3 is met: Browser games can, and are monetised. Cash for extra build slots, is a normal occurrence.  CCP would need to ensure that P2W features don’t affect the eve markets but monetisation is a definite possibility.
Case 2: Mobile Gaming
The mobile gaming market is a very popular place at the moment. Lots of big game manufacturers are getting involved in “App” versions/spinoffs of their AAA titles, and the market is massive. This would most likely be the hardest type of game to tie into the eve universe as a direct affecter, as popular mobile games tend to follow the formula of easy access, simple games (not exactly what CCP is known for), but we could see games such as “Danny Dare the Planetary Archaeologist” a simple pause-able exploration game (procedural generated dungeons) where completing a level gives items which can be sold to eve/dust players for isk, which can then be spent on upgrading Dannys exploration suit.
Objective 1 met: Mobile games have a massive market
Objective 2 met(ish): causal mobile players are most likely not exactly grade 1 eve online players or even great dust bunnies. but if CCP could develop a popular high profile game it could bring in a few new players.
Objective 3 met: mobile games can be popular, assuming CCP can make it using very little resources and garner at least some popularity with mobile gamers. again microtransactions are very much the norm in mobile gaming.
Case 3: Browser game or Standalone
This one is really open to any platform as its pretty simple. We have all seen the NPC industrialist caravans leaving and entering stations. Why not turn these into a strategy trading game on another platform? I’d like to think that 90% of players find moving their things around the galaxy is one of the most boring activities in the game. So why not take the boring game play out of eve, and place it in a new context where people can enjoy the process. The game could work by allowing players to transport goods as a freelance logistics expert (or part of a logistics company). Players would start with a single automated hauler, and slowly upgrade their fleet and ships/ships AI to more efficient and faster models. The main aim of the game would be to complete eve player contracts for goods movements. But some money could also be made from transporting goods from region to region buying low and selling high.
Objective 1 met: A good platform would have a large market
Objective 2 met: Players who are interested in logistics and trade might be interested in exploring the wider game
Objective 3 met: Game purchases and or microtransactions are the norm in both these markets.
Final thoughts
I find the idea of eve expanding to further platforms, partly because it would give us eve players other ways to interact with the game outside of the Home PC environment, but also because it would help CCP develop itself as a major producer, and out of niche market they are currently in. Further more every new player in eve, is someone else to blow up.
Fly faster for just $5 extra!
Hark¬

Stimulus Package for Null

Today I want to take a look at the economic situation in nullsec and what we could do to encourage industrialists to dive into the big bad world of nullsec. It should note that I really am no an economist, nor am I by any means an expert on, well pretty much anything, but this is merely attempt to expose and analyses (perhaps more for me than anyone else) the issues facing nullsec as it currently stands. It should also be observed that I am attempting to hold CCP true to their statements about nullsec producing more, and indeed will analyze this from the point of view that this is not working. I will be ignoring LowSec during this analysis as I honestly don’t know it well enough to be anything other than insulting to its residents.

My opinion on the current situation of nullsec (lists are ordered by volumes involved):
Imports: Ships, Modules, Static Structures, Fuel, Ammo
Industrial Products: Wrecks, Corpses, Super Capitals, fuel, ammo
Natural resources (ordered by amount harvested): ISK (bounties), Faction Modules, ABC minerals, normal minerals
Exports: Moon goo, Faction Modules, ABC minerals

My opinion on where we should be based on this dev blog(lists are ordered by volumes involved):
Imports: T1 ships, T1 Modules, Static Structures, Ammo
Industrial Products: Wrecks, Corpses, T2 ships, T2 Modules, Fuel, Super Capitals, ammo
Natural Resources (ordered by perceived amounts harvested): ISK (bounties), ABC minerals, normal minerals, Faction Modules
Exports: T2 ships, T2 Modules, Faction Modules, Moon goo, ABC minerals

The biggest difference between these two lists is the T2 conundrum. Currently to produce T2 ships and modules there are several direct inputs to the production line;
– Minerals (high volume, high mass)
– T2 products (high volume, high mass)
– Blueprints (low volume, low mass)
– Production slots (immovable, but available in stations)

During the Industrial Age, Sheffield was the heart of British production. Why? Because it was situated in the center of the mineral deposits needed to produce the Steel (mainly Coal and Iron Ore) and had excellent transport links to its buyers and export centers (Canals and rivers).  The comparison to a nullsec station is uncanny; i.e They are population and production hubs located right next to the Moon goo and ABC mineral (un-minable in any other place), and with jump bridge networks able to export the products much faster than a highsec freighter run. Yet our industrialists still insist on moving the raw materials light-years out of nullsec (where the light, non-volume materials are), manufacturing the product, and then shipping a large percentage of it back out to null sec. Lunacy, shear unadulterated lunacy.

So why? What is different between the real world and eve?

My first thought was towards the shipping costs of heavier materials in the real world; there steel as the end product is easier to transport than moving the raw materials  most of which will become waste product(coal 100% waste, Iron ore 30-50% waste): why pay to ship something you’re only going to throw away at the other end. Similarly in eve we do have “waste product” from in some parts of the industrial process (we don’t ship ore, we ship minerals). However unlike the real world, in eve the transport cost of an item is based around its volume rather than it’s mass. Volume becomes a secondary consideration.
So although we use “size reduction” to force us to refine minerals before we consider shipping them, we cannot use the same method to force us to produce items near to their source. As we would either have to make minerals incredibly large (a nightmare for the actual extraction process, a mackinaws bays would need to be bigger than a jump freighters), or we would end up with hundreds of ships being able to fit in a single hauler.
As a result, the guardian (for example) has to be, and is, bigger (and thus less efficient to haul) than the equivalent amount in minerals. The exact numbers assuming PE4 is 2652.456 m3 for its raw materials vs 115,000 (un-packaged) or 10,000 (packaged), in layman’s terms you can get 3.7 times more guardians in a cargo hold if you just take the minerals.
This seems like a very likely candidate for the difference to me, especially when you consider the mentality of the parties involved. Nullsec dwellers, are by and large not industrialists (there are exceptions to this). They don’t welcome industrialists into their folds, as they are preceded as “Carebears”. All they care about is finding the most efficient and quick method of creating money from their harvested goods i.e. shipping them to high sec and selling them. Industrialists only care about getting their raw materials (as cheap as they can) and selling them preferably quickly. As a result, as the least powerful of the chain, the customer is lumped with putting up with the least efficient part, buying the product miles away from its material source and shipping it back in its  least efficient form.
Nobody cares about the inefficiency of the customer’s part of this transaction. The Alliances don’t care enough to start mining ores and bringing in other highsec materials to produce them for their members (and likely don’t want to bring in carebears to do it for them, so as to not cause resentment against “the guys who don’t help defend our space”). Industrialists don’t care enough to go out to nullsec and produce items, they don’t like it and they don’t feel welcome there, the profit isn’t worth the risk.
In my opinion the only way to move tech 2 production to nullsec is to make it such a pain to move the raw materials out (i.e. like meat space where weight affects transport…). This would force 0.0 alliances to bring industrialists in to their space instead. Food for thought? Or just my ramblings? Who knows.

Hark industriously¬

Blood Money: Rogue Drone Special Edition

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.

A few days ago I posted a quick and dirty commentary on the Micro Jump Drive module possibly being added in either crucible 1.5 or Inferno. Within the same “leaked” document, a large chunk of information was also given on the soon to be changes to drone bounties, which I very briefly touched on. I want to now go a little deeper in to what the drone changes mean for us as players. First a short explanation for those not acquainted with our artificial brethren.

Rogue Drones, which can be found in the Eastern Low/null regions of New Eden, are in essence Drones which have developed an AI and gone all “Virus” on us.  Unlike the human pirate factions, the drones don’t have a bounty on them, but instead drop Alloys and Compounds (sometimes called drone poo), which can be refined into minerals. Now CCP has begun to acknowledge that this needs to be changed so that Drones begin to give bounties like the other factions.

Drone poo has been a thorn in the side of industrialists for quiet some while now, with miners unable to compete with the speed and efficiency of killing drones for minerals instead of mining ‘roids. Some have even gone so far as to state that the primary source of minerals in New Eden is not the humble hulk; but instead these devious drones. I’m not sure I would go so far, but it does show the level of the problem. Now this is no new issue, and people have been complaining about Drones for some while*, so why has it suddenly changed?

It seems to me entirely possible that CCP has been planning this for a long time and just never gotten around to it. After all changing an entire faction’s (races?)’ bounty is probably no easy thing. But it seems quite likely that the catalyst for the change has been the Russian Civil war. For quite some while the Eastern provinces of New Eden have been quite in terms of war. Sure the citizens have shipped out and attacked other seventy, and some fringe space has changed hands, but until the Russian Civil War, Conflict hadn’t really been seen in the Drone Lands since the dawn of EvE. Then, a few months ago several big Russian Alliances drew a line in the sand and started picking fights. Along with this came an internal change, Minerals which were bound for high-sec were re-routed to fuel the War Machine in preparation for the long drawn out fight to come. With the majority of Null-Sec minerals now not leaving 0.0, the control of the markets returned to the industrialists overnight, and we all saw the price of minerals skyrocket as a result. I suspect this realisation of just how much the Drone Poo was changing the balance of the markets is what finally tipped the balance for CCP, who at the time were looking for balancing changes to fit in with their new attitude. But this is just the start, the real market changes will happen when the Drone Poo dries up entirely.

Anyone familiar with the laws of supply and demand (or indeed anyone who can open the market window) knows what happens when this hits. With demand for minerals staying the same (or indeed likely increasing) but let’s say 40% of Supply disappearing, it’s now a sellers’ market for minerals. Mineral buyers will be forced to increase their buying prices to ensure they get a chunk of the (mineral) pie, meaning more profits to the miners. In the short term prices of anything made from minerals will increase as the increased costs of mineral is passed on by industrialists to customers, along with the increase in profit margins (most margins are calculated by a percentage of the base price). However before miners break open the Cava and start forming conga lines, the spike will likely be short lived, as more miners join their bejewelled playing fraternity in the form of both industrialists looking to cut costs, and money seekers jumping on the band wagon. That said; when the prices do finally settle they will likely be higher than the previous average.

In short, things are going to get very very very expensive and then drop down to just very expensive as supply begins to meet demand.

But what does this mean for the variety of the game? I do agree that low-end minerals should be controlled by High-Sec & its miners. But I disagree that bounties for drones were the right way to go. I believe that eve’s un-uniformity is its lifeblood, and this smoothing of the rough is detrimental to the game. Indeed I would argue that other faction bounties should be changed instead. I would advocate that every Ratting faction should supply a different way of rewarding the player. We will keep one faction with the “press button get reward” system we know and love (let’s say the sansha so we don’t mess up Incursions). Each other faction gets a new method below are just a couple of rough and ready suggestions (aren’t they always with me):

– Loyalty: A new Corporation is founded opposed to the faction in question. Every Faction rat gives loyalty points with the faction, which can be saved or spent on items.

– Standings: A new sub corporation of concord is founded. Each rat you kill increases your standings with the corp. Every week a payout calculated on your standings is given, and your standing is reset with the corporation.

– Fertiliser Pellets: Really throwing the boat out here, let’s make drones drop a fertiliser which increases an asteroids yield (each is set to a type and rarity.. i.e “Minor Veldspar enrichment” and “Glacial Golden Omber deployment”. 0.0 players can sell this roid’ manure to High Sec miners so they can increase their asteroid pools. Hell while I’m on this trip, let’s say we remove the refilling of belts during downtime, and make it reliant on the fertiliser to keep minerals.

Again, I’ll emphasise here that I don’t want ALL rats to follow a single, different system; but for EACH rat to have a different system of profit. A usual this is pulled from my arse as I write, and only intended to give a gist of what I mean (although I do quite like the fertiliser one).

TLDR;

    – Drones will be giving bounties
    – Minerals are going to spike in price
    – Items will also spike
    – I think the change is bad for eve, because it doesn’t go far enough

Thanks for reading,

Hark

*including the people who farm them. The Russian Alliances who have traditionally held drone space have always complained that drones are less profitable and more risky than bounties due to the need for logistics to ship them to High-Sec. Although I always hear it in the same tone my father says “Oh no this is awful, urg no horrid, you wouldn’t like this at all!” while tucking into a cake. Except of course the Russians are Building titans, not eating cake.