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.