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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Alchemy: the supposed transformation industry.

UPDATE 7/26/12: CCP comes through. It may not help high-sec industrialists enough but it's better than a 2x4 upside the brain housing group. You can get a great run down on the changes at A Scientist's Life in Eve (click link.)

CCP Fozzie (I <3 your name, man) today released his first developer post titled Tech is Fine L2P. Fortunately, this is a joke. Tech 2 production is not fine. For many of us, Tech 2 production is no longer a viable industry. Thanks to the Technetium Cartel, the price of Technetium derived modules has skyrocketed. If you can afford the high prices and pass the increase off to your customers, you could continue to earn a somewhat reduced living (hint, customers don't like to absorb the entire cost increase.) But there are some modules that just aren't available in enough quantity for everyone. That brings production to a screeching halt - believe me, I know.

CCP Fozzie clearly explains this is a game design issue. He claims CPP will resolve it over the next several updates starting soon. Putting aside all the obvious comments about this confirming certain views of the behavior that precipitated this dev blog, I want to discuss how it will 1) resolve the issue and 2) not really resolve the issue.

Alchemy is a nice solution. It will work similar to how invention worked to break the stranglehold on T2 production instigated by the BPO lottery system. Since I became a capsuleer after the original lotteries, I had almost no chance of getting into T2 production by myself. There was far more demand for T2 BPOs than any of the owners were even remotely interested in supplying unless you were already wealthy enough to make it worth their while. That excluded many industrialists from the T2 manufacturing business. 

Thus, CCP came up with an alternative route to T2 BPOs. Does this sound familiar? Anyway, invention is a laborious process. As the current situation shows us, those that have monopolies are disinclined to give them up. Invention changed the dynamic and gave the little guys an end-run. If I was willing to work a little harder, I could make a business out of T2 manufacturing and did. So did many others. Invention was a success as can be seen in Blake’s post on K162 two days ago. Because of this, there is no reason to believe that alchemy won’t work.

But it won’t take manufacturing back to where it was before the Technetium embargoes. Those days are long gone. It will still exclude the little guy. Read CCP Fozzie’s post carefully. He says, “Alchemy will kick in as a pressure valve in case prices of any moon mineral spike. As long as prices remain low there is no need to bypass the original mineral.” Translation: it will cost more to run the reactions than to buy the Technetium at a non-manipulated price. Just because CCP is giving non-OTEC manufactures the ability to restart their lines doesn’t mean it will be at the profit margins we enjoyed previously. It won’t be.

Then there is what CCP Fozzie doesn’t address. He completely leaves out the unmentioned requirement for alchemy. Where do reactions like alchemy run? Currently they only run in Player Owned Stations. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong (and I’m sure you will,) but to take advantage of this option you’ll have to have access to a POS. If you are in high-sec, you can forget ever making a profit by this route. As soon as it’s discovered you are an alchemist, someone will declare war against you and destroy your production capability. At a measly 50 mIsk cost for small corporations like mine, this is like taking candy from a baby. Believe me, there are those in New Eden that live for doing that.

And even if CCP decides to allow reactions within NPC stations, I am certain they will be at very unattractive prices and severely nerfed just like CCP has recently done to invention vis-a-vis data cores. There they also handed the “reward” to those taking the most “risk.” I’ve read the reports though. LP farming has no risks. I’m starting to seriously doubt the “greater reward for more risk” mantra.

So where does this current change leave the high-sec industrialist? Still at the mercy of null-sec corporations who will control the alchemy process just like they control moon goo I’m sad to say. CCP has stated again and again, including this post, they want the rewards to go to those who take the risks. That’s starting to sound like a copout. What I see is CCP trying to drive players into larger and larger corporations and alliances. Their marketing department spends their entire budget on emphasizing the social aspect of Eve Online. The developers are now spending all their time trying to force socialization through their mantra “more reward for more risk.” It seems obvious enough to me. It’s CCP’s call though. It’s their product. 

I just want to know when are they going to start being honest with those of us that prefer the lone wolf style of play? When will they stop pretending that they care for all the small corporations and the independent Industrialists that populate high-sec? They’ve really designed this change to allow –A- and NCDOT and the like to resist Goonswarm Federation and the rest of the Deklein Coalition. There is nothing in it for the rest of us – unless we want to sell our souls to someone else.

Fly careful.

16 comments:

  1. I don't know what the cost of a war dec was back in January, but I ran a T2 invention/manufacturing POS in high-sec, 5 jumps from Jita for about 2 month. In fact, finding an empty moon in 0.7 to 0.5 systems takes quite some time. I had about 4 shield hardeners and 4 offlined guns. No one bothered me.

    I highly doubt anyone is going to wardec a one-man Alchemy operation in high-sec, assuming you can install moon reactors there. Maybe if you call attention to yourself...

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    1. Re-posted without the derogatory language. In the future, I will delete for such language without bothering to re-posting. There are those of use who have had developmentally disabled children in our lives and find the used of THAT particular word highly offensive. - Mabrick

      so which raw materials would qualify as a candidate for unrefined platinum technite? Well, there are a few facts that are CURRENTLY constant:
      (1) the two raw materials used in the alchemy reactions don't have any other reaction together
      (2) cadmium was used 3 times, platinum 2 times, chromium 2 times, vanadium 2 times, mercury 2 times, and hafnium 1 time.
      (3) the input materials are ALL metals. no gases were used.
      (4) there were no rarity 8 metals nor any rarity 64.
      (5) when a rarity 32 was used in alchemy it would always be the material given back during reprocessing.
      (6) Cadmium although an alchemy ingredient for 3 unrefined products was always used up fully
      (7) Vanadium was always given back as an ingredient during reprocessing.
      (8) platinium was always used up as an ingredient during reprocessing.
      (9) all r16 materials are used in 3 simple reactions each (processed material)
      (0) boosted alchemy production currently gives 40 units of processed

      There was a symmetry to alchemy that he's just gone and pissed on it with what looks like a drunken six pack spleen.

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  3. At least you are getting your mining buff.

    Of course you are at the mercy of the null sec people. You think you could stay in hi-sec and still be in touch with the cutting edge developements?

    Think of any MMO, you can't do shit, unless you become a raider. Then the whole game is kind of more open to you. Same with EVE. You are just facing a problem all MMOs have really.

    Yeah and fuel for the POS as well, Kind of expensive too. Makes it hard for this alchemy to be worthwhile, but we shall see.

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  4. I like your Blog Mabrick but I still feel the need to tell you this one:
    It IS an MMO. That by definition leads (IMO) to lone wolf is playable but won't enable you to do everything.

    There are about 300 Technetium moons... and about 3000 Cobalt moons. And maybe even some unknown in the not so well scanned systems. There are many lowsec systems that are hardly visited. If you put up a pos there it can run for a long time until someone takes notice. And ten times the moons to pull out the base material for PT alchemy is a lot of stuff even in a 1/20 relation.

    The assumption that the reaction will be more expensive than buying tech and using it will only be true if the prices are lowered significantly. And that is the purpose of this "alchemy trick". Until recently the OTEC was holding back a good portion of there harvested goods just to increase price. If thats the case alchemy kicks in. if prices are "normal" alchemy is stopped and all is fine. In any case this will regulate the price of T2 materials in some way.

    But yes, I have to admit, it is not the perfect solution. There are many other things that can be done about it and some things will be done I'm sure. But one thing I'm sure of too is that you will always need friends to get all things done. Even if you are the best, if some one not as good as you helps you doing stuff you will get done more stuff.
    A group of 10 to 20 people is very nice to manage and you have a lot more things that could be done.

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    1. A group of 10 or 20 people cannot hold a strategic moon.

      Bring on ring-mining to source t2 elements.

      Some idiots feel the need that there should be passive income to fund big battles. While having a gold mine inside your castle is a good idea if you own the castle, but not so much for the game as a whole. In general, get rid of passive ISK, and make alliance and corps fund their activities through taxation on individual players own ISK making motions. i.e. POSs will have reactors, but the reactions are controlled by individual payers and are taxable by the corp owning the POS. Just like the PI/POCO arrangement. Yes, this may reduce the number of players who only PVP with ship replacements paid by alliances. What does this mean? standing navies will be reduced in size as the cost to maintain such a thing becomes much higher. Good. War is good for the game - it makes the economy of the game go round. However, big wars should be big expensive. Unsustainably expensive.

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  5. You can only anchor the reacting arrays for alchemy in lowsec/nullsec/wh POS towers, not hisec. Even with wardecs, the inability to use caps in hisec probably makes it too safe for CCP to want to site that kind of passive income there.

    A few points to consider
    - Overall CCP wants moongoo (and on a wider level, alliance income) to involve group activities, not just tie it to players' actions rather than passive income. Moving it into the hands of solo empire players was never really on the table.
    - The large-scale purpose of these changes isn't to break OTEC specifically, but to put a safety net in place while they tinker with moongoo and T2 production. OTEC is an example of how wrong it can get, and this fix will alleviate that somewhat, but it's also hedging against accidentally producing a new OTEC in the future.
    - Regardless of the nay-saying, alchemy for platinum technite will be profitable for players at least early on because of how much OTEC have inflated the value of PT, and it will hurt OTEC because it will take away their monopoly. A single player can't rival them, but if the price rises enough other null alliances, WH entities and even lowsec groups will find it profitable to erect their own reaction towers across their space and break the OTEC stranglehold. This will most likely flood the market and crash the prices - not to anywhere near rock bottom, there's too much demand and too little supply even with alchemy, but this still cannot fail to be a good thing for the players relying on people selling tech for their own profits.

    As a side note, if you do want to try your hand at single-handedly producing tech you could find an out of the way lowsec system, but I'd suggest at least looking into finding a quiet WH with a hisec static and setting up a clandestine tower there to run the reactions. I don't have experience with lowsec or WH POSes, but it seems like it would be easier to quietly hide out and avoid confrontation in a WH than in lowsec.

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    1. Yeah, W-space is probably the best place to do it. I've lived in my little wormhole for 6 months now and no one has attempted to chase me out.

      You'd probably want to refine at a station though so there'll be some risk exporting.

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    2. Its true, WH space offers some potential for industrialists but in general it is a very expensive place to do business. A POS needs to be extremely well defended in any WH since there are no wardecs and no warning when people come and attack. Means, for industrial purposes, you have to have at least a medium POS in order to online defensive and refining modules. The ice products (fuel)have risen steeply in price while the price for sleeper loot has staid flat for the most part. Mining in WH is very risky unless you have an army of alts keeping all routes watched. Also, in order to make this work, you also have to take down and replace the customs offices on the planets or face 17% tax on everything.
      In other words, managing a WH presence is as close to a full time EVE job as you can make it. And yes, any 10 man band of moderately competent pilots can evict you in no time.

      What I was missing in this discussion is whether moons in Wormholes could have some goo at all - maybe staggered on the class of wormhole. C6 then may have Technetium. That should offset the massive increase in fuel prices and also draw more people into WH space - good fights.

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    3. Uh what? I amd my small corp have lived in W-space, a C2 we shared with an Allied corp and now a C3, for a year now...

      -we run a LARGE Minnie POS, meds and smalls are just targets in holes, we always have run a large, and yes, it does mean a commitment at the very very least for one of us to log in and buy PLEX for fuels to haul in and keep the FF up... but as I said, that is the very least effort level. What we actually do is this...

      While POSes in W-space are "on thier own" in the black, and a really concerted effort by a highly coordinated group, willing to put forth the time and effort 'can' lock down a WH and take down a POS, and there are those out there who do just that, keeping this in mind, if your game is in W-space you have to accept the risks for the rewards...

      -our POS is a true Deth Star, 36 mixed guns, fully loaded and 36 Ewar mods are currently anchored, and as many as our current PWR/CPU needs will sustain are ALWAYS online, in an attack you can online and USE an already anchored mod far faster than anchoring a new one;

      NOTE: Do some research, you will find there are cases of actively defended POSes that were able to make attackers give in and leave... wasn't worth the effort needed, it is rare but it has happened.

      -we all have POS Def skills and, as in my corp we are family and RL friends so we can contact each other IRL at any time and coordinate a response if needed;
      -we make all our of fuel prods except ice prods and bring them in as needed;
      -we make moar than enough ISK to pay for that running Sleepers;
      -we make T2, T3, & T4 products to sell, moar ISK income;
      -we have built Carriers in our hole, and used them to increase our ability to (1) run Sleepers and mine moar effectively and safely (b) as an added defense for the POS;
      -taking down POCOS is a just cost of doing business, and you only have to do it once;

      -mining is def moar risky in holes... but if yer smart and understand W-space you can mitigate a LOT of the risks, and you dont need any army, what you need is situational awarness and ACTIVE miners... you CANNOT AFK mine the way everyone does in Empire in holes, and the rewards are the greatest access to the best minerals;

      Do we worry one day waking to find our POS is under attack? Of coures we do... but, as said, we keep only the ships we need in the hole, we keep a large number of our assets 'safe' in hisec at our Empire offices... in other words we accept the risk for the rewards and minimize our asset exposure to the least possible... do you know of anywhere in EVE that is SAFE? I don't, it's EVE right?

      Risk begins at the undock, or for us, at the crazy marble... and holes are FUN!!!

      and we are a just one small corp... =]

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  6. Hey Mab may I make a pre-dick-tion...

    (the scene)
    In a backwoods cantina on a far away moon...
    A drunk Goon steps up to the bar where Mab stand quietly drinking...

    Goon: "Hey, you gonna drink t'the Alliance with me?" "Six years today, the Alliance sent the Browcoats runnin', pissin' their pants." "You know, your coat is kind of a brownish color. "

    Mab: "It was on sale."

    :Goon drinks:

    Goon: "What?" "You won't toast?" "Y'know, I'm thinkin' you're one o' them In'apendants."

    Mab: "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling. So why don't we just ignore each other till we go away?"

    Goon: "WAR DEC! WAR DEC!"

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    1. But could he scare off the ensuing Goon mob with an unarmed transport?

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  7. Just to point out, NCDot (holding the vast majority of Tribute, one of the richest regions in the game in terms of Tech) is part of all the Tech market manipulation and is in league with Goons for all of this.

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  8. I feel you are complaining about that fact you can't win the lottery but at the same time you refuse to buy a ticket.

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  9. Frankly as a lowsec industrialist I'm deeply annoyed that hisec industrialists can still make pretty much the same profit as lowsec and nullsec ones with FAR less effort.

    We take a greater risk, we should see a higher reward. So frankly anything that CCP does that makes it harder for the hisec guys to compete with low/null indy's is going to be met by me with cheering and happiness.

    And rightfully so.

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Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.