For quite some time now, I've seen a pattern. It’s not GSF and TEST sweeping all before them. It isn't an uptick in grief-play. It isn't any pattern players themselves have wrought. This pattern indicates to me something more insidious. It is changing the very nature of the game we all love. I've mentioned my concerns about this before and recently. It's time to throw it down on the table and discuss why, if I’m right, it's "terrible" for Mabrick but probably good for New Eden (and maybe even Mabrick.)
I alluded to this pattern yesterday. It’s encapsulated by the “more risk more ISK” program. That line has all the earmarks of propaganda. It’s short, jingoistic, easy to remember and appeals to a basic desire - making gads of ISK. As far as jingles go, it ranks right up there with “loose lips sink ships.”
Propaganda, at its very root, is an attempt to change how people think. “Loose lips sink ships” was an effort to get people to become aware spies could overhear their discussions of letters received from deployed relatives and use that information to kill them. In the United States at least, the government had to overcome decades of isolationism and not thinking about non-Americans. Uncle Sam used the “loose lips sink ships” jingle to change the American psyche in ways it had never been bent.
So, if “more risk more ISK” is propaganda, what mindset is it trying to change? What’s the purpose of it? After giving this considerable thought, I’ve concluded it’s to entice/drive experienced players out of high security space. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, there are some really good reasons to so.
By dropping the amount of ISK that a high-sec dweller like me can earn, they are souring the proverbial milk. Working harder for less ISK is extremely unappealing. With every dev blog, it becomes harder and harder for me to maintain my profit margins. Without good profit margins, there is no incentive other than security to remain in high-sec.
And speaking of security, the new war declaration system really makes security problematic. It certainly encourages those who are already inclined to attack high-sec industrialists to become bolder about it. I think the perma-geddon declared against high-sec miners quite clearly illustrates this trend.
Another change that weakened the attraction of high-sec industry was the datacore change in the invention process. Not only are they charging high-sec industrialists for traditionally obtained datacores, they have created a system of easy LP farming through Faction Warfare that further reduces the value of datacores. In fact, it is so easy to farm LP I’ve read one week old capsuleers can even do it in crap-fit T1 frigates. That’s disgusting – from a hard working high-sec industrialist perspective.
Then there is the first Technetium “fix.” The alchemy change doesn’t help high-sec manufacturers. I think I covered that well enough last post so I’ll spare you the details here.
Taking all this together and not forgetting the so called 20% tax increase for high-sec PI, the pattern emerges. Profit margins are down in high-sec and up everywhere else. The reason for this has not actually been discussed. All we are told is “more risk more isk.” That’s disingenuous at best.
So why is CCP doing this? I believe the answer is Dust 514. No, that’s not a stretch of imagination. Hear me out.
The basic premise of Dust 514 is that a bunch of mercenaries conquers or defends planets for capsuleers. What planets? Certainly not high-sec planets! Those are all still firmly under the control of NPCs. That leaves the contestable planets in null-sec, low-sec and WH space.
What else is needed to make Dust 514 work? Well, there actually has to be capsuleers who want to contest those planets. Dust 514 will not work if Goonswarm controls all these planets. There must be war in New Eden (does that sound like an Inferno jingle to you?) or CCP doesn’t make a dime from Dust 514.
Not only must there be war, but the combatants must also be wealthy. The more mercenaries they can hire the more Dust 514 revenue CCP gets. It’s a synergy effect.
Eve Online will enable Dust 514 to exist. Dust 514 will drive future development in Eve Online in return. That future isn’t about mining barge changes or Technetium fixes or even internet spaceships in so far as they don’t serve the broader goal. The broader goal is planetary conflict. The future is war, but not in space. The future is Dust 514.
So is that a bad thing? I suppose that depends on your own preconceptions but I’m inclined to say it is not. It may be the only thing keeping Eve Online alive in fact. We’ve all seen the subscription numbers for Eve Online. To say they are not good is to commit a massive understatement. There hasn’t been any real growth in subscriptions in years. If CCP isn’t concerned about this… never mind, they are smart enough to be concerned. You should be too.
If Dust is successful, if planetary defense/conquest takes off like many think it will, Eve Online becomes a critical cog in that machine. CCP can’t pull Eve Online out of that mix. It will kill their bread and butter – the free-to-play but pay-to-win Dust 514.
The only thing that CCP can’t directly control is where capsuleers make their home. To be blunt, they need us all out of high-sec. They need us all fighting each other. And I’ll admit this only once: they need five more The Mittani driving that migration (intelligent, copious ambition and unfettered megalomania.)
This of course means the end of Mabrick Mining and Manufacturing as it has existed. If what I’ve just said is true, even a little, I can’t expect to make a living or have much fun in high-sec. High-sec will become the realm of rookies and those who only want to walk around in stations and chat (yes, I still believe that is coming.) So what is a high-sec carebear to do?
Well, I won’t tell you right now. Suffice it to say that all is not lost. If you don’t have a plan, within a plan, within a plan you are doing something wrong. I plan on doing something right. And if I’m lucky, it won’t look like I capitulated.