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Monday, September 10, 2012

The Nature of a Carrot

Last week Jester said I dropped the ball. First though, he said I was "usually very good about care-bear concerns." Now that's a masterful way to take the sting out of just about anything. It wasn't that I dropped it so much as delivered too much toe under the ball and missed the goal. My ball sailed over the defender, the upper bar and straight on out of play. And it was a free kick even! C'est la vie.

Then on Thursday, EVE News24 ran this article from Syncaine: The highsec Player does Not Exist. "That's the right play!" I thought to myself. Syncaine is so absolutely correct. There is a group of players living and working in high-sec who will never leave high-sec unless it is to move to a different game. Let's call them True Carebears. They are the ones I don't want hit with the stick. They are the ones I was thinking about when I wrote that post. This group by default includes all new players regardless of PvP disposition as far as I'm concerned.

Everyone else living and working in high-sec is in the second group. They are in high-sec to make ISK or for whatever reason they feel high-sec is more advantageous than anywhere else for the things they do. They are the malleable group. They may grumble about change, but so long as it isn't something like Incarna they will adapt. They are the ones who CCP can "entice" into low-sec. Let's call them Pseudo Carebears.

The nut of the problem is CCP can't use high-sec station changes to target one group without also targeting the other. Increased taxes and reduced refining rates and all those sorts of things apply to everyone. When too much of the stick is applied to things they value most, True Carebears will leave. CCP can ill afford to drive out any subscribers.

That leads to my overly broad observation that low-sec needs to be more advantageous than high-sec for the things they do - they being the Pseudo Carebears. But as Jester correctly pointed out, you can't make something less expensive than practically free. But can you make it more advantageous?

What CCP needs to do is better understand how those two groups are different. CCP needs to identify high-sec benefits for the Pseudo Carebears that hold little value to True Carebears. Once they identify those benefits, CCP does not need to worry about driving off the True Carebears. They can target changes to those benefits with significance only to the Pseudo Carebears.

Here is my attempt at listing high-sec benefits and which group values that particular benefit most. Initially I was going to do a them-us-both sort of categorization. After getting most of the way through it, I think that may be way too simplistic. All things are valued by both groups but usually more so by one than the other. So I whipped out Excel and I did up a quick spreadsheet with relative percentage valuations and a nice chart.
Taxes are only in the mid range as you can see. I'm sure all of you disagree to one degree or another about my assignment of relative values. I'm sure I've missed some things. So what. That isn't the point. The point is to simply identify benefits with which CCP could safely tinker and those benefits CCP should leave the hell alone. I guarantee my own bias has played into this somewhat but hey, I get to be me. I also know that my reasons for the top three are good ones. They really don't benefit True Carebears nearly as much as Pseudo Carebears.

So, I say the first thing CCP should do is stop allowing POS building in high-sec. No, seriously, those structures are very unimportant to a True Carebear. A True Carebear probably doesn't have the ISK to afford one anyway. The 10% I figure do are likely in a corporation and the POS is a corporation asset. I am not worried about corporations. True Carebears in those organizations may leave it if the corp is forced into low-sec but they won't leave the game. That's all that matters.

Back on my original post last week, Deras Fortunati had a very interesting proposition. He wondered if switching .5 and .6 security systems to low-sec status would help. After mulling over it for a week, I've decided I can really support that change providing POS capabilities are increased. I like the idea he had for a new skill to add 5% refining per level to bring POS arrays up to high-sec station standards. That would keep CCP from having to mess with POS code, which is already spaghetti I'm sure, and ease the sting inflicted to the Pseudo Carebears.

The second thing CCP should do is move Jump Clones out of high-sec. True Carebears really have no need for jump clones. Jump Clones from what I've seen and read are used predominantly to get from null-sec to high-sec. Those are most certainly Pseudo Carebears. If CCP doesn't want to move them, then let me say that 100,000 ISK for a Jump Clone is far, far too low a price. If you want to raise the cost of something in high-sec CCP, that's where you should start. Set the cost of a Jump Clone to a value that matters to a rich Pseudo Carebear. Make them as expensive as a capital ship, the only other place they can have a Jump Clone. That's fair in my estimation.

The third thing CCP should look at revamping are high-sec Incursions. They tried this once before and the entire Incursion community went to arms... or went home depending on your point of view. Personally, I think CCP made a mistake by backing down on the payout reductions. However, I also think they made a mistake in how they implemented the changes. Fortunately they don't have to make them less profitable to encourage Pseudo Carebears to leave high-sec. All they need to do is remove Incursions from high-sec all together. I think CONCORD and the several Empire Navies have figured out how to stop Kuvakei by now.

And that is how CCP can encourage Pseudo Carebears out of high-sec who are only there now because it is more advantageous for them. It is this convenience factor that needs soured, not the way high-sec stations work. I believe starting with the three items listed above would be a good start on the process of clearing... I mean enticing Pseudo Carebears from high-sec. Let the wailing commence.

Fly Careful

4 comments:

  1. POS I can kinda get behind, jump clones not so much, incursions are all about implementation...

    And then we hit the first biggie one I disagree with, Trade Hubs. While you did mining and manufacturing, I promise you there is a very large contengent of "True Carebears" who's biggest gameplay is playing the market, shipping stuff from Jita & Rens out to the rest of highsec, and visa versa. How else do you think all of the thousands of systems in highsec get their markets stocked?

    I'd say you're a bit off on Refining Rates. I think you are vastly overstating it's importance to pseudo carebears. We care far more about mineral compression rates than refining rates. Refining rates do factor in, but only as part of the math when figuring out what to load our cargoholds with to ship in and out of highsec. You're recent foray into wormholes and post about shipping stuff out should give you an idea. We're lazy and don't wanna spend 4 hours doing "Right click -> jump" over and over again in two trips when we can make one.

    Skillbooks i'd say matter very little to pseudo-carebears. Someone in the corp is always making a trip to Jita, it's absolutely trivial to put in a corporate contract order for a skillbook. It may take a few days to fill for one reason or another, but the nature of skillbooks gives you days and weeks of lead time in placing an order.

    R&D Agents aren't really worth the time anymore, they lost half, and in some cases 2/3rds of their value. Now days everyone has moved into PI, and PI is already better in low/null/wh.

    Concord I'd say is a 50/50 split. Part of what you're missing about highsec is that sometimes you just want to stop worrying about the next gate jump. Low/Null/WH can be loads of fun, but I'd strongly argue the most hardened bitter vet that complains daily of highsec needs the security of concord as much or more than the True Carebear, if it was nerf'd they'd deal with it, but their game experience would be fundamentally changed because they would never have downtime again. And sometimes you need downtime.

    Mission agents.. um.. unusual, but I’m actually doing loads of level 3's right now. I never got around to doing the Faction Epic Arcs, so I'm grinding to 6.8 on level 3s, with corporations that don't have level 4s but are the start of the arc.

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    1. I wouldn't touch Trade Hubs with a 10 foot barge pole. I just think they are more important to Pseudo Carebears than True Carebears. True Carebears, and noobs espcially, just buy and sell in whatever system they're in. If they make special trips to Jita, I'd argue they aren't True Carebears any longer. The big issue with Trade Hubs though is low-sec and null-sec have no corollary to them. It's hard to have a Trade Hub without the protection of a neutral and uninterested 3rd party - like CONCORD. I'd personally love for there to be an alternative to the high-sec Trade Hubs. I just don't know how CCP could pull them off with the current mechanics of low-sec.

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  2. I would have to say that to a group of the pseudo carebears, Refining Rates are more important than the Compression Rates. I would be one of those. I mine what I need, most of the time, and produce what I want from that, so perfect refining is a bigger deal to me than to those pseudo bears that live in Low/Null/WH. I think it really depends on what your needs are. I do see where compression is more important when you add the complexity of what to load in the cargohold comes into play.

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  3. I'd say fix the reason not consequence. There is a thing about null-sec alliances. They are not motivated in hiring industrialists. And the reason for this is not that industrialists are allowed to have pos in high-sec. Not at all. The reason is that main income for alliance in null-sec comes from moon-goo.

    I find this discussion about how to nerf high-sec to be based on wrong assumption that there is something wrong with high-sec. But the truth is: there is something wrong with null-sec.

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