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Monday, June 17, 2013

We All Reap the Benefits

Six months ago this is what known space looked like.
Ships Destroyed Past 24 Hours - December 31, 2012
This became known as the big blue donut. All of that mostly peaceful area around the edges of known space is null-sec. There are a few areas showing fleet fights, but the entirety of the CFC area to the northwest, and the TEST area in the west and southwest, is quiet - very quiet. It had been quiet for many months before I recorded this data and it remained so for many months after.

Things have changed. It's been all over the news. Test Alliance Please Ignore (TEST) left the Honey Badger Coalition which collapsed and now the Cluster Fuck Coalition (CFC) has declared war, vowing to take Fountain away from TEST. As the days have progressed, more and more null-sec entities have chosen sides and joined the fray. It's the end of the big blue donut, at least for now.

Here is today's ship loss report.
Ships Destroyed Past 24 Hours - June 17, 2013
The picture is very different. Not only is there hugely increased ship losses in the northwest and west, but the routes through NPC null-sec leading to them are also much more aflame than they have been in the past. And it's combat in earnest. One look at pods destroyed in the past 24 hours shows the truth in that statement.
Pods Destroyed Past 24 Hours - June 17, 2013
This is how New Eden is supposed to be. CCP makes no secret of their position Eve Online is a PvP game. Even I accept this at face value. And yet for months and months the caretakers of the exclusively player run areas of New Eden acted as if caretaker equated to carebear. It does not. That way of thinking is more dangerous to the future of the game we love than just about anything else.

For all that I've run down the high-sec gankers of New Eden in past posts, the truth is they were never the threat to New Eden that these null-sec caretakers are. High-sec gankers, as much as they are a proverbial pain in the ass for every high-sec carebear, are actually a component of this PvP game that has lived up to its purpose. They keep carebears like me from becoming complacent because they are always willing to explain to us the price of complacency in New Eden. But their actions do not drive production.

Very little ammunition is used in a gank. The ships used are basic and cheap. The ships they most often gank are typically cheap, even if their cargos aren't. But what is lost of that cargo is literally a drop in the ocean. Very little of New Eden's industrial capacity is destroyed by ganks. Look at all the cargo haulers in high-sec at any given moment if you disbelieve this. The amount of goods moved is incredibly high and the vast majority of products reach their intended destinations intact.

So where are these resources used? They are used wherever ships are lost and need replaced. That is the overall driver behind New Eden's economy. From ammunition to Nanite Repair Paste to assault cruiser hulls to POS defenses, the products of New Eden are not consumed by carebears, or miners or most of the other high-sec dwellers including gankers. They are consumed in low-sec, null-sec and Anoikis. And of those three areas, CCP envisioned that null-sec should be where most of that output is consumed, but that has not been the way of it. It has been the place where the least has been consumed and, in fact, became a production center of critical T2 production components.

In an odd twist of fate, that actually helped forestall economic disaster I now believe. It caused a rise in price that was not justified by a true supply and demand equation. The demand did not rise. It remained constant so supply and price should have as well. As new players entered the economic market, supply should have increased causing prices to fall. This in fact is what has happened over the past several months as I pointed out in my post 10 days ago. Now prices seem to be rising.

There are no doubt many reasons for this. We could easily point to changes that came with Odyssey. That was just the catalyst though. I think one fundamental reason is that demand is once again increasing. As manufacturers work to ramp up production, prices rise. That's simple economics. So long as demand remains higher, prices should also remain higher than pre-war levels. This is what war in null-sec does. This is what CCP designed null-sec to do. This is what those in null-sec need to understand. Those who claim the capsuleer empires of New Eden as their own have not lived up to their economic responsibilities for a long time.

They complained it was too hard to go to war. They complained sovereignty grinding was stopping them because it was no fun. Really? From what I'm reading in the news, and on reddit, and seeing on YouTube, it looks like a lot of null-sec residents are having a lot of fun doing just that. Hell, I'm having a lot of fun just reading about it.

Actually, "it's too hard" is an excuse, not a reason. It's supposed to be hard. Who would want to fight and die in an area they could lose in the blink of an eye because it was too easy to conquer? Imagine the tears if one largish Anoikis alliance suddenly dropped out of a K162 in the heart of the CFC and took over sovereignty in a system or two just for the lulz; because it was easy.

That's why sovereignty grinding is hard. These null-sec caretakers benefit from it more than they don't. That's why it was always an excuse not to fight, but never a reason. The real reason is because they didn't want to. Why not? Well, the 100% Mabrick opinion on that matter is because they'd turned null-sec into an economic opportunity zone rather than the fighting arena it was designed to be. Moons full of ISK turned them from war to peace, from good fights to caretakers - still, YMMV.

Regardless, in the future when null-sec leaders whine about how hard they have it, remind them of this war which ushered in the end of the blue donut. Tell them it obviously isn't too hard to grind sovereignty because they are doing it. Remind them their rank and file actually seem to be enjoying themselves. In the process, they are once again living up to their purpose. They fight the big fights. They control vast capsuleer empires. They do this.

And we all reap the benefits.

Fly Careful

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