The following post is purely speculative. But it's been bouncing around in my head for several months now. Today's devblog has caused it to start to bounce with the force of (::grins::) a Titan pinball DD.
Would CCP develop their game in a way to deliberately try to influence the politics of New Eden? I'm really starting to think they would, and do.
If they would, and do: I think it's backfiring every time they try, and they should consider... you know... stopping.
Back in October 2009, CCP Chronitis wrote a devblog announcing upcoming massive changes to Tech2 production, and (to a lesser extent) the changes that would be made to moon goos, and the various moon goos that would be needed for it. By late October, watching the Singularity test server, a number of people had noted that there would be new bottlenecks in the types of goos that would become rare, ignoring the "rarity" numbers that are assigned to the various goos. Akita T woke up the New Eden populace to the coming bottlenecks in an early November post on the EVE-O forums. One of my own corp-leaders at that time posted on our forums a (as it turned out, accurate) list of goos and alchemy products that the corp and corp members should begin to stockpile until 2010. Technetium was high on that list, and came into the broader New Eden consciousness by the last week of November or so.
And where is technetium found? Almost exclusively in Northern Coalition space, considered all but worthless prior to the launch of Dominion.
By late December, I was part of a massive war over the technetium moons in Geminate. At the time, as a member of Gentlemen's Club, I was on the side attacking the NC, which included Atlas Alliance and their allies (of which GC was one). It was my first introduction to true sov warfare. It seems like a long time ago now. ;-)
The invasion failed, and smarter people than I can say why with much more assurance than I can. However, I can say that in the intervening months, the NC has profited hugely from control of both their previous R64 moons, and now the new stock of tech moons. For a while, they were unquestionably the richest coalition in the game.
But a lot of people, including myself, seemed content to believe that the war in Geminate was an unexpected development of the Dominion sov changes coupled with the moon goo changes. A coincidence, in other words.
But was it? After all, theoretically, Chronitis could have made any mineral the new bottleneck. But after seeing so many devblogs and so many notes in the CSM Summit meetings throughout 2010 how the existence of the blob pains CCP, I started to wonder last year if technetium was chosen deliberately, recognizing that the bulk of it was in NC space.
My silly little conspiracy theory went like this: Chronitis chose technetium specifically to be the most valuable. He hoped that its value would cause a large coalition to spring up, break up the NC, and claim these new riches for several new sov-holding alliances. And indeed, for a few months there, it seemed like that's exactly what was happening. A group of former enemies banded together to attack the NC and take some of these tech moons away. Even The Mittani weighed in on it at the time, calling the attack on Geminate "Chronitis's War".
But the attack failed, and now the NC is bigger and richer than ever. This particular change in Dominion, if it was intended as an attack on the blob, backfired massively.
Who is the richest coalition in the game today? These days, I suspect the DRF holds that honor. And ratting -- particularly bot-ratting -- is an enormous reason why. Take a look at this chart listing where the newest rich regions in New Eden are going to be. Fully eight of the top nine are in the hands of the Drone Russians!
Am I going too far in thinking that this "equal space is boring space" change was made partially in the hopes that a new coalition would rise up to break up the DRF?
If so, I think the plan is going to backfire just as massively.
By the way, that first devblog I posted links to two of the first devblogs talking about the major changes Dominion would introduce to the game. The first devblog was written by CCP Abathur... also known as Seleene... also known as an almost-certain delegate to CSM6. ;-) The second early Dominion devblog was written by CCP Greyscale, the now-implementer of "equal space is boring space." Eighteen months later, both of those devblogs now make for some interesting and really ironic reading.
I'll likely continue this theme in Monday's QOTW, which of course comes from Fanfest.