First one I want to talk about is this:
To better distribute the demand for moon minerals, we have created two new Intermediate Materials, four new Composites, and rebalanced certain T2 Construction Component blueprint requirements.Moon materials are a problem.
Now in one way, moon mining is great. It drives a huge amount of conflict within the game. I think we can finally put the "wars start for reasons of rage and hatred" meme behind us. The Mittani didn't even try to justify the CFC's invasion of Fountain with any other reasoning other than "This region has moons. We want them. We like ISK. Phhhbbbt." I don't think they would have cared who the region was held by. The Goon moon-scanning team went in, no doubt determined the gold-farming value of the region, and that value over X time period exceeded the probable cost of an invasion of and conquering that region. Decision made.
So yeah, I completely grant that moon mining drives conflict.
But it also perpetuates the horrible way in which null-sec is completely broken right now. As it stands right now, it is all but impossible to take or hold sov of any value without already holding sov of great value. It's not like a new player could have come in and invaded Fountain. So in essence, once it's determined by the big alliances where the high-value moons are -- whether in Fountain or otherwise -- they're going to sweep in and take those moons. And once they have those moons, they continue to be essentially risk-free sources of unlimited wealth.
The only risk associated with taking a moon is that someone even bigger than you might come along and take it away. For the groups currently fighting, there isn't anyone bigger.
The net result will be to replace the technetium cartel with identical cartels for the new materials. OTEC, which generally successfully controlled the price of technetium and therefore essentially set the value of the construction of every T2 product in the game, will simply be replaced by a cartel with a new name that will continue to set the value of the construction of every T2 product in the game, perhaps divided by four for the four racial sets of T2 items, but more than likely not. Either way, chances are the same coalitions are going to control that ISK the same way they've controlled it for the last three years.
The only real change we're going to see is a hopefully temporary increase in the prices of T2 ships and items as the uncertainty in the short-term drives some T2 manufacturers out of the business entirely, and causes the other to hold back supply. At the very best, the increased costs of processors and the meta-materials that they're now built on will have a downstream effect on the price of every T2 ship and item.
Seen this way, the Goon invasion of Fountain is simply their attempt to maintain the status quo they've enjoyed for the past three years. That amount of time has given them enormous wealth sufficient to build up a massive strategic reserve. Given the patience, persistence, and organization that the Goons have displayed over those last three years, there's every reason to think this attempt to perpetuate the status quo will eventually be successful.(1) TEST might squirm a bit, they might destroy a few supers, they might win a few battles. But they simply haven't displayed the discipline that the Goons have for system management at this level. And even if I'm wrong and TEST is successful, that simply means that TEST will control a big chunk of the cartel instead of Goons. The essence of my complaint remains the same.
That means in a half a year or a year, we're going to be right back where we've been for the last three years, enriching the cartels whose players by and large have to do no grinding and no work at all to be maintained in fleets of PvP ships. Meanwhile the rest of us will continue to be consigned to the hell of EVE's horrid PvE and/or using market PvP to fight for the scraps of the cartel trillionaires and multi-trillionaires.
Meanwhile, CCP will no doubt be congratulating themselves on creating lots of new conflict drivers. But they won't have addressed the main problem at all: even if you change up the materials and how they're used every few years, moon mining remains an essentially risk-free, nearly entirely passive wealth fountain that perpetuates and maintains a top-down wealth and sovereignty system.
If you're a fan of that, then you're going to hate this post. If I were in a position to benefit, I'd hate me for bringing it up, too. But what do the rest of you think about it? So yeah, maybe "on the fence" isn't exactly accurate about my feelings toward this one. Yep, moons are a great conflict driver. But I am still of the opinion that they have way more down-sides than up-sides. At this rate, I have a sick sense that we're still going to be talking about moon-mining and its inherent flaws... in 2016.
Next up: Tags4Sec.
(1) In Christianity, there's a saying: "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist." The greatest trick the Goons have pulled is convincing many in New Eden that they are bad at this game. Individually, here and there? Yes, maybe. Collectively? Hell no!