- The planets within five or so jumps of Jita, particularly the Barren planets and others being used as "factories";
- the threat of null-sec or large group combat infiltrating high-sec; and,
- where I think the most interesting actual game-play will come from out of this.
I don't think the planets within five jumps of Jita are going to be all that interesting. Someone big, ugly, and determined is going to stake their claim on these with an eye toward either filling alliance coffers (likely) or denying them to others (less likely). And if you're not in Goonswarm or RvB or EVE University or someone else that can throw a few hundred ships at these and then defend them behind a war-dec costing hundreds of millions of ISK... this isn't gonna be you. ;-)
The exact group that's going to end up with this income stream is up to some discussion but if you're out there bemoaning the death of high-sec PI, your complaints are wildly premature. These organizations want to make ISK from these planets, not strangle them. As a result, expect the tax rate to be set at some pretty reasonable value no matter who ends up owning them, particularly for those vital factory planets. This is ironically no different from any other renter-slumlord agreement -- the owner will want to make back their investment. The only choice you're going to have to make as a user is whether you can stand to hold your nose and pay the 5% or 6% or 7% to the eventual owner, whomever it is.
Or alternately, you can pick up and move somewhere less convenient and make a few more jumps when you bring your stuff to market. The choice is going to be up to you, but expect the threads of high-sec POCO ownership to start from Jita and spread outward to the more interesting planets pretty quickly. You might end up paying LESS to use the ones that end up owned by the groups you hate because those groups want to make ISK and will be motivated to do so. So much for point one.
As the null-sec and large high-sec groups start fighting over this income stream, expect to see more incursions of these entities into high-sec space. If GSF ends up taking key POCOs, RvB (for instance) isn't going to take this lying down, and vice versa. The battle lines have already been somewhat drawn in the commentary thread. And this is no bad thing. Drawing some of the big interesting fights into high-sec where just anybody can come by and watch them in relative saftey will be a good thing for EVE.
And might just encourage some of these watchers to join in by signing on with one side or the other. That is also a good thing for EVE. I'm always a big fan of natural, organic ways to draw newer players into the deep end of the sandbox, and this qualifies. And of course, ships exploding in high-sec -- right around EVE's key markets, no less! -- is no bad thing for EVE's industry players...
But while the fights will be interesting and will give people like me things to write about, they won't be interesting game-play in and of themselves. So let's move on to point three.
Back when I was in Sturmgrenadier's high-sec training corp, we were based out of Tidacha in the Derelik region. This is a gateway system to an enclosed constellation of six systems. We had enough members in our corp that very little went on in this constellation that we did not know about. Obviously since it was high-sec, we couldn't take actual ownership of the constellation. But I've talked about system ownership in the absence of sov before on this blog and this situation was not all that different. The corp did its mining on one end, its manufacturing nearby, and anyone who came into Tidacha in any numbers was duly scouted out, particularly if we were at war.
Had ownership of high-sec POCOs existed back then, I have absolutely no doubt that we would have taken over every POCO of any note in that constellation. And that is going to create interesting game-play.
Nobody who doesn't go through that constellation pretty frequently would likely have interest in it, which means that pushing hard on a high-sec corp dedicated to defending "their space" is going to mean pushing on those POCOs, and vice versa. Because if you live in a high-sec corp that isn't going to make PI profits part of the corp strategy (as well as making PI on those planets cheaper for you), you're probably in the wrong high-sec corp.
In short, for these more outlying constellations, I could see high-sec POCOs being the first real infrastructure test of who are the more and less important high-sec corps, particularly the more and less important industry-based ones. As I said, that has the potential for some interesting game-play.
So yep, count me as a fan of this feature. I'm still a little concerned that the threads of null-sec ownership might extend too far away from the market systems, but that'll be something to watch as this feature goes forward and gets iterated on. "Ship it and iterate!" as this CSM is becoming fond of saying...