Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Friday, October 18, 2013

Pride of ownership

Let's move on to another Rubicon feature that I'm favorable about, that of the high-sec POCO.  Here's the relevant dev-blog, and here's the comments thread.  There are three things going on here, and I'd like to touch on all three of them, but keep things relatively brief (if I can).  They are:
  • 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.
And yeah, these are separate things.

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...


  1. because null sec is not enough... let's have goons own hi sec too. Suicidal move on the part of CCP. But hey, it's how all MMO's end, favoring the haves over the have nots when the opposite should be the case.

    1. You are aware that this is just the first step? Read all the shit coming out of Seagull, and the marketing dept, who they want the NPC empires to wane and the player empires to rise up.

      If these jerks thought the sub base could withstand it, all NPC empires would be wiped out, and they are going to try. I imagine NPC null sec stations will be conquerable next (hits Jester right where he lives, literally), then low sec stations, etc. Or the null sec cartels/CSM/CCP (all the same thing), will bypass the null sec NPC regions, and just hand off the low sec empire stations as they become conquerable.

  2. Well Jester as a fan of this feature you betray the reason most of us. Some "small corp guy" you turned out to be.

    You should have run as a goon. You think like one now. Hopefully you are getting paid like one now too. Won't last for long as the rich get richer shit eventually implodes eve as the poor leave.

    1. Ummmm... did you read the actual post? I pointed out a very specific way for a small high-sec corp to make a ton of ISK on this change.

    2. @ Jester. Yes you did. Of course, that means the small corp has to uproot themselves from a good spot (within 5 jumps from Jita) go in search of a location far far away from Jita, then fight other small corps for it (because they can't wardec larger corps, and there simply are not enough to go around), then have to endure much longer hauling times and risk to get their product to market.

      Meanwhile, the null sec cartels roll in, grab what they want, are immune to war dec's except from a tiny tiny group, and have to do zero work for completely passive income. I had to do more work to grind up the skills and standings for my alts to farm research points, and continually jump many jumps to harvest the datacores. But that is bad, apparently, and getting a completely passive tax is good, for 5 minutes work.

      Bottom line, you are condoning not only an inflationary mechanism, because CCP has halved the Concord taxes, but you are condoning another passive income stream for the cartels.

      You are one of them now.

    3. Dude, seriously....

      ..."then have to endure much longer hauling times and risk to get their product to market." - How hard is it and how risky is it to contract Red Frog or one of the other hauling services? If whatever you're hauling isn't profitable enough to justify using Red Frog, then it isn't worth doing. You're just being stingy and closed off.

      "Meanwhile, the null sec cartels roll in, grab what they want, are immune to war dec's except from a tiny tiny group, and have to do zero work for completely passive income." - Yeah, they might grab what they want, but what will be worth it to them is a very small portion of what is available. That means you have options that you have to weigh the benefits vs draw backs for. The only way you're going to be monopolized is if YOU LET THEM MONOPOLIZE YOU!

    4. But WHY would the small corps have to uproot themselves?!?! I can *guarantee you* that Jester is right - the tax rates will not be crushing. In fact, with the NPC tax skill and the baseline adjustment, the amount won't really change. Why move if the prices don't change?

      The income flow form this will not be very significant - interesting, but not much, like owning a few moons. They will not truly impact the power of the "eval null carteles!". However, this income flow will be *very* useful for groups like RvB or Eve Uni, and I think even you can't see anything that sinister with that...

      You *are* completely right that this is a decrease of an isk sink (so inflationary), but I think CCP can make some adjustments.

      I think you *are* completely wrong that Jester is "one of them now".

      L R

  3. Just curious, has anyone of the thinking heads worried himself to learn who is doing PI at the moment?

    Casual solo players.

    People who don't have the will, or the time, or the interest, to gang up, or to put up a fight, or be bothered by big guys.

    To these people, player owned POCOs will mean less profits, since the NPC tax is not being removed. Will mean broken chains as POCOs are blown and not reseeded because of ongoing wars. Will mean diminished returns of a marginally profitable investment.

    And, guess what are those palyersdoing right now? They're pulling their calculators, making numbers, and making their minds to stop doing PI and then unsub accounts as they won't be able to afford paying some asshole's player tax, let alone have their operations disrupted because someone blew a key CO and nobody is rebuilding it.

    Hisec POCOs are a case of a game feature being iterated by people who neither uses it, nor ever used it in the past, nor would use it for their life... and yet are peeing on somebody's pool and asking him to pay up for the cleansing, with a smile.

    PI players are getting their gameplay redesigned by comittee in order to fulfil some goals they don't care of nor will do them any good, and are asked to pay the price by removing their ability to play the way they want... and yet, it is expected that they will keep paying their subscriptions.


    1. You're one of the people over-reacting, I'm afraid.

      As I said in the actual post, the casual high-sec player isn't going to be hurt by this at all. Train up the tax reduction skill, and I think the remaining tax paid to the POCO owners is not going to be much higher than 5 or 6%... which means that the total tax those casual players are paying... *will stay about the same*. And if you can't stand to pay 1% or 2% more, then move your PI outward from Jita a jump or two.

    2. "then move your PI outward from Jita a jump or two."

      Sorry, Jester, but when was the last time you did setup PI? Seems you have forgotten what a royal PITA it is. My motivation to tear down and setup 15 planets again - especially within the unrest following the patch, i.e. not knowing if the new planets are "safer", and I would have to setup again some weeks later - means I won't relocate for quite some time. Either way there is good chance my main income will break down until things have settled down several month after the patch.

      And, well, I am wondering why I didn't see anyone mentioning the market manipulation potential of that change. Let Goons get all moons near Jita. Set taxes low. Then, instead of an ice interdiction, let them interdict PI by raising taxes for some weeks. Since you can't import to the planets anymore, PI production around Jita will cease. Am I missing something about the mechanics that would balance/prevent this?

      Btw, I consider player taxes on unlimited resources (factory planets) to be broken, i.e. there should be some limit the same way as there can only be so many players extracting resources before it isn't worth it anymore.

    3. I'd have to see the numbers to be sure, but PI was never a big thing in the first place IMO. I think it should be completely removed from the game so the ISK sink that was NPC sales of various commodities could be resumed. Yeah, I know that's not gonna happen, but once again IMO, PI is one of the weaker parts of the game and I have no sympathy for anyone whose playstyle is getting nerfed a bit. My own has been nerfed pretty much at least once a year since I started playing. Quit yer crying and unsub already FFS.

    4. Are there any plans to reduce the cost to wardec large alliances to the point where it becomes economically viable to wardec Goonswarm in order to clear their POCOs out of "your" hisec island? Or are hisec PI folks supposed to throw a few years of profit away each time Goonswarm comes to visit?

    5. @ anonymous who has got 15 planets set up: I feel your pain, one of my buddies has got a little PI scheme that delivers some 900 million per month... he uses 3 accounts and 7 characters to run it. He KNOWS that he is in a strategic position so very likely some of the COs will be blown on Day 1, disrupting his imports and his whole operation until the COs are rebuilt... in case they are rebuilt, because, why do it if the new owner gets a wardecced?

      This is PI iteration by people who never did PI, don't know anything about PI, don't care about PI, and certainly know better than you how you should play.

      Par for the course, both for CCP and the CSM.

    6. The amount of work it would take for *any* group to control enough POCOs to really have an impact on the PI market would be staggering - far more than this market is worth. If the Goons couldn't mount a credible ice interdiction this time around, what makes you think they will be able to take more than a few dozen planets?

    7. Jester, in response you only address the tax costs. You do not address any of the other concerns of availability of POCO's. I completely agree with this anon poster, and I did PI in null. If the friendly POCO's were threatened, probably by a bigger group, I would be concerned that I could afford to play Eve at all.

    8. If it's not obvious yet, CCP are giving players the ability to attack passive income. Those crying the most are those who earn a lot through passive income. Why can't I just earn ISK by doing very little, they proclaim.

      Passive income is essentially an anti-gameplay mechanic as it doesn't require you to do much. For the main part, you sit back and you earn ISK.

      Those leaving the game because their passive income is under threat from actual gameplay are not going to be missed. Those who embrace gameplay are going to have a more enjoyable game.

      EvE is getting better.

  4. I cannot help but think that CCP missed a trick here, personally I would have made the corp owned POCO's shootable without Concord and all you get is an individual suspect timer for every act of aggression, if a corp has a war dec on the owner corp then no suspect timer.

    Which gets me on to another issue, null sec planets, I have been around quite a few poorer systems and found POCO's from alliances that owned the system at least three owners away from the current owner, from my prespective that situation should enable others to use the system if the POCO office is not the same as the sov owner, because you cannot put a command centre on a planet without sov at this point. From my point of view because the current sov owner does not have a POCO in place it should delete the full control of the planet, is this something that you would be interested in asking CCP, after all they changed the hisec ones, what about the null ones.

    1. If I gotta pay tax to Concord they better damn well protect those POCOs

  5. "And that is going to create interesting game-play."

    Yep and i would gues there will/is more in this 3/5 year plans to extend this.

    1. not sure the game will last that long, the way it's going every new feature is for Goons pleasure

  6. All good points. A big +1 for the "deep end of the sandbox" mixed metaphor.

  7. The big issue has been lost...from a Hisec perspective of someone who has done a lot of PI, the whole non removal of the NPC Tax is being ignored over the whole conflict issue.
    Personally I've staged my battleships and trained up my toons to fly them I have all the customs gantries and upgrade bits prestaged and am ready to kill me some NPC offices just so that my PI planets are controlled by me.
    But it's not worth it....to ensure that I can maintain my production flow I have to spend isk to place POCOs and still pay the same rate (yes, yes there is a new skill) but that doesn't really matter because the newbros will be scraping isk together to afford it.

    The other night I was talking to a new player in our corp chat and she commented that her skill points had passed her basic clone limit...she was afraid to undock because she'd lose her training if she got podded...she couldn't afford to upgrade her clone because she didn't have the isk, did I know a way she could make some more isk? So we talked about PI...but who knows if she will be able to use it to help her along in the game after Rubicon.
    And yeah I gave her help with her clone (I'm just a bittervet sucker).

    EVE-Online: Rubicon (The Rich Will Get Richer the Poor Will Get Poorer)

    I think of 2 comments that Soundwave made in his little talk at Fanfest...
    We've learned to stop trying to force players to lo/0.0.
    Not everyone should be successful in this game.

    RambleRant over

  8. Eve University isn't looking to do any POCOs around Jita. That isn't an area where we are concentrated.

  9. I just really dislike the idea of having to pay wardec fees in order to attack these things. I'd much prefer something like everyone having a casus belli against any corp who owns a highsec POCO. Essentially all wardec features are followed, however the fee for declaring war gets waived if the defending corp currently owns a POCO. Alternatively just remove the scaling costs from wardec fees, so that if the defender owns a POCO in high sec, a wardec against them costs the minimum wardec fee possible.

  10. I think you are over confident with the generation of content. Have a look at moon mining - supposed to be a conflict creator. In reality, entities like the goons ran the moons for years without interference. So there will be a big bang with the release of Rubicon. Give a week, and it will be business as usual. Have a look at the modus operandi of New Order. If anything is to be believed there industrialists will rather just pay the nuisance fee to be left alone. And so it will be with POCO. Oh small tax? meh.

    Personally I would have preferred if the taxation of Player Owned Custom Officers was via the actual materials instead of isk. A limited size hopper which would need to be emptied by the owning corporation. By making it isk, it is another form of passive income - which CCP has taken previous steps to reduce. (see Datacores for instance). Once the hopper fills up, taxation still applies but the corporation does not earn anymore until emptied.

    The emptying ship is then at risk and the income can be pirated or lost. This is generating conflict and risk - the content of the game. Don't want to deal with materials - then don't get involved with PI in the first place.

  11. "Ship it and iterate on it later"... hmmm where did I heard that one before?
    Oh, right: Before introducing incarna, before introducing NEX store, before introducing Dominion sov system, before...

    Great, it is such a joy to see that after all our effort and rage, sod all else has changed in this great company.

    Also aren't you supposed to bring features of your own into the game? Where are those? You write damn well but sadly right now I only hear CCP propaganda, just whispering in the back. Like an echo.

    You sure give CCP a fair value in return of investment, but what about my fair value in return? Just for the record: I did vote for you, but one of the reasons while I and most of my corporate mates see CSM as a waste of time is that once you are in the "IN" club, little or nothing gets implemented from the ideas and suggestions board that most pre-CSM members crawl over before elections. Many voices are raised about that THEY intend to implement. And then we get beautifully written blog posts about how this and that will enable us to live a better EVE life.

    Also NDA is like a blanket, covering all the dark areas (and the grey ones too) because the eye of Saur... err NDA sees all.

    Sorry mate, I love your blog but unless I can see posts about where CCP had to sweat to earn their keep in front of you (and CSM) because they had the smoking gun shoved right into their faces, I have to take your post about EVEs future with salt.

  12. hey nice post meh, You are one of the best writers I've seen of recent. I love your style of blogging here. this post reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: Solving Big Problems .
    keep up the good work friend. I will be back to read more of your posts.


  13. Im a bigdeal in BNI, and I'll throw my support towards supporting rvb or euni from kicking big nullsec alliances out!


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