Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Everyone Else Jumped, So Will I!

I'm probably the last person to jump off of this bridge. To what bridge do I refer? The bridge where people talk about the change to NULL, ie shallow true-sec to deep true-sec.

To be honest, I don't even really understand how true-sec works, only that the lower the true-sec of a system, the better the bounties are while ratting. So, let's dive in shall we?

It doesn't. I live in NULL, between Cloud Ring and Fountain. While it's true that I prefer Fountain for ratting over Cloud Ring (because Cloud Ring is shallow true-sec and Fountain is deep true-sec). I can make approximately double smashing belts in Fountain than I can in Cloud Ring. This all said, I hate ratting, because I hate the tedium of doing the same combat over and over and over again.

Why do I rat? Only if I'm crippled for ISK, and I do mean crippled. Yes, it's a fast and easy and reliable way of making ISK, but it is rather tedious, and it doesn't have anything close to the rewards of even the Class 2 wormhole I used to live in. I don't care how good the true-sec, the simple fact is that ISK/time sucks in NULL compared to wormhole space.

What is my preferred method of making ISK? Planetary interaction. For a modest investment of 6 million a planet, with a single character I can set myself up to make 12 million ISK a day on one of the lowest cost POS fuels out there, Enriched Uranium. Since I didn't want to have divvy up my time between Anjali and Truen1ght, I moved her to low-sec, and for the same modest investment, she can pull in approximately 6-8 million ISK a day doing the same thing. I am not doing the same thing, of course, but the principle is there. Anjali is diversifying her income across various fuels, to ensure that she doesn't flood the market.

All said, every day, between just these two, I'm pulling a tech 2 fit Hurricane every 2 days. ISK wise, it's approximately 20-25 million ISK a day. I'm considering another low-sec pioneer, and for another modest investment of 6 million a planet, and some start up funds for setting up, I can increase daily income by another 6-8 million a day in low-sec alone. And, per character, I am spending roughly 5-10 minutes a day doing PI. Even at 10 minutes, you can calculate the NULL PI manager at 72 million ISK an hour, and the low-sec PI manager at 36-48 million ISK an hour.

Truth, be told, I don't think it does except in the smallest sense. TPOG is an industrial/PvP mix. 

I'm sure people are sneering now that we are null-sec carebears, but nevermind about that. Since my corporation has industry skills, skills in the area of building capitals, freighters, bullets, tech 2 modules, etc, not being able to rat makes us a more powerful industrial force. So, while not having good rats to kill can be somewhat inconvenient, in the grand scheme it helps the alliance while having little impact on the corporation overall.

Because FA has real-estate in Fountain and Cloud Ring, those that have already moved down to Fountain for ratting will benefit greatly. However, since the corporations living there have had to pay for the upgrades, those living in Cloud Ring will not be welcome to take Sanctums and Havens from those who paid for them.

Since people living in Cloud Ring already face a bounty disparity, it is extremely unlikely that infractions will proceed beyond the occasional ratter, who will be warned, then booted from alliance if the infractions re-occur.

To understand, we must look deeper into why people are living where they are.

---Cloud Ring
These inhabitants have nearby access to hi-sec trade hubs, hi-sec prices. Because of proximity to low-sec systems, combat is frequent with the nearby pirates. Life is exciting, but with lower quality rats to destroy, the income must come from somewhere else. Anywhere else in fact, and because the true-sec change should only affect sites like Sanctums and Havens, other things like PI, mining, and trade are left untouched. It should also be noted that because Cloud Ring is at the inner edge of NULL, strategic operations are easier to carry out simply because more systems can be traversed by a single titan bridge.

These folk have great difficulty accessing hi-sec easily. As such, the market depends largely on the residents. For the opposing reasons as Cloud Ring, despite the increased ratting potential, heavy industry and trade must be plied out there. Admittedly, this region lies close to NPC null sec, where those booted from Alliance null-sec go, so there is little shortage in the way of raiding parties. In addition, because of how spread out systems are in this region, strategic operations of any consequence are difficult to show up for unless those operations are also in Fountain. Given the above factors, life in Fountain is harder than Cloud Ring, and all for the better bounties on rats, but perhaps it feels less controlled than Cloud Ring.

So what's the overall effect? Well, it would appear that while each has advantages in different areas, neither is truly better than the other. It seems that the proposed changes won't do anything to make differing areas of NULL more or less valuable, because CCP has neglected strategic considerations of each type of space. In the proposed changes, only ratting is affected, and as such, CCP'sISK will make a switch to any other form of ISK farming, and life goes on.

But is the change so bad? My opinion is that those whining about it are all suffering from bitter vet syndrome. Every time CCP proposes a change, I read floods of blog entries about how this change and that change will negatively affect the game, causing people to leave the game forever. Since when did status-quo ever become acceptable? There is an answer in fact: status-quo became acceptable when you were on top as long as the status-quo was kept. Change, however small, threatens this.

Especially when it comes to "bittervets" change is good, even if it thrown out in a haphazard fashion, as long as it is small such as in this fashion with the true-sec Sanctum/Haven generation. Such changes force evolution for the fight for dominance, whether it be the market, PvP, or simply making ISK. Even more importantly, such changes keep the game interesting. It has been proven time and time again that intermittent reinforcement drives addiction, and it's also quite obvious that a game that evolves remains fun while unchanging games die out. It should be noted that changing the rules in a game gives intermittent reinforcement in the way that it allows the player to master the rules, thus be rewarded, before having the rug pulled out from under him, thus punishing the player. This is the heart of intermittent reinforcement, down which road lies addiction.

Because EVE is a massive game built on rules, unexpected and often hampering results come from even the smallest changes. It is a fact that every program has holes that be exploited or just accidentally fallen into. The exploits are often called what they are, but the other side of it is bugs. It is therefore no secret that no program is perfect, and as such, as a program grows, it becomes more and more deformed, until it reaches a point where it simply unmaintainable.

This was a rather long-winded post about why this change is good, doesn't matter, and people who've been playing the game for a long time should stop seeing any change as an impediment, but rather as an opportunity. Every change enacts to keep them in the game, and if a game were to stop changing, well, there is only so far any person can go in an unchanging world. Stagnation breeds death, and while I'll admit that Greyscale has been looking like a total dumbass over and over, there can be no dispute that the ongoing changes present new challenges to be dealt with which work to help the player keep playing a game he/she loves to play.

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