21
Nov
11

The Circle of Isk

No, not that circle. Or that one. I meant this one from Jester’s site:

I’m asking for concrete examples, interaction flows if you will, between general high sec “bear” activities and activities elsewhere in the universe.

We’re aware that (for example) null sec organisations, and individuals, engage in so called “sourcing” actions in high sec. Think isotopes, think minerals (compressed).

In that example, the question is whether that is an interaction with roots in so called “buying power” (null sec buys in bulk regardless of identity of source) or “distributed sourcing” (where null sec takes in what secondary accounts located in high sec collect / provide).

Good question, and one that deserves its own post. Understanding where isk and resources flow is essential to making good judgement about industry, trade and all the other game design issues surrounding null-sec.

First, a caveat: I have never been particularly high in the logistics wing of an alliance, but I have talked to people who were, so my perspective is perhaps best described as ‘interested observer’ rather than ‘industry insider’.

For the purposes of these lists, I will ignore anything that is functionally used up inside the same security level. For instance, high-sec POS towers use faction charters, which come from empire loyalty points, which mostly come from highsec mission-runners, so they are ignored. However, since most of the ice produced in high-sec doesn’t end up in a high-sec POS, it is included in the list of exports.

Highsec

Produces

  • Low-end minerals
  • Ice
  • Tech 1 salvage
  • Empire Faction modules and ships
  • Tech 2 modules, ships and rigs
  • Starbases
  • PI Materials (about 50% of everything extracted)
  • Isk

Consumes

  • T2 materials
  • Pirate implants and ships
  • Tech 3 ships
  • Deadspace modules

Lowsec

Produces

  • Capital ships
  • killmails

Consumes

  • T1 ships
  • Faction ammo and modules
  • T2 ships and modules
  • Starbases
  • Ice / POS fuel

Nullsec

Produces

  • High-end minerals
  • Low-end minerals via drone loot
  • Pirate modules, ships and implants
  • Deadspace modules
  • Goodfites
  • Node crashes
  • Isk (bounties)
  • T2 raw materials
  • PI Materials

Consumes

  • Low-end minerals (and/or 425mm rails)
  • T1 ships and ammo (often easier to jump-freight in than acquire the low-ends for)
  • Faction ammo and modules
  • T2 ships and modules
  • Starbases
  • Ice / POS fuel

W-space

Produces

  • High-end minerals (allegedly)
  • T3 components
  • T2 components via reactions or alchemy
  • Combat Boosters
  • PI materials

Consumes

  • T2 ships
  • Faction ammo and modules
  • T3 ships
  • low-end minerals
  • POS Fuel

A typical null-sec industry scenario

Sso much gets produced in highsec that an independent null-sec is functionally impossible. The T2 materials must be sourced from all over the map, which means safe trade hubs, which means highsec.

Once you’re in highsec already to source your T2 materials, you might as well produce the T2 items in highsec too, since the ingredients take more space than the finished product, and there’s plenty of manufacturing spots in high-sec, unlike null. Then, you pick up anything else you need (implants, faction ammo, T2/T3 ships you can’t be bothered inventing, 425mm railguns for making supercaps) at a convenient market hub then jump freight everything to null. On the way back to highsec, you freight a cargohold full of ABCM and deadspace items and dump them on the market. You never once considered stopping in low-sec to sell or buy anything.

How would you fix this?

Define fix. Everything currently works fairly well. Stuff gets to the people who want them; money changes hands; nobody has to do anything they don’t want to.

Assuming ‘fix’ means something equivalent to ‘make low-sec more attractive to industry people, and encourage nullsec industrialists to produce more stuff in nullsec instead of buying everything in highsec’, then there’s a few things that deserve scrutiny:

  1. T2 stuff won’t ever be produced in large numbers in nullsec when it’s so difficult to get all the T2 components.  However, encouraging low-sec T2 production is a distinct possibility…
  2. A congestion premium for Empire station manufacturing and research slots would push more industry into low-sec, or at least ameliorate the situation now, where copy slots in Empire run at a two-month backlog.
  3. Ice in high-sec may need tweaking, but removing it will force a lot of people in low- and nullsec to do that unpleasant task instead of paying someone else to do it for them.
  4. Low-end minerals are a major material sink in null, but high-sec has a massive over-supply of low-ends at present so additional sources in nullsec may crash the market unless transporting low-ends to null is also nerfed at the same time (I suggest slowing down reprocessing)
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