CCP Fozzie (I ❤ your name, man) today released his first developer post titled Tech is Fine L2P. Fortunately, this is a joke. Tech 2 production is not fine. For many of us, Tech 2 production is no longer a viable industry. Thanks to the Technetium Cartel, the price of Technetium derived modules has skyrocketed. If you can afford the high prices and pass the increase off to your customers, you could continue to earn a somewhat reduced living (hint, customers don’t like to absorb the entire cost increase.) But there are some modules that just aren’t available in enough quantity for everyone. That brings production to a screeching halt – believe me, I know.
UPDATE 7/26/12: CCP comes through. It may not help high-sec industrialists enough but it’s better than a 2×4 upside the brain housing group. You can get a great run down on the changes at A Scientist’s Life in Eve (click link.)
CCP Fozzie clearly explains this is a game design issue. He claims CPP will resolve it over the next several updates starting soon. Putting aside all the obvious comments about this confirming certain views of the behavior that precipitated this dev blog, I want to discuss how it will 1) resolve the issue and 2) not really resolve the issue.
Alchemy is a nice solution. It will work similar to how invention worked to break the stranglehold on T2 production instigated by the BPO lottery system. Since I became a capsuleer after the original lotteries, I had almost no chance of getting into T2 production by myself. There was far more demand for T2 BPOs than any of the owners were even remotely interested in supplying unless you were already wealthy enough to make it worth their while. That excluded many industrialists from the T2 manufacturing business.
Thus, CCP came up with an alternative route to T2 BPOs. Does this sound familiar? Anyway, invention is a laborious process. As the current situation shows us, those that have monopolies are disinclined to give them up. Invention changed the dynamic and gave the little guys an end-run. If I was willing to work a little harder, I could make a business out of T2 manufacturing and did. So did many others. Invention was a success as can be seen in Blake’s post on K162 two days ago. Because of this, there is no reason to believe that alchemy won’t work.
But it won’t take manufacturing back to where it was before the Technetium embargoes. Those days are long gone. It will still exclude the little guy. Read CCP Fozzie’s post carefully. He says, “Alchemy will kick in as a pressure valve in case prices of any moon mineral spike. As long as prices remain low there is no need to bypass the original mineral.” Translation: it will cost more to run the reactions than to buy the Technetium at a non-manipulated price. Just because CCP is giving non-OTEC manufactures the ability to restart their lines doesn’t mean it will be at the profit margins we enjoyed previously. It won’t be.
Then there is what CCP Fozzie doesn’t address. He completely leaves out the unmentioned requirement for alchemy. Where do reactions like alchemy run? Currently they only run in Player Owned Stations. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong (and I’m sure you will,) but to take advantage of this option you’ll have to have access to a POS. If you are in high-sec, you can forget ever making a profit by this route. As soon as it’s discovered you are an alchemist, someone will declare war against you and destroy your production capability. At a measly 50 mIsk cost for small corporations like mine, this is like taking candy from a baby. Believe me, there are those in New Eden that live for doing that.
And even if CCP decides to allow reactions within NPC stations, I am certain they will be at very unattractive prices and severely nerfed just like CCP has recently done to invention vis-a-vis data cores. There they also handed the “reward” to those taking the most “risk.” I’ve read the reports though. LP farming has no risks. I’m starting to seriously doubt the “greater reward for more risk” mantra.
So where does this current change leave the high-sec industrialist? Still at the mercy of null-sec corporations who will control the alchemy process just like they control moon goo I’m sad to say. CCP has stated again and again, including this post, they want the rewards to go to those who take the risks. That’s starting to sound like a copout. What I see is CCP trying to drive players into larger and larger corporations and alliances. Their marketing department spends their entire budget on emphasizing the social aspect of Eve Online. The developers are now spending all their time trying to force socialization through their mantra “more reward for more risk.” It seems obvious enough to me. It’s CCP’s call though. It’s their product.
I just want to know when are they going to start being honest with those of us that prefer the lone wolf style of play? When will they stop pretending that they care for all the small corporations and the independent Industrialists that populate high-sec? They’ve really designed this change to allow –A- and NCDOT and the like to resist Goonswarm Federation and the rest of the Deklein Coalition. There is nothing in it for the rest of us – unless we want to sell our souls to someone else.