Now that the high-sec Player Owned Customs Office (POCO) is a reality and not just a sound bite from CCP Soundwave during last Fanfest, I’ve begun to really think about the real New Eden consequences of implementing this change. And I think I might have to back peddle on my opinion. In my Fanfest Keynote blog last April, I said,
“But first, I’ll start off the list with something CCP Soundwave said yesterday. He said he’d like to see POCOs in high-sec. Yes, that’s right, he wants to see player owned customs offices in high-sec. He mentioned that they would also be vulnerable to player attack. You know, that’s not a super new idea as it’s been mentioned before but I’m glad to hear that it’s not forgotten. I don’t know if it’ll ever come to be, but it is something I can support.”
I’m not so certain now, and it’s not necessarily because large player organizations have a better chance of owning high-sec POCOs than single person corporations. There is another issue with this making me worry. I’ll be sure to mention it after I fulfill last post’s semi-promise of high-sec POCO tax income numbers.
The published tax rate on high-sec customs offices is currently 10%. The questions now is, how much ISK is that on a monthly basis? Fortunately I still have the data my buddy Kao Jai provided for my Why Be a Poor Noob series earlier this year. Just to remind everyone, my friend Kao Jai was attempting to make a half billion ISK a month manufacturing Nanite Repair Paste. Here is his March 2013 expenditure report.
His total planetary tax came out to 113,875,878.25 ISK. That’s an average of just under 19 million ISK a planet, a figure I’ll use in a bit. So to start this all off, I am going to fix the tax rate at the current 10%. It could go up, it could go down, but for the purposes of this post the rate is largely irrelevant to my point.
Now, that’s not a lot of ISK in the grand scheme of things. But, he’s not the only one doing PI on these six planets. How many capsuleers are doing PI on these planets? Well, I don’t rightly know, so I’m going to have to make an educated guess. I’m going to use the Drake Equation as a model. I’ll use an equation of possibilities.
The first variable for this POCO economics question is a known constant. How many planets have PI potential in high-sec? There is a table on Evelopedia that gives all the planets by type for various types of space in New Eden. These are only planets that permit PI, so restricted systems are already excluded from the table. Shattered planets are included, but you can’t do PI on them. That’s irrelevant for the purposes of this post as there are no shattered planets in hi-sec. The table tells us there are 10,392 planets in high-sec.
Now comes the probability part of the equation. Probabilities are based on assumptions. These assumptions are educated guesses in essence. For instance, the first one is the average tax per planet I calculated above. It assumes the data I got from Kao Jai is representative of all PI industrialists. By itself, it would be hard to make the case it is. However, if you could look at 10,392 independent data points you might just discover it is. Nevertheless, we need to account for fluctuation. I am therefore going to run three columns for tax value of a single planet over the course of a month: 10, 15 and 20 million ISK in taxes per planets.
The next probability I’ll need to address is how many capsuleers are doing PI per system, and how many planets they run. At max training, six is the most any single capsuleer can operated. Then there are those with lesser skills, and high-sec is especially full of those capsuleers. The number of capsuleers per planet is the variable that is hardest to predict. Many systems are more appealing than others based on what a capsuleer can produce. That means some systems are inherently more valuable. Hell, some planets are more valuable than others. Who wouldn’t pass up a chance to use a plasma planet? Furthermore, who really knows the skills of those capsuleers doing PI?
But we aren’t dealing with individual systems here or individual planet gooers. We are dealing with probabilities of usage. There are ways to see a broad range of possible outcomes. What I need is a representation of possibilities. When I ran PI in Aporulie, I estimated there were five other capsuleers using the planets I was using. It’s a starting point. I am therefore adding rows to my columns of potential taxation. I’ll have rows for one, three, five, seven and ten capsuleers per planet. The equation to calculate cell values in the table is:
Since my tax estimate is for a month the income will be monthly. That’ll give us a fairly representative table I think. Here are the results for 10,392 high-sec planets.
There are six (6) zeros after every number in columns C, D and E. The least amount of tax income shown for high-sec as a whole is almost 104 billion ISK. The largest is over two trillion – per month. That’s a big number in anyone’s ledger.
But I don’t think for one second that one player organization will control, or want to control, all those POCOs. They will be spread out amongst many organizations both large and small. The only prediction I will go out on a limb and make is that single carebear corporations will be left out in the cold. CCP has likely shat tremendously on the lone wolf industrialist ever owning even a solar system’s worth of POCOs – thanks a lot. But that’s not the end of them. They’ll continuing working hard, paying their taxes to whomever, and struggling as they’ve always struggled. It isn’t easy being a lone wolf industrialist, but that’s why they do it. I’m not worried about them. Their lives won’t actually change no matter who the taxes go to.
What I am worried about is that tremendously large number in the table above. That’s only for one month. This was ISK that used to simply leave the economy. Customs Offices in high-sec have always been a means to help keep ISK growth down, and had an anti-inflationary effect. This was one of the reasons CCP instituted taxes in high-sec in the first place. Now that money is simply going from one capsuleer’s pocket into another’s. It won’t be taken out of the economy. What’s the long term implications for the New Eden economy in that decision? Won’t that start helping inflation rather than hinder it? I’m worried the biggest change likely to be wrought by high-sec POCOs is a general price increase to everything due to inflationary pressures. I sure as hell hope CCP has figured that into their 3-year plan. If they have, I hope their plan doesn’t rely on capsuleers blowing more stuff up than they are now. That’s no way to run an economy. That’s like handing someone a stimulus check and hoping they don’t put it in savings.