Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DED Complexities, or "Why the Anomaly nerf isn't the end of the world"

I've been contemplating this more and more over the last couple days since the detailed devblog from CCP Greyscale, and I wonder if there isn't a different motive, regardless of what CCP Grayscale says. The introduction of the Haven/Sanctum upgrade to Dominion created a new, vast raw ISK faucet in the large bounties for the rats in these now-rapidly-spawning plexes. Unlike L4 missions, exploration, or WH ops, you can create/introduce a lot of ISK into the economy (rather than the NPC wreck -> salvage/loot -> ISK conversion). The folks who make similar money in L4 missions are not just shooting the ships for ISK, they are salvaging, looting, converting LP to items, and many other balanced ISK conversions.

Even if CCP won't admit that as a reason, they can't seriously just cripple the income stream for the largest number of nullsec pilots and alliances to repair a broken ISK faucet. And in fact, they really aren't.

OMFG I can't afford my system anymore

What does a fully upgraded system cost these days with iHub + Pirate Array installed? According to the EVE Wiki it costs 180 million ISK every 30 days to maintain sovereignty. There are no monthly fees for an iHub with Military or Industrial Upgrades installed - only the initial deployment costs. I'm not going to go over the Sovereignty Upgrades, as they all have additional cost, on the monthly scale, and should't be installed in every system anyway. That works out to 6 million ISK/day in sovereignty costs, which means (with a baseline 10% tax) pilots need to earn a cumulative 60 million ISK day per system to pay for basic Sovereignty.

The discussion as to how much you can earn in an anomaly ranges from a pittance to several hundred million isk (when using assigned fighters or titans). Let's get real though, and just pretend we don't have any Havens or Sanctums now. That means we get the Faction Hub as our cash cow. Reliable sources have the average ISK/HR for a Hub at about 15-20 million ISK/hr. According to the EVE Wiki, an iHub with Pirate Array 1 will spawn 4 simultaneous Anomalies (in any 0.00 system), and the Pirate Array 5 will spawn 20 simultaneously.

Based on 15-20m/hr raw income per Hub (the highest anomaly in those low truesec systems), with only 4 Hubs (not Havens or Sanctums) and one pilot ratting in each (for 10 hours a day total) you've covered your sovereignty costs. In addition those pilots are taking home (net divided by all of them) 540 million ISK, which seems to be about 15 million isk/pilot/hour (if my math hasn't completely failed).

((4x10)x15)= (600*.1) = 60
600-60 = 540/10 = 54/4 = 14.5

So you can still afford sovereignty if you have 40 total hours of ratting per day and a baseline 10% corp tax. OK, that's covered.

The individual pilot can't afford a T2 cruiser on that budget, but for a couple hours ratting they can have a T2 Frigate or a T2 Fit Standard Cruiser.

But what about my Faction/Deadspace Fit Tengu?

DED Complexes rediscovered

For some reason everyone is missing the other side of this argument. Any old roaming gang can fly into your space, pop open the directional scan, and get into your anomalies and farm your ratters. But it takes time, a little effort, and a specialized ship and skills to get at your Cosmic Signatures (also known as DED complexes). Everyone has ignored these (mostly) because the Havens and Sanctums were quick, easy money, but a smattering of DED complexes exist if you purchase and install the Entrapment Array. This hasn't been too awesome, because if you aren't in the cool faction space, you didn't get a full range of DED complexes. But wait - isn't this also being changed in Incursion 1.4? Why yes, yes it is.

New DED Complexes belonging to various pirate factions have been discovered, with returning capsuleers often proudly displaying never-before-seen modules obtainable exclusively from the most challenging foes in these complexes.

In a previous blog, CCP Big Dumb Object mentioned that they would be filling out all the higher end DED complexes (and adding a bunch of module drops). Remember this one? Out of the Shadows. Suddenly all the various faction DED sites exist in the most difficult (and most profitable) types, and they are going to drop more faction modules, some for the first time ever. With the Entrapment Array (still only a one-time purchase cost per level) now you have these DED complexes which have rats, possible faction spawns with a full suite of new faction module drops on top of the anomalies in the Pirate Detection Array.

Oh, wait a minute...

So CCP is reducing the value of the easily accessed Cosmic Anomalies, but really it isn't the end of the world, since you can still make a little bit of ISK there, and they are expanding the range of Cosmic Signatures and the loot drops from those signatures. Overall what I see is a move from a raw ISK-only stream (bounties) to a more balanced object-based ISK stream (loot drops). I also see safer space to work in, since every roaming gang isn't always going to have a combat/core prober in fleet (and even if they do it's a lot easier to look for probes now too).

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