Thursday, December 1, 2011

PI Changes – The Carebear Version

I was meaning to write an article about opportunity cost that was much more eloquent than this will be, but the recent PI changes are great illustration I want to take advantage of.  Also, robo-poster Jester beat me to some of the economics in this post.

So here is the second half.  The TL;DR: I’m out (of PI)!

Here is why.  I have roughly 24 hours in each day.  In those hours I have to eat, sleep, take care of my loved ones, attend school and work.  Eve usually comes last in that progression, or is something I do in the background while I focus on one of the others.  This is where opportunity cost comes in. 

I am a high-sec carebear, mainly because it is a nice place to base out of and accomplish things in Eve while still being able to get up out of my chair if real life calls.  I generally do not have time to scout low sec routes for gate camps, I generally do not have the mental desire to play hours of stations games, and I cannot commit to being available for CTAs or to wake up at 2am for a reinforcement timer.  And here is where the opportunity costs of the PI changes come in.

I assume that CCP wants to move more players out into low/null sec.  That is the only sensible reason I can find for changing PI tax rates and POCOs.  I suppose the idea is volume would make up for increased cost.  But the cost of moving operations to low sec is far higher than just the isk.  It is the time needed to scout, it is the cost of interrupted production if a POCO goes up in smoke, it is the cost of gate camps and pirates, and it is the time cost of training ships that can compete with the faction/tech II paradise that is low sec.  Another factor is the mind-numbing amount of clicking that it takes to actually do PI.  I don’t feel like setting up another 20 planets…  PI (at current prices) in no way justifies these increases in time and isk spent for the rewards I get, given the recent changes.

I assume CCP knows that PI production will fall in high sec.  This will drive up POS fuel costs and thereby drive up much of the cost of all Tech II/III goods in the game.   While this may be a good way to make low and null sec fights more meaningful, I find it a rather ham-fisted way to do so.  The reason is that the opportunity costs are being placed on the player base that does not go to low or null sec, and probably does not want to.  Asking the carebear/casual player base to change to a more time intensive playstyle in order to continue an established playstle is risky.  Many of us stay in high sec because we do not have the time or energy needed to move further afield.

To those that say this affects everyone, well, I have a feeling the null sec alliances will have low tax POCOs up and running fairly soon.  I also doubt we will see many people putting up multi-million isk pinatas in low sec.

If CCP wants high sec players to move to low sec or null sec, the key is to provide incentives or modify the game to fit the players, not restrict existing content and force players to modify themselves to fit the game.  All these PI changes will do for me is reduce the amount of the game I partake in.

As an aside: I have seen some comments relating to the idea that this mirrors the costs of production in the real world.  These comments do not seem to realize that the difference between China and the USA is not one of law v. lawlessness, but sovereign bodies competing.  Both have laws, they are just different.  The more apt comparison would be Germany (high sec) v. Afghanistan (low sec).  In one there are laws, and in the other, law often is who has the bigger gun and is willing to use it.  I also apologize in advance if those comparisons are offensive.  They are the first that came to mind.


  1. Pre Crucibile, I did all my PI in low-sec. It was not actually nearly as bad as it sounds in your post.

    I'll concede some points: my PI did get interrupted by roaming gangs, and fitting to deal with the lone hunters reduced efficiency somewhat, and I did need to worry about when to move the stuff out of low-sec.

    But those are things I dealt with pretty easily. Roaming gangs? Bounce around while managing planets. Caught on a customs office? good thing I got warp stabs instead of cargo expanders. Getting stuff out? I made an arrangement with a friend: he gets a discount, he hauls it, I scout him out. When he wasn't available, my knowledge of the area helped me avoid gangs so that I could move about pretty freely.

    It was never as easy as empire PI, but it was more entertaining, and more profitable. My biggest issue in the whole deal was simply finding a singular system to run all my PI in.

    Still, I have a feeling my alts will be out of the PI game soon as well. :/ 200 mil in easy ISK down the drain.

  2. I don't mean it is impossible to run Low-Sec PI. I did for quite some time, and then I realized the time involved in scouting and doing all the things you listed ruined the experience for me. My goal was to illustrate the mindset of a large group of players (many of whom I know) that simply write off Low Sec, and why they do so.

    Not to the point of the post, but I suppose if PI were not so boring as a gameplay device, my evaluation of the opportunity cost may change.

  3. Have you considered working with someone? I don't know much about PI, but coming from a low-sec based pirate corp I could certainly see charging a monthly fee for things like scouting and defending the customs office.

    That said, I don't know anything about PI or how profitable it is and I don't really know anything about how viable the offices are as targets, or how much they cost when they explode, so I don't know how risky defending one is. So maybe I'm wrong and it's not viable, but I expect there's a solution to be had there.

    Also, cloaky blockade runners are nearly impossible to catch in low-sec.

  4. I suppose I could work with a pirate/low corp, and worst case be out a ship/implants/time to set up PI. As to profit, in can make a nice amount if you are diligent, but it's passive so there are some limits to how much you make. As for cost and defense, the amount I see thrown around is 100 mil for the POCO. That is not insignificant considering any passers-by can pretty much attack. As for blockade runners, well, I would have to pause other skills for ~2 1/2 weeks for a very situational ship.

    Now, you could find total or partial solutions to all those issues, but again it comes down to how much effort that takes as opposed to running an extra mission each night in place of my PI, or if I have time for 2-3, comparing that to making the low sec run. Most of this comes back to playstyle.