Addressing the Tritanium Problem

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There is no way to play EVE 'wrong', 'bad' and 'sub-optimal' sure- but 'wrong', no.In order to be a soapbox preacher, one first needs a soapbox.
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Though I agree with the rest of the article, your final point on taxes misses the mark. There are plenty of robust solutions that just require a reasonable implementation. The only game mechanic improvement I would endorse is a corp/alliance market where buy orders can be easily managed (rather than clunky private contracts). Never underestimate the power of "press button, receive bacon" for a payout program.
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Unfortunately, many people tend to forget that CCP has their own economist. Some players who widely criticize CCP's every decision fail to see the economic ramifications of various decisions. Unfortunately, this article falls into that category. Keeping the bulk of low-end mining in high-sec allows high sec mining to actually be a viable occupation. Can you imagine mining veldspar with trit at 1.2 isk/unit in a retriever? Why even bother? The price spike of trit and pyerite is part of a deliberate attempt by CCP to create inflation and decrease the real value isk (in the economic not explicitly RMT sense). Therefore, a greater proliferation of low-ends is completely the wrong solution. A better solution would be to make it easier to create compression packets to allow for their use as a means of mass mineral transport. I understand the desire for better null-sec production, but EVE as well as real-life markets operate on a center-periphery model--and there are numerous reasons for this. Except by reducing transportation costs, I don't think you can ever solve this problem completely without irreparably damaging the EVE economy.
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Comparative advantage means that even if you could mine low ends in null at about the same income level as high ends, you would import them from empire anyway (cp). Because of this, independent economies are impossible, barring massive changes to the game (such as providing equal access to every resource in every region). Even then, interdependencies would likely develop.
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EVE's economist? Yeah, he sure was on the ball with faction warfare... and every other massive market event. Trust people who play the game, not people who collect a paycheck for running some statistic programs and cranking out a quarterly report.
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Overall an excellent article with a number of good idea's.I have to disagree with " Restrictions are boring.". In eve's context they're also realistic. Bombers, hic's, and caps aren't allowed in high sec. While I don't advocate nerfing hs, I certainly believe null and LS should have unique bonus's, ships, and mods which identify them as different environments. Whether it's new items like faction mining crystals or bigger boosts to the rorq, null needs to have a unique flavor that can't be found anywhere else.The only other point I'd make is, don't worry about a mining tax. It would probably be hard to code and impractical. Better market/station tax mechanics would be a better path I'd bet.
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Or icemining like Veldspare rock, same cycle time as icemining same yield but one get blocks of 1km/3 ore that only gives trit?
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Unfortunately, people tend to forget their history; the spike in low end minerals is an unintended consequence of attempting to make high end minerals (and, by extension, nullsec mining) more viable. When Drone compounds were removed, the plan was the low end minerals would increase a bit, but not to the hyper inflated prices of today (Trit at 4-5 isk/unit, pyr at 6-7 isk/unit was the expected ballpark, as I recall), while high ends would spike significantly higher. However, it turns out no-one knew that compounds were responsible for the bulk of low-end minerals too and as a result, combined with the over abundance of high end ores noted in the article, when compounds were removed trit and pyrite became bottlenecks in production, causing their value to over inflate. The result; Highsec mining is more profitable than nullsec mining. This was not intended, and the proposal Myanna makes rebalances this.In addition, Myanna's solution solves the supply problem in nullsec while giving nullsec alliances the ability to make money from activities performed by individual members playing the game in their space, while the solution you propose simply maintains the status quo, which leaves nullsec production out to dry. Given that the CSM has been actively discussing the idea of removing compression entirely, altering compression doesn't seem to be a solution CCP will go for. Yes, this solution will shift production away from high sec, but changing how the economy works is not the same as damaging the economy.
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the main advantage of using a site vs a belt is not just any fuckstick can get to it. There is work involved to find it. It may not afford much time if they have scanned the sites, but it's more than there would be if we were on belts.
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As the article mentions, any meaningful station tax can easily be avoided by a quick jump freighter trip to lowsec/highsec. Unless the tax rate in NPC space is increases substantially (and in such a way that it cannot be avoided using standings), changing station tax mechanics will not change how things work now. In order to make mining taxes viable, as the article states, they must be applied in such a way that cannot be avoided.
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Interesting article, here's something CSMs should have a look.
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Bullshit, cleaning up your wrecks which takes ~5-10 minutes a site adds ~40-50m an hour in Fountain. Get an alt stick him in a Noctis and dual box, watch your isk go up and up and up.
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I've always thought that it would be more interesting to make asteroids contain lots of different types of ores, not just one -- and using a mining scanner would let you see those breakdowns rather than going by the general idea of the appearance. Most asteroids in highsec would be mostly the low end ores, but with a chance of a freak bit of something really good in the mix, and then you'd be weighted towards the higher end the lower security you go.The trick would be that when you mine an asteroid, you get either an even mix according to the components of the asteroid or a random type per cycle based on the weighting. That keeps people from simply going in and ONLY mining the best ores from a belt and then leaving. You could pick the best asteroids from the belt still, but to get all of the best ores you'd have to mine the whole asteroid, or at least a substantial part of it (if you go with the random type method).This means there's a lot of lower-end ores produced even when you're mining in low- or nullsec, and also makes it harder for bots to simple rape the ore fields in high sec of anything good at all. It does make ninja mining much harder (at least, if you're just going for the high ends), but that may be an acceptable casualty. That solution, plus your idea about making the crappiest ores less so, might go a long way toward fixing the issue, which I think has been a problem with Eve's economy for a very long time now.
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... Or you could put that alt in a second Talos/Naga/Tengu and make an extra 60+ mil and hour no matter where you are by running with twice the DPS. Hence why no-one in null sec salvages; unless you start running 6+ accounts simultaneously, having more DPS to run anoms always gives you more money than salvaging.
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Hello, low sec dweller/industrialist here. I would absolutely LOVE to have a reason to mine gneiss or spodumain in the low sec grav sites. It is unfortunate that they both really...really suck as far as isk per hour goes. If their ratios were changed to hold more low end minerals, I wouldn't have to mine the basic ores in high sec for ship building. As it stands, I'll mine Hedbergite or Hemorphite in belts and grav sites since both are highly valuable these days but sitting in low security space mining Gneiss or any of the other useless ores simply isn't worth the risk.
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Then just put the Hidden Belts (Grav Sites spawned through the Industry upgrade system) on the system scanner and leave the randomly spawned Grav Sites to be found by probing. Just like automatically spawned Anomalies are on the scanner while randomly spawned signatures require probing.No significant change to exploration, Hidden Belts are less safe, and everyone's happy.
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I think it might be problematic to eliminate null sec-hi sec production interdependencies.What about flipping the whole relationship on its head, though? Have high end ores be available mostly in hisec and have hugely high volume ores available mostly in null.To my (disclaimer: bad player) mind it makes more sense for high volume stuff to be sourced in null, rather than hi sec. Among other things this would allow you to implement a SuperOrca-thing that can't use gates, but is amazing at supporting super high volume mining operations.Implementation would be easy too: just allow high end ores to spawn anywhere and add extreme density low end ores to null sec. Balance the numbers right and it now makes more sense to let hisec bears mine Ark, while the nullsec bears focus on ZimbaVeld.e. If the goal is to maintain sec differentiation, then just flip the Asteroid chart completely. ZimbaVeld only spawns in 0.0, Ark only spawns in hisec. Hell, make Mercoxit only spawn in lowsec.If you did this, you could even justify not changing industry to a significant extent. Production tediousness in null sec is offset by the ease of sourcing high volume minerals. Production infrastructure smoothness in hisec is compensated by the relative difficulty of getting Trit(now that hisec miners probably don't want to mine it anymore). It seems like the more elegant solution to industry in EVE(rather than a ton of changes to how production works in null).
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I don't really care how taxes work so long as they're obligatory. PI is obligatory, ratting taxes are obligatory, various fees are obligatory, mining taxes need to be as well.
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"For further discussion. People building things in nullsec should only need to travel to empire (or more than a couple of regions across nullsec) for low-volume supplies. This requires that industrialists have a ready supply of low-end minerals available nearby in nullsec, without breaking other systems or goals. (Likely means some way of mining low-ends in a massively more rapid manner compared to current tools.)"I'd forgotten about this when I wrote the article, but, sorry. CCP disagrees with you.And lets not be hyperbolic here. Even when the drone regions existed and were crapping out minerals, including trit, at an impressive rate, trit was 3.5-4/unit at worst. We'd see similar prices here.
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Interesting approach! It might be a bit harder for CCP to balance the mineral supply in the game, but it would add some variety.
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Have people run hauler spawns it will get you all the trit and pyerite you need and the rest of the minerals can really be mined the normal way. While this is a solution I agree you shouldnt have to rely on shooting rats for minerals as its a clear indicator that mining is broken. Just my two cents
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Hauler spawns are both too rare and too small to provide a reliable amount of minerals.Besides no one belt rats anymore (at least not that I've seen) because anomaly ratting is so much better anyway.
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I'm speaking as a naive non-industrialist so I'm probably missing something obvious, but what would be the biggest problems with wholesale replacing the current ores with a tiered nougat system? i.e. all ores adhere roughly to mineral ratios needed for industry, with slight geographic variance, but with yield over time tiered to null>low>high. It could be tricky finding the right yield bonuses so that mining in one zone does not completely supplant any other, but how much worse can it be compared to the current null minerals clusterfuck covered in this article?
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so you do want to interact with the people of highsec with youre guns,but you dont want to interact with them trading tritanium.interesting.
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I must say that the author has a good idea. This will definitely help with the headache of having to gather the titanium to build stuff. As someone who used to do capital building, getting the tritanium was the most grueling part of building a capital or any ship. (I buy from market nowadays) Mining Veldspar would take you many many hours and days to gather the Tritanium(not to mention the minerals needed) needed for build a carrier, by that time you could've easily ran missions/rat and bought the minerals off the market and made 2-3 carriersThe high tritanium cost has pretty much vastly increased the build cost of every ship in the game. Other minerals have also increased costs, but Tritanium had the greatest effect of higher cost.Carriers come increased from 700 million to 1.2-1.3 billion.Dreads from 1.5 bil to 2.5 billion.Tier 3 battleships from 90 million to 200 million.Tritanium is at a high because you need lots of tritanium, but you can only gather so much at a time. The demand for trit far outstrips the supply, unless every miner in the game ran macros that run 23.5/7.
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"Bomb Mining" sounds fun, maybe call it "Blast Mining"? Rather like the blast furnace, not quite the same thing but sounds more industrial
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Great article, well written and interesting. Constructive ideas in response to a deep seated problem.Well done.
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Perhaps i should have expanded on my comment a bit.If there was a buff to low ends in null which allowed manufacturing to be more viable, then a mining tax '' should '' be less necessary. The logical sequence would become mine-manufacture-sell in null instead of export to hs and import finished product back. With more industry being done ' at home' taxes stay there to a greater degree. But ya, i also agree that null refining needs to be addressed to.
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Why should nullsec mining make so much more than highsec? Highsec mining is more dangerous
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To add some data to this: http://eve-kill.net/?shp_name=... http://eve-kill.net/?shp_name=...Of the last 50 hulk and lats 50 mackinaw kills, 7 hulks and 8 macks were killed in null.For retris, its only 5 of the last 50 kills.
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Like dynamite fishing for rocks.
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There are a lot more hulks and macks in empire than there are in nullsec, too.
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One major problem with belt mining in null is that the belts only respawn every 4 days unlike in highsec where they respawn daily
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HOW ABOUT WE REDESIGN ALL OF EVE BEFORE WE FIX THE PROBLEM WHICH CAUSES MINERAL PRICES BE HIGH IN THE FIRST PLACE, not saying grav belts could not use improvements, but when people are killing every freighter that is worth over 3b- in terms of trit being loss and carebears being prevented from manufacturing at full pace- it seems like if there was a boost in some other means than helping freighters survive more is kinda brain dead- just think if all those freighters got to move through empire without hassle (except for the freighter hauling over 20b +- because everyone would want to kill those) how different the market would be and how cheap things would get...perhaps a dumb post like this would not happen
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and perhaps a dumb post like this would not happen....or perhaps I would not have to read this dumb stuff
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You're solving a problem that doesn't exist. There is no need for large null-sec industry activity because there's no big market for ships. The only reason you need massive amounts of trit is for supers and titans.
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Have you looked at belts? They have veldspar rocks the size of small moons...
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http://cdn1.eveonline.com/www/...The volume mined in highsec is roughly 3x that mined in null (and 1.5x during hulkageddon), not the 10x you are implying.You can also see by the drop off during the inferno release that roughly half of both highsec and nullsec mining is done by bots. (Inferno broke all the bots because of the inventory changes)
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Stop drinking the coolaid dude, and look at eve-kill or any damn killboard, those aren't supers and titans that litter those kill boards on a daily basis.
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Sure. Ganking Ice bots in Gallente space stopped all the fun in Rancer.
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As someone who explores often, I can confirm this is the case. As soon as I see that its a grav site, I right-click, ignore result.
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Yes there is. See that tab under skills that says Industry. I can't see it but I'm certain you can because your playing the game wrong.
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Please, go learn what an isk faucet is. FW is not one.
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Oh you make things. Good for you. I bet you have several accounts just to do that. Why is it every time I come into systems with people like you, all you do is hide in station. Wouldn't your several accounts give you the numerical superiority you and your precious "blob tactics" friends love to use ? You won't come out to play unless you've got support from people who may know what they're doing. Industrialists are the weak link of every alliance in EVE.
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Meh, your just looking at things from purely self view, rather than a alliance point of view.Null sec has issues with supply of minerals and production, what you really want to be importing from high are small things in large numbers, as big things take up space (which is limited) and space costs fuel. Local ratters are going to be friendly, so when you spend isk on them to acquire mods for reprocessing, the isk isn't leaving the alliance.Then you just charge more when you sell the big hulking ships, which will be to alliance members who are likely richer from the ratting anyway (through it might be completely smooth in all cases).Net gain to alliance of more minerals gained and less fuel spent on hauling, and in some cases hauling space might be a issue anyway. Course if your part of group with a great system of haulers, there less incentive to do it, and if you -really- need to get those ships built, there is more incentive to do it.
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As someone who tries to balance industry and pvp, the two area's tend to pull at each other in needs.First its a matter of skill points. Points in science and industry don't mean jack in pvp. Likewise all your ranks in gunnery and battleships are going to mean jack if you want to build one. Obviously this becomes less a issue as you gain more skill points, but in the early days you have to make some very hard choices.For example four month in and assault frigates are only starting to look a realistic option for me, I suspect a heavy pvp setup could get them running much much faster.Second, a lot of the best stuff for industry is in high, while the best stuff for pvp in low/high. So your location can push you towards a certain style, or a certain style can push your location.Thirdly, mindset plays a part in things. The sort of person that really enjoy pvp (especially small gang and solo pvp) like playing by the edge of there pants, they like the thrill of scrambling a battleship and eating away at its hp in there little assault frigate. While on the other side of the matter, the sort of person who really enjoys mining and industry is the sort of person who can quiet happy watch a retriever eat rocks for hours at a time and wait for research to take 40 days.And fourthly, have you ever considered that some of those cowards in stations hiding from you, might be people exactly like you on there industry alts?Also trying to do both effectively can start biting as your skill at the other. Everyone knows some of the best small gang pvpers in eve, live in low sec, where there pvping all the time and as such, build up the reflexes and knowledge they need to win. If you threw thse highly sklilled pvpers in a mining barge for a month, there skilled would have dulled slightly on there return.Likewise if your constantly pvping (especially in null) its very easy to lose track of time, and all those research slots and industry slots can easily suffer in not being fully used.
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Don't you sound all high and mighty. People like you who have no idea what goes into the ships they whelp constantly are the weak link. It's guys like me who make sure you have ships to whelp.
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The second you brought taxes into the you failed your blog post. First off tax is a convienence factor, when you balance it against fuel expenses in boosting/crunching/hauling + time + effort. A 1% tax is a fuckin deal, 5% tax is actually quite reasonable, quite reasonable when you don't have 10B ISK around to throw down for a JF and a Rorq.I own 3 Rorq's and a JF before I shut down my mining fleet, I couldn't be bothered to crunch and export. Goon jews wouldn't upgrade my station so I just considered that the tax. Now if you have invested 10B in your JF and Rorq, you have earned the right to go waste your time away seeking a better refine rate. But don't forget that that JF / Rorq guy is probably providing some help to corp mates in boosts and helping haul which honestly provide value - So fuck all - who cares if they export.
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Hey look, ETNY tears.Tax rate on mining, if we bothered to tax it, would be 10-15%, FYI. And your rorqual boosts are fuck-all for "value" compared to the kind of income we'd get taxing folks like you at 10-15%.
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...said the person who has, from his post, clearly never set foot in nullsec, ever.
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Self view? Kid, I neither rat, nor mine, nor profit from importing anything. What I *do* do is function as a finance director for Goonswarm, and what I said we do - bringing in pre-built ships - is how we maintain the strategic reserve. It's also how every single person who does import for a profit, including the one that sells the majority of the ships sold in our space, does it, and I'd be unsurprised to learn that it's how every other alliance's logistics, whether they're run by private individuals or by the alliance, runs as well.On to the cost. The actual cost of the ship is irrelevant to the pilot. If they lose it in combat, it gets reimbursed anyway, because like most major alliance, we have a ship reimbursement program! But the alliance cares, because we're paying for it, and even with technetium fountains, we'd like to take the cheapest option possible. And the cheapest option possible IS to ship completed ships in. A round-trip in a Rhea (which can move 7 finished BS hulls) takes about 30k isotopes, which costs about 12m isk, adding about 1.8m isk in cost per hull. On the other hand, increasing the price we offer on trit by even 1 per unit increases the cost of that hull by 10m isk or so on its own.So, no, I was looking at things from an alliance point of view. Alliance spends more on paying ratters for minerals than it does on hauling, and hauling space isn't actually an issue at all anyway. And none of that changes anything about the fact that relying on ratters for minerals is utterly asinine anyway, or that I guarantee you we'd never get enough minerals doing it anyway, even if every ratter looted everything.
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Hi. Freighter ganking, while hilarious, has nothing to do with the current prices of anything but talos, brutix, and the blasters they use. Believe it or not, despite the number of idiots in freighters they kill, their impact on total eve-wide freighter traffic is miniscule. But thanks for the HILARIOUS post.
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"If you have invested 10b in your rorq and JF you earned the right to evade taxes" is eve's equivalent of "JOB CREATORS NEED LOWER TAXES TO BOOST THE ECONOMY!" ~space republicans~
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I'll ignore the fact that you're trolling your own blog post with something as pithy as ETNY tears which I give no fucks, but I'll put the grown up stuff back on the table - ready slowly now... Ill use small words.... a tax can be effective when it balances the gross opportunity cost, yes everyone will haul to empire and refine when you overtax something 15% is overtaxing. Now back to you and your oddly angry shit about ETNY which I have no clue about.
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I'll ignore the fact that what I'm trolling is you after you declared that I "failed" my blog post. Anyway, please, go ahead and explain to me why that same tax rate would be "overtaxing" on mining and how it isn't on ratting. Or alternatively, explain to me how we're apparently overtaxing ratting, as well. Use the "small words" if trying to be condescending will somehow make you feel better about yourself, though don't try to pretend it makes you the adult.
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Don't you think tho, that being part of large and powerful alliance with good security and many jump freighters is going to change your views on this? Also I suspect you don't have any kind of issues importing the low end minerals you need?
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I believe the lack of tritaium is not the actual problem. The lack of effect ways to transport the materal is. If the product is much harder to transport than the materal it needs, everyone will want to build it locally. I believe reduce the volume of material will solve the problem better
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We have ways of transporting material, via compression (build railguns in empire, move to nullsec, refine for minerals). The facilities suck so much, though, that everyone would rather just move finished goods instead.I suppose if CCP wanted to reduce the volume of minerals by a factor of twenty, we could then just ship raw minerals and take them straight to the factory, reducing the problem with bad facilities. But it's a poor solution, and in any case CCP is on record as saying that they want local mineral production.
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You should probably not post, ever again.
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Yo you guys reading this site not in Goonswarm should be paying for access to Mynnna posts..
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CCP should pay Mynnna and the other businessGoons for their ideas as they obviously understand Eve, markets, business and economics far better than their own employees and content providers/deciders.
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Nullsec mining is commonly described as mining everything in a grav site, as you can't leave anything behind or the new grav site won't spawn. Rinse and repeat. This means that your argument of comparative advantage is a non sequitur. Are you denying that this is the way that actual null sec mining is done, by and large?
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If I were a CCP designer, I'd store information about how much ore each pilot mined per day/month/year, accessible through the API. This would leave the pilots on the honor system, but give their corp/alliance an easy way to catch those who violate it. Anything like the ratting tax just doesn't make sense with ore.
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Especially in this day and age, people probably do simply clean everything out, simply because of how ridiculous ore prices are. When mineral prices were a bit more regular though, a common strategy was to instead (using an industry level 5 system as an example) cherry pick the more valuable ores (jaspet and higher by value) from the small, moderate, extra large and giant sites and then completely mine out the large site a few times to get enough volume to maintain the index. There were also strategies that allowed you to maintain a certain index level and only cherry pick the most valuable ores, too.So no, you're not entirely correct. ;)
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Well being able to actually audit a miner's activities is more than we have now, so it'd be a step forward, even if it then places the onus on us to write a tool to monitor mining and demand they pay their taxes.
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I believe CCP doesn't want null regions to be self sufficient so any changes must address this caveat.It makes it harder to do although merely increasing the low end minerals in the current asteroid spawns could reduce the polarity between empire and null mining as it currently stands.Mining minerals alone will not be enough if you still have to refine in one station/system and manufacture elsewhere. Hauling freighter loads of materials one jump is an annoying factor but could be a target for small roaming gangs, which of course is ridiculous because no self respecting freighter pilot would undock with hostiles in the system, right?Let them change mining mechanics to reduce the afk nature of the beast first and then allow stations to have more than one facility at a time - if they don't already enable this.
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random idea from (high-sec) industrialist: - high quality ores and refining facilities: - idea is simple: make 0.0 (and low sec) ores better (let's say up yield by 20%), but to actually get that bonus yield, you have to refine them in 0.0 (or low sec) posrefining facility (or outpost); needless to say, it goes with making POS refining facilitiesuseful rather then junk they are now. example: in 0.0, all veldspar is 'high quality veldspar' - when refined in proper facility(POS refining array), it yields 20% extra minerals, but if refined in NPC station or in high sec,it yields no more minerals then our regular vanilla ore
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A number of my alliance-mates belt rat, because you can belt rat in a PvP ship and you have a substantially higher chance of TS spawn. Belt rats drop better loot (although they are harder to loot/salvage due to extra spawns) and you can get the same bounties (at least in shit space). When hostiles show up in the next system, just warp down to the gate and gank, then go back to making isk.
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Besides, refining in null is hard. You need someone with something like 5/5/4 or 5/5/5 scrapmetal to reprocess your rat loot (or stupid expensive station upgrades), and when you do you eat the alliance refine tax on top of your already-paid ratting tax. On the other hand the minerals come pre-compressed and a blockade runner can easily handle a day or two of ratting. Blockade runner can double as a Noctis pilot to pick up the sweet sweet loots.
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There's no shortage of supercaps (nor of Drakes), therefore Trit and Pye are not an impairing bottleneck. The relative over-abundance of high ends (also caused by wormholes) and the relative game stagnation are killing high ends profitability.As for the whole "null sec should be independent", there's really a center-periphery model being involved. Seeing how CCP are producing humbler and humbler patches I am not sure they'll be gutsy enough to revolutionize a pillar in the whole EvE gameplay, expecially after a decade.
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Capitalists = create value, don't want to distribute that value.Socialists = create little value, want to distribute everybody's value starting from what it's not theirs.A society needs to armonize both. Incentivizing value creators is not a blasphemy, you can't live off permanent redistribution else you end up like Europe.
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"To move that JF loaded with 7 BS, we pay them 70m (200 isk/m3). To them it's 58m profit (their costs being jump fuel), which is damn good money considering a round trip takes less than ten minutes"A different perspective: it takes 100+ succesful runs to repay for *1* lost JF. They are still being kind with you, my alliance JF-ers asked for more.

Broadly defined, the "Tritanium Problem" is the fundamental fact that sourcing large quantities of low end minerals and especially Tritanium is not feasible in nullsec. When coupled with the mediocre facilities as discussed in Weaselior's excellent "Destroying The Shipyards" article, large scale production based in nullsec is simply not worth the effort. Smaller scale production (such as modules) is possible, but is so trivial to import anyway as to be irrelevant to the discussion.

The solution to this problem is obvious: simply add more low end minerals! Any discussion of the problem rarely moves beyond that, though. I'd like to first clearly define the problem, and then offer an example of what a solution might actually look like if implemented.

Before moving further, for a variety of reasons, some people disagree that the problem is a problem. CCP's own stance is unknown. Obviously, I consider it to be a problem, else I wouldn't be writing this. I'm sure many will loudly disagree in the comments below.

It's the ratios, stupid!

To solve a problem you must first define the problem, and so to begin we must first peek back into the early days of the game. Long before I (or most of you) were playing, minerals were NPC seeded, with the base prices increasing by a factor of four up through the minerals. So, Tritanium cost 2 isk/unit, Pyerite cost 8, Mexallon 32 and so on, up to Megacyte at 8192.

This ratio is approximated throughout Eve's Tech I production system, although in reverse, if one normalizes the mineral requirements for a given item to its Megacyte requirement. For example, here is what battleships look like, averaged together and broken down to their ratio.

Many items deviate significantly more than battleships do, but ships tend to be "close" and they represent the lion's share of mineral consumption in Eve, so even the ratios for that are in the ballpark.

Where am I going with this? Simple. Here are the ratios of minerals found within the Large, Extra Large and Giant gravimetric sites.

As they say, "welp". High ends are hysterically over-represented, and in some cases a notionally rarer mineral is actually more abundant than a more common one. And this isn't just a matter of "use what you can and export the excess", either. By absolute values contained within a site, neither a Large nor Giant site (which require approximately 41 and 96 man-hours to completely mine) is capable of building even a single Maelstrom. The Extra Large site is a little better balanced, yielding enough Tritanium for a handful of battleships... but the surplus is enough for anywhere from two to nearly eight hundred ships.

Dozens of man-hours to work and all we can do is build a few battleships. No wonder we have a problem!

The Design Goals

Now that the problem is defined, the goals for solving the problem should be readily apparent.

  1. Nullsec must be able to provide low end minerals through local mining in ratios and absolute quantities sufficient to facilitate local production.
  2. Nullsec (and wormholes) will continue to be the only source for high-end minerals, specifically Zydrine and Megacyte, As a result, they must continue to overproduce these minerals for export to highsec.
  3. A miner in nullsec should want to mine any and all of the ores. While maintaining perfectly even isk/hour values is not possible (short of replacing all ores with a single mineral nougat that provides all minerals), even the 'worst' of ores should represent a considerable boost in income over those found in highsec.

Introducing Super-Ores

Suggestions abound for how, exactly, to meet these goals. "Just add more asteroids" is probably the most common, but it fails to meet the third requirement on its own. Some of the suggestions I've seen to address that are Capital mining lasers and "bomb mining" (which is exactly what it sounds like). They're both interesting ideas and are worth looking at as an addition, but do not solve the problem on their own. For those techniques to serve as a fix, CCP would still have to add vast swathes of low ends, and then restrict those techniques to low-ends only.

Restrictions are boring.

A more insightful suggestion is "super ores". The concept exists ingame already in the form of named ores (ie Dense Veldspar), but the new ores would have on the order of 200% higher yield instead of 5% or 10%.

Super ores. I like that. But instead of simply taking existing ores up to 11, I favor taking a page from CCP Fozzie's book. Let's do some Oreicide.

Oreicide

Remove highsec and lowsec ores from gravimetric sites entirely. Veldspar, Scordite, Plagioclase, Kernite, Omber, Pyroxeres, Hemorphite, Hedbergite and Jaspet, all gone. Or heck, leave them for flavor and to annoy people for all I care... no one will want to mine them by the time we're done here anyway. Left are Spodumain, Gneiss, Dark Ochre, Crokite, Bistot and Arkonor. Mercoxit remains as well but is not a concern as it only produces Morphite, for Tech II production.

Currently, Gneiss and Spodumain are terrible. They manage to beat ice mining in highsec, but that's about it, so even highsec miners look down their noses at them. They're that bad. It's incredible. Anyway... moving on. Ochre and Crokite both produce Nocxium and Zydrine in varying ratios, while Bistot and Arkonor produce Zydrine and Megacyte. All also produce practically inconsequential amounts of various low ends.

In this example, let's change that. Gneiss, Spodumain and Ochre lose their high end content, but get significantly more low ends, while the reverse happens with Crokite, Bistot and Arkonor. The ratio of minerals found in an entire site is then changed by toying around with the number and size of asteroids inside.

Simple, really.

Numbers on Paper

Now that I've laid out the concept, it's time for some numbers, to give an idea of what this example would look like in practice. I'd like to stress "examples" as the key word there. These are numbers banged out by a bored 20-something over a weekend, and I'm sure that CCP's team of professional game designers could do a better, more refined job.

Start with the ores. To make this work, a rough target price for the minerals is necessary. I've gone with prices that make historical sense. Before the drone regions, before the addition of gravimetric sites to begin with, high ends were rare and valuable, low ends were less rare and less valuable. Most of this was thanks to the bottleneck effect. One desired effect of this sort of change would be to return some rarity (or at least relative rarity, the kind that matters) to high ends, and this is reflected in my price choices.

Using these prices, I set Arkonor as the baseline. Its content is unchanged. Everything else gets adjusted. Bistot gains a little more Zydrine, Crokite becomes a Nocxium bearing ore to rival anything found in lowsec, and of course Ochre, Spodumain and Gneiss are the real winners. A massive injection of low-ends means they're all grown up. Now they're a real ore!

It goes without saying that the mineral values I've used here are contrived (though historically justified), as is the expectation that each ore would have exactly the same value. That's okay though. The objective, the thing to take away from a design perspective, is that each ore be worth mining on its own. A difference between "best" and "worst" of 10% or so is fine. Right now that difference starts at about 20% between "best" and "second best", and gets worse from there.

Site (Re)design

The other part of this revamp is to give the gravimetric sites themselves a makeover. The removal of various ores would otherwise make for some bizarre sites. As discussed earlier, the objective is for the complete harvesting of a site to yield a supply of minerals suitable for production, but maintain a relative over-abundance of high ends with which to supply highsec. By adjusting the amount of each ore available, a roughly acceptable target is achieved. A site who's value roughly mirrors the existing Small gravimetric site might look like the following.

This site provides minerals sufficient to build seven Maelstrom, with plenty of excess high ends to spare... proportionally, a larger excess of Megacyte than Zydrine, in fact, which goes to show how CCP's team of professionals could do a better job. The entire site is a fair bit smaller than the existing Small site is by volume as well, which could necessitate changes to the industry index system.

There is another consideration to sites built from these new ores, somewhat less tangible than simply deciding how many of each asteroid to place. If, as we intend, all ores offer roughly the same isk per hour, then how do the sites differ from each other? To put it another way, what incentive is there for a mining team to push to push the system's industry index to level 4 or 5, instead of sitting at the easier to maintain level 3 and collecting the same income? A couple of possible solutions present themselves. The first is Mercoxit. Currently this ore can be found in every gravimetric site except for the Small. CCP could increase its value by limiting it only to the top end sites, giving miners a reason to aim high. Another factor is the size and distribution of the asteroids themselves. A belt comprised of dozens of small asteroids spread across a hundred kilometers will be provide a much lower income than one containing a few large and closely spaced asteroids, even if they contain the exact same volume of ore.

Yet another factor CCP can account for is risk. The first step is moving gravimetric sites to the system scanner. As it is, the requirement of probes makes them far too safe. After that, though, belt "value" can be adjusted by position relative to the warp-in point of the site. To make things especially tricky, run it in reverse. A smaller site has the large asteroids, spaced close to each other, but close to the warpin as well. Meanwhile, the higher tier sites provide safety, at the cost of constant movement.

Taxes and the Big Picture

Right now, mining cannot be taxed. Set the rate to anything above approximately 1%, and any pilot with the means (a Rorqual and any Jump Freighter) finds it more worthwhile to head to Empire with his ore instead. A corp seeking to tax him is left relying on the honor system.

Yeah, honor in Eve. Funny, right?

The exact form of any adjustment to collecting mining taxes doesn't really matter. It could be as simple as automatically deducting the estimated value of the ore from the miner's wallet as it's mined, or something more complex. The only real requirement is that it be involuntary and unavoidable, such as with ratting or planetary interaction taxes.

Why? These changes would not occur in a vacuum. In fact, on their own they'd do very little beyond make miners happy. They're part of a bigger goal, to make nullsec production possible. That, in turn, is part of a larger goal still: bottom-up income in nullsec, as I've written about in the past. With these and other changes, perhaps someday that vision will become a reality.

Seven year veteran & economics guru of EVE Online as well as CSM 8 representative. On the side I play PS2, WOT and Hearthstone.