Thanks for the support!

So, a spot on the CSM. I don’t think that surprises anyone. The guarantee to go to Iceland for the summits, though, that one was always up in the air. The long and the short of it is that those two spots went to the candidates who appeared anywhere on the largest number of ballots, which means I certainly had support outside my voting bloc.

In reality it’s probably a bit more complicated than that, but we’ll see once the ballots are released. Nevertheless, if you put me on your ballot anywhere – thank you.

CCP will post the ballot files along with a whole big load of analysis in a devblog on Monday. I’ll be taking a look at those, and if they leave interesting statistics out, may well do my own analysis. Of course, CCP Veritas is very thorough, so we’ll see…

On a related note, if you’d like to get in touch with me, evemail is by and far going to be the best way to do it. Of course, I’m on twitter as well, @mynnna_eve

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A Speculative Thought Process

bs builds

Just the first batch, there, 54 units per print. I’ll be doing 648 of each of those, except for the Scorpion; I’m only building half as many of those. I don’t know the exact numbers on the mineral changes yet and don’t actually care, because I’m reasonably confident I can profit regardless or, in the very worst case, not lose money. I figured it might be fun to explain why, though.

THE OPPORTUNITY

Everyone knows that previous tiericide efforts have also resulted in fairly significant changes to the mineral requirements of the ships in question – if you don’t, you’ve been living under a rock. What we don’t know (yet) is what that change will be for battleships. But, we can guess. Take a look at the image in this devblog (direct link). Note how battleships are grouped, though also note that as of earlier today, the Tempest ought to be down on the Attack line, as it had its classification changed. In any case, it’s fair to assume that all Combat battleships will have the same cost, and all Attack battleships will have the same cost – this has been a constant throughout tiericide.

From this, we get a couple of scenarios.

SCENARIO ONE, AKA “THE BEST CASE”
In this scenario, both Combat and Attack battleships have material costs balanced up near the current Tier 3 value, and Disruption (aka the Scorpion) to 80-90% of Tier 3. Build anything that’s currently Tier 1 or Tier 2 and you make out like a bandit, turning 100% or more profit on the Tier 1 and 30-50% or so on Tier 2, depending on what they actually aim for in the Tier 3 price range.

SCENARIO TWO, AKA “BATTLECRUISERS REDUX”
In this scenario, Combat and Attack battleships split prices, similar (but opposite) to the way that battlecruisers did. Combat battleships all cluster up around Tier 3 prices, and Attack stay around or perhaps a little above current Tier 2 prices. Disruption likely lands up around Tier 2 as well. Speculation results are a little more mixed here. As in the first scenario, the Apocalypse & Raven would be up 30-50%, and the Dominix more than doubles. On the other hand, the gain for the other Tier 1 battleships is much lower, though still a healthy 70-90%. The Tempest and Megathron, however, would be losers, yielding no return at all.

SCENARIO THREE, AKA “HAHA LETS SCREW OVER PRODUCERS”
This is the worst case scenario. The Combat line actually gets normalized to what is currently Tier 2 production costs. That’s right, the current Tier 3 battleships actually get cheaper to build. The Attack and Disruption lines are equalized to that level as well. If we’re feeling especially cruel, those lines equalize to the current Tier 1 cost instead. Even in this scenario, though, you don’t lose by sticking to building Tier 1, and outside the “especially cruel” scenario there is still a healthy 70-90% gains.

THE LESSON

The lesson here is one to keep in mind for all speculation and, indeed, all market play, especially when you have incomplete information. Evaluate the possible outcomes, and make your investment such that you minimize risk. In this case, you do that by avoiding the Tier 2 battleships. They’re extremely unlikely to actually lose you money, but there are scenarios in which they don’t make any. The chance of non-return is a risk, and in this case that risk isn’t compensated for by a higher return. Tier 1 battleships, on the other hand, have almost no plausible risk of non-return, and a higher reward to boot.

Of course, it’s never that easy. Cruisers are a great example of this. The upside to the Attack line of cruisers was much smaller than the Support line, and yet Attack cruisers proved to be an excellent investment. Why? Most speculators avoided them, and so they matured faster! Time to return is just as important factor as magnitude of return, after all. So, risks aside, investment into Tier 2 battleships is not necessarily out of the question.

Just to wrap things up, I think the first scenario is the most likely, though the second one can’t be discounted. The explanation for the difference between Attack and Combat battlecruisers was “big guns take bigger superstructures to support” or something along those lines, but no such explanation exists for battleships. More significantly, having everything clustered up around the current Tier 3 prices offers a nice price progression between classes. Cruisers are 8-10m for a hull, Combat battlecruisers are around 50m each. A price of 200m or so for battleships continues that price increase rather nicely.

Removing Local Wouldn’t Work

To resolve some puzzled questions I’ve had sent my way, when I speak of removing local, I mean removing the intelligence it provides as well. I’m still in favor of a solution to separate local from intel such as the one put forward by Rhavas back in January.

Marlona Sky is a fellow writer over at themittani.com, and one of his longstanding pet issues is the removal of local. He wrote a little April Fool’s article about it today, and as is always the case when the topic comes up, comments are split (rather rancorously, of course) against and in favor of the idea.

Of course, my opinion is that anyone who thinks it’s a good idea either only roams nullsec looking for kills and PvP, but makes their money elsewhere, or just hasn’t really thought it through… possibly both. I fall into the former category, and while I’d love to pad my killboard with blinded ratters, it ultimately would be a poor change. One of the other factors I always try to think about when musing over ideas is “would this duplicate gameplay found elsewhere?” In this case, the answer is yes – wormholes have no local intel, a fact that people just love to point to as evidence that it would all be okay, things would work out just fine. But, if you answer “yes” to that question, you’d best stop and think, so let’s do that.

Wormholes are a unique environment that drives a unique metagame. The nature of sleeper sites means that you’re running them in groups, in ships that are closer to PvP fit than not. Combine those two factors and you’re more able to defend yourself if attacked. And, those very same sites are very rewarding, yielding several hundred million isk per hour per pilot. Furthermore, the nature of wormholes themselves restrict “casual” roams, and someone able to get at you at any given time might not be able to tomorrow. The impression I frequently get from wormhole dwellers is that, sure, individual groups of roamers might be more dangerous if they let their guard down, but the nature of things means that they may go days without a hostile visit.

Contrast that to nullsec. PvE in nullsec is generally a solo activity, and while it can be done in groups, the ships are usually dedicated PvE setups that fare poorly against PvP fit attackers. Anomalies aren’t anywhere near as rewarding as wormholes, too, and while being able to do it alone is an advantage, there’s no option to group up to make more money. And unlike the ever-shifting wormhole connections, someone, everyone always knows exactly how to get to you, and can get to you any time they want.

So, nuke local and you’re amplifying the risk, with no offset to reward, and in fact the measures players would inevitably take to decrease risk (rat in groups with PvP fits) would only decrease the reward – a double whammy. I’m sure life would continue, but it sure wouldn’t help people want to go to null, nor stay there. Maybe some day in the future, Nullsec will look very different, and the mechanics would allow for a complete absence of local. But maybe they won’t. In fact, I hope they won’t. Wormholes have their own character, their own flavor, and so does nullsec, and I’d prefer it stay that way. I’m not out here to play “Wormholes Writ Large”.