The past few days have been pretty manic running large scale logistics operations. I’ve never undertaken so many jumps in such a short period of time, however it just proves how essential Jump Freighters and Carriers are for living in null sec.
I understand that CCP want to make living in null sec space essentially self-suffiient, and to be honest I could see how that is possible, and could even plan for it to be so to the degree where we could be virtually cut-off from hi-sec with no issues.
There are, however, a number of barriers to this lifestyle, especially for a heavy industry Corp such as ourselves.
The first, and the biggest, is the market for our wares. Where do you sell the volumes of ships, modules and ammo we produce? Certainly not in the current version of null sec where most residents (at least those you can find!) have their own logistics in place and simply pop out to hi-sec to resupply. There are simply so many modules and rigs in the game, including the meta level versions which we cannot produce and are often preferred for their fitting requirements and over-heating tolerances (T2 ECM modules, I’m looking at you!). It would be impractical for us to stock a T1 and T2 only market – we’d need to invest in meta items to sell at the same time, and to do that we’d need to add an uplift to cover our costs and to turn a profit… and so the buyer just makes the extra effort themselves and buys from hi-sec.
The second is availability of materials. We, of course, can mine all minerals from belts and grav sites in our system. No problems. However, with logistics as they currently are, it’s more sensible to mine ABC type stuff, jump out and sell and then buy Tritanium and Pyerite from the market, compress it and jump it back out again. We’re much more profitable that way.
Moon materials are, of course, a different matter. Until CCP release the much fabled ring mining idea so we can get all moon materials in our system, clearly we need to go out, sell our moon product and use the revenue to fund buying other moon goo for our T2 production lines.
Sweeping all of this aside, and adding ring mining into the picture, in theory we, as a Corp, could exist shut off in our system harvesting all the materials we need and making all sorts of different things for our members to exist, and then to sell on the market.
Ultimately, it’s the market that is the issue. Where we are now, at one stage we had almost 7 billion ISK of ships, ammo, rigs and modules on the market at no more than 10% above Jita price – often lower and quite often actually near or at Jita prices.
Sales were terrible. Simply horrible.
In the end, we took the orders down, jumped the stock out to Jita and I had sold it all within 72 hours, and I wasn’t sitting there playing the 0.01 ISK game either (well, maybe just a little, but not for hours at a time).
What is the answer?
Well, we’re working towards changing things to make us even more self-sufficient, only reliant on moon goo and base minerals to survive and produce out of null sec properly, rather than the split hi-sec/null sec we currently operate.
The answer rests with the market. I don’t think nerfing logistics is the answer, as that would just allow the larger and better organised alliances to dominate null sec even more. Removing the stranglehold on resources that is moon mining will go a long way, if implemented correctly.
Ultimately, it’s down to the industrialists to get involved in null sec properly, not just do “null sec lite” as one of my Corp mates describes what we’ve been doing ourselves the past year or so.
If us industrialists can set up and operate efficiently and to the correct scale, then there’s no reason at all we can’t supply a good market place in null sec that matches or even beats Jita prices.
However there is still one massive hole in this situation. Meta items. While I am unable to build meta items (let’s face it, meta 4 in the majority of cases), we will always have to invest significant amounts of ISK to stock a market appropriately.
I’d like to see CCP address that in some way – maybe a more basic implementation of invention. Production costs would have to be really carefully set, as mission runners have already recently had their income from drops “tweaked” in rather unpleasant ways, and this could potentially damage things even further.
Anybody have any experience of this themselves they’d be willing to share?