Sunday, 26 July 2015

Depletion, Depreciation and Dead Laptops

The death of my laptop was sudden and profound. But not entirely unexpected. Things get old, wear out and break. So no Eve or much else for the short term. For now, my online options are limited to this ancient Samsung Netbook I converted to Linux and my mobile phone. Both are good in there own way but neither can substitute my laptop. No matter life goes on and you don't need to be in Eve to participate in it.

For example, on Saturday the Empress Jamyl made another appearance in Amarr in her Titan. She waxed lyrical about the Drifter threat. Then got distinctly peeved about the Society of Conscious Thought entosing her. What ever they were looking for they found it and she promptly zapped them. How do I know this? The “Tweetfleet” Slack Team has a #Lore channel and a running commentary with screenshots.

Then there is the ongoing FozzieSov debate on Reddit. Reddit is of course a pretty toxic environment so you do need to turn down the volume level. Nonetheless, some interesting views are developing. My instinct was that FozzieSov wasn't disruptive enough to change anything significantly and didn't address the elephant in the room – that Null is basically empty. This isn't a shared view as many have said the small ship action has been excellent. It is early days so hard to reach any solid conclusions. But there are some worrying undercurrents that might indicate that the main objectives of Fozziesov might not be met. For example, Goonswarm have opened their space to renters. If this is successful, then the idea of local groups moving into null and holding Sov is going to be no more viable than it was before. Secondly, the ore rebalance has started to impact the highsec markets.

As I write, Tritanium prices have dived but the rarer ores have increased in price. So seemingly Null has switched mining production to veldspar but are not using it to construct anything as was intended but just dump it on the Hisec markets. This will obviously impact the Hisec miners who may just pack up and leave rather than join null. Extending the jump nerf to Freighters would fix this perhaps but imagine the outcry. Thus far, the concept of null activities being locally based isn't any nearer and the changes are having unfavourable and unintended consequences on areas other than null.

I could go on but then another Reddit post offered a solution. New conflict drivers based on resource depletion was the basic premise. That is, if you over exploit the resources in you area of space they eventually deplete. However, less developed areas of space would be rich in resources. So if your neighbour didn't exploit their area, you would have the motivation to go and take it from them since your area would become more and more barren as time went on. Now this appeals to me. I have always wondered why asteroids just respawn after downtime. And as an explorer, I experience depletion of a sort. A relic site, for example, might respawn... somewhere, but it won't be in the same system so you have to move on.

But I would go further. I would go beyond depletion and add in depreciation for good measure. Why is it that the first Venture I ever owned all those years ago is as good in every way as one built yesterday? What is more, there is no cost of ownership. I could pay insurance and there are repairs assuming you survive a fight. But it costs me nothing if I don't fly it and keep it docked up and it never ages or needs maintenance. What am I getting at? Well imagine you had a fleet of capitals that had a half life. Lets say in two years time they would be twice as expensive to run and half as effective in a battle. You would want to use them earlier and more often to get the value from them. It becomes a conflict driver and would drive industry to build newer replacements for the ships no longer fit for purpose. That industry would more likely be locally based to serve the main customers. Null suddenly has a purpose and the power blocs of null have to the choice to loose their assets in battle or to depreciation. My laptop now has a value of zero. But at least I used it and it added value.

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