Posted Wed, Oct 19, 2011 by Space Junkie
Since the Dominion expansion, one of the best ways to earn ISK in EVE Online has been through the harvesting of materials mined on planets, and manufactured into valuable materials. CCP has announced some major changes to the way this works, and it is having serious repercussions on the market. This guide is a look at the upcoming changes and some observations about the effects on the market.
One of the best things about EVE Online is that it actually allows players to conquer, develop, and destroy areas of the game world in a meaningful fashion. Letting players change the game world is still fairly rare in MMOs (how many even let you open a private store?) while no other mainstream MMO has the single-server model that gives EVE market events the same weight (though Diablo III will surely change this).
How Planets Work
The basics of planetary interaction as they are now: a player builds a command center on the planet surface and spiders out a network of harvesters, factories, and storage containers, then jets the resulting goods off-world to a customs office floating in orbit. There is also a less-used option to send small quantities of goods into orbit via rocket, bypassing the customs office but limiting the amounts moved.
Changes To Planets
The second major change is that the corporation that owns the newly rebuilt customs offices will be able to levy a tax on materials that pass through it. These taxes will be in lieu of the ones currently charged, though high-sec customs will still continue charging taxes.
There are also some minor changes:
Finally, players will be able to attack and blow up customs offices located outside of high-sec. They will not be able to get any loot from so doing, but could conceivably do this in order to set up their own customs office for taxes or to deny their enemy the ability to produce local planetary goods.
For EVE Planet Users
This will have immediate ramifications for players that rely on planets. Here are some possible scenarios:
Players that live in high-security space can expect to pay more taxes on their goods, resulting in a reduced competitiveness with established planetary setups based elsewhere. These changes will likely push at least some people out of low-sec, as well, who will move to high-sec and increase competition for the better planets. Plasma and storm, I'm looking at you.
There are a surprising amount of people that capitalize on planets in low-sec. If you can fly a blockade runner and are used to moving around hostile space, it is not hard to run your planets from afar, and just go pick up goods once a week. Immediately following these changes going live, there will be no customs offices in low-sec. That means that in order to continue as they were, players will need to either build and install their own or wait for someone else to do so. The taxes coming off these are lucrative, and it is likely that there will not be much fighting over them at first, except in areas adjacent to high-sec or near where lots of players are living. Over time, things will settle down and most decent planets will have customs offices built, and players will likely have to pay slightly higher taxes than in high-sec. Since the planets in low-sec are the richest in the game, this will probably still be worth it.