Beat the Devil

Letrange plays devil’s advocate and reports the theory of one of his allied pilots vis-a-vis recycling of towers.

But first lets get you up to speed with a quote from Letrange’s post yesterday:

Apparently you can buy some modules, melt them, make a large tower for less than 100mil or something crazy like that.

FYI, the cost to buy them from NPC’s is something like 500million.

Ok, the theory under discussion is that this was intentional.

He posits that it was always intended that the player re-cycle existing modules in order to make sure there were enough P4 materials on the market so that once the towers and what not are pulled, people are able build towers until the more natural P1 thru P4 planetary manufacturing picks up the slack.

If you aren’t up on tdhis, towers can be reprocessed, and what you get back are ‘P4′ components, the highest tier of planet-manufactured goods.

The evidence he has for this being intentional: When you reprocess the existing tower you don’t get any capital construction parts like you would if you reprocessed an orca (apparently he’s done it twice – with the orca). This means that reprocessing (once the NPC goods aren’t on the market any more with their fixed prices) won’t be a very good idea since the way it works now any minerals you pump into a tower go bye bye even if you recover all the P4 materials.

I think the only way this could have happened by accident is that there were plans to do this, which were then scrapped, but the code to allow recycling was left in by accident. It doesn’t seem highly plausible to me. So, I agree, it was on purpose.

Letrange goes on to say:

Also CCP is on record as delaying the release of the Planetary Control Centers “because of issues of scale”. Which does not tell us exactly what they were worried about although I suspect it was the hang time between removing the NPC goods and the industrialists spooling up manufacturing.

I have a very different take on “issues of scale” which has evolved over time. At first, I thought it was some sort of performance issue. That there would be too much of a load on the servers if everyone started doing PI. After all there’s a bunch of start/stop orders for each PI installation that must be queued. But computers are fast, I’ve since revised my thoughts.d

Since the delay was announced, production of an extractor has increased about fourfold (on SISI). You get more, and it takes less time. Really less time if you go for the really fast extraction regime: five minute cycles.

On top of that, the P1 schematics changed to take 3000 input materials, where it had been 6000.

I think its likely that someone at CCP calculated the demand for PI extracts from the current consumption of pos fuel, t2 parts, and station/outpost parts. They then divided by the number of pilots in EVE and got a number that was uncomfortably large. Big enough that they decided to increase base production by about 8x. Which happened the day after the announcement. Big changes like that need a little time to settle out and be tested. Thus the week delay of lauch.

The 2 week delay between recipes and planet changes appearing and CC’s appearing seems to be about spin up: letting people train their PI skills for a while, and about intel, which is again a spin up. Let everybody know where the good planets are.

As to the main thesis – recycling is for spin up – I think that’s pretty much correct. Or really, recycling is just part of the ecosystem. If you can recycle Orcas, why not towers, for Marr’s sake?

This line confounds me though:

His personal suspicions is that this is what the indy guys at CCP intended, but he also thinks that their original schedule and estimates for this got thrown out of whack by the changes in dates.

Ok, I’m behind the curve on something – indy guys? Some of the devs aren’t CCP employees? Given (what I’ve seen of) how CCP does releases, I think it’s quite unlikely that group A pushed their stuff to Tranquility at the planned time while group B delayed a week, making a schedule mismatch. They do monolithic releases, and I’m sure they have a release czar who signs off on this stuff.

Anyway, in summary, recycling of towers seems intentional to me. It’s started now because that’s when the PI goods have been pushed into the database, and the blueprints put on the market. It’s also a way to establish a ceiling to the prices of P4 goods. One expects that as the NPC-sold modules go away, the prices will adjust so that this sort of thing isn’t profitable any more.

One of my themes recently is “why would anyone want to play this game?” Stuff like this engages me in a way that few games can. People are far more interesting than AI’s.

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