Here is the devblog in question: http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=2899
Also review a quick overview by Kirith at the Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah: http://www.ninveah.com/2011/10/quick-notes-about-player-owned-custom.html
I read this devblog… then re-read it.. then read it yet a third time. And after all that, all I can come up with is.. “Hmmm…”. The reason for this is quite simple: I am not sure what the long term affects will be. Part of me wants to say, “Meh..”, while another wants to say, “oooo.. this could be interesting..”
The whole issue revolves around the ability for players to build and place Customs offices, the ones used when transporting PI (Planetary Interaction) goods on and off planet. The new system allows for a great amount of control (though, it may be somewhat moot if we are still limited by how many entities we can put as red), but it doesn’t seem to have as much control as is needed.
The Customs Offices are also now destructable, with mechanics similar to standard POSes (though no stront useage, the exit out of reinforcement is now a specific time.. a somewhat disappointing factor because irregardless of when you hit the office, it will come out of reinforcement only at the time designated). They can be built, from blueprint copies either with Concord LP (from Incursions) or at a 50% price reduction faction warfare sites. The customs offices also maintain about 2 Millions shield, 500,000 to 2.5 million armor, and 300,000 to 2 million structure (depending on if it is a Gantry or the full on Office. The upgrade appears to require specific high-level PI products). The offices can only be put up by player corporations and those with Station Manager can adjust the settings like tax rates, as well as who has access to the planet.. though small operations can still happen because small amount of PI products can still be launched into space for pick up. It also looks as if CCP has increased the bandwidth by 5x so that more can be extracted from a planet.
As far as nullsec goes, I think this is a good, but minor change. I also think it really won’t have much impact because when I did PI in nullsec, the biggest problems I had with getting materials was not from neutrals or reds.. but from other blues, usually from other members of my alliance. The control aspect of this doesn’t address that, so I suspect they won’t notice any change. This does give raiders a target of opportunity, but there isn’t a reward for taking of these down either as far as I can read. Even in reinforced mode, PI goods can still be retrieved from the planet.
Now for low-sec, I think this could get interesting. I think it would have been good for the dynamic to make low-sec planets give more PI materials than nullsec, because then the reward for holding these offices would have been tangible, and you would finally give various groups(including less popular forms like anti-pirate) a way to finance and operate in low-sec.. and a reason to get out and fight.. and not just sit in station all day.
So, we’ll see.. this could be a very interesting and welcome addition to the low-sec community.