(Important Edit: I have managed to get in talks with someone who does heavy industrial work, and there are a few points he is making that fit what I am trying to say, but it is taking me some time to articulate it correctly.)
Here’s the problem:
People join Faction Warfare to shoot other people who join Faction Warfare. So, if you are an industrial person, why would Faction Warfare have any interest to you?
That is a very hard question to answer, because while quite a few commentators try to simplify the problem.. it is a problem that is better left complex. The reason for this is that if you try to simply this particular problem, you actually might miss an opportunity to fix another problem relating to low-sec in general.
As everyone knows, the problem with industrializing low-sec is that Risk is counter to Stability. In the economy that is Eve Online, Lower Prices are achieved by manufacturers a.) High-Stability Manufacturing Location, b.) Low-Risk Gathering and Transportation of raw materials and final products, c.) Multiple Manufacturers who have (a.) and (b.). Without those three things, prices go up and PVP goes down because ships and modules are more expensive and people in general don’t like to throw ships away out of habit (yes, even those who “claim” to only PVP, 100% all the time). However, the problem with Low-sec is that it engenders EVERYTHING opposite of what makes a stable industrial complex. In addition, with the ease of manufacturing in high-sec systems.. there is little reason to RISK moving your construction and transportation operations into low-sec.
It is at this point that we start our conversation about what Industrializing Faction Warfare actually is or what is not. If it could be or can’t. The reason for this is that half of the needs of low-sec seems to require that the needs of the other half be completely ignored. Then, on top of that, those that are actually doing the work aren’t actually benefitting the most from the industrialization, while those that would aren’t required to share in any of the risks.
PVP versus Stability
Let’s get this on the table now. Non-consenual PVP (sounds dirty, doesn’t it..) is completely counter to Stability. You cannot have full and free PVP AND also have 100% Stability. But low-sec is all about small gang PVP, right? Yes and No. It is about both. If you really think about it, very little of the industrial capacity in low-sec is actually utilized. There are two reasons for this: The first is that POSes are cheaper to operate in high-sec and provide custom and high levels of manufacturing inside a very safe platform which only needs to be addressed when you want to. The second is that High-sec NPC stations are effectively limitless for manufacturing and are located in stable areas and can be found close to major trade hubs.
So, then no worries, just let things be the way they are and everyone is happy. Low-sec pilots get to use low-sec the way they want and industrialists have the high-sec space stability and the POS manufacturing that provides them for what they want. Simple, right?
Well, funny enough, not only is the industrial capacity of low-sec severely underutilized, so is the actually space itself. Outside of Faction Warfare space and systems bordering high-sec, low-sec is a barren wasteland. Few or no supplies in those stations, which means few pilots go there because they can’t replace losses there of things just as simple as ammo and charges. It varies from space to space, but let’s be clear. That space is darn near useless because it isn’t good for ANYONE, even PVP’ers.
The circular argument then is that in order to have more targets, you gotta have more pilots in that space, which requires that there be supplies and ships available in the market, which requires that some industrialists need to be secure enough to risk building and manufacturing in that space, which requires that they get killed less often and they make a profit, which the fruition of this means that there are more targets in your space, etc. and etc. Let me get all Republican (*I am not politically affilicated) on readers now. INDUSTRIALISTS WON”T GO AND DEVELOP MARKETS IF THEY AREN”T GOING TO GET RICH! And industrialists aren’t going to risk building or using stations out in low-sec if they are going to get blown up every time they undock. It just doesn’t work that way. No matter how many PVP’ers and Pirates are sitting in their corners with their eyes closed and fingers crossed muttering whatever incantations they can think of.
There has been some recent changes to Faction Warfare low-sec space that has shown that there might be a strong middle ground. But, they need to be taken with a grain of salt, and they aren’t without their respective problems and controversy. Let’s take quick look at how upgrading a system benefits those that are in low-sec AND those that we want to utilize low-sec:
* +5 station manufacturing, copy, ME, PE, Invention slots
* 10% market tax reduction
* 10% repair cost reduction
* 5% manufacturing time reduction
* +10 station manufacturing, copy, ME, PE, Invention slots
* 20% market tax reduction
* 20% repair cost reduction
* 10% manufacturing time reduction
* +15 station manufacturing, copy, ME, PE, Invention slots
* 30% market tax reduction
* 30% repair cost reduction
* 15% manufacturing time reduction
* 10% reduction to starbase fuel cost
* +20 station manufacturing, copy, ME, PE, Invention slots
* 40% market tax reduction
* 40% repair cost reduction
* 20% manufacturing time reduction
* 10% reduction to starbase fuel cost
* +25 station manufacturing, copy, ME, PE, Invention slots
* 50% market tax reduction
* 50% repair cost reduction
* 30% manufacturing time reduction
* 20% reduction to starbase fuel cost
* Able to anchor Cyno Jammer
Okay, let us start with the Controversal part of these changes. Who upgrades them? Faction Warfare players who have earned LP, mostly by running offensive plexes. They are the only ones who actually pay into the system. In addition, the TRUE Faction Warfare pilots have to contend with enemy pirates as well as enemy faction members and thus lose some of their income in merely maintaining what they currently have. This part is good. This part is PVP with some reasonable tasks one can do to help out those who PVP more than others. Some other good news is that the Invention slots gain considerably more for each Tier, and invention slots previously required that you have a POS because all the ones in high-sec are on 60-90 day waiting lists. Now, with increased Tiers you spend less time on manufacturing production and even if you do have a POS, upgrading a system would ease the financial burden of fuel usage.
The good news gets caped by something I didn’t mention, and that is it becomes much more difficult to switch a system from one faction to another. Not saying that it will be very hard, but now people who are in industry will have some time to get product out of a station before it changes hands.
But, that particular piece of good news really only affects those industrialists who have chosen one side or another. And this is where we start off with the bad side of the changes to the Industrial Faction Warfare. First off, all those upgrades? Anyone can use them. Anyone. Without any additional cost. Without any LP cost. I consider this bad because it removes any reason for industrialists to join any faction at all. True, they would have increased risk, but then they could also have increased opportunity to develop markets in low-sec, while having better and cheaper manufacturing opportunities. They also might learn some PVP tricks that would increase their survivability and thus lowering the risk of keeping their operations in low-sec. But as it stands now, you can bet that things like those additional Invention and Research slots are going to be taken up faster than those who actually raised the system Tier.
Second, there still isn’t any DRAW into Faction Warfare for those who want to be industrialists. This is particularly true because of the one-two punch that anyone even PONDERING the idea of joining Faction Warfare is barraged under. You have that notion that low-sec PVP in general is a free-for-all coupled with comments by Faction Warfare players that are geared toward PVP telling them how much they wanna keep low-sec a PVP battleground, even BEMOANING any potential (often not real) decrease in PVP. Stuff like this often covers over real and tangible benefits that help them operate in a less risky manner. Are these things REALLY being pushed to those who don’t want anything to do with PVP, but really could stand to make low-sec abundant with products and thus.. life?
Third, any benefit that Faction Warfare might have on an industrialist could potentially be doubled if THEY don’t join Faction Warfare. For example, if you have the diplomatic wherewithal to NAP the significant portion of the Caldari Militia, it wouldn’t be that hard of stretch do get the Gallente Militia under a NAP as well, thereby doubling your market.
Fourth, for serious manufactoring to happen, they need the ability to transport good easily markets outside of their own. Unfortunately, this is the uncontendable point to which neither side can give, or at least it is one where it would be too challenging for an industrialist to risk.
In Eve Online, PVP’ers need Industrialists and Industrialists need PVP’ers. That is reality. Get over any other preconceptions to that effect. But especially in Faction Warfare, there is the opportunity for Industrialists to break ground into the formerly dead and dying areas of space and make some isk establishing Trade hubs in low-sec. Trade Hubs that might be competitive because the next door system my not be accessable by your customers. But the hurdles.. the hurdles are huge.
Faction Warfare has the potential to provide for both PVP and a stable manufacturing environment. However, as it stands now, Faction Warfare mechanics really needs to have some reason for those who enjoy the industrial side of the game to “risk” joining a particular faction because of the benefits it could bring to low-sec in general. But there just isn’t any reason to and it just is easier (and better) to establish NAPs with the local FW factions instead.