goodwill I garnered with yesterday's post, I will now fritter away with this post. I will talk about an area of the game I'm not involved with, will not likely be involved with for some time. But it is an area of the game I enjoy spectating. Nullsec sovereignty.
(tl;dr: Technetium is a depleting resource. It depletes from a region, it begins to accumulate into another region.)
I sit here in Canada, all safe and in comfort, but I still take a keen interest in what goes on well outside my borders. The uprisings in Libya. The war in Afghanistan. The near civil war in Syria. The economic crisis in Greece. Or, when he was alive, Kim Jong Il looking at things.
It's really no different with EVE Online. I enjoy reading the political situations, the battle reports, the posturing of the big alliances in nullsec. For most of the last year, the action has been squarely in the northwest, with Goonswarm taking first Branch, and then Tenal. The action was multiplied when the Russians finally decided to have a disagreement, Shadow of xXDeathXx versus Solar Fleet, and finally with Red Alliance vacating their long held space and moving to Delve with nary an argument from the folks who were living there at the time of the move.
The Russian thing is over. Russians are pretty happy to keep the status quo unless you give grave insult to boiled cabbage. Nulli Secunda doesn't have the strength to but tickle Red Alliance, and Red Alliance seems content with the tickle fight. And then OTEC happened. The northwest is now all about the brohugs.
Nullsec seems to have entered a stagnant phase.
Goonswarm and the other technetium holding alliances are content to just play buddies and reap financial reward. I'm not saying that's wrong (I might do the same were I in The Mittani's shoes), but from a spectator perspective, it's boring. It's Chinese nullsec. Everyone bitches about Goonswarm and friends holding most of the technetium supply, yet nobody seems interested in trying to take a piece of the pie for themselves.
So, how to drive conflict? The obvious answer is to entice alliances to chase ISK. Technetium is the perfect carrot. There's nothing wrong with having one resource be more valuable than any other. The game doesn't require balance in that respect. But the game should use that resource to entice players into conflict, especially players who get too comfortable having it.
The idea is to make technetium a finite resource, rotating technetium throughout New Eden over time. You take three adjacent regions, and give them 100% of the technetium in New Eden. Working clockwise, choose another three adjacent regions. As technetium is depleted from the first three regions, it begins to accumulate in the next three regions. As technetium is mined and depleted in those next three regions, it begins appearing in another three regions, in a clockwise direction around the map. I refer to this as chasing the ISK. Those that greatly desire to control technetium, will be enticed to chase it. The have-nots, as they get it, will be encouraged to defend it. The vast amounts of ISK that can be garnered from technetium encourage people to go to war over it. It is no longer a resource they can sit on.
So, for example, let's say CCP implemented this idea. The first three regions that will hold the entirety of New Eden's technetium supply will be Fade, Pure Blind and Deklein. As the moons in those regions are mined out, technetium will begin accumulating on moons in Branch, Tenal and Tribute. As the moons in those regions are depleted, technetium will begin collecting on moons in the Vale of the Silent, Geminate and Cobalt Edge regions. So on and so forth, until eventually technetium again returns to Fade, Pure Blind and Deklein.
You can think of technetium as a comet. A core central mass with the greatest concentration of technetium, and the trailing tail with ever decreasing concentrations towards its end. This comet orbits the outer regions of New Eden on an 18 or so month cycle (given average moon mining tendencies.)
It's hard to predict what the players would do with such a system, how they'd attempt to game it, but I don't foresee any sort of equilibrium evolving. If technetium isn't mined, it doesn't accumulate elsewhere. If it isn't mined, it doesn't enter the market. If it doesn't enter the market, the cost of goods requiring technetium sky rocket, which should further entice groups into war.
The idea strikes me as relatively sound, but what problems do you all foresee? How do you predict this system playing out in the reality of the game?