EvE – Randomness coming to free market in Apocrypha?

A recent dev blog has me slightly worried about EvE’s in-game economic future.

building a new bridge to the stars  by CCP Whisper

Hello. My name is Whisper and I am here to talk to you about one part of Apocrypha, the upcoming expansion for EVE Online. I head up Team Bifröst, which includes such luminaries as CCP Casqade from Quality Assurance, CCP Bella Bee from the Software group, CCP Greyscale and CCP Abathur from Game Design and CCP PrismX from…who knows what pit of contrariness he sprung from but he’s under my supervision now. So together with the rest of the team we’re going to deliver unto you a feature of truly galactic proportions. This being the introduction of a brand new, glittering, shiny travelling mechanic: Wormholes.

 First a bit of background musing. One of the criticisms that have been levied against EVE is that space is becoming crowded and that there really is no feeling of exploration. Indeed, from the very first moment you set foot in the universe of EVE, all of you have had a map at your disposal that shows you exactly where every solar system is, how to get there and what you may expect to find. You even have a newly improved autopilot who will selflessly and mindlessly guide you to your destination. And while there are still thrills to be had, there exists at the back of many of our minds the nagging knowledge that we are not the first to venture here. That the maps have been drawn, the anchorages charted, the wild hills surveyed and the paths trodden so often they’re now four-lane blacktop highways with shopping malls and 24-hour burger bars along the fringes.

continue…

Now generally I would be applauding CCP’s direction away from large blob scale alliances and encouraging more small group content, but the sheer randomness of these worm holes, and the riches they may hold, has me slightly concerned about EvE’s market.

EvE is one of the few games that can truly boast risk = reward. Most mmo’s follow more the time = reward format as grinding endless hours seems to be gamers favorite past time.

Risk in EvE (for those who don’t play) come from the dangers of mining ore in a system filled with pirates, or near space that is owned by a player run corporation. When your ship blows up for any reason, you literally lose everything – ship and cargo included.The more valuable the loot, the more lawless (reduced “police” influence) of space you trek into.

With worm holes (or what we currently know about them), they will randomly appear anywhere, high sec to null sec, and will only be open for a set amount of time. There are two problems as I see it.

Since they can appear anywhere, the vast majority of players will search for them in the safest locations. They won’t have to trek into dangerous territory to locate them, and when one is found, at least initially, it will be unguarded. 

Second, because they are only open for a short amount of time, pirates and industrialist will be slower to respond to the rapidly changing environment, meaning those systems will stay relatively safe.

My worry is with no real risk involved, that just leaves luck and time invested. If these new systems tun into the equivalent of treasure chests, you’ll see huge amounts of rapid inflation.

There are many ways CCP can combat these issues. If interconnected, maybe this new exploration space will become the hubs of nomadic corporations of pirates? Maybe more prosperous wormholes appear in more dangerous of space? I could even see these new systems have very specialized ore while can only be used in certain markets. So while these new systems may be profitable for t3 level industrialists, there won’t be huge influx of new tritanium.

These next few months will be interesting.

-D^t

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