Greedy Goblin

Friday, March 11, 2016

The citadels of eternal peace

CCP Ytterbium posted a devblog on reddit how broker fees will be calculated. Short version: with perfect skills and standings you'll have 3.5% broker fee. He didn't clarify how the +1% on transaction tax will work, will that mean that the current max skill 0.75% transaction tax becomes 1.75% or (1.5+1)/2 = 1.25%, but let's count with the second for now.

First question: how much broker fees people pay now? The February economy report says that people spent 9.8T on taxes and 5.9T on broker fees. Let's assume that the average sale was done with has Accounting 4. This is reasonable, since max-skilled traders are responsible for most sales and training Accounting to 3-4 isn't hard. This means 0.9% average tax. With that, the average broker fee was 0.54%.

These numbers mean that after the patch the same people will pay 1.5% transaction tax and 4.15%!!! broker fee. If it wouldn't affect traded volumes (it obviously will), people would pay 16.3T transaction tax and 45.3T broker fee. Let me put these numbers in perspective: the total ratting was 33.9T and the total faucets were 71.5T. You see that paying such money is impossible. The only explanation is that CCP means it to be impossible to force people to trade in citadels. Citadel owners can set any broker fee and that fee is not an ISK sink, since it goes to the owner. If everyone would trade on citadels, the new tax wouldn't be much more than current tax+broker fee.

About 90% of trading is done in Jita, Amarr, Dodixie, Rens and Hek (see market value by region graph). Since the trade hub citadel must be competitive for max-skilled traders, the player-set broker fee can't be more than 3%. Assuming someone would set such citadels and divert trading to them, his income would be 32.8T. Again: the trade hub citadel owner would make as much ISK as all ratters combined, without even loging in.

Of course if some guy would try it, his citadel would be instantly besieged by literally everybody. This applies to strong alliances or even coalitions. Not even the Imperium would stand a chance holding such ISK print as everyone else would unite to take it from them or at least deny this income. Doing anything else would be suicide as the owner could SRP a full titan fleet every month.

There is only one way to create these ISK print citadels and I have no doubt that this way is being formulated as we speak: if everyone significant would form a coalition to hold and defend the trade hub citadels. Big powers formed OTEC and than BoTLord for 10% of the trade hub citadel income. Do you think that they would throw away more money than all ratters together make, just for the sake of fighting? No way. The day citadels go online, they will announce that all significant powers agreed in an eternal peace to run the new highsec trading hubs. Sure that doesn't disallow fun roams, but clearly mean no significant fighting as someone losing power would allow the others to eject him from the citadel coalition and no longer give him share. So any serious attack would be seen an existential threat and would immediately break the coalition as the rest of the members could be afraid that they'll be next, so immediately unite against the disturber of peace. The spice must flow!

So there won't be any serious wars. Ever. The members be damned as their combined ratting with 100% ratting tax worth less than the income from the citadels. Do you remember whining over "top-down" income because of moons? Imagine something 10x bigger, without siphons, without having to fuel towers, without hauling, without even logging in! So anyone saying "damn the income, let's go fight" will be told "damn you, off you go to lowsec!" Sure, there will be a few rebels, but way too few. Remember that if you can RMT 1B for $7, the trade citadels net you $200K per month. You don't choose playing a video game over getting such money. Every major alliance leader and FC will agree to keep the peace and stomp on anyone trying to disturb it.

Such peace will obviously mean the end of EVE. What can CCP do to prevent it? The obvious solution would be not elevating the broker fees, but they clearly want to push people to citadels. However they could force the broker fee in the citadels to be more than the minimum NPC fee (3.5% with current proposal). This fee would still go to the owner, so a corp/alliance would be better off setting up its trading citadel, telling the members to trade there, since this helps the corp coffers. But strangers would not use it much, so it wouldn't keep printing ISK. The randoms would keep using highsec NPC stations, paying the fees to an ISK sink, instead of a super-BotLord.

PS: this is already posted on reddit (thanks) and there is an EVE-O post too.


Foo said...

If only there was a diverse representative player body that has the ear of ccp.

nightgerbil said...

Wheres the eve forum thread? I'll bump it.

maxim said...

You guys either have too much money or too few things to spend it on.

Rise of overall affluence of the population inevitably leads to rise of trade hubs, which leads to rise of relative peace - until people invent a new way to do war (f/ex trade war or a crusade).

I'd say that citadels are fine, but Eve needs a new way to do war (read as a major PvP money sink) in order to offset the fact that all the money that were removed from economy by NPC fees are going to end up in player pockets.

I'd implement "barbarian" factions that would dedicate themselves to raiding citadels, Concord and all.

J. H. Cakerice said...

So, I'll start by saying that this scenario is a definite possibility- and it is the worst-case scenario for a lot of groups. However, I don't think it is that likely to happen. I think it certainly is probable this could occur with certain groups of items; most notably moon goo. Here's the most immediate problems I can think of with this exact scenario happening.

1. Who gets to have a piece of the pie?: This question would probably be answered by the obvious reply "whoever negotiates this deal" by which it is implied the CFC, PL, Provi, and some Russian group would be at the table. The more important question is, who gets excluded? Is TEST or PH going to be considered a valid partner? The Holy Roman Empire regions as I refer to them (regions in which numerous small sov holders form some sort of collective group/are kept from expansion) certainly are not going to be seen as groups who can join. This will certainly cause resentment- and while attacking this coalition would be hard due to its financial resources- it wouldn't be impossible and is probably easier than I am thinking it would be (it almost always seems to be, but, hey, plan for the worst).

2. If having five stations in high sec means that eternal peace is the only option, what about the 'gud fights'?: People in EVE want content- every person who is leading a corporation or alliance knows this. They are not going to deprive themselves of the battles that people want to be in (Botlord should probably be considered an exception due to the reasons behind its inception). Furthermore- if several big entities can generate that much ISK a month- what reason is there to not just set up fights every night like a gladiatorial arena? This is a double-edged sword in that while fighting may be cheap and easy to find among a few groups- with no sense of reward or consequence- EVE ceases to be EVE.

Is this a possibility? Yes. Is it something that the null powers should be immediately trying to grab? Probably not. Owning Jita would upset the balance of power so much that it is hard not to see it causing more warfare afterwards. A coalition grabbing it may be more stable- but I'd bet that a combination of internal squabbling, old grudges, and outsider interference would eventually pull it down. If it does happen and it is remarkably stable- then traders and manufacturers have the responsibility to build a more equitable trade hub system- reducing the power of the trade hubs for local hubs. Or everyone just decides to move shop somewhere else until the people who set up such a coalition get bored of attacking citadels.

Gevlon said...

@Foo: but there is not, so dreaming doesn't help.

@Nightgerbil: good point, I should post in the official forum.

@J. H. Cakerice: it's easier to include everyone who matters than risking that they start sieging citadels. Even if they never win, the TiDi-ed battle and the local spam can scare away customers.
2: there will keep being "gud fights", staged roams and similar nonsense. Just not meaningful fights.
3: I'm sure that they will go after it on day one.

Shango said...

A hundred trillion is nothing compared to the amount of ISK the null alliances destroy in ships in the same timeframe. They could stop spending trillions in SRP, all they would have to do is agree not to fight and somehow keep new groups from growing and challenging them. I wonder why that hasn't happened yet.

Halycon said...

@Cakerice No one will get bored of attacking citadels. At least not enough to stop it. We just came out of... what.. two sov systems which had mindless structure shoots eight months ago? People did that for years.

I don't know if the blocks can hold Highsec citadels btw. It's a bit different than POCOs, which is the only equivalent thing in Highsec they try to own now. POCOs are not a huge income singly, only in aggregate. No one worries about them too much. Citadels are a whole different ballgame if your numbers are right. I don't give a crap what the blocks do out in Null. At all. But if you put that much ISK on the line in High... I'm going to start devoting resources towards it. No matter who owns it. Be it a Nullsec or Highsec Consortium. That sort of money concentrated at a single source is a motivator highsec has never had before. And I don't think anyone really cares who gets it, just as long as whoever currently has it each week doesn't continue to. There will be a weekly Jita Op every single time it's up for attack. A huge multi sided melee each week.

Gevlon said...

@Shangoo: the total EVE ship losses in 2014 were 476T for a year. The numbers in the post are per month. So this citadel could SRP every ship and keep some change.

Anonymous said...

"The only explanation is that CCP means it to be impossible to force people to trade in citadels."
It's not the only explanation. Other explanations such as "CCP want there to be a much bigger isk sing than faucet to remove isk from the economy" and CCP drastically plan to increase isk facuets too" are both valid options. I imagine they will be looking at improving ratting significantly long term to encourage people to want to take sov.

Halycon said...

@Anon Or, once again CCP didn't completely do the math. Wouldn't be the first time. Wouldn't even be the first time this year. They've a habit of messing it up on the big things, for which I really don't blame them. On the big things there's tons of variables to add up, it's inevitable a few would fall through and need to be fixed in a later patch. If in fact they did mess it up.

I'm... not so sure. Gevlon's math looks right to me, but I don't know if people will do the smart thing instead of the easy thing. There's a lot of institutional weight behind Jita 4-4 and it's remarkably resistant to change. Over the years there've been changes overtly targeting it, covertly targeting it, and incidentally targeting it. It's caught nerf bats left right and center, it's still there.

Barrogh said...

To Anon above:
Making people use citadels for trading, and thus starting to transfer money to players instead of effectively destroying it by paying NPC taxes is already quite a drop of ISK sinking ability. I don't see how it's an attempt to achieve the opposite.

Anonymous said...

"I'm... not so sure. Gevlon's math looks right to me, but I don't know if people will do the smart thing instead of the easy thing. There's a lot of institutional weight behind Jita 4-4 and it's remarkably resistant to change"
Of course it's resistant to change. It's also incredibly low cost and risk and high reward. It's about time it get at least a little shaken up. I'd go one further and make it cost more the more total orders are in the station/citadel.

"Making people use citadels for trading, and thus starting to transfer money to players instead of effectively destroying it by paying NPC taxes is already quite a drop of ISK sinking ability. I don't see how it's an attempt to achieve the opposite."

They know that most people will still trade in stations. Also, the tax won't go to players and will be in line with what a max skilled trader would have paid in combined fees before.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any citadel will be replacing the tradehubs. Sellers go there because they can surely find a buyer. Buyers go there because they can be sure to get everything. I don't think any coalition can provide a comparable supply of goods.

Also don't forget the convenience aspects. People buy skillbooks at Jita one stop shop with a markup instead of jumping a few systems and buy from NPC sellers. They surely wouldn't jump a few systems to save a few decimals on broker fees.

Also There will be too many people trying the same thing. 10-20 Citadels trying to beat Jita will surely fail where one combined effort might have a slighth chance to succeed.

I think a regional market with a tailor-made offering could survive - like Sugar Kyles low sec hub, but taking on the big markets is a recepie for sure failure.

Gevlon said...

You seem to forget that 90% of the trade is done by 10% of the players. Multibox miners selling ore and ice, mass producers selling finished stuff, WH PI farmers selling PI, ratters selling deadspace, L5 missioners and FW stabbed plexers selling faction stuff.

Sure, Joe Idiot won't go even one jump to save 3%. But capital builder will definitely do to get his compressed ore. With these people the volume go to the citadels and then Joe Idiot will have to follow as Jita 4-4 will be empty.

Anonymous said...

Maybe citadels will be the end of the very few trade hubs as such? Market citadels will spring up all over the place. The large coalitions can only blow up so many of them each week if they try to enforce a structural monopoly (pun intended). And if they split their forces to blow up more of them, they become more vulnerable to capital traps being sprung on their split forces. Also, market citadels with small volume will be ignored at first. So it is possible that a lot of market citadels will endure for long times, and all over the place. Trade may very well de-centralize, and Jita as a phenomenom may be a thing of the past. De-centralized trade would create all kind of "content", especially for the hauler-traders. And with many market citadels around, they will compete with each other for business, and one important factor will certainly be reliably low transaction costs.

Tithian said...

I love the fact that on the EVE-O forums Goons came immediately out of the woodwork to defend the proposed system. That by itself speaks volumes.


What makes you think that it wasn't the current CSM that influenced the changes in the first place?

Anonymous said...

There will always be a central place for trade, I don't know if it will stay in Jita or move to a citadel, but it will sure always be one place.


Anonymous said...

Trade will not decentralize, this goes against everything we know about economies since ancient history. It will always be easier and more profitable to bring everything to one location to exchange, than everyone running all over the place all of the time.

This entire citadel feature has become completely and wildly bloated. All that was needed and asked for was a rewrite of the pos code. And due to CCP it will again work out as technetium. The worrying this is that one of the citadel devs is leaving completely and the other reaming will most likely go to work on other structures for the next 2 years. The tax change nonsense has to be stopped now.

BTW to any goons/PL/etc minions won't see a dime of this money anymore than you do now. All that will happen is you are given a STAGNANT, BORING game like you have now. That's all you will get. Only your small clique of top guys will benefit from this. Think about this before defending it.

Benjamin Mahala said...

Although I think this is a worst case scenario, I'm not too worried about it actually happening. For starters, how to split the pie would be a huge issue. With such a big stream, even a few % is worth fighting a war over (even if it's a cold/political war).

There's also the question of who will provide the manpower to cover the thing week by week from the small guys who are going to be constantly harassing it every time it's vulnerable. They don't need to actually take it down, just being annoying enough to get a fraction of a % of the income is enough to be worth it.

But even if all this stuff gets figured out and super botlord takes over, it would be really easy for CCP to yank the rug out from under them by reducing NPC broker fees again. Unlike moons, where they'd have to change all of T2 production, or supercaps, where they'd have destroy trillions of existing value to remove, the profit from a market hub can be tweaked by changing a single number with no real adverse effects from the rest of the game.

I'm pretty confident if what you said came to pass, they would just do that.

Anonymous said...

it seems the difference isn't stressed enough.

npc tax/fee/cut: isk sink. what ever %age it is, it is gone! flushed down the space toilet!
player tax/fee/cut: isk goes into player pocket!

it's 9.8T on taxes and 5.9T on broker fees down the space drain vs 16.3T transaction tax and 45.3T broker fee into some trusted third party holding party. These structures will be defended at all costs from everyone in the cabal.

I played to many MMOs to see exactly these kind of deals between factions and even game mechanically enforced bitter enemies.

Vincent said...

"harassing it every time it's vulnerable."

You have to wardec in high sec to be able to do that, and even if you do, you need a solid fleet to be able to do anything. Citadels missiles and bombs are no joke.

NuTroll said...

Simulating the transition from the nation states to the NWO, one patch at a time.

Borat Guereen said...

I am running for CSM XI under a platform in favor of guerilla for a reason: if the game mechanics do not allow individuals or small groups to nip at the larger groups, in a way that is not just a waste of time for them, there is no way the eco-system is going to avoid stagnation. Siphons were a great idea to allow smaller entities to cut out the profit of bigger moon holders, but were nerfed to uselessness by the bloc-aligned CSM members that never pushed for APIs to stop ratting them and nerfed the original wastage factor from 20% to 10%.

Most importantly, CSM needs to have voices pushing those ideas to CCP and countering the argument of the establishment, rather than staying on the sidelines because of your No Votes policy, which only benefit the established power players that will continue to do their backroom deals and whisper unopposed into CCP's ear.

Foo said...


Given diverse player representation diverse opinions, there would be some in favour and some against any contentious change.

There are multiple forms of player representation. Blogging is one. Forum posts another.

Blogging is a good way present an idea but not for a conversation.
Forums are good for light weight conversation and have a very poor signal to noise ration.
The CSM format is a format that allows longer conversations.
Private correspondance allows longest converstaions but is least transparent.

Some others would restrict the CSM to have only a narrow representation and would leave private correspondance intact.

My comment was merely to highlight the hypocrisy of the original poster.

Tobias said...

You can't put a citadel in Jita and pretty sure not in Amarr.

Hivemind said...

I find it hard to believe I'm writing this, but I absolutely agree with you.

In fact, I actually don't think your concerns go far enough.

In the current political landscape, when push comes to shove, the Imperium has the numbers, the coordination, logistics, supercaps and raw ISK to kick any group they feel like out of any area of space they want. We saw this with Cloud Ring, where alliances chose to simply pack up and leave before the Imperium invaded because there was literally no way they could win. We're seeing this now in Fade where the "scalp hunters" can apply a lot of pressure to SMA line members by cutting off ratting income, and can theoretically affect sov control by forcing ADMs to drop, but cannot win any timer the Imperium decides to contest because they cannot match Imperium's raw numbers/firepower.

The obvious follow-on from this is "How much influence does a serious declaration from the Imperium to not invade other null groups' space carry?" Is it enough to get a NAP specifically towards an Imperium citadel in Jita? it honestly doesn't sound that far-fetched when you consider that the Imperium is one of the groups that can ensure that others cannot keep a Citadel alive long enough to profit from it.

If the options are "Don't attack or compete with our citadel and we won't evict you" or "Attack or compete with us and we'll destroy your Citadel and your sovereign space", choosing the former seems the most logical option, even if it does give the group demanding fealty effectively unlimited ISK.

With all that being said, one thing that does spring to mind is that this is one opportunity where a well-financed individual with a grudge against the null group(s) owning the Citadel could have a significant effect. Bankroll an alliance in a permanent wardec against the Citadel owners (paying whatever premium is required to wardec a 17,000 member alliance) and allow any corp that wants to take a shot at them (or more importantly their Citadel) to join at no cost.

I'm not suggesting that a coalition of the ill-prepared like that would necessarily have military success and demolish the Citadel, but that's not their purpose; their job would actually be to provide a constant clear and present danger to the Citadel owners, one requiring not merely someone to sit in the Citadel and shoot back during its vulnerability windows but deployment of an actual defence fleet (with the usual nullsec trappings like a halfway competent FC to form them up, SRP to cover losses etc).

The big deal with that plan would be that it'd be regularly dragging nullsec line members out of their safe, deep null ratting systems into the heart of hisec - presumably that'd require jump-cloning which then leaves them stuck away from their ISK source for 19-24 hours. Obviously for trillions of ISK their leadership would be onboard, but how much of that would trickle down to the line members? How long would line members abandon their beloved AFK ratting carriers to defend their bosses ISK printing Citadel?

Obviously the ideal situation is simply that this doesn't actually happen, CCP realise that this isn't going to encourage actual enjoyable gameplay for many players and don't do it. But if that's not on the table, it could at least lead to an unending stream of low-level harassment for the nullsec overlords.

jedi2015 said...

I dont think that it will go that fast. Look at goons and their foray in to lowsec. I dont think that can be qualified as a success. And that is just lowsec. FIghting in highsec is still a factor more difficult (more costly) then fighting in lowsec. Now think if a 100 or so trader trillionaires would put a 100 or so xl citadels with markets in high sec. Risk vs Reward. There is no nullsec coalition capable of pulling them all down again. It would simply ask for to much resources. You cant and defend the nullsec homeland and almost have a permanent presence in highsec to tear opposing structures down. Besides if someone can put up a xl citadel , he can also hire mercenaries to defend that citadel.

And jita 4-4 disappearing. Not with the current proposals. Location goes a long way of alleviating cost concerns. As long as you cant put up citadels in market hubs, the primary npc markets; jita/amarr.. probably will retain their position at the top of the market foodchain.

Tithian said...


"Given diverse player representation diverse opinions, there would be some in favour and some against any contentious change."

What makes you think this would ever be discussed officially with the CSM, and not on a pub crawl with the devs? Most major deals, both in RL or otherwise, happen "under the table", or so to speak.

Foo said...

@tithian it has already been discussed in tweetfleet csm channel. I took part in the discussion.

None of this discounts other discussions 'on a pub crawl'.

Players have an extra choice in the next 2 weeks. You can choose a representative from your playstyle that ccp must listen to, or you can merely allow others to talk a little louder in ccp's ear.

Brian Chauvin said...

Cant all of this be disrupted by someone just putting up a large citadel with a market hub in a new corporation every week, making a new citadel in a new corp when the wardec comes through and transferring all the stuff to it free with inter bus when the old one is destroyed?

two or three people doing the market pvp together could easily bankroll this 10B a week cost with e 36T a month profit, even the largest groups of player would be stuck playing wack mole.... pretty unsuccessfully.
Add to that rotating station(tm) would have people like the goblin offering a really wide array of goods at it, which would attract business away from a null-sec alliance managed station that would be anemic without the input of such merchants(look at null sec staging stations and try to just fit a ship. even with huge profit everything is always under stocked)
The station wouldn't loose much business, since the new one could literally be anchored on field as the old one was destroyed especially if the vulnerability window set correctly. just name it the same and it will be as if the attackers did nothing but cause a slight inconvenience to the market.

If anything this will give you a whole new way grr goons, if they try to set up a station like this.
your station could also have the marketing of... not being a goon station, which some of us would pay a premium for.

Michael Carson said...

@brian The cost of the large Citadel + amount of days with your goods on lockdown from asset protection can become costly quick. Your large citadels good on lockdown for 5 days BEFORE the transfer to a new citadel means your goods are not being sold. Ontop people would expect you to put up another for recovery or pay X% for asset transfer to a station. This means those who killed your large will be looking for a onlining citadel and kill it before it becomes active, 24hr anchoring + vulnerable window where it can go boom. While dropping an XL Citadel and having a rotation of paid pilots manning its amazong weaponry is near indestructible.

Remember the Citadel testing with a Large Citadel reduced a fleet of 50 dreads down to 15 before it finally reinforced. They are built with Max DPS and damage mitigation to last 30 minutes. An XL cita with all the weapon options, tank, null line members will always be manned. Always be capable of wiping out any coalition fleet for an assault. How many dreads vs Battleships would it take counting massive losses to finally tip an XL in Highsec? No one would bank roll it, it's worth then ihub/TCU grinding of old. You would also need hundreds of player in hisec to siege it. Most null/low sec entities can't hit hisec due to sec status and tagging every major groups players back to good would take forever. The losses of sieging a goon/pl XL Citadel would be staggering and amazing KB padding for the defender as it popcorns every hostile on grid, forced to stay on grid from its Infi-range scram that affects all hostiles until they make it off grid. Remember ALL hostile units are grid scrammed by default the moment they shoot a citadel. You attack and your commited to it, No warping away until you deagress for a full minute while the gunner throws everything at you.

Lorelei Ierendi said...

Does the limit on range have any significant hinderances for New Jita?

Anonymous said...

And now it happened (a bit different, but still):