Greedy Goblin

Friday, February 1, 2013

Warehouse system for the New Order

The power of the New Order grows fast, we are able to cleanse a constellation from rebels in a week or two. Miners who refuse all the light of The Code have no place in highsec! We moved to North Everyshore just two weeks ago, and we are already moving south again as the targets ran thin. This is great news for us, but also lot of trouble for me, who is engaged in supplying the New Order with catalysts and fittings. Currently we are using 2-3 HQs to cover a zone (which is usually a constellation or two) and the Knights ride out from these, taking 1-2 gates to hit the followers of The Machine.

There is a tactical and a logistics problem with this: the catalysts aren't aligning fast, so they are easy targets of vultures. A single long-point ship can take down a cata by scramming it until the faction police arrives and kills it. Taking gates is problematic already and as the amount of rage among the bot-aspirants grow, it will eventually become impossible. The logistics problem is that it's impossible to keep so many HQs seeded. Seeding needs capital, market orders and market update time. As we are operating in larger and larger land, the number of HQs to seed are increasing.

As first countermeasure I checked my transaction log and deleted 1/3 of the items, the ones that didn't sell well. The following items remained on the list:
  • Anode Light Ion Particle Cannon I
  • Anode Light Neutron Particle Cannon I
  • Catalyst
  • Federation Navy Antimatter Charge S
  • Gallente Shuttle
  • Gauss Field Balancer I
  • Initiated Harmonic Warp Scrambler I
  • Insulated Stabilizer Array I
  • Light Ion Blaster II
  • Light Neutron Blaster II
  • Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
  • Magnetic Vortex Stabilizer I
  • Prototype Sensor Booster
  • Regulated Light Neutron Phase Cannon I
  • Scan Resolution Script
  • Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I
  • Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I
  • Void S
  • Zainou 'Deadeye' Small Hybrid Turret SH-603
Out of these 19 items 14 are looted from destroyed catalysts so I need to set buy orders too to let looters quickly return them to me and to Knights to get rid of their excess. However since most items are reused by the team, I set buy orders only in Brapelille. Also about 5-6B capital locked down in escrow and items. Obviously the amount of HQs I can handle is limited even with the decreased item list.

To solve this problem, I designed the warehouse system: one warehouse within 4 jumps of any target system. I try to match them with tactical HQs, but they aren't the same, there will be more HQs than warehouses. The purpose of the warehouse is to allow Knights to shop nearby. The shopping should be done by a normal sec status character who buys for his main or for his fleet. The destroyer fittings are small, so a battleship or Procurer/Skiff with cargo extenders can transport for a whole fleet. Using T1 industrials is obviously not advised. I will build up warehouses as the New Order moves. Warehouse stations should have repair facility (because the looted guns are damaged from overheat) and preferably factory slots to manufacture catalysts.

OK, the Knights (or second level traders) can shop in the warehouses. But what about Catalyst hulls? They'd need T2 industrials, Orcas or freighters to move more than one at a time. To solve this problem, here is an ambitious plan: Hulls seeded to every relevant system. So the Knight docks, buys hull, his alt or fleetmate gets fittings from the nearby warehouse and he can do his holy duty without taking gates. I will list the Catalyst hulls purposefully high, like 30% above Jita to discourage hostiles from buying it out and to encourage people to import/manufacture hulls. I'd be happy if I wouldn't sell a single hull because that would mean others took this not really profitable - yet essential - duty from me. I'll simply serve as an emergency hull provider, if all else fails, you can still buy from me, without insane cost (currently 1.9M).

The first Warehouse will cover our recently abandoned operations: North Everyshore. The warehouse will be Carirgnottin IX - Moon 5 - Impro Factory. Below you can see the map of the covered zone without lowsec and 0.8+ security systems unless they are bridging to targets:
Yes, I'm not happy about those 4-5-6 numbers, but Deninard is surrounded by lowsec in every other direction so can only be supplied from this side and alone doesn't deserve a warehouse. The neighborhood of Bereye has no ice belts and is close to the next warehouse, which is Jaschercis III - Moon 1 - Federal Freight Storage:
The third warehouse, Brapelille IV - Moon 2 - Federal Freight Storage:
This is a relatively small, but busy zone, full of rebel miners.

The fourth warehouse is fully my design, I moved in here first and found so many rebels that I choose to build a warehouse to support fighting them. The HQ is Mesybier II - TransStellar Shipping Storage, 5 jumps from Dodixie:


Steel H. said...

"that would mean others took this not really profitable - yet essential - duty from me."

Welcome to the wonderful world of EVE logistics! How does it feel to be an "enabler"? Oh, and next time you log in, check out the second medal of "Crias Taylor".

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

So essentially you are saying that Knights are going to create demand for hulls, and in order to make traders aware of this demand, you yourself are going to list hulls at a slightly larger price.

First question. Given current 1.9M cost and 30% markup, it is a reasonable estimate that every time a Knight buys a hull from you, he loses 570k ISK. Now, obviously these money are not lost completely to the New Order as they go back to you, hopefully to finance more New Order operations.

There are two interesting questions here.

Question 1 - Exactly how much is 570k ISK to a Knight in terms of opportunity costs? If a Knight finds himself in a position where he to buy your hull, won't he feel ripped off?
Question 2 - In cases where Knights DO buy your hulls, what are you going to do with the profit?

Another interesting consideration is this. As New Order grows, the amount of time and effort needed to manage the economy behind it is going to increase. That means that you'll have to hire help. How much you think this help would be worth? How are you going to make sure that this help is not going to sabotage the entire operation?

Bobbins said...

If hulls were sold at near cost they could and would be instantly bought out. By setting a ceiling price it makes this unlikely as the buyer would incurr losses. The way Gevlon has structured it is that he is relying on people to undercut him and supply the market. If people consistantly buy at his price his model will have failed.
Gevlon is trying to kick start the market and markets required people to make profit to operate. If you believe people should do things for free then I think you should start reading some other blog. That said Gevlon supplying the market is not optimal as he can make more isk/hr through trading. So basically he is giving his time for free foregoing alot of isk he could have earnt.
Correct me if i'm wrong.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

From what i gather, Gevlon hopes he will get undercut, but it won't necessarily happen.

If it doesn't happen, then suddenly Knights find themselves in a position where in order to participate in New Order activities, they need to buy stuff from New Order (for the sake of which Gevlon is acting at the moment) at above market price. This may lead to people feeling scammed.
"They told us to go there, and then they sold us stuff at 0.6mill more WTF!"

I am not saying that people should get hull for free. Whomever provides people the hull should receive the market price of the hull. However, Gevlon is not asking market price, he is asking 30% above market price.

If Knights feel that Gevlon providing convenient access to hulls is worth the markup (and therefore that market price for hulls in a specific local market is really 30% larger), more power to everyone.

Are we certain that Knights will feel that, though?

Gevlon's goal here appears to be not ISK, but rather well-being and development of the Order.

I understand his tactic, and just pointing out that it might backfire, if Knights feel that they are being unfairly taken advantage of by 30% markup.

If that starts happening, a good way to deal with it would be saying: "yes, i need to make the 30% markup to supply hulls in inconvenient places. But look, i'm not just pocketing these money. Instead, i'm using these money that you spent for the sake of the Order to further Order's cause in this and that way".

Gevlon said...

@Maxim: if one whines, I tell him to get hulls himself if he prefers.

Bobbins said...

'Gevlon is not asking market price, he is asking 30% above market price.'
No he is offering the market price. If noone is willing to sell cheaper then it is the market price. In fact he probably should be raising his price. By holding at a specific price he may actually discourage a real market from forming by selling at too cheap a price discouraging people from supplying the market.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

[quote = Gevlon]
if one whines, I tell him to get hulls himself if he prefers.

That's fair enougn.

The consequences can be the following.

a) Knight realises that hulls really cost that much to get in that backwater and looks for ways to make them cheaper, ultimately supplying his own hull to the system below your price.
b) The Knight sucks up the cost by buying your hull, Feels somewhat cheated.
c) Knight doesn't get himself a hull at all, is unable to participate in Order activities in the system, is pretty disappointed.

In my experience, scenario (a) happens rarely, if ever. Scenarios (b) and (c) are equally likely.

Now, as an asocial, you can, of course, say that you don't give a damn about feelings of people.

Thing is, though, the Order is ultimately a social organisation and is built on feelings. The whole "Happy Miner vs Machine" story is a vehicle for that.

The damage to the Order from scenarios (b) and (c) makes people associate personal bad feelings with the Order. To a social organisation, this is true damage and will manifest further down the line.