Putting the Market in Place

After a chat with Corbexx a few weeks back, I got to thinking about what could really help POS wormhole dwellers. I had an offhand comment about markets and contracts in my write up. The more I think about this, the more I like it. One of the biggest hurdles in w-space is the logistics of getting stuff in and out. I don’t mean the ships moving around and chain scanning. That isn’t too hard. The hard part is aligning your membership to bring the right things in and take the right things out. Most of Eve has access to a beautiful tool for this: The market. Let’s bring this to wormholes.

Imagine this scenario. You live in a wormhole with some 20 other pilots. People are running PI, farming sites, losing ships on hunting expeditions, hauling in fuel, running research, building ammo, all sorts of things. To coordinate any of this currently requires lots of communication and lots of spreadsheets. Much of it has to happen outside the game client. If I want 20 days of isotopes and ice, I have to use some sort of delayed communication to get this info out there. I also need to make sure that if Joe gets the isotopes, Bob doesn’t as well. If I want a corp ammo program, I have to source the minerals and build the ammo, then make sure everyone knows which hangar to put it in and take it from. If I have multiple projects, heaven help me on organizing it inside seven hangar divisions!

If I were in any other space, I could put up a buy order for any of those raw materials, and if priced reasonably, someone will come along and fill it. Imagine that tool in WH space! I could put up fuel material buys orders for my corp mates, sell subsidized ammo, stock ships and fittings for doctrine, or even put up contracts to haul crap in or out. If Bob wants to start making P4s on a factory, he could put up buy orders for all the lower tier planet goo he wants. Members would know how much is needed based on the orders up in the market. Space capitalism begets space communism by using the market as a coordinating tool. If I had a market in w-space, I can count at least five projects I would immediately begin organizing just using the market.

Now we have our local economy running, and prices are giving corp members obvious carrots and sticks. Moreover, I don’t need to worry about access as much. I can just contract in things, put them on market, and let the prices gate access. Your active players will be making isk and buying and selling. That new or poor guy with crappy combat skills can post loot buy orders, and set prices to something he can profit off of, and deal with the hauling while the bittervet pvp guy can go farm his sites, sell off the loot in system, and pay our T3 producer by buying a new Proteus and modules to replace the one he lost last night. Mark the Miner sells his delicious ABCs to Richard the Reprocesser, who in turn supplies Andy Ammoman and Sammy the Shipbuilder.

I can hear your lament: “This is too powerful, you’ll never come back to known space!” Not so. We need to sell that blue loot, import those ice products and T2 production goods, and sell off the PI goods. WHs would still need to risk carrying all this stuff in and out. Markets in our home would just give us a tool to match labor and capital, supply and demand.

The hardest part is how to make it work. I can see two paths in the current system, and one crazy idea. Path one is to just make a market array. This would probably have to work like a PHA writ large, with orders placed off of local inventory in your section. Path two would be bolting market functionality onto the CHA or PHA as a feature. Similar, but no new array. Option three, the crazy one, would be mini-outposts like in nullsec. That would probably be part of a wholesale redesign of POSes, and beyond the scope of just the market.

Well, that’s one crazy idea out of my head.

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