What are you nerfing?

While I would like to ignore it, the cries of “Nerf Empire” seem to be getting louder and louder.

There are a myriad of suggestions, but almost all of them come down to increasing taxes, reducing resources, and gimping services such as refining and manufacturing.

So – what’s the purpose of this?

There seem to be two main arguments. First is to encourage people to leave Empire for other areas of the game. Second is simply that Empire is too safe, so living there should be more costly.

Oddly, people calling for this often acknowledge that changing the costs of operating in Empire is unlikely to move its population. The price of items manufactured there will just increase to cover any imposition. If the costs get too high, people are more likely to leave the game than be pushed into playing it differently.

The second argument doesn’t seem to have an actual purpose – aside making the complainer happier.

As far as I can tell, there is strong demand for changes which will have no real positive impact on the game. I find this to be, well, stupid.

I am going to guess at the underlying goals being:

. Empire to have a ratio of low income, low risk

. Prefer pilots to move out of Empire once they have skilled up and got an understanding of the game

That summary might well be flawed, but that is what I am going to work from.

My personal belief is that the income of the average Empire dweller is actually low. The casual, lower skilled player make less than 10M an hour running L1-L3 missions, around 10M an hour mining solo, maybe a bit more on PI, and around 20M an hour on L4 missions. Their manufacturing and trading tends to only bring in small change.

It would take between 25 and 50 odd hours of grinding away in empire for this player to pay for a single PLEX.

If they make a concerted effort, do plenty of research, put in the hours, and have trained the appropriate skills, they can make good ISK zerging the right Level 4 Missions and maximising the LP, running Incursions, and trading on the market. You can also earn reasonable money operating a fleet of mining ships, and there are pockets in the market that you can make ok money on manufacturing (primarily in T2 and certain rigs). However – the average player doesn’t.

So – assuming you all think it is ok to earn up to 20M an hour in Empire, if you want to reduce the safe but high ISK income streams I would suggest you need to remove Empire Insursions (or cut the rewards right back), and you cut back the LP rewards for Empire based Missions.

I’m afraid I have no suggestion on how you can Nerf the income made by a relatively small number of market tycoons.

I have not targeted those people who might run a fleet of 6 mining toons. Assuming an Orca for hauling and the complexity of being able to run so many accounts efficiently at the same time (without illegal macros and scripting) they might well earn 60-100M an hour or so for their efforts. But at current PLEX prices (of 530M), they would have to run those toons for 30 to 50 odd productive hours to pay for the accounts.  Seems to be in line with the casual solo player.

The currently suggested changes based on taxes will only hit the low income Empire Player, and won’t have any appreciable impact on those safely earning the good ISK.

Is my thinking here flawed? I’ve been playing the game for six years on casual mode – I know my suggested income levels are far more realistic than what people spout.

Part 2 – thinking about the process of moving people out of Empire and into PVP in a day or three.