There’s a count of the various planet types in Hi-Sec, Low-Sec, Null-Sec and W-Space in this wiki entry:
I expect it is out of date, but it would give a reasonable idea of the spread.
Dotlan also provides details on planet counts (although I don’t think summarised like the first link), and you can drill down to see where they all are:
The rarest planets are Plasma. I use one in my PI cycle, and I had the opportunity to plant my own POCO on it because no one else staked a claim for 24+ hours. I didn’t though, and I never planned to.
My ability to defend my POCO is limited. I could likely see off other Solo players, or a handful of lesser experienced pilots – but any partially organised and persistent corporation can take them from me. I could hire mercenaries I guess, but the cost wouldn’t be justified.
There was no use in me owning a valuable planet because someone else would just come along and take it. If they War-Dec me to take that one, they might also grab some of my other POCO’s while they were there.
I had even wondered if the Lava Planet I have was a little cheeky – but with low tax rates and it being a little out of the way, I’m hopeful no one will pay it much attention. Actually – I think my main risk is if a Corporation decides to settle in my home system, and take all of the planets for themselves.
Whether I lose one or all of my POCO, all this planning and restructuring of my PI cycle will come to naught. I have tried to be a little smart in where and what I have placed, and the tax rates that have been set. But the reality is – my POCO exist only through the grace or ignorance of others.
Now personally I don’t mind this. I’ve liked having the opportunity to get involved in this sort of aspect of the game. The fact I can lose it all fits my idea of the environment I play in. But I am an old player with plenty of skill points and a reasonable ISK balance. I am not reliant on PI income. What fun it this Empire POCO mechanism for most Causal Solo or new players? They are entirely helpless and at the whim of other players – or stuck quietly operating around the fringes where the profit isn’t worth the while of anyone else? It is not a great mechanism in that regard.
When I look at the changes being made by CCP I usually set the benchmark against what impact it will have on those solo players who like to be able to do absolutely everything for themselves. Those who gather the resource for and manufacture everything they have in game. I think the Siphon unit was brilliant for this style of play. I think the PI changes have a negative impact on that style of play.
Thinking on it – I think there needs to be an expansion of the Command Centre launch mechanism to balance things a little better. Either through skill or upgrade; increase the CC payload from 500m3 to something a little more flexible. A factory processing P0 to P1 generates 365m3 each 24 hours (if my old notes are still accurate). Maybe allow the export of two factories worth of processing – so 750m3 a launch? There should still be the 15/20% tax (or fuel costs), but you just have a little more flexibility to salvage your set ups if a Corp decides to set their planet tax at 100%. There should also be some sort of new ship module to allow you to import PI goods via an unmanned drone or shuttle. It should have around the same sort of capacity as the Command Centre, influenced by skills, although it could be a little less. Or maybe allow the fitting of a couple of these modules?
It is just to give the little guy the ability to still operate on the small scale.
Oh but this is meant to be an MMO, and you are a whiny little bitch who is not playing it right – join a corporation and stfu.
The only problem with that advice is that the vast, vast majority of players, corporations and alliances only operate within the sphere they do with the grace or ignorance of others. They are in exactly the same situation as solo players, but they just don’t realise it.
You have a POS? Most of you can’t defend it if one of the Elite groups decides to take it. You have just built up a POCO Empire since Rubicon? Most of you can’t defend it if one of the top tier Alliances decides to take over. You have a constellation and multiple stations in Providence? Most of you can’t defend it if someone stronger decided to take it away from you yet again.
But you are a member of one of the largest Coalitions? Yes, until your CEO says something stupid or argues with the Alliance leader, and you find yourself summarily booted.
There are few in this game who are truly not beholden to someone else. As such I think most mechanisms should be designed to allow scaled access for all styles of player. IMHO the new Empire POCO could do with a little finessing in that regard.