It may be hard to notice, but over the past year CCP has been putting a heavy focus on rebalancing and changing up the way industry works. Changes such as T2 production cost nerfs, mineral redistribution and capital requirement changes, haven’t been the most popular updates. However, undeniably, CCP has been getting things done – for better or for worse. CCP has had enough of the current status quo and wants things to change. This goal has been demonstrated with their hard and fast approach to updates, as opposed to slowly rolling out small stat changes. But it appears that maybe this tactic has been too hard and too fast for even CCP to keep up with, because recently they have stated their intentions to reverse the biggest of the industry changes – the notorious mineral redistribution.
While perhaps not notorious, the redistribution was certainly a topic of contention for the EVE player base. It created what many are calling the Summer of Rage2. For anyone who doesn’t know, this update lives up to the title. It changes the availability and location of minerals across New Eden. Traditionally, there has been some diversity regarding where to find different resources. Some minerals would be much more common in certain parts of space. This made some areas bountiful plain, ripe for harvest, and other areas less sought after. However, miners were never bound by these restrictions and if you wanted to mine and build ships out of one system, you could, however inefficient that could be. With the redistribution, these minor efficiency losses were turned to a rock hard restriction, forcing miners to source from many locations to get all the minerals required for industry. This forced ship builders to mine in several places, lose efficiency, invest in large mining programs across multiple regions, or import the resources. This change drove prices high. Now, instead of building a ship from minerals mined from your local belt, you had to pay for transportation of these same minerals from many systems.
As the patch was such a large change, it was bound to have numerous effects on New Eden. The most obvious change revolved around the costs of minerals and their products. Almost everything notable in the EVE universe uses some variation of minerals to be produced. Post-redistribution, these minerals became more expensive, and hence the prices for all products significantly increased. This was not caused by a increase in demand, but rather by a decrease in local supply. Anyone using minerals or products would have to pay not only for the product, but for the industrialist to transport materials to the building site.
The further desolation of Outer Passage and other far away systems can also be attributed to the mineral redistribution. Although these systems were never hubs of activity, the redistribution patch helped seal their coffin. Far away systems were already hard to live in. Anything being transported from Jita had to be hauled long distances through dangerous space to arrive at local market hubs. Prices would be high, but there always existed an opportunity for self-sufficient empires to grow. However, with the redistribution patch, local production became near impossible. Therefore, these regions, under redistribution, would likely never see major activity.
Although I cannot reliably prove that the invasion of Vale and Geminate was a product of the mineral redistribution, I can most definitely draw a link between the two events. Noraus, the leader of FRT, has said time and time again that he wants FRT to become the industrial powerhouse of EVE. Looking at their members, we can see why.
Anyone who roams FRT space will tell you that they are not the most PvP-hungry people. However, god help you if you fuck with FRT money or attempt to interrupt their ratting and mining. They will use all the money in their wallet to drop blinged-out ships, including supers, to get you out of their space. FRT cares deeply about their income and leadership evidently shares this focus.
Considering the redistribution changes occurred around October of 2020, it would seem no small coincidence that FRT leadership fully committed to the invasion of Vale and Geminate only a few months later. FRT living in Vale would have numerous advantages for the industry-minded alliance. Vale has close proximity to The Forge, which has both lowsec and highsec systems. This would give ample opportunity for industrialists to set up various mining operations only ten jumps from staging, as opposed to the long journey from lowsec to their old home of Oasa.
Not only does The Forge contain many systems ripe for mining, but it also is the home of the biggest trade hub in EVE. Jita is the heart of all things market related and as product mileage becomes such a prominent issue, having such an opportunistic spot right on the door of Jita helps keep FRT transport prices low. Can we say that mineral redistribution most definitely caused the invasion of Vale by FRT? No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a major factor in the decision making.
CCP hasn’t announced what exactly they are changing in redistribution; however, looking at the effects of its introduction, we can assume that most of these will be reversed. Prices will probably go back to a more reasonable level. Logistics for distant areas will become more viable and industry will be able to functional locally and without expensive transport costs. The exception to this is FRT and Vale.
Unfortunately for the previous residents of this region, it will not mean getting their home back, as FRT is likely to stay. However, one big effect isn’t simply a reversal of a previous change. Remember how in addition to mineral distribution there was also capital resource changes? Although rolling back mineral distribution will undoubtably lower capital prices by a small amount, the overbearing cost of the PI elements will keep that price high. Now consider the implications of having a price reduction in subcaps whilst new capital ships remain almost unattainable. This means that capital ships will have even smaller practical use. The resources required to kill them with subcaps will be much lower and the balance between these massive ships and their smaller counterparts will only widen. This move, in turn, encourages capital pilots to be incredibly conservative with their expensive ships, only reinforcing capital blobs. This may even wipe out a whole avenue of capital usage. HAW dreads will no longer be even close to ISK positive. Carriers will become massive floating targets, even more than they previously were. It makes these option unviable and restricts capitals to the sole task of killing other capitals. Whether or not this is seen as a positive change, it will have considerable effect on the ship meta.