We have previously written about the New Eden Trade Network when it was first announced back in October. The project has now moved forward enough that C4w3 was able to make an announcement on Reddit on November 21 for the official opening of the Trade Network.
As part of the launch of the network, the Mercenary Coalition Keepstar in Basgerin was freeported (opened to the public), having been a private citadel since it launched in August. The Basgerin Citadel (Tortuga) forms the central hub in the network, with the other locations being Maila, Aunenen, Jayneleb and Straloin (these last two are still to be onlined at the time of writing). The highway between the Keepstars is still under construction as well but is hoped to be completed shortly. The old deprecated network fortizars will be taken down once the new chain of Fortizars is all set up, to avoid confusion for people using it to jump across space.
The groups involved are the same as in our original article:
- Project Mayhem. <16-13>
- Snuffed Out <BBC>.
- WAFFLES. <N0MAD>
- Shadow Cartel <SHDWC>
- Darkness <DARK.>.
- Northern Coalition.<NC.>
- Pandemic Legion <-10.0>
- Legion of xXDEATHXx <X.I.X>
- Stainwagon <SW>
- Chaos Theory <KOS>
- Fidelas Constans <FCON>
- The Initiative. <INIT.>
- Mercenary Coalition <MC>
One of the concerns about the trade network is that it is a bit blue-donutey, and, as can be seen from the list, there are people on-board with the project who are currently at war with each other. The blue-donut-style agreement is meant to be only while setting up the network, but, whether, once it has been set up, any of these groups fight each other in the areas around the citadels will remain to be seen.
The profits from the network will be distributed as follows:
30% going to funding defense of the network (Paying the groups above, as well as local lowsec groups to either defend, or not attack)
25% goes to the regional managers (more on these later)
20% Oversight Funding to Chribba (with 50% of this going to various groups marked as good causes, so, Signal Cartel, Care for Kids etc)
15% Special projects (Titan Taxi project – more on that later in the article)
10% Logistics funding
The citadels, and all future structures in the network will be freeported. The majority of the Keepstars in the network have been transferred into a corp held by one of Chribbas alts. The Basgerin Keepstar remains in the control of MC, but, Chribba has full access to the Access Control Lists and an overview of the financials. This means that Chribba will be able to ensure that no one is permanently locked out of the network. The Maila Keepstar is also not controlled by Chribba, and remains in the hands of Care for Kids.
You (or your corp or alliance) can be temporarily locked out of the network. If an entity attacks any citadel in the network, they will be locked out for 10 days. If they attack during the 10 days, the timer restarts. If it happens that a member of an alliance does something, and the alliance feels they have been unfairly locked out, they can contact the regional manager of the citadel (more on that later), or Chribba, to resolve the situation.
The Regional Managers also have access to the ACL, and this is where people have more of a concern about access being removed, as if Chribba is unavailable for any period of time, it allows for the possibility of access being removed by the Regional Manager, who are usually a part of one of the groups involved in the project, and may not be as neutral as Chribba. Any revocation of access would be rectified by Chribba as soon as he was available again, but it has the potential for abuse, especially if wars and politics get heated. It would be damaging to the reputation of the network if lockouts occurred, but, then again, that sort of action is just part of eve, and is a valid tactic in a war. Logs are kept of ACL changes, so it would be visible who changed access, and presumably they would be removed from the network as soon as it was discovered, but, the damage would have been done by then. There is no real way around this, short of only have Chribba on the ACLs, which would increase his workload to a point where it is unrealistic for him to be involved.
The Keepstars in the network are the primary focus of trading, with the interspersed Fortizars providing jumping points between them, so whilst the Fortizars will have market modules (perhaps a stocking opportunity for jump fuel materials), the majority of the trade will likely be through the Keepstars, as these are strategically placed to either be handy for null sec groups, or in the case of Basgerin, an almost equal number of jumps from anywhere in Eve.
At present, there is one major stumbling block to traders using this network, and that is that CCP has not yet added API for non-ranged orders from citadels. What this means is that unless you are offshoring (placing buy orders with 1 jump range for example), orders do not show on any CREST pulls. The newly introduced ESI API also does not show citadel buy or sell orders.
The lack of API has not been a hindrance for the Perimeter or other trade hub Fortizars, but, they have the benefit of being in well-traveled regions already populated by traders. Having alts in different regions to check the state of the market is of course, possible, but it adds a layer onto trading which is not usually present these days.
The main tool for traders on the network will be via Eve-Mogul.com. As well as standard market trading, there is also a feature called “Requests”, which function somewhat like WTB contracts.
This works by the person who wants to place a request entering what it is they want delivered to the Keepstar (or Fortizar)
As you can see, there is a small note down the bottom of the image, that says “Any abuse of this system will be monitored and logged“. What this means is that the regional managers of each area will be able to approve or deny requests if they feel they are troll requests. This is primarily to stop people putting up fake requests, for, say, 100 Officer modules, but, it is again something that is open to abuse.
So, you have decided to place your request, and it has been accepted by the regional manager as a legitimate request. The request now shows up in public requests:
This is the screen that a potential supplier to the Keepstar will check. This does not correlate to a WTB contract in the issuing citadel, nor does it have a matching buy order on the market.
What this says is, someone has said they want 20k Hydrogen Fuel Blocks in one of the Fortizars in the network, with no guarantee of taking the order once it is delivered. The other missing bit of crucial information is the price that the person is willing to pay. The only price shown is the current Jita average price.
How it is meant to work is that anyone who sees the public request and wants to fill it will fly down to the citadel with the items, and list them on the open market at the price they feel is correct, then the requester can, if they want, buy the items directly from the market. This can, of course, result in many people listing the item, and only one of them getting their order filled. It can also result in the requester deciding they do not want to take any of the items, so they are just left on the market.
One way to make this more appealing to suppliers would be to have the requester provide a price per unit that they are willing to pay, as, the Jita price is largely irrelevant, because it can be obtained easily through Eve-Mogul or any other 3rd party tool or Crest pull, and most traders have a Jita alt (or are based in Jita themselves).
As for the main trading tool, this is the main strength of the mogul trading suite, but, without the API functionality from CCP, it is as yet, of no use to the citadel traders. It has applications outside of the citadels though, and I expect it will be used widely by region traders as well as station traders.
The Waffles Keepstar in Kinakka will not, as rumored, be part of the network, but, it will be freeported, so, it will be accessible to anyone who wishes to use it.
With Engineering Complexes now released onto Tranquility, there will be at a minimum, large Engineering Complexes at each of the Keepstar locations, and Mercenary Coalition have already dropped a large EC in Basgerin, and aim to have an XL deployed in the system by Christmas, to form a “Walmart of Eve” in the system, so you can do your building, then hop over to the Keepstar to sell your items. The current large EC would be converted to a maxed research location, and there will also be T2 refineries for ore and ice, leading to around 12 structures total on the Tortuga Keepstar grid.
While MC will likely be the first to have their XL EC launched on the network, the other citadels have plans already underway for placing ECs in their areas.
In addition to Basgerin, MC have also placed a Fortizar on the highsec gate into Basgerin, from Pulin, so that people who do not want to make the jump into lowsec are able to use a freeported citadel nearby. This has the same 1% tax rates as all other citadels in the network
This was something that was mentioned as a future plan in the Reddit article, but without fleshing out the proposal.
The way it is envisioned to work is, titan pilots from any alliance would be paid to set up on the network, and then there would be a schedule for them to log in and offer Titan bridging services.
This would be managed through Eve-mogul.com, and basically, customers would purchase a ticket, and the titan pilot would verify that they have paid before bridging them. There would also be cyno pilots who give their API, and this would be used via the Fleet Boss locator API to track the cyno pilots location. If they are in one of the NETC citadels, or within tether range, then they would show as available for the customer.
Titan pilots would be paid for fuel, and per person who uses the bridge, but there are no fixed numbers for the pricing yet.
Costs and Concerns
For MC, the network is very much a reimagining of their long-held freeport dream, which dates way back into Eve history, and so they are as keen to see it come to fruition as the other entities who have invested large amounts of ISK, as well as months of time into putting this project together. It has been assumed that LennyKravitz2 has been the sole patron of the project, but, there are number of investors who, having put in a lot of ISK for various aspects of the project, are equally invested in making sure the project holds together for as long as is possible in Eve.
The cost has far exceeded the 4T ISK invested by Lenny, as can be seen by a quick calculation of the cost of the BPOs and materials required for building and fitting 5 Keepstars, 20 Fortizars, as well as the costs of hiring people for defense as the network is put up, or paying them not to attack it. The ongoing costs of the network are likely to be considerable as well, so, while the people invested would, of course, like to get some return on their investment, that is likely to be some way off in the future. The total costs so far are in the region of 6T.
The thing that seems to be binding the disparate groups and individuals involved together is being part of something that has the potential to change the trading system in low and nullsec, but, whether ideals are enough to hold people together over long periods of time is another matter. Lenny has said that he would welcome explosions and content around the network, and, that is something that is sure to arise, as, one thing Eve history has shown us is that blue donuts do not hold together indefinitely.
Lenny originally had a dream of moving trade out of Jita, so that Jita only services highsec. This is somewhat unrealistic, as the most likely scenario, assuming the network takes off, is that nullsec alliances use the network as a dropping off point for their nullsec materials and goods, and then traders move the raw materials, officer modules etc to Jita for resale, and ship down goods from highsec into the network. From there the null alliances can move the items back to their own space. This would also encourage activity in lowsec, which is an area of Eve that has been overlooked by CCP for a very long time, and anything to bring more activity, and active markets to lowsec is, in my opinion, a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe Eve needs more hubs. More market locations are good for everyone, from PvErs through PvPers to Industry and Trading guys. I also believe that the location of these hubs has been carefully selected to serve the various interested parties, and so, this gives the most potential for the Keepstars to function as trade hubs. However, I do have concerns about the network. I have covered the technical concerns already, and additionally, I have concerns about the level of intel that is available through the network.
Presently, most nullsec (and lowsec) alliances source their products (especially those they need in a hurry) in Jita, as can be seen by the buyouts of ships and fitting just prior to an engagement, or during a campaign by a group. Jita has the advantage of anonymity through volume. Sure, you might know that someone has just bought out all of the large artillery cannons, but, you do not know who it was. Within the network, if someone buys out the same item, it gives more information about who they might be, as, due to the location of the individual Keepstars it is easier to narrow down the potential buyers. Yes, of course, all alliances have spies in all the other alliances so know in advance of things that are happening, but, it makes it a lot easier if you can just keep an eye on a local Keepstar.
I think there are a lot of obstacles and roadbumps to overcome in the project, not least from trying to get the wide range of groups involved to work together, but, at the very least it will provide some new trading locations in lowsec, and some potential fights.
I want to thank LennyKravitz2, Seleene from MC, and Eve-Mogul for patiently answering my “one more quick thing” questions for this article.