A new trade network of linked citadel markets is taking shape. Strategic systems, based on freighters jump range, have been picked to allow safe passage of hundreds of millions in cargo volume to flow into areas that were previously too dangerous to actively supply. The net result may be well-supplied markets in deep space, however, the story as with everything in Eve, has many angles and reactions.
We have been keeping an eye on rumours since August that things were developing involving citadels and LennyKravitz2 since he changed his plans to take down Fortizars in The Forge, but these went quiet a few weeks ago.
Then on September 30, Lenny replied to comments on Reddit about a second Care for Kids Keepstar being anchored (we covered the original one being anchored here), saying that he was behind the launch, and that this one was not the same as the previous Care for Kids citadel.
Lenny said that the Aunenen citadel was one of his and that he wasn’t using the “Charity shield” (the idea that some people have that you should not shoot at charity citadels). He stated that <CARE> were just the group for that location, and that other groups would be taking other locations. He also said there would be more information to follow.
The “more information” arrived on September 2 in a Reddit post.
The short version is that Lenny has got most of the major alliances on board, with the goal of setting up a network so they do not need to go to Jita.
The Alliances we know are on board so far are:
- 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>
Initially, it was stated that these alliances had agreed to either drop a citadel for the network, not attack the network, or provide defense for the network. This has now been clarified by Lenny, to say that the agreement to not shoot the citadels was just temporary, although the option remains to hire them.
Lenny is also in discussions with Goonswarm to enable access to Aridia, but when approached for comment, TheMittani said” We’re not giving him any such green light, in case that was unclear. He has approached us and I’ve said ‘no'”.
Aside from the Imperium alliances, TEST is also a notable exception to the alliances onboard with the project.
The Trade Network
From the little information we have so far, it seems that the network will work like this:
Alliances who want to deploy a Keepstar as part of the network will drop it in the region allocated to them. Once it has anchored, it will be transferred to the New Eden Trading Company.<WTO>, under the control of Chribba.
The broker fees will be set at 1%. Originally, the suggestion was to have 25% of the profits go to goodwill projects, but this was met with an overwhelmingly negative response. Lenny has now said that there will be 0-15% going to him (for redistribution), with 10%-25% to Chribba,10-15% to a logistics fund, 15% for future projects(such as a Titan taxi service), 25-30% to a defense fund, and 25% to branch managers.
[UPDATE: Lenny clarified his position on distribution: It is an either/or, with Lenny getting 0% and Chribba getting 25%, or, Lenny getting 15% and Chribba getting 10%. This depends on the availability of Chribba for distributing the 15%. Either way, the 15% will be distributed to various goodwill projects within Eve]
There are, understandably, many questions relating to this. As yet, Lenny has not given out much information beyond trying to reassure people that these will be freeport locations and that Chribba may provide monthly ISK reports to show the distribution of isk.
There is uncertainty about whether the citadels are aimed primarily at super trading. Lenny’s comments so far on Reddit indicate that he envisions that the trade network will provide full trading for all of null sec and low sec. In his vision, the role of Jita will be only to service highsec.
However, for many people, the only reason for using a Keepstar is for trading supers, with alliances already providing their own in-house supplies, or having their own citadels for buying and selling. So the larger vision depends on if Lenny can convince people to use it for more day-to-day items such as building materials, modules and ammo.
The vision is to have one central Keepstar, then deploy others in a network around them, ultimately branching out like octopus arms from a central point. There are 6-8 Keepstars planned, with more than forty Fortizars providing mid-points and cyno locations.
The idea behind this configuration is that a null alliance would use their local Keepstar in the network instead of sourcing their items from Jita. This raises problems with opsec. If a citadel in a given region suddenly has an NPC alt buying out 200 Megathrons, it is not too much of an effort to see which is the local alliance. This narrows down the options much more than trying to assess what an NPC alt in Jita doing the same thing is up to. Of course, you can buy from somewhere else in the network, utilizing the Fortizars as mid-points, but, this is just adding extra layers of effort for your logistics pilots.
The central Keepstar would be supplied from Jita, with Lenny suggesting that they are in talks with highsec mercs to provide escorts for traders shipping items out. Presumably this flow of traffic would be two-way, as goods from null would need to get into Jita as well, otherwise T2 prices may rise a little, and, it is unlikely that null entities are about to shift into building all their own modules, ammo, and rigs, or trying to offload their officer and deadspace modules within the local area. It will also be interesting to see how escorts to prevent ganking plays out.
Lenny has also mentioned extensive market tools for people using his network, saying that the site (the web address is as yet unannounced) will allow for groups to request stocking of assets, and for traders to look and see what is needed. This is presumably similar to tools which alliances have for letting industrialists and traders know what doctrine fittings need to be supplied, which may go some way to solving the problem of citadel orders not showing on the CREST API (unless they are ranged buy orders), but does not solve the issue for traders with regards to whether they have been outbid, or obtaining the new price for fast updating.
Whilst Lenny has said that his aim is to provide content in the form of fighting, with such a large group of alliances agreeing not to attack the network and other groups such as Escalating Entropy and Bastard Cartel being part of the standing defense fleet, it seems unlikely that any meaningful content would be created in the vicinity of the network. With tethering mechanics being what they are, getting in and out of the citadels in safety is not an issue either, and if/when CCP bring in bumping protection in tether range, accessing the citadels becomes even safer.
It seems like there are interesting changes happening within the peripheral trade networks in Eve, whether Lenny’s vision comes to full fruition or not. Redefining where people trade is not an easy task, and is certainly not as easy as dropping some citadels and hoping they get used. Many of the original arguments about pushing people out of Jita apply in this case.
CO2 are dropping the next Keepstar, and there will be more being placed shortly after. Lenny has said there will be a proper announcement on Monday, so we will be watching the developments with interest.