Greetings fellow capsuleers,
For the TLDR bunch: This a proposal for a new mechanic called ‘obsolescence’ which requires ships to undergo a new industrial process called ‘retrofitting’ at least once per year to avoid a stat debuff. Below is an explanation for the ‘why’ such a thing might be worth considering, and also some answers to challenges I see in its implementation.
As I understand it, scarcity was devised, at least in part, to reduce the tendency for major blocs to have thousands of unpackaged capital and super-capital ships sitting in storage, and other, stockpiling related behaviors which affect the in-game market, risk assessment, barriers to entry for certain types of content, and so on. I realize it is a complex topic with far more to be said, but the point of this post is not to enumerate every component of that.
Now we are reaching the end of scarcity and although there are always opinions to be had on every side of a topic, it seems to me if anything, scarcity increased hording tendencies rather than reduced them. There are still people selling sub-cap modules for less than their current production costs and there are still plenty of capital ships in dry storage. Admittedly, due at least partially to scarcity, but likely more so to broader industry changes, capitals are used far more sparingly, but I think most agree that’s not great for the game from a content perspective. I have no axe to grind concerning where we are now or whether or not the changes made were successful, but if we can agree that hoarding in an economy where there are little to no natural limiters to the utility of such a behavior is something we may want to address, then we can move on. Even if we can’t agree there, it might simply be something to add to further deepen the simulation aspects of our cherished game.
If you build 1000 jets and put them in a hangar for 20 years, even if people are still producing the more-or-less the same model of jet 20 years later, the nature of continually evolving production methods and refinement of materials sciences will result in those 20-year-old but otherwise brand-new jets being substantially inferior (in theory), even if no individual component has been enhanced to a degree that it would change its performance relative to other models. Technological relevancy of a production, or a company, or a country for that matter, has always been an arena wherein one has to run as fast as they can to stay in one place. And if we are talking about long term storage, this would only be exacerbated by entropy, or to put it in the simplest relevant terms, the principle that things tend to fall apart of their own accord. In the Eve we live in currently, all technology works exactly as expected and a Caracal built in 2006 is just as effective as one built in 2016. I’m not suggested we create a failure rate for ship systems and modules (even though one might make a good argument for it) but this form of obsolescence could act as a generalized (less catastrophic) proxy for that principle.
So, let’s create an example to elaborate on what this might look like. If you sit on 1000 Ravens for over a year, they would suffer a debuff to base stats, say 10%, until they were retrofitted. Retrofitting would be an industrial process, and like many of the others we already have would be tied to ship value, perhaps by way of requiring a small fraction of the components used to manufacture the ship. I realize this would prevent unpackaged ships from being considered fungible and thereby stackable, but let’s say once a ship become obsolete it could be stacked with others of the same status. In that case all you would have to track is the number of months a ship had before it’s obsolescence, and those with same number of months left could be stackable with one another, as well. This means there would only need to be a single number associated with the ships service period, which would start at 12 when it was built and decrease by 1 at the first of each month. Retrofitting the ship would simply return the number to 12. It could be that NPC stations will retrofit ships of a particular origin in exchange for ISK. Caldari stations probably couldn’t do Gallente, for example. There would also be a path for industry players to perform a retrofit with the appropriate skills and materials and/or components, and it would, by necessity, cost significantly less than the ISK cost of simply paying the NPC, which would represent the margin that the station makes for providing the service. Like everything else in the game, more advanced ships would require more advances skills and materials to retrofit, but it would still cost only a fraction of what they cost to manufacture.
Importantly, there would need to be a set of ships which would be exempt from this, if not for the sole purpose of retaining an easier environment for newcomers to the game. For example, I don’t see why rookie ships or even a core of t1 frigs would pose a problem if they were unaffected. It doesn’t really make sense that any ship would be exempt, but function must precede form and there are enough elements for new players to learn as it is.
I hope these ideas find you well,