As a returning player, it’s been startling to see how deserted a lot of New Eden is.
Even with more players online than 2008-2014, Dodixie, Hek and Rens are all but dead.
Looking at players in space/docked on the map everyone is in Jita.
Sure, Jita 4-4 has been the economic center of the game and the busiest station since forever.
But the scale that has gotten to isn’t having a positive impact on the game.
And almost all of that can be put down to slots.
Empire was long the domain of industry carebears. A group and play style very much focused on supply chain efficiency, and will establish their manufacturing base as close to a trade hub as is profitable.
System cost index simply isn’t a powerful enough mechanic to encourage these players to spread out and populate Empire.
Slots were the perfect way to achieve that. They were completely egalitarian, isk and skills had no influence on getting a spot. It was just a queue the richest industrialist would have to wait through alongside the poorest noob.
If you wanted to manufacture, you had to spend the time to find a good, quiet station with open slots, haul mats in and products out.
RESEARCH slots being gone is definitely a positive. They were pointless except as a commodity for a corp with POS.
But manufacturing slots forced manufacturers to spread out and prevented Jita 4-4 eating the universe.
Bringing them back would have a great impact on the game, forcing empire players to soread out, bringing the universe back to life for new players, revive the other hubs and forcing pirates to spread out as well.
The system cost index SHOULD stay as well, but manufacturing slots need to be limited.
It would also be great to have the NUMBER of slots influenced by system security as well.
1.0 having some base number of slots, increasing by X% per security level down to null.
Having a small number of slots at 1.0 would also discourage big manufacturers from clogging up starter systems, giving new players an opportunity in their first couple of weeks to get started.
This should apply to upwell structures as well.
If a corp needs more slots, they need another complex, or to move to a lower security system.
I think this is a simple mechanic that would have a massive impact on activity in New Eden