Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Yesterday, frustrated with timers, Kaeda gifted me his POCO empire (and frustrations). Before I wrote about it I asked him if he minded my writing about it. He said go ahead and gleefully, I seized the topic. I was gleeful because sometimes people tell me no or ask me not to write about things. I don't write about everything but I'm somewhat unpredictable and anyone that has read for a while knows that interesting interactions will tend to bubble up to the blogs pages.

Part of gaining the POCOs was setting them up. My POCO rates are as such:
Corp/Alliance/+5/+10 all have a 0% tax rate.
Everyone else has a 3% tax rate.
I started taking POCOs in Bosena a few months ago. It is quite an irritating place to shoot POCOS due to it being so busy. My goal was to take all of them but that requires people helping me out and, well, it gets boring. I have some. I may get more. I did it as something of an advertisement for TCS and because it was something I had not yet done. I also got to play with some planning. I set up cyno inhibitors when people decided to put their dreadnoughts to the cause. I sent out an alt network to watch gates and generally had a lot of fun doing the support and intelligence work needed.

Over the months the POCOs have started to pay themselves off. It is not a huge stream of ISK. Often it is 20k here and 100k there. Still, I find the entire PI process fascinating. It is should I really wish that I was better at doing. My TCS alts would make great PI characters. Maybe, I'll give it a try again and figure out what I keep doing wrong.

CCP opened up player owned POCOs in high sec with Rubicon. As with many things we ask, "Is this a conflict driver?" the answer is yes. While various people may have had dreams of what would and would not happen with POCO they have indeed been conflict drivers. Beyond the drama happening in high sec as groups wage war against each other for ISK and morality, there are smaller ripples like my corporation mate who has shut down all of his high sec POCOs due to the tax rates.

I was reminded of groups that lock their POCOs down for corp/alliance/allies and up the rates for everyone else. In high sec, as players claw for ISK from their POCOs and reduce the ISK for themselves, they are creating a ripple that pushes people away from the populated areas and out of empire all together. It increases the possibility that a place like Bosena that sits just outside of high sec becomes more appealing. There is the 'safe' high sec 20% tax rate or a low sec 3% tax rate that requires a little bit of prior scouting and maybe the loss of an industrial now and then.

Raziel commented in chat that with the current state of taxes he believes that a C1 is the best PI choice. I do not disagree with him on that. However, there are more potential negatives and decisions for a wormhole then there will be for a low sec system. The PI will also be a lot better, as it should be considering the difference between toe dipping in low and wormhole diving. But, the two are both reasonable options that reflect the amount of risk the person is willing to take and how much gain they are willing to take that amount of risk for.

I'm reminded of a Plasma planet that is deeper into the Molden Heath loop that always had a steady stream of activity around it. The owner cut the tax rate low because if he didn't people would shoot the POCO. He ether had to add them as blues or decrease the tax rates if he wanted to keep it. While my POCOpire is not that networked to be the most amazing series of planets, I'm curious how the long term results of what I consider to be a reasonable tax rate will be. 


  1. Excluding highsec (and all the various rules and shenanigans that go with it), I have a couple thoughts.

    First, depending on the immediacy of wallet flashes and information from said flash, if it's possible to gank ships as you'd know exactly which poco which character just exported from.

    Second, excluding highsec again, I suspect that there's be a race to the bottom on poco tax rates barring some larger group taking those poco's to set a higher tax rate for more profitsss (and the commensurate risk management calculations that should go with it). Having such a low tax rate should mean that anyone taking said PI mats to highsec for sale can safely edge out competition as the margin with 3% tax is considerably higher than the nonsense that highseccers have to put up with.

    Assuming lowsec bears that do PI would subsequently flock to those 3% tax planets, there's going to be an over harvesting effect and reduce the output for everyone using that planet. Basically Tragedy of the Commons.

  2. As a customer of your Bosena POCO's, I have to say thank you for the 3% tax rate! With tax rates the way they are in highsec and the fact that you have to train Custom Code Expertise on each PI alt, I suspect more people will see the benefit of moving to low sec in the future.

    POCO ownership has caused some notable fights (high Gevlon!) but they've been pretty meh as conflict drivers overall. What I had hoped for is larger entities fighting one another over POCO's in high sec but it seems most of the larger organizations would rather live and let live than fight one another (I'm looking at you, RvB).

    Sadly, the only wars that seem to be happening are larger entities pushing out smaller groups and consolidating their holdings. Low sec is not immune to this as well, The Weak and the Scrawny (Shadow Cartel Front?) have taken over a larger number of POCO's recently and jacking up the tax rates. I'm honestly surprised most folks don't shoot a POCO when they want a fight with a particular entity, they're practically guaranteed to show up. I don't wander low sec as much as other readers tho, is this something that happens?

    1. My POCOs are owned by TCS so they fall under the Cult of Reasonable Prices. Watching what moves gives me an idea as to how profitable it is to have reasonable prices. Then I can go and preach my gospel. I'm going to have to go sit down with one of my data extracting friends and probably jEveAssets and pull my POCO income from my wallet to show what it is actually doing. Future plan that.

      POCO like moon mining POS are items that will always be held by the largest powers. It is beyond frustrating to have a resource in your back yard that you cannot touch because some huge group will have the time to mobilize and stomp you out.

      But when we speak of conflict drivers, I don't mean great wars. While it would be nice if the large groups just attacked each other all the time that is't how we tend to work as people. What is happening is things like this post, where people are moving outside of their areas of comfort and starting to weigh situations with more than 'most easy'.

  3. I'd love to see some income data. Capital storm owns about 15 and we are currently making about 50mil a week but the value has been steadily rising as more people contact me regarding standings (so they don't get shot) and more people move in the area It really seems to depend on how many barren/lava/plasma planets you can get though.

  4. Honestly I thought that with POCO changes in HS that plasma and storm planet would become hotbeds of conflict, and a bottleneck. That people would start raising taxes on them. That doesn't seem to have happen as the prices of goods produced on those planets has in fact dropped. (I lost a lot of isk on that gamble.) I suspect what has happened is the NPC CO are still cheap as we've trained up our skills, and the owned ones have a tax race downward.

  5. I can tell you why tax rates haven't been high - RvB and the CFC entered a mutual defence POCO pact. Part of this pact includes a 5% tax rate to neutrals.

    When TDC leaked the high sec POCO story, I immediately posted a thread on the RvB forums suggesting that we seize all the POCOs in our area for fun and profit. RvB, as an alliance, has limited income, and this could help. However, this idea was pretty obvious and the goons decided to do the same.

    It was realized that if we fought each other during the big "land grab" part it would be tremendously counter productive, so we split the POCOs and formed the pact. The goons now control a few dozens high sec POCOs, RvB has well over 200. We decided that we were going to be responsible landlords and set our reasonable tax rate. This has resulted in hundreds of stable and reasonable POCOs around the Forge.

    (I was going to write about the conflict this engendered with Gevlon, his Lemmings and Marmite, but this is a long story and I won't burden your blog with it. The most entertaining part is here: :) )

    However, there are waaaaay too many highsec POCOs in EVE for us to control. I've heard of 20% tax rates too. In fact I've heard rumours that Marmite has captured some and set tax rates at 100%!

    So yes, in many areas of the Empire, doing PI out of high sec makes sense...

  6. Sugar, if you ever want to talk about poco ownership on a larger scale i'm happy to chat. We have comprehensive data going back about 16months, with over 7500 unique characters. Our default rate is 10% which we feel represents the increased yield lowsec PI provides, however we do run lower rates for people that use our network extensively.
    They don't make loads of isk, but they have created some fun fights and they don't need refueling which is nice.

    What they could do with is some revisiting regarding the way they are managed in game as the system is not set up for people owning hundreds of pocos - if i wanted to modify our tax rate it would be a lot of clicking and if I want to buy a large amount, the seller has to go to the system in question - both of those could do with being fixed.

    1. Oh that would be cool. I can do some basic comparisons to similar planet/system sec types and do numbers badly all over the place. Thank you for the offer. I'm going to go figure out how to make it happen and come harass you.

      Now, for the tax rate. Yes, there is an increase yield that low sec provides. However, part of my entire 'cult' is to move away from taking a set number such a 10% and decreasing that and seeing if it is still profitable or becomes more profitable due to the increased usage. It also allows for a lack of complexity such as reduced rates for various groups with a global rate of warm fuzzies. But, its all still new to me so i have to see how it hashes out :)

      As for the fights, I agree :D

      And as for the system of tax rates being terrible I also agree. However, that problem is in the name. Player Owned Customs Offices. Rhavas, I believe, calls them Corporation Owned Customs Offices because that is what they are. I believe that POCOs are one of those UIs created without looking at the large scale corporation usage that would come with their implementation. The current UI feels more like a "I live in this system and own these POCOs" vs what has actually happened with the rise of POCOpires.