A lot of words incoming so if you don’t have time the TL;DR version is if an item that already exists in-game and is reintroduced from outside the game it has a knock on effect that touches everyone in some way regardless of whether the item was gifted by CCP or purchased from them.
The Castor expansion of 2003 allowed players to engaged an R&D agent who rewarded them with Research Points. RP were then used in the Tech 2 Blue Print Original lottery by entering all the awarded RP or holding them back to accumulate more for a better chance at “winning” a T2 BPO. These were “won” based on the amount of research points invested in the lottery although there were concerns that CCP was rigging the outcome as specific user groups seemed to be having better luck. A successful lottery entry was given an unlimited run T2 BPO, the type of which was apparently drawn randomly. This in turn instantly gave wealth to a small circle of players who owned them. There were calls to remove them from the game and an equal push back from the existing owners. CCP’s first attempt to break the monopoly came during the Revelations expansion of 2008 and the introduction of invention. The dominance of a small number of players holding T2 BPO’s continued for many years while CCP tweaked invention outcomes and manufacturing requirements with little effect.
I purchased a Covetor BPO late in 2008 for the sole purpose of inventing T2 Exhumers and manufacturing them for the open market. I acquired the BPO by flying to Outer Ring, purchasing it in the Outer Ring Excavation Refinery at 4C-B7X for 1.7 billion Isk and flying it the 20 odd jumps out of Null Security space. I had an Alt scouting the way looking for bubbles while everything I had accumulated in the game was tied up in that one courier run and it was, without a doubt, the scariest and most exciting trip I have ever made.
I researched ME and TE as high as practicable (in the days before the 10/20 cap) then set about inventing Hulk BPC’s because that was where the money was. There were very few T2 Hulk BPO’s in game, players that owned them regulated the price and kept it high. That greed allowed me to drop small numbers on the market, undercutting and making good Isk. To put that in perspective a Hulk on the market in Jita in 2008 was around 1/2 a billion isk. I made significant Isk over the next six years, but all good things come to an end.
Hang on whats that got to do with Retrievers and the Prospector pack?
Bouyed by my initial success in the market I expanded my collection to include the Retriever and Procurer BPO’s. At the time there was little or no call for Skiff’s (Procurer BPO) and the Mackinaw (Retreiver BPO) due to the limited specialist nature of each Hull. Skiffs had 1 high slot and had hull bonuses for Mercoxit mining. Makinaws had 2 high’s and were Ice specialists. While I had some internal orders for the Mackinaw from my Alliance I never produced them specifically for sale. I used the Retriever BPO to make Retrievers for the open market and this is why I am adding my 2 Isk worth to the discussion. The balances and nerfs that directly impacted my industrial empire happened over time and more often that not there was warning of the impending change. These warnings gave me time to adjust to whatever facet of the industrial cycle was being changed. The changes made in 2014 following the Kronos Expansion meant I could no longer make a decent profit so I sold my BPO’s and bought a Ragnarok, which didn’t really go as planned, but it was a slow burn of changes over 6 years. Not really devastating, just pushed me out of production.
With that in mind consider what it would be like to sink your entire fortune into a process and then without warning the item you produce is now available for cash immediately. No time to react, no time to plan. There will be a group of players who won’t buy your product because it is available in the cash shop with modules, skills and skins to sweeten the deal. That buddy of yours in Null who gets the Zydrine and Megacyte now has to look for other markets to fill his wallet. High Sec low grade ore miners also need to find a new market. Mining laser and strip miner makers lose orders, Crystal makers lose orders, Mining module makers lose orders. The little guy selling Shield Boosters loses orders. The guy making Afterburners loses orders. Drone makers lose orders. Also give a thought to the player who wasn’t manufacturing ships but selling BPO’s. Their max researched Retriever BPO’s will take a hit because who wants to make stuff when you can buy it and get skins and skills as well?
Adding ships for cash causes ripples throughout the game. While the Prospector Pack didn’t have a direct impact on my game I am reasonably sure that if it had become a permanent feature then something in my game would have been impacted.
I hold out hope that CCP see sense and look for other ways to monetize their product that don’t impact current players, however hope fades a little every day because the Retriever pack is still advertised at the end of the Mining NPE.
I don’t have the answer, I just know that packs like this are not good for the player driven economy.
Fly Safe as Always,