A contract you can't resist
We had quite a reaction to my last (and first) dev blog (you should read that before starting this one if you haven't already so you can view things in context).
In this blog (don't worry, it'll be considerably shorter than the last) I'll address some of the concerns people have voiced about the upcoming contract system as well as clear some things up that were causing misunderstandings.
The contracts team (The C-Team) has spent the last week or so focusing on some of the kinks in the current design and working with a select few from the community in ironing them out. We understand that people don't want to train more skills and that no one likes features being taken away from them. At the same time we are dedicated in making the Eve world a better place for all of us.
However, despite popular opinion we do listen to feedback from our player base and we do respond and fix things when needed. Even though we don't post on the forums all the time, it doesn't mean we're not paying attention.
What we have to be concerned with is the relationship between contracts and the market. We don't want the contracts to replace the market for player-to-player trading but we don't want it to be less-than-optimally useful either. We want items to be traded in-game rather than through forums or other websites. Why? Because it's more fun for the players!
Hmmm, this is a pickle... Okay, let's see. We even dragged Hellmar in for a sit-down to discuss the possible repercussions of some of the proposed changes.
Here's a list of some of the community's concerns and our response (in some cases de-nerfifying)
Taxes 'n things
The original dev blog was a bit hazy on this and had an error as well. It said:
For public contracts, the cost of setting up a contract is going to be proportional to the amount money you get for successfully completing it. The cost will also increase with the amount of time your contract is visible...
This is not entirely correct and a bit misleading.
Taxes will be proportional (in public contracts only) to the minimum amount of money you can pay or receive from a successful contract. That means that for auction contracts, the starting bid is used to determine the taxation, so if you put a starting bid at 1B ISK and buyout at 10B ISK you are only taxed from 1B ISK.
Another thing that wasn't mentioned is that there will be a yet-undetermined roof on the contract tax, meaning that if you put up an auction of a BPO for (say) 1B ISK you will be taxed the same as someone putting up a BPO for 10B ISK (these numbers are just plucked out of a hat. Game Design has not done the final work on these levels). But we want ultra-expensive stuff to be sold through the contract system, and the cheap stuff to go through the market, and you'll see the tax reflect that.
There will be extra taxation on heavily loaded systems (or a discount on not-so-loaded systems, however you want to put it) to encourage people to post contracts in a more distributed manner. This model will be applied to other things as well in the future.
For private contracts, there will be just a fixed fee of something like 1000 ISK to discourage spamming.
Okay, so that's taken care of. Sounds okay so far, doesn't it?
Nooooo, not more skills!!!
There was a bit of guessing and a lot of assumptions from players regarding how the skills would work. Some of this stems from the fact that we didn't give you guys a lot of details, so here it is.
Contracting (Rank 1) is a skill for increasing the number of outstanding contracts you can have concurrently up as an individual. It will allow you to have a maximum of ~15 outstanding (non-inner-corp) contracts at level 5.
The Corporation Contracting (Rank 3) skill will allow you to maintain a huge number of concurrent "on behalf of corporation" contracts at level 5, something in the vicinity of 60. Note that this is a limit on the character's ability to create contracts for the corp, not a constraint on the number of concurrent outstanding contracts that the corp can have which will be fixed to 500 (as well as character-issued contracts).
Based on feedback from our players these will be the only two new skills for contracting. We will use the already-established trade skills for lowering taxes and handling some of the paperwork.
Also, you will be able to create limitless (up to that 500 roof) number of contracts issued to your own corporation or members in your own corporation, whether you are issuing on behalf of the corporation or not without requiring any skills, thus allowing any kind of inner-corporation management without spending time on skill training.
We've gone back to the drawing board and come up with some new numbers.
The maximum expiration of contracts will be 2 weeks for public contracts and about a month for private ones. The cost of setting up public contracts will still depend on the expiration. If you're pretty confident you can sell your Apoc in a day at the price you're requesting you will save a bunch of ISK in advertising cost by not putting a longer time on it.
Saving the best for last ;-)
Marvelous upgrades have been made in the crotch area since my last blog and as a consequence, it will be possible to view contracts from other regions. I won't bore you with the technical details but it has to do with subspace... and tachyons... and a gerbil (don't ask).
It is yet to be determined exactly how this will function but in all likelihood you have to select a region as one of the filter parameters in your contract list and viewing other regions than the region you're currently in is going to take a tad longer and might have some moderate restrictions.
So, you will be able to view contracts in any one region at a time and you will not be able to accept contracts in another region than you're currently in. Note that for corporation and inner-alliance contracts, this is not the case and they can be accepted from anywhere.
It's possible that we'll extend this look-but-don't-touch model to cover other region-related systems in the future.
This is just the first version and we're going to do some pretty useful things with the system in subsequent releases. We value your feedback and note down ideas that float around the forums. Trading kill rights as contracts sounds interesting, as well as accept-and-deliver contracts (Adam accepts a contract to deliver to Betty 10 Raven's by next Tuesday). It's all going into our little black book, so keep up the brainstorming :-)
I'm sorry if I offended anyone with the crotch acronym, but I was paying homage to the greatest TV show ever made (exercise for the reader). We're not really going to name anything "crotch" ;-)
Please feel free to comment on this, and if you have specific questions we'll respond in the comments section in a few pages' time.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed, both in comments to the blog and privately. I think we'll make this a pretty cool system that everyone can be happy with :)