Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Noctis- What to do once we have the BPO

The Uni is planning to acquire a Noctis BPO to make available to our students. Despite what students may think, the biggest concern is not acquiring the BPO, but coming up with a fair distribution of how to allocate the BPO once we have it.

Once we do get the BPO, I may put it into research, at least for a few levels of ME. If I do or not will depend on the pricing structure we're using to distribute the new ships. Let me explain several different suggestions that have been given to the Uni for how to use the Noctis, and what I feel are the pros and cons of some of the approaches.

1. BYOM:  This approach would involve putting the BPO in for the BYOM program.  Here, students bring us the required minerals, and we build them a ship. Any student would be allowed to produce the Noctis for mineral costs. It would keep the ship very affordable for Uni students, even when it is brand new. However, we have some downfalls. First, students will be getting it for significantly below market prices. 

Why is this a bad thing, you may ask.  If the Uni is giving Noctis away that cheap, students will have a huge incentive to sell it on the market at the drastically inflated prices people will be paying for the first few weeks or days. A lot of students wouldn't actually be using it for their own use, so its the equivalent of the Uni just donating the price difference (at least tens of millions per ship) to the students.  If the Uni had just sold to the market themselves, and cut out the student middleman, then the money could be applied to uni programs.

Secondly, and compounding the first problem, is that demand at these low prices will be MUCH higher than supply.  How can the Uni fairly determine who gets the first few ships, and who won't get their request filled for weeks later? This could cause a lot of drama and accusations of favoritism, especially as the first people will make huge profits reselling, while later people will not make nearly as much.

2. PYOS: This option involves using the PYOS program, where students just buy the ships at mineral prices plus a few percent. It saves the effort of gathering minerals, but has all of the same problems as the BYOM option.

3. The Auction:  This is the approach I personally favor, where any Noctis we produce will be set up on contract in the Uni to auction to the highest bidder.  This has the advantage of keeping it within the Uni, and at a more market drive price (but probably a bit lower than the price in Jita, considering the Uni demographics).

However, the higher prices also mean that the first Noctis will go to the richer Uni students.  Conversely, those richer students will drive up prices for the Noctis by bidding against each other, and reduce the obscene profits that they would make under the other options.  However, this does open up the Uni to the charge that it's exploiting its students.  I don't really understand how we can exploit people by offering them things at market prices, but I can guarantee some student or outside person will make a drama filled post complaining about it.

4. Taxes:  The last option I've had proposed to me is to do a review of the wallet, figure out which students have contributed the most in taxes over the last x weeks, and give them first chance to buy the noctis at mineral cost.  While it does reward the mission runners in the Uni, it also seems to imply that we value their contributions more than PVPers, traders, or wormhole raiders, which we don't. I'm not a big fan of this approach.

5. Auction: Simply do an auction for the first 10 Noctis off the production run, at a profit to the Uni, but not what we would get selling to market.  I also like this idea, as it does make it accessible to new students, as well as removing some possibility for drama.

6. Sell on Public Market: Just sell it at the local market hubs at market prices, and use the isk to fund Uni programs.  Students don't get a Noctis for cheap, but the Uni as a whole may benefit from our increased revenue being used to fund some nice new projects.

7. Not bother. The last option is to just say that its too much headache, and doesn't really benefit the Uni enough as a whole to make it worthwhile.  We'll just get a Noctis print at a later point of time when it is a more reasonably priced ship, and treat it like all our other blueprints (BYOM and PYOS).

What do you think? How do you feel the Uni should distribute the Noctis?  What would you do if it was your decision?


  1. Personally I'd prefer option 3, as it looks like the most fair one.

    Granted, the average student won't be able to afford the first few Noctis (which will go to the richer, probably-long-time-students), but at least the profits from that go towards the Uni and the price will eventually drop (below market levels, for sure).

  2. What about a PYOS lottery? If not that I would say option 3

  3. What do you mean a PYOS lottery? Can you give me some more details?

  4. Ok how about this...

    1) You could have a lottery for who gets their ship first so there is no signs of favoritism. You could set a given time for buy contracts to be put up and the first say 10 would be in the first round and then have multiple rounds after that has ships are ready.

    2) Same as above only there is a extra cost for being in the lotto that would go to the Uni, like 10 million isk, or something like that.

    Something like that anyway. It kinda bridges the gap between rich players winning the auction and favoritism of who gets their ship first.

  5. I would just sell it on the market for the Uni's wallet. Makes some nice ISK out of it that contribute most to the Uni's students.
    After the prices has settled, use it for PYOS/BYOM.
    Whoever wants one can buy it from the market at fair value all the time. Whatever one is willing to pay that is.
    Or auction it of if you really want to.

  6. Post edited to include new suggestions

  7. I think the auction or public market are the only truly fair solutions. The auction has the advantage of keeping them within the Uni, and may keep the price below market value. Since (I assume) the goal is for these first few to be used by students, I'd lean toward the auction.

    Also, since the Noctis is really a salvager, I don't think offering them to missioneers first is inappropriate. They will get the most mileage from them and are least likely to resell them. The same is true for salvaging WH ops, but that's harder to measure (and therefore harder to keep fair.)

    And honestly there's nothing wrong with waiting. The Uni provides great value to it's students even without cheap ships. Waiting takes pressure off the group that needs to sneak the BPO out of 0.0, gives you more time to research it, and costs the students nothing - those that want one can fight the crowds at the mall.

  8. In my opinion , the most fair way of dealing with it is selling it on the open market. Fair enough, the first few ships might not make it to the students but all of them will still profit from the money made.

    Any kind of lottery, selling way under market value or auctioning off would be unfair and/or plain stupid from the point of view of a corporation :)

  9. I'd prefer the option for an action or public market first to make some money of it and make sure that uni members have access to the ship at or near market prices (without having to travel a lot). When the market stabilises, research the bpo and make it available for byom and pyos.
    I don't like the idea of making it available to mission runners only. Some uni members run missions on alts and use their uni character for pvp; they should be able to get this ship as well.

  10. 7, anything else is going to cause drama.

    Who am I kidding? No matter what, it is going to cause drama.

    7 though really.

  11. Internal auction would be my suggestion - initial purchases will be at a high price for the richer players only, later purchases will be for everyone, when the price settles to a realistic rate, pass it over to PYOS/BYOS.
    I might even suggest you hold the first 5(or whatever) as competition prizes aimed at newer uni members and make everyone happy.
    That way, yeah they could sell them, or they could keep them, but either way they've earned them.