Well here we are. Two days before a patch. This patch has the potential to change quite a bit once one gets through the patch notes. Sure the PvP players are going to be disappointed. They always whine unless there's new toys to pew with. Well, except for the scorpion pilots - most of those are excited.
CCP needed to make this patch relevant. The amusing thing is that it's now going to be relevant no matter how bad the PI feature itself is. I have a feeling that just like the CEO controls and corporate UI that it's just going to be one of those features we'll need to live with (for the most part). Why you ask? Because of what the feature is going to be used for. Towers and Sov structures.
Think about it. Towers have some convenient uses and some critical uses. One cannot emphasize enough how critical Sov structures are. Not to mention outposts. IF you have the fleet to be able to stand up to what ever is coming at you. Those structures are what will slow the enemy down enough for you to fight their fleet off. Not to mention they are key in allowing your alliance to exploit 0.0.
Want to skip the horrible queues for research in high sec (not to mention do it more cheaply)? Setup a tower for BPO research. Want to make T2 or T3 ships? You'll need a tower or outpost for research and assembly and there's no way to escape using a tower to react the gasses. Any reaction for that matter needs a tower. Any moon mining needs a tower. So, no towers = no T2, no T3. Want to establish a jump bridge network? Towers. Want to build a super capital? Towers AND sov structures. Want to operate a mining op in a system without a station? Better have a tower to retreat to.
You need to move on beyond the newbies to understand just how important these structures are for capsuleers. Most PvP players at least at the low sec level and when doing sniper HAC roams in 0.0, find that the cruiser/battlecruiser classes are the sweet spot for PvP fun. But there's a reasons that battleships are the backbone of the 0.0 fleets (as it should be for something named battleship). They are the backbone of any good tower assault/defense fleet as well. For FCs dealing with POS assets and attack/defense of same, the go/no go consideration is the battleship fleet. Without starbases to attack and defend, the battleships (not to mention the dreadnoughts) would be much less popular than they are now.
Most people consider the Dreadnought and Carrier and large battleship fleets to be the "end game" of EVE. To a certain extent this is true. But do not loose sight of the fact that the reason these are there is because of the towers and what can not be done without them. We're now being put into the pipeline for supplying these critical items. Because of this, I have no fear that PI will, eventually, be successful. There is no choice. These items are too critical to the functioning of the end game. However PI will initially seem like a bust as early adopters get bored and leave it just as the market gets the staged removal of the end products.
Remember for people to get into PI beyond a little dabbling, it has to be profitable. For it to be profitable there needs to be demand for its goods. Until the NPC sell orders are removed there is going to be no demand. Egg (PI) meet Chicken (CCP). I can foresee market forces buying PI materials on the cheap while the demand has not yet kicked in. And hoarding for the day that the towers and stuff are removed from the market. Manufacturers like myself will be picking up the BPOs. But from what we can see there should be a TONNE of them and we suspect they will be in the cruiser to supper captial range in cost. BPOs usually cost 10 times the intended final price. Expect a full sized tower BPO to cost 4 bil. Expect there to be a bit of a lag before there are enough to go around. And even then only those who can see the writing on the wall, that no matter how little profit there is right after release, once those goods go bye bye, there is enormous profit to be made.
I'm sure the rich large alliances are laying in stores of towers and sov units. These should tide a part of 0.0 over until the market stabilizes. Mind you it will also tie up enormous quantities of capital. The end result is going to be chaos when the training wheels come off. The industrialists of EVE should be fairly busy within about a month.