With the aid of one of my alliance pilots we did a little tour of the blueprints on Sisi last night. I take back everything I ever thought about this expansion being a placeholder expansion. This is going to be one of THE major industrial expansions for EVE. The mechanics of PI itself are rather lackluster. What's going to kick things in the pants is what you can do with the new end products of PI.
Control towers, POS modules, Sov structures, Station Materials...
There are blueprints for all of these on the market in Sisi. Pardon me but OMG is this big. Oh and BTW, just about all of them use Capital Construction Parts... The implication for the cost of a tower BPO is staggering. I fully now expect all these BPOs to cost between the price of cruiser BPO (probably for things like small POS gun batteries) all the way up to capital ship BPOs (for things like large control tower BPOs and Sov structures).
People have been concentrating on the extraction methods without considering the implications of switching ALL of these things over to player manufactured. You know all those "cheap" Capital Construction Part bpc's on the market? wave bye bye to the "cheap" part. They just got popular. Getting into PI? - not so hard, getting into tower and module manufacture? I hope you got your capital construction skill to at least 1.
This is a heads up people. PI itself is only the tip of the iceberg. Think about it you want to put a research tower up in high sec? PI material demand. You want to claim sov in 0.0? PI material demand. You want to replace that moon mining tower that got killed? PI material demand. You want guns on your POS, Ship maintenance array, etc... PI material demand... Eventually.
The adoption problem
Here is my worry. CCP is going to phase out NPC goods over the next few weeks. They say they are going to monitor the adoption of PI. I don't have a problem with controlling the phasing out of the NPC goods. BUT! I have a problem with the "monitoring" part of that process. Here is my reasoning: Until the NPC goods are gone there is no way to judge the true "demand" side of the equation. And on top of that, none of these things exist in isolation. Each category of NPC goods (including towers and the rest that can now be made) that you remove from the market changes the demand side of the equation in an uneven fashion. In other words you won't be able to judge the true adoption rate and true production capacity UNTIL ALL the goods are removed.
If my suspicions are true about the costs of the BPOs, well that's a barrier to entry to the most profitable segment of PI. The money won't be in the materials for the most part. It'll be in the end products. If the BPOs can't get into the hands of the manufacturers fast enough, then the demand won't be there. Which will reduce demand of PI products and affect adoption (under the impression that it won't be profitable at the start, which will lead to supply shortage compared to production capacity eventually. Basically until the end product is removed from the market, there is no reason to get into manufacturing it. If there's no reason to get into manufacturing something, there is vastly reduced demand for the items that go into making it. This could seriously screw with adoption numbers during the switch over.
It's a chicken and egg problem.
I've always wanted that the player manufacture the towers and what not. Not sure whether I've mentioned it in a blog post or and EVE forum post. I have been on record as saying "until they let us manufacture towers and what not they won't have a serious industrial system". Well... I may need to eat my words on that one. Control tower manufacture here we come.