March 7, 2015

California Summer, June Can't Come Fast Enough

My first week in California comes to a close! It's been absolutely awesome. My work is amazing. The entire office is full of really cool people who show up every day with passion and energy and focus with a desire to kick ass. It's such a refreshing change from my last work where every day was like pulling teeth, everyone was always angry, and people were more interested in not being blamed for things than getting work done. What a massive difference the cultural atmosphere makes. I come into work early and leave pretty late every day because time flies by. I've got so much work, but it never feels like a drag.

My first week here also coincided with GDC. I didn't get to spend any time at the conference, but I did get to go to a few GDC parties and meet a lot of cool people which was great. It turned out to be kind of a bad week to actually start working here since it was so hectic, but it's worked out alright! Next week should be a better indication of a normal week.

I'm still trying to find a place to live which is really difficult. I'm surprised that it's such a struggle. As you may know if you've been reading for a while, I used to be a sales and marketing consultant in apartment leasing. I figured I'd be able to use that experience and wam, bam, thank you ma'am find a place to live really quickly. Newp. It's ridiculous. I've been staying with a really nice family during the weekdays, but I can only do that for another week so I hope I can find a place by then!

So I was going to try and segway the California weather with summer, but it doesn't really fit anywhere, so let's just say: I'm super excited for this summer! I'm sure you've already read Fozzie's Novella Part One and Two, and that's the crux of my excitement. There are some tweaks that will likely be made, and I think others have done great service to that topic already so I won't rehash that information. What I want to do is talk about how this is going to effect mercenaries.

In short: big boom.

I can pretty safely predict a huge upswing in sovereignty changing hands as soon as this system goes live. We'll see everyone pretty much scramble to take what they can, play with the new mechanics, and generally just have fun. But shortly thereafter, and probably in the midst of that, we're going to have some very interested people who are having trouble any gains and they're going to call for help. Some of those people will be in alliances and coalitions large enough that they'll look internally for that help, and we likely won't have much involvement with them. But there's a size of nullsec-interested groups, call it medium, that don't have that luxury or even combined force who are going to want to get in the game and ensure their efforts succeed the first time. And they're going to look for mercenaries.

I predict a really strong upswing in the mercenary business come June. Obviously we'll reap the benefits of that, being able to support offenses or defenses, control territory for node-grabs, disable station services - you name it. But I also predict an upswing in other mercenary corporations that are going to get hired for this type of thing. Right now nullsec mercenary work is pretty much a barren landscape. There's us, BL, and PL. I imagine the latter will see more than one contract every few years that they're currently receiving, but I'll be interested to see how their members react to having to move so often if they want to actually become a player - my guess is it won't go over too well.

That's another interesting part of this system that mercenaries will have to contend with: the length of these events. Currently, a sovereignty focused deployment and contract would last a few weeks if not longer. That's fine for deploying 100-ish carriers of stuff. Plenty of time to recover your in-game fatigue and your RL fatigue from the boring mechanics. But post-June these things aren't going to last a month or more, it's going to be a matter of days. There's a delicate balance here between the employer and the mercenary too. An employer may be willing to pay you to stay for a week to make sure everything is smooth, but if the actual content only lasts for two days it's boring and let's be honest, the mercenary career is still about having fun. So the mercenary CEO can't just take long contracts to cover the Fatigue aspect because the fun has to be a consideration.

Instead, and I can only speak for ourselves, I think we'll be looking to reinvent the way our supply chain works. We haven't discussed it internally yet because there's simply not enough information to start making plans for a redesign like this, but if it does end up looking like most of these contracts are going to be super short term, something will have to be done. Either way, I can't wait to find out!

Hurry up, Summer!