Thursday, May 01, 2014

Team Building

The sixth and final Industry dev blog was released today at the start of Fanfest and covers a completely new feature of manufacturing and research: Teams.

The Elevator Pitch
Let’s start with a quick elevator pitch of what "teams" are. We’ll then dig into the details in later sections.
All jobs now require a workforce. All jobs automatically have regular workforce attached, so no special action will be required to start jobs We're not exactly sure how you capsuleers were able to build things without one before!
A "team" is an expert NPC labor force, that players can choose to hire instead of using the regular, provided workforce. A team consists of specialists that give bonuses to certain jobs.
These specialized teams are not available everywhere at any time. They are hired into a system through an auction. Once in a system, the team is available for anyone doing a job in that system for month, at which time the team retires and goes on a much needed space "vacation".
There is a vast variety of specialized teams. Each specialized team affects a particular job activity (like manufacturing or copying) and a limited sub-section of items. For example, a team could affect manufacturing of frigates, but have no effect on manufacturing of cruisers.
More details on what a team is:
- Each specialized team is linked to a specific activity (manufacturing, copying, material research, etc.).
- Each specialized team has a type, indicating what kind of stuff it can affect. There are six types: structure, components, consumables, ship, mobile and equipment. For example, a team that could affect the manufacturing of Rifters, would have the “manufacture” activity and the “ship” type.
So with four activities (for instance) and six types there are 24 combinations of activity/type a team can be.
- Each team has four members, and each member has a specialty. The specialty can be broad, but with less bonus (for example Ship – Small Class) or narrow and bigger bonus (like Ship – Frigate). Team members cannot have the same specialty.
I *think* this means that once the team activity/type is determined, each team member has a specialty within that category. So someone would only have a specialty of "Frigate" only in a team with a type of "Ship". Is there a list of all the specialties somewhere?
 - Each team member affects either material efficiency (ME) or time efficiency (TE). Members of a team can affect either and don’t all have to affect the same.
- Each team member also has an efficiency level, which dictates how big of a bonus he or she gives. There are five level of efficiency, with each level above 1 being a multiple of the level 1 bonus. The bonus given by level 1 is determined by whether the team member has a broad or narrow focus and whether it affects material efficiency or time efficiency.
 And the exact bonuses in a readable chart:

Broad is for team members that have a broad specialty (like Ship – Small Class), narrow is for team members that have a narrow specialty (like Ship – Frigate).
How much extra cost a specialized team demands depends on the overall efficiency of the team. The extra salary is a percentage that comes on top of the normal salary cost. The percentage can range from +2% to +18%.
In addition to its stats, each team also has a unique name that gives an indication of what it can do and where it originated.
Did you follow all that? To reiterate, a team will be good for an activity like manufacturing, research, etc. They will only be good for one type like Ships or modules or structures, etc. Within that team of four members, each member affect either Material Efficiency (i.e. less materials) or Time Efficiency (i.e less time in factory) and will either have a broad specialty (for example, Ships - Small Class) with a smaller bonus to the efficiency or a narrow specialty (for example, Ships - Frigates) with the larger bonus to the efficiency (see chart). And each team member is different.

Let’s look at the life cycle of a team now.
Teams are seeded into the game over time and become available for auction. The stats, name, home and activities are all randomized, meaning there is a wide variety between teams.
All auctions last seven days. Bids are placed on a team on behalf of a solar system. This means bids made by multiple players on the same system are pooled together.
When placing a bid, the default location is the same system you’re in, but you can edit this to bid on a system remotely. A bid can be entered for any system, including wormhole systems. Bidding on behalf of a system that is far away requires a minimum initial bid. Teams have a home location when they are created and the minimum is higher the further away the team’s home is. This represents a relocation cost and gives a small amount of geographical differentiation without it being too stifling.
Note that while a team is up for auction, it cannot be hired on any other jobs.
 Teams are randomly created, auctioned for a week, and work in the winning system for four weeks. I can't tell if a team is available for all relevant jobs in the system for the four weeks, or if players need to book them and share them.

When the auction ends, the solar system with the highest pooled bid wins. The team becomes immediately available for hire in the winning system. The team will be active in the system for 28 days (four weeks), at which time it retires (or is institutionalized; Inferno does not treat its users well). Any jobs the team was hired for are completed normally even if the team retires while the job is still ongoing. If no bids were made on the team, the team retires immediately at the conclusion of the auction.
Again, no word on how they are shared in the system. At this point, I'm assuming its available for all jobs or else it would put a damper on the cooperation aspect for bringing a team to a system during auction.

There's more in the dev blog so go give it a read.

Overall, I'm disappointed. When I saw teams were coming into things from the second dev blog I had more of an image from World of Tanks where you get inexperienced tank teams and train them up over time to become proficient experts in various abilities. Instead we get temporary random components to fight over in auctions.

And again, I feel this feature will aid the large scale rich heavy industrialists over the small scale and casual industrialists. Those with the wherewithal to hire the best teams to their hubs can amortize the hiring cost over their jobs and produce more cheaply even in busier systems than those who work with generic default teams or the poorer quality teams. I'm also willing to bet that capital ship production teams will be in highest demand even if poor quality because the large capital jobs makes savings more significant.

On the other hand, the devil is in the details. What's the spread of randomization of the teams? How many teams will be created? Will null sec powerhouses achieve any benefit from outbidding everyone to bring teams to null sec? How much will freeloading affect benefits (which ties back to my question of whether or not teams are tied up in jobs once they are working)?

Together with all the other changes coming this summer means I don't even know how this is going to shake out. Time will tell.


  1. I looked for anything to indicate a cap on how many people in that system could book the team for jobs but couldn't find it. I guess if there are a ton of jobs running in the system the OTHER costs we heard about in a previous dev blog kick in, so that's a limiting factor.

    Sounds like they're aware of the potential for freeloading but aren't going to interfere with it unless they see abuse?

    1. Anyone can use the team. They have acknowledged that after the successful bid anyone in that system can use the team during the 28 days. There is no way around the freeloader problem unless they drop the per system aspect of the auction and then you will get either a personal, corp, alliance type system that will probably drive the bidding totally out of range for anyone small size. The freeloader problem probably actually helps anyone not doing tens of billions of ISK in industry per month.

    2. I like the "freeloading" wrinkle for high sec, but in null sec where stations/outposts can be locked it will be a non issue and low sec may not have the wherewithal to win auctions. A lot depends on team creation rates.

    3. I'm curious how public all of this will be -- like, what's going on during the bidding process, who in your system is contributing, what the other competing systems are doing, etc. And then if your system wins the auction, who all's making use of the team and which of those helped win it for the system.

      I think there's the potential for some pretty interesting social aspects to evolve out of this, maybe even informal cartels in low and high sec.

  2. Read through CCP Soniclovers postings in the comment thread. They are looking at allows PCs to create teams using PI or some other method. (He also hints that fixing Corp Roles is coming soon, which sounds like a fix for Outposts and POS code).

    1. Until I see it advertised as being worked on and implemented in next patch, I try not to let those kind of promises influence my opinions. Things in game can be broken or liming along for years before being fixed/addressed. And CCP has made promises and came up short before as well.

    2. The whole team thing is geared to hugely help the null sec cartels, and no one else. High sec cannot limit who does what in a system, while the cartels will have extremely strict controls on who builds, what they build, where they build it, when, and how much. And no low sec group will want to broadcast what they are building, and more importantly, where.

      This whole mess was designed to enhance the null sec RMT streams at the expense of everyone else, and it will be highly successful at it. The ultimate question is how many subs will be lost over it. I really don't think the net loss will be anything over 1%, or about 1 employee.

      The cartels win again.

    3. Really Dinsdale, CCP puts in something to make sure that the high sec industrialists will maintain an advantage over us in low sec and you're complaining that CCP isn't forcing you to leave high sec? Add in the 50% increase in the use of jump fuel and the big losers are low sec, not high. In fact, the figures on the use industrial facilities in high sec, combined with high sec probably having the greatest leverage in hiring teams, probably means a big nerf to low sec industry in relation to high.

      In other words, don't come onto the blogs of low sec residents crying. Quite frankly, I'm getting tired of those way better off than me whining and flooding us with tears.

    4. @NoizyGamer: Seriously, you don't see that both areas, low sec and high sec, have been completely shafted by null sec whining and flooding us with tears?

      I used to make capitals one jump out of high sec a couple of years ago. I still sell capital BPC's I made in FW space. I do have some idea of the pain low sec is going to suffer, and it is unfair. Low sec is clearly a larger loser than high sec, because all low sec mfg is in deep trouble. But high sec has a tremendous amount to lose as well, and all of low sec's losses, and high sec's, end up in the pockets of a few cartel leaders.