As you may know, CCP is looking into changing NPC station fees in preparation for player owned Citidels. Post change optimally low NPC broker fees will increase from .4% or so to 3.5%. Meanwhile Citidel broker fees will be set by Citidel owning players meaning owning players will be allowed to charge as little or as much as those players choose.

“So ends NPC Jita 4-4’s reign,” wail the masses. This puzzles me. 1) NPC stations will continue to provide services Citidels won’t like contracts and ranged orders. 2) NPC stations remain undestroyable. 3) NPC stations like Jita 4-4 won’t deny you access. 4) NPC stations won’t underhandedly jack up broker fees on you. As full range dependable service is a pretty big deal, I’m confident many a Capsuleer, myself included, will continue making extensive use of NPC stations.

Premature Jita 4-4 death knell prognostications aside, I’m even more puzzled by what many players conclude the fee change really means. CCP states, “The goal of such changes is to give more flexibility for Citadel owners to make a profit when charging their services to the public, while making sure they are profitable enough to compete versus NPC station services.” Meanwhile fellow soloish player Luobote Kong concludes something altogether more sinister, “The ‘choice’ CCP present[s] is to either be taxed heavily by NPC stations or submit to the gameplay of the large ingame groups.”

As a fellow soloish Eve player these last seven years, I can appreciate Kong’s anti-group approach but it saddens me to see such approach shackle his view of CCP’s game design intentions. When CCP says they’re trying to make Citidels competitive I’m inclined to believe them. Anti-group dissident Kong can’t see only that. Rather, he sees CCP intentionally forcing him into group reliant submission. CCP, according to Kong aren’t merely attempting to enable/enhance group play, rather they are equally motivated by desire to destroy soloish play. Such zero sum thinking puzzles me.

If you play Eve ‘to win’ I suppose Eve is a zero-sum game. Being a winner requires defeated losers after all. So far I haven’t been motivated to win Eve. I’ve merely wanted to thrive. Accordingly, when CCP dishes me change (and over seven years plenty of change has been dished) I rarely worry about whether I, or anybody else are being handed glorious victory or ignominious defeat. Instead, I examine the new environment looking for ways to adapt and thrive. Post Citidels, currying favor with NPC entities will remain long grind work. Meanwhile, currying favor with fellow players – should it come to that – will remain mostly making friendly noises. I can adapt to that and I suspect Kong can too though it may grate on him because the wrong players – group players – are ‘winning’. Why thriving isn’t good enough for fellow soloish players like Kong is mystery to me.