Conversion Costs

The CO took a deep breath and went over his notes one more time.  The whole team had discussed this and come to the conclusion that there were few choices left.  If they wanted to consider themselves competitive in todays changing market then upgrades would be required.  Being good was not enough, you had to be able to compete with the latest and greatest or be left behind . . . in the Dust.

They had worked too long and too hard to be considered old news or unskilled/unable to adapt.  But keeping up with the times took a big investment, more than the team could put together.  They had looked at the options but nobody wanted to become a corporate entity, answering to faceless bosses up some ‘suit’ chain of command.  It had been Boomer, of all people, who suggested they ask their one previous hire who was NOT a corp.

So here he was, looking to ask one man to invest in his team when they had failed to keep him whole the last time they went out.  Not the best bargaining position to start from.  He sighed and went into the cafe where he had been told to meet.  With a practiced eye he scanned the room for targets and or hazards.  Most of the customers seemed mid level dock workers and minding their own business.  They only glanced at him curiously.  Mike sat at the counter with one other man sipping coffee.  His counter mate laughed at something Mike had said and slapped him on the back.  “OK, den.  I fetch you a few fittins for the paper wrapped flashlight you wanna fly.  Show dem to you later, hey?”

“Sounds good, Ev.”  Mike nodded and then looked and caught the eye of the CO in the doorway.  “And there is my next appointment.”

Ev looked at the man in the doorway with a measuring gaze and then looked about at a few others of the patrons.  The CO recognized the way bodies shifted and knew that the man had just assigned duties and he was now under a lot more scrutiny.  He looked back at Mike who smiled,waving him over, and wondered if the pilot even knew he had a body guard detail.

Mike stood as the officer approached and offered his hand.  ‘I was sort of surprised when you asked to meet me.  There some place you need me to fly your team, commander Walkins?”

The commander sat down and pushed across a comm chip.  “This is our record over the last dozen missions.  We are a solid team and have good ratios.”

Mike did not key in the chip but slid it back.  “I know.  I did my homework before I hired you for that last trip.  But why are you bringing this to me?  I haven’t any need for ground forces at the moment.”

“No, sir, that is not why I came.” The CO paused.  “There is not an easy way to ask this but . . . we need a sponsor.”

“For what?”

It was a relief.  He was listening, not just saying ‘no’.”Modern merc companies are undergoing a sea change.  With newer tech and newer rebirthing facilities the hotspots look to be getting  a lot hotter, soon.  We have a good record but not enough of a war-chest to upgrade the men and equipment.”

Mike nodded.  “That I can understand.  When you mean upgrade you mean the Dust version of pod death and clones, don’t you?”

“Among other things, yes, that is a close approximation.  We also need funding for a proper set of drop materials and the new weapons systems . . . ”

Mike held up a hand.  “There is always a better gun but I prefer to bet based on the skill of the man on the other end.  Your team did well by me and got out the scientists.  I have to ask the questions, though.  How much are we talking and what are the guarantees or rates you are thinking?”

Watkins sighed.  This was a good sign that he was willing to talk numbers but these numbers had a lot of zeros in them.  He opened up a file on his own b-comm and slid it across, pointing.  “This is an itemized . . . ”

Mike snorted and flicked a finger scrolling to the proverbial bottom line.  “Repayment?”

“Assuming we keep to our record we should be able to clear . . . ”

Again the finger flicked to the end of the file and Mike nodded.  “Aggressive repayment scheme.  You want to spend as little time in debt as possible, even if it means cutting corners in the company budget.  No.”

Watkins stomach fell.  “No?”

“Your repayment plan is a recipe for disaster.  Cutting too close to the edge means one bad mission or heavy set of losses and you are deep in the red.”  Mike keyed in some new numbers and frowned for a moment and then slid it back to Watkins.  “Try that.”

Watkins was not the company bookkeeper but he could hum the tune.  “You chopped the interest rate to almost nothing and extended the payment run to three years?”

“Gives you more day to day working capital.  Now in exchange for this I want  . . . ”

‘Here it comes’ Watkins thought.

“The right to ask you guys favours, iffen I need a ground force.  You don’t work for me, you ain’t mine but as business folk and friends I ought ta be able ta call you up if needs arise.”

“That’s it?”

“Ayup.  Your team got me and mine out of a tight spot.  I figure I owe you right now.  If the interest rate still looks too high . . . ”

“And you saw how much we need?”

“I learned to count the zeros a long while back.  Been to Jita and everything.  We can contact a bank lawyer and set stuff up right now, if you is in a rush.  But there is one thing I’d like your men ta do.  I gots this book written by the guy who first researched immortality.  Issah.  I’d like to know they have thought a bit about what they are getting into.  Taint trying to convert their religion but they should think this ‘upgrade’ all the way through.  If they choose not to read it, that is fine, deal goes through anyhow but if you would let them have a chance to see it?”

***************************************************************

Lessons

How much would it cost to sponsor a team of Dusties.  Will it be something corps/alliances/ or even individuals can do?

A few people and I were discussing the definition of poor.  As you go through the game the meaning changes.  I know one guy who said that his wallet was way to light as he was almost down to 5 billion.

I told him I worry when I get down bellow 100 mill.  We operate on different levels.  But anything above what you spend on a day to day basis is just like a game score.  I think Frfrmpukin said you might as well spin your ship in a hanger and call that your wallet balance, if you are just likeing to see numbers go up.

Given the chance, and assuming I have the financials to do so, yes GBA will sponsor Dusties, if only so we can say we do.  ISK needs to be used, applied, to be worth anything more than a string of digits, like a spin counter.

I have a wolf, around here somewhere, comment and have a chance to make it fly and be used.  I’ll draw within a week

fly it like you won it.

m

 

 

 

 

 

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15 Responses to Conversion Costs

  1. Lolmer says:

    I’ve been wondering how CCP would handle the disparity in money between “old” capsuleers who’ve had (for some) almost a decade of finance behind them and the new Dust 514 mercenaries who are starting fresh. Any Dust 514 mercenaries without a capsuleer (individual, corporation, or alliance) behind them will be easily overrun (equipment-wise) by Dust 514 mercenaries thusly backed.

    Speaking of the loan, it’d be neat if there were an in-game way (not just with Dust 514 mercenaries) to setup loans to be tracked and able to look up past loans taken/provided and their track record. Would help build up trust or distrust. Perhaps hide it behind an API key so that it’s optional on whether you want others to know about it. This also would ease the tracking of such loans on people as the game would handle what’s due each month, interest accrued, principle paid, etc.

    No need to enter me into the drawing, please. 😉

    • Armas says:

      Doesn’t the actual cost of sponsoring influence whether or not new Dusters can catch up? If 100 million buys enough equipment to go on for a week or two, it won’t take much to even the playing field.

      Plus, and this may be the important thing, if skills in Dust mirror Eve skills, it’ll take a while before any mercenary can use any of the real expensive stuff, minimizing the start up capital needed.

      • mikeazariah says:

        True, but ‘Faction’ Items are still usable before t2 material. That is the sort of thing an influx of cold space cash may help shift balances in a battle. This is the sort of cross-over play that may help both sides of the game equation.

        m

  2. bobfenner says:

    I for one would certainly be happy to sponsor a DUST merc group – for small amount of interest on the initial investment. I also agree with Lolmer that is is WAY past time that CCP introduced some sort of banking system into the game. It doesn’t have to be scam proof, but a way of seeing how well a corporate banking system was actually running and paying out interest would be excellent for the likes of me with too much isk to actually spend! I haven’t flown a Wolf in ages but give it to someone poorer than me. 🙂

  3. mikeazariah says:

    My readership is getting to jaded to be thrilled by something small like a Wolf anymore.

    Could you imagine if they allowed sponsorship of Merc crews to include logo transfer. Your corp logo as a unit patch on assault teams.

    m

    • bobfenner says:

      Hell yes! Would have to redesign our corp logo though as it is a tad on the boring side!

    • Lolmer says:

      Oh, I love the Wolf and so does my wife, but we’re in a C4 WH and they’re not too handy out here so figured I’d let someone with more immediate use for it have a go. 😉

      Having sponsorship logos would be very nice. Having our logos on our own ships would be nice as well. 😉

      -Lolmer

  4. mikeazariah says:

    sure, but it will cost you for the redesign (Aurum, no doubt)

    /me grins wickedly

    m

  5. satyrwood says:

    Actually I’m not too worried about the disparity in money between Dust teams. The nature of small group ground combat means that after a certain point all you have is a bigger buffer before a string of losses starts to compromise you. Due to the limited number of ‘spots’ on each team the scale from newbie to maxed out gear in a single engagement is probably a fair bit narrower in Dust.

    How much it will cost us EVEies to get our hands in is something I’m curious about. From last year’s trailer it looked like 250Mil is a full complement including mobile command and armoured vehicles.

    The promise of sharing stations made me giggle. I want a ‘swirl glass of wine’ emote for in-person meetings with my Mercs. 😉

  6. artiststechguy says:

    As always, love your blog and your take on things. I don’t think i’ll have much to do with dust myself as a newer eve player. FPS are usually more dependent on player skill than equipment tho so even if they have great gear unless they have the skills to back it up it’ll just make for shiny kills.

    I, for one, would love a wolf btw. ;P

    • mikeazariah says:

      when I play fps I sometimes use the tag ‘oldguywithaslowconnection’ just so it hurts more if I get some kid.

      m

  7. Uskaanax says:

    I’m more interested to know why these outposts are being defended. Are they connected to PI? Will all of the Dust514 instances be in low/null sec? Is it all going to be in sov territory?

    With the isk made from incursions, I’m sure that anyone who wants to could easily bankroll a couple dust teams, but will the isk in Dust be in the same league as Eve? I don’t know how it could since a quick check of the market shows that planetary vehicles are 45k or less. I could buy 5,000 of them for my dust team for the same amount I spend on a single Tempest. Funding a dust team using the existing market and prices for items that could be used in dust would seem to be ridiculously easy.

  8. mikeazariah says:

    I do. and so would I

    m

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