Originally by: Gundog PrimeExactly.
To be honest research slots are like gold dust, whereas Factories are more plentiful and need to be constantly supplies with minerals Labs run self sufficiant and the renter only has to log on 1 day in the week to keep it ticking over...
The idea that raising rent is going to free up labratory slots is stupid. There's no other word for it. Are factories kept free by the scaling rent? Whether it's 1k, 40k, or 80k, rent is a non-factor. You can rake that in by doing a single level 2 agent mission! Raise it higher? Anyone serious about keeping a slot still won't give a damn. Even higher, then? Well, you can be the one to tell that poor forlorn newbie who had his heart set on being a researcher that he won't be able to afford a bloody lab for about six months. I suppose current monopolistic manufacturers would love that, though.
The real reason factories are free and labs are not is because it is a literal pain in the arse to lock up a factory. Production is done quickly, and mineral costs are high.
A battleship takes almost no time to produce. Mineral costs are high, though, so the majority of people cannot lock up a factory by producing an endless stream of battleships. What of ammunition, then? You can produce enough ammunition in a day to fight a war for a month. Lower mineral costs are offset by even lower production times.
You can attempt to cut your losses and only do one run per rental period, just enough to keep the factory active. Fine and dandy - there's the problem, people actually have to go visit the stations where they own factories at least once a rental period then! If they bite the bullet, go the expensive route, and attempt constant production, they must cart many industrials worth of minerals to the station. They can try buy orders, but that risks the orders not being fulfilled in time and - yes, a visit to the station!
Take labs. Research times are high. No, I do not believe they should be lowered, but this is part of the real problem. What do you do to lock up a lab?
You pay the rent, which again, is a non-factor. You do a quick one-run of small ammunition and sacrifice a goat so you don't get the infamous bug(tm) that'll boot you out of your lab slot.
You then set a shuttle or something on a few trillion runs and forget about it for ages, save for clicking 'pay bill' every so often. Visit the station? Hah! Who needs to make an arduous journey twenty three jumps to the middle of nowhere to do that?
Lower the maximum number of research runs that can be ordered at one time. People will be inconvenienced, people will say, "Screw this," and lab slots will open. When lab slots open, people will think, "Gee, what do I need to keep that slot for? If I ever do get that Titan BPO from the Tech 32 lottery, I'll just get another one." More slots open.
And then pirates and miners will dance hand in hand in a circle, while singing happy songs and strewing flowers all over the place.
Okay, maybe not. But it'll do far more than playing with rent will.