Wednesday 11 April 2012

Eve Online: The extraordinary shakeup in the economy

Eve has experienced a significant increase in the supply of money over the last year and a half. Players have optimised Incursion running into a very effective isk stream, anomalies pay out lots of bounty money despite a nerf.

Now the obvious option to deal with an increase like this is to fight a rearguard action, desperately nerfing the tactics and opportunities players discover to try to keep people poor. That's unattractive in a game for several reasons.

A much cleverer option is to increase the value of goods. So while everyone may have lots of money if goods become expensive it evens out.

This is the route Eve is going to take in the run-up to DUST. Mineral prices are going to increase for three main reasons - drones will have bounties not compounds, meta 0 modules will be removed as rat loot and a much more vigorous campaign against botters and RMTers has begun. Any one of these changes will send ripples through the economy, all three at once is an extraordinary shakeup.

Player behaviour will be rewarded differently and players will switch to different activities in response to changes in profitability:

Mining: much more lucrative and less bot competition. The true value of minerals is likely to be obscured in the short to medium term by massive stockpiles. This is similar to the economics of Guidance Systems but in this case affecting all minerals. So not only will mining become immediately more profitable but it will then see a slow ramp after the most eager speculators cash in as long term investors gradually relinquish their stockpiles.

Mission running: we'll see a shift from blitzing missions to salvaging and looting. This may encourage more group mission running.

Ratting: more players will loot and salvage their rats provided there are buyers in their area of space. This will be a real opportunity for entrepreneurial traders to establish supply sources.

War: wars of conquest should become easier because it's harder to replace ships. People who lose fights will be that much more discouraged because their ships seem expensive and replacing them may seem unattractive ("I'm not spending 500 million on a Maelstrom that will get blown up in less that a day!")

High sec griefing: will become a much more target rich environment and this will be one of the few areas of play where the gap between insurance payouts and ship costs doesn't matter. For most players as mineral price rises, as ship prices rise, they will get less money back when they lose the ship because insurance, even if adjusted, will tend to lag behind inflating ship prices. However suicide gankers lose it all anyway. On the other hand the sheer price of ships may be a deterrent. Of course blowing someone's ship up when the perception is that ships are hard to replace may become more fun to these players because it will have more effect on the person behind the keyboard. On balance I think this will continue to increase even though it's more expensive to replace suicided ships.

Ships: people may shift from Tech 1 ships to Tech 3 particularly, and to a lesser extent Tech 2. T3 ships are mainly made of wormhole stuff and that isn't affected. So the price of a Tengu will stay about the same while everything else gets more expensive.

Ammunition: basic ammo will get more expensive and faction ammo will get cheaper.

Traders: traders will make huge profits over the next month or so. If I only double my net wealth I'll be disappointed. The challenge for me is liquidating a large amount of assets held over several accounts and many regions and forms.

Loyalty points: loyalty point value is going down as people will run more missions and incursions to pay for their stuff. Expect to see cheaper implants, faction ammo and faction ships.

Rigs|: more salvaging, fewer new ships sold. Rig price will fall hard.

PI products: planet goo is in a decline and it will continue to decline. It was over-speculated and large stockpiles are being slowly sold off. Also by its nature once someone has a PI setup, even if something else becomes more profitable, they keep their PI going and do that other thing as well. PI products will get cheaper until DUST introduces orbital platforms that are made of these products.

Boosters - these may get more widely used as it becomes more important not to lose your ships. I think we'll see slight increase in demand.

Rich bitter vets - their isk wealth will be reduced by the overall increase in prices. Of course their stockpiles may become more valuable and if they trade actively they can make a killing.

So overall, how will this change player behaviour? Mission runners will have to do more missions and may switch from blitzing missions to looting them. |Same for ratters. Incursion runners don't really have an option to loot, they'll simply have to do more. Miners will make much more money and we'll see more of them. Nullsec alliances may start trying to set up and run mining operations but this will be quite hard to do as these operations are so easy to gank. Wormhole corps may mine grav sites but again, very easy to gank. It's simply too tedious to always be checking d-scan for hours and hours while mining.

Will we see a surge of violence? I think so, it's such a good opportunity to really mess people up if you can pressure them while they're feeling the pinch.

1 comment:

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