The latest Eve patch was a minor affair and I didn't pay much attention to it as there seemed to be no major changes. However I missed one thing. One thing that will change Eve dramatically.
NPC Stations no longer sell shuttles.
That's right. The practically defenseless, weaponless, shuttles that were sold at a base price of 9000 ISK everywhere in every station have been removed from market.
So what, you ask?
Well, a shuttle could be reprocessed into a certain amount of the basic mineral Tritanium which meant that regardless of the actions of miners everyone had access to Tritanium at a price of around 3.5 ISK per unit. In effect, it was a price cap that allowed players to keep the price of the mineral artificially low even if all miners everywhere in New Eden decided to never mine Veldspar (the main asteroid source of Tritanium) again.
By removing the NPC sell orders for unlimited numbers of shuttles, the price cap is gone. The cheap source of Tritanium has dried up. And already one day after the patch the price of Tritanium has jumped to over 4 ISK per unit. (Not to mention the price of shuttles! But that is a minor detail in the scheme of things since they can be produced from a very cheap BPO.)
As the price of Tritanium rises, the price of almost everything else in the game will rise. Tritanium may be the cheapest and most common mineral but it is used in almost every manufacturing activity from ships to modules. A typical battleship uses 6+ million units of Tritanium and if the price rises 1-2 ISK / unit that adds 6-12 million on the production costs of the battleship. The more Tritanium used, the greater the price increase.
At the end of the day I think the removal of this artificial cap is a good thing. The market will fluctuate for a while but eventually a new equilibrium will emerge and prices will settle down at a new level. People will adjust and life will go on with the new market for Shuttle production and more opportunities for miners available to everyone.