Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The biggest change to New Eden since Apocrypha is coming. Not in one fell swoop but in several changes that combined will rock the cluster. In fact, the mere announcement of these changes has caused sweeping economic fallout, like the waves from ripples amplifying each other where they intersect.
Pebble #1 - Drones changing from mineral drops to bounties. While this will have some impact on mission runners and explorers, this will totally cause the Drone Regions' economy to change. The large number of high end drones dropping very valuable compounds that melted into high value minerals effectively swamped the cluster's markets when the regions opened up back in the day and drove the prices of the high ends into the ground as hordes of PvE pilots effectively became miners with their guns. This massive source of minerals is going to be shut off.
Pebble #2 - Rats will no longer drop manufactureble T1 loot (aka Meta 0 mods). Any mission runner will tell you that a large amount of minerals can be gained from picking up all the loot in a mission and melting down the cheap stuff in station for minerals that can be sold. For low end minerals especially, this is a big source in the markets as mission runners are usually not manufacturers and don't care what price they get for them extra minerals. As Ripard Teg pointed out, the named modules reprocess to half as much minerals leading to an interesting domino effect:
- no meta 0 mods from mission runners will cut supply which will lead to increase in price as demand remains the same and manufacturers can ask for more ISK for their items.
- as meta 0 prices rise the demand for meta 1 and 2 modules will rise as pilots see the increase in performance worth the smaller increase in price. However, their supply may increase if the loot table produce more of them for rat drops to replace the removed meta 0 mods.
- as pilots move from meta 0 to meta 1-2 modules for fitting ultra cheap ships, you should see a price equilibrium where the difference between meta 0 thru 2 is fairly consistent with the performance gains.
Regardless, the end effect is less minerals entering the system.
Pebble #3 - Banning of Bots will Occur Daily. No one knows for sure exactly how much ISK from ratting bots and minerals from mining bots enters the system, but it is significant. Significant enough to assume that a large portion of the minerals entering the system today are being generated from bots, especially the lower ends like tritanium and pyrite. If the war on bots is successful and they become a margin note on the mineral books, this will also lower the amount of minerals coming into the system.
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So consider those three things for a moment. What they all have in common is that the amount of minerals from non-human-controlled-mining sources is going to drop (in fact, already has started dropping), and drop a lot. Across all types of minerals, low to high end. You are already seeing the fallout of this as market speculators buy up stocks in anticipation of rising prices and the banning of botters combining to the market volatility and rising ship prices. 55 million for a Drake? 150 million for a Rokh?!
Fear not, good reader, for this is simply a market correction driven by changing technologies and we have plenty of real world examples to draw analogies from to know that enterprising individuals and groups will step in to take advantage of the changing landscape and bring the market back into equilibrium.
Here are some things you can expect to see:
Ripple #1 - Return of real mining corporations. Player corporations dedicated to hard core mining ops on large scale that combine abilities for the most efficient ore extraction and mineral processing are pretty rare these days. Typically mining ops done by real players are a couple guys with a couple of alts working in a belt or ice field for scratch while doing something else to fund their other activities. With the vast increase in wealth to be generated from concentrated and dedicated mining, expect a professional class of miners to re-emerge and band together. Mining ops of 10 hulks and an Orca with a couple haulers should become far more common, maybe even in low sec pockets, if the wealth is comparable to mission running or better.
Ripple #2 - Mineral prices will stabilize but remain higher than previous levels. Even with professional mining corporations the volume generated by ratters in drone regions and legions of mining bots cannot be matched, and in fact, won't be because human miners will stop mining if profitability drops too low again. Thus an equilibrium will be reached at a higher level prior to these changes.
Ripple #3 - Mining ops in null sec will become common. With decreased supply and higher prices in high sec markets, it may finally reach the point in null sec space where importing and supporting miners is more cost efficient than importing minerals and manufactured goods. This could lead to more organized mining ops in null sec space to feed the engines of war, and thus more targets for roaming hostile gangs.
Ripple #4 - Explorers may actually be happy at finding gravimetric sites. Right now its hard for an explorer to give a gravimetric scanned site away. But once the professional mining corporations become more common, they may seek these sites out for high end ore they can't find in high sec or for mining in low sec in a harder to find location.
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That's all I can think of for now. Other thoughts and opinions are welcome in the comments.