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.


  1. The pressure will really be on CCP to kill mining bots with fire. By tipping the scales toward mining as a desirable occupation (right now mining Arkonor approaches continuous incursion running in isk/hr) there will be enormous pressure to use bots. CCP needs to be on their toes to keep miners human.

  2. Do NOT count on null-sec mining to make up the gap. I don't think there will be any more null-sec mining ops than there are today, and there may well be fewer.

    We're already seeing a fairly significant rise in rape-caged gates around mining systems, and the null-sec miners will refuse to mine with even a single hostile in Local. BLOPS drops are getting too easy to organize and far too efficient. The higher average SP total across all null-sec alliances means that every null-sec alliance can easily arrange a Titan or BLOPS drop.

    1. Et tu, Brute? I thought you were looking for another name for bubbled gates. Or is that Corelin?

    2. That's Corelin, I guess. Though I got a talking to for using "rape face" in a post once. ;-)

  3. I think if null sec alliances get serious and organized about mining internally, we could see cyno jammed systems set aside for mining, defense gate camps, and more exploration for grav sites.

  4. I like the way you've put it all together in a clear way. You could have mentioned J.A. Schumpeter and creative destruction in the "Fear not" paragraph to make it more high browed though :P

  5. You shouldn't expect the low sec mining to be anything meaningful going forward ... the risk to reward is simply to high. Most miner prefer to minimize their setup times by using the same belts / positions and so forth. Low sec will remain worse for security than any competent 0.0 alliance system for mining. Even the use of gravimetric sites does not alleviate the problem since the scanning mechanics make it easier to find the hulk than the site the hulk is sitting in.

  6. The major players in null sec are divorced from the mineral sources thanks to their high-r moons. So there will still be no incentive to get miners in 0.0 and with the increasing instability of 0.0 due to the large supercap fleets (which rely on moon goo more than minerals since they can afford to buy out jita to build supercaps if necessary). Will mean that high sec and wormhole space will see an increase in mining activity and null sec and low sec nope.