The Monthly Economic Report for June was released on July 23rd, and it paints a clear picture of the consequences created by changes to money-making activities and the ships that perform those activities. We can see that NPC bounties are down across the board, and even mining took a huge hit in some of the most Rorqual-rich environments in the game. To begin, let’s dig into some of the metrics from the MER to see how capsuleers are faring in the Age of Resource Shortage.
The first metric that I want to take a look at is mining value per region. This is what that graph looks like today:
One thing you should notice is that some of the most common nullsec regions to see massive amounts of mining, such as Delve, Esoteria, Oasa and the Kalevala Expanse, are nowhere near the top of the list. Huge changes to the way moon minerals are distributed came in February and March, and this chart confirms that these popular mining hotspots took a significant hit.
For comparison, in February, Delve mined 2404 billion ISK worth of ore, but in June, that number dropped to only 607 billion. That makes for about a 75% decrease in mined ore, and from arguably the most miner rich environment in the game. Similarly, Esoteria mined 1131 billion ISK worth of ore in February, and only about half of that in June – 652 billion. It must be said that there could be other causes for this lack of activity, like subscriptions wearing out after recent campaigns, or in protest to the changes being made to the game. With that said, though, it is always important to notice when a region is producing 75% less raw materials over the course of a few months.
The next metric we’ll take a look at will be the NPC bounties in these same regions. The graph for June looks a little like this:
In this graph, we can see the usual suspects are in their prime. We’ll use Oasa as an example in this section because they are the top dogs for ratting in EVE Online currently and there is no questioning that fact. But one thing you also have to look at is where they were previously.
In Oasa, the various Ishtars, Gilas and capitals yanked 4810 billion ISK from NPC bounties over the course of June. For reference, that’s about 10 times as much as they mined. The numbers for February don’t vary as dramatically as they do for mining, with Oasa sitting at 6737 billion ISK from NPC bounties over that month. It’s still about a 30% decrease in NPC bounties, though, and that change could possibly be attributed to the recent changes to supercapital health pools and some common modules.
Personally, however, the most interesting thing about NPC bounties over the year since the nullsec blackout began is that ratters are still struggling to get the reward they need. In many regions, ratting requires a significant payout to compensate for the risk of fielding larger ships. On the following graph you can see exactly what I’m talking about:
The nullsec blackout was introduced into the game in July 2019, shutting off local chat in nullsec unless a player typed in chat. We can see the massive drop when that change happened, and a quick jump when the blackout was lifted in mid-September. It doesn’t take a magnifying glass to see that the ISK faucet has not reached its previous capacity for providing income to capsuleers. There are a lot of things that can (and do) go into this – the aforementioned capital changes, a reinvigorated playerbase aligned against botting and RMT, not to mention likely waning subscription numbers due to the constant barrage of changes that have hit the Tranquility server in recent months.But what does any of this mean for you, the ordinary capsuleer? Well, it’s fairly complicated. Digging deeper into the MER, we can look at the total market trade value by region. This number shows us how much ISK is changing hands in return for ships, modules, ammunition, and more. The more often these trades happen, the less you end up paying for the things you want to buy, whether you’re in high-sec, low-sec, nullsec, or wormhole space. When demand is down, supply follows, making these items more scarce in popular markets like Jita. Here’s what total trade looks like for June 2020, compared to January 2020 (before recent changes to broker fees):
This graph should scare you. It shouldn’t scare you because capsuleers are getting less ISK, it should scare you because capsuleers are seeing ISK as a more valuable resource. In this current New Eden, players are more apt to hold onto their ISK than to spend it on personal interests, because it is less available. ISK is being seen as a more finite resource now than at any point in recent memory. We can see this in consistently declining PLEX prices, though in some ways that particular reduction is positive, as players without other means to subscribe to the game have the ability to do so more easily.
In CCP’s Q1 Economy Review, they mention that the economy is getting fairer, and they use a player survey to determine the level of fairness in said economy. They also mention that anti-botting efforts have managed to remove massive amounts of ill-gotten ISK from the economy.
I believe what CCP fails to realize is that in a game based on the destruction of your assets, making these assets harder to get and increasing the gap between the haves and the have-nots is a recipe for disaster. I certainly hope that we’re almost all the way through the Shortage Phase of their economic rebalance, and that we can hope to see the Redistribution Phase start soon. On the other hand, though I am hopeful, I am also doubtful. I believe the worst is yet to come for EVE Online’s economy, especially as the machines of war turn, and nearly the entire galaxy’s nullsec regions come to blows.