Monday, November 15, 2010

A Look At the Q3 2010 Economic Newletter

The latest quarterly newsletter (Q3 2010) for Eve Online was published Friday.  A lot of people have already commented on the forums with feedback and suggestions for future newsletters.  Since I have a blog, I'll give my feedback here. 

The editorial - At the beginning of the newsletter, CCP admits to a mistake in focus.

"Sometimes the players and developers disagree on what is the best course of action. This was evident during the Q2 2010 session, where members of the CSM stated their dissatisfaction with the strategy for EVE and requested that more effort would be put into fixing what needed to be fixed. CCP took a long hard look at the CSM’s comments and concluded that indeed they were right. Based on feedback and further communication with its members, a new approach was proposed and introduced to the CSM in a meeting recently held in Iceland." (page 6)

That's a welcome change.  Now fix faction warfare!

Where was I?  Oh yes, the editorial.  CCP expects the upcoming Sansha incursions to act as a spur to economic growth, and indeed CCP may be counting on the industrial sector of New Eden to step up its game.  However, with the delay of the incursions until January, the economy probably will not see any impact until Q1 2011.

Another important time for speculators looks to be the first 2-3 weeks of December, as that is how long CCP Dr.EyjoG expects the market in faction ships, which on 30 Novemeber will appear on the public market, to take to stabilize.

Population - The biggest item to me was the reduction in the number of accounts.  The Q2 2010 newsletter showed an average population of over 340,000 accounts (p. 8) while the current news letter shows an average population of 330,000 accounts.

On another note, 53.5% of characters are in player run corporations.  I'd really like to know how that percentage has changed since the introduction of the 11% tax on NPC corporations.

One conclusion sure to upset players is that it takes approximately 2 years to become competitive in null sec pvp (page 10).  I know that Mynxee, the chairperson of the CSM, has already disputed that conclusion.

Ship Use - Vital information for industrialists is what type of ships players are flying.  While the report discusses the popularity of Hulks, Drakes, Bestowers and the Badger Mark II, I'm interested in the rise of the Retriever into the #6 spot on the most popular ship list.  Is this a sign that the Covetor market is about to pick up in Q4 or possibly Q1 2011?  Or is this just a return to normalcy, since the Retriever was also #6 on the list back in Q4 2009?

Population Density - I think this section is interesting, just to see where other players are in the sandbox, but not something I'm really interested in.  The noticable things are the rise of the population of Amarr overtaking that of Rens and the continued movement of capsuleers out of high security space, not only in percentage terms, but also in absolute terms as well.

The Monetary System - Just as in real life, New Eden is seeing an increase in the money supply.  However 36.5% of the 400 trillion isk money supply is locked up in inactive accounts, which could mean problems if players come back to the game because of Incarna.

CCP appears to have stopped, or at least severely mitigated the isk flow into the money supply coming from insurance payouts and npc produced trade goods.  Now the biggest problem is the growth of mission payouts.  Dr.EyjoG points out that bounty payouts increased 16% in Q3 over Q2, fueled by the increased populary of running missions in null sec.

How will CCP control the growth of the money supply?  One answer could be the loyalty point store.  The LP store is the biggest isk sink in the game (page 19).  Allowing the sale of faction ships on the market now looks like an effort to get more of those mission bounties poured into the LP store.  The Sansha incursions could also help reduce missioning rewards.  In addition to all the penalties missioners will receive in systems the Sansha occupy, I have to guess that the blueprints the Sansha will drop will have a LP store component to them.

Mineral Price Index - As expected, most mineral prices continued to decline due to the insurance payout changes.  The price of isogen and nocxium rose thoughout the quarter while mexallon rose the first two months before tailing off in September.  Nocxium prices have probably declined in Q4 since the nocxium market was the subject of some player manipulation.

Primary Producer Price Index - This index tracks the price manufacturing items used for the production of other manufacturing items at the secondary stage.  This segment of the economy saw a huge spike in June as planetary interaction came into play and accounted for about 96% of the increase in the index in Q3.

Secondary Producer Price Index - This index tracks production materials and other production items that are used in the manufacturing of consumer goods, i.e. goods included in the Consumer Price Index.  The index showed a huge inflation in July caused by the introduction of planetary interaction with increases in August and September fueled by an increase in the price of salvaged materials.

Consumer Price Index - This index contains the over 4,000 items in the game that are not primarily used to produce other goods.  The CPI saw a big increase during Q3, mainly due to increased costs of starbase fuel other than ice products.  Yes, planetary action strikes again.

Here is the summary of the price changes in Q3:

"The price development of Q3 2010 was characterized by relative stability, with the notable exception of planetary commodities, which tended to surge quite strongly in July but then began to stabilize. The effects of the Tyrannis changes to insurance, drone compounds and mission loot were still being felt in the quarter. On the other hand, the effect of the Dominion changes to the construction requirements for Tech II items seems to be over." (page 29)

PvP and ship losses - Any industrialist wants to know which ships are effective (since they are popular) and which ships get blown up a lot.  The top three ships with the most final blows on kill mails are Hurricanes, Drakes, and Vagabonds.  Minmatar ships made up 11 of the top 20 ships on the list.

The ships most often destroyed were Drakes, Rifters, and Hurricanes.

The growth of supercaptials is actually pretty amazing.  According to the charts it appears that 8 titans and 40+ supercarriers were destroyed in Q3 but approximatly 60 titans and almost 500 supercarriers were built.

Market Focus - At the end of the newsletter, three ships were the focus of market analysis: Drakes, Hurricanes, and Sabres.  For those interested in those ships, the coverage begins on page 46.

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