Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A Look At The July 2021 Monthly Economic Report

After a second quarter that featured the siege of the O-EIMK constellation in Delve, EVE Online witnessed a surge of activity as line members in null sec alliances returned to the game to participate in a climatic battle. In the second quarter of 2021 (April thru June), New Eden witnessed the least amount of damage since the introduction of Alpha clones in November 2016. Did activity pick up in July?

In Q2 2021, New Eden dished out under 100 trillion ISK in damage.

The first indicator of increased player engagement was the amount of the Active ISK Delta. The AID is the measure of how much ISK enters or leaves the economy due to players leaving or returning to the game. The AID also takes into account GM actions against rules breakers.

In June, the Active ISK Delta showed a net 67.8 trillion ISK leaving the game due to players not logging into their accounts for at least 30 days. In July, the figure fell to only 16.2 trillion ISK departing the game. A figure that low is an indicator players are returning to the game.

While the Active ISK Delta showed improvement, that doesn't necessarily translate to increased output for the economy. We need to know when players started coming back into the game. The money supply data typically shows that.

The data shows a dramatic increase in the money supply occurred beginning on 27 July. From 27 July until 9 August, the money supply rose by 5.6%. Notably, two events occurred. On 25 July PAPI alliances held townhall meetings telling their line members to prepare for a major attack on the Imperium's stronghold in Delve. Then on 27 July CCP launched The Grand Heist. One of the highlights of the event was a handout trickled out over 5 days of a maximum of 235 million ISK to players with Omega accounts. 

With the knowledge that the event handout artificially increased the money supply, let's looks at some of the measurable activity.

Destruction overall declined 2.5% in July. Not bad performance for a July. The stalemate in Delve helped contribute to destruction only declining 1.3% compared to June in null sec. But the level of destruction in New Eden is the lowest since the introduction of Alpha accounts in November 2016. Compared to the first month of the current war, destruction is down 25.2% in known space and 28.1% in null sec. Perhaps the most telling data point is that compared to the last month of peace in June 2020, destruction is down 40.9% outside wormholes, but only 33.9% in null sec.

The value of production also declined in July, but only by 2%. The two percent decline was the same in both empire space and null sec. While some might claim the industry changes in April are the reason for the decline, the trend line for production has declined since the first month of the war. Year-over-year, production declined 39.1%.

Looking at the regional bounty statistics doesn't seem so relevant with the introduction of the breakout of the ESS banks, so I'll refer to CCP's bar chart instead. Commodities rose 8.8% from 32 trillion ISK in June to 34.8 trillion ISK in July. Bounties declined by 4.6% from 19.4 trillion ISK down to 18.5 trillion ISK. The big category is Redeemed ISK tokens, which I believe come from robbing the ESS banks. The amount changed from 21.6 billion ISK in June to 9.4 trillion ISK in July. The regular ESS Main Bank payment remained steady at 8.1 trillion ISK.

Added: The reason I believe the tokens are somehow related to the ESS banks is the introduction the reserve bank robbing mechanic with The Grand Heist on 27 July. As far as I can tell, the ISK Redeem Tokens category was added to the MER in February 2021. I guess we'll see when the August MER is released next month.

Added 20 August 2021: The tokens are not related to the ESS banks. They are related to The Grand Heist daily rewards. I've written a full explanation here.

The value of the ore mined in July declined 15.6% compared to June, which is the first indicator of a larger than normal drop in activity. According to the data, the mineral price index rose during July. Still, even with today's higher prices, the value of ore mined in July 2021 is 29.7% less than in July 2020.

In line with mining activity, the value of products measured by all the price indices declined by 16.4% month-over-month in June.  But more worrisome is that the 377.4 trillion ISK value in July is the lowest since February 2016 when skill extractors and large skill injectors were added to the game. In February 2016, the value of the indicies was 358.1 trillion ISK. Year-over-year, the value of the economy declined 24.3%.

The value of the goods measured by the Consumer Price Index decreased the same percentage as the drop in the value of mined ore from June to July: 15.6%. Year-over-year, the value of the CPI decreased 22.6%. Compared to the month before the major null sec war began, the CPI value decreased 30.4%.

Since the analysis is making comparisons to the pre-skill point trading economy, looking at the CPI without the accessories category is in order. Without accounting for skill injectors and extractors and the other items, the value of the CPI declined by 17%, showing the RMT tokens were not responsible for the month-over-month decline.  However, the 17.4% year-over-year decline in the value is less than the 22.6% year-over-year decrease when the RMT tokens are included.

Removing the accessories category from the total economy reduces the value measured by all the indices to 300.2 trillion ISK. The last time the economy was smaller was back in December 2015 when the value was 299.1 trillion ISK.

When I began looking at the data, I thought I would like what I found. I thought the data would show a small decline in activity consistent with historical seasonal trends. But as I dug deeper into the files, a picture emerged of an EVE that is not performing well. Hopefully the end of the siege warfare in Delve will allow the economy to perform above the levels usually seen in August.

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