Takeaways from CCP’s Monthly Economic Report – February 2021

2021-03-29

CCP has released EVE’s latest report on the state of the economy, offering insight to the game’s current macroeconomics.

Delve Remains a Center for Economic Activity

Delve continues to be the second most productive region in the game outside of Jita/The Forge, as reflected in Total Production Value by Region. This is centered on Goonswarm Federation’s 1DQ capital and a testament to the industrial strength of the alliance: it accounts for nearly 30% of all production value and contracts trading volume in the game.

Other PAPI staging hubs in Delve, such as T5ZI, continue to be solely military outposts; nearly all economic infrastructure in the region continues to be decommissioned and abandoned GSF citadels, fortizars, refineries. Also factored into the data is that February had significant attrition warfare and GSF withdrawals from hubs such as M-2, 39P, and W6V.

Delve’s net imports has surged from January to February, from 5.0 trillion to 32.3 trillion ISK. Nearby Period Basis saw imports surge from 3 trillion to 40 trillion. This is a reflection not solely of economic activity but of mass mobilization efforts—PAPI moving war assets to the region for the ongoing war, particularly from Esoteria (50T in exports). This mobilization likely skewed the numbers also for Paragon Soul from their transit.

ISK destruction has cooled off from 30T to 5T, as January 2021 had the M-2 battle which saw record breaking numbers. 5T ISK is still double the destruction of the next highest region, The Forge.

Long story short: Delve is where things are happening, no matter which side of the war you are on.

Ratting is Stagnating

Since the changes to ratting leading to months of decline, Bounty Prizes have stabilized at around the 20T ISK mark.

Several regions stand out for changes and continued domination of income from ratting:

Vale of the Silent (1.8T this month alone!)
The Kalevala Expanse (1.0T)
Insmother (1.0T)
Perrigen Falls (0.9T)
Oasa (0.9T)

Compared to Delve (0.4T) or Syndicate (0.1T)

The pattern between these regions is that a disproportionate amount of ratting income centers around the Chinese-dominant alliance Fraternity, whether it’s bots or real players behind these pilots. What cannot be doubted is the numbers that Fraternity and/or its tenants pull, despite CCP’s changes to the game since 2019 to incentivize “non-repetitive activities with intuitive risk/reward ratios while not competing with cheaters.

The Effects of Minerals on Mining

For the second month in a row, the Mineral Price Index (MPI) has touched record highs. However, CPI and Primary and Secondary Producer Indices have remained stable, which seems counter-intuitive.

The most common narrative in EVE is that with “Scarcity,” as reflected in the MPI and changes to ratting, the economic activity and wealth generation are returning to high-sec space where these activities are more profitable. And that null-sec players and their PvP alliances, having had years of dominating these economic reports with their respective regions, are now seeing structural changes work against them. Particularly, the whole system is designed to have alliances with deep pockets start emptying them out.

The numbers show this is not the case. Despite the massive ISK destruction and soaring cost of minerals, the price of goods (ships, weapons, etc.) has been extremely stable.

In fact, even the high price of minerals has not incentivized that much change in mining activity—the opposite has happened in Oasa, where they went from the top-mining region in the entire game in January to absolutely collapsing in February.

Looking at the economic data, these miners and their ships did not move regions to mine elsewhere, whether in high-sec or low-sec or null-sec. If anyone could provide insight on what happened in Oasa, I would be grateful.

More Questions than Answers

Unfortunately, the report does leave us with more questions than answers. It’s hard to gauge the effect of “Scarcity,” and whether things are working as intended.

Of the 32T in ISK Faucets, CCP gave us insight for the first time on the Top 6 commodities: Sleeper components (“blue loot”), overseer personal effects, Triglavian data (“red loot”). This confirms that a significant amount of revenue streams are being moved to wormholes, combat sites, abyssal space, and Pochven, the only places in the game to drop these kinds of loot. This move by CCP made sense: it was to punish repetitive, relatively risk-adverse activities such mining and ratting in null-sec, and reward new frontiers such as exploration, wormhole space, and filaments. But to what end?

Prices for PLEX have fallen from 2.5M to 2.2M at the time of writing in the span of three months. This leads to some questions: Is scarcity not merely emptying alliance wallets? Is it stretching nullsec PvPers’ wallets tight, as well? And if so, do they feel forced to purchase PLEX on the website, and sell it for ISK? Can nullsec still match the revenue streams that w-space, low-sec, and high-sec provide? If not, what value does holding null space have?

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