CCP released the minutes from the first CSM summit with CSM XII yesterday. There is a lot to go through in the minutes, but Arrendis and I have dug through them and found what we think are the key points. I am sure we have missed some, so let us know in the comments.
We have split this into two parts because, well, it ended up being a bit of a manifesto length. This part covers the Eve Production, Team Genesis, and Economics sessions from the summit.
Team Size Matters was previously focused on monetization, but will now move back to gameplay development. All dev teams are to be mindful of monetization. This may make some sections of the player-base uncomfortable, as perhaps not all dev-teams should be keeping monetization in mind when they do their thing. How this plays out, in the long run, depends on how much attention teams have to pay to monetization, and even what is meant by monetization. There were no further details given, so, the pitchforks should perhaps be kept in storage for now.
Subscription status in the launcher is something people have been asking for since it disappeared from the API, and CCP have said that this is something they are working on.
The removal of Captain’s Quarters was discussed, with CCP Vertex responding to a query about the use of character models in-game by saying that one thing they were considering is holographic statues of players. This is not quite the same as being able to walk your character around and interact with the station interiors. Personally, I am now envisioning the 4-4 undock being cluttered with even more space junk than it is currently. Holographics is something that comes up several times during the CSM minutes, so it is something that has CCP’s interest, development-wise at present.
TheJudge did let CCP know that the main concern about removing CQ was ‘what does this mean for Walking In Stations?’ though. So who knows, maybe CCP will let you wander around and punch those Jita spammers in the throat, someday.
This session was focused on the upcoming Resource Wars feature. CCP Affinity seems to confirm that the target audience for Resource Wars is newer players, who may not want to do career agents. There is more information on the sites themselves, which will involve filling a freighter with minerals, whilst protecting the NPC miners from pirates. The gates to the site have a limit to the number of players who can go through them, and the timer is short enough that you cannot slow boat to the site. The resources and the objectives will vary from site to site. This signals that CCP want to reduce the monotony of PvE.
As is already known, the rewards are ISK and LP, with the LP being used at the LP stores of the new corporations. The LP will be used for reward crates, which contain a variety of things, again aimed at the newer player, T1 modules and fitted ships. There are also SKINs available from the LP store, but, unlike other skins, they will not be transferrable between players.
How this will work is not explained, but, it may be that the SKINs are pre-applied to the ships. This would still make them tradeable via contracts though unless there is a mechanism to prevent this.
This session was of particular interest to me, as I mostly do trading in Eve. CCP Quant and Nagual were on hand to talk about the nitty-gritty of the Eve markets.
The discussions mostly centered around the PLEX markets, including the issue of offshoring when trading PLEX. Offshoring is the practice of using a player Citadel to place ranged orders to cover a market hub (like using the citadels one jump out of Jita), allowing you to benefit from much lower broker fees than you would pay in an NPC station. One attractive aspect of this for traders is that if you can get yourself an 0% broker fee deal (and, that is very possible), you can place very large buy orders for very low cost. With Margin Trading trained to V, a 100b buy order for plex would cost you 100 ISK in broker fees to set up, and 25b in ISK for the escrow. You can clear your escrow by selling to yourself, so, sell yourself 25b worth of PLEX and you lose 1% of that in sales tax, but otherwise, incur no costs in setting up the order. For comparison, in a station, with 10/10 standing to corporation and faction, the lowest fee you can get is 2%, meaning your 100b order would cost 2b to set up. There are buy orders much larger than 100b, all set up for 100 isk cost. The same applies on sell orders. You can place a sell order for 100b, and it will cost you 100 isk to set up, and then 1% in sales fees when it sells.
This allows people to, with relatively low amounts of ISK, manipulate the PLEX market to a degree that was not possible before. Other markets are affected, but, the primary place where this is a problem is with PLEX.
CCP Quant said one of the things CCP is looking at to try to change this is the addition of a special brokers fee for certain items (PLEX, Injectors, Extractors, collectively known as RMT items).
Margin Trading, mentioned above, is a mechanic which allows a trader to place a buy order without having to put up the full amount. This is used both in margin trading scams, and in manipulating prices of PLEX with buy orders that can never fill.
CCP have discussed ways to change this over the years, and none of them have been satisfactory. At this CSM session, CCP Nagual floated two ideas, one for having the escrow always be sufficient to cover the minimum buy for an order, and the other being that ISK would be taken from the wallet first, and escrow second.
The first of these ideas is the least disruptive to normal margin trading, but will not prevent margin scamming on large orders (or prevent the problems with Citadel offshore fake orders). This is because a 600b buy order for PLEX usually has a minimum quantity of one, meaning you would only need three million or so in escrow.
The second idea would defeat the entire point of margin trading.
In this session, CCP also expressed concern about Faction Battleships. In the past few months, they have made changes to build costs and availability of these to try and raise the prices. Their lingering concern indicates that more changes may be incoming.
CCP Quant also mentions an “Eve Economic Council” which keeps an eye on the economics in-game, including inflation. It is not stated who is on this council, but that there is one is an interesting revelation.
The other thing that people have picked up on in this session is CCP Quant talking about intervening in the PLEX market to cool prices. This is not such a big disclosure, as it is known that CCP use sales to try to reduce prices and that they use their stock of confiscated PLEX to add them to the drop table for events. It is always nice to have confirmation of these things though.
This was one of the most in depth sessions I can remember regarding the economy recently, and I hope that it indicates that there will be more economy related discussions between CCP and the CSM in the future.
We will cover the rest of the sessions in part 2, which should be out just after the weekend.