June 2020 Monthly Economic Report Analysis and EVE’s Potential Economic Crisis


Header Art by Redline XIII

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 acquire, 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. Do you agree that the future of EVE Online remains in limbo? What do you think about the fairness in EVE Online – are we becoming more or less equal? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Do Little

    Eve is going through its equivalent of the Volcker shock. As someone who lived through that – it wasn’t fun, a lot of people lost their homes and a lot of businesses failed. Many argued, as you have, that turning off the faucets in this way is a bad thing but – it worked. He killed inflation and ushered in 20 years of strong economic growth – including a few years in the ’90s when governments actually ran surpluses!

    Eve was headed for disaster with infinite faucets – CCP should have acted much earlier but, the shock of blackout followed by the resource scarcity phase seems to be resetting expectations and bringing things under control. The current war is a wonderful thing in this context since it should draw down stockpiles and redistribute a lot of wealth from the large nullsec blocs to smaller entities who are harvesting the less concentrated resources they need to feed the war machine.

    July 29, 2020 at 8:11 AM
    • Arrendis Do Little

      I’d argue that your comparison’s off. It’s not Paul Volcker’s economic policies that we’re seeing. It’s the Oil Embargo from OPEC: the sudden starvation of supply.

      Volker’s policies were accompanied by attempts from the government to incentivize innovation and investment in renewable energy. And many of the gains of the ’80s and ’90s were actually not a result of economic policy, but automation and ‘productivity gains’, which means getting more work out of people for the same money.

      In EVE… we’re not going to see any of that. We can’t ‘automate’ the economy, really. The measures CCP’s taking now were already an attack on the automation they themselves unleashed—a single rorq mining as much as 3-5 Hulks, for example. But instead of addressing the automation… they’ve given us an Ore Embargo, starving the economy of its supply.

      July 30, 2020 at 2:15 AM
      • “We can’t ‘automate’ the economy, really.”

        Apparently Oasa begs to differ đŸ˜›

        July 30, 2020 at 5:17 AM
      • Do Little Arrendis

        There is no shortage of minerals. They are no longer delivered in infinite quantities to your door but they remain in good supply at major trade hubs. Because it takes more work to harvest and transport, the price is higher. They are available if you are prepared to pay, same as money was available in 1981 if you were prepared to pay!

        July 30, 2020 at 9:21 AM
  • Simon Chui

    Yeah, things are fairer in the sense that big null groups are less able to leverage their economies of scale. That makes highsec, lowsec, and wormhole activities comparatively more profitable. I think ccp’s goal is to not allow any single sector to be self-sufficient. That means either trading for what you need, or expanding your activities to other sectors. Will we ever see goon locust fleets in highsec asteroid belts? Maybe when the highsec miners cry to ccp that all the asteroids are gone within one hour after downtime every day, they’ll put more minerals back in null.

    Shit, I hope I don’t get blamed for that disaster if it happens. But that’s just the logical conclusion of these changes to the game mechanics, right? If you can’t get enough minerals in null, you’ll get them from somewhere else.

    July 29, 2020 at 9:21 AM
    • Garreth Vlox Simon Chui

      “If you can’t get enough minerals in null, you’ll get them from somewhere else.” Or like myself you will find other games to spend your money on the when the devs decide to shit up the part of space you decided to live in when self sufficient, player owned empires in nullsec was a part of the draw to the game.

      July 29, 2020 at 8:56 PM
      • Alaric Faelen Garreth Vlox

        Agreed. CCP just can’t figure out what they want Eve to be. We just keep flip flopping between extremes while CCP farts out ham-fisted ‘fixes’ to the game they keep breaking. CCP wanted self-sufficiency and to ‘live in your own space’– and spent how much development time forcing that on us? But now that backfired, the game stagnated, so CCP has a new ‘fix’ in mind.
        At some point it should become clear that the people least qualified to develop Eve is CCP themselves.

        August 1, 2020 at 2:25 AM
  • Rammel Kas

    I’ll just leave this one stunning failure to correctly model and interpret human activity from real life here: Irish Potato Famine.

    July 29, 2020 at 2:19 PM
  • Garreth Vlox

    So basically, as predicted by those who actually PVE, shooting the economy in the head repeatedly in a short period of time was bad for the game overall… I’m sure EVE devs are shocked at the outcome.

    July 29, 2020 at 8:54 PM
  • ZachPruckowski

    As a one-time EVE player, one thing that discourages me from returning is the sense that I’m so far behind and couldn’t really catch up after not playing for a decade.

    The more valuable all the long-time players’ stockpile of ISK becomes, and the more you need to invest like a bazillion-isk capital or supercapital to make money, the more daunting “getting back into EVE” looks.

    July 31, 2020 at 2:37 PM
    • Romulus Loches ZachPruckowski

      In Eve there is a misconception that the biggest and most expensive ships are the best and most fun ships. It is simply not true, it is personal preference that you learn through flying various ships in different roles. While it does take time to get up to speed, something that might need readdressing, it is not too late to start playing. You just need to discover what you enjoy flying and focus on that, don’t look towards others to tell you what is fun and what you should enjoy flying.

      August 1, 2020 at 4:57 AM
  • ScorpionKong

    Personally CCP and the changes that have been made is making eve impossible for new players to make it in. This year has been one of our hardest to retain members in-game with very little prospects coming from HS. Life in-game has become unlivable due to the endless NPC’s raping RL players learning the game and to the idiotic events such as the triglavians that have no real purpose’s other then to be a kitchen sink of loses for CCP’s bank role. No one can win against diamond rats in HS it’s pointless as well. To this years 90% reduction to all ores in all belts across the game and the lowest rewards in all mission running from LvL1-LvL4 is a shame. Eve for the first time in my eve career is not worth the membership costs. I pay ruffly 9Bn in isk RL cash each month to get about 2Bn in return is not worth it and I am not a newbro a newbro can make a few hundred million and that is not rightas it’s his operating cost he is covering not a growth dollar to be seen. It’s a monopoly when you have to take peoples RL money from them to play on-top of the membership fee. Which where I live is a felony and if businesses are caught doing it they can be fined or shutdown for being a monopoly. I really hope things change for the better and soon as all this negativity is directly hurting the player base and any newcomer to the game. It’s also giving eve online a horrible name around the net as a money grab game not a game and I know a few that went under due to this name calling and wish CCP gets the heads out of there backsides.

    September 21, 2020 at 3:06 AM