CCP’s “Broker Relations” patch deployed to Tranquility on March 10. The full patch notes are available here, but here’s a rundown of the key changes, which will no doubt be explored in more detail as we see how they shake out in game-play.
Market Updates Strike Again
As the name implies, the most significant changes, as previously announced by CCP, are continued market adjustments as a follow-on to the changes introduced last year. This new round of market changes will directly impact all EVE players (or at least all EVE players who buy or sell things on the markets, which is effectively the same thing).
First, CCP is adjusting the “tick size” for market orders to no more than four “significant figures.” Significant figures are “numbers digits that carry meaning contributing to measurement resolution,” and include all non-zero digits, as well as zeros between two non-zero digits (e.g., 2,005 has four significant figures).
Leading zeroes (e.g., 0.95) are not significant. Trailing zeroes (e.g., 12,500) may or may not be, depending on the circumstances of their use. Based on the examples provided in CCP’s February 24th devblog it appears that in the context of EVE markets they are treating all trailing zeroes as insignificant, such that:
“the following list shows the only acceptable ticks around the 1 million ISK region. All prices must be exactly set to one of these tick levels, and intermediate values will be rounded up/down to the next tick.
Currently, all orders on the market are listed in hundredths of an ISK. (e.g., 999.97, 999.98, 999.99, etc.). This change to four significant figures has major implications for market activity in New Eden. Orders of (say) 11,999,000 (five significant figures) or 1,905,944,000 (seven significant figures) will no longer be allowed, altering the face of station trading and its big brother – Eve’s famous culture of market manipulation that has been a topic of study by real-world economists.
CCP noted in its previous DevBlog on this topic that existing market orders will remain as they are, but all new orders or modifications to existing orders must comply with the new tick size rules or they will be rounded up or down to the nearest allowable figure (12,000,000 and 1,906,000,000, respectively, for the two examples above).
This tick size adjustment may be the most immediately obvious market change, but it is not the only one. This update introduces a new “relist fee” for order modifications, dependent on player skills, standings, and settings. The complete formula is available in the full patch notes, and the rationale behind it is explained further in the February 24th DevBlog:
“Currently, the cost to modify an order by a small amount is negligible. The only real constraint is the five minute delay before an individual order can be modified, but this is relatively easy to minimize for a trader with many order slots. As a result, the optimal strategy becomes ‘Always create your orders at 0.01 ISK above/below the current best order, and always update your order ASAP by 0.01 ISK if it isn’t the highest buy or lowest sell.’ Competition between traders comes down to who (or what) can micro-manage their orders for the longest period of time, rather than who is making the most intelligent pricing decisions.”
This change, in particular, appeared to be driving most of the reaction on the offical forum, and is potentially the most significant change for those who spend a lot of time creating and adjusting orders on the market.
Other changes to New Eden’s markets include:
- Fees for order creation and modification will now be split between the structure owner and a new NPC ISK sink.
- Market taxes in structures are now subject to a mandatory 1% minimum; structure owners can no longer set taxes at zero.
- The Margin Trading skill is being replaced by Advanced Broker Relations, which increases the relist discount rate from 50% untrained to 75% at level 5. CCP adds that Broker Relations 4 is a prerequisite for the new advanced skill, but that those who have already trained Margin Trading will still be able to train and use the replacement Advanced Broker Relations skill without having first trained Broker Relations.
- With the demise of the old Margin Trading skill, buy orders can no longer be created with anything less than 100% escrow, regardless of skill levels. CCP clarifies that existing <100% escrow orders will stay on the market until they are fulfilled or expire, but will not be allowed to be extended or created in the future.
Cap Booster Tiericide
Tiericide came for Remote Cap Transfer modules last month, and in March it is hitting Cap Boosters. The impacted modules and their attributes are included in the full patch notes. CCP states that “all market orders for the affected modules will be removed, the modules and escrow will be returned to the character who created the order. We will convert every module of one type into modules of another type, everywhere in the database. This includes modules currently fit to ships and modules in containers or contracts.”
Along with the usual assortment of bug fixes, additional gameplay adjustments in this update include:
- visual updates to the way moons are rendered and shaded,
- addition of Savior Implant Blueprints to Angel Cartel loyalty point stores and loot tables,
- a “Collapse all” button for the Regional Market, Asset, and Bookmark windows, and
- three new Level 2 missions. Little has been provided on these by way of detail. However, CCP_Habakuk clarified in a Reddit thread on /r/EVE that “these three missions were actually created as part of a project to test our existing content authoring tools to see in which way we could potentially improve them in the future . . . the missions accidentally sneaked out already in the February release, when they were only partially done and caused a few players to get stuck in them.”
No Moon Mining Changes, For Now
As Imperium FC Dirk Stetille noted, “the most glaring part is the thing that they didn’t do.” The much discussed and anxiously awaited nerf to moon mining was not part of this update. Unless and until we hear otherwise from CCP, it is safe to assume these changes are still to come, but they did not arrive with this update as expected.
Reactions to the update on EVE’s offical forum were largely negative – though many critiques of the patch focused on what is not changing with this update (e.g., the anticipated changes to moon mining, or the infamous plague – characterized by the proliferation of red spots – that continues to infect capsuleers).
Judging by forum reactions, the largest flash point related to the changes in this patch appears to be concern that the new “relist fee” will kill off Eve’s vibrant trading economy – and various other disciplines that depend on it, such as manufacturing, mining, PI, etc. – by making it cost-prohibitive for players with limited bankrolls to react to being undercut in the markets by cancelling orders and relisting at a lower price. It is possible that CCP’s economists believe this change and the new tick size adjustment for orders will offset each other somewhat by making incremental undercutting less profitable (due to increasing the size of the increments between sell orders). But as usual when things change in New Eden, only time will tell how players adjust to the “new normal.”
INN’s resident experts in New Eden economics will no doubt have more to say in the near future on these marketing changes, in particular. As always, INN will be there to cover the impacts of these adjustments on player activity and the game as a whole.