October 19 Patch: Tax System Overhaul


As with any patch day, there was a certain sense of anticipation. Are things going to release the way they were planned? Are there any surprise changes? Will the game load at all?

In the most recent patch, EVE players saw the release of the CONCORD Rogue Analysis Beacons – the CRAB (trap) sites. This main focus item may or may not create a reason to have capitals in space again. But the patch notes said nothing, at least at first, about a change that will have far broader impact on every player in the game.

Death and Taxes

Shortly after downtime on October 19, highsec market traders began to notice significant changes to their sales orders. A quick review of the patch notes said nothing about changing market taxes or fees. What started out as confused murmur quickly changed to angry crowds on the EVE-O forums and multiple threads on r/eve.

Based on the clamor, CCP responded to clarify the situation. The patch notes were updated, and a second news release was posted to provide the details. What is less clear is why the changes were released in this way.

Examination of Changes and Impact

In the second news release, the CCP team has given us all the details to understand the potential impact.

Taxes have risen from 2.5% to 8.0%, increasing by 3.2x. Broker fees have changed from 2.5% to 3.0%.

This makes the total change before skills and standings an increase from 5.0% to 11.0%, more than doubling the maximum taxes. If you factor in standings and max skills? The total change went from 1.165% to 4.6%, or nearly quadruple the total cost on sales.

Lest we forget, in the closing scenes of the Beeitnam war, tax changes were implemented by CCP, phrased as a tax holiday. It’s quite clear that the holiday is over.

If you do the maths based on the original rates before the tax holiday, the overall outcome for most NPC market users is a modest increase of approximately 1%. For those with absolutely max 10/10 standings and all V skills, it results in a fraction of a percentage reduction. Based on one INN report, with standing of 9/9+ they saw a final set of NPC station fees in the 1.2% range, compared to the 1.0% seen during the tax holiday.

Closing Thoughts

Was this an attempt to sneak in a change under the cover of the crab traps? I think this is unlikely. The attention to detail evident in the spreadsheets of your average EVE player would have made spotting the change trivial.

I suspect it was something that was nearly ready for the marketing and PR team to sell to players, but was folded into the 19.09 patch. I suspect these changes were pushed, but the teams were not fully ready. This would explain the very quick alteration of patch notes (which would typically be compiled in the days before deployment), as well as the immediate launch of a second news item.

The bigger question is going to be how this impacts market player’s desire to log in and play. In the ongoing era of scarcity, taking an even bigger bite out of every sales transaction is an interesting attempt to manage EVE’s ongoing inflation. We can only hope this strange and bold move is part of a wider economic plan – but we shall have to wait and see.

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  • Rammel Kas

    I read this change by CCP as: “Hisec was the problem all along”

    October 20, 2021 at 9:46 AM
  • Guilford Australis

    Has CCP ever released a patch that actually made the game more fun and more rewarding? PCUs are in the toilet, the lowest login numbers since roughly 2006-2007, and CCP is more than doubling maximum tax rates for NPC stations, after implementing severe resource and industry nerfs to make the game as miserable as possible.

    Once – just once – I’d like to see CCP release a patch that doesn’t boil down to “nerf nerf nerf nerf nope nope nope nope screw you.” But that will never happen.

    October 20, 2021 at 12:32 PM
    • You’re a little behind the times. The latest 1 week average on Eve-Offline.net is over 20% higher than the login numbers in the aftermath of Blackout in 2019. We’ll just have to see if the numbers will continue to recover after the disastrous effects of World War Bee 2/The Beeitnam War.

      October 20, 2021 at 7:48 PM
      • Guilford Australis NoizyGamer

        It is encouraging that logins are recovering, but my statement was correct. The PCU trough following scarcity and industry changes was actually *worse* than post-Blackout, and current PCU’s seem to be peaking around 28k, which is indeed circa-2006 levels.

        October 20, 2021 at 9:45 PM
  • Nate Hunter

    Since there exists way to completely avoid paying market taxes it just feels wrong to keep raising taxes. CCP continuing to buff vertical industry.

    October 20, 2021 at 5:55 PM
  • Sunorc1776

    At this point I don’t think CCP knows what the hell they are trying to do. The tax change won’t do much but have people training the skills needed to reduce the taxes they pay. The addition of the CRAB will have people making jokes about Eve catching crabs.

    I am concerned that a Raven is going for around 300 mil and the prices are starting to rise. (back in may they hit 400 mil) When I started playing, the standard battleship was the ship to get into to run those level 4 missions. Will these new tax changes make the battleship too expensive for newer players to get into? Faction battleships are too much for sure.

    Is CCP trying to get people to buy more plex to sell so they have the isk to buy those ships? If so, then they are going to kill the game. Additional transactions after people already pay for their subscriptions will put new players off.

    October 20, 2021 at 10:26 PM
    • Garreth Vlox Sunorc1776

      the crab module is a complete joke, someone posted a video on youtube of what the meta for those will become, anchoring and triggering in a belt in your carrier and then running them with a fleet or rorqs that each keep a rock in the belt locked so they can panic if anyone drops them… How does CCP not think of that work around during the entire process of testing these?

      October 21, 2021 at 7:45 PM
  • Garreth Vlox

    It’s like CCP the company has a multiple personality disorder. The first personality wants new players to join and play, the second wants to put every barrier it can dream up between those new players and the ability for them to compete with established players, and the third just wants to destroy the in-game economy entirely through bottlenecks they don’t play the game enough to understand but think they do.

    October 21, 2021 at 9:40 AM
    • smallismorg Garreth Vlox

      It’s all about taking currency out of circulation so you have to buy more plex.

      Nothing more, nor less.

      December 7, 2021 at 9:22 AM
  • J Moravia

    I honestly cannot believe CCP looked at the game and said, “You know the real problem? Market traders are making too much money.”

    Like, you can fix a handful of things with each patch, and you pick that?

    October 23, 2021 at 12:05 AM