Setting the Stage
With the Ascension release, null-sec industry has completely changed with Rorquals (Rorq) becoming massive mining machines. They can pull in roughly the same amount of ore per hour that used to take around five characters in Exhumers plus a sixth providing boosts. Even with CCP reducing the mining potential of Rorqs by 33%, a single miner can still extract as much ore as a small fleet.
As with any new ship or redesign, people will play around with various fittings and gameplay ideas that CCP may endorse or patch out. We have seen this with small tweaks to the fitting capabilities, changes in ship traits, creation of new mods, etc. It is my belief that there will be certain long term reactions to these changes that have still yet to be fully seen.
The most obvious effect that the Rorq changes will have is an increase in mining capabilities of a single pilot. Most major industry players used to have to have about five or six characters running to make the same amount one Rorq miner can now. An industrialist can now choose to retire four or five of those characters, or if they have the ISK available, they could upgrade each of them into a Rorq of their own. These changes effect more than just the large scale multi-boxing miners, players with fewer or only one account are now able to do the work of a small fleet.
A single character can now mine around 1.5 mil m3 of ore every hour, which can translate to roughly 200 mil in ISK. Currently, to build a carrier, it takes around 1.1 bil worth of minerals. This means that a single character can mine the equivalent of carrier in around five to six hours.
So, after doing a little bit of research, I have some guesses as to the general direction that the Rorq changes will bring about. Keep in mind that this is based on the current state of affairs and could be significantly altered by future updates, bloc wars, player influx, etc.
The Chain of Events
First off, I’m going to say that it’s a fairly safe bet that CCP’s December economic report will show a massive upswing in the amount of ore mined in null-sec. This will probably be most obvious in secure or remote areas such as Delve and Dronelands. No one should be surprised by this since Rorq mining has become extremely profitable and will probably be a recurring trend for the next few months as people train into Rorqs and more built. A counterbalance to this though could be a decline in high-sec mining as they cannot use caps and will therefore be unable to compete on the same level. However, high sec mining won’t go away entirely as it is too safe and easily AFKable for passive ISK generation.
As there are more and more Rorq miners trained and out there hauling in massive loads of ore, eventually this will start to effect the market in a massive way. At the moment, there is a large mineral sink in the form of more Rorqs being built, as well as a general backlog of other capital ships being reported by large scale industrialists. At some point though, we will hit the tipping point where the supply of ore and minerals begins to overwhelm the demand. This could be prolonged by more Rorq nerfs or a major bloc war involving a number of capital battles, but under the current state of affairs, this is inevitable.
The next domino in this chain of events would be a drop in capital ship prices. Between the increased supply in minerals and the increased efficiency in build costs, capital prices will likely follow the mineral market and go down. I don’t mean that they will become dirt cheap, but since capital ships are one of the largest mineral sinks, they are very dependent on the mineral market. This could ripple up to supers and titans, and it will be interesting to see if the New Eden Trade Network (NETW) has an increase in super/titan sales since they are one of the few ways to trade these behemoths.
The culmination of these changes leads to one thing in particular that everyone will probably enjoy. If indeed ore/mineral prices go down, which leads to cheaper capital ships, then I believe we will see an increase in capital battles and losses. This is a simple conclusion that if capitals become easier and cheaper to replace, alliances will be more willing to risk them on a strategic objective. In fact, one of the only things that player can do to prolong this trend would be to use and lose ships to help create demand for more minerals.
The Sum of the Parts
Ultimately, it is my belief that CCP has already considered all of these points and decided to encourage such a trend. Massive capital engagements are exactly the kind of things that distinguish Eve from other MMOs and get it highlighted in the news. CCP has shown us that it is not above putting their oar in and stirring things up to create ‘content’ and capitalizing on it in such cases as the Casino War. Some people may say that this CCP trying to exploit the unique experience that Eve has to offer, however in this case, I applaud them in their efforts help enable us to have more battles like B-R.
In the end, CCP is giving us the opportunity to have the massive battles that many of us joined to experience, while not making a single loss be crushing enough to make people quit the game. It is up to us as players though to go ahead and go all out and fully escalate our battles, or decide to indulge in our greed and sit on massive piles of pixels.