Monday, March 15, 2010

Comes The Mineralocalypse?

The next release of Eve, Tyrannis, is now running on 'Singularity' AKA 'SiSi' the test server where all the new code gets a semi public test first. It gives some smart people access to updated gameplay elements and lets them dissect them prior to launch in the real game universe, which can sometimes lead to market speculation such as the mass acquisition of items that are expected to get more valuable while dumping items that are expected to drop in price. With the Dominion release the construction requirements of Tech 2 ships were modified in an attempt to re-balance the value of moon minerals, and sure enough the likes of promethium dropped in price, while Techetinium rose. However speculation is far from foolproof, many pilots took the rebalancing of moon minerals as an indication that Tech 2 ships would be cheaper after Dominion and sold off stocks as quickly as possible only to be shocked when the disruption to the T2 production lines caused a huge spike in the price of t2 ships.
Anyway, some people have noticed that the insurance payouts for ships have all changed on SiSi, they've mostly dropped by about 30%. They've run linear equation solvers on the mineral/payout equations to see if they can figure out the exact base values for the basic minerals and there's a bunch of speculation as to whether the new base values are static or dynamic, based on jita prices based on region prices etc etc. There's a bunch of crying and finger pointing at Suicide gank squads and statements like 'PVP should cost' and of course frequent invocation of the magic crystal ball....

Many Eve players like insurance because it gives them cash to buy a new ship when things go wrong, they see it as a safety net that protects against mistakes, bad luck, other players or all of the above. Some players don't like insurance, Miners in Hi-sec have been complaining that it enables cheap suicide ganking of their expensive Hulks, those pilots are idiots for many reasons. You see miners in hi-sec have benefited great from insurance's double life as an artificial price floor on the mineral basket.
A 'what'?
Eve's economy may be the most detailed and interesting in any virtual world, but it still has a bunch of artificial brokenness, money can enter and leave the economy via external entities which have no limit on their bank accounts. And in recent months many industrialists have realised that it's possible to make money directly from building ships, insuring them and then collecting the insurance by getting them destroyed, or simply self destructing them.
When there's an oversupply of minerals their prices drop, if they drop enough then it becomes financially viable to build battleships and collect their insurance value. The excess minerals on the market get soaked up by the insurance 'industry' until the price rise sufficiently that no profit can be made. Moreover, the value is actually determined across a basket of minerals used to build tech 1 ships, if the price of one mineral drops then the others rise until the value of the basket is in equilibrium with the insurance floor.
Since Apocrypha added high end asteroids in w-Space and Dominion added grav sites in upgraded systems the amount of high end minerals coming from Arkonor, Bistot and Crokite has increased, pushing the prices of Megacyte and Zydrine down. As a result Tritanium and Pyerite have increased to provide parity with the insurance floor, so those pilots whining about insurance enabling suicide gankers have been making way more money because their low-end minerals have been very much in demand to feed the battleship destruction lines.
If insurance rates are rebalanced then mineral value will drop - and a lot of people sitting on large stockpiles of minerals know this and may decide to dump them ahead of the release of dominion.
Or they might simply build a lot of battleships and self destruct them.

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