Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NPC Orders Begone!

So we've had a fun week of Planetary interaction with many people realising that the fastest way to make money was to buy NPC goods and process them into something more valuable to sell. You could setup whole farms of advanced processors on hi-sec worlds, feed in mechanical parts and consumer electronics and then process these into robotics which could then be sold to NPC's for about a 50% gain in value. I made about 100million in this way in the past week, using a single toon running a bunch of barren & temperate planets in hi-sec. Some very fancy tier 4 components could be manufactured with ease using NPC components as input and those appeared on the market well before they would be expected, with production lines kick started by NPC products.

Anyway, if you didn't know this and were interested then tough luck, because CCP have removed almost all the NPC buy/sell orders during downtime. So now, planet interaction doesn't have the NPC market supporting it we can expect a slow evolution towards equilibrium as 'market forces' free themselves from NPC orders. Except that if you look at the volume numbers on NPC goods you'll see that people clearly were stockpiling items in anticipation of this moment, and right now in Jita there are already sellers dropping their stocks on market trying to guess at the final value.

Silicate Glass is a great example - old NPC orders were <200isk, but under the new PI production chains you make it by mixing Silicon (only found on lava planets) with Oxidizing agent (only found on gas planets) - so it's one of the hardest Tier 2 materials to make. As such those people who were buying up silicate glass are now selling it at over 1000isk a unit.

Robotics is an interesting one to watch though, because of the Buy->Process->Sell chain there are no doubt large amounts of these, or at least the components in people's hangars, but there's also a constant demand for these in POS fuel, and manufacturing either requires a single installation on rare plasma planets, or shuttling materials between other planets. So I suspect that actual production will be a lot lower initially (except in 0.0) as prices will be depressed, but as supplies get used up the prices will only rise until it becomes worth people's time to produce them.

The people with those fancy plasma planets are currently better off making Precious metals, and maybe once the prices for those drop, Enriched uranium. Enriched uranium from NPC orders is pretty pricey so it didn't have the same incentive to buy and stockpile. Precious metal prices currently push that even higher, but those can be extracted from barren planets, which are much more common, so the price for those will drop more readily.

Myself - I've got almost 20 planets being farmed right now, some in hi-sec/low-sec and some in 0.0 - I've already made my investment back and expect to continue to do well over the coming days, I have a few more ideas on where the market is going and investments have been made.

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