“Rens is dying”
Those words appeared in a text message early yesterday, as I discussed with a longtime friend and fellow carebear the current state of the market in EvE.
I considered those words; they weighed pretty heavily on me. He proposed we move from our long term home of Rens onto greener pastures. I considered my own recent forays into the market: As Minmatar straddled the cusp of T3, I found my LP sales stagnating. I’m not space-rich by any means, and I over-committed a bit into the market to try and unload some LP once I noticed the rating went up. All my sales combined would only be 300mil, but when I only paid 1-1.5mil per ship, that’s a ton of money. But I can still buy everything I use regularly, and we are both so negative to Amarr and Caldari at this point that we could never dig out of that hole.
I understand the sentiment though. In the heyday of our carebear years, an unlimited supply of any item imaginable was available in Rens (as well as the other trade hubs), and there was money to be made in moving items between hubs, keeping a majority of highsec price-stable. If you wanted to build a Battleship that night, you simply could purchase the materials, haul them to a station with sufficient open manufacturing, and install the job. Boom. Timer starts, and when it’s done cooking, you own a Battleship. This was true for any item imaginable.
Those days are over now. With the super caps and jump freighters and POSes, manufacturing and industry in nullsec has vastly outpaced highsec, and all of us carebears are left somewhat despondent. Once upon a time, PLEX was under 300mil and trit was less than 2 isk/ea. Now we have PLEX prices over 900mil (maybe 0.9bil is a better metric now) and trit is hovering in the 5-6 range. Price variance is noticeable between hubs, and the price variance across even short paths is massive. Volume is dismally low, with sharp drop off for uncommon items. There are even items that Rens doesn’t carry at all! (Like when I tried to buy Fertilizer)
When you look at the data, and moreover at Jita, you find the same symptoms. This phenomenon is not localized to Rens, so moving will not solve it. This is my counterargument. The market, compared to the idealized market we are imagining from years ago, is shit. The price of everything has gone up, and the capacity to DIY has gone down. Unless you are running your own nose-to-tail shop, it is difficult to come up with large volumes of any manufacturing items.
People simply aren’t selling anymore.
Now, inflation should be a force to drive more manufacturing. If I can make +150% more isk building things now, plus I gain ‘free’ access to those items for the same hourly rate, then why wouldn’t there be a huge explosion in highsec industry? The scientist in me immediately asks “What changed?”
Nullsec changed a lot. I don’t really have a deep understanding of what is going on in the blackness, other than the big got much bigger, and the small got killed. Dreads are the new BCs; cynos and jump bridges, stations and citadels have all risen into the forefront of EvE, and the individualistic DIY attitude has given way to simply trying to find the biggest inmate on the yard to be your daddy.
WH space was our way to buck that trend early on, and it think that’s why you see a massive dip in T3 prices relative to the rest of the market. And I think that idea is the cornerstone of the foundation in this universe; People banding together and getting shit done versus the pseudo-NPC-driven ultra-compartmentalized nullsec superbloc mindsets. Those of us in FW see this every day – large fleet and alliance stratagems can buckle under a small gang that shuffles resources under their noses. Tactical deployments of terrifying assets simply averted by more nimble forces who can strike anywhere in minutes.
I think we can do the same industrially. Little pockets of alts, placed throughout the galaxy, could start harvesting and combining the required elements to start production that will counterbalance the heavy inflation that has occurred over the last few years. Small gangs tapping Veldspar, recycling mission loot, could field self-produced frigates, destroyers, and maybe even cruisers with relative ease. Regional buy orders with newbies doing courier missions could harvest the otherwise lost talent of missioners and PvPers alike to consolidate the millions of items that are simple despawned every day.
I want to believe that this is possible, because the alternative is so unimaginable…
When the markets die, so does EvE.