So, @CCP_Convict, I have a few questions regarding the presentation of this data…
Anti-Botting efforts are removing massive amounts of ill-gotten ISK from the economy and making it harder to bot. This seems to correlate with lower PLEX prices, which makes sense since massive bot farms are no longer constantly driving up PLEX prices with their cheap ISK.
Now, you do give numbers on the price drop in PLEX:
Players are now getting more PLEX for their ISK. PLEX prices, in parallel with anti-botting efforts, have now been dropping since Q2 2019 from a height of 4,487 billion ISK on 17 May 2019 to 2,455 billion ISK on 17 May 2020. So in a year, PLEX prices have dropped 43.5%.
Are you sure this isn’t a result of a reduction in demand? Looking at the price history, the decline begins roughly alongside the beginning of the Blackout, when we know1 that the number of people spending time logged in dropped. We also know that as mineral scarcity was introduced, the number of accounts logged mining went down—real people, mind you, not bots, not input broadcasters. In some cases, the drop was small, but in others, the number of active accounts per player dropped by a few dozen2. So, I’m curious as to how you guys are determining that the increase in the price of certain ores and minerals is the cause of the rising value of ISK, rather than a diminished demand for PLEX3.
Part of the reason that I question this is that PLEX, not ISK, is the actual hard currency of EVE, by virtue of its valuation in real-world currency. Everything else floats in relation to PLEX, so fluctuations in relative values of minerals, ships, or even ISK, can suffer outsized influence from the PLEX market, but those fluctuations are less likely to actually impact the in-game value of PLEX. PLEX comes into existence for $$ (or pounds, or Euros, etc), and sells for whatever the market will bear. A scenario where “the amount of active ISK per character in the game” is increasing, but the value of that ISK against the hard currency of EVE is skyrocketing seems… unlikely. Inflation, not deflation, would seem the expected course there.
Which brings me to my next question…
At the same time money supply (the amount of active ISK per character in the game) has been increasing.
As you can see from the Money Supply graph:
The ‘Character’ line is currently sitting at 1,064T ISK. If this is ‘the amount of active ISK per character in the game’, that seems highly suspect. Over 1 Quadrillion ISK per character? I think you mean that’s the total amount of ISK in character (not Corporation or Alliance) wallets, no? To determine the amount per character, we’d need to know how many characters are being counted.
1. We know this because of the concurrent user count tracking that was done at the time, including eve-offline, as well as things like the Active ISK, and Production v Destruction charts in the MER—the impacts and breakdown of which Rhivre helpfully supplied in her write-up on the July 2019 MER.
2. Whether or not that drop in the number of multiboxers is a good thing or a bad thing for the game, is certainly a point that can be argued in either direction—and the evidence of the Blackout and the frustration of hunters certainly illustrates the difficulty in settling that discussion—but it’s irrelevant in assessing issues of whether or not demand for PLEX dropped. Fewer omega miners == less demand for PLEX.
3. Unfortunately, the publicly-accessible information on market volume isn’t really helpful in this case. PLEX traders in all of the major trade hubs often sell to themselves as a way to establish a particular citadel or station as ‘active’ in the PLEX market, which artificially inflates volume traded, and makes that information unreliable.