There’s a lot of poorly-informed opinion floating around the forums (and apparently at CCP HQ) lately, about how the economy is broken, loss is meaningless, and what’s needed to fix it is more “destruction of player assets”.
Most people simply re-state their preferences and opinions and the mindset they’ve frozen into over years of opposing anyone who thinks differently than they do. Or in CCP’s case, they just don’t understand good game design and ecosystem approaches, and have no clue what to do except fall back on some outmoded concept from two decades ago in a futile attempt to “reset EVE back to its’ roots”.
Let’s try to balance some of that noise with a quick scan of a few facts:
Nov.2020 MER shows that production is heading steadily down, mining is heading down, and except for a few spikes when CCP introduces “cool new make it all explode!” surprises, destruction is heading down. These numbers have been heading down for over a year. Production is at two-thirds of what it was 2 years ago. Trading volumes are also down. This is not an economy spiralling out of control - this is an economy headed for recession.
Gila prices have cycled between roughly 180M and 220M ISK for 2 years now, with a few short spikes and slumps driven by speculation and dumping after various news/update events.
Multispectrum Shield Hardener II modules, a mainstay in many builds, has been averaging 2.5M ISK over the past 2 years, although in this case it’s a falling trend moving from about 2.8M to 2.2M over that period.
Multispectrum Energized Membrane II, another mainstay, has cycled around the 700M ISK point, although in this case the recent trends have been slightly more up than down.
Ravens cycled around 140M, trending downwards, until the recent market changes altered the way trades are posted, and then the current poverty campaign, pushing prices to 250M ISK and upwards. Dominixes were similar, cycling around 150M ISK until 2020’s “kill the economy” initiatives have sent it to 250M and upwards.
Making losses, ships and the items players need to engage in combat more expensive and hard to get, is not going to stimulate the economy, nor is it going to force players to endure even greater risk of loss in combat with each other. It’s not ‘fixing’ anything.
Here’s the actual issue: There’s a lot of ISK and resources cycling around the game, and that’s because the design of EVE says “losses are expensive and you need to have resources to cover them. So build lots and lots of resources and then you can afford any loss that occurs”. So of course, players hook up the best farming operations they can, and proceed to amass great resources against those potential losses. Partially because humans are naturally wired to gather resources, and partially because CCP’s main initiatives over the past decades have been in resource control (Null Sov, Rorqs, PvE farming with drones/caps/supers) and NOT in combat encouragement.
The missing part of the “massing resources against potential losses” equation is the fact that EVE is not designed to encourage losses to occur. Players build wealth to ensure they can withstand loss, but once their wealth-building setup is working, there is no reason to incur loss. It becomes near-pointless to do so. Why spend all that time acquiring a massive ship with a great build just to fly out and get it blown up? All the design of EVE encourages “build wealth, and don’t get blown up and lose it”.
Over the years, the changes in EVE have mostly discouraged people who just want to do PvP combat because it’s non-sustainable. You have a few minutes of fun and then have to spend hours recouping the cost. EVE has winnowed all those players out and has been left with a few basic types:
- The ones who PvP for profit, high sec gankers mostly. This actually hurts the game overall, because every happy ganker means dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of unhappy “productive” players.
- The ones who avoid PvP and amass wealth, because PvP is chancy and lossy, but wealth building always gives you more. They imagine that someday they will “do something” with that ‘more’, or maybe they just enjoy having it, but they mostly aren’t PvPing with it.
- The ones who avoid PvP and don’t really amass wealth, but do things like missioning and exploration just because they like to fly ships in space and need something to do. Eventually this gets boring because the PvE side of EVE is pretty boring, overall.
- The ones who use their wealth or PLEX or ISK farms to pay for their PvP and go out and PvP regardless of the losses. From all the statistics and activity figures ever published by CCP, this is a very small percent of players.
Losses aren’t meaningless because stuff is too cheap, or there is too much wealth in the game. Combat is meaningless because once you have wealth there’s no further need for combat. Wealth is meaningless because there’s not much reason to expend that wealth on anything. Taking assets away from players (or making them harder to produce and trade), won’t make combat any more meaningful.
The problem is not the economy, or massed wealth. The problem is that EVE is not designed to support consistent high levels of player combat. In fact it actively discourages it. CCP is flailing around trying to find ways to restart the “players need to fight to survive!” concept they think they once had (except for a few small periods, they never did).
Until CCP (and players) figure out what the actual issue is, they’re going to keep getting it wrong and losing players when they do.