Crius Economic Chaos

With the patch notes for Crius released, basically everyone who isn’t living under a rock knows the general nature of the patch (as an aside apparently a lot of people live under a rock, because the comments thread is full of brand new complaining, by which I mean the same old complaints being remade). “We changed all the Industry” is a fairly easy concept to wrap ones head around. So what moves, where, and why?

Manufactured Goods

tl;dr: Expect a base price rise of 3-4% or more.

If players build it, expect it to rise by at least 3-4% on average for Tech I and anywhere from half again more to double that for Tech II. Why? All the shiny new fees, of course! There’s ample room even in highsec for people to spread out (see this post for details; an astonishing amount of highsec sees no Industry use at all and with generally shorter research times post-patch there’ll be plenty of space to spread out there too) and plenty of people will no doubt chase the lowest possible production costs as possible.

However (contrary to what some of the aforementioned complainers believe) the system is not intended to force anyone to move. It is merely intended to create choices about when and if and where to move that are deeper and more meaningful than “as close to Jita as possible with empty build slots.” Simply not moving, however, is a valid choice, so much so that if it proves to not be favorable enough, CCP has a system in the wings called “Legacy” (see the bottom of the teams devblog for a brief explanation) to help bolster the option.

If “not moving” is an option, then a sizable number of players will exercise that option, spreading out some but then for the most part staying put. Those players either through numerical quantity or average size of their operation or both, will account for a large fraction if not outright majority of manufactured goods. If margins render them unprofitable, they don’t build, and the item(s) in question run out of stock, rising in price until it’s profitable again.  Smaller producers or those more willing to move will realize higher returns, while the lazier types will skate along at some level of modestly profitable. And if this system sounds implausible, it’s mechanically very similar to both moongoo & alchemy, and the existing interplay between Invention and Tech II BPOs. So, what scant few people who very vocally threatened to quit over the changes may or may not come back (but they won’t embarrass themselves by admitting they were wrong), most of them didn’t actually follow through to begin with, and life will go on.

Tech II Markets

tl;dr: Chaos?

I’ll revisit this again a little later in this post, but the times involved for Invention are getting messed with pretty considerably. Invention will now only require one copy of a BPC regardless and then copy times are considerably lower on top of that, which marginalizes that aspect of the process. Invention times have also changed, though there’s more variety there, and build times have as well, again, more variety. The net effect is that some things have a longer overall time to market (copy time + invention time + build time) and some things have a shorter one. It’s actually very much up in the air how this will affect prices, though. In theory shorter overall time to market would increase supply, and the opposite would be true for a longer time to market. But in practice, players already have dead time between jobs – the time between a job finishing and the player waking up, or getting home from work, for example. I’m not sure how big of an effect this will really have as a result.

Capital Ships

tl;dr: TANSTAAFL

These are worth touching on specifically.If Highsec was easymode for regular industry, than Lowsec was easymode for Capital industry. Much like building in nullsec, a lowsec capital builder has to import their minerals in compressed form, but unlike the nullsec builder, they can do it to a station with both a refinery and production slots, eliminating a lot of the pain in the ass hauling from Minmatar to Amarr outpost. When the first wave of industry changes were announced – refining changes in particular, and later the 5% ME bonus for an Amarr Outpost – there were suddenly quite a lot of complaints. The 20% improved refine yield alone would have given nullsec builders an effectively indomitable edge over those in lowsec, and that 5% ME bonus would apply twice (components, then the capitals themselves) to seal the deal. Recognizing both these specific complaints and that Lowsec was a bit left out in the industry department (almost all the inconvenience but none of the perks of nullsec with almost none of the convenience of highsec), CCP went ahead and implemented the Thukker Component Array. Combine its 10% reduction in materials with a high end refining array for a 54% base refine, and some – but not all – of the gap is closed.

Of course, it’s a POS module, which means running and maintaining a POS, which can be attacked and destroyed, plus the other extra hassle. No more jumping to a station and building right there. CCP addressed the complaints, but in a very TANSTAAFL way, and I suppose it remains to be seen how many lowsec builders will bother to continue. If a lot of the current crop quit, then expect shortages and rising prices.

One other market these things will touch, though, are Jump Freighters. The array allows the building of advanced capital components as well. And those things are tiny compared to regular capital components. Using a jump freighter to get in and out wouldn’t be hard at all, short runs would minimize risk if it were attacked, and a 10% ME bonus is a pretty damn huge deal. Combine with access to an upgraded Amarr outpost for the ME bonus there and the benefit of a good team and, well… it’s a lot of work, but anyone doing it would have a huge price advantage, at least.

About those Tech II BPOs…

tl;dr: Get owned.

I wrote about this some time ago, while the changes were all still in development. As explained then, the biggest deal here is rebasing Invention to produce positive ME blueprints. That annihilates a huge majority of the advantage BPOs have over invented BPCs. Instead of being perfect or near-perfect while the BPCs require anywhere from 120% to 150% of perfect material requirements, the gap can now be as low as 6-8%. Of course, that edge plus no need to spend money on invention means that BPOs will remain profitable…just 70-90% less profitable than they are currently, turning the already ridiculous 5-15 year ROIs often demanded for them into utterly outlandish multi-decade ROIs. It’s no wonder BPOs are proving so hard to sell all of the sudden. While this may lead to a severe price adjustment, that’d also require current holders to take one hell of a haircut on their stocks. We’ll see what happens but it seems probable that whoever holds them now will be the last “greater fool”.

Probably doesn’t help that the natural time to do even more to Tech II BPOs is alongside the Invention changes, which CCP will be starting on next…

Speaking of Moongoo…

tl;dr: Moongoo consumption is going to rise by several percent at a minimum.

Crius is actually a pretty damn big deal for moongoo consumption and prices, but since it’s not in a big splashy obvious way like Odyssey was, I haven’t seen it discussed much.

First thing’s first, the easy one to grasp. From the patch notes, “Most Tech I materials have been removed from Tech II blueprints.” Innocuous enough on its own; we need to delve into this post from CCP Ytterbium to clarify it. Long story short, those same materials are being replaced with Tech II materials of roughly equal value. Note, the Tech I being removed is just “extra” Tech I, such as the raw mineral content found in most Tech II ammos. The base item requirement remains, however. I don’t think the Crius SDE with these changes is out yet, so I can’t quantify the scope in detail… but here’s a short list of some of the things that have Tech I materials being replaced.

Actually, here’s a short list of things that don’t have extra Tech I materials. That’s easier.

  • Tech II Launchers
  • Some Tech II ships, but not all. For example, the Ishtar, Zealot, Cerberus and Vagabond have one mineral or another, but the Deimos, Sacrilege, Eagle and Muninn do not.
  • Tech II Drones

And… that’s it. It’s hardly an exhaustive search, and I’m not actually certain if everything that has extra materials to remove is also having them replaced. On an item to item basis it’s a relatively small change, with the replaced materials topping out around 10-15% of build value for Tech II ammo, and closer to 3-5% for various affected modules. But the sheer scope of items it touches makes the overall effect fairly significant.

On top of THAT are the aforementioned changes relating to Invention rebasing. Simply changing all Invention to produce positive ME blueprints would have resulted in a catastrophic drop in moongoo usage, so CCP adjusted the base material requirements upwards by 50%. What’s that do?

Current ME % of Current Perfect Crius ME % of Current Perfect
-4 150% 2 147.0%
-3 140% 3 145.5%
-2 130% 4 144.0%
-1 120% 5 142.5%
PERFECT 100% PERFECT 135%

Given that choices with respect to decryptors will be shaking up a bit as a result of the patch we can’t really definitively say “What’s most commonly built at ME-1 will be ME5 post-patch”. But regardless, almost no matter how you cut it, the net result of this change is that Tech II items will get a bit more expensive to build…especially those built from Tech II BPOs, as illustrated by the “PERFECT” row, which highlights the whole “get owned T2 BPO owners” thing.

Next up, a bit more of an abstract change. Blueprints in general underwent fairly sweeping changes to a variety of stats – most relevantly to this subject copy, invention and Tech II build times. If you feel like digging through a couple dozen pages, the thread on the topic can be found here. The short version, though, is that the overall time to market (copy + invent + build time) is up for some items, down for others. “Down” is the direction of choice for most if not all modules as well as several classes of ships. This has the most nebulous effect on moongoo usage, though, because it only means that there is potential, for the given existing population of builders, to make more stuff in a given amount of time.

And finally, the completely unquantifiable (for now) – how many people quit industry? How many people try it out, and how many of those stick with it? All factors that could affect usage.

Sticking to the quantifiables, though, my own estimates run anywhere from a 3% to 20% increase in moongoo consumption, varying from goo to goo and by what variables you pick.

Oh yeah, and those newly mineable lowsec moons? Not very relevant. There are about 170,000 moons ingame that can be mined currently. Roughly 11,200 moons in 0.4 will become mineable. That’s a 6% increase. However, lowsec regions tend to have about a third as many moons as an analagous nullsec region (that is, Aridia and Delve are the two most R64 rich lowsec and nullsec regions, respectively, and Aridia has about a third as many as Delve), so it’s reasonable to assume a 2% increase, instead.

Minerals

tl;dr: Probably down, mostly.

Minerals are in kind of an odd place right now. Go back as far as Tiericide and as that initiative progressed, demand for minerals got higher and higher as ships were built en masse by the thousands ahead of time… and then as each class was completed, they were removed from global mineral demand due to the glut of now underpriced ships. Mineral prices plummeted, but for the most part leveled out back around last October… and then, varying by mineral, either promptly spiked again or did not, as demand picked back up, but also as the new global mineral ratios took hold. Odyssey brought with it massive buffs to nullsec ore composition that left Mexallon undersupplied compared to other minerals. As things moved into the winter we hit the normal and expected peak mineral prices… and now back around May or June, they started falling, some quite hard. While a summer slump is a normal part of what used to be the regular mineral price cycle, I’m honestly not sure if that’s what’s going on here or if something else is at play.

Either way, though, two expectations.

  • Overall, minerals continue to fall and settle lower than they otherwise would have. If they’re back in the normal summer/winter cycle then they’ll rise again later in the year,  but not as high as they would have, either. The assumption is that POS and outpost refinery facilities see extensive use, increasing the gamewide mineral supply.
  • One or more minerals will set its own trend. As I mentioned before, Mexallon had a nice rise due to Odyssey, but Crius is adding Mexallon, Pyerite and Nocxium to Arkonor, Bistot and Crokite, respectively. If I had the cash to speculate I’d probably look at Isogen as a buy, but it’s hard to say. Long time players will remember how drone alloys suppressed mineral prices across the table, after all, and it’s possible (though admittedly unlikely) that supply increases enough to outstrip demand due to superior refines.

Ice

tl;dr: Man who even knows.

Couple of factors for the ice markets, really. On one hand we’ve got the increased jump fuel consumption for jump drives, undeniably an increase in consumption. There’s also the removal of standings requirements to anchor a POS in highsec, opening up of previously restricted space in highsec, and some portion of those 11000 moons in 0.4 that might be worth mining. On the other hand, one of the primary driving factors behind highsec POS use was research slot congestion – copying, material and time. Slots are going away, though, so POS use is down to the strength of the bonuses, and… whether that’s enough or not is a crapshoot. My thinking would lean towards “no” with Invention being the exception, but regardless, we’ll see some kind of drop in overall POS usage. Determining what that actually means for overall ice consumption is beyond me, though, as I just don’t have the information needed to make that kind of estimate.

One other interesting twist here is that the build time for fuel blocks is tripling. While I’ve no doubt that long term the market will settle out and more production capacity will move in to continue to meet demand, in the short term it’s very liable to cause supply issues. Markets will just run out, prices will spike, people will rush to build blocks for quick profit, spiking ice products as a result, the block market floods, etc. I’d expect a couple cycles of that before stability.

Miscellanea

There are various other smaller markets likely to see upheaval as a result of Crius. Decryptors come to mind – changing Invention to yield positive ME will generally put far more emphasis on decryptors that improve TE and/or BPC runs, though if you’re looking to speculate that train long since left the station. Anything else I’ve forgotten, well, probably doesn’t matter.

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9 thoughts on “Crius Economic Chaos

  1. you forgot rigs

    i expect them to go up a bit, some people will probably stop looting and salvaging because the price for all the stuff that only gets reprocessed is going down for sure.

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  2. mynnna

    I have this asked, but not yet answered. What happens to currently queued jobs for BPO research?

    Not the first time I have noticed it. For some time, CCP had stated the shortage of Mexallon in Null was deliberately intended. Have they clearly stated the reason for this 180 in policy?

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    • I’d have to dig out the blue post (it was addressed or re-addressed recently) on in-process jobs, but basically the blueprints in-process will be converted and then they’ll gain the extra levels once they come out of research.

      As to Mexallon… I crunched the numbers and honestly can’t remember if what they’re adding was enough to completely relieve the shortage or merely lessen it somewhat. I’d have to go back and check.

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  3. There is one very interesting change that was glossed over, given here: http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/reprocess-all-the-things/

    – Also, all refining skills and implants will now only affect ore and ices. Any item that’s not part of the two categories mentioned earlier (like ships and modules) will only be affected by the Scrapmetal Processing skill, which will be decreased from 5% to 2% efficiency per level. That means you’ll only be able to reprocess ships, modules and other items at only 50-55% rates.

    It’s easy to gloss over this and say “ah, missioners will get less value from their loot now. end of story.” But that’s just the obvious implication. The deeper implication is that this will be an effect that hits the entire industry, and that effect is that minerals in general will become less fluid. For a simple example look at a Praetor I drone. Refining it under the current easy-to-get 100% refining returns back almost all the minerals put in when it is made using a completely un-researched BPO. With a decent ME level BPO, 100% refine basically gets you back every mineral you put in, so the only loss in making and then refining is installation fees. With Crius, making and then refining a Praetor I will at best give you back 55% of your minerals. What this means is all manufacturing ventures now have an intrinsically higher risk involved. If you make a bunch of something and then the market price nosedives you’re either stuck with inventory that won’t sell or will have to sell at a much lower price than originally anticipated. But to reprocessing back into minerals and make something else, you have to be willing to lose out at best 45% of the minerals you put in.

    Also various offhand accounts put the mineral influx from mission loot at anywhere from 5 to 25% of the total mineral market. Essentially cutting that in half could mean a dip in the incoming mineral supply of 2.5-12.5%, which should drive prices up.

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  4. Pingback: Shoes for Industry – Cruis Deployed to New Eden | The Ancient Gaming Noob

  5. A well educated response to market speculation and agree with nearly all of it. I do think the reduction in reprocessing loot for minerals will have a larger effect but this could take many months to be seen as people stocked up on ore to refine before crius.
    Also I wouldn’t underestimate the sheer amount that have quit industry as they are no longer getting the 100% perfect t2bpo hurrah, or 100% researched battleship that they manufacture on the daily for near nill profit. It cuts the idiots out of industry and puts the big dogs in the ring I am happy to say I approve of a lot of the crius changes and ccp had some balls to silence the masses, although they might cater for them more after the cries of crius are resounding on the forums. Expect good profits to be made in tech 2 products is my short term outlook

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