Sunday, October 26, 2014

OMG WTF PLEX - An introspection on PLEX

PLEX recently crested 800M and as is customary, everyone is losing their collective minds over the perceived significance of crossing some round-number boundary.

Current articles as of publishing:

I am sure I'm missing a bunch, but there is a common thread: what is the maximum price PLEX could reach?

In the short term, we are seeing prices come down off their rally to 800M.  I don't expect this respite to be long, and unless CCP announces a PLEX sale for Phoebe or the holidays, I can see PLEX at 1B shortly after the start of the year.

Demand Side: The Price of Gold

PLEX behaves a lot like gold does in the IRL markets.  Though it has a variety of actual uses, its value is more a barometer of fears of inflation than its actual value.  People trading in PLEX are doing so because they fear that if they don't, the purchasing power of their ISK will drop because of inflation elsewhere.  

This becomes a self-fulfilling-prophecy, because the trend has (to date) been correct... but mostly only in the PLEX market.  
The speculation that PLEX is an indicator of rampant inflation is really just laughable.  If we compare the price of PLEX against any other day-to-day consumable (Like the CFC Isktar) we see that general ISK inflation is basically 0.  Especially using the Ishtar as base, we can draw that the value of static resources (moons) has stayed flat.  Also, watching mineral prices starting to turn around since Crius shows that the general purchasing power of ISK is staying rather healthy.

Supply Side: People are Cheap

We only see PLEX dip in price when there is a sale or other big event pushing supply.  Otherwise, the demand between people upkeeping accounts and traders hoarding PLEX far outstrips the supply of those cashing-in.

I think the behavior of the PLEX market says a lot more about what people are willing to pay to play EVE, rather than anything about the macro market.  When PLEX prices drop near the 3-month subscription numbers, people tend to buy a lot more... but when they are equal or greater than regular account fees, then people would rather not buy PLEX directly.

Though I do expect a substantive shock when the price of PLEX crosses the 1B mark.  Though I still expect the price to climb, we may see a wave of people unsubscribing.  I hesitate to speculate about CCP's plans for PLEX in the long term, they may be okay with never having to deliver on the outstanding credit PLEX represents.


There's a reason I've put PLEX at the front of my analysis on the Prosper show: People want to know.  I've also only dedicated 2-5 minutes/wk to the "analysis" of PLEX because there isn't much to say.  At this point, PLEX is not so much a general market indicator as it is a player one.  It doesn't serve to track any macro market moves, instead it only works as a point to discuss "the cost of play" and "the value of loss".

My major take-home for PLEX is this: it's an orouboros.  People think it has value, so it trends up, people panic because it's up, and buy more.  Though I believe the real "value" of PLEX is grossly overvalued, though I hesitate to call it a true bubble, because I have a hard time imagining a "pop" dropping the price back more than 10%.  If you're looking for a place to park long-term value, PLEX is the tool to do it.  If you're actually using your ISK through investment or play, then I'd avoid speculating on PLEX because it lacks a decent periodicity to buy-in (outside of sales outside the game).  

The end outcome, at least in my eyes, is the only value you're having deflated is against PLEX... The same ISK buys the same PVP equipment, or operating budget.  The only value "lost" in this case is how many PLEX you could have bought with that cash.

Friday, October 24, 2014

EVE Prosper Market Review - EP001

Went ahead and moved a couple pieces around for this show.  I've removed the moon analysis (because it's dry and really needs to be boiled down into an index or two), and replaced it with a "Prediction Review" section.  Hopefully that makes the show go along a little smoother.  Also, I'm going to try a little bit of editing to try and make the show sound a little better.  Lastly, I finally figured out how to get the youtube/channel_name to work, so feel free to point your friends toward:

Though the Twitch participation was lower, I was happier about the format of tonight's show.  Shoutouts to One Man Wolfpack and Dirk Macgirk for participating in the chat.

EP001 - Show Stuff

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Invention Changes

Though the specific news is a little old, I wanted to touch on the expected impacts of these changes.  Most of the changes wash out, and will probably end up with net-drop in T2 prices, it probably won't change the T2 production margins much.  So, for producers things should stay mostly-similar.  I still think the full effect of teams hasn't hit the main stream yet, but the best industrialists will be taking those opportunities to maximize returns.

The T3 changes are far more interesting, because it should no longer be a dice-roll, but instead be deliberate.  This should kick a lot of the demand for reverse engineerables in the teeth, and margins will probably narrow... though I expect the net to be positive, since there should be a lot less waste going on.

SOV EHP Changes

Though I'm not particularly interested in the specific HP/resist changes, I think this will be interesting in the short term after Phoebe.  To keep it simple: if the HP changes lead to a lot of Sov shuffling, high-end PI producers should be cheering

3rd Party Developer Blog

CCP is testing the waters on a blog for tracking 3rd party stuff like CREST/API updates.  I love the interface, and I'd love to see the feed move to full syndication.  In a similar vein, there were some great talks at EVE Vegas for/from player-devs and I'll be talking about them next week.

But, this is required watching IMO:
Hallelujah!  Saving stupid clicking and improving quality of life for trade players.  Though I don't expect a bunch of direct impacts on any particular item, I do expect the volume of trade to go up.  This might be bad news for some margins, but it might also make the buy/sell market more interesting.  Either way, this is a great piece of news, and I'm just excited to get it.

Outlier Report

Make sure to check the presented slides.  The few I'd like to point out, I'm going to call the "Black Legion Meta effect".

Though I am still lacking a good way to display the destruction data, it's interesting to see my filters actually work to fetch up mass trends.

Prediction Review

As a matter of record, I'd like to highlight hits and misses.  The hopes are to make the "hits" list longer and the "misses" list shorter.

First, a hit I was surprised about: Imperial Navy Acolyte
Though I was expecting it to be mostly level or keep doing the waffling thing it has been doing, it did seem to crest over the weekend justifying itself as a "outlier worth watching"

Second, a miss that I was also surprised about: Morphite
I had written off Morphite as "in a tailspin", but I was completely wrong.  The low looks now, in retrospect, as an overcorrection.  I'm hoping I can use this as a test case for notes going forward.  Also, it will be a good indicator of T2 trends, and might become more volatile as we go into the generally high-traffic period of the year.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

EVE Prosper Market Review - EP000

Not sure yet how I'll be parsing out these show notes to automate it onto the blog here, but see below my quick notes for the Cliff's Notes.

This first show went much better than I expected.  I had worried that I'd be hard-pressed to make my 1-hr mark, instead being wildly over and droning on and on.  Thankfully, I hit ~50mins, which leaves me a lot of space to boil down some analysis and add more topics down the line.

Also, I'd like to keep the project as open source as possible.  Unfortunately, some of the setup I've chosen so far are not really user-friendly (yet).  You can grab my scripts and do your own analysis (or cut me out entirely), but it's as-is, and will require a little hacking to get going.

EP000 - Show Stuff:

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Jump ranges are being reduced, and fatigue is being introduced.  Though the initial proposal was pretty bold, especially with the exponential nature of the fatigue numbers, a lot of the riskier features were beaten back to a far more reasonable, but tough change.

Personally, my corp and I have had our eyes on the Jump Freighter changes, since combat logistics are a particular specialty of ours.  Though the 5ly original plan was going to be somewhat painful, putting our HQ out of range of both Jita and Dodixie, the new 10ly jump limit means we can keep our established supply lines running.  Also my original predictions about capital/POS fuel getting horded probably won't come true.

The best illustration of the changes is still this gem from /r/eve:

Uedama Freighter Ganking

"As an act of protest", the CFC and CODE have teamed up to gank freighters in Uedama.  Though I think the excuse is thinly veiled, and it's traditionally a time of year that CFC comes to HS to cause drama, it is having effects on the EVE economy.  Chiefly, Red Frog is raising its rates in general, and adding an additional fee for transport through Uedama.  Details can be found in their mini press release.

Though the general rate hike should be regarded like IRL postage (The cost of stamps will rise ever higher), I think the Uedama fee is interesting.  If this does wash out into any sizable effect, I expect there to be pent up supply coming from Gallente space once the ganks subside.  Though I doubt the rubber-banding will be as drastic as we've seen post Burn-Jita events.

Sleeper Research Event

I was just going to make a couple of bullet points about the spike in demand for "blue loot" (thanks Ravas for that).  Instead, after recording Hydrostatic Podcast with guest Ravas, I learned about a far more interesting outcome.

In his piece "They're Lying to You", Ravas outlines a lot of the player-driven WH lore generated since the space was released.  As an act of defiance, to try and revitalize an old player-dev partnership project, the WH community is rallying around Gillome Renard to stick it to the empires.  If I get my hands on any of the designated loot for this event, I will definitely be throwing it Gillome's way!

Outlier Report

Tonight, I'm going to point readers to the show/notes for more information about specific outlier reporting.  I should dedicate this section on the blog to more texty analysis, but I am running out of time to publish this post.  Instead, I'll give you some info about HOW I generated this episode's outlier report, and the methodology I'll be using going forward.

To automate finding interesting things, I went ahead and filtered items based on weekly sales volume.  My script pulls each item, profiles the distribution of daily sales, and then saves off some information, assuming it fits a normal distribution curve.  Continuing with that assumption, I then use "sigmas" to pick out specific percentile levels.  If the weekly average volume for an item crosses one of those percentile levels, it flags for further analysis.  

I know that it would be better to look at some sort of price-based flagging, but I don't have a great methodology for that yet.  Long bouts of growth or decline will break the method I'm using today.  I will probably look to leverage more of the methods enabled by Quantmod, but we'll start with volumes today, and work on better methods over time.


I am reasonably pleased by this first test show.  The tools work well to enable reasonably quick prep, and general interest seems high.  We'll see over the next week how the twitch/youtube subscriptions/hits go, but I'm pretty excited.  Also, I will be trying my best not to be all emo about not being able to make it to EVE Vegas.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back From Hiatus

I haven't posted here since Crius launched.  This summer has been characterized by burnout in pretty serious fashion.  You could trace my burnout back specifically to some financial troubles that have taken most of the summer to clean up.  In all, I've been trying to figure out what is worth investing my time into, and keeping up appearances in EVE hasn't really been one of them.

The long-and-short is that though Crius represented a significant and important improvement in quality of live for industry, personally, my heart isn't in grinding space money.  This is largely due to a need to rebuild tools coupled with the lowered direct margins.  This would be surmountable, if I had any interest in growing my personal wallet above a 10B waterline.


Computer Case Painting: #PCMASTERRACE

Instead, I spent the summer trying out some new projects.  First, I've been working on my general geek cred with something a little more creative.  It should be finished this week just a little after the Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel launch:

More pictures should be out this next week.  I'll probably do a whole /r/diy post here once it's totally complete.

More Data Projects

I have some pretty big data problems at work I've been trying to digest.  I'd like to build new methodologies to explore that data, but hammering at work data after-hours is a great way to go completely mad.  Instead, I've been working on some IRL/EVE market data scripting.  Specifically been playing with Quandl a bunch, and that has reignited the sparks on a lot of half-baked scripts I had sitting idle.

This has sparked a two-way development scheme that is paying dividends on a lot of fronts.  Quandl/IRL data is serving as the test bed to write really "good" code; the kind that is clean and extensible.  EVE/CREST data is giving me the sandbox to try "new" code and work out mistakes and structure in a better behaved environment.  

The end goals are:
  • Become familiar with plotting software
  • Become familiar with neural network tools/methodology
  • Learn high parallelism code: threadding/GPU

On the Horizon

Hydrostatic Podcast has been one big pull back to the game, and I have some ambitious plans for a new show in addition to the podcast.  During the Alliance Tournament (grats Camel Empire), there was an ad for an EVE market show.  After checking it out, I said to myself, "I bet I could do something like that".

To commit to a regular stream like that, I knew the pre-stream work was going to be the breaking point.  So, I've been working on a batch of scripts to help scrape and generate the visual aides automatically, so I can just broadcast without much issue.

Sample outputs:

I plan to have episode 0, of the yet unnamed project, airing this upcoming Thursday night US (Fri, Oct 17 0200 in game).  I expect the show to be ~1hr weekly.  I'm targeting Thursday night so people can have the info they need to speculate on the weekend.  Check out the draft show notes and let me know what you think!