Monday, January 25, 2016

Market Maker Interview - Special 03 - Caleb Ayrania

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We take a look back into the long economic history of EVE with Caleb Ayrania. Revitalizing the scc-lounge in game and on the Tweetfleet slack.  Long time market maker and proto-CSM member, Caleb has been a fixture of the economic meta game since EVE's inception.

Check out his other projects here:
Be sure to chat with him in game, on tweetfleet, or on tweetfleet @CalebAyrania 

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Skill Trading - Forecasting the Brainmeat Market

After much anticipation, CCP Rise announced finalized plans for Skill Injectors/Extractors.  I was going to write about specific tweaks I'd like to see ahead of the release in February (2nd bracket is too generous, 30M max), but instead I want to try to dispel the idea of 1 Extractor should/will cost 1 PLEX.

Let's Talk About RMT Tokens

Let me skip the fluffy story and cut straight to the meat about PLEX.  For extended pontification about PLEX, tune into the Prosper show live.

As I mentioned in my Forecasting Experimentation Blog, PLEX trends positive over time.  There are a lot of factors driving this behavior, but the general tendency to be so securely positive is troubling.  What goes up should come down.

Though I don't expect a slide back to <1B PLEX, I do expect that SP trade to act as relief valve for PLEX runs, capping the wildest swings.  The line of thought I expect is "why buy a PLEX and wait 30d to do what I want, when I could instead buy the SP directly and do what I want today?"  Especially with such a top-heavy game, I expect SP supply to be substantial if the extractor price is right.

Running the Numbers

A PLEX/MCT yeilds ~1M SP over its period.  With extractors/injectors running in 500k SP blocks, expecting a AUR price over 0.5 PLEX seems ridiculous.  Any higher and buyers will just wait out the 30d, and the gerontocracy remains in tact.  Sellers might want to participate, but buyers aren't going to want to pay something like 1.5 PLEX equivalency as a base price.  North of 0.5 PLEX makes Injectors a much worse deal than just going to the character bazaar, where a 5M SP toon would cost something like 4+2 PLEX.

To get both sides to the market, we need to talk about a 0.25 PLEX price ceiling on extractors in AUR.  This will drive "farmer" clones who are just extracting SP, but this is exactly what I want to see.  If an Injector is a better deal than the 30d of equivalent account time, it will drive target-buyers to consider waiting vs leaping ahead.

Also, at that generous 0.25-0.20 PLEX price, I think it is a serious temptation from the supply side to subsidize accounts that may not need more SP.  Where the supplier could be looking at a 40-60% ISK savings on monthly fees for account-only toons, it would be tempting to keep accounts active that may have otherwise been shuttered.

Forecasted Speculation

The first week of skill trading I expect to be extremely hot.  To put it simply:

  • Tentative SELL: PLEX, price will rise due to rise in AUR demand
  • SELL: Extractors.  Expect extreme demand to be first-to-market with Injectors
  • BUY: Injectors.  Supply should vastly outstrip demand.  Hold for market to calm down, target Citadel for sale


Other pundits might expect large runs on PLEX, but I expect only enough movement to push us to 1.2B, but not break the RSI cap.  This basically wipes out weakness from over the holidays.  I still expect a lot of Incarna AUR to be out there to be cashed in, and this will temper how much PLEX->AUR will be converted.  Also, savvy suppliers may be going straight to $->AUR, skipping PLEX entirely.

Skill Extractors

I expect demand to be very hot for these.  This would be a great chance to liquidate Incarna AUR out of the wallet.  Though things might be wild in the opening hours, I expect to reach AUR<->PLEX equivalency quickly.  There may be a chance to get a deal on quick buy orders, but this will be a seller's market pretty heavily.

Skill Injectors

I wholly expect injectors to be a buyer's market.  For a target, I'd be aiming for something like half the PLEX equivalent.  Specifically as (Extractor + 1/2 PLEX)/2.  That may be an ambitious buy-target, but I think if the price hits in that 1-4$ price point, that there will be a huge surge of suppliers rushing to market for a quick cashout.  This may also rebound into the price of PLEX, but I still think people should be holding PLEX for Citadel rather than turning around the quick gains in the shorter term.


There is a vocal segment of the playerbase who considers this pay2win, but I would like to lobby against that position.  EVE has never been strictly an egalitarian space-bushido paradise; ISK has always been a deciding factor in conflicts of all sizes.  Though skill trading adds a new vector to that equation, I don't think it marks an irreversible deathspiral.

  1. SP still needs to be sourced through legitimate means.  Account time or MCT is the only way to generate SP in the first place
  2. Cash/ISK will always be a deciding factor, regardless of skill trading.  Pimp fits and hot drops aren't considered pay2win today, why would SP trade suddenly change that idea?
  3. Soft-skills win fights more than raw SP.  PLEX/Purple tanks haven't saved people in the past.  Having an extra 10-20M SP isn't going to make the difference
  4. Account trading already exists as a legitimate way to skip the grind.  This skill system only fills out the bottom ranges of that trade to make a more complete ecosystem

Remember that skill injection is going to be a net-drain on total SP in the cluster.  Though the 5M bracket gets 100% efficiency, all other brackets destroy SP in some measure.  Also, I expect SP trade to mirror the PLEX trade, and some decent percentage will get locked away in RMT bans.  This pruning of SP from the top should move the median down, giving our youngest recruits a better initial feeling of fairness, and a lowering of the pain for that first 10M SP that are so critical to long term operation in EVE.

I'm excited to trade in brainmeat, and will be adding it to the Prosper analysis as soon as its released.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Market Maker Interview - Special 02 - Charlinda Akheteru

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Ever wonder how drugs/boosters make it out into the world?  Curious about the particulars of running a complicated industrial corp out in PVP space?  Charlinda Akheteru of Akheteru Integrated Astrometrics is our Booster Market Maker.  We chat with him about the specifics of running a high-risk, high-reward industrial operation and raising external capital for major expansion.

Need boosters?  Stop by their in-game channel AIA Pharmaceuticals or their website at to get your booster supply handled!

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Monday, January 11, 2016

So You Want To Run For CSM 11

Details for this year's CSM election period are released.  So it's time to spin up the political machine and talk about this year's field.

First, preparation is key.  And as we have been fond of saying on CapStable/CSM Watch, the best time to start a campaign is at the end of a cycle.  If you are just now considering your CSM 11 run, understand that you are already late to the race.  I'd still advocate running, but rather as kickoff for CSM 12 than really expecting to make it into CSM 11.  For those that have spent 2015 preparing their run and building their name, the final stretch is upon us!

Build a Team

Just like IRL politics, candidates do not run 100% on their own.  The best thing any candidate can do is build a small team to help double-check their work.  When Ashterothi ran for CSM 10, he called on myself, Phyridean, and a few other close corp mates to help hone his campaign.  Through constant communication, he was able to air his first-draft ideas before a close panel where we could better tune the message.  

Also, find someone who will talk you out of fights.  Again, being politic season, there will be mud, and the mark of a good candidate will be to resist the base urge to roll with the pigs.  Despite an urge to do otherwise, there is power in quiet; standing above the mud slung.

Beware The Mud

In American politics, there is a story about Lyndon B Johnson where he wants to start a rumor that his opponent is a "pig-fucker".  The object of the completely fabricated libel: to make his opponent deny it.  By giving the rumor airtime from the victims side, you're empowering the attacker's side.  Rather than letting it die as tinfoil, you give credence to a completely fabricated story.

A stunning example of this cycle was at the end of CSM 9 and into CSM 10.  Where FunkyBacon/Xander were accused of breaking NDA by Sion.  Xander took every bait to a fight to defend himself.  Despite it being completely backwards logic to assume "what is he hiding?", the story stuck to Xander for the whole campaign.  Though there is a time and place to fight accusations, it takes an adept touch to craft the message and remain on top despite attacks.

CSM != Mini-Dev

Though it's an asset to bring mechanical expertise to the table, CSM is not an avenue to supercharge your F&I threads.  Much like student council, you're not going to have the ability to outlaw homework.  

Instead, CSM is an opportunity to build a constituency and bring the group's opinions to the table.  Rather than just airing your own armchair-development, be able to mobilize your favorite professions.  Get to know the other key players in that meta and work with them to be their representative.  All the independent candidates can point to a constituency they represent, and they know key members to call, and can be reached by the people they represent.

Get Your Name Out There

This can be particularly difficult for the newer candidates, but make sure to use every opportunity to be heard and have your name on people's tongues.  Besides Jita Park, make sure you're in CapStable's interview list.  Schedule a AMA on /r/eve.  Reach out to podcasts in your meta for interview/guest spots.  Approach the news sites about publishing editorials.  Arrange open roams with open comms.  Anything to make your name and ideas known.

The next 2-3 months need to be spent socializing with your constituents and other metas close to yours.  Don't worry about not being the perfect WH candidate if you're not running in that meta, there are 14 seats to fill and a lot are up for grabs this year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

EVE Economy - 2015 In Review

Getting quite a few requests to talk about 2015 as a whole this season.  Being news/short-term minded, I wasn't prepared to talk at length about the year in review, but I adjusted some scripts and pulled the data for you all.  This is meant to be a look at our forced core-basket products for Prosper.  A greatest-hits blog will take some more effort, but be sure to leave a comment if you want to see more!

And if you want to skip straight to the graphs, I've put together an imgur gallery


I have been cutting my teeth on PLEX all year.  It's the first product people want to know about, and there are a lot of people shilling opinions of wildly varying quality.  I said at the start of the year that 1B PLEX should be expected in 2015, but I missed the timeframe.  Originally, I was expecting 1B PLEX by fanfest, but a mix of ISboxer fallout and extended out-of-game sales on PLEX kept the lid on the market.  But the summer showed sustained growth that suddenly exploded in September, rocketing us past the 1B price to a steady state now around 1.2B.  

I still believe the price of PLEX is overvalued, but the current dip down to 1.15B looks to be a local minimum, and it's a really great time right now to stock up for the year if you're looking to replenish your stocks.  Also, I expect the prices of PLEX to have less positive-volatility with the release of skill packets or brainmeat, but CCP has been quiet on details since fanfest.