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CCP raises transaction fees in EVE Online, markets brace for chaos

Another new dev announcement for EVE Online has a lot of players worried about the future, while some are really excited about making ISK, This week has been a huge rollercoaster for New Eden residents. CCP nerfed Alpha clones and the venerable VNI cruiser. Then they removed PLEX rewards from the recruitment program, completely shutting down many players attempts to recruit new players.

CCP is offering some good things though, like the Season Of Skills, giving out free SP for killing NPC ships.

And now, the company has announced a tax hike that is set to take place across New Eden quite soon.

The in-universe justification for this is as a massive increase in spending by CONCORD and the various empires to counter the growing threat of the Triglavian Collective, a new menace blanketing New Eden in conflict that was introduced in the Invasion expansion. CONCORD officials passed the resolution unanimously, raising taxes and fees to new highs. SCC markets will see base transaction tax increase from 2.00% to 5.00%, while the base brokerage fee will rise from 3.00% to 5.00%.

Here’s a rundown of the changes that will be made soon. These changes will be live on Singularity tomorrow for testing.

Changes to sales taxes and broker fees:

  • Maximum Sales Tax increase from 2% to 5%.

  • Minimum Sales Tax increase from 1% to 2.25%.

  • Maximum Brokers Fee increase for NPC stations from 3% to 5%.

  • Double the total maximum taxation from 5% to 10%.

  • Increased total minimum taxation on NPC structures from 3% to 5.25%.

  • Increase the minimum taxation on player owned structures by 125% from 1% to 2.25%.

Changes to tax associated skills:

  • Accounting – Increase in reduction of sales tax from 10% per level to 11% per level.

  • Brokers Relations – Increase in reduction of costs associated with setting up a market order from 0.1% per level to 0.3% per level.

Mathematically, let’s look at this from the perspective of a new free-to-play EVE Online player. Currently, transaction fees are levied in two ways on every trade in the game. NPC transaction taxes are levied against the sale of item, currently these are 2.0% of the value of said item, per unit. The other form of fees on a transaction are levied when an item is both bought and sold. An individual 3.0% fee is levied on each items that’s bought, and then again when it’s sold. This currently breaks down so that if an Alpha player wants to break even through arbitrage (buying low and selling high) in an NPC station, they need a 7.6% margin to cover the fees, assuming they have maximum skill levels in Broker Relations.

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This increase now means that same character needs a 14.8% margin to break even, that’s huge, and it’s only slightly better for Omega players at 13.5%. The only other way to reduce broker fees is to increases your standing with the faction and corporation that own the station you’re trading in.  Although Alpha players may not bother with this grind. For those interested, here’s the math:

3%-(0.1%*BrokerRelationsLevel)-(0.03%*FactionStanding)-(0.02%*CorpStanding)

This formula is likely to change with the introduction of the increased tax rate, so keep that in mind. Currently, transaction taxes can be reduced down to 1% through the “Accounting” skill. This is also likely to change. Although the Accounting skill is restricted to Omegas.

The way that most people will avoid or reduce these fees is to go into player-owned Citadels. Trade hubs like Jita have active Citadels posted in nearby regions, often owned and defended by powerful and wealthy NullSec entities. As these tax changes hit, the common thought is that more and more traders and manufacturers will move at least some of their operations into these alternate locations where broker fees are likely to be lower.

There might be some truth to this suspicion, but markets are a strange beast. We’re no doubt going to see some panic buying and selling as people either stock up to speculate and profit on certain items, or as they fear the future. Prices will no doubt trend upwards, but the effective loss of some ISK due to increased taxes draws questions about just how much the prices will increase. And with less ISK in the game, but higher prices, it’s hard to say if this will have a net deflationary effect on existing ISK or not.

CCP clearly wants this to be a conflict driver, trying to encourage new players to wage war in HighSec to control the player-owned territory, but it’s doubtful if the current agreement between the major power players like GoonSwarm, TEST and Pandemic Legion/Horde can be broken.

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