There are pretty major changes on the horizon coming soon to EVE Online. The next patch cycle, which CCP has dubbed Broker Relations, will completely alter the market landscape in their MMO. CCP has just announced that future patches will introduce a barrage of market adjustments aimed at combating bots and reducing the global ISK supply.
The previous versions of the in-game market, though primarily player-driven, were dominated by “.01 ISKing”, a practice where players would battle to stay at the top of buy and sell orders by always being .01 ISK above or below the relevant competition. The biggest change to the market is that “order prices can only be specified with a maximum precision of 4 significant figures.”
This 4 digit tick basically means that the values paid while “.01 ISKing” just increased by a major factor. The reality is that now only the final of the first four digits in a price can be modified. So a 100,000 ISK item can now only have its buy and sell orders modified by 100 ISK increments. Real-world financial markets also introduce these kinds of limits on trading in currencies and some other markets, often for some of the same reasons that CCP is implementing them here.
By combining this manipulation with increased order fees, CCP is ratcheting up the supply-side pressure on traders, while also reducing overall profits.
And speaking of increased fees, the minimum transaction fee in Upwell structures, as set by the owners will be increased from 0% to 1%. The developer is also introducing a new fee called the Relist Charge. Previously, an NPC tax of 100 ISK was levied when modifying transactions on the in-game market, that’s about to change. Now, 100 ISK is the new minimum fee, with order modification fees being determined by a combination of player skills and item price.
The new calculation is much more varied, and impacts orders that are modified most often with the heaviest cost. Here’s the formula:
- BR is the character’s effective Broker Fee rate at the station/structure (factoring in skills/standing/settings as appropriate)
- RD is the character’s Relist Discount rate (factoring in Advanced Broker Relations skill)
- P1 is the original price of the item
- P2 is the new price of the item
Fee = max(0, BR (P2 – P1)) + (1 – RD) BR * P2
The biggest impact here is that it puts those putting up large bulk orders to try and corner a market in a more vulnerable state. A buyer or seller looking to move 10 of an item might be in a more advantageous position compared to someone with 100 or 1,000 of that same item. Under the new system, it might be a better strategy for traders to break their trades down into smaller volumes, spreading out the risk they get undercut, thus losing a major percentage of their ISK value to Relist Charges.
As some players have pointed out, these changes could incentivize heavy-hitters in the markets of New Eden to spin up more market alts in order to fully leverage as many open order slots as possible. Only time will tell if this rings true or not on a large enough scale to matter.
CCP has been slowly trying to dry up the in-game ISK supply for a while now. Eliminating PLEX rewards from the referral program was just the first shot. More recent tax changes reduced trading profits and destroyed the ability of Alpha players to compete. Other recent nerfs to mining across New Eden have put more resource pressure on manufacturers, causing rampant speculation and hoarding. The hope of CCP is that these new changes will further restrict the wealth of the most powerful to affect the game in serious ways. Of course, they are also doing it to try and boost the number of Omega accounts by locking in-game profit potential behind a paywall.
In addition, the Margin Trading skill will be heavily modified. Traders will now have to pay all of the escrow on a buy order upfront to list a buy on an item. This completely changes the way EVE traders manage risks through leverage. Having to leverage all the ISK upfront means that many traders will be much more conservative with their investments. This new skill factors into the calculation for order mod fees too.
The goal of these changes, according to CCP is so that “order changes to happen less frequently and with more consideration.” We will have to wait and see how EVE players will destroy that notion.
The new patch to bring these changes is set to land on March 10th.