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Tyrannis launch oversight destroys starbase market


After what seemed to be a smooth launch, it soon became apparent that EVE Online's Tyrannis expansion had brought with it several broken features. While the planet-scanning interface works fine and looks fantastic, the deployment of command centres was pushed back until June 8th. The materials produced on planets could not possibly be made until June 8th but on May 26th, tier 4 products from planetary interaction began appearing on the market. It wasn't long before EVE players figured out that you could refine NPC-sold starbase structures into high-end planet products. Starbase structures are one of the many things that CCP is switching from being supplied at fixed prices by NPCs to being produced by players through planetary interaction. The NPC supply was meant to be removed on May 26th but as players were currently unable to produce the structures, that change was delayed until June 8th.

Within a day of the expansion going live, players discovered that by refining a combination of cheaper starbase structures, you could obtain all the necessary parts for more expensive ones at a discounted rate. Players rapidly began building large control towers, normally costing 360 million ISK, for as little as 100 million. Perhaps worse was the fact that the total pool of components required to build an outpost could now be built for as little as four to five billion ISK. CCP declared the issue to be a bug and warned that "appropriate measures will be taken to ensure there will be a viable market". CCP Chronotis went on to state that players "currently gambling on profiting from this error should heed that as a warning before splashing more isk here."

At the following downtime on May 29th, CCP made the unusual move of removing all the NPC supply of starbase structures. This was the first in a series of measures designed to repair the damage to the planetary interaction market and was intended to stem the flow of tier 4 planet materials into the game. Unfortunately, this has had the side-effect of making the players that were heavily into refining starbase modules the sole suppliers of that market. Prices on control towers have already risen to 450 million in some regions and those who were gambling on CCP's error are making an even bigger fortune than they previously were. The NPC supply of starbase structures is due to be brought back on June 2nd ahead of the full release of planetary interaction on June 8th. Evidence from the test server indicates that we won't be able to refine them past that date and players continue to speculate on how CCP plan to clean up this gargantuan mess.

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