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EVE Fanfest 2014: Economy talk highlights PLEX prices and reveals titan production statistics


When we asked our readers to to pick the EVE Fanfest panel they most wanted to hear about, the most popular choice by a comfortable margin was Economy: Into the Second Decade. So today I popped in to hear what CCP's Lead Economist Dr Eyjo had to say on the year's biggest economic events and plans for the future. The talk started with the usual comparison of ISK sinks vs. ISK faucets, showing the various ways that ISK enters and leaves the game. Too much entering could cause rapid inflation, while not enough could cause economic collapse.

A net value of around 20-25 trillion ISK is reportedly injected into the game each month, a level that Dr Eyjo insists isn't enough to cause any inflationary problems in the economy. The big focus of this year's economics talk was the destruction of around $270,000 US worth of Titan class supercapital ships in the recent Bloodbath of B-R5RB. Also on the table for discussion was the recent rapid increase in price of the 30 Day Pilot's License Extension (PLEX), an item that can be bought on the market for ISK and exchanged for game time. This can effectively make EVE free-to-play, but prices are now at over 700 million ISK and are starting to become prohibitive for some players.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of CCP's entire economics talk from Fanfest 2014, including surprising stats on how many titans are built each quarter.

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So what's up with the rising PLEX prices?

According to CCP, usage of PLEXes has increased steadily year on year as the playerbase has grown and new services acceping PLEX have been introduced, but the stock on the market hasn't increased. The price has risen sharply in the past few months to over 710 million ISK, but the number on the market has decreased. PLEX in the EVE economy acts almost like gold in the real world, making it a reliable investment.

On the question of how high prices could go for PLEX if the market were left unchecked, Dr Eyjo commented that the prices on the Chinese server, Serenity, have already reached 3.6 billion ISK per PLEX. It was revealed that CCP actually intervened in the PLEX market to prevent a runaway price spike just a few weeks ago by selling some PLEX from the EVE Central Reserves on the open market.

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Titan production stats revealed

The Bloodbath of B-R5RB saw 75 titans turned into smoking wrecks, with total destruction measured at around 11 trillion ISK. Dr Eyjo showed the expected graphs of the battle and of the numbers of titans destroyed -- that was already public knowledge. To my surprise, however, he went one step further and revealed stats on how many titans are actually built across the whole of EVE. Alliances understandably don't advertise the locations of their supercapital shipyards, so until now we've been able only to speculate on how many titans are in the game.

It turns out that an average of around 70 titans are built per quarter, which means there must be a hell of a lot more titans out there than most players suspect. The Amarr Avatar and Gallente Erebus account for about 80-90% of the titans built because they give bonuses to armour and most fleet doctrines still call for armour tanked ships.

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The future for EVE's economy

EVE Online has always been a game of figuring out how things work, be it experimenting with ship fittings or working out the most profitable ship to build. Players often debate economic topics endlessly on the forum and on blogs, and it looks as if the developers really do read all of it. Dr Eyjo showed an exerpt from some of the discussions players are having online about how the EVE economy works, remarking that having access to the kind of inside data CCP has would make those discussions more productive.

CCP plans to help facilitate these debates by adding more market data to the CREST API so that third-party developers can access it. The big up-shot of this is that players will be able to make better market analysis tools and graphs, which is important with the summer expansion about to shake up industry. Almost every single item in EVE will have new market pressures and variables to consider, and that means it's time to update all your spreadsheets. May the best accountant win!

Whether you're a die-hard fan of internet spaceships or just a gawker on the sidelines, EVE Fanfest is the EVE Online event of the year (and the key source of new DUST 514 and EVE Valkyrie scoops!). Follow Massively's Brendan Drain as he reports back on this year's Fanfest starpower, scheming, and spoilers from exotic Reykjavik, Iceland.