Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Ice Price Rise di'n't Materialize

Before Odyssey happened, I projected a significant price rise in ice and ice products.  This was based on CCP's description of how ice would change: according to their plans, they were going to put only enough ice in the new ice anoms so that if each anom was depleted 5 times per day, highsec could generate 80% of the amount of ice it generated pre-Odyssey.  My assumption is that they did as they said.  We can certainly see the ice anoms and we know that the respawn time is 4 hours.

A quick look at ice product values at the eve-markets.net site shows the trend over the last 180 days.  Here are the graphs for two ice products that I care most about, Helium and Nitrogen isotopes:

thanks to www.eve-markets.net

The price certainly did rise.  The dev blog describing the changes happened April 26.  The price spikes right then and stays high, however there has been a slight tailing off since then.  One very interesting aspect of these graphs is that the buy price has not changed much.  The sell price has almost doubled

What is interesting about this from my perspective is that I have put in several hours of ice mining recently.

One time I logged my ice miner and looked in Otela, then Osmon, and finally Wuos, and there was no ice in any of them.  But within an hour there was, and he mined straight for another few hours.  Three other times I have logged in and there was ice in the system he was in.  This is a small sample, but it suggests that ice anoms are not being mined out quickly.

The other evidence I have on that score is the number of ice miners in the anomalies, and how long they have lasted.  All four times I have mined, the number of ice miners was initially low.  Then it increased, but only once was there more than 10 miners at a time in any anomaly.   And in all of the cases except that one, I logged off the game (usually after about 2 hours of mining) before the ice anom was depleted.

At 190000 ISK per block of White Glaze, and mining about 1 block per minute, the income is pretty good considering how much work it is.  You can still do it on a second monitor while doing something interesting on the main monitor.  On the other hand, the income from ice is still not as high as I predicted would be necessary to draw in nullsec production.

There is one interesting aspect of ice product sales that is interesting to ponder.  Here's the 180 day graph for Caldari Fuel Blocks:

The price has moved in sync with Nitrogen, which is what we expect.  But note the volume.  It declines a bit around the timeframe of the announcement, but has rebounded.  Volume is now almost exactly what it was in the steady, normal market operation in the first half of the graph.  (This pattern is also there in the two isotopes graphs above.)  I suppose that part of that may be due to people re-subbing for Odyssey, who had unfueled towers that they then fueled.  But part of it is just inexplicable to me.  When price rises, as it did, quantity will decline (if other things are equal).  In any case, there is no evidence as yet that people have been pulling down marginally profitable towers.

So, the small evidence I have shows that current ice production simply is not that great.  Ice is not being massively mined in highsec, and the price is not yet high enough to incent substantial production in nullsec.  (Lowsec is too dangerous.)  But volume is not decreasing.  My guess is that a massive amount of ice products have been stockpiled since the exhumer buff of Inferno.  This stockpile is gradually being spent down.  Ice will go higher.  I expect much higher.

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