Market Speculation In The Incursion Patch For EVE Online

Any time a new expansion is announced for EVE Online, thousands of players rush to log in and buy or sell commodities that they expect will change in value, once the expansion hits. The Incursion expansion is slated for release in November and offers a plentitude of opportunities for speculation.

Disclaimer: The information in this guide is speculative, and based on information released by CCP in developer blogs. Speculation is always a gamble, even if it seems like a sure thing. The five topics below are the most surefire market changes that I think merit discussion, either for profitable hoarding, or to ward off people that might invest unwisely.

Tech Two Ammo

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style="font-style: italic;">The tech two ammo changes are pretty close to sure money. The only risk is if prices spike too high because of speculation, and you buy in at this inflated price.

Last week, CCP Chronotis announced that close range tech two ammunition would be getting a once over, saying "We are focusing on the short range versions of the tech two ammo, such as Gleam, Conflagration, Hail, Quake, Void and Javelin. We are removing various negative effects from each, focusing on the drawbacks which penalize your ship itself and also stack per hardpoint loaded with the ammo. This means the ammo will be a good alternative to the faction ammo and, without such focused and sometimes crippling drawbacks, will be much more useful." In short, cha-ching.

How are you going to make ISK on this? Potentially, by doing any of the following:

  • Buy the Rocket Science and Electronic Engineering datacores, that are used to invent tech two missiles. Their value will almost certainly increase as rocket launchers are used more for missions and missions.
  • Other likely datacores for speculation Hydromagnetic Physics, Laser Physics, Molecular Engineering, Nuclear Physics, Plasma Physics, Electromagnetic Physics, and Graviton Physics.
  • Buy tech two ammunition that is unpopular now, while it is cheap, and stockpile it for after the expansion.
  • Begin manufacturing (or training the skills needed for manufacturing) tech two ammunition, but do not start selling until a month or two after the expansion goes live and people are using the ammunition.

For your reference, the ammo types mentioned in the developer blog are presented below, along with the tech one blueprint used to invent them and the datacores used:

  • Gleam: Multifrequency (Hydromagnetic Physics and Laser Physics datacores)
  • Conflagration: Xray (High Energy Physics and Laser Physics datacores)
  • Hail: Uranium (Molecular Engineering and Nuclear Physics datacores)
  • Quake: Titanium Sabot (High Energy Physics and Nuclear Physics datacores)
  • Void: Antimatter Charge (Electromagnetic Physics and Plasma Physics datacores)
  • Javelin: Iridium Charge (Electromagnetic Physics and Graviton Physics datacores)

Faction Ammo Bust (Except Rockets?)

You may want to sell faction ammunition if you have a huge stockpile and think, as I do, that new tech two ammo types will decrease faction ammunition's value in general. I certainly would not recommend spending loyalty points on faction ammo until will after Incursion has gone live and the dust has settled.

The only faction ammunition that I think could possibly recover is faction rockets, which may see more use post-patch. Even so, I am unconvinced that rockets are viable for PvP, and even more unconvinced that they will be in high enough demand to cause a price jump. The market in Jita seems to show some people buying into Caldari Navy Thorn Rockets, though, and I am inclined to agree that it is the safest bet for a price spike. I'm buying a bunch, even though I think I may have missed the bus on this one. If had any loyalty points with the Caldari Navy, I might do some maths to see whether obtaining some of these would be a worthwhile endeavor, though faction ammunition is not usually a cost effective use of loyalty points.

Planetary Interaction Changes

Everything that I have read about the upcoming Planetary Interaction changes seems to imply that running a planet will become easier, and more people will retain interest as a result. This means that planetary materials, especially low-tier materials that are extracted raw or only moved through a step of refining, will certainly plummet in value.

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style="font-style: italic;">The Incursion expansion will include a revifified faction ship market, easier planetary businesses, and a new salvage ship.

Nor have there been any indications of making the amounts of goods on planets decrease much faster, or otherwise have some sort of diminishing returns on them. As a result, I would be very surprised if any planetary material went up in value after this patch. The only thing I can think of that might conceivably make that happen is if CCP added some new blueprints (or tweaked existing ones) that were both in demand, and require huge amounts of planet-made materials as ingredients. I am sure that some such items will be introduced, but I am dubious that they will do much to reduce the volume of planetary materials on the market. As a result, I am dumping almost all of my stockpiles.

What might be interesting is if the entire market makes this assumption, and the prices of planetary materials completely bottom out. One could then buy the extremely low-priced goods and await a market recovery --though I expect said recovery would take at least three or four months to occur. At a certain point, materials will just not get any lower, and you may as well invest. Will people even bother selling a raw material if the price is below 1 isk per unit? I don't think so, and the price will have to eventually reach some kind of equilibrium. I'll be riffing through the planetary materials market for the entire week after patch day, hoping to spot such an opportunity, long term though it might be.

Faction Ships Added To The Market

Though it has not been officially announced, there have been reports of faction ships becoming available on the market, on the test server, rather than solely available via contracts as the system is now.

If it makes it into this patch, that means a few things. First, contract scammers are going to be pretty disappointed. Second, prices will likely become a lot more competitive, as contracts are rarely very competitive. Third, the volume of ship hulls on the market at any time will probably increase, meaning that the ship prices will be less volatile and less subject to price gouging or manipulation.

Unfortunately, this does not lend itself well to speculation. EVE Online does not have any especially good ways to profit from an indefinitely decrease in an item's price. Some day, someone will implement a form of short selling, and I will rejoice. Until then, I will sell all of my faction ships and then buy them back, after their price sinks, post-Incursion.

New Salvage Ship

The Noctis is going to be CCP's new dedicated salvaging platform. It promises to pull in salvage at an unprecedented rate, especially from level four missions. That means bad things for people with big stockpiles of rigs and salvage, and I am dumping accordingly. I think it will take a few months for this market to really sink to its final low, but expect it to be inevitable nonetheless. Sell salvage if you got it, pal.

A strange side effect of this may be that some people will stop bothering to salvage, because the price is too low. I don't think that will help salvage prices bounce back, but I do think it will incentivize burning through missions faster, rather than sitting around salvaging them. To someone like me, this sounds like a more pleasant mission-running experience, though your mileage may vary.

Final Thoughts

My budget for speculation depends on the nature of each expansion and how sure I think my return will be. Though this patch does not have the sure money that Tyrannis did, I think that datacores will increase in price, and in any case not sink. To that end, I'm allocating a moderate amount of ISK (for me) to speculation. You should carefully consider how much your total speculation budget should be based on your own wealth and risk tolerance, and divvy the funds between the various items you want to speculate on, according to how sure you think each bet is. I wish you the best, and hope you will check in on the forums the week after the Incursion patch, to tell us all how much ISK you made.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016