In the beginning, there was moon mining…

In times of yore, the extraction of moon materials was one of the greatest sources of alliance-level income. It could be thought of as like an alliance-level PI; once set up, a player owned starbase would extract moon materials — required for tech II production — on a regular basis and feed them into silos ready to be collected.

Moon materials were serious business; high sec gankers were rewarded for destroying tech II ships in order to drive up their value, cartels formed around the most valuable ‘moon goo’ in order to fix prices and create maximum profits for member alliances, sneaky corporations would ‘ninja’ cap moons in space owned by superpowers, and campaigns were waged for their control.

Chunk of a moon.

So, what changed?

With the advent of Lifeblood, the status of moon mining shifted from alliance-level passive income to something which requires member participation. Instead of materials being extracted passively by a starbase, they now have to be actively harvested much like ore.

This — along with earlier changes like ADMs, infrastructure hubs, and the rorqual overhaul — was a strong signal that in future, alliance-level income would come from active utilization of space rather than the military ability to defend assets. Whether or not this is a good thing is hotly contested, and not something I intend to focus on in this article.

Tranquility Trading Tower

The focus of this article, instead, is the income source which seems to buck the trend: the ‘offshore’ markets.

What is an ‘offshore’ market?

To understand offshoring, you first need to understand how the Eve markets work. When you list goods for sale on the market, you pay two kinds of fees: a broker’s fee and a sales tax.

Sales tax works the same way in both citadels and NPC stations — it’s 2% minus 0.2% for each level of the Accounting skill that you have, for a lowest possible level of 1%.

Broker’s fees, however, are different; at an NPC station, they start at 3% and can be reduced to 2% with the Broker Relations skill and by improving your standings with the corporation & faction which controls the station; but at a citadel, they can be set to whatever the citadel owner wants, and are received by the citadel owner.

Broker's fee in Jita

Broker's fees in a Perimeter Citadel

The above screenshots show a max skilled, no-standings, pilot listing items for sale in Jita and in the most popular Perimeter trade market. Even with perfect standings, the maximum yield for these goods in Jita would be 2,910,000 ISK (or 97% of sale value) whereas in the citadel, I can get 2,967,000 ISK (or 98.9% of sale value) without having to do missions or buy expensive tags to improve my standings.

There are upsides and downsides to trading at citadels vs NPC hubs, largely dependent upon your level of activity and risk appetite, but that’s a subject that could have an entire article written about it.

Are you sure that’s an “alliance level income”?

0.1% might not sound like a lot of ISK. On a skill injector selling for 850 million ISK today, it’d be 850,000 ISK; but it’s important to understand just how big the volume of trades on these markets is.

The exact figures for how much these structures make are rarely shared; back in 2017, for example, Karin Yang reported an income of 300 billion ISK/month from a 0.1% broker fee structure in a competitive market.

Jita offshore PLEX market

Since then the offshoring scene around Jita has largely been a battle between Pandemic Horde and TEST Alliance Please Ignore affiliates, with broker fees between 0.2% and 0.5%; so we’re talking about hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of ISK every month.

Scale down and duplicate for offshore markets around Amarr, Dodixie, Rens, Hek, and other trading spots; and you’re looking at a seriously good war chest, capable of replacing tens of titan losses a month.

So, how does it compare to old-school moon mining?

There are a couple of major similarities, which are that the structure needs to be fuelled and defended.

Unlike moon mining, where only a single corporation could ‘cap’ the moon at a time, it’s certainly possible for multiple corporations to take a slice of the Perimeter market. Practically speaking, the Perimeter market is really only contested by TEST and Pandemic Horde due to the capability of both alliances to immediately siege and destroy any small organization’s structures.

The logistics actually make these citadels an even more ‘passive’ income source than moon mining. These are high sec structures which don’t require anyone to haul millions of m3 in materials through dangerous space.

CCP has clearly signalled an interest in moving away from ‘passive’ income sources; and ‘offshoring’ does seem to be very similar to the activities they’ve been removing from the game.

Eve Damnation

But doesn’t that make it bad?

In the environment of a sandbox, very few things are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in the absolute sense; everything has trade-offs between the things it enables and the things it takes away.

If you’ve been impressed by the creation of a point of conflict in Perimeter which has a real tangible worth, with a new metagame based around subcapital ships and high sec war dec mechanics; you might not see ‘offshore’ citadels as a bad thing.

If you think large-scale, passive, alliance income is a bad thing and Eve should move more towards mass ratting and mining, with taxation and buyback schemes as the major source of alliance income; then you’ll probably be against ‘offshore’ citadels as an income source.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

10 Comments

  1. Punky260

    I think you got wrong what CCP means by “passive”. Passive income is money generated without players doing anything. An offshore market hub is the absolute opposite. To make money, playes have to buy and sell stuff – so it is very much an active gameplay. Yes, for the alliance it sets it up, it seems passive, but for the game (and it’s health) it counts as an active form.
    So it is super unlikely CCP will have a problem with market hubs at all.

    January 29, 2019 at 08:35 Reply
  2. vv

    Gevlon said that like years ago. New CCP owners might force them to fix it like they did with wardecs.

    January 29, 2019 at 14:15 Reply
  3. Thade

    As a small corp CEO I am struggling to have a corp level income. I am kinda missing the old moon mining 🙁

    January 29, 2019 at 14:48 Reply
  4. The14th

    Who owns that trading station in Perimeter, and how much would I have to pay somebody to burn it down?

    January 29, 2019 at 18:32 Reply
    1. Marmites

      Contact the marmite collective and offer them something in the tange of a few billion or more.

      January 29, 2019 at 19:15 Reply
      1. The14th

        Has Marmite ever done an attack on somebody who would fight back? I only know them from piracy wardecs on easy marks.

        January 30, 2019 at 04:14 Reply
  5. Reinder

    To me, passive income is the old moonmining, it still required activity ( fueling, hauling, etc. ) but the majority was fully passive. Unlike say PI that requires only hauling and moving some stuff around which requires only moderately more activity then moonmining, but is far less profitable, ( and capped to no more then 18 planets per account ).

    The tradehubs that require firstoff people to actually trade, and secondly are a great conflict driver.

    Moonmining only generated a little bit of content mainly in warzone’s but mostly was just left to the big alliances. In my time in null there were quite a few moons owned in the systems we occupied by big powerhouses that had no other claim to the region. We were under strict instructions to leave those alone. Because any fleet defending those moons would always burn everything else in the entire solarsystem down. If you were lucky, if they had to come back more then once they’d wipe out a constellation the next time. And we are talking supers and the like here with the blue donut crap that was surrounding those moonmining cartels. Even party’s at sov war with the powerhouse would refuse to come fight them as backup simply because they did not want to escalate anything.

    For now the tradehubs seem to not be organised in any cartel / blue donut nonsense and everyday you can see structures being shot at, reinforced, defended and the like, and best of all, right in front of highsec players. All done in ships they themselves can fly. I can imagine quite a few players interested in joining into those fights and signing up with some of those warring factions. The conflict is now in a place where the largest part of eve accounts resides, rather then in a desolate area of space where the content is really only experienced by a fraction of the eve population, namely those fighting and whoever happens to live in said space.

    Despite the fact that i don’t like that big powerhouses fully control this opportunity and effectively lock anyone not of their size out of this niche, i do like that now it is in a place where litterally thousands of ( neutral ) players are confronted with and affected by its consequences.

    January 31, 2019 at 07:03 Reply
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    February 19, 2019 at 06:42 Reply
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