One of the guiding principles for the market in EVE Online is to keep intact how closely it mirrors aspects of real-world economics and financial markets. These principles are held firmly in mind when moving forward with any changes to the in-game market.
The Broker Relations update will be launching 10 March, and included in the release will be changes to the mechanics around creating and updating orders on the in-game market.
Last summer, permanent changes to both the sales taxes and broker fees for the market were implemented. Having monitored player behavior before and after these summer changes to taxes & fees, further alterations to the market will be made. These are highlighted in full below.
The intent behind these upcoming changes is to support a healthy and live open market, allowing competition to remain fair between players. The prohibited use of automation techniques used by malicious players on the in-game market is a frequent subject of discussion, so there is absolute commitment to fighting bots in New Eden. Needless to say, the market and the behaviors of players when these changes go live will be closely monitored.
Here’s an overview of the changes that are being made. A more detailed breakdown and justification follows afterwards.
Change: Order prices can only be specified with a maximum precision of 4 significant figures.
Currently in EVE, all order prices can be specified to a 0.01 ISK precision, regardless of the magnitude. This will be changing and will use discrete ticks to a precision of four significant figures.
As an example, the following list shows the only acceptable ticks around the 1 million ISK region. All prices must be exactly set to one of these tick levels, and intermediate values will be rounded up/down to the next tick.
Important note: Existing orders at the time of this change coming into effect will keep their current pricing. If such an order is subsequently modified, then the new price must conform to the new tick rules. It will therefore take up to 90 days (the maximum player order duration) until all player orders fit this new rule.
As discussed above, there is a desire to follow some real-world examples in how markets can operate, so this change is heavily influenced by the way that regular stock/commodity markets handle pricing. There’s more information here and here out there for those that are interested in reading more on this subject.
Change: Broker Fee payments in structures are split equally between the structure owner and an NPC. Increase the minimum fee setting to 1% (from 0%).
For orders placed in an Upwell structure, the Broker Fee is paid to the structure owner instead of being sunk out of the game. Therefore the fees do not represent the same true cost compared to NPC stations. It is not uncommon for structure owners to give themselves and their friends a 0% fee, meaning that they can effectively list and modify orders without limit or cost. Therefore two changes are being made to markets in Upwell structures:
Change: Increase the ISK fees that are charged when modifying an order. Change the benefits (and name) of the Margin Trading skill to become Advanced Broker Relations, which will now give a reduction to these modification fees.
Last summer some alterations were made to sales taxes and brokers fees for the market. There will now also be changes to the fees for modifying active buy/sell orders.
Currently, the cost to modify an order by a small amount is negligible. The only real constraint is the five minute delay before an individual order can be modified, but this is relatively easy to minimize for a trader with many order slots. As a result, the optimal strategy becomes “Always create your orders at 0.01 ISK above/below the current best order, and always update your order ASAP by 0.01 ISK if it isn’t the highest buy or lowest sell.” Competition between traders comes down to who (or what) can micro-manage their orders for the longest period of time, rather than who is making the most intelligent pricing decisions. Instead, this will provide some incentive for order changes to happen less frequently and with more consideration. Increasing the modification costs will mean that the strategy of always modifying every order as quickly as possible will quickly become unprofitable. Creating a more equal playing field for market users and handing the advantage back to those who make educated pricing calls is a clear statement of intent in the fight against botting.
The graphs below show the data for which modifications were made to unique market orders over the course of 30 days. Note that the second graph is just a zoomed-in version of the first, with the initial “0 modifications” column removed.
This shows that the significant majority of orders (approximately 94%) never get modified at all. The costs associated with these orders will not be negatively affected by these changes. It is also evident that around 2% of orders are modified more than five times. For these orders, the modification fees will start to eat into the profit margins. A tiny minority of orders (less than 1.3%) are modified more than eight times. Among these are orders that are being modified hundreds of times, with behavioral patterns that are very likely not human. With these changes, such excessive behavior will quickly lead these market-addicts to bankrupt themselves.
The way this is being changed is the introduction of a “Relist Charge” component into the modification fee. This Relist Charge will be a function of the new price, rather than the delta between old and new. A skill-based way to lower (but never eliminate) the Relist Charge will also be provided.
Fee to create a new order at price P (this is unchanged):
Fee = BR * price
Fee to modify an existing order, changing price from P1 to P2:
Fee = max(0, BR (P2 – P1)) + (1 – RD) BR * P2
Note: Both types of fee will have a minimum charge of 100 ISK
Note: Modifying an order will reset its duration back to the original. Therefore, the modification fee also reflects the fact that the order creator is able to extend the lifetime of an order indefinitely.
As mentioned above, a way to reduce the modification fee with a skill is being provided. Rather than introduce a new skill, the debated Margin Trading skill is being re-purposed, which also ties into the EVE Online’s strong new player focus.
The existing Margin Trading skill will be changed into Advanced Broker Relations. The skill’s former ability to reduce the amount of ISK placed into escrow when creating a buy order is going to be removed. It will be replaced with an ability that provides an increasing discount to the Relist Charge.
The skill will keep its existing rank. Any points trained into Margin Trading will now apply to Advanced Broker Relations instead.
Here’s the description of the skill in its new form:
Here’s a table showing the Relist Discount at each level:
|Margin Trading Skill Level||Relist Discount|
Important note: The Margin Trading skill will no longer provide its current ability to reduce the amount of ISK placed in escrow when setting up a buy order. Existing orders that were placed prior to this change will continue to operate as before, but once completed/expired all new orders must be backed up by 100% escrow.
These changes will positively impact the market, and better support fair competitive trade between players. Once again, the commitment to fighting botting in all its forms in EVE is absolutely firm, and moving forward with these changes means that the market and the player behavior involved will be closely monitored once these changes are live and in your hands. Further adjustments will be made as necessary, but for now, any open feedback and discussions from the community are welcome as usual, so feel free to head on over to the discussion thread on the EVE Online Forums to take part.