Monday, February 1, 2016

Skill Point Injectors - My Strategy 1 Week Out

We're moving ever closer to the contentious release of skill point injectors, due with the February 9th release. Allow me to say how interesting I find it that with the capital rebalance and citadels looming on the horizon, the thing the community is focused on is these little options. And boy, what a focus it has been.

I certainly see the source of everyone's fears about the injectors, although I don't share them. While folks look at the monetizing aspect of skill injectors, I tend not to look at it from that perspective. After all, skill injectors don't allow players to earn anything beyond what they can earn naturally over time. I've long been against the need for newer players to spend upwards of two years being terrible at Eve while they train up essential skills; I'd much rather that they be able to excel as their player skills (not character skills) increase.

NoizyGamer has a great article predicting the price of final, loaded skill injectors. It's a good analysis and worth the read.

I predict we're going to see a huge glut on Day One, with a high number of skill injectors on the market. We'll likely see a high starting price that quickly diminishes and hits a bottom over the course of the first two days as the USTZ is able to log in and begin extracting sp from their characters. We'll will likely see the lowest prices for extractors ever during that period - we'll have a great number of players who have sp surpluses to convert and move quickly.

On the buying side, while I think players are going to want these, I think demand is going to be a secondary priority to supply for most players. After all, pure-sellers are going to want to extract quickly so they can pick their moment to list their injectors. As more and more players log in - particularly around mid-USTZ, we're going to see peak volume and the price will drop, drop, drop. That's all going to put pressure on sellers to list sooner as they watch the prices plummet. All the while, pure-buyers are going to watch and buy at a level that seems to make sense to them. An injector speculator could do very well by picking up units at low prices on launch day and reselling a month or so after launch.

But you'll also have your mixed buyers/sellers. Those players will ultimately want to train up a second or third character, but will also be looking to pull some SP from their existing characters. In the desire to not purchase more than they need, they'll almost certainly extract sp before they start to buy injectors on the market. All in all, they'll contribute to a delayed demand likely to see prices drop.

But once that initial "dumping" period is gone, you'll see those injectors go quickly. After all, I suspect we'll see players remove perhaps a half-dozen or dozen injectors' worth of sp from their characters, but buyers will be looking to buy dozens and dozens. Soon, I think we'll see those prices increase again.

But, buying injectors is a one-time thing - you buy the SP then you have it - whereas selling can become a routine event for sp farmers (those who try to sell their month's training to pay for their account). Where it all washes out will depend on the final ratios of buyers to sellers, and how willing players are to absorb the 40% waste to continue injecting after 50 million sp. I suspect we'll see a glut, then not much activity as time goes on.

I honestly don't believe it will be possible to finance your account by selling your sp. I agree with Noizy Gamer that this whole thing is going to push PLEX prices even higher - PLEX will fuel most of the purchase behind skill injectors, and we're going to see a very sharp upward pressure on PLEX in the weeks after launch. So plexing your account with any means is going to become more difficult.

Plus, CCP is going to get a cut out of this transaction - and that price will be pushed on to the buyers. Lets say the aurum for an extractor costs 200 mil... Noizy identified about 1.9 million sp as the absolute maximum sp a player could earn in a month, but in reality no one is going to hit that maximum; it presumes no switching of training for gaining specific needed skills, +5 implants, and no further skills released by CCP needing to be trained. That's not really feasible, I think. So, let's go with 1.75 million a month. That's 3.75 injectors' worth. To pay for a PLEX at current prices, they'd need to generate a profit of 320 million each. That's about 520 million if the aurum costs 200. It's certainly in line with Noizy's estimates, But that's a cost to the buyer of 1.95 billion - a premium of 750 million for the sp gain.

So, if the aurum for the extractors costs 200 mil, a buy is effectively paying 2 billion for a month's training. Four months - 7.5 millon sp - would cost 8 bil; that's a far cry worse than buying a new character on the bazaar. For an entire year's training, you're looking at an extra 9 billion isk.

And that's assuming all of these several transactions spread across all the participants in this market has no effect on the price of PLEX. I believe the only thing that will exert downward pressure on PLEX is the influx of a great number of new players, and I don't see that happening. 1.5 bil per plex isn't unreasonable. And that only exacerbates the calculations in favor of patience or the character bazaar.

So, I think those who would prefer to pay for their account by selling their sp are going to have to accept that it'll only get them part of the way there. And that may be okay for most people.

For my part, I've identified perhaps 2-3 injectors' worth of sp I'm going to be removing from Talvorian focused on - you guessed it - mining and industry. Valeria is almost completely a focused character, and while I'm expanding her role, I don't think I'll be pulling anything out of her. All I do remove is going to my alt, who I'm training to replace Valeria on her cosmic signature duty. That should free her up to be a second perma-PvP character. I'll need about 13-14 million sp to make that new alt a perfect Tengu pilot, so I'll be in the market for about 25-30 injectors, taking into account the waste.

Because my extractions are going to be so low, I'll probably be watching the market to buy before I extract; I'm sure I'll stop short of topping that alt off entirely (maybe stop 3-4 mil before maxed skills), but I'm definitely going to want to make him effective and sufficient within the first few days.

And if I overbuy? I think I'll be okay in waiting to sell. Market pressure is on my side, I believe.

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