Friday, March 18, 2016

Citadel Fever

Yesterday was a big day for citadels and the folks interested in them. No fewer than a dozen reddit posts leaking "show info" descriptions, build requirements, and skill prerequisites from the Singularity test server popped up, along with plenty of associated screenshots and eye-candy. Today was the formal announcement by CCP that citadel content has been loaded to Sisi; sure, it's a bit anti-climactic, but it serves a confirmation that the data we're seeing is legit.

Add to that, we've been seeing a constant decline in PLEX prices, despite a fairly robust spate of activity in-game (you may have heard something about Pure Blind and Deklein?) and lingering interest among players in spending RL money to buy skill injectors.  So, why are PLEX prices dropping?

The only real explanation that seems to make any sense is that the wealthy are liquidated their supplies of PLEX to free up isk. The need seems to be splti between a desire to build citadels quickly in prime locations - and hopefully capture some of that transaction tax for themselves - and market speculation on components needed for citadel construction. The result, though, is a sudden and significant drop in the price of gametime - as of my writing PLEX sits at 1.085 billion, far lower than it's recent plateau of 1.2 bil. Chances are very good that prices are going to continue to drop as citadel construction gets closer and more and more people start reallocating the isk idling in PLEX.

I wager it's safe to say Citadel fever has gripped new Eden.

For my part, I'm an observer. I don't run any POSes now, and don't have any aspirations to build citadels myself. I realize I don't have the individual assets to defend a well-placed citadel without help, so I figure, what's the point in joining in the land rush?

That's not to say citadels aren't going to affect my game; they absolutely will. But I know my limits, and speculating on the future landscape of citadels is a bit beyond my ken. There are a lot of factors to consider. Here are just a few:

  1. What percentage of traders will shift their stock from an NPC station to a citadel?
  2. How "safe" will citadels be in high-sec, particularly near trade hubs?
  3. How frequent will war-decs be?
  4. How much of the cost of additional NPC taxes will be passed on to players?
  5. How scrupulous will players be in deciding which buy orders to purchase from?
  6. How powerful will citadels really be?  What size of fleet and level of dedication is required to take them down?
  7. Exactly how devastating to an alliance's logistics will losing a citadel be?
  8. Will players pull individuals' access to their citadels regularly enough to cast doubts about good faith?

And that's just off the top of my head. I could see nearly every aspect of the game being fundamentally changed as a result of the citadel launch.

Surely, the cost of goods will increase. And, interestingly, that cost is likely to increase in a way that traders can't really benefit from, since it'll be tied to individual transaction costs. Why would you stock up on goods now that you may need to sell in the future at a larger cost?

Are players going to use citadels? Are we even able to make that prediction now?  I'm not so sure... I know that I personally will wait to see the lay of the land before making the decision. I think this is going to be a Singularity moment, a point after which we can't reliably predict the behavior of players because the circumstances will be so fundamentally different.

Regardless, what a time to be alive...


  1. Maybe I'm crazy but I don't get this hype. I don't see how any of this stuff coming in April is going to change anything fundamentally. They are just a variation of things we already have. Whether it's going to be for better or worse remains, only time will tell.

  2. citidels arent safe for market makers because the owners can control the market. the massive transaction tax increases in NPC stations will act as a ISK sink. there will be less ISK. ISK will therefore be worth more. the smart money is dumping PLEX to hold liquid ISK instead.

    PLEX prices are headed to 600k

  3. If you have stuff you might want to sell, it makes sense to do it now before the increased transaction fees kick in.

    As to the impact of Citadels on the markets? My bet is it will have next to no impact in Hi-Sec. They will be more for alliance and corporation level markets - open regional markets will still use NPC stations.

    The likes of PL and Goons could plant some in Hi-Sec and proclaim they will protect them, but most other groups couldn't. What's the bet PL would get bored with defending them and walk away after a while? Who would also risk the Goons scamming them?

    It will be interesting to see.