One of the brilliant things about EVE Online is how everything is so interconnected. When there is a new patch or expansion, changes that primarily only seem to affect a relatively small portion of the player base can affect everyone. Of course, some changes obviously effect everyone – the upcoming change to the Inventory system in Inferno is a very obvious example. Indeed, as of right now I cannot think of any other change that has such a wide-ranging and immediate impact on the player base (my own thoughts will be delayed to a later post once I have had some experience of it, since I have not been able to get on Sisi). Other changes primarily only appear to be relevant to a smaller portion of the player base, and the upcoming datacore changes fall more into this latter category.
There are 4 principal changes, one of which is entirely “cosmetic”.
1. All datacore skills will now produce research points at the same rate, and all datacores will cost the same.
2. The cost of datacores from research agents in terms of research points is doubled.
3. Each datacore will cost 10k isk.
4. Datacores will be added to faction warfare rewards, divvied up between the factions with no overlap.
Point (1) is purely cosmetic – it changes nothing, as in the past those that generated research points at twice or three times the ordinary rate also had datacore costs of twice or thrice the ordinary cost.
Points (2) and (3) were, in the devblog, headlined as an attempt to reduce the passive income from datacores. As regards to the doubling the research point cost of datacore agents, this is indeed going to reduce the income for those who setup research agents and just let them build up datacores over time. Other people however quite regularly go around their datacore agents to do the daily missions to double the RP reward. They can still do that, of course, it is just now the rewards are lessened … but if the object was to reduce passive income, this has also reduced active income too.
Point (3) I don’t think will reduce passive income much, if at all. Some may stop bother producing datacores, but over time the 10k isk charge per datacore will probably mostly get transferred to buyers in terms of higher prices. I think this is mostly about introducing a new isk sink to the game regardless of how it is presented.
Point (4) is interesting. On balance I quite like the idea, both in terms of a way of boosting FW rewards, but also as a way of introducing some variety to the market. As I understand it anyway the hope is that the FW militias that are “dominant” will likely produce more datacores for their respective science skills than those that are losing, which will obviously have market implications.
Of course, the big unknown is how many datacores will enter the market from FW. I do not know, and I really don’t think anyone does. It is feasible that the datacore market might crash if too many FW players flood the market. Or perhaps the FW generated datacores will not match the datacores lost by points (2) and (3). The EVE website is down right now so I cannot get the exact quote, but there was this wonderful line about they were hoping for datacore supply to end up unbalanced – to which I added the mental rider “besides, we have no idea what is going to happen, so this way you can’t complain and say we didn’t achieve our aim”. (I’ll try to get the exact quote later).
In the event, a few months down the road these changes will doubtless start to have some impact on T2 prices, though whether or not that will be observable rather depends I suspect on what happens with moon goo.