I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, now that ol' Mord's writing his novel he's living the literary sweet life. He's attending publishing galas, sitting at the high table with Jonathan Franzen and Jhumpa Laheirie and trading witticisms with Salman Rushdie. He sips sixteen year old Scapa while brooding over galley proofs and fielding calls from studios competing for rights to the film adaptation. Mord can't go to the grocery store without being accosted by attractive, dewy-eyed young women who long to be his muse. Annie Leibovitz insists he make time for a week-long trip to Senegal to shoot the photo for the book's dust cover; never mind that the book has nothing whatever to do with Senegal.
Yes. Yes, it's exactly like that.
Thank goodness I have Fiddler's Edge and its insightful readership to keep my feet on the ground and the world in perspective. Let's get back to the serious business of cartoon spaceships.
Back in Battle of the Bands I described impending changes to nullsec that would, in effect, kill the high end ratting anomalies in nullsec systems with a low truesec. The change was implemented in one of the recent Incursion patches and we've had a little time to look at the fallout.
As expected, there's been a falloff in income for capsuleers in shallow nullsec. That should mean less money sloshing around nullsec which in turn should result in reduced market activity. Spot checks on markets, coupled with feedback from various sources suggest that a market downturn is indeed occurring. Shallow nullsec appears headed for something of a recession.
Industrialists seem to be hit less hard than strict PvPers as the Indy players have the ability to switch income sources when the ratting income sources get thin. Some nullsec industrialists I know don't rat at all, preferring to supply the ships, mods and materials that feed the incessant nullsec wars. However, many of the the PvPers who buy and fit those high value ships and mods reside in shallow nullsec. The wiser of them will have built up their cash reserves in the weeks leading up to the anomalies nerf, but are now either burning through the cash at a rapid pace or being more strategic with the spending of it. In either event, there's less money in the market. With more industrialists in shallow nullsec turning to mining, manufacturing and PI to make up the loss in anomalies income, there should be an upswing in available supply of materials and non-name finished products.
Less demand. More supply. We all know where that road leads.
Of course there will be exceptions. Supercapitals, for example, are still the "I WIN" button in nullsec sov wars and alliances will be cost inelastic where they are concerned. Even if demand for supercapitals falls off as shallow nullsec alliances and players buy fewer supercaps, expect any oversupply to be soaked up by the richer alliances holding high truesec properties. Until a significant nerf to supercaps comes out, builders of supercapitals and supercapital components should be among the few winners in shallow nullsec.
However, the shallow bits of nullsec are still a source for untold riches, even if extracting them is not as effortless as running Havens. If the factories that supply the nullsec engines of war are less active, the enterprising carebear can make money transporting raw materials, PI products, t2 blueprints et al up to the highsec markets. Many industrialists do that already, particularly in areas close by empire where the logistics make the jump-out of these products easy, and the locally produced items are unable to compete with cheaper finished goods jump-shipped in from empire.
While rents tend to be slow to drop, the simple mathematics of making the rent can't be lost on nullsec landlords. Despite grumbling among the tenants, and Krutoj's complaints on EN24, the great landlords of nullsec don't seem to be hemorrhaging ISK. To the extent possible, they will try to keep rents as close to their former levels as possible in low truesec systems while raising prices in the systems with the highest truesec. However, as bounties make up the lion's share of corporate taxes used to pay the rent, corporations will either have to raise taxes, making ratting even less profitable, or request donations from their membership. Corporations living at the margins will likely go under. Others will fold up tents rather than eek out a hand to mouth existence in nullsec. So landlords should take some degree of financial hit, though likely not a crippling one. The smarter among them will be doing the math and calculating the optimal balance between rent and system occupancy rates.
Obviously all of this is subject to change in the near term . CCP has other changes to nullsec in the wings and much will depend on what they are. If jump freighters are nerfed, for example, items produced in local nullsec will be much more competitive with items shipped in from empire. If supercaps are given a meaningful nerf, demand for them will drop. If player owned refineries are made more efficient, jumping minerals out to empire from nullsec will be less attractive. There are a number of shoes the CCP developers are getting ready to drop.
Much depends on where they fall.
4 days ago