One Universe, Immense Wealth
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Engines of Creation and Destruction
Economic power and industrial might are as crucial to the capsuleers of EVE as to any other society that has sought to impose its will on history. The space-industrial economy of New Eden is increasingly controlled by the capsuleers, who produce and use a large proportion of its vast output. Capsuleers mine asteroid belts and moons for vital resources. They exploit planets through their colonies and build starbases and outposts, in order to refine minerals and create exotic new materials. These pilots research their own creations and construct them in nanoforges controlled by sophisticated blueprints. The capsuleer market sees trillions of ISK in transactions every day, with goods ranging from ore to battleships changing hands in vast quanities. This economy is the engine that drives EVE's never-ending cycle of creation and destruction.
Buying Low and Selling High
The capsule pilot has access to a sophisticated network of regional markets on which goods as simple as unrefined ore and complex as mighty capital ships can be bought and sold. Every day on the capsuleer markets of New Eden there are hundreds of thousands of transactions, millions of items changing hands, and trillions in ISK passing through the network. With few exceptions, anything that can be used by capsuleers can be bought or sold on the market.
Traders find many opportunities to buy goods in one region and sell in another. Even systems relatively close to one another provide potential gains for those willing to ship goods from one market to another. The major hubs provide anything that a capsuleer could want, with Jita holding the crown as king of market hubs. In Jita, the ISK flows like water and capsuleers make fortunes trading on the fine margins that exist in this most active of marketplaces.
A significant alternative trading system exists in the contracts system, where capsuleers can offer bundles of items and also auction goods to the highest bidder. Some of the rarer and more expensive goods are typically found on offer in exchange and auction contracts. However, this is the dark and risky world of EVE. The buyer should beware, and take care to check the price of market goods and the details of any contract. Many capsuleers make a good living preying on the gullibility of casual buyers.
Factories in Space
Independent pilots having been building their own ships, equipment and ammunition since the dawn of the capsuleer age. The vast array of Tech I, II and III items available to use can all be manufactured in the factory facilities of space stations, outposts and capsuleer starbases. Many of the rarer ships and items can be constructed using blueprints given as rewards for loyalty or seized from the wrecks of pirate vessels.
In most cases, every stage of the supply chain can be satisfied by capsuleer industry. Raw materials are refined and processed into fuel, minerals or advanced materials. Processed materials can be used to manufacture advanced ships and equipment. Mighty capital ships can be assembled using enormous and complex components produced by capsuleer industrialists. Even the starbases and outposts used by capsuleers can be built through the industrial processes made available to them.
Capsuleer industry even reaches into the realm of pharmaceuticals, with enterprising individuals and corporations manufacturing a range of chemical boosters. Such combat drugs are very popular with advanced pilots and their advantages ensure that the purest boosters command high prices on the market. The thirst among capsuleers for maximizing the potential of their ships is also responsible for the ingenious ship rig industry. Using salvaged materials, many canny industrialists manufacture devices that can be used to jury rig ships in many different ways. The industrial output of capsuleer manufacturers is enormous, meeting the demands of an economy of celestial destruction generated by the never-ending struggles of immortal warlords.
Stripping the Heavens
When capsuleers first went into space, the most readily available resources were found in the tumbling asteroids that swarmed in belts in every system of New Eden. The mineral riches to be found in the belts, particularly in the relatively pristine outer systems, were high indeed. The ores extracted from these rich fields were swiftly used to fuel the burgeoning space industries, and asteroid belts remain at the heart of the capsuleer economy. Early technologies were limited to relatively low-yield mining lasers, often mounted to ships that were not even specialized in mining. The technology of mining improved as time went on, with the Tech II revolution affecting mining lasers and their yields as it affected other areas of capsuleer endeavor.
Even more important than the improvement in narrow-beam mining lasers, was the development and release of an entire class of specialized mining ships. The mining barges, and the high-yield strip miners they could wield, enormously increased asteroid mining yields. Tech II versions of these barges branched out into specialized mining such as the extraction of Mercoxit ore and ice-harvesting.
The expansion of mining into ice fields, in search of advanced fuels for starbases and capital ships, was not the only advance in resource harvesting. Those manufacturing illegal boosters for the capsuleer market required large quantities of various chemicals found most abundantly in certain interplanetary gas clouds. The technology of gas harvesting was quickly developed and put to work extracting these useful chemicals. When wormhole space was found to contain large clouds rich with rare fullerenes, the gas harvesters found a new resource to collect and a new market to sell into.
Mining and resource harvesting are not limited to spaceship-mounted systems. The first capsuleer starbases were dedicated to running automated mining arrays that extracted many useful materials from the moons they orbited. Even now, after starbase capabilities have been expanded to running factories, laboratories and shipyards, many thousands of moons continue to be mined by harvesting systems based on industrial starbases.
For many years the capsuleers were prevented from establishing planetary holdings, the core empires being extremely wary of allowing the rogue immortals such a direct presence on their planets. The special technologies of colonial development were even withheld to such a degree that capsuleers in the outer regions could not practically establish colonies on planets that were of no importance to the core empires. This changed in mid YC112, with the signing of the CONCORD Planetary Development Treaty.
Since the outbreak of the Empyrean War in YC110, and the recruitment of capsuleers into militias that fought directly for the empires, it had become clear that the capsuleers were increasingly important to the future of the core empires. More pointedly, the empires had been at war with one another for nearly two years and perhaps saw an opportunity to access the vast wealth of the capsuleers by levying tariffs on orbital import-export movements. Negotiating among themselves through CONCORD, the empires finally agreed to the treaty that allowed capsuleers to establish colonies on their planets and released all the technologies they had long perfected in their own planetary facilities.
Given the means to finally extend their influence to the planets below, the immortal pilots sent down command centers and built industrial colonies extracting and processing all manner of raw materials. Swiftly grasping the possibilities of this new planetary industry, the capsuleers built up supply chains and established factory planets where they produced the most advanced items available using planetary technology. That planetary industry finally unlocked the ability to manufacture sovereignty structures, starbase components and fuel items was especially gratifying to industrialists and empire builders across the capsuleer diaspora.
If the core empires had hoped that allowing a presence on their planets would tie the capsuleers closer to their interests, they may have been over-optimistic. Many capsuleers chose to take the technology of colony management and use it in the outer regions or deep in wormhole space. In the end, planetary industry served to increase capsuleer independence and self-sufficiency.