Shuttles no longer sold by NPCs
No NPC sell orders for shuttles and trit prices
In the latest patch a major change to the economic system of EVE was introduced when NPC sales orders for shuttles were withdrawn. Previously shuttles where available in every station at a fixed price of 9000 ISK per unit, this allowed pilots to purchase shuttles at a low price and great convenience. There was a side effect to this though – an artificial price cap of 3.6 ISK per unit of tritanium. To read more about that please see this Dev Blog.
It is true that the convenience factor is important. It was debated internally if the benefit of removing the price cap outweighs the loss in convenience. In the end the opinion that current options of travelling in the capsule, warp to zero and free rookie ships minimizes the loss of convenience and hence the benefits of removing the price cap clearly outweighed the loss in the convenience factor.
The benefit from removing this price cap is that the price of tritanium will be more in line with the underlying demand for tritanium at any given time. This makes the mining industry more profitable in the long run and will balance the benefits between mining and other professions in EVE.
I also have full faith in that EVE industrialists and traders will supply shuttles where there is a demand, but of course at a reasonable price for convenience. There is no reason why NPCs should be subsidizing cheap travel in EVE at the cost of the mining profession. Another benefit is a new opportunity for industrialists to produce and sell shuttles of course.
This change is also along the lines of our general philosophy of the design of markets in EVE, that all items should be player produced and based on the incentive to make a profit from providing the item to other players.
Speculators will try to cash in on the short term shortage of shuttles by buying up the current stock and reselling it at a very high price (this happened within hours of patch deployment), that will in turn make it more profitable to industrialists to start producing shuttles and selling them at a good profit. At the same time competition among industrialists will drive prices down, the market should therefore stabilize within a relatively short period of time.
Tritanium is the building block of everything in EVE and hence we expect that in the short run this will create some turmoil on all markets, especially the mineral market and the market for Tech I items. Again, speculators will affect the market for tritanium, most likely by hording trit in the hope that now that the price cap has been lifted the price of tritanium will increase (note: just lifted, not completely removed). This has already happened, prices for tritanium started to increase almost immediately, but have since declined a little from the highs last night (see this thread for good discussion on tritanium prices after the patch). But again, the beautiful workings of the invisible hand will help us (thank you Adam Smith) due to the greed we have for ISK. With higher tritanium prices, mining of veldspar will become very profitable, and since it is readily available in safe areas, needing only low cost equipment to mine, we should see the veldspar flowing very soon and tritanium prices stabilize, but at what level? At this point your guess is just as good as mine.
No time to write more at this point – must go and mine some veldspar.