For once, I shall have a timely blog. On the patch. Specifically, on fuel blocks. For those not in the know, CCP has deemed it necessary to make it so that instead of placing a series of arbitrary quantities of goods that "have no real use" to the everyman (most of them are used in T2 production or for capital jumping), one merely has to place a certain number of fuel blocks in the fuel bay of a player owned starbase (POS), and these will be used instead, at a rate of 10/20/40 per hour for small/medium/large towers.
Now, this in and of itself is good. But I'm not convinced it will be all that and a bag of chips. Why? Because CCP just took a tedious process, and made it so that in order to do the same process, there is an additional step inside of it. Now, I realize that most people don't think of it this way, because most people will likely just choose to buy the fuel blocks instead of buying the raw materials for one, but then there is a mysterious industrialist doing something in the middle of the process... and making money because of it.
Anything that changes a good from one form to another that people are actually willing to spend time on it is known as a value adding process (VAP). These are good, because they allow more opportunities for money to change hands. But, they also increase the cost of goods. Why? Because people won't do them if they don't add value to the goods that they purchased. So while some people will be perfectly happy to collect all the materials for fuel blocks and make them for others, they will be charging some margin for this.
So what does this mean for the average POS owner? This means that instead of spending (numbers fictional, margin reasonable) 100M to fuel your POS for a month, and needing to buy X Robotics, Y coolant, Z Oxygen, etc. etc., you'll only need to buy yourself 240*30 fuel blocks, and stick those in there. But it also means that those fuel blocks will likely run you 105-108M.
Perhaps indsutrialists will take to this quick enough that the margin is cut down to near-nothing. Perhaps. If this happens, though, it could have a larger effect on EVE's economy. The materials used for these fuel blocks are used for a wide array of T2 production, so these prices could be holistically raised by the change in POS fueling mechanics.
As it is, it seems like there are enough changes in the market that making such predictions might be premature, but I'll say one thing: if there ever was a time to be an industrialist or a trader, this might be it.
TL;DR: Because CCP is adding a value adding process to the middle of the POS fuel system, prices there will go up, and might have a larger effect on the market as a whole.
- I started playing EVE in 2009, and tried to jump straight to nullsec. I quickly figured out that there was a better way to progress, and joined EUNI. Since then, I've spent a little bit of time with Star Fraction in low and nullsec, and quite a bit of time with Adhocracy Incorporated in W-space.