Lovin' the mineral prices, just lovin' 'em. The angry little life-hating griefers will always have something mindlessly 4Chan or equally stupid reddit-esque to say about the players who don't mind grinding asteroids to death and providing the raw materials to drive the Eve universe. While manipulators, like Mittenzes has, has their hand up their sheeps' asses, making their mouth move, indy and non-socially inept players are carrying on bashing rocks, ice and making stuff (not that hard core combat types don't manufacture stuff either). That style of game play has recently become far more worthwhile and lucrative. That's a good thing :)
Whether there is some kind of market manipulation going on, or there is some monstrously big op being planned in null, or people are starting to stockpile now for the dry spell of hulkageddon, or these mineral price increases are in anticipation of the upcoming mineral changes, or a subtle combination of all, it is an interesting state of mining affairs. While lots of "experts" and hypocrites will whine about mining macroers in high sec driving down the prices of minerals and ore, and undermining (sort of a reverse pun, yes? :)) the Eve economy, either there have been mass account suspensions or bans due to macroing (which would drive up the commodities due to decreased supply) or the whiners/experts are completely full of shit and there are bigger forces at play. I believe it is the latter. Not that I necessarily condone macroing, but a high sec hulk macroer can inject how much ore and mineral content per hour? Maybe 5 or 6 million? There needs to be an absolutely mind numbing number of macroers in high sec to have any kind of an effect on the Eve economy. That shit doesn't even make a fucking blip on the Eve economy. No, there is a bigger "game" at play here, and I am curious to know what it is.
The changes to loot drops from rats are a ways off yet, but it is a small game mechanic change that will produce a big game effect. Anything that you can buy a blueprint for, will no longer be dropped by rats. Also, and likely a bigger change, is the rogue drone rats will no longer drop alloys. They will have a bounty instead. If this is one of biggest contributors to the mineral price increases, if not THE biggest, that pretty much means that anything that is made from minerals is going to go up to compensate for the increase of mineral prices. All the little gankers and pirates will pay more for their gank ships, although smaller T1s will likely have fairly insignificant changes. For PVPers though, because the price of insurance is calculated off the ships' market prices, insurance will also go up. Interesting times for people that like to risk their ships or blow up other ships. These loot drop changes have effectively put miners back in the game. Monstrous amounts of minerals and wealth were produced by the botting ratters out in null, both in alloys, rare modules and reprocessed loot. That has taken a big hit. Miners now can make decent cash. With the costs of minerals and their products going up, and possibly less expendable cash for less indy prone players, I wonder what this will do to PLEX prices? The PLEX have pretty much stabilized at the low 500 misk price and are slowly dropping. How low will the PLEX drop, or will it stabilize in the high 400's?
Right now, about 30 million units of mixed high sec ores (veldspar, pyro, kernite and a little scordite) will fill a 900k m3 freighter. Taking that freighter to Jita nets about 1 to 1.2 billion isk. For me, with 4 perfect hulk pilots, a retriever toon in training, a perfect orca pilot, and a second orca transport toon, that's about 9 to 11 hours worth of high sec mining, 3 nights effort, or I could double that with some hard core mining on a weekend. At a modest pace, that could net me about 10 billion a month, and I need about 3.5 billion for plexes, so that's not bad profit, I think. Ice mining on the other hand, with 5 perfect mac pilots, a perfect orca pilot and a transport toon, even with a perfect ice processing toon, doesn't net as much cash as a freighter of minerals. A freighter of ice is a huge waste of space and only worth about 300 to 350 misk compared to over a billion for minerals. Processed ice is far less bulky and while it is only worth about 60% compared to an ice block, considerably more can be carried in a freighter. I'd need to sit down and run the numbers to see how things flesh out.
In the mean time, mining is still enjoyable for me to play and relax, and listen to audio books. If mining starts to take off, some of the more popular systems are going to be raped before many players can log on. Being able to log on right after down time is going to be desirable.