That's the clarion call any time CCP tries to make anything remotely resembling a reduction in the ability of some asshat to grief the other players, right? "HEY! It's a sandbox!!" True fact though, for all the little 4chan/reddit/SA cattle who were raised by the Internet and video games instead of their absent/lazy/stupid parents, they don't know shit about a sandbox. They know the word, and half might even be able to spell it if you gave them enough time, but that's it.
For people who remember what it was like before every toy needed batteries, a Wifi connection and Mac Daddy headphones, sandboxes were the omni toy that could be, and did, everything. A couple rocks and sticks, plus a sandbox, and there was nothing that couldn't be built or imagined. Mutli-billion dollar toy companies couldn't touch a sandbox. While sandboxes were and could be, anything and everything, at the same time, there were rules. There had to be rules. If there were no rules, even fluid and transitory ones, the sandbox-time was spent fighting instead of having fun, arguing instead of playing, crying instead of laughing. The end result, the sandbox eventually emptied. Kids wouldn't play in it. It ended up being a great place to pinch a loaf or take a leak if you were a dog, cat or raccoon. Kids understood that. The rule part I mean, although, kids were known to bury brown surprises in the odd castle tower or improvise on the type of liquid that could be used in a moat.
The TLDR asshats, don't understand about the need for rules in a sandbox, because they are clueless when it comes to a sandbox. Enough assholes in a sandbox, and the sandbox is ruined for everyone, especially when there were public sandboxes and bullies. Bullies aren't interested in using a sandbox, only in being assholes.
Eve is a pretty wide open game format, but light years away from a sandbox, even though it's the new cool title to apply to a game with limited structure. When it comes to a bunch like duh goonz and lil Alex, they aren't interested in the sandbox, only in the ability to make people miserable if they come to play in the sandbox. In the end, people stop going to the sandbox.
More recently, a number of large scale griefing plans were concocted by the angry little sheep. With the upcoming game changes having a big effect on minerals and ore, word is the goonz bought up hundreds and hundreds of billions worth of minerals. Stockpile before the Escalation changes. Then, after numb-nuts' ban ended at the end of Apr, they decided to grief Jita for a couple days. This may or may not have had much of an effect that added to the issues with increased mineral and ore prices and the people who were trying to stock up at the last minute before hulkageddon 5 started for a month. Dumb time to try a stockpiling run in Jita, but hey. Their efforts to encourage other sheep to gank the other trade hubs, tanked. Next, a month long hulkageddon sponsored by lil Alex and his buddies. On top of that, there is their OTEC cartel that they are ramping up where the intent is to try to control technetium prices and inflate them, and why not? The goonz control a big chunk of technetium production. Good for them - fuck everyone else. Sponsoring hulkageddon by giving a ganker 100 misk for every 10 mining barges they kill is an interesting combination. To build a hulk, like anything T2, it requires technetium. To build a hulk, technetium at current prices, amounts to almost 75%, or about 120 million isk worth of the total cost. The goonz pay griefers to shoot hulks, they reward them with 100 misk, while the hulk builders get 1.2 billion isk+ (if all 10 were hulks) for initially building those hulks, plus another 1.2 billion for the replacements. Maybe it would be too obvious, but why wouldn't Alex and his drones run hulkageddon and sponsor it permanently? All day, every day?
So, the game updates are driving up the prices of everything. The goonz want to (and are) further drive up the costs of everything requiring technetium, and they are sponsoring a month of miner ganking to drive ore and mineral prices up again, on top of the previous two effects. Add to that, summers tend to see a drop off in player activity because there are better things to do than sit on one's ass in front of a computer when the weather is nice (at least in NA). At the same time, CCP is apparently trying to turn up the head on botting and RMT. This comes to PLEXes. As ore, mineral and ship/module costs go up, there will be less money for players to buy subscription PLEX. In theory, the PLEX should start dropping as it isn't directly related to game item market factors. More people might buy PLEX to sell to get much needed isk, which should bring the prices of them down some more. At the same time, CCP swinging the ban hammer to and fro in theory should also reduce the cost of PLEX because a lot of those bot and RMT accounts were PLEXed, if not all of them. Also at the same time, average players engaging in RMT to get in-game isk are starting to run a little scared because they don't want to get hit with the ban hammer, so they should be/might be buying more PLEX to try to fund their in-game isk needs. That should have a lowering effect on PLEX too. Now, obviously, with the "big three" going on (Escalation update, hulkageddon 5 and tech market manipulation) the costs are going to spike, then lower, then stabilize. That's how markets roll, yo.
My curiosity is piqued because I'm interested to know how long it's going to take to have the market spike, how long it's going to take to stabilize (presumably in the summer with lower activity), and how many players are still going to be around to see it.