A post over at wotlankor got me thinking about supercap inflation. It's something everyone has noticed over the last few couple years but not an issue I have a particular position on. For one thing, I want a titan; for another, the NC has the largest capital fleet in the game so it doesn't affect me.
Supercapital inflation refers to the increasing prevalance of supercapitals in our internet spaceship game. Back in the day, major wars were started over the rumor that somebody was building a titan. Today it's not uncommon to see dozens of supercapitals on one grid.
So what caused this? Moon gold production hasn't changed. Mineral and T1 ship prices have been dead stable since the post-apocrypha deflation period. My theory is that while the amount of isk items cost has remained steady the actual value of isk has declined as the money supply increased. Isk floods into the game from rat bounties and mission rewards while it never leaves the economy in meaningful amounts. We can find evidence for this by going back 5 years to the famous GHSC heist, at which time 30 billion isk was valued at $16,500. Today 30 billion is worth almost exactly $1,650 and is chump change to any major alliance. My suspicion is that with the money supply increasing but mineral prices remaining stable, it becomes trivial for high earners - moon gold empires, T2 blueprint owners, savvy traders, manufacturers, even high-rolling carebears like myself - to accrue enough money for supercapitals.
Assuming that we want to fix supercapital inflation, one option would be to stabilize the amount of isk in the game. New, must-have NPC commodities could remove isk from the economy but would be against the eve philosophy of a player-run economy. Removal of rat bounties would stop isk from entering the game, but since most players depend on this for income the economy would collapse overnight.
Another option would be to change the price of supercapitals. A one-time increase in build cost would have the same problems as the current system, but - assuming I'm on the right track - if build cost became a dynamic value based on the current isk supply divided by the isk supply when the first titans were built, supercapital construction could be made permanently challenging even for large alliances.
It's a ridiculous idea of course; most likely supers will just become so common that people stop caring, like happened with capitals. But it would work to stop supercap inflation. It could even be applied to normal capitals, taking us back to a time when a few dozen capitals would be an important strategic resource.