With A Barge Pole

 


Eleven years ago I wrote about the dangers of crossing the monetization line. That is just one of dozens and dozens of posts along the timeline when I've stood up to the increasing monetization of Eve Online. When I entered the game in 2008 monetization was an illegal, and ban worthy offense. And then GTC and Aurum and twelve years later and we are literally swimming in a pool of monetization, promotional daily gifts (including skill points), skill point farming, Plex purchases, and more bots than I can shake a stick at. Yesterday alone I reported eight bots. And that was a slow day.

Just to be perfectly, 100% clear - I do not in any way support or agree with anything that involves skipping-time in-game. Especially anything that involves the expenditure of cash. There is a line and it is cash for advantage. That is not a new opinion, it is one that has been held all along. Having said that, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I did something a few weeks back that I have never done before - I spent real world money on Plex. I did so to enter our team in the Anger Games because I had spent the free Plex I had on skins. I held out for a long time, but they finally got me.

In my defense that is not an in-game advantage, as the Anger Games will take place on the Thunderdome server. So I don't feel like a hypocrite. Not totally.

Which brings us around to fitted ships for sale in a marketing bundle. Which, duh, is dumb. But not unexpected. I would argue, that in the context of the game as it is currently, a rather weird place to get all Open Letter to CCP about. And while that might seem like a controversial opinion, and perhaps it is, I do think we've gone way too far down this rabbit hole to be upset about it now. The other day I saw a two month old player in a T3 Cruiser. Every day when I log in I get gifts I don't want that accumulate into skillpoints I haven't earned. I can flash my credit card anytime I like and put some Plex on it to sell for Isk I haven't earned. Players farm skillpoints with alt accounts. They fly gangs of bots into sites all day long, grinding away at Isk and there is little us players can do to stop them. This is the universe of Eve Online right now. Today. And in that context, it seems a tad weird to be all up in arms over a promotional opportunity that perhaps a total of 150 people might use.

And with all due respect to my dear industry friends - I feel your pain. Again, this is a bad idea. But it is a bad idea pilled on top of a dozen of other bad ideas. And I haven't even gotten around to mentioning the declining server numbers, the lack of new player retention, the explosion of free-to-play accounts, and the increasing pressure cooker that is a gaming company driven by overlord masters demanding profitability. Let's not even go down that road.

So I've got some news for you that you won't like - Eve is now and has been for a very long time - all about CASH. If you believe otherwise then you don't understand how this game works. Back in 2008 I was told by another player that you could buy iskies from a certain website for cash. He sent me a link. I asked about this and he said that everyone was doing it, how do you think he could afford to replace so many ships all the time? I didn't know any better, I was only a few months into a game I didn't understand. So I bought a billion isk. I got caught and lost it all the next day. I got a firm warning from CCP about it and an explanation about why it was a bad idea. I never did it again. But back then this was a serious problem. And do you know why it was a serious problem? Because money was being spent and it wasn't being spent with CCP.

Back then that Isk came from bots running sites in Null Sec. That was twelve years ago.

This perfect sandbox nirvana some people seem to fantasize about hasn't existed for a very, very long time. And yet, through some miracle, we still haven't gotten to the point where anyone can directly purchase in-game advantages or "Golden Ammo", which has always been and always will be, the red line. You can buy isk, sure, but that isk has to come from somewhere inside the game. And that is ok, at least so far. Ultimately I believe that a fully fitted Mining Barge in a bundle isn't the end of the world. I hope the new players that purchase it will be happy and undock and use that Barge to mine ore. I hope they find that content engaging and decide to keep playing. I hope they work around the fact that this game teaches new players rather poorly and they figure out the complex UI, the daunting lack of clear direction, and the thousand other problems facing them to enjoy it for the wonderful game it can be - a few more months down the road.

If you want to fight this fight then so be it. Or you can just wait a few more weeks for the next thing that everyone gets all drama llama about. It happens every 4-6 weeks in the Eve Community. 

As for me I have a FFA to plan and prepare for. A self-created annual event that tries to show players how much fun PvP can be. I hope you will attend. 

Everyone will be there.



Comments

  1. Hi mate! It´s me again since that kind of topic hurts me badly, and talking to it seems to easy a little bit.
    Hell, I agree with your point (that barge thing it is not new) and that CCP is everyday more and more hungry for money. I also see it pretty clear that they will not turn around and do what players want. Instead, they will keep that money grab train forward with more and more speed, increasing it slowing to not loose every player in one rage wave.
    Warning, the follower is my sole opinion and my personal feeling: I am in the verge to quit EvE (or wining it as some people call it).
    I started in October 2004 (as I already said before) and I never stop playing (and paying my annual subscription). I had seen so many “incarnations” of EvE. It used to be a good game I used to enjoy it. I confess that when it turns “free-to-play” I was not alarmed at all and I had hope in the “cosmetic store”. Then the train kept getting speed and the skillpoints sale started or more and more to the point where we stand today. I am not happy at all with the CCP direction.
    Therefore, now the big question for you: Do you think CCP already know that the game is lost and is “milking” it? Or do you still have some faith in the company and these all are a temporary misguide direction of some big person? Are we, as players, already doomed or will be light in the end of this long tunnel?
    By the way, just for your note, my yearly subscription will rum out in 10 days (for my 3 accounts). It hurt me to admit (to myself include) that for the first time since 2004 I do not know if I pay the game or not. It is weird, because since 2004, “pay my 3 annual subscriptions” it is in my “where to spend money” planning. Now the money is right here, in my hands, and I am felling reluctant if it worth it or not.
    Castelo. o7

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Castelo - I will tell you this first, I plan on playing Eve until the line is crossed someday, if ever, when money becomes an advantage that directly impacts game-play. The long-feared "Golden Ammo" situation.

      Secondly I believe that Eve is slowly and inexorably transitioning from a 2004 game into a 2022 and beyond game. This is neither CCP or PA's fault per se, and more a reflection of the constantly evolving state of gaming. The only game that refuse to change are dead games and Eve is not dead yet. Gaming has changed a lot in twenty years and Eve Online will continue to change with it, or die trying. For a lot of us old timers this might not be a change we enjoy, or appreciate, or want to be a part of. But it will not stop. This is just the reality. If Eve today was the same game it was back in 2004 it would be gone and only written about in the history books.

      After that, staying or leaving is totally up to you. And I respect either decision.

      Delete

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