Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Some questions and some answers

A commenter asked some questions about my Greed is Good post, and my reply swiftly ballooned into a full on post. Here is the original comment:

Anonymous said...

> I'm dead set against any real money transactions that result in gameplay advantage

Then why are you still playing? Because anyone can already get advantage with real money.

> Why would I continue to invest time in a game

You shouldn't. I don't know why would you play any game where you feel like you're investing in it, instead of enjoying it.

I love your blog, but all this pointless nerdrage makes me sick.

I'm going to respond in reverse order, because that gets the more manageable points out of the way first.


To begin with, I'm glad you are enjoying the blog. I put more time than I should into it, so it's nice to hear that it's appreciated.

I'm not sure why my post came across as nerd-rage, though. I certainly don't feel enraged. I simply see cause for concern and was voicing my views, without, I believe, using any kind of emotive language. It is perfectly possible to be critical without being emotional. In fact, being critical is an integral part of my character and (self) criticsism is the basis for this blog.

That said, I appreciate that there have been any number "nerd-rage" posts elsewhere, so perhaps those posts have caused some of my readers to assume that I, too, am enraged.

I hope I've cleared that up.


The second point I would make is that life is full of investment, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Investment is simply expenditure of some resource (be it time, money, emotion, etc) in the expectation of some kind of reward at a later date (such as money, love, respect, enjoyment, etc).

Eve is full of investment opportunities. When I PvE, for example, I do so despite the fact that I don't really enjoy it. What I do enjoy is using that money to buy ships for PvP. So I invest my time in one in order to obtain the ISK for the other.

Now, that is a very discrete (ie, measurable) investment. I put in a measurable amount of time and I obtain a measurable sum of ISK. I can decide whether or not this was a good investment by considering the amount of ISK I could have made with some kind of other activity. This is called the opportunity cost; I simply compare my investment to the investments that I could have made instead, and see if a better result could have been obtained. Not all investments are so easy to quantify, however.

I moved to Molden Heath to campaign with my new corp, despite the fact that I knew going in that I did not enjoy Molden Heath. I did this because I wanted to get to know my corp mates and show them that I was willing to support corp goals.

What I gave up is what would have happened if I had not gone to Molden Heath, and I can't possibly know what that was. Equally, my "reward" - having the opportunity to fly with pilots like Valgore and Kishin, for example - is real, but unmeasurable. It is impossible to say objectively whether or not my investment was a good one.

However, I can presume that this investment gets better over time. The "cost" was fixed - the campaign lasted only two months - but the "reward" - being a participating member of the Tuskers - could potentially last far, far longer. The longer I keep playing, the better my investment gets.

And that's the problem. If players fear that an upcoming event will render them unable or unwilling to continue playing then they become loath to invest any further resources into the game; there is every chance that the investment will not have sufficient chance to mature before they stop playing.

Equally, it makes investments that do not have this time restriction (such as other games) more appealing. Even without "rage-quitting", a player is in this position is much easier to lure away from New Eden, wether by other games or real life activities.

This applies to me as much as it does any other player. And this is why my "red line" of P2W is a cause for concern. If CCP is determined to implement P2W then I might as well get out now. I'm simply prepared to invest a little bit more to see whether or not they will change their mind.


It is perfectly true that I could, right now, buy plex for real money, sell plex for ISK, and then use the ISK to buy a ship, such as a titan. That can happen right now, so some people are asking what he big deal about P2W is.

In my mind the big deal is this: someone, somewhere still had to build that titan. They may not the guy behind the wheel, but that does not mean that they are any less responsible for the ship being there. So if someone attacks me, they are pitting themselves against me and this other unknown player. If it helps, think of him as some kind of weird brand of wingman.

However, when I buy a titan from CCP, they just hit a button and, voila! A titan appears. See the difference? My virtual wingman is not another player but the company itself! Equally, there is no internal game limit placed on the my power (such as the time it takes to produce a titan); only my wallet can hold me back.

It gets worse, though. With a titan, at least, another player can actually obtain parity without spending real money - he can build his own titan. But suppose I bought a "gold titan" - an item exclusive to the CCP shop. I have purchased the favour of "God" - in New Eden CCP weilds ultimate power and can be essentially considered a diety - and my opponent's only hope is to out bid me.

Under P2W there is no way that my opponent can match me without spending money of his own. He is forced to pay CCP in order to remain competetive; which is exactly why CCP is so interested in this kind of arrangement. One P2W player generates other P2W players - until failscade is reached.


  1. I absolutely agree with you. I have got the same feeling about what CCP is doing. I don't like the direction in wich it is going. A lot of my friends playing EVE feel the same also. We will see what happens in the future.

    Great blog, cheers!

  2. Hey, thanks for responding to my comment.

    I didn't word that sentence about nerdrage correctly, it was directed to the community in general, as you guessed. I really don't think that CCP deserves the treatment it's getting, after all, they haven't done anything wrong. I guess, whether you're angry at CCP or not, depends on whether you trust them or not..

    Regarding investment, you make valid points, but I can see it being a serious issue only for a small portion of player, like players who wait for skills to complete, instead of playing the game. Did you really dislike the Molden Heath campaign? Did you really spend two months doing something you don't like? I doubt it. Your investment probably wasn't so big. But what do I know, maybe people take EVE much more seriously than I do.

    About P2W, you're not supporting your original point. As I understood, you were worried about PvP, not the economy. With PvP, there's no difference between current situation and your described scheme. With economy, you're absolutely right, something like this wouldn't be good. I'd like to discuss how could and shouldn't ships for real money be implemented in EVE, but that's a different topic. I'll just say that ships out of thin air were planned only for two weeks and only because CCP couldn't implement ship exchange in time for Incarna.

  3. Despite the above comment, even I seriously doubt that CCP will deal in P2W. Ships out thin air for 2 weeks, maybe, maybe it required exchanging of equal value, so nothing crazy there.

    I must agree, however, that if people can start buying ships like that, the game it done. If P2W shows up in sov, or caps, or whatever more than it is with PLEX, the rage will be pretty nuts. I just don't think CCP has the brass balls to try something like that.

  4. Well structured, good point making, and with pvp in a general downward slide in terms of over-shipping, over-fleeting, etc, p2w will just make PVP that much harder. I will too, if p2w starts up, walk away from eve .

  5. Rail J'kar19 July 2011 at 04:23

    Your post was even more concise than my previous response, :) I would like to add that p2w isn't good in any game, even if that game is f2p. p2w will always result in a fail cascade as players who don't use mt stop playing and the players who do, no longer have enemies to kill. It's much better to offer convenience and vanity items, but even that in a game with a subscription model seems like people are paying for content twice.