Campaign Trail – Microtransactions

Thank you for your interest in my campaign to be part of CSM 6. It is my intention to work diligently, effectively, and tirelessly to bring the concerns of the player base to the CSM, to CCP, and back to the players.

The following is a user submitted request for my stand on a topic important to them. I have given thought to the topic and formulated my opinion, but it’s just that; my opinion. Nothing more. There is no guarantee the opinion expressed herein will ever see the light of day.

My platform isn’t one of issues, but rather one of integrity, tenacity, and the willingness to hold the CSM and CCP accountable  to the players that support everything we do. I will not push my own agenda, unless it coincides with what the majority of the player base wants for a given topic.

Never start a fight you can win. #RocTheVote

QUESTION: Here’s a question that will undoubtedly bring more wrath your way. What is your view on microtransactions?

My Game vs Your Game

I can answer this one easily; I’m all for microtransactions, provided they don’t affect the game play of others.

I’m going to use Captains’ Quarters as my example. If I have to pay $2.99 to have the corpse of the last Amarr I killed made into a coffee table within my personal quarters, for my own morose enjoyment, that’s my business.

If I want to pay $4.99 to have my Rifter painted hot pink, still my business. If I want to pay $9.99 for a pre-animated exotic dancer to pole dance in my living room, again, my business. None of these things affect you in any way.

I would actually hope for microstransactions to become a part of Incarna, allowing me to interior decorate my quarters differently from yours. It would also finally let me get my facial tattoo back, since CCP obviously thought it would be funny to have unmarked Brutors walking around, denying us our cultural heritage and emasculating us all in front of the other races. Hell, I’ll pay for stylish glitter pants, and a slaver hound to strut around with me everywhere I can eventually go.

We already know microtransactions were proposed for DUST 514; the game itself would be free, but ingame items would be  microtransactional.

Your Game vs My Game

I do not support microtransactions when it involves upsetting the balance of game play. See that incredibly rare Officer warp scrambler on my ship? I bought that for $14.99 in game. No. Not acceptable. At all.

Anything that can affect the performance of one player against another should never be made microtransactional. Ever. Ever. Being able to buy an advantage over another cheapens game play, and while CCP may see that an opportunity to profit (I really don’t know if they do or not), it should never be allowed. What will inevitably happen is that everyone will have to start purchasing items in order to stay competitive, and as we see so often now, larger alliances will benefit from this type of approach.

Now for CCP, the profit makes sense if everyone is buying items, but for me, I like having a set monthly amount for my EVE experience. The clothing and exotic dancers? That’s my own personal fun. Forcing me to spend additional money each month in addition to my subscription just to be able to play on equal footing with other players? Not fun at all.

But who knows? Maybe Eve Online will become free to play, and CCP will make its money from microtransactions alone. That might work, if done properly. But I’d rather not see that on the drawing board at all.

It’s already here

Here’s the kicker; microtransactions already exist in Eve Online. We call them PLEX. Essentially players pay real money for ISK. That ISK can then be spent on anything ingame. To me, that constitutes an advantage. I spend a few hundred dollars, I can go buy that faction cruiser, and appropriate fittings to go with it, and well, you didn’t spend real money so you can’t … I win.

Am I the only one that’s thought about that?

11 responses to “Campaign Trail – Microtransactions

  1. PLEX hasn’t broken the game because skill, strategy and tactics are still more important than gear — at least up until the current SuperCarrier Era. That, and nothing is more fun in EVE than killing stupid people flying expensive gear, particularly since you get to loot. The key moment in U’K’s resurgence a couple years ago was taking on SSI, an alliance which had way more ISK and faction battleships than sense. That energized U’K more than seeing CVA driven from Providence.

    Also, I think there pretty much has to be some kind of parallel RMT currency for Incarna toys, because it won’t make any sense to be paying a million bucks for a haircut or pair of pants.

    • I’m with you on RMT for Incarna vs using the PLEX system.

      The only reason I point out PLEX is because there are those are cry out in massive protest against any kind of RMT, and yet PLEX already exist.

      I don’t think PLEX break the game either. I don’t think that mechanic is abused.

      I do think money beats skill though. When I was younger and visited arcades, I would play some games on a single quarter for hours. Often, there would be that kid that sucked but had a roll of quarters. I’d beat him a few times, maybe even many times, but eventually I’d lose. Money beat skill.

      If CCP offered a neural remap for $20, some would say that’s not imbalanced. Same as PLEX.

      But the potential exists for RMT systems to become harmful. That is my point.

      For me, the easiest solve is keep RMT completely separate from critical ingame systems.

  2. Imho the reason that Plex dont break the game is their bad ISK/€ ratio. In most free2play MMOS an item that you buy for 15€ would sell ingame for an amount of money that would take even top players at least a week, mostly more.
    The ISK for a PLEX can be farmed in mere hours even in highsec. Why is that? Because the demand for PLEX is capped. Every Account needs 1 Plex per month at most (duh). As the demand is limited and it seems many people are willing to pay cash for ISK, their price is so low.

    But that means, if other things can be bought for € and sold for ISK the general demand of €-buyable stuff will increase.
    So as long as we have PLEX (and thus can buy ingame-advantage for €) it doesnt really matter wheter microtransaction items are guns or cloth, as long as they are desireable they will increase the amount of ISK i can get for my €. And that is bad.
    The question is: Will they be tradable for ISK or bound to the account that bought them?
    Seeing how the market is and with the almost sure whining of people that want them on the market who do not understand what i just wrote (or i am just wrong, who knows), i fear they will be almost certainly tradable ingame.

    Ever asked yourself why CCP said PLEX for remap instead of ISK for remap? Its because they would not earn more money from ISK for remap but introduce an ISK-sink (what would be awesome for the economy but not so awesome for their wallet) while PLEX for remap would increase the demand-cap for PLEX (not by a lot of course but still).

      • I dont realy get what you mean by that.

        Second Life’s economy is ‘stabilized’ by the fact that you can legally extract RL money out of it.
        If the Eve economy would be on the edge of deadly inflation, CCP _could_ do something similar by seeding some PLEX and thus extracting ISK but that would cut their profit by a lot ^^

        I should probably have answered faster as this topic is the only thing deciding my votes this year but i was on vacation ^^

    • ‘So as long as we have PLEX (and thus can buy ingame-advantage for €)’

      That was of course bullshit, even if PLEX didnt exist, if there is a lot of demand ingame for things i can buy with € and thus the ISK/€ increases, it will allways be bad.
      I suck

  3. What will inevitably happen is that everyone will have to start purchasing items in order to stay competitive, and as we see so often now, larger alliances will benefit from this type of approach.

    I don’t understand that. How will being in a large alliance make any kind of difference to the buying of a super-duper MWD or something?

    • How many small corps have sov in nullsec, own titans, and maintain jump bridge networks?

      Larger conglomerate most always means superior buying power.

      May not happen when real money is on the line, but my own past experiences tell me it will.

      Hope that clarifies. Thank you for asking.

  4. Do you consider neural remaps to be a “critical ingame system?” Said another way, would you be supportive of the purchase of remaps?

    I believe that the long wait times in between remaps are a turn-off to new players, who may not have all the information they need when they condemn themselves to a year of low sp/hr. Moreover, the one-year remap reinforces the “long game” view of EVE, which definitely kills interest in some new players. Purchasable remaps would go a long way to alleviate this problem.

    Many players blew up when this idea was presented a few months ago, saying that it would favor rich players over less-rich players (let’s face it, if you can afford a computer to play EVE and an internet connection, you aren’t “poor.”), but the impact can’t be all that huge. To avoid spending an additional $15 a month, purchasers of remaps would still play a “long game,” just not as lengthy as bittervets would like.

    My own idea, which I hereby copyright and will extrapolate on my blog this week, is a 48-hour (or some other number) “cooldown” period after neural remapping surgeries. This would give players more flexibility in their skill-plans, saving the hapless player who remapped to favor charisma while starting his own corp and now realizes that he needs Spaceship Command skills, but it would also encourage them to formulate skill plans that were long enough to make up for the “cooldown” period.

  5. To specify, skills cannot train during the “cooldown” period. Story-wise, we could say that Capsuleers aren’t prepared to train while recovering from the dangerous neural remapping surgery.

  6. Couldn’t agree with your statements more… Simple really; microtransactions should be for cosmetic things only and not include stuff that will give people advantages related to progression.

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