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EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar

Greed Is Good: Purportedly leaked internal bulletin shows CCP’s “refreshing” new direction outlines some of the crazy microtransaction item prices in EVE Online since the launch of the Incarna update for CCP's MMORPG. They also share a leaked internal memo from CCP that has been confirmed as authentic by Massively, that indicates that CCP may go back on their promise that they will not allow microtransactions to impact gameplay, as it says: "Not all virtual purchases will focus on customization: some will simply be new items, ammunition, ships, etc. that can be purchased outright." There's a post on the EVE Insider Forums where CCP Pann admits: "I’m here to buy time while we try to sort things out. No sense in lying about it so I'll call a spade a spade." That initial post promises to address three issues going forward: the high cost of goods in the Noble Market, unhappiness with the Captain’s Quarters, and performance issues with Incarna. As of this writing that thread has well over 200 pages of replies. Thanks James.

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29. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 14:25 Jonny
 
Bind on Pickup is the name for items that drop as loot and can't be sold or transfered from the player who looted them from a mob. It's what keeps the gear treadmill going in games like WoW. Eve doesn't have it.

Everything you give to another character has to be put in a contract or dropped into a corporate hanger.* I suspect regular contracts to the same person as a routine would raise flags as well. You might be able to do it with a corpmate, but that's about it. It's not the kind of thing you could make a business out of, which is what their auditing team is mostly concerned with.

The battles are the whole point of Eve, but just having the best of everything doesn't mean you're going to win. If you got an entire corporation of RMT users together to buy their way to success they might make a difference, but no individual is going to be better off, all they'll do is make themselves a target of a one sided gank. It wouldn't be a fun fight, or a fair fight, your RMT ship would get locked down and destroyed in minutes by a squadron of destroyers costing a couple of million each. In fact the pirate population might love it, they'd probably view people doing that the same way a farmer does a flock of sheep.

*edit*

You'd be able to transfer items by meeting up in the middle of nowhere and jettisoning them for the other ship to pick up, but it'd be dicey in the extreme. Not only would you be shot at if anyone scanned you with billions of ISK worth of goods in your hold, but unless you trusted the other person implicitly you'd likely lose both your real money and your items. It'd also be vulnerable to other players scanning you down and just really awkward to do.

This comment was edited on Jun 25, 2011, 14:35.
 
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28. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 14:03 Rockn-Roll
 
Jonny wrote on Jun 25, 2011, 11:40:
ISK is Eve's currency, and they have an entire division set up to audit players accounts. Mysterious mass transfers of ISK get flagged and investigated.

Step 1. Player 1 transfers Real Money to Bank Account of Player 2. CCP has no way of knowing about this information.
Step 2. Player 2 gives in-game items to Player 1 for zero ISK or maybe a few thousand ISK or 1 PLEX or whatever just to make it look good. No flags...no concern...no investigation...business as usual.
Step 3. Player 2 pays his rent & utilities, makes his car payments, buys food & clothing, etc. Again CCP has no way of knowing about this information.
Step 4. Player 2 takes some of that money and purchases EVE online time and/or PLEX and purchases in-game items and plays the game...a lot. This is the only thing that is in large quantaties...the real money goes to CCP and the player spends a lot of time playing EVE. Do you really think CCP is going to investigate this activity and stop this player from playing EVE?

Jonny wrote on Jun 25, 2011, 11:40:
Everything in Eve can be traded on the market, there are no Bind on Pickup items like there are in other MMO's.

I don't know exactly what a "Bind on Pickup" item is...unless that's just a fancy way of saying that items can't be found in-game like with WOW.

Jonny wrote on Jun 25, 2011, 11:40:
Sink real money into Eve in large amounts and you will lose it. I'd be very surprised if anyone who bought the monocles have done on any toon that will leave a station, because if they show up on your avatar in local there will be a fight to blow your ship up and kill your character.

Maybe the game mechanics of EVE are totally escaping me, but isn't the battles the essential fun part of the game? I think what you are missing is that there are people that have disposable income...like in the tens of thousands of dollars of income each month. These people spend like half of that on entertainment...yes it's usually hot cars, hot girls, and lavish accomodations. But, a growing number are delving into hours of MMORPGs and yes at thousands of dollars a month. And, no they don't care if they lose the characters...they are there for the entertainment of watching the battles and stuff.
 
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27. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 13:46 Jonny
 
MrBone wrote on Jun 25, 2011, 13:03:
The morons that support CCP and their corrupt practices deserve to get screwed out of their time and money. Haha. I love it.

Did they sacrifice your firstborn in the production of those BPOs? You seem awfully angry about something that happened years ago and had no effect whatsoever on anything, anywhere.

CCP are just totally useless at dealing with their customers, that doesn't mean they're screwing anyone out of anything. Especially as much as people call them $60 items, they're bought with in game currency only. $60 is the monetary value of the number of PLEX used to buy it, which can also easily be bought by earning ISK in game and can't be reconverted into cash anyway.

Might as well compare every damn thing in the game to the cost of a PLEX and talk about their dollar value in relation to it if you're going to do that.
 
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26. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 13:03 MrBone
 
The morons that support CCP and their corrupt practices deserve to get screwed out of their time and money. Haha. I love it.  
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25. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 12:41 Stormsinger
 
Bhruic wrote on Jun 24, 2011, 21:58:
Considering the various controversies that CCP has found themselves in with EVE over the years, it's hard to understand how they have any credibility any more.
QFT
 
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24. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 11:40 Jonny
 
Rockn-Roll wrote on Jun 25, 2011, 11:08:
Also, in most MMORPGs in-game items and character levels are achieved by winning battles, not by losing...if this is not true of EVE then this doesn't apply. But, if new players can buy-in with a top level character then players with less real money who are trying to earn the items through playing the game (the whole point of many MMORPGs) will have less difficulty because they will be fighting against those new players who though they don't have any skill are able to beat them down and prevent them from the fun activity of gaining levels/items simply because their character levels/items are more powerful.

I'm also finding it hard to understand the EVE economy. Some of you have explained a few things like real money can buy game time and applied directly to the player's account or added to the in-game economy as something called PLEX. It also sounds like there's something called ISK which can be created within the game and then traded in-game for PLEX which can then be applied to another player's account. It also sounds like both ISK and PLEX can purchase in-game items. And, those in-game items, as well as ISK and PLEX, can be sold by players at any price they choose...maybe even given away. I'm very sure that enterprising individuals have been selling ISK, PLEX, and in-game items for real money...there is absolutely no way for CCP to know (if it's done right).

ISK is Eve's currency, and they have an entire division set up to audit players accounts. Mysterious mass transfers of ISK get flagged and investigated.

Everything in Eve can be traded on the market, there are no Bind on Pickup items like there are in other MMO's. Everything is buyable through ISK and ISK can be earned quite easily in game with effort.

There are also no levels or xp to gain. You skill up at a set rate whether you're online or not, a new character that buys the latest things with ISK from selling PLEX isn't going to be able to use any of them for months. The only exception to this is that characters can be sold between players for ISK. So if you sunk a truly huge amount of money into selling PLEX you could theoretically end up sitting in a Titan with a massively skilled toon very quickly.

However you would then die. Even more quickly. Eve's learning curve is not gentle, it's world is not safe. Any player attempting to skip ahead via RMT without actually playing the game and making contacts would lose it all quickly.

Also skillpoints and flash equipment do not guarantee a victory. Unlike other MMO's the very best gear often just makes you a target, multiple billion ISK faction battleships are regularly destroyed by players in ships worth a few million, because those multi-hundred million ISK fittings on it will often drop as loot.

Sink real money into Eve in large amounts and you will lose it. I'd be very surprised if anyone who bought the monocles have done on any toon that will leave a station, because if they show up on your avatar in local there will be a fight to blow your ship up and kill your character.
 
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23. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 11:08 Rockn-Roll
 
I think the whole reason I never became interested in MMORPGs is due to what I consider economic cheating...where in-game characters can be created from scratch and immediately be leveled-up to be more powerful than in-game characters who have been in the game since day 1 and the real players have spent thousands of hours of gameplay building them.

In my opinion it doesn't matter how the immediate level-up is accomplished...whether it's purchased with real money, an exploit of an in-game bug, or using bots/hacks...it's still a cheat. It effectively makes actual game experience and talent worthless when a new player can start with characters/items which are equal to characters/items that have been in the game since day 1.

Also, in most MMORPGs in-game items and character levels are achieved by winning battles, not by losing...if this is not true of EVE then this doesn't apply. But, if new players can buy-in with a top level character then players with less real money who are trying to earn the items through playing the game (the whole point of many MMORPGs) will have less difficulty because they will be fighting against those new players who though they don't have any skill are able to beat them down and prevent them from the fun activity of gaining levels/items simply because their character levels/items are more powerful.

I'm also finding it hard to understand the EVE economy. Some of you have explained a few things like real money can buy game time and applied directly to the player's account or added to the in-game economy as something called PLEX. It also sounds like there's something called ISK which can be created within the game and then traded in-game for PLEX which can then be applied to another player's account. It also sounds like both ISK and PLEX can purchase in-game items. And, those in-game items, as well as ISK and PLEX, can be sold by players at any price they choose...maybe even given away. I'm very sure that enterprising individuals have been selling ISK, PLEX, and in-game items for real money...there is absolutely no way for CCP to know (if it's done right).

It appears that the only difference now is that CCP is selling in-game items itself and in clear view. What isn't clear is whether the prices they are offering for those items are the same as what players are offering similar items for.

But, what is clear is that with prices so high it is a very big incentive for players to under-bid CCP by just enough to convince players to purchase the items through them and make as much or more real money from the game as the developers. The expected result? Players that don't even have enough real money to purchase the discounted items will be frustrated and quit. Players that have the money will make it available to players that sell items for real money and make it really worthwhile (like in the tens of thousands of dollars) to cheat...even making a living at it.

It will be interested to see what happens to EVE this time...especially given the long history of EVE's poor PR from previous debacles.
 
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22. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 10:35 Syrak
 
I have no idea why everyone is in an uproar NOW. They have been selling power (PLEX) for quite a while now yet people don't get mad until they start selling virtual clothes for real cash.

So confused.
 
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21. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 10:21 Nomaar
 
Theo wrote on Jun 25, 2011, 06:03:
the problem is this is as follows.

1. when you sell a plex for in game isk currently that isk is not "spawned" it is not put in the economy; the isk that buys the "plex" (or game time) is made from in game actions IE you can buy game time from another player buy mining or missioning more. no ISK is artifically put in to the system; it is just artifically moved around.

the players have always been cool with that concept.

the micro transaction store as it stands A) is a rip off (in game eye piece costs more than a triple A game) REALLY.

Secondary is the leaked document that suggests game play items will be spawned by the company for cash. EvE's economy is brilliant, this will fuck it right up.

other issues that arnt covered in this story properly are the introduction of the "walking on stations" feature that is now mandatory and is only 1 room you can view your guy in and perform the old fucntions that you used to be able to with the client.

its been really poorly recieved and is mandatory to use when we were promised it wouldnt be. In effect its mandatory cause they want us all Beta testing there tech for world of darkness.

I have pretty much been a eve player since day 1. all 3 of my eve accounts got canned lastnight CPP lost it, and the dev blog they wrote to address the issues was a huge FU to the whole people.

i hope the player base throws them to the wolves.



The store is only a rip-off if someone sticks a gun to your head and forces you to buy them. You also forget to mention that all the items in the Noble Store can be bought for in-game currency. I could mission for a couple of days and buy a monocle. Big whoop. So where is the ripoff? Nothing has changed -- players can still shell out mucho cash to buy PLEX, as they have been able to do for years. Now, instead of just using PLEX to pay for subscriptions, you can also use it to pay for vanity stuff. This doesn't artificially put ISK into the system, either. It just moves theISK around even more, which is good for the economy. So again, where's the crime in this? They obviously are touting the vanity stuff as status symbols. Longtime players who have hundreds of billions or even trillions of ISK will no doubt buy them up. Good for them, they deserve a little bling after devoting so many years to the game.

On your second point, nobody has said they're putting up ships, modules, etc. for micro-transactions. It was an idea floated in an internal brainstorming newsletter, and then leaked. I personally doubt they will do it. I would have a problem with it if they did. But I choose to take them for their word that it was just an idea that was floated instead of ranting like a lunatic.

As for the walking in stations, I feel you're in the minority. Most people I know welcome the avatar and the feeling of ownership it gives over you character. If you don't like it, or if you feel it slows you down, park your character in front of the couch and don't move. All the functionality will be at your fingertips like it always was.

I've been an EVE players since before day 1, as a beta tester, and this type of reaction doesn't surprise me. For whatever reason, EVE players are a temperamental, irritable bunch and enjoy getting themselves worked up into a lather at even the slightest changes--to a larger degree than even the average MMORPG addict. Must be a space nerd thing.

This comment was edited on Jun 25, 2011, 10:29.
 
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20. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 09:41 wrlwnd
 
I find this whole thing amusing.

The whole "real money to buy virtual crap to get a leg up on others" is such a joke, that idiots who keep playing in that type of environment deserve exactly what they get.
 
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19. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 07:33 Jonny
 
I think what it changes is constrain the laws of demand and supply and thus increase the risk of inflation from too much ISK being bought with cash?

Could do. PLEX prices are subject to supply and demand, as the price goes up the supply increases (because you get more ISK for your dollar) but the demand drops because less can afford to buy them. As the price drops the supply decreases because they're worth less in dollar terms and the demand goes up because more people can afford them and speculative traders buy them up.

Selling ships, fittings and ammo directly for money may impact the small manufacturer or mission runner converting his loyalty points into ISK, but as all the items bought are still tradeable for ISK on the market they'd fall under supply and demand as well. Eventually a balance would occur between the worth of buying them with cash and buying them with ISK.

*edit*

Also what I've noticed after actually downloading and reading the leaked internal newsletter, is that it's reported everywhere as being titled Greed Is Good. The actual title is Greed Is Good?. Small difference it may be, but it turns it from sounding like an asshole corporate money scam into a question for company employees.

This comment was edited on Jun 25, 2011, 08:02.
 
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18. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 06:59 DG
 
Oh, bummer. Well I guess that doesn't fundamentally change my point. Wealthy people putting in cash to buy PLEX to buy ISK to buy items from players who then sell the ISK for PLEX and then into subscription time are still not having to put their own cash into their subscription. So they still "cash out", it's just the amount is limited by how much subscription they no longer have to buy with their own money.

I think what it changes is constrain the laws of demand and supply and thus increase the risk of inflation from too much ISK being bought with cash?
 
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17. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 06:51 Jonny
 
DG wrote on Jun 25, 2011, 06:36:
I don't play EVE but it's largely an economic game no? Stuff bought in game is bought from other players, who can cash out the ISK for real money.

If players are putting in the time, risk etc to obtain resources which are transferred (in a however roundabout way) for real cash, well that's all good.

Not the way it works mate. You buy a time code for real money and type the code into your account, then you have two options. You can either apply the subscription time to your account or you can convert it into PLEX, an item which you then sell on the game's market. People who then buy the PLEX with ISK can apply it to their account to get the subscription time.

It's totally against the rules to sell PLEX for real money, and you'll get banned immediately if caught. Real money flows into EvE via PLEX, it doesn't flow back out in any direction other than CCP's bank account.
 
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16. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 06:36 DG
 
spindoctor wrote on Jun 24, 2011, 23:24:
This is why I'm having a hard time understanding the uproar. People already buy the ingame currency with money. They could then use that currency to buy anything in game. This is just cutting out one step in between and letting them buy items with money.

tl;dr: I think it's like China is exporting goods into the USA while banning any imports from the USA.

I don't play EVE but it's largely an economic game no? Stuff bought in game is bought from other players, ISK can be bought and sold for real money.

If players are putting in the time, risk etc to obtain resources which are transferred (in a however roundabout way) for real cash, well that's all good.

So a wealthy player gets a shortcut, so what? They could have the same item by putting a lot of time into the game, or maybe by schmoozing the right person in the right corporation or whatever. For all the game advantage they get personally, that cash is flowing into the economy and all the other players benefit.

This is not like deathmatch or whatever type games where external advantages are extremely undesirable. Here, it's like wealthier people moving into your neighbourhood, tempting to be jealous sure but the reality is you win because they're spending money in your shops.

Even a substantial amount of wealthy players putting in lots of real money shouldn't really be a problem since the laws of demand and supply are in effect.

Items sold by CCP on the other hand exist by magic. They just appear. And the cash bypasses the economy and goes straight to CCP. Wealthy gamers get their shortcut and nobody else benefits. Actually, everyone else loses because CCP create additional supply so you get deflation (i.e. existing items etc in the game become less valuable).

The cosmetic items, I think the annoyance there is more because it's a sign that the whole thing is just a cash-in with no thought to the game. Handled correctly, selling cosmetic items could have been a method for CCP to allow wealthy people to "donate" to building CCP revenues without CCP raising subscription fees on everyone. Instead it's just a totem for how mishandled the whole thing is.

I would have thought it would make more sense for CCP to make their money by taxing inter-player cash transactions? Come to think of it, I would have thought they should make a net gain on these anyway if they are selling ISK for cash, since presumably the whole thing should be geared so that more ISK is bought for cash than is cashed-out. Even a very small amount of in-game inflation should ensure that CCP always wins, just like a casino.

This comment was edited on Jun 25, 2011, 06:52.
 
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15. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 06:20 ASeven
 
Fibrocyte wrote on Jun 25, 2011, 06:03:
ASeven wrote on Jun 24, 2011, 21:51:
Wildone wrote on Jun 24, 2011, 21:07:
No ones forcing you to buy anything, if you cant control your spending habits in a game then you deserve what you get.

Perhaps you missed the part where these transactions extend to more powerful equipment or ships? Or that EVE is already a subscription-based game and now we have microtransactions on top of this? Or one of the devs comparing virtual clothes to real clothes, which actually have a cost factor while virtual goods have none?

I never played EVE butt even an outsider like me can see this is all kinds of wrong.


Ahem. A virtual shirt could potentially last WAY longer than a real shirt and it will not fade.

I guess the EVE community hasn't thought this through very well.

Oh god can't believe what I'm hearing. Tell you what, I'll throw you into the street in a very cold night and see if that virtual shirt helps you keep warm.

Anyone comparing any sort of virtual good to a real good and claiming validity on the virtual good is a fucking idiot.
 
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14. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 06:17 Jonny
 
Theo wrote on Jun 25, 2011, 06:03:
Secondary is the leaked document that suggests game play items will be spawned by the company for cash. EvE's economy is brilliant, this will fuck it right up.

I agree with you on Incarna. Seriously the worst expansion they've ever put out, only the turrets and the change in the Maller model were worth anything, CQ makes everything slower and releasing it with only one fucking model was ridiculous. Fair enough release the rest of WiS when it's done, but for a named expansion they could have at least had all the captain's quarters ready to go.

With regards to the economy, if they offer ships, items or ammo that will most likely screw it up altogether, however the vast majority of posts on that threadnought are ignoring that and just varying the same old bullshit "WILL RMT GIVE IN GAME ADVANTAGE CCP!?!?!! /ragequit".

PLEX already gives in game advantage. Give me a few grand and a brand new account and I can have a character in that account sitting in a Titan within a couple of days. It's been that way for years and none of these berks have had any problem with it, yet CCP offering stuff direct is a concept penned by Satan himself.

So, yeah, Incarna is awful and microtransactions for items would bugger the economy, but anyone screaming about microtransactions giving advantage to players who'll pay extra is either seriously out of touch with EvE or a drama queen.
 
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13. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 06:08 Fibrocyte
 
Cutter wrote on Jun 24, 2011, 23:01:
Bad precedent for all the obvious reasons. I hope CCP gets crushed by this.

Yes yes, let's wish a company ill fate for trying to make a profit.

You must know they're trying something new based on what their internal research has shown to potentially be successful. Did they make a mistake? Probably - but we'll see for sure soon enough. Do they deserve to be crushed? Just... shut up.
 
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12. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 06:03 Fibrocyte
 
ASeven wrote on Jun 24, 2011, 21:51:
Wildone wrote on Jun 24, 2011, 21:07:
No ones forcing you to buy anything, if you cant control your spending habits in a game then you deserve what you get.

Perhaps you missed the part where these transactions extend to more powerful equipment or ships? Or that EVE is already a subscription-based game and now we have microtransactions on top of this? Or one of the devs comparing virtual clothes to real clothes, which actually have a cost factor while virtual goods have none?

I never played EVE butt even an outsider like me can see this is all kinds of wrong.


Ahem. A virtual shirt could potentially last WAY longer than a real shirt and it will not fade.

I guess the EVE community hasn't thought this through very well.
 
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11. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 06:03 Theo
 
the problem is this is as follows.

1. when you sell a plex for in game isk currently that isk is not "spawned" it is not put in the economy; the isk that buys the "plex" (or game time) is made from in game actions IE you can buy game time from another player buy mining or missioning more. no ISK is artifically put in to the system; it is just artifically moved around.

the players have always been cool with that concept.

the micro transaction store as it stands A) is a rip off (in game eye piece costs more than a triple A game) REALLY.

Secondary is the leaked document that suggests game play items will be spawned by the company for cash. EvE's economy is brilliant, this will fuck it right up.

other issues that arnt covered in this story properly are the introduction of the "walking on stations" feature that is now mandatory and is only 1 room you can view your guy in and perform the old fucntions that you used to be able to with the client.

its been really poorly recieved and is mandatory to use when we were promised it wouldnt be. In effect its mandatory cause they want us all Beta testing there tech for world of darkness.

I have pretty much been a eve player since day 1. all 3 of my eve accounts got canned lastnight CPP lost it, and the dev blog they wrote to address the issues was a huge FU to the whole people.

i hope the player base throws them to the wolves.


 
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Everyone on Bluesnews is synical, get over it.
edit: i cant spell, this is my disclaimer.
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10. Re: EVE Online Microtransaction Uproar Jun 25, 2011, 01:40 Illumin
 
Rabble Rabble Rabble!!  
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