Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
 
iLevel 226 epics for just $9.95

Two things happened last weekend: Gevlon posted of having reached the 214k gold cap of World of Warcraft, and on this blog in the player classification thread there was a small discussion about EVE's legal RMT option. mbp challenged me to try to earn 100 million ISK without firing a shot, and I refused that challenge as being pointless, due to the option of legally buying 300 million ISK in exchange for a PLEX game card.

Grats to Gevlon, there aren't many players who ever reached the WoW gold cap. But one major reason why few people do it is that the amount of gold at which making gold in WoW becomes pointless is a lot lower than 214k. I have 35k, three characters with epic flying mounts, a bunch of crafted or bought epics, and no good idea what to use the rest of the money on. Well, new recipes drop in Ulduar, maybe I can buy some even better epics. But I guess my priest will get epics from raiding, and my two non-raiding characters basically don't need epics as they don't raid. So while I'm still trying to get rid of the last unsold glyphs, I'm not putting any effort into making more money I don't have a use for anyway.

There are a lot of reasons why I don't play EVE. I don't like PvP, and I never liked the EVE mining activity that is at the base of the game's economy. But if I found a way to avoid PvP, and to play a trader instead of a miner, the fact that I could legally buy 500 to 600 million ISK for $34.95 would pretty much kill my motivation. EVE does not have character levels, only skills which are learned in real-time, thus your total skill level is a function of how much money you paid to CCP in subscription fees. If you don't do PvP, your only "achievement" would be making ISK by mining or trading. But it would take months to earn 500 million ISK. What's the point in even trying if other players just get that much virtual money in 5 minutes for less than the cost of video game?

That is a bit as if Blizzard started to sell the best epics in the game (iLevel 226 currently, I believe) on their website for $9.95. Sure, for some time they would sell like hotcakes. But ultimately that would destroy World of Warcraft. Not only does it destroy the achievement of those who actually worked hard to get those epics in game by raiding; but also once you have the best gear in the game, there is no more motivation to play further, as you already got the best possible reward. I doubt people who ever bought a fully equipped high-level character on EBay actually ended having a lot of fun playing that character. The fun is in *getting* somewhere, not in reaching some destination.

Even Gevlon apparently had more fun getting to the gold cap than being there. He is now trying to buy a raiding guild with the gold, having run out of other sensible options. Fortunately for him he is a sociopath, and won't notice the difference between a guild who wants you to join them, and one you had to buy your way into.
Comments:
I think Blizzard is doing exactly that with the Recruit a Friend program. You are buying a couple of lvl 60 characters for a bit of money and a bit of time. Blizzard disguised it enough so people aren't so upset about it, but imagine if you were a new WoW player, and you had to slog through the grind to 60 while other people blew through at 3xs speed, and ganked you with inheritable gear too!

I would find it infuriating. And at its heart it is an RMT scheme: buy a copy of the WoW Classic ($20), transfer it to your main account ($25), voila, $45 bucks to save a few days of leveling.
 
"But if I found a way to avoid PvP, and to play a trader instead of a miner, the fact that I could legally buy 500 to 600 million ISK for $34.95 would pretty much kill my motivation"

You would never pay a subscription fee since you'd have the ISK to buy cards. Also, the gear and other things you'd buy in EVE aren't necessarily yours forever (or even for very long). Property is incredibly ephemeral in EVE as long as you're doing something fun with it. Because of this, the RMT isn't nearly as game-breaking as you'd think.

It's much more like buying a temporary training/mining/manufacturing boost that some web-games employ (Ikariam, I think).
 
One reason why many EvE players don't mind the RMT is that while you can buy an expensive ship and a character that can fly it, it doesn't mean that you can fly it well. More often than not, pilots with more money than sense end up as fat, juicy prey for the friendly neighborhood pirate. The benefit is temporary at best, and thus even a mediocre pilot that can make enough money to recoup his costs is much more of a threat than one that has a one-off blaze of glory. And unless you are a Russian aluminium magnate, you can't keep buying multi-billion ships.
 
Gevlon is a good guy and I'm happy he hit his goals. Ironically I just did a post about putting the game into perspective and meeting your goals...

http://justmytwocopper.blogspot.com/2009/04/putting-it-all-into-perspective.html

I feel Gevlon's pain, he's succeeded at one aspect of the game and wants to become good/great at another. However, throwing money at the problem isn't going to help you gevlon! Start researching your class and learning what the pros do, as well as duel/bg/arena as much as possible. You'll learn your class quickly and become a much better raider.
 
Quoth Logic Bomb: "You would never pay a subscription fee since you'd have the ISK to buy cards."

On the contrary, time is money. You'd simply be paying your monthly fee in time spent in-game farming ISK to pay the subscription instead of farming ISK to buy things you actually want and/or experiencing other portions of the game.
 
Another bummer about hitting the gold cap (besides lack of things to do) is that you can't transfer much of it to another realm. The best you can do is convert it to valuables (abyss crystals, etc...) in hopes that those investments will be worth more on another server. But given overall deflation, and the time it takes to convert that much gold, it is tough to make a profit or even break even that way.
 
If they started selling epics, they might as well name is HelloKitty Adventure SIMS.
 
"On the contrary, time is money."

Anyone with a steady source of ISK in EVE knows how to make even more money than they currently do. People joke about spreadsheets and such with EVE but for some people it's incredibly fun to make yourself as efficient as possible.

If you can make 300mil a month you can make 600mil a month, or even 1 billion ISK a month. That's way more than I ever had in my wallet at once, but I PvP'd. And those people are the ones who can easily afford to fly awesome ships.

And all the while you'd never be paying a subscription fee. :)
 
One reason why many EvE players don't mind the RMT is that while you can buy an expensive ship and a character that can fly it, it doesn't mean that you can fly it well. More often than not, pilots with more money than sense end up as fat, juicy prey for the friendly neighborhood pirate.Sure, but this is from the view of somebody who sees PvP as the measure of achievement in EVE. As I said, I'm not interested in PvP, so making money would be the only achievement open to me. And if making ISK is the only thing to do, the option to buy those ISK relatively cheap is a show stopper.
 
I'm also not a pvp player. I enjoy the friendly brawls my corporation does against itself, but I'm more or less a carebear mission runner. For me, "success" is being able to fly whatever ship(s) I want to the best of my personal ability. Some of that is bounded by my in-game skills, so I don't mind "paying the fee" each month as the skills train. I don't play all that much, though, so I do have to pay, rather than using my ISK earned to buy a PLEX. But it doesn't bother me. I have fun in my little corp of RL friends, and I'm a "casual." I've got my eye on a 0.0 corp I want to eventually join, but for now I'm perfectly happy as I am.

And EQ2 is my primary game :-P
 
There's an alternate method. Let's say that Blizzard starts selling level 226 purples for real money. But instead of paying $9.95 for a Awesome Sword of Awesomeness forever, instead the price tag is $0.95 and it has a limited lifespan of 12-24 hours (like much of the seasonal content). Or another option, like the Ethereal weapons from Diablo 2 - it's got limited durability, and it cannot be repaired. Let's say that it even comes with your choice of enchantments on it. Buy the sword and an enchant scroll comes free (works only on temporary weapons like that). It's a temporary boost for a relatively small amount of time. Would that be so bad comparatively? You wouldn't devalue the achievements of those who earned the high level gear (as much), because it'd be temporary at best. And even if you have the temporary sword, you'd probably want to use it to earn a more permanent one because you would rather own it than rent it, figuratively speaking.

--Rawr

PS. Highest item level in game is 239, from hard mode 25-man. It goes 219 (10-normal), 226 (10-hard, 25-normal-armor), 232 (25-normal-weapons), 239 (25-hard)
 
Sure, but this is from the view of somebody who sees PvP as the measure of achievement in EVE.Well.. the core gameplay of EvE does revolve around PvP, even the market.

As I said, I'm not interested in PvP, so making money would be the only achievement open to me. And if making ISK is the only thing to do, the option to buy those ISK relatively cheap is a show stopper.Only if you think of ISK as an end, not a means. Even Gevlon plans to use his wealth for something.
 
I think there is a big difference between RMT in EVE and RMT in World of Warcraft because of the nature of the games. WOW is essentially a fairly linear game with a well defined path to success. You can easily compare the relative standings of any two players in terms of stats and gear. Allowing people to buy advancement through rmt would allow players to leapfrog each other without putting in the effort. I am not entirely convinced this would be a bad thing but I do accept that many folks feel this would devalue their own efforts and make the game pointless.

EVE on the other hand is a very open world. There is no defined ladder of success. It is really up to players to set and achieve their own goals. Somehow being able to buy ISK with real money doesn't seem to be such a big issue in EVE. You cannot really use this cash to leapfrog anyone else. It just gives you a different choice of how to play the game. My guess is that the main direction of flow of the ISK market in EVE is between the industrialists (who generate and excess of ISK) and the time limited PVPers (who lose isk but don't have the time to earn it back). It all works and it doesn't devalue the game at all. As to the reasons for trying to do it yourself rather than buying it - well apart from the fun of just figuring out how to do it there is also the carrot that once you have cracked it you could aim to get yourself to the point where you can play for free - generating enough isk every month to pay for your time cards.
 
I've always tended to be generally against RMT but I'm beginning to change my mind. The argument I find most persuasive is that RMT applies to progress which is normally achieved by grinding not really involving any skill. If you buy a level 80 what you discard is a fairly humdrum process of soloing mobs that have close to zero chance to beat you. Money in these games is also often zero risk.

So it's a way of getting to the point where you can participate in that part of the game you want to do (eg pvp) without having to grind for a month.

I don't think I would ever do it but I can see the argument for high paid, long working hours players to skip dull grinds.

I remain vehemently opposed to RMT involving the competitive areas of the game. If someone gets my raid spot because he bought a suit of armour on ebay or Sony Station, if someone wins in pvp because he bought arena gear or a billion ISK ship I think I'd lose any desire to play.

It's just more fun to have the option to play your way to success, if RMT becomes mandatory for success it's pretty off-putting.

To be honest though WoW has already inadvertently been there. In the Naxx 40 days at level 60 to be a bleeding edge raider you needed a ton of consumables (since you could drink multiple different elixirs and flasks and they all stacked) and repair bills were horrendous in relation to character's killing power. Bleeding edge raid guilds were doing 5-7 nights a week. It was pretty well impossible to participate fully and work so many of those players bought ebay gold to sustain the level of play they were at. Since then WoW has deliberately designed itself away from that model.

To cut to the chase, the RMT model will continue to grow because companies can see the $$$ flooding in. However it will have the effect of chasing players like me to more level playing field titles so it's very much a double-edged sword from a business point of view.
 
"Fortunately for him he is a sociopath, and won't notice the difference between a guild who wants you to join them, and one you had to buy your way into."It seems to me that it's not that he doesn't know the difference, it's that he doesn't care.
 
To be fair on Gevlon he's not a sociopath. He likes to criticise the social relationships that emerge in the game because he sees the inherent unfairness that is often the case. Sometimes he's wrong and it's worth putting up with someone regardless of how they perform. But sometimes he's spot on and we realise after reading him that someone is taking advantage of us.

To achieve maximum impact he likes to be extreme and sensationist. I don't think one can make accurate assumptions about his IRL character based on his game-based goblinesque moral system.

I enjoyed his experiments in pugging raids and I'm looking forward to reading about his new guild. I suspect it might be a crashing failure but it's sure to be interesting.
 
WoW has had micro-transactions for years, and some are much more disruptive to the community than buying your way into some epic gear.
 
Just because an option is out there, it doesn't mean you have to use it. Likewise, just because someone achieved something that you did via a different venue, it doesn't devalue your efforts in that achievement. Perhaps it matters if you let other people define your self-worth, but that's something that anyone should learn to ignore at some point.
 
What if the micro transactions paid for the game and the game was free to all users. Would this be a valid way to offer things like real money transactions for gold or equipment. Then essentially the people paying for these items are covering the cost of service and people not interested get to partake of the game for free.
 
It's somewhat ironic that Gevlon, somebody who's so quick to call the average player a moron and/or slacker, is now trying to buy his way into a progressive raiding guild. He only wants to go on raids where he can be carried through (but still a challenge for him). He's offering to pay the guild 5000g a week, as well as bonuses when he gets loot from raids. Aside from the legality/morality issues of buying gold, how would this be any different from some M&S spending $25-50 a week on gold to buy his way into a guild?
 
Teej, the obvious difference is that he is using legitimate gold to buy his way in. Also, he is doing it to make a point, not because he has to. Anyone with 3 fingers per hand can play WoW in an entirely adequate way as long as they are willing to think critically about their roll and read up on it. People vastly overrate the level of skill need to be a reasonably functional player. I'm positive Gevlon, and indeed anyone, could pretty much join any level of guild they wanted, so long as they were willing to put the work in. It's the desire and ability to put the time and effort in that is the only real "skill" needed to succeed at WoW.
 
PvP would be a lot more fun if Blizzard let players just buy the PvP epics so everyone could PvP on an even foot.

You could even offer both methods of "paying" for your Epics, just to keep it totally fair for everyone.

You want to put in your 1,000 hours (or however long you need to grind BGs) to get all of your PvP Epics? Go right ahead.

You want to pay $50 (as an example) for your PvP Epics and get them all right now? You can do that, instead.

What could be more fair than that?
 
PvP would be a lot more fun if Blizzard let players just buy the PvP epics so everyone could PvP on an even foot.It's called the tournament realm.
 
@Teej, the difference between what Gevlon is doing and M&S other than what Toxic said is, A) Time, he doesn't really have it, and has stated it many times, B) He's providing the Guild he joins with money (for repairs), foods/flasks (for raiding), and money making tips and help. In otherwords, he IS doing his part for the guild. Unlike M&S that are there just to grab some loot while doing 800dps and being rage capped because they don't hit heroic strike, or any other comparison you want to make here.

@raursaur: That's an interesting idea, and when their next mmo comes out, and enough people migrate out of WoW they just might do that.

@Cap'n John: Until PvP gear is on equal level for everyone (which is what their tournament server does from what I understand), then PvP is not equal. I say, give us arena gear that only works in arena, and make that equal but different (like how TF2 is)
 
*You want to put in your 1,000 hours (or however long you need to grind BGs) to get all of your PvP Epics? Go right ahead. You want to pay $50 (as an example) for your PvP Epics and get them all right now? You can do that, instead. What could be more fair than that?*

Why would I put in 1.000 hours to get the same item I can buy for $50? I can just spend five more hours at my job and buy it, it's a more cost efficient way of spending my time. And that means it's basically forcing me to work realtime hours to be competitive with other players. No thanks, I'll pass.
 
Perhaps because you don't feel like spending $50, but have a surplus of time? As for staying competitive, remember that the Capn' is speaking of PvP, which should be regulated in the first place. (And apparently is, in the "tournament realm".) Open PvP will always be unbalanced competitively, whether it's skewed to the guy with more time to grind up gear, or in Capn's system, to the guy with more cash. If anything, introducing the cash factor would level the playing field a bit.
 
1000 hours or 50 bucks... you literally would be better off robbing fountains for their pennies.

That's kind of the problem with RMT--- you either offer a massive advantage to a player for money, or you make it so easy that no one wants to pay for it because they can do it in half an hour.


If you had to grind for 3 hours for that PVP set, nobody would pay $40 bucks for it, but that's what it would have to cost time wise to equal the money cost for the average American.
 
Oh personal insults now Tobold! So classy.
 
You don't understand. While less classy people use certain words as insults, most of these words do have a scientific reality behind them. A "sociopath" is somebody whose EQ (not IQ, but the emotional equivalent) is below a certain threshold. Assuming that Gevlon really is as he describes himself on his blog, there is absolutely no doubt that he is a sociopath in the scientific sense of the word. No personal insult intended, and I'd even doubt Gevlon himself would dispute that fact.
 
EQ is not science, sociopathy has nothing to do with EQ, and there would be a lot of doubt about wether Gevlon is a psychopath.
 
I don't know here Tobold... Getting the best lewt is not everyone's "goal" in the game. I mean gear is a neccesary evil in WoW. It is not the "I win" for everyone. You are obviously interested in getting gold, and don't need anymore. I have less then 1000G most of the time and don't have much of a problem finding something to do. I am more interested in doing new things. I can't imagine you have done everything there is to do in WoW, and I would bet that you don't because it is not going to make you money.

PvP is not that different from Raiding. It is still a place you go, where you fight something. The places in WoW just happen to include other players. For some of us the thrill is competing against other people. Win or lose doesn't really matter to me, but it does to some, just like the people that want the most acheivements, or the people that want the most gold. Everyone has a goal, and it is something you may want to look into to expand your knowlege and your enjoyment in the game you obviously love.

Just a quick story for you. I am in a couple of guilds on a regular server. One of them is a Raiding guild. The biggest bunch of number crunching nerds on the planet, and the other is just a "leveling" guild that we have a handfull of 80's playing. The guild leader of the leveling guild hated PvP with a passion. I finally talked him into to going out with me on a couple of bgs, and even explained how they all work and what the point was to each place. The guy is probably better at PvP now then I will ever be and all I did was show him the basics, helped with his talent tree and told him what gear to go after. It was an amazing transformation. Me on the other hand, being PvP oriented, have been enjoying time spent with my other guild learning the ways of the raiders. It really enhances your play when you know your character and can deal with situations on either side of the fence.

There is a lot more to your game. Take a look out there, maybe there is something else you might enjoy.
 
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