Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 19, 2010
 
Game time card adventures

Thanks to the generosity of my readers, I can now pay for my MMO subscriptions with donations. Which means paying for them with Paypal, preferably. Now some games, including EVE Online, accept Paypal as payment method. World of Warcraft in the US does. But curiously enough, World of Warcraft in Europe does not accept Paypal. So I started looking into buying a WoW game card.

Now some time ago I received a mail from Yolto, a company that developed a "robot" which you can put on your blog or website to sell game cards and earn a share of the profits. I declined that offer, but got into a nice chat with them about the game card business, which is a tricky business, because there are both honest merchants and scammers. The reason why we discussed that was that I was surprised that a 60-day gamecard for World of Warcraft at Yolto cost *less* than two months subscription paid by credit card. Old internet saying, if something looks too good to be true, it usually isn't. But then I explored game cards a bit more, and found out that even at Amazon.de a World of Warcraft EU game card only costs €20.90, which is about 20% less than paying 2 times €12.99. It is even cheaper to buy three EU game cards than to buy one six-month subscription for €65.94.

Now Amazon is selling you a physical game card, which you have to scratch off to get your code and your added game time. Safe, but not fast, because it arrives by snail mail. Most online game card sellers do the scratching for you and send you the code by e-mail. Faster, but not as safe, because Paypal doesn't refund money for items not received if that item was a virtual good. Thus you need to find a trusted site to buy game cards via e-mail. So, to give them some free advertising, I can confirm that my WoW 60-day EU game card code I bought from Yolto for $28.25 did arrive fast, with no problem except for a short delay for verification, sent by SMS on my mobile phone. But I'm still not interested to put that game card selling application on my blog. :) Once I got the code, I applied it to my World of Warcraft Battle.net account. Note that you can "insert" a game time card into a regular subscription without having to cancel your credit card subscription. You just need to remove the "Cancel Recurring Subscription Plan" checkmark on the page after you applied the code to your account.

Meanwhile in EVE I finished all the career agent missions, so I had a couple of millions of ISK and enough knowledge of the game to know how to make more. So I wasn't that afraid any more that buying ISK would mean I would skip content. CCP is selling 60-day EVE game cards in physical form. But they do have a list of official EVE game card resellers, which makes finding a honest merchant easier. Cheapest price I could find was $32.99, thus EVE is more expensive than WoW.

CCP is offering a helpful guide on how to use EVE time cards. You convert your 60-day game card code into two 30-day Pilot's License Extension (PLEX) virtual in-game items. These can either be applied to extend your subscription, or they can be sold on the market. They can NOT be transported, thus if you want to sell them you FIRST need to move to where you get a good price and THEN enter the code. This restriction on transport is done so you can't get shot down and robbed with a PLEX in your cargo hold. So I converted my EVE time card into 2 PLEX, sold one for 286 million ISK, and applied the other to extend my subscription until June. Which shows that I'm having fun playing EVE and want to play some more, at least during the pre-Cataclysm lull in World of Warcraft.

Well, so now I know a bit more about game time cards, and the experience was generally a good one. I didn't get scammed, and never had to wait more than half a day to get my codes. And I even saved money by switching my regular World of Warcraft subscription to game card mode.
Comments:
Isn't a subscription only $14.95, meaning that the time card for EVE is actually more expensive than paying by credit card? That sounds quite strange, although I guess there's the added flexibility of being able to sell the PLEX...

Any plans on your goals in EVE? I expect that you'll probably look into the industrialist side?
 
Isn't a subscription only $14.95, meaning that the time card for EVE is actually more expensive than paying by credit card?

A monthly subscription to EVE Online costs $14.95 *outside* Europe, but €14.95 (which is a bit over $20) *inside* Europe. Welcome to European gaming, where players are constantly gouged by selling them $1 for €1, when in reality the current exchange rate is $1 = €0.75.

Thus outside Europe buying game time cards for EVE is *more* expensive than subscribing. Inside Europe you actually save about 20% (just like with WoW) if you pay by game card for EVE.
 
I don't get it Tobold.

About 2 months ago you were writing you think Eve is a bad case of microtransactions. And now you're telling us, just after finishing the *tutorials* you're ready to buy ISK because you're confident it won't let you skip content?

You also said you think the economic part of the game is a lot less attractive due to the RMT. And now you decided to make that part, which was the interesting part for you, even less attractive by buying ISK yourself?

So what are you up to now? Off to 0.0? Fit a ship with T2 stuff and get blown up before you're able to make enough ISK to fit a new one? Or will you just buy some more ISK then?
In other words, what are you going to do with the 300M now that you've trivialized the economic part for yourself?
 
About 2 months ago you were writing you think Eve is a bad case of microtransactions. And now you're telling us, just after finishing the *tutorials* you're ready to buy ISK because you're confident it won't let you skip content?


I think this is because 2 month ago he just guessed based on his gaming experience some years ago. Now he actually plays the game and saw that selling a Plex isn't that bad and gamedestroying at all.
 
Luckily GTC's of Eve are compatible worldwide so you can buy in the US for a cheaper price.

As for "RMT" and Eve: its a legal way to do things as you can afford better ships from the start. But it is NOT as a bug advantage as you think, it merely saves you time to work for ISK and then buy your ship.

The main reason is: ships and equipment is worth nothing in Eve as you constantly loose them, so prepare for it. Thats why the ISK RMT trade isn't really as inbalancing as it seems in Eve.
 
I am looking forward to hearing more about your decision to purchase ISK both the motivation for doing in and also your experience of the impact on the game of being able to do so.
 
About 2 months ago you were writing you think Eve is a bad case of microtransactions. And now you're telling us, just after finishing the *tutorials* you're ready to buy ISK because you're confident it won't let you skip content? You also said you think the economic part of the game is a lot less attractive due to the RMT. And now you decided to make that part, which was the interesting part for you, even less attractive by buying ISK yourself?

Unlike some people I am neither in the pro- nor in the anti-RMT camp. I believe that RMT can be good *OR* bad, depending on how it is handled. And this is a subject that interests me very much. Analysis while looking at it from the outside is one approach, but I always prefered the hands-on approach. Thus in every game I played in which RMT is legal, I did participate in RMT, and had a look at the impact of that RMT on my game experience first hand.

Thus I was able for example to say with certitude how buying a $5 sword in Free Realms which was better than the best sword which I could craft after having spent many hours to max out the smithing career totally destroyed that game for me.

I can not yet say whether 286 million ISK will kill my EVE gameplay, finding that out is part of the exercise. I can however say that last night I earned 13.5 million ISK in a corporation mining session. And I can also say that the barriers I encounter in the gameplay of EVE are almost exclusively of the "to do this you need that skill which takes a week of skill training" kind, and not of the "to do this you need more ISK" kind. I might simply have overestimated the effect of ISK on advancement in EVE, which is curious given how a good part of the game is about economics.

Note that this isn't unlike World of Warcraft. A level 1 character with 10,000 gold is *not* significantly better off than a regular level 1 character with no gold at all, and the impact on gameplay is negligible. Which is probably good game design, how it should be, given that there are legal ways for a level 1 character to receive 10,000 gold. It might be that EVE shares this same good game design, the resilience of the gameplay experience against trying to boost yourself with large amounts of virtual currency.
 
Got to love regional fucking pricing.

Anyway, I had no idea that game cards are actually cheaper than credit cards for WoW. If I think about all the money I could have saved...
 
Got to love regional fucking pricing.

Anyway, I had no idea that game cards are actually cheaper than credit cards for WoW. If I think about all the money I could have saved...
 
I just noticed how much cheaper time cards were the other day myself. Like you said the only thing bugging me was the wait since I only checked on amazon and they mail it to you which I just couldn't handle (instant gratification will DOOM us all!!!).

Anyway glad to hear your enjoying EVE, hope to hear your thoughts on the expansion next month if you get involved in any of it.
 
you bought isk already? that's hardly playing eve...
 
I never realized game cards could be the cheaper option.. it sounds tempting :)

I wish they would accept paypal directly for WoW in the EU though - after they increased the security of my bank (a system where using my visa card sends me via a bank homepage to add my password some times) it seems it doesn't work with WoW. Or, it works for paying the subscription, but it does not work for paying for transferring a character from alliance to horde (this is apparently two different things on their side).
 
I dont see how buying ISK or not has any bearing on if you are "playing EvE" or not.

Im not going to get into definitions, but I think you can see that he most definately is playing the game, especially if buying ISK.
 
I've paid for my WoW subscription over the course of two years almost exclusively with game time cards. During that time I've paid the equivalent of around $11-11.50 a month while never having to lock myself into a recurring charge to my debit/credit card.

I have, however, been cammed twice by ebay sellers. Both times I was able to reverse the charges and get the sellers in question banned but one must take caution. If someone on ebay is selling time cards for significantly below the market price and/or have little to no feedback on their account, move along and don't waste your time on a probable scam.
 
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