Tobold's Blog
Friday, May 04, 2012
Paying to skip content

Rohan has an extremely interesting post up on how buying ISK via PLEX in EVE is equivalent to skipping content you don't like. PvP is a negative sum game, and EVE offers you the possibilities of *either* earning the ISK for it through economic activities, *or* by paying real money for PLEX. Buy PLEX, and you don't have to mine/craft/trade. His interesting thought experiment was what would happen if you would apply the same principle to people who like the economic part but hate the PvP part: What if EVE would sell you an IMMORTAL module which for 30 days would make you completely immune to being attacked in PvP? (Of course you couldn't initiate PvP either)

The thought experiment establishes a clear priority of goals in EVE. Doing (or skipping) economic activities to do PvP sounds reasonable, because PvP is the ultimate goal of the game. The reverse isn't true. The ability to skip PvP would make many EVE players howl with rage: No more "burn Jita", no more "Hulkageddon", no more technetium cartel. EVE as a pure economic game with no PvP would probably not even be viable, as the money sink would be missing. My April Fool's joke of a trammelized "safe" EVE was just that, a joke. People would flock to it at first, but soon lose interest. Unless of course CCP would invent a different money sink. But then you would have a very different game which probably wouldn't be recognizable as "EVE" any more.

I think the purely economic players get something out of pvp as well. I mean, think of a game where you gather or trade resources across the world in a ship circa 1700s. The usual dangers would be lets say... weather and pirates. If you took those elements out, then the game would be too easy and people would lose interest very fast.

I only played EVE shortly, but I think in games like EVE, purely economic players get something out of pvp even though they are on the recieving end. The element of danger is exciting.
There is a major flaw in your comparison.

PLEX simply transfers who is doing the economic activity. When you buy ISK with PLEX someone else has done the economic work that generated that ISK. It more or less balances out in economic terms.

With the PVP-immunity there is no balance as you cannot really double the PVP risk of another player in exchange.
Wouldn't you say that if half the players in Jita during the burn Jita event would have had PvP immunity, the PvP risk of the other half would have doubled?
Now that you mention it there were quite a number of folks selling "Immunity from Ganking" over the weekend including at least one official Goon website :)

I think Nielas's analysis is on the button however. The plex market does not reduce the amount of economic activity it just allows players to pay others to do it for them. A closer analogy on the PVE side would be a PVE player hiring mercenaries to protect them. Unfortunately current Concord rules mean mercenaries are useless to protect against high sec ganking but I could imagine changes to the rules what would make it possible for a mercenary escort to stop a ganker and I don't think that EVE would be up in arms about it.
"EVE as a pure economic game with no PvP would probably not even be viable, as the money sink would be missing."

It should be mentioned that one of the inspirations for Eve, Elite, was a pure space trading game with no pvp.

And also that trammelisation would not end pvp, it would just stop it in high sec.
"Now that you mention it there were quite a number of folks selling "Immunity from Ganking" over the weekend including at least one official Goon website :)"

@ mbp that really isn't the same thing at all. For those not in on the joke, Goons routinely run protection rackets that they never honour.
I keep maintaing that profitable games allow different people's success criteria to allow both to think that they won.

Say the PvE module gave you 101% insurance for the first billion destroyed, 100% for the next 10, ... In a way undetectable by the attacker. So now I am effectively immune from PvP. In fact at the beginning I am incented to lose. The PvPers get the satisfaction of owning a care bear M&S; The PvEer gets the satisfaction of knowing how pointless the PvP was and just loads up another ship and does the same thing.

/troll-but-true The era of subscription AAA MMOs probably ended with SWTOR. So the future MMOs are going to be financed by P2W and/or P2Convenience. I have to think the people against P2C will find P2W worse.
I think it's worth mentioning that PvP is not a money sink except for stuff that was bought from an NPC, and I guess the market taxes on the purchase of the ship and modules.

When a ship is destroyed no ISK is lost by anyone. The hull and some modules are lost, but those are not ISK. The ISK that was used to buy those items was long ago transferred to another player in exchange for the module and hull. You could say that wealth has been lost but certainly no ISK. The exception being stuff bought from NPC's for LP and ISK.

If the price of PLEX is any indication there is a lot of ISK inflation currently. We actually need more and better money sinks in my opinion. Creating an opt out of PvP item would reduce the amount of materials being removed from the economy and hence actually counter the monetary inflation that's going on.

If such an item was purchasable with ISK from NPC's at a hefty price, say 1b a month, it would actually help counter ISK inflation by preventing resource destruction and straight up removing ISK from the economy.

Such an item would need special rules for balancing of course. Like there would need to be some mechanic to prevent pvp-proof players from providing support to pvp'ing players such as logistics in pvp fleets.
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