Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The $68 monocle

I can't wait to hear from the fans why a $25 sparkly pony (which actually serves a purpose as mount) is evil and overpriced, while a $68 monocle that does nothing is perfectly okay.
Isn't it possible in Eve to shoot down the escape pod after destroying a ship, thus killing the person who piloted the ship? In that case you will no longer be playing your "character", but a clone of your character (with the same look and skills). How about that monocle in that case? Common sense dictates that it is destroyed together with the pod, losing you not only your ship but also 70 bucks?
Incarna was a joke, the implementation is a disaster. The $68 monocle is the least of it.

From the start, it was a solution to what people said was the reason they didn't like Eve--no avatars--rather than what they meant was the problem--it's about internet spaceships, not avatars.

But the implementation is a complete farce. The avatars are wooden with their spines at an exact unmoving 90' angle from the ground. The movement is jerky, laggy, and imprecise.

They even missed Game Design 101 things like making the room human size, instead of larger than real world to account for the camera. So you're constantly having difficulties adjusting your view. And then there's this coffee table in the middle of this cramped room that one keeps bumping into. These are stuff people should learn when creating a FPS level as an amateur, not something professionals do.
It seems likely that the only people who acquire monocles will be the high end players with billions of isk, in which case it costs them no real cash.


Yes, Incarna is hugely disappointing. After 5 min, I switched back to the old station view. Unless they give the avatars more animation and movement, combined with actual things to do and places to go, there is little point to the whole exercise. So tell me, why would someone spend money on boots that no one sees?

Avatars should be able to ambulate around stations, actually see and interact with other players and agents, walk into R&D facilities, inspect ship repairs, use consumables, etc.

Oh well, it seems like CCP only elected to make this a quick revenue stream without any real impact on gameplay.
What's the sparkle pony selling on the AH for these days?
"without any real impact on gameplay"

Isn't that sort of the point? Gameplay changes annoy veterans, and look at the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth that comes with the "buying power" arguments.

I have no problem with vanity items. It does baffle me why they are purchased at all, but I'm not the target customer for them. They don't bother me, and if they help fund the game, yay for the devs.
I'm guessing the prices are intentionally exorbitant at this point as to not destabilize the PLEX market too much.

Introducing lots of low cost items would do just that... Give it a few weeks to settle out and I'm sure the prices will come down to an acceptable level.
As for Incarna itself, I'm enjoying it. As a 2006(90m SP) player, I'm not a noob - but I don't consider myself a bittervet either.

For the past 4 years I've been a ship, I dock up alone, sort my goods alone, and fit my ship alone... Other than grouping up at a POS or outside station for an op, I'm alone... me that is my ship.

From a psychological perspective, it makes sense for me to have an alone period in my quarters... Time to get familiar with the controls, the new interface, etc etc.

I'd much rather watch the big screen than spin my ship while pinned in a station (due to war, red bubble camp, and so on).

While I'd have liked to see the additional races done by release, it's a step in the right direction and I'm enjoying it.
As Mikejr alluded, CCP has kind of painted themselves into a corner. They have made PLEX the only way to buy into the economy, a way to both legally buy ISK and their new cash shop currency, Aurum.

But the real world price of PLEX is fixed and must remain so. They cannot make it cheaper than a subscription.

And while the demand for PLEX in game remains strong... I have paid for 6 months of game time myself using ISK, the supply seems to be tapering off. The price of PLEX in Amarr was 200 million ISK a year ago. It was nearly 400 million last night. That means the difference between a $34 monocle and a $68 monocle. Still drastically over priced, but perhaps less outrageously.

The question in my mind was what drove them to choose their current PLEX to Aurum exchange rate. They pay for a PHd economist to monitor the EVE economy. Did he recommend a price to avoid either a spike in or devaluation of the PLEX?

The monocle doesn't bother me, because avatars seem pretty meaningless in the game. But I always want to know, when a company ends up in what can only be described as a stupid position, how they got there.

I'm sure there was some sound set of rationale that was mis-interpreted or wrong.

Either that, or their Viking heritage kicked in and they could not overcome the desire to rape and pillage in their own little way.
Lol, that's insane. I hope it's either a mistake or EVE quickly realizes it's insane and brings the price down.

While certainly the argument can be made that "if you don't want it, don't buy it" but really, a cosmetic item that costs more than the game itself AND several months of subscription time?

They need to send you a real one in the mail to go with it :P
that actually is an easy one:
the pony can be used, which makes it an usable item, while the monocle is just vanity, you want vanity you pay for it.

just the same as the little pets in Wow.

I don't even get why ppl bitch about the good/bad. It's NOT usable and so the price doesn't matter. the ppl that buy it have it, the ppl that don't don't. it doesn't give any advantage so who care?

I think many fans speak pretty much against it.

Only your EVE strawmen defend this to the core along with all the elitist jerks whose sole mission is to make your life miserable through their existence... :D
Seth: I don't even get why ppl bitch about the good/bad. It's NOT usable and so the price doesn't matter. the ppl that buy it have it, the ppl that don't don't. it doesn't give any advantage so who care?

Players may think that this is a change in the ideals of the developers towards money grubbing, rather than focusing on what's fun. It may not necessarily be true, or it may be needed as something to pay the bills, but gamers only need to think about Bobby Kotick and Activision to tell themselves that "money grubbing = evil".
The price baffles me to be honest. I cannot imagine they will sell enough at that price to make it worthwhile. Its not like it conveys any gameplay advantage. Price it at €5 and it becomes an impulse purchase and you sell thousands. Price it at €50 and it is a serious deal and you sell very few.

The only thing I can think of is that there may be a glut of unredeemed PLEX in the game and they are hoping to suck some of them out by tempting the wealthiest players but they could have tried harder to make it look a bit special.

Or maybe CCP just screwed up?
It's a MONOCLE! Only for the most luxurious and spendy of users!

"One billion dollars?! Now that's walking around money!" -Mom of Mom Corp (Futurama)
To answer your question more directly, people were bothered by the sparkle pony because they feared it was taking a non-cash-shop mmo and entering it onto the path of becoming one (be they right or wrong). In EVE by contrast, it already is a cash-shop mmo of the highest degree, where (almost) everything can be bought with RL cash.

This seems like a pretty big difference, so I am not sure if catch the point you're trying to make.
@mbp: The only thing I can think of is that there may be a glut of unredeemed PLEX in the game and they are hoping to suck some of them out by tempting the wealthiest players but they could have tried harder to make it look a bit special.

Most likely. Are there some statistics out there on the supply/demand for PLEX? One problem may be that new players joining just get and sell PLEX to make money, deflating the market, since PLEX consumption (before the last addition) was pretty much capped by the number of players.
Yeah, ridiculously high prices.
It's just that Incarna does not really effect the real game, so most of the players just ingore NEX. I mean that is how it was supposed to work. People on that forum didn't go to fanfest last year nor did they read the CSMs meeting minutes. It was clear for a year now, that vanity items will not be cheap and are targeted to those, who spend a lot of money.

This will however have an additional effect for those who ignore the store and play for free y buing PLEX - with the additional PLEX sink in the economy the price can skyrocket. But since the prices are so unreasonable, this sink is actually not as giant.
What people seem to be losing sight of is how rich many EVE players are in game. They have more money than god and who even knows it? You can buy an expensive faction battleship and then what, hang out outside a trade hub until someone suicide ganks you with a blob of tech I destroyers?

Nobody needs conspicuous consumption items now, when they're trapped in their hotel room. Once the billionaires start strutting their stuff in bars in Jita, they'll be happy to pay for some baubles -- in ISK converted to Arum.
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