Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

ISK buyers are boosted Arthasdklols

I wrote that PLEX trade and Diablo III RMAH are not making the games play-to-cheat. I uphold this statement in a sense that in these games you aren't cheated if you don't participate. In a pay-to-cheat game like World of Tanks, your relative strength to the average of the playerbase decreases when someone buys gold ammo, as his increased power elevates the average. However in EVE and Diablo III the item was gained with legitimate playing, then the legitimate owner gives it to someone else, for real money. In the game world (that knows nothing about real money) some pilots/heroes are getting huge gifts from another ones. A giving gift to B don't affect C.

The item buyers claim that they just "skip the boring grind to jump to the fun part". It is nonsense. Their nonsense is hidden by the fact that most socials consider direct  PvP very important, therefore assume that the combat (ship battles, D3 arenas) is the "gameplay" while the previous parts are the "boring grind". They are completely wrong. The direct battle is the display of power, but not creator of it. An informed person could tell precisely who will win a battle before it takes place, just by looking at the ships/gear and evaluating the knowledge of the combatants displayed in battles. The battle itself wouldn't be necessary if people wouldn't be uninformed or delusional. The weaker one would just give up the resource and run away.

What decides the battle then? Preparation. This is the creation of power, both in accumulating items and learning the knowledge of the game. This part decides who is the winner and who is the loser, the later battle just proves that fact to the dumb ones. Of course there could be PvP-based ways of getting wealth like profitable pirating, armed escort service and system ownership wars. I'm not against PvP. Direct PvP is necessary exactly because people are uninformed and delusional, xXxamarrpiratexXx won't believe that you can blow up his frigate with a Navy Raven until you actually do.

The one who buys ISK or D3 items is skipping the gameplay where the outcome is decided and where he could lose to superior players. Such player jumps directly to the part where he shows to peers that he was great. No doubt that "PvP is fun", as it's mostly a parade, ganking a much weaker opponent, therefore no different from standing around in Stormwind on a the mount dropped by the HM endboss. These people can make their position even more easier by defining their goal as "blowing up spaceships", as even a facerolling monkey can do that (of course with terrible win:loss ratio, but his goal declaration did not mention winrate). Buying bragging rights is obviously cheating, Arthasdklol shouldn't own that dragon nor the powerful ship/sword, therefore he shouldn't be able to use them winning PvP and without real money transfer he wouldn't.

The reason why they believe that the real gameplay of EVE and D3 is boring is exactly the reason why they buy boost: because they suck. They can't compete in any high profit ISK making field (including pirating or escort services). Since they can't make money, they turn to dummy-friendly carebear options and find out that they are boring. These features are no different from gaining WoW gear by farming "heroics" for valor points: it works, but with low gear/hour and boring experience. If you want higher reward/hour and more fun, consider winning in the real gameplay, what is raiding in WoW PvE, killing strong monsters in D3 and trading/politics/profitable PvP in EVE.

People say "good fight, good fun" even when lost and they are not lying. The purpose was never to win, it was to "have fun". What kind of fun comes from losing? Actually getting your spaceship blown up is a better way to show off your wealth than blowing up spaceships. You display that you can afford an expensive ship because you are that rich. The fun comes from the belief that your peers think that you are so good in the game that you can afford to throw away expensive ships "for the lulz". Except you are not. You did not even play. You just converted a PLEX.

Quick business update: 2.05B (0.49B gift).


chewy said...

Fascinating theory, exactly how many players are there who engage in this behaviour (just a rough % of player base would do) ?

Anonymous said...

I think your analysis would be quite valid for life but as much since it is a game.

For example,
Person1 spends $60/quarter (4 plexus) and plays 10hr/mo and is a really bad player

Person2 spends $45/quarter and plays 50 hr/month and is a very good player

Person1 has clearly wasted less on entertainment than Person2. Since being bad at any game is of no consequence in the real world, most anything, including PLEX purchases, that reduces the time you play is good economics

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: except you don't play the game. You pay for making random guys think you are awesome in a game you don't even play.

That makes you an idiot IRL.

Anonymous said...

PvP is essentially competition.
One can compete in trading as much as in combat.
For those who do both it is naturally easy to aquire the best gear. Those who do not enjoy market pvp, cannot gear themselves for combat as well. The provided pve activities are unsatisfying or hard to join as they require different skillsets. So for the them it is unquestionable better to pay for their first isk than to waste time participating in something they do not enjoy.

Getting wealth is not what decides combat. Better gear is but one advantage to gain from many. Preparation means getting the right skills, the right ship, the right fitting, learning all about game mechanics and understanding how to apply them to gain an advantage.

People have only a fixed time to play, every hour spent gaining isk is a hour you couldn't train yourself for combat. Those who have limited time cannot do both and become as good at it as those who do only one. So it is unquestionable better to buy isk and focus on pvp if one is serious about it. With proficiency this has to happen only in the beginning. Later on the winnings will buy plex.

Happy Forum said...

I don't know about this.

You've always talked about how lolkids sell crafted things below material cost because the materials were "farmed for free."

In a similar fashion, if an EVE player has a very high income job in real life, and the job is flexible enough to put in more hours, wouldn't it be smarter to work an extra hour at that job and buy PLEX instead of playing many more hours of EVE to gain the same in game benefit? It just seems smarter to maximize value per unit time.

Even though I usually don't disagree with your posts, this one might have been too hasty. In your Play to Win vs Play for Ego, you reference a lot of what Sirlin has to say. However, Sirlin also claims numerous times that "the system isn't broken," and this is just part of CCP's system.

Furthermore, no matter how much they pay, they won't be able to do very much more than be a nuisance without a lot combat knowledge (and also in game skills which take time to level).

I don't play EVE, but I'm guessing that a lot of combat knowledge IS required, and that can't be gained easily no matter how much PLEX you buy.

Lastly, because of this combat knowledge requirement, baddies that buy PLEX to trade for ISK will probably have their ship destroyed. So, unlike in WoW, their boosting won't last very long if they engage in PvP.

So to sum it up, my main point is that if you can if your real life job pays more in ISK when you convert your money to ISK through buying PLEX and trading, it's smarter to do that than to do "grindy" things in game while spending much more hours for the same amount of ISK.

This assumes "grindy" things don't teach you anything about combat knowledge.

If I'm mistaken, I'd love someone to point it out.

Anonymous said...

I want to point out that "baddie" means "evildoer" or "criminal", and not "idiot", which is how you seem to be using the word.

I agree with the theory. I've seen this in my first week in EVE, when a guy got his Hulk blown up (corp got wardecced by a griefer corp, yet he still went out mining alone) and he whined about it in chat, then said he's just going to buy two PLEX to replace it, because he's broke. How can he be broke when all he does is mining in a Hulk? That's like printing money!

Gevlon said...

@Happy Forum: I have so high income that I can buy the belt of the boxing world championship from the guy who won it 10 years ago but turned into a drunkard who can't pay his debts.

Does it make me a Boxing Champion? Or just an idiot who bought an ugly piece of clothing for extreme amount of money.

If I go to the arena after buying "gear", like bribery to the other guys trainer to dope him and actually win in the match, does that makes me a Boxing Champion?

Actually, in many countries it would make me a felon.

Anonymouse said...

I would have thought a better analogy would be if you had used your money to to buy top quality boxing equipment and training and then became world champion off the back of that. That would be valid, you had an 'unfair' advantage over the poor kid that had none of that but bottom line is you still won the championship in your own right, you just had a leg up to begin with. Leg up = PLEX

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: not true, because you can't bring any money-bought items into the ring. Your money buys you training, true, but in there you are on your own.

But in EVE PvP your money bought you a ship that is very much there.

The analogy would be buying a 10M skill point character on the bazaar for a head-start and not buying ships again and again, making you undefeatable.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: not true, because you can't bring any money-bought items into the ring. Your money buys you training, true, but in there you are on your own.

But in EVE PvP your money bought you a ship that is very much there.

The analogy would be buying a 10M skill point character on the bazaar for a head-start and not buying ships again and again, making you undefeatable.

Jumina said...

If I buy a movie and than fast forward to my favourite scene am I wasting money or an IRL idiot?

Well I am wasting money of course.

The question is why games must have boring parts? Because we are forced to pay more or because developers are unable to come up with something interesting?

Caramael said...

I suggest you create another account, roll a combat pilot and show us you are able to turn a profit with combat (and that obviously excludes any ISK faucet) right from the start (no PLEX, no gifts, no alts or additional accounts, nothing).
I for one would be very interested to read about it since I'm at the point of giving up on this game, because I don't see how this would be possible.

Gevlon said...

@Caramael: that is pretty straightforward, most players do exactly that, run lvl 4 combat missions.

@Jumina: "PvP is boring, I fly somewhere, I die, I buy new ship, I fly somewhere, I die." Would you accept that? No, you'd say I just suck and that's why I observe PvP to be boring.

Getting the resources in EVE is interesting, involving and complex. Of course you only see: "I fly to some asteroid, press F1,F2,F3, fly to the next...", or "I go to a deadspace complex, target rat, press F1,F2,F3, target next..."

Caramael said...

Level 4 combat missions generate ISK (NPC bounties and mission reward) and loyalty points.
Like you said yourself, it's a welfare activity like daily quests and justice points in WoW.

Fade Toblack said...

"But in EVE PvP your money bought you a ship that is very much there"

Your lack of experience in ship-based PvP is showing here. There is no best ship. You cannot buy a PLEX and automatically win simply by having the best stuff.

Going back to the boxing analogy, you can't just send anybody to the best gym/trainer in the world and expect to get a world-class boxer out of the process. Likewise you can't put anybody in a particular ship and fit and expect to turn them into the best EvE pilot in the game.

Gevlon said...

@Fade: absolutely not true. With enough ISK, I could be the #1 on the killboards with no knowledge besides being able to tell a frigate from a battleship.

All I need is a battleship to camp a Jita gate and alpha-kill frigates, destroyers, T1 haulers, T1 cruisers. I'll be concorded, but who cares?

Of course you are right in a fair fight. But I doubt anyone outside RvB seen a single fair fight in EVE.

Jumina said...

@"PvP is boring, I fly somewhere, I die, I buy new ship, I fly somewhere, I die." Would you accept that? No, you'd say I just suck and that's why I observe PvP to be boring.@

The question is why you must mine some ore and sell it for ISK before you can fly somewhere and die. I mean these are obviously different games. Why you must play one game in order to be able to play the one you want to play?
Or otherwise. If PvP is boring why to buy a new ship?

Gevlon said...

@Jumina: you DON'T have to mine, that's the point. There are many ways to get ISK, including pirating morons who carry 30B in a freighter.

If you can't come up with any other ISK making ideas than mining or missioning, you suck.

Please note "can't" in the previous sentence, if someone "don't want to" as he likes mining, he don't suck.

Jumina said...

I understand there are more ways. Yet if you like only to PvP why do you thing its stupid to buy PLEX in order not to have to do any other thing except to PvP you like.

Of course people would say its stupid to buy some virtual money but its a RL question not the game question.

Gevlon said...

I didn't say "stupid", I said "cheating".

I can buy boxing belts if that's my hobby. But EVE ships affect other people as well. The guy I blow up isn't "defeated", he is "cheated", the same way as a local boxer would be cheated if I would be celebrated in the pub as "world champion" for the belts I bought.

Jumina said...

I see. Yes it is cheating if the outcome of the battle depends on it.

Anonymous said...

This is true when you buy gold ammo, but not true when you buy PLEX or a 10 mln. skill points character.

It works perfectly well if you are good. If you are good and smart - with 10 mln. skill points you will kill more people - faster. Thus you get to the part of fun faster = you saved time for money.

Here is an example.
I decided to try Eve out after getting tired of POTBS. I started an Amarrian. Quickly I quit with mission running and started trading.I even took loans on the forums from kind people and started making loads of money. In 4 days I made 1 bln ISK. It took me 2 hours per day.

Now. I had lots of fun trading but PVP was the goal. 2 hours a day for me was losing 600 usd IRL (300 per hour consulting fee). So i stopped trading. bought plexes for 600 IRL Dollars and sold them in Eve. Billions in like 3-5 mins.

Now i can pvp and forget about trading and money.

Here is how trading time for money works dear greedy goblin. And its not making me awesome or whatever it saves my time and actually makes me MORE money and gives me MORE fun

Anonymous said...

The very idea of fairness in combat is ridicilous.

Experience that comes with playing longer, friends, regional differences (for one its afternoon, for the other 5am),lag , overall a fair fight is a fairy tale

Michael said...

Hi Gevlon,

I concede it! There absolutely are idiots out there who buy isk or gold or gear as a way to show off or beat other players that they couldn't without having cheated by buying stuff.

But those are a tiny minority, and you shouldn't assume everyone who buys isk is like that. They're a loud minority, which leads you to condemn a silent majority.

In most MMO's there's a population of people, say half of WoW players, maybe as much as a third of Eve players, who truly and genuinely do not care whether or not they can 'beat' some random other player they've never met before and never will again.

They simply have no desire to compete, instead they want to enjoy the gameplay. They don't see the game as a way to maximize 'winning' per dollar, but instead try to maximize enjoyment/entertainment per dollar.

The issue is that you only _see_ the loud, annoying characters. But I'd say that for every idiot who buys isk for a T3 ship he can barely fly, there are 20 regular players who buy a second account so they can have a salvaging ship follow them around on missions, or a scanning ship watching out for themselves while gas mining in worm holes. People you'll never encounter because they have absolutely no desire to have anything to do with you or most other players in the game.

Is that wrong?

Gevlon said...

@Michael: I was talking about those who convert PLEX to ISK. I told nothing about second account people.

@Anonymous: what is fun in buying power and smash those who are without it? I don't see enjoyment in smashing flies with a newspaper. How can there be fun without challenge?

If you think there is still challenge since you actually have to beat the other guy, you are lying to yourself. They are much weaker than you because of your ISK cheat.

pvper said...

Hi, actual eve pvp'er here.

I'm even the special kind that goes out solo on my own into nullsec to find fights. Which for those that aren't familiar with eve or this aspect of eve, will result in a lot of deaths and perhaps a few fights in which one is able to kill someone.

Now if I interpret Gevlon correctly I am not being good at it. Because obviously I should get a smart bombing battleship and just sit on some lowsec gate and rake in the kills.

But the kills aren't the point. I don't care about my killboard statistics, my win/loss ratio. What I do care about are 'good fights', fights in which I am going against the odds, in which I need every fiber in my body to be able to go toe-to-toe with someone or a group of people. In which adrenalin starts being pumped into my system. Perhaps I'll win and have a euphoric victory, and maybe I'll pull the short string and lose my ship. But I'll still have experienced a good fight.

What I do has nothing to do with winning, impressing people, or killboard statistics. It's about challenging myself with an aspect of the game that is hard, unforgiving and will result in real loss. For me or my target.

I fund my frequent loss of ships partially with doing some trading, which I find utterly boring. I simply log in once or twice a week, change some buy/sell orders and log out again. Boring passive income. But it pays for my losses.

But that is the great thing about eve. It's a sandbox and everyone can do what they like. Be it trading, industry running missions or pvp. But it shows a lack of understanding to look down on one anothers goals within the game simply because you don't understand them or don't share the passion.

Except for miners, everyone should look down on miners. Scum of the earth I tell ya.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, just a few notes, because I think your lack of PvP experience drives your misunderstanding.

- First of all, PvP in EVE is rarely a solo game. 1v1-s are happening rarely normally.
- In eve, no matter what ship you fly you have someone out there in the right ship to make your day miserable. You can't buy wits and experience on your ISK. Some think their fittings will make the job for them, and they're just confirming the opposite. There's a guy who regularly loses officer and faction fitted Sentinels (couldn't find kb link), for the laughs of lots of us.
- PvP in EVE is usually not between equally skilled people in the best ship for the job and versus a same-sized fleet. This is where the wits and experience comes into play. The goal is to make the other party vulnerable by outplaying them, not simply outgunning them.

Also, on the Plex part: I don't see how it's a cheat. If you want to buy anything of real value this way, you have to spend tons of real-life money for a ship which can be popped just like everything else. When I restarted playing, I bought some Plexes and sold them to be able to buy the ships I needed down in 0.0, so I could restart PvP-ing and earning ISK faster. None of my toons can really earn isk in high-sec, but all of them are highly capable of doing so in 0.0 (pirate standings, ratting, operating POS-es). And I can't be bothered with trying to earn enough for my ships in high-sec, while I can print money in 0.0. Whit the right ships of course. How is this cheating? I didn't buy anything someone else couldn't buy for ISK, I didn't use anything which can't be gotten by everybody else. Also, I'm busy fighting guys who are around to have fights, not "cheating in my shiny ships against newbies".

I honestly think that for you, it's all about the inability to accept that others play the same game differently than how you do, but still within the rules. Your opinion is just one opinion, and while I'm happy you have one, in this topic yours is not the ultimate one. Because there's no such thing.

Anonymous said...

Just look at Wow.. The more convient everything became it grew more duller and uninteresting in the process.

The prepartion that went into raiding, the whole farming for potions, flasks or stuff like resistance gear was a whole meta game by itself. This pretty much forced players go out to travel and experience the game world with each other. Now they fly over it once in a while.

Camo said...

"How can there be fun without challenge?"

Exactly. The question is whether you use your buying power to raise to a rank where you meet a challenge, instead of grinding lesser skilled players to get to that rank naturally or use it to dominate players that don't stand a chance.

I watched some choaching videos from a high skilled Starcraft player and he just destroyed every lower league player by a large margin. He wouldn't even type 'have fun' because he knew that the other player won't have any.

I think skipping the grind part to get faster to the challenge part might be a valid incentive to buy while buying just to 'pwn' clearly isn't.

Fade Toblack said...

"All I need is a battleship to camp a Jita gate and alpha-kill..."

You'll be one of the biggest gankers in the game, and yeah maybe you'll top a killboard somewhere. But you won't be one of the best pilots. (I suspect that you wouldn't even be considered good amongst the gankers with that as a tactic, but that's not a part of the game that interests me)

"I doubt anyone outside RvB seen a single fair fight in EVE"

Again you're showing your inexperience of the game. There are plenty of places where you can get a fair fight - you just haven't come across them yet. Some of the PvP corps that live in Syndicate will give you a fair fight, some will even down-ship. Some low-sec pirates will give you a fair fight if you ask for one.

Aside from that though, there are players for whom the ship-based PvP is why they play the game. They could sit in a station trading and earning ISK, but would rather just buy a PLEX and spend more time actually flying around in spaceships shooting people than doing something stuff they find boring. Most of these players will be actually flying around in quite modest ships - every ship that undocks will get killed eventually, so blowing a month's budget on a single ship is stupid.

Fundamentally though spending more ISK - no matter how you gained it - doesn't necessarily ensure victory. And there are many measure of success.

Anonymous said...

"@Fade: absolutely not true. With enough ISK, I could be the #1 on the killboards with no knowledge besides being able to tell a frigate from a battleship.

All I need is a battleship to camp a Jita gate and alpha-kill frigates, destroyers, T1 haulers, T1 cruisers. I'll be concorded, but who cares?"

Actually that will be in the first day or so. If you kill ships in Jita this way you will lose security status very fast. When you are below -5 you will be free to be killed without CONCORD intervention. At the moment you appear you will be locked and fired upon. You will definately top the killboard but as victim, not as killer.

And you CAN't buy security status, you need to grind it.

Anonymous said...


Yes, person1 is an idiot IRL. However, the point was that he was less of an idiot than person2. In the same way that spending 5 hrs/wk watching TV is wasting less time than someone who watches 20 hrs/wk.

You are correct that the optimal answer is not to play video games. But being good or bad at a video game is immaterial. Spending some of your depressingly finite life playing a video game is a significant, real-life cost.

Anonymous said...

"what is fun in buying power and smash those who are without it? I don't see enjoyment in smashing flies with a newspaper. How can there be fun without challenge?"

What's the difference between buying power and grinding power if the endresult is smashing flies?

One of you proclaimed goals in EVE is to scam M&S. How exactly is that any challange at all?

Andrei said...

I made this point in the comment to your previous post but this looks like more relevant conversation so I will re-iterate it.

I buy ISK by converting PLEX simply because this the fastest and most efficient legitimate way of making ISK in EVE. It has nothing to do with showing off or inability to learn game mechanics. I apply my talent and skills in real life so I can afford to buy 50B ISK from my pocket money expenses. Why would I bother with less efficient or complex approaches? Isn't doing the simplest thing that works one of the fundamental things that make you successful?

Let's see you have played EVE for two months spending (my rough guestimate) 30-40 hrs/week on playtime, research, etc. It is like a second job. And you only managed to make 2B even with initial boost of 500M gift. With this rate it will take you 50 months or more then 4 years to make 50B ISK the amount I made in one short transaction. It seems like you chose to make ISK in very inefficient if not dumb way. And that second EVE job pays you roughly $50 a month.

The fact that skipped some gameplay that you arbitrarily consider relevant is inconsequential. This is "feels good" argument that you typically attribute to socials.

Gevlon said...

@Andrei: the most effective way is not playing a video game.

Gevlon said...

@Andrei: the most effective way is not playing a video game.

Anonymous said...

"The reason why they believe that the real gameplay of EVE and D3 [...]"

Would you mind giving us a precise description of "the real gameplay" both in EVE and D3? And try to be as concrete as you can be please.

Must admit I am pretty astonished how you went from "you have to define your own goal in EVE" to knowing _the_ real gameplay in less than two month' ... so just curious what is is.

Andrei said...

@Gevlon "the most effective way is not playing a video game"

It maybe true ... in a different context. The decision to play or not to play a video game like EVE is rarely made only based on spending personal time efficiently.

I replied in the context of the conversation you started claiming that buying ISK is equal to boosting M&S. My argument against this statement is that buying ISK if you can afford it could be about optimizing ISK making among all other things. And that anybody who can afford $50 a month on buying ISK is able to have the same income in EVE as you but with a lot less effort.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: gameplay is by definition competitive. EVE being sandbox, means that there is no developer defined toplist.

You can be the best pirate or own the most systems or be the richest. But if you are not doing anything competitive or cheat in it, you are skipping all forms of gameplay and just waste time.

Camo said...

"I think skipping the grind part to get faster to the challenge part might be a valid incentive to buy [...]"

Except that my thoughts were flawed.
In contrast to WoW/SC2/... there is no match making system in EVE that forces you to grind lesser skilled players until you are allowed to play against equals.

Ashdrake said...

I dont play eve, but if I would, ( I tried, too complicated for me sorry )
then spending 2 plexes per month 1 per account + 1 to have ISK (400mil or something), I would do that. Why
Because to make 400Mil I would have to spend more then 1 hour / month. Id rather work 1 more hour a month then spend 6hours doing boring stuff, like running missions or camping jita or mining.

Does that make a moron? I dont know, and I could care less. Its just the most efficient way to get money in the game and if the ratio is good like 1 hour real life = 10 hours farming ingame (even with 0.0 mining, in a group, you can make around 30m an hour or something like that) then its profitable and I will do that.

Anonymous said...

You guys all seem to be rather fixated with having a swollen pocketbook... there's more to EvE than "he who dies with the most (pixel) cash wins".

Anonymous said...

I still don't think you understand eve pvp. More isk and bigger ships won't magically make you able to kill others more efficient in eve.

Knowledge does.

So smart people bring the right tool for the right job.

Actually I would go as far as to say that whatever pimp battleship you come up, I can come up with a shipsetup for 1/10 th of the cost and completely humiliate that expensive fit.

And I am by no means very good at flying ships.