Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's not grind they skip! (and ISK sellers)

I am in firm belief that anyone buying PLEX for real money is simply a bad player. My favorite example is that if I buy my way into heavyweight boxing, paying managers to let me fight the champions it won't make me a top boxer, just a moron paying money to be beaten up (I'm not talking about illegal buying wins, just buying the matches themselves).

However the bad players and supporters keep telling that they just "skip the grind" as it's more "time efficient" to get $15 with their real life job than 500M ISK in EVE.

Finally I found the proof why it's bullshit: EVE is not WoW. In WoW to level 85 and get full honor gear is just matter of time. Anyone who is not serious mental patient can reach the level cap. You have to be very skilled in the game to artificially create a gear/talent/rotation that cannot defeat monsters of your level. Random picking will still steamroll. I soloed 5-man leveling dungeons 4-5 levels above me. Getting honor gear is even easier, you can do it completely AFK, just create a keyboard macro that jumps every 3 minutes to prevent being kicked from the battleground.

"The grind" is defined as trivial but lengthy process that is created either due to bad design or to create content where morons and slackers can feel heroes. Skilled players hate the grind as it's just a waste of time. Leveling to 85 and getting full honor gear doesn't make you better in arenas or rated BGs at all and also it's impossible to fail in it, except for not having time to do it. One who buys a honor-geared character doesn't do anything that increases his chance to win in arenas, simply skips a timesink.

Getting ISK in EVE is anything but trivial. You cannot create a "do this and this and this" guide that provides you ISK without the chance of failing. Mining? Along came a Tornado and you are 350M behind in a second. Missioning providing 100M/hour? A scanner neut alt, 3 Tornados and your 1.5B Tengu is history. Trading can obviously go wrong. There is simply no way to make ISK without getting into trouble.

Saying that "I could make 500M if I'd have 5 hours" is just as true as "I could have a 3:2 kill:death if I'd have 5 hours". You must prove it to reliably claim it. You can only skip content without being cheater if everyone agrees that the mentioned content is trivial. No sane WoW player would claim that you couldn't level up yourself. However many-many players are broke in EVE and for this reason buy PLEX from real money. Maybe you are not among them. Maybe you really could gain ISK if you'd have the time. But making that claim without proof is empty bragging. Anecdotal evidence that "I once ran missions for 50M/hour so I could do it again" is just as good as "I killed a Hel (3% damage done), so I can kill supercaps regularly". Maybe you were just extremely lucky that one time. Or times have changed and the opponents got smarter over the years.

You can only skip grind. If you skip competitive elements, you are cheating. Skipping any competitive element is cheating. Otherwise you are on the slippery slope of "I just skip one more element" until the point of you skip it all and buy a pilot with top killboard stats and peacock around without actually killing anyting yourself. That's not against the ToS either.

There is one exception of the above: if the goal of the player is not competitive with the others. For example if your aim is to have a planetary colony in every planet of Lonetrek and you buy PLEX to start it up faster, you defeated nobody in the process, so just bought convenience for yourself. Unless of course there is a planetary community with third party sites running with benchmarks and you climbed high with your purchase. Then, you are a cheater.

A related topic: illegal ISK selling. Buying illegal ISK is cheaper than PLEX. So many of the above cheaters do it. They shouldn't as their illegal transactions are reversed and now they are with negative wallet. Seems CCP really fight ISK selling. I wrote several articles back then why do Blizzard openly tolerates goldselling. I even found a blatant goldfarmer and reported him with no effect. Why? How come that the small CCP can do something against ISK selling and Blizzard cannot. The answer is simple: according to the dev blog, 1268 accounts were banned and 4.2T ISK seized. By removing this ISK, the customers of the ISK sellers could get their ISK only from CCP, by buying 8400 PLEX-es (4.2T/500M). 8400 is much greater than 1268. So the solution is that by selling PLEX, CCP is a competitor of the ISK sellers, so motivated to stop them. Blizzard, and all other MMO developers who don't do RMT themselves can't care less. You'll see that in Diablo 3, where official RMT exists, the same Blizzard that was impotent to catch the obvious bot I reported magically will be able to catch botters.

EVE Business report: Tuesday morning 17.4B (2 PLEX behind for second account, 0.3B spent on Titan project)
Remember that you can participate in our EVE conversations on the "goblinworks" channel (60-80 people on peak time) and your UI suggestions are welcomed.

PS: Comment on Hulkageddon from my girlfriend: "it's overrated"
My comment: with proper skills and Orca support the income is around 10M/hour which is far from being stellar, but safe (10 alpha Tornados needed, 12 if the pilot is at keyboard and overheats, ship costs 3 Tornados) and also it allows lowsec mining operations for much higher income assuming proper combat support is present as the miners are better tanked than the escort.


Carson 63000 said...

Yeah, I find it honestly hard to get my head around the concept of buying a PLEX for real $$ to turn into ISK. The "exchange rate" of fuckups:dollars is so high.

Even an unexciting battleship fit will set you back half a PLEX. One fuckup and you've blown half a month's subscription. As you said, a similar fuckup in a pimped Tengu and you're down $50. And once you get into the freighter, capital and supercapital killmails we see, if you were funding that through PLEX, that's $100, $500, $1000, several thousand dollars gone in the twinkling of an eye.

And then, at the other end of the spectrum, you've got new players who might genuinely benefit from some starting capital - but 500 million ISK? When I first started, if I could have dropped a buck and gotten 30 million ISK, I could have found a use for that. But 500 million, I wouldn't know what to do with it. So from that angle, the exchange rate makes PLEX-buying equally pointless for the opposite reason.

Anonymous said...

"The answer is simple: according to the dev blog, 1268 accounts were banned and 4.2T ISK seized. By removing this ISK, the customers of the ISK sellers could get their ISK only from CCP, by buying 8400 PLEX-es (4.2T/500M)."

Buying PLEX does not create ISK. If I buy a PLEX from CCP in order to sell on the market, CCP does not immediately create 500mil ISK and inject it into the economy. All it does it create an opportunity to move ISK around the economy.

Plus, the 4.2tril ISK seized by CCP is ISK that has been removed from the Eve economy forever. So it had the inverse effect of adding ISK to the economy (even though 4.2tril ISK is really not that much in the Eve economy).

caug said...

I'll admit that I bought a PLEX to get isk to start the game. A friend was teaching me to play and so I was learning at a fast pace. I didn't want to wait to get enough money to get better ships to run better missions or waste skill points on mining when I wanted to help out my friend and his corp with pvp. I haven't bought one since and I never plan to do so again. In fact I am close to being self sufficient with isk for multiple months.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: true but irrelevant. The buyer wants ISK. The current ISK:PLEX rate is 500M. By removing 500M from the ISKseller, one customer must buy one PLEX (or live without ISK)

Azuriel said...

Cheating requires rules to be broken. No rules are being broken via buying PLEX to turn to ISK, ergo no cheating is taking place.

You are presuming a "competition" which doesn't strictly exist.

Gevlon said...

@Azuriel: wrong. The competition is always there. Even in WoW where players created third party toplists for raiding.

If there is competition, there is cheating. Just because CCP don't hunt it for its own interest doesn't change it.

Just like buying Olympic medals is not illegal in real life. Still it's a cheating.

Anonymous said...

"Finally I found the proof why it's bullshit: EVE is not WoW."

I am sorry but in just about any description of the word "proof" is pointing out an unrelated fact mentioned.

I spend money only ships/fittings and skill books. Due to reimbursements this is not a huge amount of money, but it is a small constant drain.

My activity in the game is based around fleet/small gang pvp that is the area of the game I like to compete in.That is where I "compete"

You generate the vast majority of your ISK through station trading. This however has no transferable skills at all to PvP yet it allows you to make ISK and if you so wanted buy ships and shoot other ships.

You have chosen to spend your time doing what you enjoy to gain this ISK. I however do not enjoy/have the skills to trade effectively. It is not an essential skill for pvp so why not invest the same amount of time (or for me a lot less time)in the real work and generate GBP which I then use to buy PLEX to change for ISK?

Gevlon said...

@last anonymous cheater: you practically skip the part where you could be on the receiving end of ganking: in a PvE ship, a hauler or miner. By buying PLEX you only encounter other players when you are in your cheat-fitted PvP ship.

Without cheating you probably couldn't fit a frigate.

Azuriel said...

If there is competition, there is cheating.

That is the most ridiculously arbitrary argument I have heard yet.

You cannot have a competition without clearly defined, and universally accepted (within the competition) rules. Who determines when cheating takes place? You? Me? Someone else?

You are literally just making things up. It is like me declaring that you are a cheater at EVE for doing outside research instead of making all your own mistakes. Or you are a cheater for spending all your time in high sec. Or for not, you know, actually taking part in PvP.

Gevlon said...

Azuriel: The problem comes that the game developers did not define one way of winning. So the players made their own. It's not "me making things up", it's the community. They accept killboards as measure of "being good".

Any method that pushes you up on the chart by skipping competition with other players is cheating.

Caramael said...

Well that finally explains why you've been ignoring PLEX as a valid game mechanic, deleting comments of those who repeatedly try to point that out, and insist on insulting those who buy PLEX. They're cheaters. Oh boy.
Well, in that case, one has to be consistent. You shall not buy any more PLEX (wouldn't want to support the cheaters), and you're going to pay for all your accounts with dollars.

I'm going to stick with my hypothesis that PLEX is what keeps this game running:
1. Most multiboxers such as yourself (arguably the real cheaters in this game) would not exist if it weren't for PLEX.
2. The majority of casual/average players will leave the game once they find out they cannot PVP without spending a lot more time grinding ISK.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon has a point here. Even if it's not against TOS, the idea that leveraging out-of-game elements to win the game means cheating is kind of inherent in the idea of a game.

Otherwise, we end up with the absurd logical conclusion that competition in EVE is properly a competition of real life wealth. In this scenario, knowing how to play EVE and indeed actually playing EVE becomes a sub-optimal winning strategy.

Andru said...

Gevlon, I think you should read "Playing to win" again, particularly the part where Sirlin talks about "being cheap".

Because your argument comes dangerously close to that.

If the game does not declare it illegal, then it's not cheating. In fact, you come pretty close to being a "scrub", by introducing a set of fictitious rules that the game does not recognize.

Thus, your opinion of what constitutes "cheating" is just that, your opinion. Also, I must remind you that objective facts are not subject to democracy. "The community" can have an opinion on anything, but that does not make it true.

Gevlon said...

@Caramael: I'm not saying CCP should stop selling PLEX. The idiots shall keep buying it and finance their play. Most of them are the funny ones who cheat AND still lose.

The post is irrelevant in their relation since they are losers, who cares if they cheat. The post become relevant with otherwise successful PvP-ers. Their results (like killboard) become invalid if they buy PLEX.

If you disagree on the basis of "CCP allows it", I just buy a top PvP pilot (CCP allows it too) and then you shall acknowledge me for being top PvP-ers, despite both of us know I did not fire a single shot.

Anonymous said...

@Gevlon: you said, "They accept killboards as measure of "being good."

With Eve more so than any other MMO, PvP, killboards, nullsec alliances, etc, are just a small part of what this game offers.

Meaning that the "they" you point out, is just a small part of Eve. Others are traders, like yourself, or industrialists, or explorers, or whatever.

So the players in mass have not made up the rules that makes the KB the defining point of Eve in regards to who wins.

Gevlon said...

@last Anonymous: but ANY goal can be gained in EVE via ISK. So doesn't matter which community's definition you accept, still the trivial way to climb up on their toplist is buying ISK.

Jason Ambrye said...

"The idiots shall keep buying it and finance their play."

Not quite true ... it actually is "the idiots shall keep buying it and finance YOUR play."

If no-one buys PLEX, it would be impossible to buy those on the ISK market, and neither you nor anyone else would be able to play with multiple accounts for (essentially) free.

The only way a PLEX enters the game is when an actual player buys one to sell on the market (or CCP gives one as a reward for getting someone to subscribe). PLEX leave the game when they are destroyed, or used for gametime or other services. So no ISK is created or destroyed in the process, game-wise it doesn't matter if it's a PLEX or a unit of trit.

For people who only care for the "fly around and pew pew" experience of EVE, and don't enjoy the economic game at all, PLEX could be a good solution. If you enjoy small to mid-size ship combat, and fit them reasonably (not with deadspace or officer modules), you can get by with buying the occasional PLEX. As long as there are other people who enjoy creating ISK (selling to NPC buy orders (trade goods, dogtags, some sleeper loot), claiming on insurance, receiving bounties from killing NPCs (NPC pirates or drones), mission ISK rewards), the system can keep running.

Anonymous said...

I challenge the 'any goal' part.

Honestly, I'm a bit surprised you didn't go with a true traders goal.

It's hard to find history sometimes, but I was there in it's infancy, and let me tell you, THAT was hard. A few very determined industrialists began to craft and sell high-end capital ship modules in Dodixie, and after enough marketing and work, a new trade hub was born.

I'd have imagined you on the side of creating a better centralized hub than Jita, a true goblin's paradise of ruthless trading and profiteering, it's a bit odd to go the titan route. A true power-house of a trade hub would also fit into a one-universe order decently too.

Anonymous said...

I would love it if more people bought PLEX. Especially if they then spent it on a single ship. Yes, that ship might blow up mine - well, if it stumbled into my wormhole it would probably die a painful and helpless ecm and neut filled death - but if every ship that kills me in my eve play is PLEX funded I would rejoice!

More PLEX get bought the cheaper I can keep my 3 accounts running and the less impact plex has (i.e. triple supply of PLEX would not triple demand).

And the greatest thing? More PLEx bought=more profit for CCP! The only losers in this situation are the PLEX buyers.

p.s. a good fight is 2v1 odds+ecm+neuts+logi, plan to not lose any ships and to kill all of theirs. That PLEX-bought Archon gets neuted out in 30 seconds, it's plex bought support are ecm'd, the remaining sub caps focussed down. Their PLEX won't get their pods out of the bubble either.

Anonymous said...

The problem with your argument is that it's not possible to build up an impressive killboard just by spending ISK.

Look at the killboard for the character 'Heinky' for a fairly egregious example of this. Most of his kills post purchase come from massively overpowering his opponents, not exactly a stellar killboard.

The second problem with your argument is that I know of plenty of people - including some in corps like RnK, Veto/Kappelle and Agony who used to make plenty of ISK in game, but who due to life changes now fund a lot of their play via converting PLEX for ISK.

One particularly large trader I know regularly hires people to develop custom trade tools for him with rates of around 1-2bil isk/hour. Is that 'cheating' by your measure also? If not, why not?

Stabs said...

OK, let me give you an example of two players, Gevlon.

Player A starts Eve. Buys 20 plex and simply sells and rebuys them constantly, earning 500m per month just profiting on the margins for an insignificant amount of labour. It's just ROI on capital and it pays for him to play Eve.

Cost = $15 * 20 = $300.

Player B plays Eve. He pays a $15 sub every month. He prefers to pvp and never makes any money he doesn't re-invest in pvp ships.

Cost = $15 per month.

Are they boths morons in your opinion? Is the second guy (who is spending more real life money after 21 months for the same result) a bigger moron?

It seems to me you are assuming everyone should be trading their way to wealth. As trading is not an isk faucet that couldn't work if we all did it.

Mazzzy said...

Gevlon started really well, providing deep analysis on various games, but recently got arrogant and started posting complete bullshit.

His logic is false;
If the player is good, buying plex will get him to a result he wants faster. If he is bad - plex will not help ever.

Real life example
Chelsea coach could have brought the great amateurs and used his "skill" to train them and practice and win the game. Instead he used lots of money - because he knew - sometimes you need to spend money if you need to get to the goal fast.

If coach was bad - no money would have helped him.

Gevlon said...

@Mazzzy: if "money doesn't help the bad at all" could be proved, the rest would be trivially true. However its pretty trivially not.

For example a PLEX-buyer never shows up on Hulkageddon killboards since he never flies a Hulk to grind money.

Your statement is true if we only look at the very top of PvP, buying money won't make someone top PvP-er. However it can elevate someone to the top 10%

Anonymous said...

Who cares if they get to top 10 or 20%? Pretty social outlook to think it matters.

What matters to me is that I can buy PLEX ingame for as little isk as possible and that CCP makes enough profit to continue this game and improve it.

Let them buy PLEX, get some of goodfights and close losses. I hope they have lots of fun and continue to buy PLEX. This behaviour only helps me.

Eaten by a Grue said...

I think Gevlon is right. Using out-of-game means to further success in-game cheapens the in-game success. CCP sanctioning and facilitating this process maybe takes it out of the "cheating" category, technically, but the fact still remains that something is not right.

But I would ask, so what? There is nothing that can be done. CCP will continue to sell PLEX and people will continue to buy them. This is not the Olympics, where winning is important, and in fact winning is not even defined except by each player to himself. The debate is pretty pointless.

Anonymous said...

I can make billions of isk per month by station trading (haven't you created 3 alts for just that?). The skills required - both ingame aka trade skills and rl like being good with spreadsheets - have ZERO impact on anything else in the game.

Translated to your (obviously stupid) boxing example your claim would be: by learning how to make good money I am already training for the boxing.

And while station trading is obviously an extreme case, I'd claim that the minimal anti-pvp measures necessary to be a hauler or a miner teach you almost nothing about actually doing pvp yourself.

TLDR: Making isk has minimal effect on your combat pvp abilities and hence how you make the isk (grind or buy) has no noticable effect on your ingame performance, aka killboard ranking.

Anonymous said...

Currently, the game is not resource-limited.
As that, getting shipped is epically easy.
"Good" in EVE is not accepted on any avaiable data, only after fightning.

Anonymous said...

In all respects, your perception of the game for everyone is what is skewed. You assume EVE is a giant Economy, therefore the only thing to win is ISK, therefore we are all just trying to get rich.

That's where you are wrong or you don't understand ISK buyers. Yes, economy is what makes EVE grand, but many to probably most players are playing to have fun. Their fun isn't making ISK. ISK making or obtaining is just a need to fuel the fun. In many respects, that's just jumping on for some PVP. PVP is expensive. You either have ways of making money to fund it, or you have find alternatives.

If I only have 10 hours or less a week to play, I don't have the time to make ISK. All I care about is jumping on, shooting stuff, posting killmails and repeating that in my spare time without obligations to monitoring markets or my sales. If I make the money, why not buy the ISK needed to fuel that effort.

The trade is for a little more real life money keeps me from "grinding".

Granted there are much more effective alternatives to heafty PVEing in the game to make money. But I not only understand ISK buyers, many of us rely on them.

They are not skipping a grind. They are simply subtracting what would otherwise be boring or tedious PVEing so that they can simply spend more time PVPing. If you have the money, why not?

Your concentration for EVE is not my concentration in EVE. I read your blog often. Amazing what you have turned around in ISK on such a young toon.

Am I going to do your formula? Fuck no. I make 500M wiht about 4 hours of work and I don't have to monitor or track a thing. Well, other than some Fed Comet sales.
I buy myself some game time and then do it again for about 2 months worth of ships. Sometime I don't even feel like doing that and I'll buy time or ISK myself to fuel the little time of PVPing I can in EVE. It's all respective to your needs in the game.

EVE is PVP for me. The ISK that I make is just to fuel it. Not all EVE players are trying to accomplish the same thing. That's the beauty of the game.

Paininabox said...

Wow, Gevlon is really broaching some M/S territory here. There is only what you can do and what you can't do, and any concept of cheating is only an "ape subroutine" as Gevlon likes to say. Buying PLEX is completely legal, and thus the concept that doing so makes you "bad" is pretty pathetic. Especially when first starting out, doing an hour or two of overtime to buy a couple PLEX is way more efficient than trying to make equal amounts of ISK in game when you don't have the means. However, as players become more advanced and gain the capability to make more ISK more quickly and more efficiently, there comes a tipping point where playing for ISK is more efficient than working for PLEX, unless you make a very high wage.

Also, getting ISK is trivial. Very trivial. Just because there are risks doesn't mean that they are not evadable and acceptable losses when compared to how much you net. The fact that the vast majority of ISK in game comes from mission runners shows just how big a "risk" it is (

You don't see anyone telling the superrich that they are "bad" because their grandma paid for Ivy League college and proceeded on to big careers over normal people that have to work and take out loans for lesser schools and juggle a family, etc. Anybody crying about it is quickly told that life isn't fair, and to suck it up and deal with it.

And owning a good PVP pilot doesn't make you a PVP guru. You'd think that that would be self-evident, but apparently being on a list to seem better is equally important to actually being better, which is a very "social" way of looking at it.

I wish Gevlon would stop feeling hypotheses and shoehorning poor logic around it.

Dable said...

I cannot see why buying PLEXes is cheating.

First, There is a great deal of real-life competitive activities where investing(burning) money is integral part of the winning process. Some of the most watched sports in the world are actually following this scheme: soccer (see Chelsea for example), Formula 1 and the America's Cup. The right comparison of buying PLEX would then be the investment of outside money to such competitive activities. And at the end it only makes the palette of personalities, motivations and goals more colorful.

Gevlon: If we follow your logic the wealth number that you are bragging about at the end of your post is also a result of "cheating". Granted you didn't buy a PLEX but you did use your real-life skills of blogger to earn yourself the ISK equivalent of PLEX in the form of presents which effectively increase 100 fold your investment capital. And "2 PLEX behind for second account" is just another way of saying "I bough 2 PLEX so I do not lose investment capital".

Finally, I can agree with the general assessment that it is stupid to finance oneself using PLEXes. Even if one values real-life time more than the in-game time there are so many other games that allow one to shoot things/players with big guns that do not require a single dime. But at the end it is player's choice and as long it does not violate the rules set by CCP none is entitled to judge them.

Hivemind said...

Oh Gevlon, I love how you refuse to ever use a weapon yet blog as if you're an authority on every playstyle in the sandbox.

First, you're wrong when you say "You cannot create a "do this and this and this" guide that provides you ISK without the chance of failing". You totally can; there are actually a bunch of them floating around the web. Sure, hulk miners and uber-pimp mission ships are subject to suicide ganking for tears and loot, but it's very easy to create a functional ship for mining or missioning that is cheap enough to fly under the radar of suicide gankers. You've got a picture of a mining Rokh on your post - it'll mine about 2/3s as fast as a mining-focused Hulk with just T2 mods and is a whole lot tougher AND cheaper. It's not going to get ganked unless you start insulting gankers' mothers - for the effort they'd need to kill you they could kill 5 Hulks or more, maybe even an Orca, and get better odds of tears and better drops/salvage. For missions, take a basic Raven battleship, throw on a T2 fit and T1 rigs and it'll run any L4 mission without breaking a sweat, and gank squads will pass you over and keep waiting for the shiny ship that'll actually pay off their gank ships.

Second, you act like every player is in a competition with every other player in every aspect. To explain: Yes, every activity in EVE has its metrics of success or failiure, and people can and do compare themselves to other players based on these metrics, but not every pilot cares about the metrics for every activity they partake in. If you are primarily a lowsec PvPer but you also run missions on the side to fund your losses, you may care about your killboard efficiency but you probably don't care about having more ISK/hour than the next mission runner, as long as you make enough to fund your PvP. If you're a nullsec miner who rents space from a large alliance you might arm up and PvP for CTAs from your patrons, but you likely don't care about how their sov conquering goes (as long as it includes the part you live in) but you do care about how many m3 of ABC ores you mine per hour. A player may consider several aspects of their playstyle grind, even if there are other players for whom that 'grind' is the juicy core of their gameplay.

Third, you seem to be missing the point where the one thing you can't buy in EVE is skill at the game. When you convert PLEX to ISK you don't also learn how to fit a ship, what roles it can and can't do, how to counter opponents in different situations etc. There are plenty of examples of smaller, more elite groups up-engaging against larger or more expensively fit gangs because they were better at the game, using smarter fits etc. You talk about someone buying their way up to the top 10% of the killboard with PLEX, that simply doesn't happen. The most they could get is more kills by throwing lots of ships at enemies until they get a kill, which might get them on more killmails but will completely screw their efficiency, which is what most leetpvp types care about more. Sure, a player with PLEX (or ISK for that matter) can buy a character who already has good efficiency and kills, but then they'll plow them into the ground when they take over without the skills to back up that record.

Andrei said...

Gevlon, I don't think your analogy of buying heavyweight champion title is relevant here. A better analogy would be a kid from a poor neighborhood taking multiple jobs to pay for college tuition, fighting his/her way to move up in life and complaining about rich kids who attended top schools and landed a high paying job or started successful business using their parents money and connections. Calling them cheaters who didn't earn their success.

Gevlon said...

There are 3 possibilities:
1: ISK buying is legitimate way of winning. This case the best way to win EVE is to not play EVE but earn money
2: ISK buying is not accepted way by the community. This case the buyers are cheaters.
3: ISK buying doesn't help you win. This case the ISK buyers are idiots who waste money on nothing.

Anonymous said...

"1: ISK buying is legitimate way of winning. This case the best way to win EVE is to not play EVE but earn money"


4: "Winning at EVE" is orthogonal to earning the most ISK.

Kristophr said...


Someone has to introduce those PLEX into the game for you to buy up. It might as well be them.

Red Vs. Blue PvPers who detest missioning buy PLEX all the time.

Be there to take that PLEX off their hands, so they can have fun blowing each other's ships to hell why giving each other GFs in local chat.

( One of my alts is in RvB ... he goes through frigates while I learn more about PvP. Since I am a competent wormhole denizen, this is pocket change for me. )

Hivemind said...

@ Gevlon

You're stuck in an all/nothing mindset on this thing. You miss option 4: ISK via whatever source is only part of the process of winning, not a guarantee of victory. Acquisition of ISK via PLEX sale is considered perfectly legitimate by the community, and they will laugh in your face and then shoot you if you think that buying into a shiny ship will guarantee you killboard success.

Anonymous said...

There are a few absolutes e.g. TOS violations, hacking & crimes.

But for everything else, there are not absolutes.

Someone who is poor with a 20:1 k/d might think you are playing the game wrong because of your combat. You might think they are a M&S due to being poor. What either of you think is irrelevant to the other. Certainly neither of you get to determine "winning" or "cheating" for the other.

Your 20:37 comment assumes that "winning" in an MMO exists. And that it is the same for different people. The former is almost certainly false and the latter certainly is false.

If you care about making ISK, then buying ISK is cheating. If you don't care about making ISK, you probably don't care. Certainly a 0.0 combat pilot does not get offended if someone buys a PLEX to buy a hulk & Orca. If you care about "eBushido"/honor then 3-to-1 attacking you is poor play. If you care about conquering the other side, then prevailing in a 3-to-1 is winning and dieting 1-1 is losing.

tl;dr the main thing is that "winning" is designed to be very personal in a game where the financial success of the game would be hurt if almost every player can't find something they enjoy.


A different point is that this is a game that winning or losing does not change the value of purchasing ISK. Take the example:

Person 1 spends 90 hours a month playing EVE and Gevlon thinks they are a huge loser

Person 2 spends one PLEX and 15 hours a month playing EVE and Gevlon thinks they are a huge loser

For employed adults and many others, usually person 2 will have made a better life choice even though "winning" was not involved. And most people would say that the person who unsubbed EVE and did something productive IRL probably made a much better choice than either of these.

Nielas said...

This debate happens because the limits of the 'competition' tend to be ill-defined.

When it comes to games we try to define precise limits to what the game entails and what is part of the game and what is not. However, we cannot 100% isolate the players from things outside the game. Thus we get those areas of dispute where we do not have consensus on what is part of the game and what is not.

For the PvPers, getting ISK is outside the bounds of the game they are playing inside EVE so they do not care where it comes from. For others the economic game is all that matters. Others consider the everything in EVE as a necessary part of the game and do not think that you are 'winning' unless you excel at all parts.

Anonymous said...

I kinda lost you here Gevlon.

I don't really consider buying plex for $$ as cheating. Eve is a sandbox so everyone can make up their own winning conditions.

Winning at Eve is playing while having fun at the game.

If someone likes to shoot other ships but doesn't like to grind isk, why stop him? The extra hours flying ships in will make him a more experienced pilot better at killing other pilots as opposed to a missioner shooting rats 80% of the time and losing pvp ships in the other 20%.

You can lose eve big time though, and most of the community agrees on this: no matter how much isk you have, if you lose your titan and there is just a tiny bit of doubt that you did something stupid, then you just lost eve and be probably better off deleting your character.

Good luck with your titan.

Anonymous said...

Unknown said: "Also, getting ISK is trivial. Very trivial."

How many months did it take you to get the ISK for your first titan, Unknown?

Azuriel said...

Using out-of-game means to further success in-game cheapens the in-game success.

The fundamental problem with that premise hasn't changed: it is 100% arbitrary.

What constitutes "out-of-game means?" Gevlon did outside research on his station trading, reading other blogs, leveraging his own blog for advice, and so on. Such information may have been free, but so what? Is someone getting PLEX for free not also cheating? If I pay a Russian Chess grandmaster to teach me how to play Chess, is that cheating if I take those skills into a college Chess tournament? What if said grandmaster was my uncle who taught me for free?

The argument is ridiculous, doubly so for presuming that "the community" (however that is defined) even knows what they are competing for, and under what rules. I would even agree with you on a personal level that buying into game wealth or advanced characters cheapens the game experience, but it is a legitimate part of EVE's game-rules. Ergo, complaining about it is no different than complaining about "cheap moves" in fighting games ala the Play to Win article. If you CAN legitimately "win the game" with money, choosing not to is dumb on your part.

If you were looking for a more "fair" competition, you should be playing a different game. Preferably one without a cash shop.

There are 3 possibilities: [snip]

No, there is exactly one possibility: EVE isn't a game that can be "won."

The competition you speak of is social competition for the fake respect of your e-peers and exists only in your head. It's a sandbox! You don't win anything else.

Paininabox said...

"How many months did it take you to get the ISK for your first titan, Unknown?"

Hey now, keep the strawmen out of this. I didn't say getting billions upon billions of ISK is trivial, but for 80% of players, getting enough ISK to maintain whatever gameplay you enjoy is very possible, particularly when most people make money as they play how they want.

It's also easy to mission for tens of millions of ISK per hour in almost complete safety in a ship most people would not bother suiciding for. Anyone crying about being broke in this game isn't trying.

Ephemeron said...

Back in WoW, you used to purchase herbs in bulk quantities to supply your glyph industry. You didn't go flying around Sholazar or Storm Peaks harvesting nodes; instead, you used gold to "skip the grind".

Did that make you a bad player who didn't even have the skills to farm herbs on his own? A cheater who used external resources to gain advantage in some nebulous "let's see who can obtain more Lichbloom stacks" competition? An idiot who wasted gold on something that does not help him "win the game"?

No, you simply found playing the AH to be more enjoyable (and suitable to your talents and skills) than gathering, worked to improve your performance in that area, and then traded the products of your work to other players who specialized in different spheres. OK, maybe that means that you were "bad" at farming - at least, compared to professional farmers using optimized routes and custom addons - but that didn't make you a bad player.

Similarly, someone who sells PLEX for ISK isn't necessarily a bad player - it simply means that he finds making money IRL more enjoyable than grinding ISK ingame, and/or his skills at IRL moneymaking are superior to his ISK-making abilities. Therefore, it makes sense for him to engage in his favorite activity and trade the results of his work for ISK instead of farming it by himself.

It's Microeconomics 101: if player A is good at making dollars and player B is good at making ISK, then both players will be better off if they exchange resources than if each tried to farm both dollars and ISK on his own.

Anonymous said...

re your "Even in WoW where players created third party toplists for raiding." that is exactly the point. People created top lists that measured what they personally thought was better. But, for example, all the efforts at Arena rankings did not change the fact that 90+% of the players did not play Arena. Games have had victory conditions for thousands of years. It was a design choice not an accident that MMO companies did not have them for their games. Just because some people create a website does not mean it is a metric for success for any but their voluntary users.

Many/most EVE players think staying exclusively in high-sec is if not cheating at least an unseemly avoidance of the spirit of EVE. Many of said care bears don't particularly care what they think.


Besides, this is EVE. There are games that try to keep RL$ out of the performance - e.g. WoW. EVE is certainly and deliberately not like that.

Gevlon said...

There is a significant problem with the "everyone makes his own victory condition in a sandbox". It's ganking. No matter what you do, someone can show up and make you lose whatever you do. And ISK allows him to continue to do so ignoring consequences.

Hivemind said...

How does ganking invalidate players own victory conditions/metrics?

Ephemeron said...

"And ISK allows him to continue to do so ignoring consequences."

I think I've put my finger on the root of the problem here.

Gevlon, all of your arguments against PLEX trade make perfect sense - but only if we assume that making money IRL is a trivial risk-free activity that requires no skill or effort. And despite all efforts of socialists, welfare enthusiasts and other "freindly helpful ppl", that assumption is not true.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: because one can enforce his victory condition to others by ganking them.

@Ephemeron: true that for most people getting E15 is probably just as long as solo mining 500M ISK but it's an out-of-game skill. Again, if we accept this, the conclusion is "the best way of winning EVE is being good in RL money making"

Eaten by a Grue said...

Azuriel, you are overthinking this in your analogies. Getting advice about a game, say even paid advice, is not the out-of-game means I am talking about. I am talking about being able to literally buy your way to advancement.

The best analogy I can come up with is this. Let's say there is a ranking of top scores in an arcade game. In this game, you can choose to add quarters to continue the game after you lose your initial three lives or what have you, thereby giving you a chance to build your score further.

Compare a player who achieves a score on a single quarter compared to a player who just puts in hundreds of quarters to achieve a higher score. It's not cheating, as the game allows this, but it certainly cheapens the achievement.

Ephemeron said...

Again, if we accept this, the conclusion is "the best way of winning EVE is being good in RL money making".

The thorny issue of whether it's possible to "win EVE" aside... yes, being good at making real money can be the best ISK-making skill. Or it can be the worst. Or anything in between. The answer to that question varies from person to person and depends on multiple factors (salary, available playtime, overtime options, personal preferences, ISK/PLEX market rate, etc.)

Anonymous said...

If a play is within the rules of the game, it is not cheating. Read a dictionary, gevlon, and quit making stuff up to prove your superiority. You continue to narrowly define winning by your own abstract, contradictory notions, and call people names when they play a different way. It's egotistical and self involved.

Getting ganked isn't losing. You lose some ISK, or gold, or w/e depending on the game, but it isn't the end of the game - if your goal is JUST making more in-game currency (a boring, pointless, empty goal in any game I've ever played), you reship and continue pursuing your goal. If your goal is leetpvp status, the ganker did you a favor by providing a lesson from which to learn some new wrinkle of the game. You can't lose at a game with no clock or defined end-point (any MMO ever made, e.g.). You can be better or worse than other players at some task or set of tasks, you can lose matches, be last to do X, etc. but that's not the same as 3 outs bottom of the ninth game over.

Buying PLEX is not buying win. The only scenario in which that statement is false is if your goal is biggest in-game bank account, and because of the relatively fixed demand, that may not even be possible; trying to sell that many PLEX would crash the market and drastically reduce your profit. Buying PLEX can make you more likely to win a fight than you would have been otherwise, but it doesn't make you a better pilot.

Anonymous said...

@EbaG: The biggest point is that EVE deliberately does not have a "high score." There is no number that says how you did. Some people value learning and think using OOG resources is cheating; you & I don't. Some are socials and think using Google is cheating but asking in corp chat is not. I think L2Google is a reasonable response to most questions.

Re your quarters in the arcade: It may cheapen the achievement for you. It may not cheapen at all the achievement felt by the person whose name is at the top of the leader board. The multi-quarter guy may even enjoy the achievement more because of how upset the lesser ranked but more skilled people feel. They may even post about it on SA forums.

In my value system, Gevlon's ganking concept does not change much. If you lose 2% of your assets due to ganking,then that does not prove anything, it is just a cost of doing business like a market tax or refining fee. A high-sec trader who never flies a cargo that it is profitable to suicide kill will still see some losses but a quite small % loss if they avoid events like Hulkageddon. And once you get your seed capital, whether by PLEX or region wide skill book orders, then station trading is a quite common way to make ISK. And station traders with jump clones make ISK in ways that are immune to combat ganking.

Ragelle said...

As someone in the game for over 4 years I have to say that the overwhelming response of the community to the introduction of PLEX was positive. You will be hard pressed to find any veteran players in the game that have any problem with players buying PLEX from CCP.

Plex is used by people with more cash than time ... The key difference between WoW and EVE with regard to this form of RMT is that PLEX is integrated into a real player driven economy.

PLEX is an attempt (and a successful one btw) to turn RMT away from a net social loss for the game and an economic loss for CCP and actually make it a positive for both. Players in a position with the time to invest in the game that would normally be burning out can buy in game PLEX to reduce their cost to play --- keeping them in the game and the community for years longer than any promise of a new expansion would. At the same time those accounts are being paid for by those players looking to reduce their own need to spend time in the game doing tasks they don't enjoy and don't personally benefit from. This is the definition of a successful market -- bringing different parties together to exchange value. IT IS NOT ZERO SUM as it is with bots/gold sellers in WoW or other games precisely because all parties to the transactions gain value ... the PLEX buyer, the PLEX seller, and CCP.

The only threat to this form of RMT is that bot programs overwhelm the ability of individual players to meaningfully participate in the market. Eliminate the bots (as CCP is doing) and you have a successful market that brings value to everyone and is one everyone can participate in.

Direct RMT, like the Aurum introduction are vehemently opposed by the entire player-base of EVE. That form of RMT is true threat to the long term health of EVE if CCP were to go ahead and allow the sale of "golden ammo". The "Summer of Rage" that caused CCP to totally reverse direction last fall was specifically about RMT, PLEX never figured into it. Learning the difference between those two is fundamental to understanding the RMT issue in EVE.

Hivemind said...

I still don't understand why "Someone can blow you up in space" invalidates player's ability to define their own victory conditions, or success metrics. It might well prove a setback if it does happen, but that doesn't change the goal, or how you measure your success. If your goal is to have a certain K:D ratio then getting blown up will set you back from your target, but it doesn't mean you have to give up on ever hitting it.

Or, to put it another way, it's possible that you could invest large amounts of ISK in goods someone else was manipulating, then they flood the market and devalue your stock. Does that invalidate your goal of making ISK through trading?

Anonymous said...

'"The grind" is defined as trivial but lengthy process that is created either due to bad design or to create content...'

Gelvon, you mention grinding honor as well, a grind. I'm sure you would agree with me when I say BH daily quests were also a grind. If you watch this video: you can see how "hard" missions are. In my opinion, level 4 missions are comparable to daily quests in both difficulty and entertainment (boring and easy). btw a level 4 raven fit is ~250 million and has around 50k EHP.

Simply using: + + evemon; you can pretty much steamroll missions with no real risk. I mean who is going to gank a raven worth 250million with 50k EHP?

Azuriel said...

@EbaG Compare a player who achieves a score on a single quarter compared to a player who just puts in hundreds of quarters to achieve a higher score. It's not cheating, as the game allows this, but it certainly cheapens the achievement.

Sure, but who in their right mind would use the high score as a metric for achievement in such a game? Nobody! We are all agreeing here that the "competition" in such a game would NOT be who has the high score, but rather who got the highest score with the least quarters.

Problem is, Gevlon is still sticking to his high score metric (e.g. ISK), thus declaring anyone who uses more than one quarter as cheating. It's not. Maybe it is in his make-believe competition, but the arcade game itself acknowledges no difference in how the high scores were obtained.

I like your arcade analogy, but it occurs to me that running for political office also fits here. Candidate A runs on the strength of his arguments and his voting record. Candidate B buys a lot of campaign advertisements. We may be able to admire Candidate A's integrity and the soundness of his policies, but politics is a game that can be won with money.

Someone can buy their way into a Titan with cash. That possibility does not "cheapen" your achievement; if you feel it does, you chose the wrong game (or aspect of the game) to play right from the start. People can buy ISK, so why are you competing over it? Compete over things which money cannot buy, and stop claiming people cheat when they spend money on social status.

Rethyl said...

Any non-PVPer who really believes that ISK can buy you PVP victory... please please please buy the most expensive ship you can possibly put together, then come hunt me down. I'm *sure* my tears will be well worth your cost ;)

(p.s. I'm not even that good at PVP, but I'm more than confident I can take on anyone who actually believes that money is the "hard part" of serious PVPing.)