A different kind of Eve drama.
June 24, 2011 2:31 PM   Subscribe

Tuesday: Incarna, the latest expansion to Eve Online, introduces an in-game "micro"-transaction store where virtual clothes and jewelry cost more than the same items would go for in the real world. Players are not impressed.
Wednesday: A purported internal CCP Games newsletter is leaked (direct PDF link) indicating, contrary to previous unambiguous promises to the community, plans for greatly expanding the scope of items and services available to be purchased for real money in Eve Online. The forums erupt.
Today: CCP confirms that the document is real.

Eve Online is famous for its huge and vibrant player driven economy. It is interesting to note that much of the outrage among the player base is not about introducing real-money transactions per se, but rather about the devastating effect they will have on the in-game economy.
posted by 256 (72 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Huh. I never imagined that the next major financial crisis, the next bubble and crash, would be in the virtual world.

I guess that's where most real world finance is anyway, though.
posted by darkstar at 2:34 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

"...virtual clothes and jewelry cost more than the same items would go for in the real world" doesn't seem to be true. From the second link:
The vanity items appear to have been comically overpriced. If you’re buying PLEX directly from CCP and you convert it to enough to buy an in-game shirt, you’ll have paid the equivalent of $25. In other words, as much or more than you’d pay for a real-life shirt.
How much do you typically pay for a shirt? Yes, buying a $25 in-game (I.E.: not real) shirt is kind of ridiculous (vs $14.95 for one month of play), but that's not an unusual price to pay for a physical shirt.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:39 PM on June 24, 2011

Dear CCP: fuck you. Not for the microtransactions, not for lying to your players. We're accustomed to that. No, fuck you for updating your game to the point that my four-year-old Mac will no longer run it, fuck you for burying the system specs so deep in your website it took me 30 minutes to find them, fuck you for not giving me the option to opt-out of the new interface and run the old one that worked just fine, fuck you fuck you fuck you.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:40 PM on June 24, 2011 [11 favorites]

I don't play Eve Online, but this is fascinating reading (I've only lurked in previous Eve threads and have been consistently amazed at how complex/detailed the game is). Thanks, 256.
posted by bayani at 2:43 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Eve has allowed real money trade for several years now, via the intermediate currency of PLEX. It's been very cleverly designed so you can put real money in to buy virtual spaceships, etc, but it's difficult to take significant amounts of real money out. Moving to direct RMT transactions for in-game stuff makes perfect sense. Is it good for the game and it's players? I don't know but it's not without precedent in Eve.

Eve continues to be the only online game with a really interesting economy.
posted by Nelson at 2:43 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Man, EVE players are pissed right now. The real concern is not the expense of the vanity items, although that's a bit silly. But CCP has straight up told the playerbase that MT will be vanity online, and now the leaked internal newsletter pretty much confirms that the plan is to offer game mechanic advantages through MT. Not good.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:45 PM on June 24, 2011

So now the base game is free, right?
posted by theodolite at 2:46 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nelson: The way that PLEX works is fascinating, but there is a fundamental difference in that the only value PLEX has in game is that assigned to it by the player-driven market. It is a de facto unit of exchange between ISK and EUR/USD.

When CCP briefly floated the idea of temporarily selling a limited edition ship for money, the outcry was not about the ship being sold, but rather about the fact that people might melt the ship down for scrap metal, thus devastating the mineral market.
posted by 256 at 2:50 PM on June 24, 2011 [10 favorites]

Eve is probably one of the only sources of foreign exchange Iceland has left after the default. Those $25 imaginary shirts and $70 techno-monocles could be the last hope of the economy of an entire nation.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:51 PM on June 24, 2011 [8 favorites]

Just wait until the clothing line has Bitcoin logos all over it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:52 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

i have never played Eve Online, but i utterly and completely love Eve Online. i've been reading Eve stories for years, and they are singularly the most interesting video game stories i've ever heard. this is no exception.
posted by radiosilents at 3:02 PM on June 24, 2011 [9 favorites]

I knew bitcoins were the safer investment.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:32 PM on June 24, 2011

fuck you for not giving me the option to opt-out of the new interface and run the old one that worked just fine, fuck you fuck you fuck you.

I hit the favorite button on this so hard I hurt my finger.

Seriously, I HATE this new station walking crap in every way possible. I liked pretending that the dirty secret of EVE was that the capsuleers were in fact just brains in vats and their portraits were wish-fulfillment on the part of the bodiless freaks that flew all the ships. It was an amusing layered fantasy on top of the conceit of the game that made it more fun for me.

In addition, I can only log on to do my skill queue before it gives me a BSoD on my machine, and I haven't logged in since before the 21st, so I'm pretty sure that I now can't even do that.

We should be able to opt out of this new bullshit. I don't want it, I don't need it, and it sounds like a lot of other people don't either.
posted by winna at 3:42 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Lord of the Rings Online went free-to-play some time back. When they did, they introduced all sorts of real-money transactions that bestowed gameplay benefits. Get a permanent +10 to a stat for eight bucks -- that kind of thing.

That's fairly common among free-to-play games. not merely paying real money for access to extended content, but for making your character more powerful than characters who haven't forked over a fistful of cash.

The sad thing is that I would rather play a game where gold farmers sell in-game currency and items for cash than a game where the company itself is selling the same thing for cash, and I can't quite enunciate why.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:48 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

The sad thing is that I would rather play a game where gold farmers sell in-game currency and items for cash than a game where the company itself is selling the same thing for cash, and I can't quite enunciate why.

I'd think the fact that there's a number of constraints on gold farmers (Employee productivity, server load, hardware required) that just aren't there for the company - A "Sword Of Infinite Asskickery" will cost a farmer 30,000 man hours (same as in town...) but the company can make as many as they like and sell them for whatever price they want - Which will eventually be directly tied to how badly they need the money.
posted by Orb2069 at 4:06 PM on June 24, 2011

How much do you typically pay for a shirt? Yes, buying a $25 in-game (I.E.: not real) shirt is kind of ridiculous (vs $14.95 for one month of play), but that's not an unusual price to pay for a physical shirt.

Well, these are EVE geeks. We're not talking a Polo Ralph Lauren or Hugo Boss dress shirt, we're talking about that awesome CCP t-shirt you picked up at E3 back in 2006 or whatever for the Revelations release. Sure, it's got a little pizza sauce on it, but other than that it looks great.

(EVE geek here)
posted by formless at 4:07 PM on June 24, 2011

Dude, and I thought my disdain for World of Warcraft's cash purchase vanity items was bad. Lord only knows what a Celestial Steed costs in real life.

I do love the Eve and CCP drama. It's real drama, though, despite the fact it's a virtual world, and I see it as a huge, incredible, awesome experiment.

I have also wondered, for a long time, how a really big exploit will come about. Something like real world billions of dollars moving through a virtual world and back. Gold farmers and account hackers are peanuts to what scheme an enterprising Goldman Sachs or IMF unit might come up with.
posted by Xoebe at 4:10 PM on June 24, 2011

City of Heroes just went (mostly) free to play. And there is a story about Team Fortress 2 going free as well. Both will have a form of micro-transaction as well. It's the way of the gaming world these days.
posted by Splunge at 4:14 PM on June 24, 2011

The problem with CCP is they are the company that actually does seem to be out to get their players. Like it's a running conspiracy theory that the devs are influencing the game for their pet guild in every MMO, but they actually WERE giving their guild things in EVE. It's a running conspiracy theory that every developer is actively contemplating ways to milk their playerbase at every turn, but they actually ARE if that newsletter is any guide. And they don't go through the ritual gestures of being sorry when they're caught, they just mumble a few things, toss off a few promises, and go back to what they were doing.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 4:19 PM on June 24, 2011

City of Heroes just went (mostly) free to play. And there is a story about Team Fortress 2 going free as well. Both will have a form of micro-transaction as well. It's the way of the gaming world these days.

No, TF2 is definitely going free-to-play. Although the in-game microtransaction stuff is, as I understand, all vanity.

But, you are right that this is the way things are going. And if done ethically, it can actually be a great model for everybody. If it's done just to milk people, then it ruins otherwise perfectly good games.
posted by Netzapper at 5:26 PM on June 24, 2011

Xoebe: Celestial Steed is still $25, but every character on your account gets it. shows up in your mailbox when that level 1 spawns for the first time. you don't need to buy it multiple times, it's just there.
posted by mephron at 5:55 PM on June 24, 2011

I love EVE threads. I give it moments before an in-game group figures out how to exploit this.
posted by msbutah at 6:06 PM on June 24, 2011

Riots ensued shortly after the "Greed is Good" internal memo was released where Jita, a major trade hub, has been completely locked down by 1500+ pilots. Live feed here
posted by samsara at 7:29 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Let me say first that I've never played EVE, partly because of the lack of an actual playable avatar before the latest updates. This is all secondhand/from observation, so do correct me if I'm wrong somehow.

The community id quite dedicated, and they're right to be outraged over this. CCP stated in the past that they would never offer items for real cash. Their system allows the player-driven economy to exist and be extremely robust. Some people 'play' EVE like a second job. And through the game, you can earn enough to actually pay for your monthly subscription fees, making the game free for those who are dedicated. CCP stated all of the game's updates and expansions would be free to those who have the game and a subscription. They also stated they'd never do this microtrasaction business.

The community feels its trust has been breached not merely due to the presence of game-enhancing, advantage-granting items in the leaked document, but because of the name of the document "Greed is Good" (people feel absolutely mocked for their trust), and because EVE was the game that was different, the game they told all their friends about, the game that was the answer to those tired of fantasy, of guided gameplay, for those who wanted an open system. They gave their word of mouth and praised the game for years.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:29 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Holy cow that video is insane. Apparently the protesters took down a concord battleship?!
posted by winna at 7:48 PM on June 24, 2011

Latest bit of bad press: Leaked internal e-mail from CCP Games CEO congratulating the staff for the way this whole thing has been handled (authenticity unconfirmed)
posted by 256 at 8:05 PM on June 24, 2011

I have to say, I try my best to avoid games with microtransactions of any kind. The problem with microtransactions is that it changes the motivation of the developer - a developer that sells a game just to sell the game doesn't have any motivation beyond the sale except to make sure the experience is a good one, so that you keep a positive opinion of the game and of the company. A developer that conducts microtransactions has a more important motivation - to get you to spend more money. They'll sabotage the experience if that's what it takes. Games where money can be spent for character advancement often slow down 'natural' character advancement, make it unpleasant, or don't allow you to advance in certain ways without paying. Games with DLC often are deliberately incomplete in obvious ways without their DLC elements (for instance, Dragon Age shipped with small player inventories and nowhere to store items except in the DLC, and some equipment slots have a real dearth of decent items - except in the expansions.) Even allowing harmless character customization for a price usually results in character customization being limited otherwise, or character customization in a game that shouldn't have it at all (like Team Fortress 2 and those idiotic hats.)

Microtransactions could be handled properly - expansion packs can be made for games that are NOT deliberately incomplete. Two of my favorite games of all time are expansion packs (Hordes of the Underdark and Mask of the Betrayer.) Developers are just abusing them now, because it's profitable and because people are putting up with it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:18 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Microtransactions could be handled properly - expansion packs can be made for games that are NOT deliberately incomplete. Two of my favorite games of all time are expansion packs (Hordes of the Underdark and Mask of the Betrayer.) Developers are just abusing them now, because it's profitable and because people are putting up with it.

Where's the line between 'okay' DLC and 'abuse'?

I'm interested, because I'm developing a funded indy game right now. At launch, it will have only one [CENSORED]. But, we know what we want to do for the [CENSORED] that we eventually want to include.

Making one set of [CENSORED], and all the art that goes along with it, is something that we can do at the existing funding level. In order to do the other [CENSORED], we would need more artists and more time. Things we will not have if we don't have a revenue stream to show investors.

So, the usual rage-filled advice of "don't release until it's fucking done" doesn't work for us (where "done" is defined as "finished with all planned content"). And offering additional work for free on top of our already-friendly basic pricing model isn't very enticing, either.

So, depending on what people buy, you may be playing an opponent who has [CENSORED] that you don't have access to. Naturally, everything will be balanced so that those who haven't paid won't be at a disadvantage. But, still, I wonder if such a scheme would upset you.
posted by Netzapper at 8:45 PM on June 24, 2011

What does this special thing buy you, if not an advantage?
posted by ryanrs at 10:37 PM on June 24, 2011

Netzapper: Where's the line between 'okay' DLC and 'abuse'?

Abusive DLC is when the game either is sold as complete and it's not, or when the game is intentionally hobbled and the fix put in the DLC. So don't do that. Probably your best bet is to do the game as episodic content - this is generally well received so long as it is priced appropriately. However, each episode needs to be complete and self-contained under this model.

I will say that 'sidequest' DLC never seems to work right; you cannot balance a game so that a major quest with large rewards can either be done or not done and still have the difficulty be appropriate. DLC works better when it is either an alternate storyline or a continuation.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:42 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I favorited Biter too. Blizzard dumped PPCs with 2 weeks notice about a month before Cataclysm. Sure, my G5 was old, but it was running as well as ever, and probably has a few more years of doing so.

And Blizzard transactions are pretty harmless, but I'm sure they will expand; the first mount for sale sold something like 750,000 units in the first 3 days, IIRC. That's almost $2 mil in revenue. Someone got a raise for that one.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:24 PM on June 24, 2011

So if a virtual shirt costs as much as a real life shirt, will a Titan now cost the comparable price to buy as it's real world (it could be built) counterpart? Somewhere in the order of Eleventy Gajillion Dollars?
posted by PenDevil at 1:05 AM on June 25, 2011

They invented a new currency, Aurum, to decouple the virtual shirt pricing from the overall ISK marketplace.
posted by ryanrs at 1:17 AM on June 25, 2011

I look forward to hearing tales of gigantic space armadas hunting down those who have purchased virtual monacles.
posted by markkraft at 5:13 AM on June 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

(Is it me, or, by introducing the potential for widespread class warfare into the mix, Eve Online has just become a far more interesting game?!)
posted by markkraft at 5:32 AM on June 25, 2011

RockPaperShotgun's Alec Meer reacts to the latest PR move from CCP.
posted by Kattullus at 9:57 AM on June 25, 2011

Here's a really good summary of the issues from a player perspective.
posted by winna at 11:04 AM on June 25, 2011

A succint summary. Gonna have to sell a whole bunch of Gold Rifters, monocles, and ammo.
posted by rodgerd at 2:20 PM on June 25, 2011

I find the angst that Eve users will never pay $25 for an outfit interesting and possibly unrealistic. I play Lord of the Rings and they sell plenty of mounts for that kind of price that are not functionally different than in game mounts besides looks and in some cases in game mounts are superior. And $25 is three months of subscription fees for LOTRO.
posted by Mitheral at 7:32 PM on June 25, 2011

I find the angst that Eve users will never pay $25 for an outfit interesting and possibly unrealistic.

Eve players are more concerned that the plans revealed are - in direct contradiction to earlier assurances - going to include enhanced, gameplay affecting items (ships, ammo, etc), on top of monthly fees.

There are claims that 2% of the subscription base have cancelled since the announcement. Perpetuum Online, which a bunch of people have been boosting as the MMO most like Eve (for better or worse!) has been buckling under the load of player sign-ups from Eve.
posted by rodgerd at 8:49 PM on June 25, 2011

There are claims that 2% of the subscription base have cancelled since the announcement.

Heh. After years of reading about EVE, this little scandal was the thing that spurred me to try it out. I'm downloading the client right now. (At 1 MB/sec, which does not inspire confidence.)
posted by ryanrs at 11:46 PM on June 25, 2011

Just started working through the tutorial missions, so I can't say much about the gameplay. The Mac client, however, has all the rough edges you'd expect from a piece of software that isn't used much by the people who wrote it.

posted by ryanrs at 3:18 AM on June 26, 2011

There has indeed much rage about the Mac client at the moment, since it's been even more badly puked over by Captains Quarters than the Windows one.
posted by rodgerd at 7:35 PM on June 26, 2011

It's not a proper EVE scandal without The Mittani weighing in.
posted by Kattullus at 5:44 AM on June 27, 2011

Eurogamer has a really good write-up, summarizing where things are now and how they got there.
posted by Kattullus at 4:27 PM on June 27, 2011

Why I love EVE.

There is a group which is planning to attack and pod anyone who owns one of the ultra-expensive items.

So, in response, a bunch of people who bought the items show up in the thread to make sure they are on the list to be attacked.
posted by winna at 5:20 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Week 1

Flying around doing level 1 PvE in a frigate. Pew, pew, pirate scum!

Training Frigate IV takes forever. It's frustrating. I could afford to buy a much better ship. But I won't be able to actually fly it until my character finishes training for it at space college. SO meanwhile I have to fight pirates in this pos frigate.

I'm already qualified to fly the next bigger ship, the Cormorant. But that ship kinda blows for NPC combat. I'm still using my Kestrel missile boat until I can step up to a cruiser.

I like the Kestrel's four launchers, but it needs more grid if I'm ever going to fill out its mid slots. I'm up to my eyeballs in pirate microwarpdrives, but I can't install them without more power.

Speaking of space ship parts: all the stories make it sound like EVE gameplay is filled with political intrigue and huge fleet battles. But I just spent the last half-hour figuring out how to reroute power from the missile launchers to my small shield booster. And it wasn't just pushing some buttons, either. I had to fly to another system and buy a service manual so my character could learn how to do the upgrades. Now my character has to train for a few hours before he can install the booster.

While I'm waiting, I suppose I ought to get a Rifter and learn to use it's turret guns. That ship is not great for running NPC missions, but it's a favorite for PvP.

Rifters are basically the 5 year old soldiers of the EVE fleet. Their job is to grab your legs and clothing, pulling you to the ground. They hold you down while the older boys shoot you with automatic weapons.

The EVE universe is divided into a couple dozen regions. When you need to buy or sell an item, you only see prices from inside your current region.

My account spawned in Lonetrek. The Lonetrek market is pretty crap. A couple jumps away, the Jita system has much better prices. I'm thinking of importing some common noob items from Jita and selling them on Akiainavas (a spawn point for newly registered accounts).

It may turn out that noob arbitrage is not an efficient way to make ISK. Since noob items are very cheap, you need a lot of volume to make much money. Plus, the noob missions on Akiainavas already give you most of the items noobs need.

Haven't exchanged fire with a human yet. I figure I can either go out to lowsec and get shot at by better players, or I can stay in highsec and pick fights with the miners. I better start practicing on the miners.
posted by ryanrs at 10:39 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

You got much farther than I did, Ryan. My first attempt to purchase weapons for my flying coffin ended in "fuck this!" The most enjoyable part of the whole experience was adding scars and tattoos to my super sexy albino space avatar.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:17 AM on July 5, 2011

Hey ryanrs. Glad to see you're having fun with the game. Couple of quick points: The cormorant is actually great as a PVE ship. Fit as many railguns as you can and an afterburner and just keep the npcs at range. As for high-sec pvp, even better than trying to bait miners is harassing mission runners. It's a very short train to be able to use combat scanner probes, then just go to a heavily populated mission system like Motsu or Dodixie, scan people down and steal stuff from the wrecks of the NPCs they killed. They won't be as squishy as miners, but that just makes it more fun. And they won't have warp disruptors fit, so you should be able to disengage if you need to. For bonus profit, bring along a salvager.

Finally, though they're a bit out of date, I made a short blog a while back with advice for eve newbies: http://eve-essays.blogspot.com/
posted by 256 at 3:45 PM on July 5, 2011

Things can change quickly the moment you decide to join a corp or alliance too. It's best to get yourself trained up a bit for a role beforehand (atleast cover your basic core)...and do you research finding a good corp by hanging out in their public channels getting a feel for how they operate. Not all corporations are the same. I know that might seem like a "duh" statement. In my time playing EvE during the ASCN/BoB war and several other pretty big 0.0 conflicts afterwards in the northern/drone regions (including our brief stint of 5 players staking out a small mineral rich POS culdesac in deep space that went unnoticed for months), I've seen plenty of the political intrigue you've mentioned. You wont' find it so much highsec as everyone's doing their own thing anyway under the protection of Concord...but once you set foot into nullsec with a medium to large sized alliance everything changes. You could see all of the backstabbing, strange dealings, unexplained orders from higher up the chain, extreme paranoia/distrust, tediously boring patrols/POS defense maneuvers, incredible high adrenaline fleet engagements, massive losses, and bountiful isk returns you could possibly handle...

...or you could keep it lower key and join up with a rag-tag corp of pirates, small-time operations, or mercenary wings that do odd jobs for larger entities for an exchange of privileges or isk. (If you can keep the ISK incoming flowing...this route generally has the most pvp action with less of the politics and logistic drags...POS fueling...Outpost defense, etc). Good luck!
posted by samsara at 5:05 PM on July 5, 2011

The cormorant is actually great as a PVE ship. Fit as many railguns as you can and an afterburner and just keep the npcs at range.

I think I tried that without much success. I remember being very disappointed with the railgun's range. But looking back, I think I was comparing railguns to the missile range I was getting in my Condor (+10% missile speed bonus).

Of course now that I've spent time training on missiles, they really are better than railguns (for me). A self-fulfilling prophecy, I guess.

Once Caldari Frigate IV completes, I'll train some turret gun skills.
posted by ryanrs at 8:09 PM on July 5, 2011

Ah, who am I kidding. Once I finish Caldari Frigate IV, I'm going straight to Caldari Cruiser III and Battlecruiser II. The real question is do I need to run missions in a Caracal in order to afford a Drake? I suspect it will be annoying trying to earn 35-40M ISK in a frigate.

On the other hand, I could get a 350M ISK loan by short selling a plex. Later I can buy the plex back using earnings from the Drake. Based on current market pricing, I'd lose about 3% on the buy-sell spread, plus possible losses due to plex price volatility.

Space spreadsheets, indeed.
posted by ryanrs at 10:01 PM on July 5, 2011

Hmm. That 3% buy-sell spread is based on the full 350M loan amount. But since I only need 40M, it's actually more like 28%. Feh.

CCP should create a Class B PLEX that trades at 1/30 the price of a full PLEX, like Berkshire Hathaway shares.
posted by ryanrs at 10:12 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Found someone in Airkio using a cargo container for mining. I stole as much ore as I could with my Merlin, then came back with a Badger for the rest. It was only 130,000 ISK worth of ore, but stealing it was so, so satisfying.

When the servers come back up, I'm going to try to find the same guy so I can rob him some more.
posted by ryanrs at 4:25 AM on July 6, 2011

Oh, ryanrs, what has become of you?

Drakes are the cockroaches of EVE: They're everywhere and they're hard to kill, but that's about all they have going for them.

Spend a little more time in small ships before sitting in the drake and letting it convince you that it's the last ship you ever need to fly. Because you'll be wrong. Drake pilots tend to end up with a serious case of when-all-you-gave-is-a-hammer syndrome.

Personally, I think the best thing you could do would be to crosstrain Minmatar for ships and projectiles. Minnie ships get great benefit from the shield and missile skills you already have and in a few days time you could have the entire roster of Caldari and Minmatar frigates, cruisers and destroyers open to you.

I'll lend you 40M at 0% interest if you promise not to use it to buy a drake.
posted by 256 at 7:24 AM on July 6, 2011

Notice I never said what I planned to do with the Drake. That is because the Drake is a goal, not a means. It's a short term accomplishment I can work towards achieving.

Because I need a goal. I'm a week and a half into this game and I've already lost sight of what I'm supposed to be doing. What the hell is going on here? What's the point of all this? The answer sure as hell better not be mining asteroids.

I spent today snooping on other ships, swiping ore from miners, and salvaging NPC pirate wrecks. I was flying a Merlin fitted with a ship scanner, a cargo scanner, a micro warp drive, and some missile launchers. I got a pretty good look at the kinds of people that fly around my local patch of highsec. There are basically two types:
  1. Bantam pilots furiously ferrying ore from belt to station.
  2. Hulks contentedly grazing on asteroids.
There better be more to it than that. So help me God, I will start ganking Ibises before I mine another cubic meter of dense veldspar.
posted by ryanrs at 9:56 AM on July 6, 2011

/space rage

OK, how far will I get wandering around lowsec or nullsec in a frigate? Are gate camps going to pounce on me just for the fuck of it?

Also, why are tripped power circuits worth 70k ISK? What can you build with them?
posted by ryanrs at 10:04 AM on July 6, 2011

They're everywhere and they're hard to kill, but that's about all they have going for them.

On further reflection, one could do worse than popularity and immortality.
posted by ryanrs at 10:07 AM on July 6, 2011

Eve is very much a game where you have to make your own goals. Also, sorry if I came across as too preachy there. Buying a battlecruiser is a perfectly good early game goal, it's just that Drakes are so ubiquitous and one of my own goals in the game was to find good uses for the ships that other pilots avoided. The other thing is that missile platforms, while great for PVE are pretty subpar in PVP, so focusing on them too heavily early on can make it feel like you have to start all over again if you want to start blowing up other players later.

I would definitely recommend wandering away from the 0.8 to 1.0 sections of high-sec. There is not much isk to be made there and the gameplay is pretty boring. In the long run, low-sec, null-sec and wormholes (especially wormholes!) are where the real fun is but, in the meantime, there is plenty going on in the less secure high sec systems (the 0.5 and 0.6 rated ones).

It's totally worth the 20 jumps or so to fly over to Emolgranlan or Hek. Put your ship scanner and cargo scanner to work there and you'll see an entirely different cast of characters.
posted by 256 at 10:08 AM on July 6, 2011

OK, how far will I get wandering around lowsec or nullsec in a frigate? Are gate camps going to pounce on me just for the fuck of it?

Low sec gatecamps are actually of very little concern in a frigate. I wrote a primer on them a while ago. Basically, there are sentry guns at every gate in low sec that shoot at anyone who initiates combat within 100km of the gates. These sentry guns do so much damage that basically nothing smaller than a battlecruiser can take part in a gate camp. Bigger ships have longer lock times and smaller ships enter warp faster. The end result is that a battlecruiser can not get a lock on a frigate before the frigate enters warp.

The only times a frigate are really in danger from a low-sec gate camp are if: 1. There are several battleships sitting on the gate spamming smartbomb; or, 2. There is a very large camp full of remote sensor boosters.

These types of camps run pretty much 23/7 in Rancer and Amamake (two famously dangerous low-sec systems) but are quite rare elsewhere.

Null-Sec is a completely different story.

As for what you can actually DO in low-sec. One option is running static DED complexes. These appear on your overview as beacons with names like "Angel Creo-Corp Mining" and "Serpentis Drug Outlet." You can find them by going to the star map and choosing "Color stars by DED complexes."

These are little multi-room mini dungeons with gates that only let frigates and destroyers in. In each room there will be either a "deadspace overseer" or a "deadspace overseer structure" (make sure you have these turned on in your overview settings) that will drop a key to the next room when destroyed. The structure in the final room will sometimes drop items worth as much as 100 million isk (though it's high variance, the average is probably somewhere around 5-10 million).

The overseers and overseer structures only respawn once every 90 minutes, so it's pretty common to have to bounce around to a few different systems before you find one that hasn't been run recently. Another thing to note is that these complexes are also a pretty common place for people to go looking for pvp (the ship restriction on the gate means that you don't need to worry about being jumped by Heavy Assault Cruisers or what have you.

Also, why are tripped power circuits worth 70k ISK? What can you build with them?

Salvage is used to make rigs. Some rigs are much more popular than others and some rig components are production bottlenecks whereas others drop in ridiculous surplus. With tripped power circuits the answer is this and this.
posted by 256 at 10:32 AM on July 6, 2011

- Doot doo do, flying around in space...

- A cargo can! Let's see what's inside.

- Gyrostablizer II! Yoink!

** missiles asplode **

- It's a trap! Warp! Warp!
posted by ryanrs at 4:14 AM on July 7, 2011

FS: Gyrostabilizer II excellent condition 740,000 ISK OBO
posted by ryanrs at 4:16 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Serious question: Is EVE's ship insurance a proper closed-loop insurance system? In other words, do insurance premiums fully cover payouts? Or is it just a game mechanic ISK faucet?
posted by ryanrs at 7:02 AM on July 7, 2011

Also, can capital ships and super caps be insured? If so, then headlines like "$XX,XXX USD equivalent destroyed in fleet battle" are bullshit since much of that will be recouped.
posted by ryanrs at 7:07 AM on July 7, 2011

Insurance is a simple game mechanic, but the devs have stated that it balances out to being an isk sink (a lot of ships that get insured don't get blown up during the insurance window).

Also, only tech 1 ships can be properly insured. The insurance payouts on T2 ships, T3 ships and faction ships are laughable (10% of the replacement value at most). Supercaps can't be insured at all (since you can't dock them to talk to the broker).
posted by 256 at 9:05 AM on July 7, 2011

it balances out to being an isk sink

As it should be. CCP appears to manage the economy quite well, company newsletters notwithstanding.
posted by ryanrs at 9:45 AM on July 7, 2011

Hey, just figured out the difference between all those different types of hybrid ammo. It's a range / damage tradeoff. Why couldn't they just call them Short, Medium, and Long? I need to stop buying my ammunition at Starbucks.
posted by ryanrs at 2:44 AM on July 8, 2011

Wow, just discovered how to steer my ship by double clicking. Up 'til now I was just using the context menus to approach wrecks and orbit other ships.

Early on, I tried shouting "ENGAGE!" and pointing my finger at the screen, but that did nothing.
posted by ryanrs at 11:24 AM on July 8, 2011

Manual piloting is often clunky, but it can also make a big difference, especially in PVP. To really make manual piloting shine, you'll want to have angular velocity showing in your overview and be well aware of the tracking speed of your own guns.
posted by 256 at 10:36 PM on July 8, 2011

256, what does the other player see when I steal stuff out of their can? Is it a big "Ryanrs ripped you off!" dialog box, or does it just change my icon in the Overview?

Also, what is going on in this situation: a cargo can named "Badger Fight" containing a single Bloodclaw missile. The owner waits nearby in a very heavily tanked Badger II with no offensive weapons.

Normally I'd steal the missile on general principle, even though it was only worth 5 ISK. But there was obviously some sort of scheme here, so I passed. What was the scheme, though? My ship scanner showed no weapons.
posted by ryanrs at 2:53 PM on July 9, 2011

BTW, the badger fight was right outside a station, if that matters. Maybe the owner was planning to switch ships? But I'd be long gone before they could do that.
posted by ryanrs at 2:57 PM on July 9, 2011

what does the other player see when I steal stuff out of their can?

When you steal things from another player, CONCORD will allow that player to exact revenge. What they'll see is that your status turns to flashing red (aggressive) which allows them to shoot you without repercussion. They have to fire the first shot however, so once combat is initiated you can return fire.

A common highsec prank to pull on goldfarmers is to steal from their can and trick them into attacking you with their protecting ship (the ship that fends NPCs off the mining barges). A nice bonus is if they are grouped..you can often pop the mining barge as well.

When you see things begging to be stolen outside a station, it can be a trap if others are in local. Since you can't be podded in highsec, use a throwaway frig to initiate the looting as they'll likely spend more money on ammo attacking you than you'll risk in losses.
posted by samsara at 7:37 AM on July 12, 2011

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