$ensational(ism)

So a lot of people in the media have been talking about the $300 battle.  This is both true, and disingenuous.  If I were to throw down 300k in cash on Plex, and convert them into ISK, assuming I managed to not crash the market, I would have enough ISK to buy the ships that were lost in the battle.  I could not, however, take the ships that were lost in the battle, and sell them for ISK, convert them back to PLEX, and sell them for real money.  The mechanisms and rules of the game don’t allow it.  I could probably sell some of them for real money, I think we all know or at least believe this to be the case.

Today I heard NPR’s Marketplace interview The Mittani.  Mittens does a good job selling the concept of the $300k battle.  He mentions that there were people who spent money out of the game to buy ships in game.  Now this is not necessarily accusing people of RMT, although he certainly implies a degree of condescension towards the practice of using real money in any way to buy ships, by specifying that he knew that people on the losing side had done this.  I think no one even vaguely familiar with Goons would be in any way surprised to find that there were several people in goons who’d PLEXed for ships; and there’s nothing wrong with this.  Hell I’ll be doing so later this month.

The Mittani and CCP both have become victims of their propaganda, and the long-term prejudices of MMOs.  RMT is bad.  This is a very simple, and generally true statement, but not all RMT is bad.  EvE has a lot of grinds and the game allows you to buy game time, sell it to other players, and buy whatever they want with the proceeds.  This does far less damage to the economy than wholesale, unregulated third party RMT.  It does permit “Wallet Warriors” to bling out there ships and do a hell of a lot, but due to the incremental increases in capabilities offered, it doesn’t give massive, overwhelming advantages to people using this (beyond the ability to bring the bling time and again, but frankly that’s just wealth redistribution against the wrong enemies).  The only time the advantage does get truly oppressive is when it is played out on the macro scale.  Were PL to drop a truly mammoth amount of cash to replace their whole fleet, only more so, and bring in other folks to do the same to tilt the balance, it would certainly be possible to do so, but… well… I doubt how sustainable it would be for them (if they can sustain it, more power to them, maybe they can fund some better expansions).  This is the trap of the prejudices of the MMO industry.

EvE has built this article of faith that everything is worth money.  That the money in game is directly tied to real money.  The connection is tenuous, it goes only in one direction, and it can very quickly change, so that this battle, that today represented roughly $300k in a very indirect way, will next year represent a much smaller figure, and in a few more years represent an even smaller figure.  The wars of EvE have a context, and the context isn’t the wealth destroyed, but the bonds broken.  The creation and destruction of alliances and coalitions, the betrayals, and the battles.  Not the almighty dollar.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

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About Corelin

An Eve playing Fool who occasionally writes about the shenanigans he and his minions get up to.

Posted on February 4, 2014, in Meta, Politics, PvP, Things I think I think. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Interesting comments. To be honest I would feel very uncomfortable spending a large amount of real world money to convert to PLEX to convert to isk to buy an expensive ship like a dreadnaught, super carrier, or titan. For something that could be lost simply because an alliance made a mistake committing to an unwinnable battle or maybe lost due to a mistake made by an FC.

    Obviously that is me. Maybe there are EVE whales who do have excesses of real cash to spend on virtual ships. Or maybe that is the cost of entry to join a null sec alliance and then to be part of their ship replacement program.

  2. From TurAmarth reposted from the wrong post

    I really don’t see how the $300k figure is disingenuous even though it ‘legally’ works only one-way, IE $ can buy PLEX can be sold for ISK but not the reverse. A financial transaction does not need to be bidirectional in order to be TRUE. It is not a pure mathematical equation, it is a monetary exchange for goods and or services. That one can BUY PLEX for approx. $20 US and SELL PLEX for approx. 600m ISK is a fact plain and simple and as such is a direct, verifiable real world correlation between ISK & $, period.
    Your argument that the “real” value ingame is not the $ or even ISK amount destroyed, real or imaginary, but is inherent in the context and content in the game. As you put it, “…the context isn’t the wealth destroyed, but the bonds broken. The creation and destruction of alliances and coalitions, the betrayals, and the battles.“ This I agree whole heartedly, that the value in EvE is “Not the almighty dollar.” but the far less tangible yet vastly more worthwhile interactions between the players in the game.
    The problem is only the players UNDERSTAND the intangibles in EvE… I don’t know about you but all I get from most people when I try to explain EvE is confused looks that swiftly change to glassy eyes and can lead, if unchecked, to dirty looks and views of peoples backs as they walk away muttering unkind things about you…
    I totally agree that the interplay of personalities, politics and power… the struggle of the solo & small gang players to make it in a ‘verse where corps and Alliances and Coalitions form gangs of but a few to many thousands… a virtual sandbox set in the depths of space where the effort of an individual player can impact and change the efforts of thousands… [bet HE won’t forget to pay a bill (or click the ‘jump’ buhtan) again huh?]… But only We, the people who PLAY EvE, We the Empyreans who fly the deadly skies of New Eden, can really appreciate all of this… Regular people, even other gamers, simply don’t ‘get’ what EvE IS… no one does or even CAN until you have spent ‘time’ in New Eden… you have to experience the depth and breadth and SCOPE of the impact to understand our ‘game’… But they CAN understand $300,000.00 US dollars in ‘value’ of ships destroyed… and THAT is exciting!
    I’ve said it afore an I’ll say it agin… ANY publicity is GOOD publicity! Good for CCP, good for EVE Online and good for ALL of the players… And being the ONLY virtual verse where you can make an effective argument that hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of anything was permanently and intentionally DESTROYED by the players… (thereby also causing the industrial and market players extreme happytime too BTW) is simply amazing… and the influx of new players since B-R back this up in spades.

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