EVE Online Players Flip a Lid Over Virtual Clothing

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EVE Online Players Flip a Lid Over Virtual Clothing

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Imagine if Oblivion's horse armor had been sold - in space - for more than the price of a real-life horse.

EVE Online's latest free expansion, Incarna, hit PCs everywhere earlier this week boasting a slew of new features and improvements for the space-empire MMO. One other thing it added was the "Captain's Quarters," a prelude to the long-awaited "Walking in Stations" feature that would allow players to get out of their spaceships and actually see their avatar pilots (and those of others) in the proverbial flesh. The Captain's Quarters allowed players to see their characters and customize their appearance, but it was a solitary feature - only you can see your character.

Unfortunately, alongside the Captain's Quarters came something that has the EVE playerbase in an uproar: Developer CCP added a "microtransaction" shop, where players could buy vanity items to kit out their characters' appearances. This isn't a bad thing - almost every MMO does it these days - but these transactions aren't so "micro" after all.

There's an excellent post on RockPaperShotgun summing up how the complex economy of EVE Online has been affected by these items, but here's the skinny: An in-game shirt in EVE Online can go for $25 real-world dollars. That's more than it costs for an actual real-life shirt!

The real offender, though, is the "Looking Glass Ocular Implant," seen here. It's essentially a monocle, and it will set you back $70-80 dollars in real life. That's several months worth of EVE Online subscriptions, or a brand new game on its own.

These prices will eventually stabilize, of course, but for the moment EVE players seem perfectly in the right to be a bit heated about the issue. While paying $25 for a purely cosmetic in-game item is hardly unheard of, it's worth noting that nobody else but the player can see these items (yet). There's no virtual prestige in it, rendering it the sci-fi equivalent of Oblivion's widely-mocked horse armor - for fourteen times the price.

Update: Things are rapidly going downhill for CCP. A leaked internal bulletin titled "Greed is Good" indicates that the developer will be extending its microtransactions to less-than-cosmetic items like spaceships and weaponry - things which would provide a tangible in-game advantage.

An apology from EVE community manager Pann indicated that CCP was aware of the outrage, but that doesn't seem to have calmed players any.

(RPS, thanks for the tip BonsaiK!)

Permalink

Of more interest I think is their response: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/06/24/eve-online-dev-responds-to-incarna-anger/

And the link within the article: http://www.evenews24.com/2011/06/22/greed-is-good-purportedly-leaked-internal-bulletin-shows-ccps-refreshing-new-direction/

Amazing how a company can slip in standing quite so quickly. These guys started out by sleeping under desks in a shitty office trying to build their dream game, now they're apparently releasing internal memo's entitled "Greed is Good".

This isnt the issue at all John.

An internal newsletter was leaked discussing not only vanity items for sale, but new ships, ammo etc etc. Basically GAME CHANGIN stuff.

No one cares about the price of a monacle no one will buy, thi isnt WoW where people buy ponies.

Oh bullshit, the Team Fortress 2 Mann Co. store has had prices like that for cosmetic items, and regular weaponry for months, and yet no news posts or calling outs on that? Pshaw, people, set your priorities straight!

But whatever, that still is pretty ridiculous for a monocle or whatever. There's a limit to microtransactions that developers are testing, though I'm pretty sure $100 for a new red-er glove croses that boundary twice.

JIst00:
This isnt the issue at all John.

An internal newsletter was leaked discussing not only vanity items for sale, but new ships, ammo etc etc. Basically GAME CHANGIN stuff.

No one cares about the price of a monacle no one will buy, thi isnt WoW where people buy ponies.

This is why people are flipping a lid. You really should update this to reflect the actual issue.

John Funk:
SNIP

Oh My God I hate it when a business tries to make money. [/sarcasm]
I don't see how this will affect the ISK economy. Yes it would have been cool to let the players use resources to make these items. But this is in no way a game breaker and should be encouraged.
It will probably take a lot of dev money to get entire stations as multiple avatar environments. EVE Players need to remember these prices don't just line pockets, they encourage development. Development I for one am looking forward to.

Remember folks vanity items are just that. Items that reflect how utterly vain you are.

Jita local is hillarious right now because of this. First time I've seen more spam from things other than scamming.

Greatly entertaining.

Jumplion:
Oh bullshit, the Team Fortress 2 Mann Co. store has had prices like that for cosmetic items, and regular weaponry for months, and yet no news posts or calling outs on that? Pshaw, people, set your priorities straight!

But whatever, that still is pretty ridiculous for a monocle or whatever. There's a limit to microtransactions that developers are testing, though I'm pretty sure $100 for a new red-er glove croses that boundary twice.

So bloody true. Some of the rare hats cost twice as much as the fucking game. And the polycount weapons alone are forty bucks.

Ya the high prices will come down, they had to be introduced at a high price or risk destabilizing the GTC market beyond repair. CCP has to take a lot of things into consideration before releasing new features and it isn't possible to make everyone happy. Eve players get so much for free that they tend to feel a bit entitled. That said I've no problem with these vanity items, even if they don't come down in price.

Are they learning from Valve? Though I suppose people will buy it anyway.

Considering how unforgiving Eve is, I wonder if people die if they'll lose their over-priced clothing as well as their multibillion ISK ship..

One time there was this thing that I thought was too expensive, so I didn't buy it.

That was an interesting day.

You can use in game currency to buy these things, eh? A billion isk may seem like much for a new player, but not for a veteran.

Just sayin.

Wow talk about overpriced.
But they aren't essential. If people don't buy it they should get the message. If people do anyway and they don't knock the price down, whatever not having this stuff is not going to kill you.

JIst00:
This isnt the issue at all John.

An internal newsletter was leaked discussing not only vanity items for sale, but new ships, ammo etc etc. Basically GAME CHANGIN stuff.

No one cares about the price of a monacle no one will buy, thi isnt WoW where people buy ponies.

This on the other hand is a real issue. Cosmetic crap you can ignore but game changing stuff you can't. I don't play EVE online but I hope for the sake of the people that do that this doesn't turn into another 'he who pays the most wins' game and if it dose that people leave. In a F2P game it would be ok to have better equipment in the cash shop even if you need some of it to stand a chance in PVP but this is a subscrition game.
Edit: fixed typos

This point isn't about vanity items and micro-transactions. CCP lied right to the users face that they would not introduce game changing micro-transactions. Just look at their April fools joke from '08, it was about adding a service where you can pay cash for ammo, and everyone laughed at how ridiculous that was. 3 years later, they're actually implementing that system. They stated micro-transactions would be purely vanity items, then it was found out they were lying the whole time and fully intended on adding premium ships and ammo you can pay real money for.

This is like if WoW sold epic level 85 armor and weapons, I'd suspect WoW players would not view that positively.

So they're angry because they're given the option to spend money on stupid things?
...

I love it when games try to squeeze even more money out of a game people are paying for by the month.

Is monthly fees and an initial really not enough?

The Lunatic:
I love it when games try to squeeze even more money out of a game people are paying for by the month.

Is monthly fees and an initial really not enough?

For CCP, no. They been working on two other games while working on Eve online expansions every 6 months, they've wasted tons of money on frivolous features that they're not even implementing anymore. 3/4th of their company is now owned by Venture capitalists. They need to revenue from micro-transactions to keep going but they decided to shove it down their users throats instead of just admitting they need the money.

Once again EVEs out of game drama generates amusement & excitement its actual gameplay never can

Singing Gremlin:
Jita local is hillarious right now because of this. First time I've seen more spam from things other than scamming.

Greatly entertaining.

Indeed, it ceartainly constitutes a refreshing break from the usual: "That's it! I'm done with this game! Send any amount over 20 mio isk and I'll send back the double amount"

Jumplion:
Oh bullshit, the Team Fortress 2 Mann Co. store has had prices like that for cosmetic items, and regular weaponry for months, and yet no news posts or calling outs on that? Pshaw, people, set your priorities straight!

Maybe that's because in TF2 those same items can be traded between players, crafted, and still drop randomly in game? I've never bought a single item in TF2 but my backpack is still full of special items and duplicate items. Get off your high horse man, these two cases are nothing alike in terms of scope.

OT: That's pretty stupid in my eye. Wouldn't it make sense, since the Eve currency actually has real world value, to base these micro transactions on that currency? It'd be an interesting economic experiment to say the least.

Jumplion:
snip

Soviet Heavy:
snip

Croaker42:
snip

You guys missed the update. The outrage was more due to the fact that according to a leaked document, they actually are planning to include game-changing transactions, like letting you buy ships and ammo.

Sounds more like they learned from Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine's Item Mall. Clothing sets went for $40-50, there was some individual accessory that they sold for $500 a few years back. It's nothing new for micro-transaction malls to be expensive. And that's not including their $3-5 a pop gambling mini game, Fortune Cards, which had a small chance of getting you the item you wanted.

The only surprising thing about this is that EVE didn't start suckling on that cash cow sooner.

sir.rutthed:

Jumplion:
Oh bullshit, the Team Fortress 2 Mann Co. store has had prices like that for cosmetic items, and regular weaponry for months, and yet no news posts or calling outs on that? Pshaw, people, set your priorities straight!

Maybe that's because in TF2 those same items can be traded between players, crafted, and still drop randomly in game? I've never bought a single item in TF2 but my backpack is still full of special items and duplicate items. Get off your high horse man, these two cases are nothing alike in terms of scope.

Easy for you to say, my backpack has been empty of all the weapons and hats I've want since it all started :'( And VALVe just keeps on giving. It's like Christmas never ends with those (glorious) bastards, they release hugeass updates with dozens of weapons and hats, and it'd take me weeks just to get 1/3 of the content, if at that!

So, I'm not on a high horse, I'm just sore on the bum :P

Still, you've got to admit that $20 for one unremarkable hat is pretty ridiculous, and $100+ for a pack of, like, 4 of them is also crazy. That, and keys are not droppable yet crates are, which I just find pretty lame. Crafting takes forever, you would need to sacrifice many weapons that you may enjoy just to get some regular scrap. I really do want VALVe to adjust the drop system ever so slightly so that it'll allow for at least more frequent drops or something. Not too much, just a bit faster on the drops I think.

Raiyan 1.0:
You guys missed the update. The outrage was more due to the fact that according to a leaked document, they actually are planning to include game-changing transactions, like letting you buy ships and ammo.

Yeah, I read that as well, my post was mainly for (sort of) comic effect.

I just finished reading "Greed is Good" and, I dunno, seems pretty reasonable to me.

It lays out very clearly that throwing in game-changing items for sale willy-nilly is very bad both for in-game balance and as a PR stance, however that because more and more F2P games are doing it (and it is being accepted), CCP almost has to make these changes in order to adapt to the MMO market. Now, should it have been titled "Greed is Good" without the first paragraph being about how that's just a title and not really their focus to exploit their customers? Despite the fact that they outright say later that is not their intention of course, yeah that was a mistake however, they didn't intend this for public consumption. They send it to people in their business and investors and such, people who, ya know, understand business. Not the internet's denizens who wouldn't understand capitalism or economics if it bit them on the ass and had to be surgically removed.

But what I think we're all missing from this is:

WORLD OF DARKNESS MMO YESYESSSSRJSDOVMOAKXPZLXANMTOGOZKGSOAJHOSJGNOAEKGOjfaolgnaojgaojJFHIJIAJGOAJDGAOJGAOJGAM<DVOAJKAOJKAOJFAOJFAOJFAOJGFADJVBNHBJYESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Yay artwork... god damn I need a release date for this. TAKE MY MONEY CCP. ALL OF IT.

Microtransactions and DLC are both Greed. And I refuse to support any company that decides to use them. I haven't been with CCP/Eve since they were unwilling to fix an entirely broken and unbalanced economy that was messed up by Gold Farmers. This latest idea from them, definately won't be increasing the chances of me returning.

I don't understand why it's really an issue. Micro-transactions don't actually harm the gamer at all, especially if they're for vanity items.

You don't NEED an $80 monacle to do ANYTHING in EVE online.

The only point where the gamer does get harmed by micro-transactions is when the money goes to game-breaking advantages, which inevitably ends up resulting in those who pay real money to the company win.

9Darksoul6:
So they're angry because they're given the option to spend money on stupid things?
...

that's sort of my feeling. The level of entitlement by some gamers is absolutely astounding.

Singing Gremlin:
Jita local is hillarious right now because of this. First time I've seen more spam from things other than scamming.

Greatly entertaining.

It is. A load of people are claiming that newsletter may well have ben written by Darth Vader and that it was going to be imposed upon the playerbase with an iron fist of tyranny. In reality, some new clothes got added as a test, people said "no more of this, cheers" and are now waiting to see if CCP are dumb enough to go further.

Oh wait, that would be it, if not for all the people nuking Jita at the moment, screaming about freedom and tyranny and all sorts of other things that don't matter at all in a pay-to-play sci-fi MMO, because they think that acting like startled chimps and spamming psycopathic messages (that would seem unhinged even if the thing they are screaming about was actually happening) is the best way to get a message accross.

zehydra:
I don't understand why it's really an issue. Micro-transactions don't actually harm the gamer at all, especially if they're for vanity items.

You don't NEED an $80 monacle to do ANYTHING in EVE online.

The only point where the gamer does get harmed by micro-transactions is when the money goes to game-breaking advantages, which inevitably ends up resulting in those who pay real money to the company win.

That's what they're afraid of.

It hasn't actually happened.

They think the best wa to warn CCP about the potential negative effects of this would be to act like children, rather than, say, petition CCP.

image
It's optional people! You don't need to pay a million virtual dollars to dress yourself up if you don't want to! This is like when Team Fortress 2 had purchasable hats for the first time,people flipped out but the sane ones didn't care.
I don't understand the big deal about letting people buy virtual clothing,if it's what they want to do,let them do it,it doesn't hurt your experience and manages to satisfy them.

Jumplion:

sir.rutthed:

Jumplion:
Oh bullshit, the Team Fortress 2 Mann Co. store has had prices like that for cosmetic items, and regular weaponry for months, and yet no news posts or calling outs on that? Pshaw, people, set your priorities straight!

Maybe that's because in TF2 those same items can be traded between players, crafted, and still drop randomly in game? I've never bought a single item in TF2 but my backpack is still full of special items and duplicate items. Get off your high horse man, these two cases are nothing alike in terms of scope.

Easy for you to say, my backpack has been empty of all the weapons and hats I've want since it all started :'( And VALVe just keeps on giving. It's like Christmas never ends with those (glorious) bastards, they release hugeass updates with dozens of weapons and hats, and it'd take me weeks just to get 1/3 of the content, if at that!

So, I'm not on a high horse, I'm just sore on the bum :P

Still, you've got to admit that $20 for one unremarkable hat is pretty ridiculous, and $100+ for a pack of, like, 4 of them is also crazy. That, and keys are not droppable yet crates are, which I just find pretty lame. Crafting takes forever, you would need to sacrifice many weapons that you may enjoy just to get some regular scrap. I really do want VALVe to adjust the drop system ever so slightly so that it'll allow for at least more frequent drops or something. Not too much, just a bit faster on the drops I think.

Ya, it is stupid paying for a virtual hat, but people still do it. I say Valve has every right to take advantage of their stupidity though. I have about 5 crates sitting in my backpack because I have no keys, so I understand that too. Thing is, at least other people can see your 20 dollar hat in TF2. Seems like they should've waited for the actual face to face stuff to be done before they introduced cosmetic items in EVE though. Now it just looks like a greedy moneygrabbing attempt.

http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=932

CCP's Repy is up....

And yeah, they might be in the deep end now knowing how everyone will act to this.

sir.rutthed:
Ya, it is stupid paying for a virtual hat, but people still do it. I say Valve has every right to take advantage of their stupidity though. I have about 5 crates sitting in my backpack because I have no keys, so I understand that too. Thing is, at least other people can see your 20 dollar hat in TF2. Seems like they should've waited for the actual face to face stuff to be done before they introduced cosmetic items in EVE though. Now it just looks like a greedy moneygrabbing attempt.

With TF2, I think when the store was first introduced, it felt like VALVe was going for the same moneygrabbing tactics. VALVe is known for their free everything stuff, so seeing a store come up for DLC items, expensive ones at that, looked like VALVe was taking advantage of their status to gouge some money off of people.

Though, when compared to the EVE stuff, yeah, it isn't as bad. I don't mind paying for some additional addons (I'd probably be more indifferent to the Mann Co. store if it didn't sell weapons as well) so long as they don't affect the game, or if they do then other people may easily unlock them or something. If it's game changing stuff, like a weapon only gotten through payment or an unlock that is incredibly difficult to get, then that's just gouging.

I don't really give a rats ass about the microstore*, but the whole update, ccp's way of handling the anger and several other factors have made me extremely sad over the past few weeks. :( that his whole captain's quarters fašade/gimmick isn't optional makes it all the worse.

Edit: * As it is now.

This business about game changing stuff being sold for real life money is already in the game so not sure why this would only now grab so much rage.

To be honest the amount of anger this has inspired in me is amazing. Read this carefully it has some points about CCP, their attitude, and where EVE is at now.

I tried EVE Online a while back but didn't think much of it, yet since I've retired from WoW and have been waiting for ORO I decided to try it again since a few people have periodically mentioned I'd love it given my pre-occupation with slow, stat-based RPGs, and the changes with Incarna. I decided to reactivate at the beginning of the month and have had nothing but problems.

For starters I received a message in my E-mail telling me I could reactivate my account for 60 days for $20. I tried to do this and reactivated the account but didn't get the 2 months for $20 deal. I figured I did it wrong, and just wanted to play the game to try it anyway so I went with the 1 month I purchused. I however bought this month using Paypal since I don't want to be on recurring billing and don't want my credit card information to be out there. Unfortunatly my account said "you are going to be charged again on so and so a date" which I didn't want, I want to buy one month at a time. I do some research to find out how to cancel recurring billing and find out that there is supposed to be a button in account management that wasn't there. I contact customer support. The next day I check my account again, see a button where the cancellation is supposed to be but don't read it correctly or something and wind up cancelling the cancellation they put on the account which makes the button disappear. I contact customer support again, apologize, get a head GM who cancels my billing again.

The point here is that you apparently cannot cancel recurring billing without the assistance of a GM. Want to buy one month at a time for $15 a pop? You can't do that.

At any rate, I'm committed to the game for a month so I see down and decide to play it, and I guess it's not bad. They improved a lot of things since I tried it years ago... things like "learning skills" and the like are gone. I decided I'd wait and see what was up with this "Incarna" update people were saying was going to walk on water before making any final desicians. See, according to what I was reading and hearing Incarna isn't just supposed to be the whole "walking around in stations" thing, but also a general graphical overhaul of the game including things like new turret and drone models. Really the only change Incarna brought about I noticed other than "Captain's Quarters" and the microtransaction system is that now my Miner shoots a solid blue beam at an astroid as opposed to pulses of yellow-green energy.

All I can say here is "WTF is CCP thinking". To be honest they are running a game that seems to have roughly 50,000 users online. I suppose that's a solid business, but now they want to start charging people real money for in game items? See WoW could get away with that because of the huge player base and the desire for people to be differant.... it's an entirely differant social enviroment from what I've seen with EVE. What's more when it comes to them selling weapons, ships, ammo and all kinds of things like that for real money I find it almost ridiculous as that would TOTALLY destroy the entire point of this game. Not to mention the simple fact that if you buy an item in say WoW nothing is going to happen to your Celestrial Steed if you die, in EVE you can lose ships like crazy (depending on what your doing) which is why they are so relatively easy to get. I feel almost insulted that a company would expect people to be dumb enough to pay say $50 for a virtual space ship that could be ganked by a random player. I mean heck, just in the little over 2 weeks I've been playing I've been hearing horror stories about JITA and how it's so unsafe despite it's high sec status and all the ganking going on there.....

Simply put I really like what they did with this game over the last couple of years, I would kind of like to play it some more, but honestly given the frustration when it comes to their billing system, and what they are doing with microtransactions... I don't know. I really can't see myself doing it.

Oh and for the record the whole "Greed Is Good" thing is probably a referance to a famous scene involving Gordon Gekko in the movie "Wall Street"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_(1987_film)

Oh well, maybe I'll find something else to scratch my MMO itch before Old Republic Online comes out. I tried "RIFT" but am burned out with sword and sorcery, EVE was fun but I've had trouble getting the energy up to log in the last couple of days because I don't want to waste the effort to even AFK mine in a hauler given what they did with the game. I figure I'll cut my losses with what I've spent on the game. They are going to charge me $20 a pop for PLEXs to extend my play time if I don't want to be on recurring billing I have to get one of their employees to cancel anyway.

The point is that the issues with CCP go well beyond the Incarna update. I should have known there was something shady with all the trouble it takes to not be on their recurring billing cycle. I'm tempted to post the E-mails I sent/received about that to prove it given how messed up it was, but I'm not 100% sure what kind of privacy laws might be involved there.

At any rate, thanks for reading, and hopefully someone did. If this saves anyone some time or trouble it was worth writing.

In EVE I'm known/was known as Whisper Adaire (I've been in a few channels recently, 4 year+ old toon from the first time I played since I wanted to keep the few skills I built up, despite little play time or experience. A lot of people have asked me about that).

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