9-4 was barely slipping from the news when we got the chance to do it all over again. A24 was the next system to be invaded by more pilots than the CCP servers could handle. Two timers had gone by and it was the final countdown. Another night of tense combat, daredevil FCs plotting the downfall of their opponents, everything hanging on the slightest error – thrills and spills galore. We couldn’t wait.
OK, so I lie. We could wait. We could wait because we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that 10% Time Dilation (tidi) was coming and did we really want to experience that again? The thrill that comes from targeting an enemy and then waiting a minute or two to see if it actually locked, or if they already weren’t there and you were just chasing ghosts. The thrill that comes from hearing, ‘Warp drive active’ and the knowledge that you had successfully got off grid… and then two minutes later, watching your ship get shredded (very slowly) by pilots who didn’t even appear on your overview. No warp, just death. Death by a thousand disconnects. Death by – Bah! Enough! You all know what I’m talking about. Fun factor – close to zero for everybody involved.
Is it only the fighters
I’m really grumpy. I should be long gone and I’m dying and I can’t even molest the people who are molesting me. I want to blame someone. I want to… oh bloody hell. I’ve disconnected again. Sat in my pod on the Keepstar. RIP. It’s 2am. I have to get up for work in less than 4 hours and I need to go to bed, but I really want someone to blame. I should sleep but half-heard snippets of conversation in fleet chat keep nagging at me.
“Of course, it’s the fighters.”
“The fighters cause the tidi and there are so many fighters.”
More snippets on that theme.
Now, I know that it isn’t just the fighters. The players cause far more tidi than the fighters, but fighters are responsible for a massive chunk of it… because there are so damn many of them.
Skill injector effect
My question is this… Is CCP to blame because of the single-threaded code, or is something a bit more insidious at work? How about addiction? Oh sure, the game itself is addictive, but within the game there is another level of addiction – a new addiction – and CCP are responsible for this one too. Skill Injectors.
“I want, I need, I must, must have,” goes the mantra. Out comes the wallet. Out comes the credit-card. Away goes the hard-earned money. In come the needles.
Carrier <ker-ching>. Super <ker-chiing>, Titan <kerrrr-chhiiiing>. I’m a two week old character and I’m sat in a ship that used to take years to train – and for some, still does. CCP are rolling in cash and the Mittani is making sure GSF run regular cap training sessions. I think the cap training sessions might even be more frequent than the newbee training sessions at the moment. It’s so important that the Mittani devotes part of his latest Fireside Chat to make sure everyone knows the sessions are coming up.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that the Character Bazaar has been around for a while and that if isk wasn’t an issue you could always buy yourself a cap-trained character, but it wasn’t that many. It wasn’t that many because regardless of how much isk you had, it still took time to train that character. Now it takes as long as it takes you to be prepared to shell out for the injectors.
Lets ask another question
Would there have been so many caps (and I’m using that term to mean anything of capital size and above) on grid if it wasn’t for skill injectors?
How about this? If there were less caps on grid, then there would have been less fighters. If there were less fighters, would there have been less tidi?
I began to wonder how much it would cost to skill yourself into a cap on day one. I enlisted the services of fellow contributor, Paramemetic, a man who is a dab hand with spreadsheets. We collated the skills needed and then Paramemetic did some calculations.
Fancy a carrier on day one of your Eve experience? No problemo. $250 worth of plex will let you sit in one and idly spin it in station. Want to actually fit it and feed it? Grab another $250 pack and (if you are a bad) add a $100 pack. If you are a good, make it a third $250 pack.
$750. That’s a fair chunk of change in any currency and that’s just for a single carrier. Then you need to fund the fax alt and the cyno alts and of course you need to keep all these accounts running at omega status, so day one could see you looking at a fairly serious financial outlay.
I started asking questions about just how many new cap pilots had appeared since the introduction of skill injectors. One veteran player put it at a 2000% increase, others were more conservative at a mere 100% increase. A great many thought that there were at least five times as many cap pilots now and that the figure was rapidly increasing as more and more players became richer and richer in-game off their mining activities, for example, and then splashed the ISK on the injectors needed.
Would it therefore be fair to say that CCP are effectively responsible for the increase in cap pilots and thus the increase in fighters available for use in situations that are bound to generate a hefty dose of tidi? That the extra revenue generated by the sale of PLEX to purchase injectors is being used to improve the performance of Eve servers struggling to handle the extra demands placed on them by the sale of PLEX to purchase injectors that has led to a significant increase in the number of cap pilots?
Without injectors it is perhaps reasonable to believe that the tidi would have been there regardless, but it would have been tidi generated by more players, rather than by fighters. More sub-caps on field than caps. Would that have made it harder, or easier, to take down the Keepstar? A decent fight, or just another way of experiencing 10% time dilation? If there were no skill injectors at all, would there have been as many players present? Eve is thriving. Is that because of injectors and alphas, or would the alphas alone have been enough?
We’ll never know, of course, just as so many players will never really understand the sense of achievement that comes from completing a lengthy train, because injectors take care of all that tediousness. They’ll also never experience the sheer frustration of having to do that train either. I wonder which of us is better off?