Art by Cryo Huren
“One of the topics for Fanfest is a new project that we’re in the middle of developing, that will transform these and any future packs – a paradigm where packs of this type will be supplied by players, ensuring that any ship we offer to new players through sales, will have origins from actual player work in New Eden: Made for new players, by veterans. This feature will also not only supply each ship from the player base but allow the community to influence which ships will be put in these packs. “CCP Games, CCP Online Forums, https://forums.eveonline.com/t/an-open-letter-to-ccp-from-current-and-former-csm-members-on-the-prospector-pack/352742/1346
There was a comment made by INN’s Rhivre, “This really makes me think of the EVE Echoes insurance system.” on the article titled “CCP Wants Your Unpaid Labor… Or RMT” written by INN’s Arrendis. Since I have never played EVE Echoes, I decided to investigate this and write this article and try to understand what CCP might be trying to accomplish.
How Does EVE Echoes Handle Insurance?
According to this Wiki, In EVE Echoes (EE), players can acquire Insurance Points (IP) to replace their lost ships by exchanging PLEX for IP, daily login rewards, and some tutorial missions. Assuming you have around 30% of the ship’s value in IP (Calculated in PLEX Exchange rates ISK->PLEX->IP) when it is destroyed, you can redeem the IP and NetEase poofs a replacement ship into existence for you. The game’s Pend Insurance then puts up a buy order for the value of IP you spent on the replacement for it in PLEX for ISK with a tax of 10% of the PLEX you used. The game’s system then deposits that ISK from the buy order into a fund to replace the items that were lost and replaced. Once that fund reaches a certain threshold (some sources say 50 times value, others say 20 times value), it puts up a buy order for those items at what the system believes is the market price.
If that seemed convoluted, I’ll make it a little simpler. Roughly 73% of ships and their fittings replaced through this system are poofed into existence. NetEase pockets (removes from the economy entirely) roughly 10% of the PLEX used to replace the ship (about 3% of its estimated value), and the industrialists replace approximately 27% of the ship.
— A brief pause for my fellow industrialists to finish screaming.
highly somewhat doubt CCP will only ask of 27% of the Retrievers sold via this marketing scheme in materials. But, as Rhivre pointed out, it is a very safe bet that CCP will use a similar system to generate buy orders of the things it sells via the CCP Store.
What Would That Look Like?
First, let us start with the buy orders. Now, if I were a really lazy developer, the buy order would be available in Jita regionwide. Considering this scheme is a quick buck, CCP can see its value. So, it’s quite likely they’ll put some thought into this and perhaps make a new scope for a buy order that is Eve-wide. Maybe even enough CCP realize that the buy order should be regional and located in the region it was redeemed in.
In order to prevent CCP store purchases from putting too much strain on the servers, it’s quite likely they will use something similar to the approach NetEase uses and have a buy order for every few dozen that are sold in the store. But it’s quite possible for a 1:1 ratio here. It’s rife with problems though.
The first problem is that EVE Online’s economy will no longer be player-run. This system will add a global price floor to whatever item is being sold in the CCP store due to the buy orders. This means that anyone looking to place a buy order must bid higher than CCP or be forced to wait until CCP’s buy order completes. And this gets worse based on how far the CCP generated buy orders reach. If CCP’s buy order price is higher than the current one, it hurts those who use buy orders to acquire goods.
So How Much Would CCP Ask for the Buy Orders?
Here is where it gets worrying. As I write this article, the current Estimated Item Value (EIV), a value calculated by CCP, for a Retriever is about 25 million ISK. The cost for me to import some of the materials, produce it, and sell it in 1DQ1-A is approximately 41.5 million ISK. If CCP were to use just the EIV for the buy orders, it’s likely very few would be sold to CCP. Which leads us to the next problem.
The Buy Orders Don’t Have To Be Completed
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, CCP can keep poofing Retrievers into existence. Will CCP put a cap on how many Retrievers can be sold before they have been replaced by the player-base? Your guess is as good as mine, but the correct answer is no. No, a corporation will likely not put a cap on its potential income. CCP might do it initially for goodwill˜, but it’ll go eventually as did every other line CCP said it wouldn’t cross. CCP’s reasoning will likely be something along the lines of not enough innocent new players are able to get their Retrievers from the greedy veterans. Ya’know some good ole fashioned gaslighting. And they’ll have every reason to demonize veteran players that produce Retrievers because of our next topic.
Industrialists Will Become CCP’s Competitors
If the player-base is able to make Retrievers cheap ISK wise and widely available, that is going to be costing CCP money because it will lower demand for the store-bought Retriever. Considering the store-bought Retriever’s appeal is convenience, it’s a safe bet that haulers/logistics are going to get the nerf hammer to increase the appeal of that convenience. CCP will likely want to increase the frustration and difficulty of doing hauling/logistics. One that is likely to occur is Jump Freighter nerfs as they provide the most utility to making goods available to players.
CCP have a ton of other avenues to squeeze income from the rest of the supply chain too. All of which the avenues are likely to be things that increase frustration, increase ISK sinks such as taxes, decrease availability, or increase time spent. As more items become available in the CCP store, the more incentive CCP will have to turn the economy into a living nightmare. A nightmare that CCP can invent multiple ways to cure, for a nominal fee of course.
CCP also have incentive to implement an insurance system like EE that doubles as an Ship Replacement Program to sink its vampiric teeth into that part of the economy. It will have to be after the player-base becomes more accepting of CCP intruding into the once player-run economy though. The pay packs could be a vital first step towards this.
A New Era
Much like the Abundance Era and the Scarcity Era, EVE Online will once again fundamentally change and enter a new Era. It will be an Era where CCP will have the power to give players fitted ships instantly. It is a fundamental change in how goods are acquired in EVE Online by going from players opting to buy PLEX in the store, sell PLEX in game for ISK, and purchase goods from the player-run markets in game to a system where players can opt to spend real life currency to purchase goods from the CCP Store. Goods that eventually may be player-built.
Should CCP start selling items that are used in war, it could shift this game very quickly towards pay-to-win. Even if CCP puts restrictions on it, considering ships are often used as ammo in EVE Online’s wars, and gold ammo was store-bought ammo in World Of Tanks, it’s not unreasonable to say gold ammo, albeit in the form of spawned ships, might be coming to EVE Online soon. I can give you a glimpse into what might become EVE’s future from my experience in World of Tanks. Everyone hated gold ammo in World of Tanks, but everyone used it in high-level play.