Yesterday, I received the e-mail news letter Eve Online Volume .82. It had one thing that captured my attention.
New additions are coming to the Buddy Program soon, including Open Invites, allowing you to share a unique public link that anyone can use to obtain a 21-day extended trial of EVE Online. Just like the existing invites, when the new player subscribes, you get an extra 30 days of EVE game time added to your account.
That didn't seem to bad. It looked like the permanent links might not generate a PLEX if people used them to gain game time. I could live with that. In fact I decided that I would immediately put up a link on my blog if they came out with the program. Some game time would be nice. I was fine if it was not PLEX. Plus, it was a good way to get even more advertisement out for Eve.
Then today I saw this tweet about the change. A Dev Blog was up reference the new Buddy Invite changes.
That brings me to another important change. With the introduction of open invites we are removing all limits on Buddy Program invites and removing the PLEX-for-PLEX reward option. That is, if a Buddy Program trial is upgraded using PLEX the inviter will not be eligible to receive a PLEX reward as a result of that trial upgrade. We're sure you can understand that this is a necessary measure to protect the integrity of the Buddy Program. We are examining options for widening the pool of available rewards and rewarding those who succeed in attracting many friends to EVE through the Buddy Program.
Oh my. I did not expect that. I did not expect them to yank the PLEX reward for PLEX activation.
The buddy system has long been used to invite people to Eve. The PLEX reward was used to upgrade people 'for free'. You invite a friend, they get their 21 day trial. You give them a plex. They redeem the PLEX. They now have a month of game time on top of their 21 days. You receive a PLEX because they subscribed. It was a free system that gave people a nice little bit of time to get their feet wet without having to make that finical decision until they were well addicted.
That was a good thing. As noted by Sard in my comments and not said by myself when first posted, it will not affect those who are inviting their friends to invite their friends. I believe some out of game social groups use this option to help their newbies get a 51 day 'trial'. They still can. The question will become where the game time is going. CCP developing some other 'rewards' or perhaps even an alliance/corporation reward focus would be interesting.
The side effect was the free alts. These alts have many uses but one of them is ganking alts. In a month a Catalyst or Tornado alt could be made. CCP has rules against recycling alts for sec status loss but they do not have any rules about no longer using an account because of it.
Each alt had a life span of a handful of ganks before they became useless. They are not skilled up as a normal player. They are disposable characters. Their accounts lapsed into the darkness once their use was over.
And CCP just smashed that particular ploy right out of the game.
Only weeks ago it would have been faction warfare alts that the finger was so heavily pointed at. Perhaps, the blame can still be laid on their existence. Yet, their existence was the result of a poorly thought out mechanics that was left alone to the point that it was easy to wonder if CCP wanted it in the game.
What will this do to the PLEX market?