Friday, October 31, 2014

Rambling: Free

Today I came across a discussion in Eve Uni chat where a particular player said he felt that CCP was setting Eve up to go free to play. The changes in the trial accounts sealed it for him. With them leaving so many skills open that a trial account cannot reach, he feels that it is the first door opening to change.

I disagreed. He ignored me and continued on his points. I disagreed. He ignored me some more. Not being successful in the communication point I found myself thinking that it was a ludicrous idea. Of course it is. Ha, Ha. But if I'm honest with things, it is one I've heard before on other blogs and forums.


The is the argument that Eve currently is a free to play game. As long as people are willing to buy PLEX to exchange for in game currency and others are able to subscribe their accounts through PLEX, Eve is free to play. I never really agreed with that. Maybe it is because I pay my sub. Some feel that means I look down on people who use PLEX. Other's tell me I'm stupid because of it. For me its the simple fact that I enjoy Eve and budget it as my personal entertainment.

So, is Eve free to play because of PLEX? IF it is or if it is not, is a free to play model that is not a pay to win model bad?

My knee jerk reaction is yes, but I'm not sure of why. I believe I may have an uninformed view towards free to play games. I know that some of the most successful games are free to play with micro-transactions and such. I played City of Heroes when it had free to play and subscription versions. In fact, I believe that City of Heroes transitioning to Free to Play and then dying is what has me scared that a announced free to play model will kill Eve and that is why I don't like it.

My first MUD was free to play. The server was hosted at the collage the owner attended and later at someones place of work. We even chipped in to do a server upgrade once in a while. Free to play doesn't make something bad. Subscriptions don't make something good. Subscriptions do invest people a bit more, perhaps. Perhaps. I don't really know.

And so, I went from wondering if said person was a crazy conspiracy theorist to wondering if I was ignorant about what free to play is and if or how it would damage Eve. Is the current status of PLEX an indication that people would sub who curently sub and would not sub who do not? But would they still need the PLEX as they currently do?

PLEX is income. Plex is also unaccounted for game time that CCP owes and does not claim until it is redeemed. If people did not have to sub, would they need PLEX? That assumes that subscription would have a positive net benefit that a free to play account does not.

I'm assuming there would be some limits. Things like Sov, POS, and certain ship classes and items would not be accessible. If I were to take the earlier conversation that changing trials is a method to open up a unlimited simple level account, there would be reasons to subscribe to access all of Eve.

It would eliminate a current dilemma of people trying to make enough ISK to subscribe their accounts before their trial ends. That could also be solved with a longer trial period. Something that gives a player enough time to start sinking into Eve. If they could play for longer and earn their PLEX they might stay. Or they might burn out. That also feeds back into my feeling that PLEX has become our poverty level. However, this is somewhat a different meandering wave of thought.

I just don't have enough information to properly figure this out. It is also not the most important thing for me to think about, but such is the path of thought. As far as I know, CCP isn't planning to release Phoebe and "oh by the way Eve is F2P now too!" But, sometimes thinking for the sake of thinking is good. And, I do dislike feeling abjectly ignorant as I do now.

11 comments:

  1. While not having much reason to go F2P, CCP has plenty of incentive to create indefinite trials. Many players are serial players, and it would be worthwhile if for no other reason than to eliminate the overhead of GM resources for granting people time in order to apply PLEX to idle accounts. They would probably look for other ways to differentiate the freemium experience. In addition, they want to have their fingers in any semblance of RMT, thus they may put a floor, invisible or otherwise, on the price of PLEX and continue to sell them. The rising value of PLEX make them more attractive to PLEX buyers afterall.

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  2. I can't see any real way that Eve could go free to play that wouldn't be excessively meta-gamed at this point. We already see people create personal armies to do things like incursions, mining, and stealth bombers, can you imagine if everyone could do this without any limitations? Even a limitation like 'You have to sub or use plex to train skills' is easily overcome when you have one of these armies and after a few months and they're all perfect, it's basically an isk printing machine. The economy would be in shambles about six months after such a change (If it were not very, very, very carefully thought out)

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    1. The economic collapse you worry about comes from the surge in ISK with all the new accounts out there turning on the various faucets?

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    2. Not just isk, but minerals, PI, production, anything that having extra alts would enable everyone to get. Not to mention anything else that having a lot of different pilots at your disposal would allow.

      In a way, it would be a great equalizer, but at the same time, I think it would probably destroy the game for a great many people. It just wouldn't be Eve anymore....

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  3. There are already mechanics in place to limit dual logins with unpaid accounts. They are mainly used as intelligence tools. The argument could be made that a year old alt isn't creating any worse content than a one week old alt.

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  4. Hey Sugar, completely off topic, sorry ...
    Do you know of any Corp referral/matching service? I was looking for a WH corp to do PI, PvE, Industry, transport... My reflexes suck, so not into PvP except maybe logistics or ewar in WH defense.

    Most important, though... grown-ups. No smack-talk, no drama, just people trying to get stuff done.

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    1. No worries. Sadly, no. You can post on the forums and get offers or search and meet people. The entire find a corp interface in game is just not where it needs to be at all. Maybe we can find someone for you. Foo over on my blog list may be a good choice. He runs corps that do that type of thing.

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    2. Cool, thanks. All I seem to find in-game is drunks, kids, and awoxers.

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  5. CCP Terminus wrote in the comments of the recent Trials and Tribulations devblog regarding the trial account skill changes: "...This is also a form of future-proofing, in that even if we extended the time of trials by a significant amount we would still be restricting capital ships for balance reasons."

    I expect trial account duration will be extended. If so, it would make sense for CCP to sell starter characters for new players since such characters in the bazaar would be hugely devalued due to their being free to train up.

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  6. I can't see Eve going Free but I can see CCP expanding the use of Plex into areas where people would pay the $$$ to buy Plex such as renting Sov off concord and hiring Concord to patrol it.

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  7. I considered EVE F2P where a PLEX/subscription activated one month worth of skill training. Then I realized this would lose CCP lots of money since players that had the skills they wanted would stop paying.

    Also, eve is based on getting people to pay for multiple accounts. You can't jump a capital around solo and eve punishes trust with killmails.

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