Archive for June, 2011


On Micro- and Macro-Transactions

A lot has been said, both inside the Eve community, and outside it, about the recent Incarna expansion, which offers clothing options for dressing up your avatar.

Personally, while I think the prices of those items were wrong, I don’t think the $70 monocle is an outrageous sum.

Let me tell you about fashion

There’s a bar in the city where I live. It sells expensive drinks in an opulent setting. How expensive? Well, the online drinks menu has no prices.

Once you get there, the menu has prices, but I will focus on one small part of the menu: the premium cocktail menu.

Premium cocktails are essentially regular cocktails, but with name-brand ingredients. The Champagne used will be Moet and Chandon or better; the garnish will be air-freighted from Japan that day, and the prices are appropriately stratopheric. The cheapest cocktail is $15; the most expensive, gold-leaf-laden drink is in the order of $500,

Five. Hundred. Dollars.

Even that price is dwarfed by the wine list, where a thousand dollar wine is still in the cheap end. The point is, people pay money for socially-related things based on the status they bestow on the purchaser. A $70 monocle says ‘I can afford to pay $70 for a fashion item that only other Eve players can see.’ In fact, the existence of an insanely expensive item makes everything else appear a lot cheaper, just by its existence at the top.

CCP’s mistake was not that the monocle was too expensive, but that the other items were. If the other items of clothing were a tenth or twentieth of the price, the monocle would clearly be a true ‘ultra-rich’ vanity item, because of the wide gulf in affordability. The fact that it is in the same ball-park as the other items is terrible price signalling; it lowers the status the item bestows below the threshold of being worth the objective price you pay.

This is CCP Business Development’s failure, and it is a massive one.

Where will it stop?

This topic has been further fuelled by CCP’s internal newsletter on the subject, which indicates that CCP’s stance on micro-payments is strongly in favour of being comprehensive rather than decorative.

The article’s strategy implies that World of Darkness and Dust 514 will be full-transaction games, with all three types of items available, namely

  • Cosmetic/Fashion
  • Convenience/Services
  • Power-gaming

It appears that while Power-gaming items are off the table (for now) in Eve, there is still a push towards convenience items – trading Aurum to remove grinding. To be fair, that’s what PLEX does now – you pay real money for Isk, which you can then give to other players for services, such as a faction battleship, forum signature or standings improvement with a certain corporation. Paying AUR for faction standings is, to most players, not significantly different to buying pirate dog tags and cashing them in at a COSMOS data centre.

Fact is, if you can buy it with Isk at the moment, buying it with AUR isn’t substantially different.


A Guide to Flying Blacks Ops – Part 1 (via EVE Black Ops)

There really should be more of these kinds of guides. There are tons of guides for common ships, but the more expensive and specialised hulls really benefit from a primer, since they are usually arduous trains and expensive to replace.

A Guide to Flying Blacks Ops - Part 1 The guide is by no means completely definitive or final. I’ll make changes as I go; however, I’ve had a lot of people asking for more information. I will publish this in pieces, trying to go through it in the order in which you will. I’m going to answer as many questions as possible with this guide. Part 1: Getting There Black Ops are skill intensive. With a limited tactical role, there is no wonder why it’s one of the least used ship classes in … Read More

via EVE Black Ops


Eve Wallpapers

Just a reminder that CCP has released a bunch of awesome wallpapers over the years; one for each expansion.

Personally, I like the Apocrypha wallpaper the best.

Best wallpaper. Best expansion, too

There are also some great fan-made wallpapers, including this amusing set from Kovad:

Admit it; it does look like a yacht


Over the Great Wall

Over on Failheap, a few players have decided to do some internet spaceship tourism and head over to Serenity, the Chinese Eve server. While there’s a slight undercurrent of ‘beat up the natives with their primitive fittings and obsolete RRBS fleet techniques’, there’s also a joyous spirit of adventure and shared friendship. Also, free stuff.

[17:08:19] 艾莲凤梨马奎拉 > orange MKII is a gay
[17:08:36] 橘子mkII > gay ur sister
[17:08:53] moenocc > sis your sis
Oh well, turns out Chinese Eve players aren’t so different after all.
The turnout has been so unexpected that a new sub-forum has been created to deal with the volume of threads, and to accommodate the cross-cultural exchanges as players from both servers talk smack at each other, make wild claims about life in their respective countries, and complain about how terrible Gallente ships are.
As a poster wrote:
Failheap you never cease to amaze me. We go forth with the intention of trolling and mayhem and somehow end up with the beginnings of a wholesome cultural exchange.
Update: Virt has more details in his typically lyrical style.


Yay! Back online with my brand spanking new Macbook Pro.

It took a while though – seems the Mac client

  1. was really slow to download — maybe 100k/s for the first few hours
  2. is gigantic, clocking in at 5 gig
  3. crashes on first download! eek!

Luckily it didn’t crash on startup after that, or else I would have looked a little like this

Colour me unimpressed


Skill Training Complete – Oh Noes!

*sigh* my computer dieded while my skill queue only had 25 hours in it, and now I have to scramble to replace it

For the first time, that ‘skill training complete’ notification on my phone won’t be a happy thing.