Where Are All the Ship SKINs?

The joke that isn’t really a joke has been about CCP being unable to run a store to sell EVE Online merchandise.  Granted, there are difficulties serving a world-spanning audience, and everybody who says, “They could make so much money if the just sold…” is completely wrong… I went over all that already… but it still seems to take them to get something going only to be disappointing.

The in-game store though, the New Eden Store, that ought to be different.  That has no shipping or currency conversion or inventory cost issues.  Just get the art team to make some nifty, infinitely reproducible ship SKINs and put them up for sale.   I know there are people who don’t like ship SKINs, but there are people who don’t like puppies and kittens as well.  And judging from the fleet ops I go on, there are plenty of people who do like SKINs.

Reavers fleets are always full of skinned ships

And if you have a titan it seems like having a SKIN is almost mandatory judging from what I saw of those fleets over the summer.

Something, something, titans will never be common…

So, with that in play, you would think the New Eden Store would be full of ship SKINs.

Not too full, mind you.  I get the whole scarcity and exclusivity thing.  And, of course, the UI of every online store becomes a burden when there are more than 20 things in any given shopping category, so you want to avoid bloat.

Even given all of that, I still fully expect that I should be able to open up the New Eden Store and find a SKIN for the ship I am flying, no matter which ship it is.

But, this is CCP, so of course I can’t.

It is the holiday season… you know, when people go shopping for gifts, a time when it is good to have a full selection of items available… and the Reavers had a Secret Santa gift exchange again this year.  The person I drew wanted an Apostle and I figured I could swing that.  But I hate to give just a ship.  I like ship SKINs and so throw some in with every Secret Santa gift.  I even have a few of the Blaze SKINs socked away to go with gifts at a later date.

So I wanted an Apostle SKIN.  But when I opened up the New Eden Store I found that there were no Apostle SKINs for sale.  Frankly, there are barely any Amarr SKINs for sale… or Minmatar.  There are just five Amarr and six Minmatar SKINs in the store.

I hope you are flying one of these ships if you want an Amarr SKIN

Gallente is a bit better.  They have some coverage, though it is far from universal.  Only the Caldari, of the four main empires, seems to have a good selection of SKINs.  They are mostly the white Ghostbird SKIN, which I admit I really like, but at least you have an option as Caldari. (The Triglavians, the new hawtness, have a couple SKINs per hull available, and the Gila is also well covered.)

But no Apostle SKIN.

I had to get out an alt in Jita to go shopping.  And that is okay.  I understand that SKINs from events and old SKINs area meant for the secondary market.  And I was able to find a Purity of the Throne, a Dark Iron, and an Exoplanets SKIN to go with the gift.  I had to run them out to Aridia in an interceptor so my main could pick them up and fly them back into Delve, so a little inconvenience, but not much.  I just feel lucky that I was able to find three quality SKINs without breaking the bank.  If he had wanted a faction battleship SKIN I might not have been so lucky.

I won’t pretend I am an expert on in-game, cash shop marketing, but it does seem like the holiday season would be a good time to have a selection of SKINs available for a much wider selection of ships.  And the art team at CCP has show itself able to knock out a good SKIN on short notice for fundraising events.  So what is going on here?

4 thoughts on “Where Are All the Ship SKINs?

  1. PhearalDrood

    Even I, who plays zoomed way out most of the time, want more ship skin options. I’m as amazed as you are that we aren’t swimming in them. I hope they introduce more soon, and not just recolors of the same basic design, either.

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  2. anypo8

    What is going on here is IMHO one of CCP’s all-time dumbs.

    Remember back at intro when they had the SKIN bug and you could, with some fiddling around, fit any skin to any hull? Remember how everybody went nuts with it and was having the time of their lives? SKINS were suddenly off-the-charts popular and everyone was playing around with them. You just weren’t anybody in New Eden unless you had a Police SKIN.

    Remember CCP’s response to their accidental introduction of a feature that everyone purely loved? They made up a bug with arbitrary ship application that would be just *too* hard to fix and instead fixed their original “bug”, forcing you to buy a SKIN separately for each ship type. In the usual New Eden style, everybody got mad for about a week and then let it go. It’s CCP, whatcha gonna do? Game excitement is cancelled.

    Now it is possible that they are making more money this way. I don’t know. What I do know is that I personally swore to never ever pay for a SKIN after that. I only had a few SKINs, and I didn’t really use them: I barely looked out the window when I was playing anyway because I’m a terrible pilot who relied mostly on the overview.

    This was one of the many many tiny straws that broke the camel’s back for me with EvE Online. I hope they’re making a lot of money on SKINs, because I’m not giving them $20-$40 per month in subscriptions anymore.

    [deleted long rant about state of EvE]

    There could be some compromise, maybe. Allow SKINs to apply to entire ship classes? Blacklist SKINs on ships where it’s hard to make them work? But the “one SKIN, one hull” concept is at the core of why you can’t buy a SKIN for your gift Apostle. You clearly outlined the reasons why it would be impractical to have 10 or 20 SKINs available for each hull in the Store. But having 10 or 20 SKINs available at any given time that would fit whatever hull? That would be neat. Themed fleets would suddenly be easy to do. SKIN style trends would evolve.

    By the way, when I was ranting about user-contributed content the other day? User-contributed SKINs would be a great start. The demise of Caldari Pony Club is just another silly by-product of CCP’s mismanagement. [Actually, it looks like something similar is back up at https://eve-nt.uk/designer/%5D SKINs are something that offer no in-game advantage (with reasonable QA: you want a ship to still be easily visible with the SKIN on). Players have already shown themselves willing to design SKINs for ships *even when they cannot be used in-game*. If I’m running CCP, I take advantage of that instead of ignoring it and hoping it dies.

    How cool would it be if you could give your corpie a *custom-skinned* Apostle for Christmas?

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    anypo8 – I think people were asking for custom ship decorations since beta. That Hello Kitty Kestral image has been floating around for more than a decade.

    But this is CCP, so they had to fumble around for years. First they just made special ships with special coloring that mostly went to RMT interests. Then they spent ages working out a way that let people manufacture a ship with the SKIN on it, so it went away when you lost the ship. Then, they finally decided that SKINs ought to be independent, got past a certain CSM member declaring that they should be really expensive, and actually gave us something. And then the SKINs were crap. I mean, that olive green Caldari SKIN looks very military, but we want some damn color. And then there were ships that needed to be reworked so they could even have SKINs.

    But I thought we had finally turned a corner, that we had reached a point where SKINs might go wild. Two years back, at EVE Vegas, than as much as promised that with their new tech that in-game groups would be able to generate their own SKINs for sale. Meanwhile, the shop started to have SKINs with colors, even ones that looked good on rusty Minmatar ships. And there were statements about structure SKINs and CCP put out those emergency response SKINs for logi ships.

    And then all the SKINs fell off the market and I wonder what the hell is going on.

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  4. evehermit

    Over the last year (?) CCP has been regularly culling skins from the store, usually with a 50% off type sale before their demise. I see the notifications come up in the EVE Online news RSS feed.

    CCP seem to have gone down the route of limited release skins – that you have a month or three to purchase before they disappear from the store. I presume someone in marketing had shown people are more likely to purchase a skin with a time limit than one that stays in the store for years.

    One of the things I have found odd is their pricing. Some of these limited release skins can be pretty plain and uninspiring (to my eye), yet they can cost weeks of game time. Then they might release some interesting colourful design that they sell (relatively) cheaply.

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