CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash

Just over a year ago there was some controversy and push back from the community over CCP introducing a Starter Pack that was effectively selling skill points to players, something that seemed very much against the grain of past statements from the company used to justify the introduction of skill injectors about the importance of skill points in the game coming only from training.

It’s very important to note here that this means all the skillpoints available to buy on the market in EVE will have originated on other characters where they were trained at the normal rate.  Player driven economies are key to EVE design and we want you to decide the value of traded skillpoints while we make sure there is one single mechanism that brings new skillpoints in to the system – training.

CCP was apologetic and promised to change that (and, many months later new packs came out), but did point out that this was aimed at new players and that the starter pack could only be applied once to any account.  But it could still be purchased and applied to any account and, doing the math, spending five dollars on a million skill points seemed like a pretty good deal, so I am sure that CCP dragging its feet on removing that starter pack was in no small part influence by the fact that it was selling pretty well.

But the story so far has always included some rationalization.

Skill injectors were rationalized because the skills were all created in the game via normal training along with the fact that you could always buy characters in the bazaar.

Alpha skill injectors, daily skill point boosts for free accounts, were rationalized as they only added as many skill points as they player would have received in a day had they been subscribed, making it a mini, daily subscription.

Starter packs were rationalized as being for new players and being once per account.  Sure, you got some cheap skill points, but it wasn’t an unlimited deal.

Which brings us to today, when CCP announced their new Training Boost Bundle.

Training Boost Bundle

You get, straight up, 1.5 million skill points and an Expert Cerebral Accelerator, which gives you a +8 stat boost to speed up your training for 12.5 days (1,080,000 seconds).

The accelerator in game

I guess the rationalization here might be… um… at least these skill points aren’t as cheap as they were in the starter pack?

But it is still a deal if you simply want to straight up pay cash for skill points, especially for older characters.

My back of the envelope, rounded numbers for easy mental math, calculations are that in Jita/Perimeter you can find PLEX for about 2.6 ISK million per and Large Skill Injectors for around 725 million ISK per.

When purchased in lots of 500 PLEX is about 4 cents per unit and you need to sell about 300 to buy a Large Skill Injector, taking into account taxes.

That makes a Large Skill Injector about $12.

To get 1.5 million skill points you need to buy three injectors, which is $36.  You have to decide if the cerebral accelerator is worth the extra four bucks, though I imagine it is.

But that is only if you have a relatively unskilled character.  You get less skill points per injector the more skill points you have.  If, like me, you have characters with more than 80 million skill points, then you only get 150K skill points per injector.

That means you need to buy 10 Large Skill Injectors, which will run you about $120 in PLEX, or three times the $40 asking price.

So, for old hands, the Training Boost Bundle might not be a bad deal… though even that assumes you aren’t earning enough ISK in game to buy your injectors without having to spend any real world cash.  I’m not going to spend the money, but somebody will.

Skill points are now well and truly available for sale in unlimited quantities.  No need to go through the PLEX to ISK to injectors rigamarole, just buy the skill points directly.  It is likely cheaper and clearly easier.

Welcome to free to play, where the inevitable result is pay to win and where whales keep the game running so the cash shop needs to cater to them.

Are you going to quit?  Are you going to give up all the effort you have invested in the game over this?  Is this the step too far, the line crossed?

Probably not.  I think most people will bitch about it… /r/eve is in an uproar as expected… and then carry on.  I am not going to quit.  Hell, there is finally a war on, the game is good for me for a bit.

So what then?

I suppose we need to mark it up as a life lesson, a reminder that what companies say in a specific moment in a given context will be ignored or forgotten the moment it no longer directly serves their interest.  A company’s promise is an empty and worthless thing.

Just remember, when CCP says something to reassure you, like that it is important that skill points in the game should be earned or that asset safety is important because otherwise nobody will keep their stuff in citadels, if they are not actively lying to you in that moment, they will go back on their word the moment it suits them.

Welcome to EVE Online.  Know the risks.

14 thoughts on “CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash

  1. Nogamara

    I’m not bitter because of this because imho people have been able to get skill points via money since injectors came in – this is just less indirect.

    I’m a little salty because after hours of calculation I convinced myself that I suck at making money and started to plex an account in hopes of selling skill injectors (for a not huge monthly gain) and the market has already taken a 10% dip the last 3 weeks and I’m not sure my plan will pay off at all. I mean, of course I am using the 3 alts for PI and that has kept me funded a little, but it’s still not a lot… and I’m pretty sure this will drive injector prices down even more.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Nogamara – For me this is more of a deep sigh moment as I have to remind myself that companies are not people, they are not nor can they ever be your friend or even care about you in the slightest. The arguments in support of CCP doing this tend to run along the lines we always see, that skill points or characters were always available so there is no line that CCP can cross they won’t support. Whatever.

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  3. SynCaine

    On the surface it stinks, but at the same time since EVE has come out, gaming has changed. What we once thought as absurd ($10 sparkle pony) is now so common it’s expected.

    And this is still not CCP selling something of power (shop-only ships, modules, etc) for money, which is still IMO the ultimate Pay-4-Power bridge that some games cross.

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  4. Archey

    This is probably one of the most cynical posts I’ve read here, and yet … I can’t argue with it in the slightest. I was actually just thinking the same thing in regard to some other topic recently: that it goes against the best interests of any company to keep promises, so maybe the most honest option is never to make them.

    And yet companies continue to make promises and define lines they won’t cross. But absent a written, enforceable contract, they are never worth the virtual paper they are printed on. Sounds overly cynical, yet more or less indisputable.

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Archey – I am inclined to believe people and take things at face value, so when I feel I’ve been a fool to believe somebody… like when CCP said a year ago that they got the concerns about selling skill points… my cynicism tends to go into overdrive to compensate. I’m not going to stop playing, but I am disappointed in myself that I thought CCP wouldn’t do this.

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  6. bhagpuss

    I agree with Archey. The fundemental problem isn’t that companies break promises, it’s that they make them. And even then, it’s not so much the issue of trust as the complete lack of reality involved. Except and unless a company is literally a one-person show, to make promises is to attempt to bind other individuals to a future course of action. Even governments don’t pretend to be able to do that (or not in my jurisdiction, anyway). A new person comes in, the rules change with them.

    That may or may not be the case in EVE. I don’t follow the game closely enough to know who said what when or who has which job title and responsiblity. It applies across the board, though, to all companies and organizations. An individual can be held to a promise but a collective can’t, at least not in anything other than the shortest and most immediate of time-frames.

    I’d love to see all companies using mediating language when making these sweeping promises. “We hope…” “We mean…” “We intend…” Even better, “Our current plans are to…” They don’t do it because when they do they get called out for fudging the issue, not being honest, trying to have their cake and eat it. The truth is that no company representative, not even the CEO, can predict the future even so far as to know how long their own writ might run.

    As consumers and players we shouldn’t just be wary or cynical of corporate promises – we should completely ignore them and make our decisions on the assumption they have no substance. The only exception should be contractual obligations, where the “promise” has legal standing, like the contents of the Collectors Edition for which money changes hands. Then, if you don’t get your cloth bag, you can really kick off.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mailvaltar

    My first thought upon reading this was “Oh well, who cares about skillpoints, having lots of those isn’t the ‘I win’ button some proclaim it to be anyway”.

    Then I tried to remember how it actually felt to not have over 100 mil SP on my main (closing in on 180 mil now)…and I just can’t. When I board a ship, even for the first time, I automatically assume that I have pretty much all relevant skills at level 5 and the corresponding weapon specialization skill at 4, and it’s been like that for the better part of 10 years now.

    I have to actively make an effort to remember what it was like not being able to use a specific fit because I didn’t have the CPU or power to online all modules, or getting stuck in warp and seperated from my fleet because I didn’t have enough cap to make the whole distance.

    Skillpoints aren’t an ‘I win’ button, but they sure help with a lot of things. So, yeah, all things considered this is a pretty shitty move of them (and was from the beginning when injectors came).

    Especially so since, in my opinion, EVE isn’t actually free to play. Alpha accounts are a thing, yes, but for the most part they aren’t really viable for actual and fun gameplay, and you can’t make do with only Alpha accounts when you’re serious about anything in the game. Alpha’s won’t be the ones buying these skillpoints either, so this is in fact a cost on top of the subscription for anyone who’s interested in it.

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  8. Trenjeska

    Yeah I never believe promises from companies, unless I can fully enforce that promise at very great cost to whatever entity is controlling the game at the time the promise is broken.
    Which will never happen.

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  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    In thinking more on this, up to this point the line of advance on this has always involved the in game economy. Skill extractors and injectors at least involved commerce between players, even though that is the step that made for the “everybody has a titan” situation we are in today. (And there is a strange overlap between people who complain about too many titans and people defending CCP straight up selling SP.)

    Alpha injectors were a step in the direction of creating skill points out of thin air, but at least were purchased for PLEX, so had some involvement in the market.

    The starter pack left the in game market behind, but was at least only once per account.

    And the new skill pack now removes that restriction, unlimited skill points without the bother of the in game market, which makes me wonder if it will impact the economy. There will be less reason to buy PLEX to sell for ISK, at least for people who want to buy skill injectors, since it will be easier, and in many cases cheaper, to just pay cash up front. There will also be less demand for skill injectors, so the price of that should go down some, though there is no doubt a floor at which people will see the PLEX to ISK to injector path as better option.

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  10. evehermit

    I read “Get 1.5 million Skill Points to inject instantly” and assumed you were given 3 Large Skill Injectors. That meant it would only be worth 450K in my situation. Was my assumption wrong? Do you get an injector that gives 1.5M SP regardless?

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  11. Burnonator

    A way to directly boost sales (selling SP) and indirect sales (nerfing sp farms) simultaneously? CHECK! Thanks Pearl Abyss! I’m sure there’s plenty more of this on the way.They do have a $425 million purchase to make up.

    I’m not surprised in the least. Its not cynicism, its capitalism; same old story.

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  12. Endlessly Poor Gamer

    Disclaimer: I’m pretty new to the game and belong to a younger gaming generation than a lot of EVE players.

    As much as older players keep saying your skill points don’t matter, they do (and if skill points don’t matter, why the big issue with it). We are locked out of so much content because of SP gaps. For example, I’m at ~12 million SP (never bought an injector of any kind), got myself into a new corp, thought I’d trained pretty well, focusing on engineering, navigation, shields and armour, the big 10,14,16 whatever it is, all to Vs, and bam, another 72 days training before I can fly *novice* doctrine ships. As another example, I tried to get into industry using a collection of the free fully researched BPCs you get as part of the daily login rewards and I can’t make profit on those, even if I mined the ore myself – as my reprocessing skills are so low, I’d be better off selling the ore and chucking the BPC.

    My other gripe is that one’s ISK/per hour is heavily dependent on starter ISK and SP. As one gets more of both, their propensity for making more is far greater, widening the gap between new and old players. Skill injectors for noobs is a good idea to jump start them to making more ISK on their own. It is incredibly frustrating grinding up that first 10 /20 million ISK. The last thing people want to do is heavily grind for what they know is basically chump change once you really get going in the game.

    Don’t get me wrong though, there are plenty of alternatives and workarounds for this so there’s no point in going over them with me. Im still playing because I found workarounds to still enjoy myself despite the added frustrations – however, im a more adaptable gamer than a lot of gaming friends I know and I have a strong desire to get into EVE, so I’m willing to adjust. Many of my other gamer friends would try EVE for about a week, get bored of the grind and the endless SP locks and drop it.

    However, to support your point, I think these issues could have been solved in better ways. What I keep saying to my boyfriend, is if there are any skills just about everyone has – so if CCP were to look at all active players over the age of 1 year say, and look for trends in skill point placement, if there are certain skills that some majority of players all have, they should be removed from the game or given outright to all players. That way those “core” skills that lock you out of say doctrine ships should already be trained. In addition, a nice bump to say the ISK reward for finishing the starter mission or something would be good. They might need to look within specialities though – so what would a trader have by year 1, what would a combat oriented player etc etc.

    While I do see people’s point about companies lying, the trend of giving new players a bit of a bump in an old game is very successful in the games I’ve seen it well executed in (though they never made promises to begin with in the examples im thinking of, so there wasnt a feeling of betrayal there). EVE really needs a large influx of newer players. It feels as if the older community is just tired and struggling to keep up with the expectations of newer gaming generations (please someone, anyone, teach EVE players how to use discord properly).

    The other solution for noobs, is of course for the community itself to address their issues. Better doctrines for noobs so they can get into the action fast (EWAR is boring as hell), a more welcoming community that helps noobs along monetarily (unfortunately heavily mitigated by scammers as im sure people often don’t hand things out to noobs at the risk of it not actually being a noob). Scammer newbro corps, unfair orca boost % of ore value. Better guides (seriously, comparing other games new player guides to EVE’s is like light and day). The list goes on. There truly is a lot the community could do to make eve better for new players. And if you get more new paying customers, then CCP wouldn’t need to introduce pay to win.

    I don’t think gaming companies are dumb. They are well aware of the backlash they are likely to receive from going pay to win. So they only do it for quick cash, either to support development of a new game (which I don’t think is CCPs goal considering they are adamant about not making an EVE 2), or because they are running out of money. And they do have employees to pay and servers to maintain and pay for, and profit to haul home for the owners.

    Which comes back to my small note at the beginning. If skill points don’t matter anyway, and they bring cash in for a CCP to maintain the game, then who cares? If I bothered to shell out for a skill injector bundle and discovered in 5 years time that I wasted that money, it wouldn’t even illicit a shrug out of me. Hell I’ve wasted more on coffee I didn’t even drink and just bought because my mates all went out for coffee together and I wasn’t thirsty.

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  13. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Endlessly Poor Gamer – Your comment is not entirely relevant to what I was saying in this post.

    As I quoted in the post, CCP said they would not generate skill points out of thin air to sell. Then they did in a starter pack and, when people complained, they apologized and said they would fix that. Then they apparently said, “Fuck it” and went back to selling skill points generated out of thin air for cash.

    This post is not arguing that you shouldn’t be able to buy skill points. That ship sailed ages ago. You can, today, buy PLEX, sell it for ISK, and buy skill injectors on the market. That path makes CCP money already.

    The point was questioning the value of CCP’s public statements, pointing out that they say something one day and then disregard it as soon as it becomes inconvenient. It is a reminder that, like a teen in heat, CCP will say things in the moment and mean them, but later on will change their mind, so you should not put faith in their promises.

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