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.

12 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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