I woke up this morning to find an email from CCP offering to sell me 1,620,000 skill points for the low, low price of $43.99.
The body of the email said:
Greetings Wilhelm Arcturus,
Rise like a phoenix and make a triumphant return to New Eden with the Skill Point Resurgence offer! Until 17. May, you can get 1,620,000 Skill Points for $43.99 to catch up with all the training time you have missed. Claim your offer today in the EVE Store.
And it assured me that this offer was ONLY FOR ME.
After taking a peek over at Reddit… and confirming that it appeared to be available on all of my accounts… I might be led to suggest that this offer was not that personal at all. It seems to throw itself at you if you just log into the EVE Online web store.
Of course, this new turn will no doubt set off a fire storm in some quarters of the fan base, especially in light of the Expert Systems announcement from last week, which already has them stirred up. Long time EVE Online fan/player Manic Velocity went so far as to make this video about milking the player base at the expense of the game’s integrity last week.
I wonder how he feels today?
I am less concerned. Or maybe “concerned” isn’t even the right word any more.
As I wrote in a previous post, I’ve already made my peace with the idea that CCP is going to straight up sell skill points in their online store at some point. Past statements from the company promising not to generate skill points out of thin air to sell are distant memories. Corporations are not people, they are not… and cannot… be your friends, and their promises are meaningless.
So I am writing this just to take note of how far along they have come. It is just another step in the journey. We went from skill injectors to skill point give aways for compensation to alpha clone skill injectors to skill points in starter packs to skill points in packs in general and now to skill points sold directly under the guise of a special, personal offer… that is available to anybody who logs in… in just five years.
We are almost there now, just millimeters from skill point packs being a regular item in the web store. If I were making predictions, I would guess that we’ll see these skill point packs before the end of Q2 2021. That the “personal” offer expires on May 17th might be a tell as to when the pretense will be removed and it will be generally available.
And that will be it, case closed. Skill points for sale in the store all the time.
Of course, there are still things about this offer that rankle or raise questions.
- Why 1,620,000 skill points?
I suspect that if I looked I would find that specific number of skill points adds up to exactly some specific skill or set of skills in game. I just can’t be bothered.
- Why the alleged marked down price in the offer?
That seems dumb unless, of course, the direct sale of skill points is closer than I predicted above. Maybe this is the “special” intro price for something that will now be in the store. There certainly seemed to be some legal questions about how you can have a marked down price for something that is otherwise not available for sale. Of course, if the plan was to make it generally available all along, then no problem.
- What does this mean for Expert Systems?
I wrote about Expert Systems just yesterday, CCP’s plan to rent you skills, which seemed silly to me… even in light of Asian market practices… in a game where you can buy PLEX to buy ISK to buy skill injectors to get the skill points for keeps. And now you can just buy skill points. Seems odd.
- Is there a timing aspect to this offer?
Suspicious minds will note that we’re now in the final month of Q1 2021, so seeing CCP make this final move into direct sales of skill points feels like it could be something to juice sales a bit… because we know people will buy these skill points… in order to make their quarterly sales goals. If that were true… and we do not know that it is… it would imply that subscribers, sales, or player retention is not going as well as Hilmar’s rosy statements about 1.3 million brand new players trying the game in 2020 might lead you to suspect.
Anyway, the writing was already on the wall, we’re just finally arriving at our predetermined destination.
So it goes.