Tag Archives: Virtual Currency

To PLEX or not to PLEX, That is the Question

I have something of a philosophical question.

I mentioned more than a year back at this point that my other blog, EVE Online Pictures, had been accepted as an official fan site by CCP.  It is listed over on community page for the game.

Somewhere between Japan and Poland now...

Somewhere between Japan and Poland now…

Aside from that listing, one of the benefits of running an official fan site is that you get a free account.  So long as I remain in this program I will never unsubscribe from EVE Online because I am playing for free!  FREE!

Well, “free” as in not having to pay any money.  I still have to keep my site up and active.  But that isn’t such a big task.  I tell people I literally pay for my account by taking screen shots.  A pretty sweet deal, no?

Anyway, as I said a year back, you can consider me bought and paid for by CCP, though I doubt you could detect any difference in my posts since I got the whole fan site thing.

But there has been a change.  Fan sites were recently sent an update regarding the program that included this offer:

We are currently planning to change the rewards that we are currently offering to Fansites. Firstly, we are adding the option that will allow you to get PLEX rather than gametime. Anyone taking up this offer will be granted three PLEX per quarter (for a total of 12 PLEX per year). If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please email me or file a support ticket.

On the surface, this seems like a bad deal.  I would be trading an option where my account is free 365 days a year (366 on leap years!) for an option that gives me only 360 free days every 12 months.  I might have to pay for those extra 5 (or 6) days eventually!  Oh noes!

The thing is, as a human, I am not always a fully logical being.  Far from it.

For me, a subscription to a game I play actively is no big deal.  I just pay it, or put a credit card on auto-repeat and it gets paid automatically, and think no more about it until I stop playing.

Basically, in my world, subscriptions are easy, which makes them about the polar opposite of cash shop items.  Leaving aside immersion issues and not having anything worthwhile to buy, the biggest problem I have with free to play… or perhaps it is the biggest problem free to play games have with me… is simply getting me to buy the special in-game RMT currency, be it Station Cash, Turbine Points, or Aurum.

I think World of Tanks might be one of the few exceptions to that, and I didn’t buy much from them.

The only time I tend to accumulate and use an MMO’s RMT currency is when I opt-in for their subscription plan, and that plan includes a currency stipend.  This is how I ended up with a pile of Station Cash… which I think is now Daybreak Cash… and Turbine Points.  And while I have noted the problem I have with a lack of offerings in some games, I have ended up spending my Turbine Points in Lord of the Rings Online fairly freely.

So my theory is that if I went with the PLEX route, I would be more likely to do things I have considered from time to time, like buy ship skins or activate another account for a short time at need or consolidate characters from a couple of accounts onto a single account or enable multiple skill training queues, which might make the game more fun or interesting, because I can use the PLEX I have been given.  Or I can sell it on the market if I need some ISK, or I can just use the PLEX and cover 30 days of account time.  (See How to Use PLEX on the official site.)

I get more flexibility, and it will take a while for those five (or six) days to catch up to me anyway.

Like I said, this isn’t logical.  I could do these things by just putting up the cash, but my history says I will not do that.  But paying for a subscription?  I won’t think twice on that.

So, as I said above, to PLEX or not to PLEX?

More Unspent Virtual Currency…

I was just complaining about not having anything on which I wanted to spend Station Cash, and now Sony Computer Entertainment America sends me a note to remind me to… well… please spend some of the funds on my PlayStation 3 account.

Dear Wilhelm

Dear Wilhelm…

Yes, I know, the PlayStation people actually use standard monetary units.  But you cannot get it back out again, so your “funds” in whatever currency might as well be Play Station Doubloons.

It would be nice if the two piles of Sony funds were not segregated, but as we saw with DC Universe Online, SCEA wants to protect its users from any interaction with the unwashed PC masses.

I wonder how much unused virtual currency I have sitting around?  SOE Station Cash, Play Station Network Funds, Turbine Points, World of Tanks gold, Need for Speed World Speed Boost, EA Play 4 Free Funds, Turbine Points, Runes of Magic Diamonds, Star Trek Online C-Store whatevers…

There might be a virtual fortune out there.

How about you?  How much virtual currency do you have sitting around?

Paying for Those Games – Facebook Credits

One of the things all of these Facebook games want you to do… in fact need you to do, if they are to survive… is give them some money.

That means establishing some sort of financial relationship with a company you might not know enough about about, or one that you might know a bit too much about, to feel comfortable forking over credit card or PayPal information.

So when Facebook popped a little message onto my main page about Facebook Credits being the easiest way to pay for things on Facebook, two things popped into my head.

The first was the thought, “Now wouldn’t that be convenient, what with well over a thousand games on Facebook!”

That was quickly followed in my mind by this scene from The Simpsons.

Homer: One adult and four children.
Woman: Would you like to buy some Itchy and Scratchy Money?
Homer: What’s that?
Woman: Well it’s money that’s made just for the park.  It works just like regular money, but it’s, er…”fun”.
Bart: Do it, Dad.
Homer: Well, OK, if it’s fun…let’s see, uh…I’ll take $1100 worth.

In the show, that exchange is immediately followed by this visual.

So what was going to be the story with Facebook Credits?  Convenient universal currency or Itchy and Scratchy Money?

Well, lucky for me and my meager sense of investigative journalism, Facebook has a help page about Facebook Credits.  And one of the items on the page answers the magic question, complete with ending preposition, “What applications can I use Facebook credits with?

There are 20 applications on that list, not including the Facebook gift shop, and I would seriously like to avoid the Facebook gift shop.

20 applications out of the thousands on Facebook?  That is leaning seriously towards the Itchy and Scratchy Money end of the spectrum.

But there at the top of the list was FarmVille.

Good.  At least the #1 game on Facebook is there, since nothing else from the Top 20 seemed to be there.  Potentially 82 million players are covered.

Because FarmVille being there is like… and I’ll apologize in advance for continuing to force the theme park analogy here… making Itchy and Scratchy Money usable for hamburgers.  You wish it could be used for more, especially if you have Homer’s $1100 worth, but lots of people buy hamburgers.  You could almost get away with it if they were hamburger vouchers. (It is an analogy, back off vegematarians, or consider garden burgers included.)

That’s not so bad.

Then I started looking into it.

You can buy 56 Facebook Credits for $9.99.  Why that ratio?  I have no idea.  But ten bucks gets you 56.

You can take those credits to FarmVille and spend 50 of them on 25 units of Farm Cash or 7,500 Farm Coins.

Or, to put it another way, you can take approximately $9.00 worth of Facebook credits and buy $5.00 worth of FarmVille currency.

The FarmVille Currency Exchange

Some might say that if you’re going to go buy virtual currency, you might as well do it in the most idiotic way possible since you’re probably brain dead as it is.  Me, I like to keep my idiocy as frugal as possible.

And you won’t get to frugality going this route.

So while I have to admit that Facebook credits aren’t quite Itchy and Scratchy Money, they aren’t exactly a viable gaming currency on Facebook either.

Or as the LOLCats say, “ur doing it wrong.”

Homer: One adult and four children.
Woman: Would you like to buy some Itchy and Scratchy Money?
Homer: What's that?
Woman: Well it's money that's made just for the park.  It works just
       like regular money, but it's, er..."fun".
 Bart: Do it, Dad.
Homer: Well, OK, if it's fun...let's see, uh...I'll take $1100 worth.