SP selling: Good monetization or bad?

Why all the kerfuffle about CCP selling SP or injectors?

I honestly don’t get why some people are up in arms about CCP selling SP - either as SP packages or through Injectors. SP sales are a clear example of “good” monetization (selling early access to the same things everyone else in the game can have) as opposed to “bad” monetization.

Good monetization:

  • Selling cosmetics and status items that don’t affect gameplay, for a reasonable price.
  • Selling bundles/boosts/packs that enhance or accelerate gameplay satisfaction and provide player convenience at a good price.
  • Selling “catch-up” packs that allow newer players to quickly access the game content they’re interested in and to somewhat level the playing field against existing, long-established and skilled players - at a price that’s fair to both newer and veteran players.

Bad monetization:

  • Selling “overpowered” items or things not available through regular gameplay that give an advantage against anyone who doesn’t buy them (P2W).
  • Luring naive buyers into bad/overpriced deals with flashy advertising - this is “bad faith” monetization.
  • Charging ludicrous amounts of money for shinies (Monoclegate).

Good monetization allows new players to quickly get into the gameplay they want. It provides extra cash for CCP they might not otherwise get, it disadvantages nobody, and it creates a more even playing field between players with excess time and players with excess cash.

Bad monetization either creates unfair advantages for P2W, or it creates a “bad faith” relationship between buyers and CCP. Any player who feels CCP “ripped them off” or “gave them a bad deal” on a package is going to be reluctant to spend more money on EVE in the future.

I’ve seen a number of reasons why some people dislike sales of SP or injectors:

SP farming

Some people don’t like the ‘semi-passive income’ aspect of SP farms. Personally I can’t see how this is different from industry, PI, station trading, etc.


It's exploitative

There’ve been some complaints SP sales can milk players for more money, and get players into expensive fits and ships for cash before they’ve got the “EVE player skills” to use those SP properly. There’s some validity here - a less skilled player thinking that buying his way into a T3D or marauder will “increase his power” is likely just buying an expensive killmail. Myself I think a player at that point in the game who isn’t doing his own homework and research has nobody to blame but themselves for any fails.


It's P2W

A lot of players seem to want this both ways, especially PvPers. On one hand they’ll tell you “EVE has a flat power curve and of course new players can be competitive. Within weeks they can be doing PvP/mining/exploration just fine. It’s about player skill, not SP”.

And on the other hand, they’ll tell you that selling injectors and SP has “ruined the game” and made it P2W.

EVE has always been P2W and sold SP. CCP just used to sell it in the form of “SP per month for your paid sub”. Want more SP? Buy an MCT! Want even more? Sub a second account. Then buy an MCT for that too! Want more? Buy a character on the Bazaar, pay CCP for the transfer!

That was fine when EVE was young and people were looking ahead to the SP they would earn. It’s not fine when you’re trying to attract new players to a two-decade old title and those newer players want to get in on the action without being at a tremendous disadvantage.

It would also potentially be P2W if CCP was selling SP ‘cheaper’ than a subbed player could earn them. However any SP I see in packs is either a small amount as a ‘sweetener’ on an ‘okay’ bundle (eg. 500K in Gold Starter pack for $50), or they’re selling straight SP for much more than the cost of SP earned through a sub: eg. Training bundle, 1.5million SP + Accelerator for $40. This is about 2.5 times the price of earning SP with your sub.

In fact a lot of the complaints about this strike me as “Hey I did my P2W for 10 years or more and I want to keep my P2W advantage and I really hate that new players can just come in and spend money to get their SP!”

News flash: spending money is how you got your SP. And the games much too old now to expect newer players to wait years to play higher content.

All other things being equal, new players can’t directly compete with someone who has even a year’s more worth of SP training than they do. Selling SP isn’t any more P2W than selling Plex you can trade for ISK. It allows players the convenience of trading RL cash for limited play time.


It cheats the player economy

SP was traditionally never part of the game economy. Selling SP is and always has been CCP’s market. For most of EVE’s history, you paid CCP for a sub and got more SP (along with the ability to play the full game). Character trading and Injectors is CCP allowing players to cut in on their market.


CCP broke their promise

Well, this one is true. Although anybody who’s upset by CCP not upholding their promises should be long gone by this point. Frankly, it’s a promise CCP should never have made, given their need for income and lack of things to monetize in the game. I suspect they only promised this because they had an idea how much entitled vets clinging to their SP hoards would object to it.


TL;DR: EVE is a decades-old game where long-term players have tremendous advantages against newer players and also compete directly against them in every aspect of the game - including starter and career systems. There’s no separation where the max levels and the new guys are in completely different parts of the game.

CCP needs the income from SP and Injector sales, and this allows many benefits to new players and old that’s exactly in line with what a competitive sandbox game should provide. SP sales are an example of one of the kinds of monetization CCP should be doing.

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Hmm, it looks like I’ve forgotten how to make spoilers with titles in EVE forum. Can anybody help me out with the proper format for a spoiler tag with title, please?

“[details=“Summary”]
remove the outer speach marks, then test this and hide
[/details]”

Look at the top of the text box where you enter the text when you create a post, it is the last icon, it has an option hide, highlight the text and click that and select hide

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Thanks Drac testing now. Please bear with me while the post looks horrible for a while.

The upcoming 300M SP Pack looks to be like a really good deal.

It put a major dent in my character sales.

Mr Epeen :sunglasses:

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Personally I’d only like to see cosmetics, way more cosmetics, on the store. Clothing, more skins, perhaps colour packs for scram/web/engine/neut/etc exhaust (but within the design language of the game, so no pink webs :P). They’re actually wasting profit by not making current skins unavailable, it’s annoying.

I don’t like SP sales but I fully understand that more people buy them than there are people who actively dislike them to the point where they would quit over it. It also brings in fresh blood (newer gamers are used to p2w and p2a and they lack the patience to wait for months before they can do X). Having said that I did rage quit over skill injectors back then but lets just say that perspectives change.

I think most of the whining comes from people who whine anyway, the rest of us just kinda sorta accepts it.

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You’re likely aware of my many, many criticisms of how CCP is failing to improve EVE to the extent they should, and has been for about a decade now.

So my statements about SP sales should be taken in light of “given the state that CCP has allowed EVE to fall into”, as opposed to how EVE should be.

Yes, CCP should have developed better, invested better, and made EVE better. And they should have realized ten years ago that their management style was broken and they needed to change at an institutional level.

CCP went down this road long before microtransactions, when they began altering many aspects of the game to drive players into bigger ships, into Caps, into Null, into alliances, multiboxing and alting.

So yes, focusing on “maximum income per player” is a very bad substitute for “encouraging more play and pay by being a better and more satisfying game”. But since they’ve already given up on that, SP sales at least eliminate some of the unfairness for new players and provide options for old players.

I should also point out that although SP sales are likely good for the game overall, not every way of doing so is good. In particular, the emails with offers of “Hey spacebro! We see you haven’t played EVE in almost 3 years. Just pay us $289 US and we’ll give you the 12 million SP you missed out on!” look pathetic and desperate to me. As well as being just plain ridiculous.

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Sure, but my argument is that it’s in the state it is because they are focusing on things like SP sales.

To an extent, because they’ve long catered almost exclusively to null groups, and things like citadels were a big indicator of this (plus letting them openly implement intel hacks into the client, that was pretty major too) but they did still at least try to put in content for other people. FW and wormholes are examples of this, where you really don’t need to be end-game to get involved.

To an extent, but they’ve just shifted how the unfairness is laid out. Citadels were a way of penalizing people for not being part of a massive group for example and ensuring that passive income was always generated for the bigger groups.

An indicator for this was when the cartels set up TTT in Perimeter with 0.5% broker fees, making ludicrous sums off of people playing plex and SP orders. Then small groups decided to set up small competing towers with zero fees, undercutting TTT and forcing the cartels to have to keep bringing them down. As soon as TTT killed one, another was set up. So they raged about until CCP swooped in and made it so that there was a minimum broker fee of 1% of which half was an ISK sink. Convenient as it meant that TTT could now set the minimum, never possibly be undercut but still make the same profit as before.

I’d argue they aren’t good for the game at all. They may be good for CCP bottom line in the short-term, but they drive development towards “how can we make people need more SP” and will ultimately be detrimental to the quality of the game. I’m pretty sure that since it was taken over by PA it’s more a case of trying to squeeze as much out of people as they can before it goes under rather than sincerely caring about longevity though.

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Few years too late on that train.

i think CCP should buy market injectors to sell
some dude on youtube said they managed the selling ships crisis doing that
to me thats a good compromise , i mean , at least they are taking skills from one player and “giving” to other

edit:
oh… but that generate isk from nothing … inflation
i have to think more about it i guess

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I don’t care about that I am not buying it, neither SP nor PLEX nor omega time until CCP starts to actually care about actual gameplay.

That being said, imo selling SP is P2W. I mean, it is not going to make you win itself, but it can. SP are like levels in usual MMORPGs. If Blizzard was selling instant lvl 99 service in WoW (or what is the max lvl these days), would you consider that to be P2W? I definitely would have, and CCP selling X milions SP doesn’t differ from this.

So, if we agree on this being P2W then I have to challenge your statement about this being the “good monetization”. Can P2W be good monetization at all? I don’t think so, so I understand the player complains about this.

Selling hypercores is also bad monetization imo and expert systems are just limited time SP which is P2W as well.

Btw you argument that it is good for new players to catch up would be valid if these offers were for new accounts only. Are they? Imo at this point new chars should start with much more SP, either in form of basic skills at bit higher levels or free SP to distribute as they see fit or at least doubled speed of skilling first month (for both alpha/omega).

You must be a moron. WOW has been selling level boosts for years. A very popular seller too.

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So because they are actually already doing that it is not P2W ?

And it actually differs from selling SP in EVE because if you are lvl 99 alredy then this lvl 60 character boosts gives you nothing. Not really the case in eve where the value of the raw SP is probably even bigger for veterans due to the diminishing returns of skill injectors.

I have zero problem with the fact it exists. But the prices are ridiculous. 900m ISK or so for an injector that will reduce my skills queue by a mere 9 days. And all so I can get a level V skill a few days earlier and use Heavy Beam Laser II which only gives about 40 DPS more than the tech 1 version anyway.

The price is crazy, when one considers that the equivalent Omega skills time at around 40m ISK per day comes to around 360m ISK.

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I guess your argument comes down to which side of the fence you sit on. Do skill points matter more than player skill?
If so, then you need to be arguing with all those people in the ganking threads that there is pay to win and it does matter how many skill points you have.
If not, then what are you arguing? If you can’t pay to win then why would others buying skill points matter to you?

How does one go about understanding what is on offer when email state the following;

Do you want to fly bigger, better ships while leveling up your pilot’s abilities at a greater speed?

Are you ready to embrace advanced pilot skills and start building your empire by accessing the full contracts system?

Now this arrived to just one of my pilots and that is fine as that pilot did read out loud the email at the weekly Frostpacker meet and greet meeting,

Now the confusing part we found was what are the;

full contracts systems???

I don’t see why selling SP would be bad for the players. Then again, Skill Queue may go overboard so why buy it?

Perfectly valid position, but not directly related to SP sales as good or bad of course.

This is a common viewpoint, but I think it needs some context. If a new player buys 2 million SP, is he somehow going to be able to outcompete you? Or even if an existing player with a couple years skills on him buys 2 or 3 million SP - basically one or two months Omega worth. If he jumps ahead by 2 months, is he suddenly going to be able to beat you?

Here’s a review of the current SP packages. They’re all ‘Single Purchase’ so can’t be bought endlessly. I’m listing the “sold” SP and then the amount of SP they’ll earn from the Omega time included (if any).

$5 Starter - 250k SP, 7 days Omega 450k SP
$10 Starter - 100K SP, 7 days Omega 450K SP
$20 Starter - 250K SP, 1M Omega, 1.94M SP
$25 Career - 150k SP, 1M Omega, 1.94M SP (4 Careers)
$50 Gold - 500k, 2M Omega, 3.89M SP
$100 Platinum - 650K SP, 3M Omega, 5.8M SP

$15 SP Boost - 500K SP, Cerebral Accel
$40 SP Boost - 1.5M SP, Cerebral Accel

None of these packages are giving even a months worth of Omega SP gain as “instant” SP. If a player bought all of them they’d gain around 2 months Omega SP worth of instant SP. In most of them, CCP is including about 10-15% of the SP they’ll earn from the Omega time as instant SP.

To me this looks like a way for a player to quickly add a few basic skills to their build. It’s not going to drop anybody into a Marauder or a Capital. And even if it did, they wouldn’t magically have the player skills to do well with those ships.

As far as I know CCP looked at but was unable to limit these packs to new players only. But again, if someone has been playing for 2 years, is the addition of 2 months worth of Omega SP going to rocket him to victory?

These look like they would appeal more to new players simply so they can “get active right now” with less waiting for Drone or Missile or Cruiser skills. I can’t see them making a lot of difference to a longer term player.

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Blizzard reduced the levels down to 60 a few years ago. 60 is the level cap…

pathetic.