Why not remove the ability to pay for your accounts with PLEX?

I posted this question on Reddit and I got nothing but hatred & invective. But why should PLEX continue to be allowed to be used by botters and long term players to pay for their 4-8 to 20 accounts for free? EVE is the only game I know of that you can play the top tier version of the game for free. I know PLEX is paid for with RL money. These players that hate the idea so much are having their game play subsidized by others buying PLEX. They are PLEXing their multiple Super accounts and they don’t want to have their style of game play affected. Removing the ability to “PLEX” multiple accounts would mostly solve the botting issue. I began playing Eve in 2006 before PLEX was introduced and the game functioned just fine. PLEX is used to abuse the game and create huge infusions of ISK to buy & fit out mining fleets, skill injectors & Supers and Skill Point farms. I am hoping here, on an actual moderated forum, that there can be a frank and constructive discussion about this. It would be a business decision based on subscription rates & cash flow. There would be less people playing for awhile but it might, in the long run, save the game.

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Jekeet
You’re very likely to get some hatred and invective here too. Brace yourself. :slight_smile:

Here’s a post (not mine) that includes a practical intermediate solution: allowing PLEXing accounts, but requiring a modest payment in real money. It’s interesting in itself, but especially useful for you because it blocks some of the crazier arguments against your suggestion.

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because plex is part of the “scam process” that attracts newbros in the game :

  1. make them believe they can be part of the game for free(as alpha)
  2. make them believe then can realistically be omega by farming
  3. then they need to be enticed to spend small money (alpha injectors, skill injectors) to do so in a reasonnable amount of time
  4. they thus have a bit of money and are easy prey to people who thus are eager to sub their account, and use plexes to fit hinting ships.
  5. they get bored of the ratting and eventually other newbros come in.

I don’t judge it, I just observed many newbros want to plex their account as soon as they are in a noobship. “how can I plex my account” is a very common question.

Only CCP can tell just how much of their income comes from Plex sales. Plex sales mostly happen, I would guess, because someone wants a billion or three of ISK and has three choices:

  • Grind forever for the ISK, and/or multibox, and/or bot (earn it yourself)
  • Buy Plex from CCP, giving cash to CCP, and sell the Plex for ISK
  • Buy the ISK on the RMT market

Grinding doesn’t bring in any more cash for CCP since you’ve already paid your sub, it doesn’t matter if you are on 2 hours a day or 20.

Botting/multiboxing might bring in more CCP subs, but makes both those problems, worse, not better.

RMT would go back to being very, very profitable… which is the entire reason CCP invented Plex in the first place.

Basically, a lot of people don’t understand at all how Plex, RMT, subscriptions, free to play, and the nature of players competing for limited resources in a PVP oriented game all work together.

Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, Plex has been around for a very long time… since 2008 ish? It was there when EVE was at its’ peak numbers, it’s been there for every up and down since. Until CCP brought in Alpha accounts, player numbers were in a steady, serious decline.

CCP might be able to ‘save the game’, but it certainly won’t be by going back to the way things were done in 2007.

With PLEX prices going through the roof I think it’s impossible for any new bro’s to use it to pay for their account. EVE is built to be unfair to new players & that needs to be fixed if the game is to continue. Even an Alpha account that has maxed combat skills is dead meat in any combat situation with a bitter vet. They have not had any sales on PLEX in a while. CCP sells Daily Skill Injectors already. If they wanted to they could make Skill Injectors a CCP item and the price could be paid in PLEX. Everyone wants something for free.

Thats because its a poorly thought out plan, CCP actually makes more money per account that uses plex than by paying a sub in the region of about 60% more (using my own currency as a guide), so even assuming a perfect scenario where 100% of the omega playerbase swapped over to paying via subs directly it would still result in CCP losing money, and 100% conversion is impossible

See you’re confusing the concept of “free” with “Without personal monetary cost” because its only “free” if you think your personal time has zero value and is worthless, you’re paying in the time you spent earning the ISK that you bought your PLEX with

And it would also reduce the number of players actually playing the game which is not exactly good for the game

There isn’t much of a discussion, its a terrible idea straight up to everyone involved, CCP loses income and players and players with less income lose the ability to play EVE, nobody wins here and a no win scenario is by default a bad scenario

And cash flow is everything, you’re going to find it impossible to sell the idea to the people who actually own CCP, there would be no long term because the short term would require even more staff to be let go in order to save cash which means less people to work on the game which results in a downward spiral resulting in termination when the game ceases to make the desired profit, its not even a subject for debate as this is what would happen

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New players very much can plex an account. I made a new char only 2 months ago and its made over 30bn ISK alone. So with an initial investment of $12 for their first sub a newbro could have free access to top teir game play. They can even inject skills to maximise roi.

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The matter is not the possibility to make isks. the matter is the time it costs you to do so, as in “isk/h” with h being the time required . not every people is able or wiling to play 10h a day in order to farm (whatever farm stands for).

“We’ve got to burn the village down to save it” seems a strange approach.

Why would reducing CCP’s income significantly and the layoffs and infrastructure losses resulting be beneficial for the game? There wouldn’t be any long-term. PA would then shut CCP down as a liability. I suppose that’s one way to solve the botting problem…but it would be like dropping a nuclear weapon on your city to solve a cockroach problem…

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It wouldn’t, go away.

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You have to think about plex in the context of time rich but cash poor players and of course time poor but rich in RL players. So the time poor player can get his credit card out and buy plex and sell on the market to fund his PvP game without having to grind. While the player who is poor in real life can grind to play and buys the plex.

If plex did not exist then RMT players who bot would be making that money, and you do not want that at all, because they would sub an account make a lot of ISK with bots and sell it for their profit and CCP would lose out.

Removing plex would actually not change botting at all and in fact could make it worse.

I agree with you that multiple account plex funded fleets have ruined this game in so many areas, but I happen to think that CCP could come up with more elegant solutions such as account linking for example. If CCP were to limit the amount that could be plexed, and one person suggested a rather good idea where 90% of the account cost could be paid by plex and the rest had to be paid with real money.

I have wanted account linking, so that I can use any combination of my 6 characters, perhaps an additional charge on top of my current subs, and discounts on additional character training in such linked accounts.

To be blunt when people started multiboxing 30 stealth bombers with input broadcasting I was sitting there thinking it has gone to far, thankfully they banned input broadcasting. But I still have that same feeling every time I see Kusion or that angry Aussie ganking a freighter with large numbers of plex funded alts rather than form a fleet with like minded people.

From my perspective I hope plex prices keep going up and up and up.

EDIT: And this says it so well

CCP will have a benefit from letting plex rise in terms of revenue. To be blunt when people say that they need active characters in game and that actually results in someone using 30 characters to blast through something for max speed, is that character really active in game?

I don’t think so, so that person with 30 Orca’s strip mining an ice belt in hisec is actually having a negative impact.

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Have you looked at PLEX in The Forge?
I’m logging in every few hours, to check.
It’s scary and I’m not exaggerating.

There is the chance that people simply will not start buying PLEX for real money, at which point the supply will dry up (or be so expensive that no one is going to buy). At some points the PLEX rich players out there will probably jump in and fuel the market (because being PLEX rich is meaningless when the game collapses, which happens when there are no new PLEX being seeded), but …

… no, seriously, it’s scary as ■■■■.

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You think? I rather watch EVE collapse, tbh.

eyes

It would, but it would also

  1. put a massive dent into CCPs finances,
  2. directly followed by getting a lot of players to quit,
  3. which would reduce the already low pvp population even further
  4. and bring us back to 1.

PLEX just formalized the ETC (EVE Time Code) trading on the forums that’s been allowed since release in 2003. So all that PLEX did with its introduction in 2007 was make the trading part easier.

@Anderson_Geten your cynicism impresses even myself.

Welcome to every game in existence with a leveling system. New players are always at a disadvantage, and paid subs to free always have an edge. The difference being, in EVE those with friends win not those with higher SP. Get a group of alphas and go roaming and I’m willing to bet you’d be hard pressed to find a meaningful difference in power at the subcap level. EVE is and always will be an n+1 game.

I’d much rather see them remove skill injectors or limit them to alpha skills only. THAT is the only way to remove players desires to create and maintain large skill farms. And no, “just selling injectors” is not an option because that’s literally creating SP even more than we already have with the freaking farms. I have been saying since before they came out that injectors had NO place in this game, and we have literally seeing everything myself and others predicted. Not that it was hard to predict, anyone with two neurons to rub together could have seen the creation of skill farms, increased super cap proliferation, infinite ratting and mining alts, and the subsequent rise in demand for plex and all things related.

and to circle back to the OP…

@Jekeet_Tian You deserve every ounce of hatred coming your way for suggesting such an ignorant “solution” to the problem. You fail to see the root of the problem and instead stop at it’s face which is the actual use of plex itself. So how about this for an actual solution?

  • Restrict injectors to Alpha level skills only while also removing the DR (no capital, no T2, no advanced production/science/etc)
    -Significantly reduce the demand for injectors and place them in the role they were advertised to fill, that of a catch up mechanic, not an instant “1 day titan/super/rorq” pilot
    -Removal of DR means fewer need to be purchased and actual new players no longer have to math out this odd feature at arbitrary SP levels.
    -Reduction in demand means reduced effectiveness of sp farms, thereby reducing demand on plex for use of omega and extractors

  • Skins are now either purchased with RL cash transactions for first month then moved to store for isk
    -Cut out this secondary drain on plex, while allowing ccp to get cash directly
    -After first month of “uniqueness” it then becomes an isk drain, which since it’s removal from the cash shop will spur plex sales for those who lack the ingame funds.
    -It’s well known in the industry most sales occur during the initial days/weeks of an item becoming available so this is unlikely to have a noticeable effect on income.

  • Extractors are now purchased with RL cash only
    -Can still be bought off market for isk, no longer a plex shop item.
    -Removes this area of demand on the plex market.
    -People who may have considered buying plex to get the better deal from the ingame shop will now be directed to pay direct increasing CCP income.

  • Alpha injectors are purchased with RL cash or isk
    -Direct cash to ccp at the same time can function as a small isk sink
    -Removes this area of demand on the plex market
    -Removes an item (meant for new/incoming players) from the possibility of market manipulation by making it a store-only item.

  • Multicharacter certs are now purchased with RL cash
    -Can still be bought off market for isk, no longer a plex shop item.
    -Removes this area of demand on the plex market.

By directing people to buy plex/extractors/multicharacter certs directly from ccp it creates more market diversity and in turn more cash for CCP as people will be less likely to go to the plex catch-all to see their returns. Skins having a period of time where you can only obtain it for cash will encourage those with such desires to open their wallets before seeing it moved to the “for isk” option. While this will cause some people to wait, it will function as an isk sink and CCP can determine what price to set it for isk. This can be an opportunity as well to encourage people to buy plex (or any other option) if they lack the ingame funds and missed the time frame for the cash option. Finally, I threw it in there, but alpha injectors are directly created for new and incoming players and just like I feel we need to protect all newbros until they are ready to face the full brunt of EVE, so to do I feel we should protect these from market manipulation so they are not taken advantage of when they are still trying to get basic skills to just to compete.

EDIT - just to add on. High plex prices are a decent anti-bot but lose CCP income in the long run as people need to buy less to get the same as they were prior. While lower plex costs have the inverse effect. So the question becomes, does CCP want more revenue, a larger fight on their hands in terms of botting, and a stable playerbase? Or do they want less revenue, have a slightly reduced botting problem ,and a shrinking playerbase as they are priced out?

While I definitely like some of the ideas mentioned above regarding various limitations/store changes, keep in mind that every Plex used for any reason is cash for CCP. Bots aren’t farming Plex, they are farming ISK which they trade to someone who bought Plex for cash.

TBH, CCP needs more products to sell to players, whether for Plex or directly for ISK, and the economy can’t remain player-driven forever. CCP creating direct ISK sinks in the form of ISK store items or more LP items using ISK probably needs to happen.

But much of this argument keeps circling around to ‘control Plex in order to limit botting/farming’, whereas the focus actually needs to be ‘control botting/farming to limit endless ISK creation’.

And there are many threads/posters out there indicating just how much CCP relies on those botters / multiboxers / farmers to keep buying subs and creating a market for Plex. It seems they do not wish to address the long-term issue and the long-term health of the game, when the short-term cost of upsetting all those apple carts could be quite high.

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Mining / ratting your way into buying PLEX for your subscriptions is not “free game time”.

PLEX are not seeded on the market. Every single PLEX available for purchase came from a player somewhere paying CCP cold hard cash. A month’s sub costs $15. A month’s worth of PLEX costs $20. So it’s in their best interest to let people renew with PLEX b/c that’s an extra $5 a month profit. Every player who buys PLEX and markets it for a pile of ISK, is paying for the subscription of the person who bought the PLEX.

You want to see some real ■■■■, go look at all the KMs for ships carrying a boatload of PLEX, and whether or not any of the PLEX dropped as loot. Chances are, it didn’t. Which means all the cold hard cash that went into buying that PLEX, is pure profit for CCP. No cosmetic items, no Skill Injectors, no Omega time… that PLEX is erased from the game by the Loot Fairy, and CCP pockets the money.

If you want to understand things you need to not judge them. CCP needs money, they need to make people interested in the game. A sandbox is as interesting as the players put their interest in it - and they put interest because they have carrot and stick to play, feeling of progression and sunk cost fallacy.
So CCP needs to give them that feeling of progression, and at the same time allow for shortcuts for money (P2W if Eve was a competitive game), plus make them invest time that can go in sunk costs.

If someone else plays for Plex - it is not Free. The person who bought it got a compensation in form of your ISK (not an ISK faucet like many tend to think).

It would not. Removing PLEX would turn players that want ISK from CCP to black market increasing RL profits for those bots. If you say “CCP could just sell ISK directly” - now THAT would be a terrible idea and an ISK faucet.

Maybe the problem are injectors and not PLEX in this case?

*ringring*

Hey!

Sure, I’ll tell him. No worries, I was thinking the same thing.

That too? Okay!

Bye!

*hangs up*

Hey Marcus! 2017 called! It asked me to point you at the PLEX Vault, pretty much everyone’s aware of, because that’s the point of it. Also asked me to point out that ganking for PLEX really isn’t much of a thing anymore compared to how it used to be before.

Sure, you’ll still find PLEX on killmails, but you apparently believe the situation hasn’t dramatically changed since 2017.

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