Meaningless ISK – Part 1 of 2

If you follow the EVE related media, you will regularly come across posts and articles on how ISK loss has become meaningless.

The simplest method to judge this might be to look at how much liquid ISK you have as a rough measurement on if you can dock in Jita 4-4 and immediately replace any losses.

When CCP releases statistics however on the average wallet of each EVE character, it seems they are relatively poor. They would certainly be hurt by the loss of a bling fitted ship.

So why the disparity?

I expect the average active player has more ISK than the statistics initially suggest.

I have six characters in game – 1 main and 5 alts. Generally, my Alts have less than 100M ISK in their wallets while my main hovers around the 5B ISK mark. Statistical that averages to 920M ISK per character, but in reality there is one player with 5.5B ISK.

I actually keep most of my ISK in my Corporations. Checking then, it would only take a minute to have 70+B ISK deposited in my main’s wallet. So instead of six characters with an average of 920M ISK, in reality you have one player with 70+B. That is certainly enough that the loss of a normal ship won’t financially bother me.

Obviously we must nerf the hell out of the ISK I can casually generate, and make me lose stuff more often.

But then the measurement becomes unstuck. I could lose a great deal of T1 Rifters before their loss felt meaningful, but only a couple of fitted Nyx. I might run out of ISK in years, or it might just take a couple of game sessions.

Statistics don’t lie – they just tell many versions of the truth.

A better measurement for how meaningful ISK is would be to work out what sort of losses the average EVE player can sustain.

I roughly calculated my overall worth with assets, subtracted the sizeable donation a reader gave me, and then divided it across the more than 9 years I’ve played EVE. It is not completely accurate, but after subtracting donations, the occasional poor trade and the rare ship loss and what not, my net worth in game increased on average by around 600M ISK a month. Per account, that is 300M ISK a month, 69M a week, or less than 10M ISK per day. I mean, 10M ISK is, err, well, not very much at all.

Realistically, if I took up daily PVP I could sustain around 20M ISK of losses a day across my two accounts without going backwards. Hello to the world of T1 Frigate combat – but anything bigger would become a lot more meaningful.

I recently spent 727M ISK on a Legion to zerg those Operation Frostline sites. If I lost that through a gank or a silly mistake, it would take me on average 36 days to recover the cost. That feels like it would be meaningful.

So my wallet balance reflects that I have played the game for a very long time and been able to avoid loss.  It does not reflect how meaningful ISK is.  To work out how accurate the statement “ISK loss has become meaningless” is, we need to figure out how easy the average player finds it to earn ISK.  For me, apparently not so much.

5 thoughts on “Meaningless ISK – Part 1 of 2

  1. “ISK Loss Has Become Meaningless” claims and the conversations that surround them befuddle me.

    It’s common error to confuse one’s own feelings with the universe at large. Accordingly, “loss is meaningless *to me*” gets equated with “loss is meaningless *to everybody*” which, of course, aren’t the same things at all. Similarly, “Look at all those ISKies, if I were in that position loss would be meaningless to me, accordingly, loss must be meaningless to them” which, of course, also doesn’t follow. Until you’re actually in a position, speculating about how you’ll feel in that position is mere speculation. Additionally, speculating about how you’ll will feel in some other position has no connection to how other people would (or do) feel about that position. I’ll feel how I feel and you’ll feel how you’ll feel.

    It absolutely astounds me when people (not you) confidently declare that their little bit of introspection (and bad introspection at that) somehow opens a window to the universal soul. I, for one, didn’t know universal truths would be just that easy. Silly me.

    As your specific exploration shows (and I look forward to the later parts), how much a loss sets one back depends a very great deal on what one values. Some players enjoy being space rich and thus do things like track their net worth meaning losses are measurably painful precisely by how much they set that wallet measurement back while other players find space wealth mere vehicle to something else (say kill record) in which case losses can be shoulder shruggingly irrelevant if, at the time of the loss, you happen to be in the position to hop into Jita, immediately reship and return to the fight (since you’re tracking your position by kill record rather than wallet). In the first case you’re acquiring wealth and enjoying it, in the second case you’re expending wealth and enjoying it. Both are fully legitimate ways to play the game. Neither capture all that’s underfoot (not even combined). We’re Demi-God Capsuleers after all, we generate our own value systems.

    • You are not the only one confused by it. I know I play the game with a solo focus, but I haven’t understood how the topic is meant to relate to the majority of “average” players. I hoped it was a minority of successful or possibly sour players complaining, but I hadn’t noticed many people disagreeing.

      I didn’t touch on the idea of ship replacement programs, but I can see how that would outwardly give the idea of meaningless loss. But to get to that there has to have been people working very hard for a very long amount of time to generate the wealth for it.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. I wonder if the people you hear complaining are the same folks that chant “Risk Vs. Reward” every time they hear that someone else made a bit of isk in hisec. I wonder if its the same people who complain about how risk averse players are. I also wonder if isk flowed a bit more freely would players be willing to fight more frequently.

    I frankly like the balance as it stands. If the spigots were tightened I don’t think I’d bother to log in.

  3. I have 1 account with 3 characters, two don’t really do much whatsoever and one is my “main” that does PVP, I am not that good at it so I lose ships, more than I kill and because I am not good at it I tend to stick to cheaper ships (frigates and destroyers) I have just started going to T1 cruisers.

    This main has recently joined a corp and there doctrines fits are (to me) very expensive, there are a few fits below 50m but the others range from say 270m up to over 1b. I cannot bring myself to spend that money at the moment as I cannot make enough money back quickly should I sustain a loss so this was an interesting article to read from that point of view.

    I don’t think ISK should be easier to get though, as then people would just fly bling out stuff all the time.

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