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.