A major aspect of EVE and how people play the game is the concept of meaningful loss. In my last post I surmised that it (obviously) ties in with how easy players find it to earn ISK.
If you follow the EVE related media, you will regularly come across posts and articles on how it is too easy to earn ISK.
As with my last post, when CCP releases figures however on the average wallet of each EVE character, it seems they are relatively poor.
Even accounting for what I suggested – how the ISK held by each character does not really reflect how much ISK each player might have, there still seems to be a disparity between the statement and the statistics.
Yesterday I said I was atrocious at this game because my net worth increased on average by only 20M ISK a day. That is the sort of level of losses I could sustain. I am ok with the reality of that. I play a solo, casual game and spend comparatively little time directly earning ISK. That 20M ISK a day equates to 140M ISK a week, earnt over only a couple hours of play.
At the moment I average 30 to 70M ISK each hour from PVE content. It depends on the luck of the drops and if I am in Hi-Sec or Null-Sec. It would be valid to round it out to 50M ISK an hour. My characters are highly skilled and my ships moderately expensive, and while I don’t tend to zerg content, I am usually somewhat efficient. I could earn more but I lean towards flying safe.
Looking at the latest kills on zkillboard, it would take me an hour to cover the loss of a couple T2 or Faction Navy Frigates or a well fitted cruiser. In two hours I could afford a reasonably fitted Battlecruiser, four hours for a T1 Battleship, five or six hours for a Faction cruiser or Recon. If I lost one of my carriers, it would take up to 40 hours of grinding to cover the entire cost. On my current play time, that would be around 20 weeks.
At my income level ISK almost always has meaning to me.
As a very rough guide the average player can earn / grind between 10 and 100M ISK per hour doing relatively available PVE content. It depends on where you are in space, what you are doing, and how much risk you take.
That doesn’t seem like “too much ISK” to me. Even at 100M ISK an hour, assuming you suffer no costs or losses, it would still require some 250 hours to grind up a reasonably fitted Super Carrier.
I believe you can earn between 100 to 150M ISK per hour in incursions and C5/C6 wormholes. This upper level PVE content requires a team of skilled pilots in expensive ships flying to set procedures, but comes with a greater risk of loss if things go wrong.
(I know some people suggest 200M+ an hour, but that seems to generally ignore the time spent forming fleets, moving around, and the amount of content available to clear in each session.)
I don’t begrudge that level of ISK earning because I know it takes time, effort and risk before someone might consider it to be “easy”, and they still need to be out flying space ships and interacting with the game for a substantial amount of RL time to earn each billion ISK.
So when it comes to being too easy to earn ISK, I assume it doesn’t relate to the PVE content the average pilot like you and me has access to. Or do people think otherwise? Are my figures wrong? Are they basing their views on players that spend 10, 20, 40+ hours a week grinding ISK? Do I need my 140M ISK per week cut to 70M ISK, and my carrier blown out to 40 weeks – so that the wallet balance of someone playing EVE as a full time job can be halved?
Or are they talking about those who earn serious ISK?
Trading is often referred to as the easiest way of generating large amounts of ISK. There are bloggers who earn billions a day with only a 10 to 20-minute time investment, and tell you exactly what they do and what they trade. If it was so easy however, why do very few people successfully match them?
It varies, but if you want to emulate them tomorrow you would probably need 6 to a dozen or more accounts, with 3 well trained characters on each, spread across most empire regions, quick access to quality knowledge on trade values and trends, be able to purchase and hold substantial values in stock, and have efficient and safe methods to move it all around. If you then do all of that for long enough so that you operate on semi autopilot, you too can make lots of that easy ISK.
If your credit card doesn’t have a high enough limit to allow you to set that up tomorrow? Well, you can always start small – and compete along with the masses in trading. And compete you will.
Even with all the knowledge available online, trading still takes trial, error and effort to start. Margins in many items are very low, and you need to turn over large volumes to make decent profits, which you might simply not have the seed ISK to initially do. If you identify profitable items with good turn over and high margins, other people will be able to find them to. You might find within days the market is flooded and the profits gone. If you step into the turf of those traders who turn over 100’s of billions, you might find they deliberately sell at cost price to get rid of you. They can wait you out for months, leaving you with too much collateral in stock you will only be able to sell at a loss. The day you sell out the margins shoot back up again. You can lose a hauler that cuts deeply into the ISK you have worked hard to amass. CCP can announce a game change which rips value out of your stock. You can come up against bots or a no-lifer, and simply be unable to keep your stock exposed long enough on the market.
All the while you end up logging into a couple accounts a dozen times each day, making tens of minor price changes each time, going two steps forward, one step back, working extremely hard to get yourself into a position so that it all becomes easy. And at some point in time you come to the same realisation that most people seem to – that it is all terribly boring.
But that’s the problem about easy ISK. It generally takes a whole lot of time and effort before it becomes easy.
I know there are individuals and groups within the game that hold trillions of ISK. They can manipulate markets and thousands of players on a whim. To them ISK might well be truly meaningless. How many are we actually talking about though? 20? 30?
Are they instead complaining about the fact people can amass enough wealth over time that they can cop a few losses without finding it an issue? Or are they complaining because they don’t have the fortitude or nous to earn lots of ISK for themselves? Or do they assume they are losing their PVP battles because their opponents must be earning too much ISK instead of just being better than them?
I don’t think the vast majority of average EVE players earning between 10 and 100M ISK per hour find it so easy that loss becomes meaningless to them. Even if they amass wealth due to avoiding PVP, their reserves are not limitless. I am not sure why there has been such a public focus on this topic. Or am I thinking too much on the individual, and this is about something else?