I’m still here, meandering about keeping myself half amused. (How often have I said that in recent years?) I log in every day to check if I have had a War Dec, and more recently, to look in on what those pesky NPCs are up too.
What prompted me to write this post is the other day CCP introduced a $5USD starter pack, aimed at new players. It included some worthless skins and apparel, a skill training and damage booster for pilots less than 35 days old, and 1M non-transferable Skill Points. The concept was to try and keep more of the new pilots in the game by giving them a boost at the start of their careers. Let them get into an extra ship or three early. Break down some of that initial barrier. I would presume it would also help condition them to open their wallets.
However, in the words of CCP Falcon – “the pack received significant hostility from parts of the EVE community”.
The problem? Well, there were roughly four main themes I could see.
First – it was Pay to Win.
Technically if you put two new players against each other, one who spent $5USD to get 1M Skill points, and one who didn’t, the cashed-up pilot would probably be at an advantage. Hard to argue. However, I did not really see that mentioned. The problem seemed to be the direct translation between paying cash and getting skill points.
EVE has been Pay to Win for a long time, although in a nuanced way. I can buy PLEX for cash. I sell it on the market. I use those proceeds to buy Skill points that I then inject. It takes just a few minutes and I can do it without undocking from Jita. It is cash for skill points, although with an extra step and the requirement for another player to have extracted the skill points.
I also get an advantage with double training and access to extra skills if I have an Omega Account. I get that by paying cash, or earning enough in game to buy PLEX, that someone else has paid cash for. We even just recently got 1M Skill points given to us – if we had an Omega Account during the Anniversary celebrations.
The nuance is that lots of ISK and skill points in this game is not a guarantee of a win. You can’t just drop $10,000 USD and instantly become a version of Mitanni or some PVP god. EVE is more of a Cash for an advantage type game.
Personally, I am not fussed by this $5 starter kit.
Second – this was made available to everyone.
The starter pack was put into the Account Management system and made available to all players, not just new players. This upset people.
There are a handful of DLC’s available to all players as a once off purchase. Sometimes CCP offers them for sale at 50% off and they are a real bargain. I’ve highlighted some here before. I’ve always viewed these packages as something that can give an old player a bit of a boost and renewed enthusiasm for the game.
Personally, I am not fussed that this starter kit was available to everyone.
Third – the CSM was not consulted.
The view was expressed that if CCP had asked the CSM about this starter pack – they would have been advised against doing it.
I am not so sure but given the CSM was (is) in transition from old to new, this might not have been a straightforward thing.
Personally, I am not that fussed that the CSM was not consulted.
Fourth – I really hate CCP.
Not me – I don’t hate CCP. Over and over I read rants and arguments and carry on that had nothing really to do with the starter pack, and all to do with being an excuse to vent and hate on CCP. As someone on Twitter remarked, cancerous players (or x-players) whose sole purpose is to damage CCP and the game.
I can understand why someone can rationally think this starter pack is a bad idea – even if I don’t. I can see how people could come up with some rational arguments to back up their view – even if I disagree. It probably isn’t a clear cut black and white issue. The overriding thought should however be the intent and positive goal CCP had for this Pack. Fine if you disagree with it – but surely new player retention is a worthwhile goal. You could argue productively for how CCP could have done it better.
The end result is CCP has backpedalled and apologised – to a part of the EVE community who won’t care or stop their attacks.
CCP will be adjusting how the pack is offered. In the meanwhile, there is (or was) a small window for people to purchase these packs.
So that is what I did – purchasing a pack for each of my accounts. Not because I thought it was a great deal. Not because I wanted or needed the Skill Points. I purchased them and sent CCP a little cash to quietly support their endeavours. I did this because I view the whiners as having a much more damaging and corrupting influence on this game of ours than a possibly misdirected starter pack.
CCP’s response can be seen in the Dev Blog here: