Saturday, February 6, 2016

Maths is Hard

Much is being made of the dollar cost of Skill Extractors in the New Eden Store on various blogs, Reddit and the EVE-O forums. Because of exchange rates and the fact I don't actually put any real life monies into EVE any more, it's all pretty foreign to me. So let's take the perspective of a space rich Capsuleer who buys their Aurum on the market, currently valued at about 570 Million ISK for a 1,000 Aurum token.

I'm that guy that never buys a six pack of beer, if I'm going to buy beer, I buy a box. I know I'm going to drink it eventually, who am I trying to kid? I shall adopt the same approach with the Skill Extractors. If I'm going to buy one, I'm buying ten.

Therefore, 8K in Aurum on the EVE Market is going to cost me 4.56 Billion ISK. That investment will net me ten extractors to fill with 5 Million Skill Points I have no use for and allow a new player to inject five million skill points, instantly. The instantly part is where the value comes from. The only way you can do that under normal circumstances is via a character trade. It'll cost you significantly less, yes, but you don't get to choose your name, your race or where those skill points are allocated for maximum efficiency. There's value in all of those things to the right person.

So now you have to question, what is the value of the skills being extracted? The most logical way to assess the value of training is with the cost of play/training time, or PLEX. With optimal implants and correct attribute mapping you can train about 1.6-1.8 Million Skill Points a month. For the sake of argument, let's call it three months of training. In PLEX value, three months of training is about 3.75 Billion ISK. So now let's add those numbers together.

10 Skill Extractors: 4.56 Billion ISK
5 Million Skill Points: 3.75 Billion ISK

Total: 8.31 Billion ISK. Divided by ten, that's 831 Million ISK each, and that's before you take into account the profit that a seller may think is reasonable. Let's call that 10%, although demand may cause that to go North or South of that figure.

The final cost? Somewhere around 900 Million ISK for one 500K SP Injector.

If that doesn't sound very attractive, and it shouldn't, consider then if you are a bitter vet with over 80 Million Skill Points. Your investment of 9 Billion ISK for ten injectors will allow you to inject a paltry 1.5 Million Skill Points, not even one month of training.

Clearly this is only of benefit to one player, the newb. He will spend a couple of hundred dollars on PLEX to jump into 5 Million skill points and, if enough of them do it, probably crash the PLEX market in the process. As someone who PLEX's two accounts each month, I can only say thanks. As someone who thought they might make use of Skill Injectors, I say thanks for nothing, CCP. In their efforts to avoid making this mechanic "pay to win" they've just made it stupidly pricey to fast track skills. I find it hard to comprehend that they could run these numbers and find this result reasonable. I won't be surprised if we see another Jita uprising, frankly.

CCP have released this graph to show the cost in PLEX to train up a character to various levels, taking into account implants and attributes. Notably however, it's the cost excluding the price of the injector, an item that will make up roughly half of the total cost. I don't know if that's an oversight, deliberately deceiving or just stupid, but if it isn't any of those things, well... that's even worse.


  1. Honestly I think the price is right, if it was too cheap then we'd have huge numbers of newbies running around in ships they can't fly and getting banked which isn't good for the game in the long run as they could the quit which would mean less content, and less players so ccp are less inclined to keep making the game to such a high quality. At the price you're talking about its going to be something which is there if you want it but the people who will benefit most are people with around 10 million SP and are starting to make their first billions so they'll actually have something meaningful to spend it on.

    1. That's going to happen anyway because newbs are the only ones who can reasonably take advantage of this mechanic. I don't think it's reasonable to suggest that newbs are going to table flip because they're getting curb stomped, again, that already happens and worthwhile players learn from it and move past it. My issue is that the benefit to anyone that isn't a newb is oppressively expensive, and ridiculously so.

      I'm not opposed to CCP turning a profit, I'm a capitalist myself and a wealthy CCP means a healthy universe, but there's profit and then there's outright greed.


Keep it civil!