[EVE] Vanity costs, and here’s where you start paying!

The latest EVE patch introduced the ‘Noble Exchange Cash Shop’ where players can spend real money on cosmetic gear for their prettified new toons (which are very pretty, I think I wrote about the new character generator a while back). Here’s their dev blog about the vanity store.

Jester at Jester’s Trek sums up what a lot of other people are thinking about CCPs pricing strategy.

I love plain grey just as much as I know all of you do, and CCP is being good enough to cater to my need for bland grey clothing by charging me 3600 AUR for a plain grey shirt.  This is about $20 U.S., which coincidentally, is how mucha real plain grey shirt costs in the EVE Online store.

But when he let out some snark about a monacle that costs the equivalent of $68 I thought “no way, he’s joking,” but apparently not. (There’s a 21 page thread on the EVE forums already.)

Now cash transactions in EVE are fundamentally different from cash shops in games like WoW or LOTRO because it is possible to convert game money into other forms (the dev blog above tries to show this graphically), so the price level may be something that experienced players will laugh off as the EVE equivalent of a WoW motorbike (ie. luxury goods designed to take some moolah out of the market). But judging from the tone of that bboard thread, I’m guessing it’s high even for that crowd.

Would you consider spending as much on a virtual piece of gear for a character as for a real life piece of clothing for yourself?

19 thoughts on “[EVE] Vanity costs, and here’s where you start paying!

  1. I think that’s kind of disturbing. I’ll ask my brother what he thinks about it though, he’s in one of those backstabbing 0.0 corps (he lives in a wormhole or some such. EVE is a foreign language to me). Anyway, I’m sure he’ll have a lot of opinions and be not-averse to expressing them.

  2. sounds like an Allods mistake. heck, it’s CCP – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was very little market pricing research before they stuck this up.

    • Nothing like Allods. At least so far. All the new items are entirely cosmetic.

      I understand people thinking the prices are too high, but getting upset about it is silly. It’s meaningless to gameplay.

      • But it’s not meaningless in the long wrong.

        It suggests that there could be (alarming) price hikes and price-gouging in the future. Might as well make a fuss now to prevent something worse happening in the future.

  3. I’d behave in virtual life exactly as in real life: As long as my ‘character’ looks well and doesn’t freeze, I don’t buy new clothing.

  4. Honestly, at what point do we all admit to being a part of that old hooker joke? “We both already know what you are, ma’am, we’re just quibbling over the price.”

    Is it really the $68 part? That’s 2.5 server transfers. I spent $55 moving my 85 Belf warlock on Maiev to Alliance-side Auchindoun. That has more game impact than a monocle, perhaps, but where is the line drawn in people’s minds? The $25 lion is indistinguishable (expect graphically) from something 100% of the purchasers already had.

    • I suspect there are a lot more people who have never bought a virtual item/ server transfer from a cash shop than those who have (for now at least). I think it’s just interesting to watch the market changing, we know in Second Life this sort of transaction (along with the price) wouldn’t have made anyone bat an eyelid.

      Will there be a time when players will tend to react, “$68 for a cool monocle? BARGAIN!!!” Or respect a rare item from a cash shop the way they’d (maybe) respect a rare raid drop?

  5. I draw the line at Blizzard’s money politics these days and am finding a 25$ mount absolutely not worth the price, considering I have dozens of other in-game mounts already. Back in the day, I transferred a couple characters, but even so, I find the pricing for that steep.

    I would never buy any purely cosmetic items for a game that cost more than 10$. I gnash my teeth when buying a Bioware DLC, and they all cost less than $10.

    This can’t possibly be successful.

  6. I’m guessing the prices are intentionally exorbitant at this point as to not destabilize the PLEX market too much.

    Introducing lots of low cost items would do just that… Give it a few weeks to settle out and I’m sure the prices will come down to an acceptable level.

  7. I don’t spend as much money on entire games as I spend on a good shirt.

    Cosmetic sales still baffle me, to be honest, but I’m an advocate of them. I know some people like them, and that they are harmless, so they are a good way of supporting a dev budget.

    • Bear in mind that this is still a subscription game. (I know this gets obfuscated in EVE because veteran players have enough going on in the in-game economy to pay subs using in game money, but still true and would still bite a casual player in the pocket.)

      • Granted, and I can see how they can be a bit more annoying that way for purists. (Heaven knows I detest the subs as a baseline anyway, so there’s that.) Still, as cosmetic fluff that doesn’t do a thing for or against gameplay, well… is it really something to fuss about? I don’t complain about caviar or designer clothes being in the real world market. I won’t buy them because I think they offer poor value for cost, but hey, they aren’t hurting me.

        …if anything, my impulse is to find a way to profit off the luxury market. It has a tendency to value the weirdest things (don’t get me started on the art world in that respect), and if you find the right niche, there’s good money to be made from those who seem to want to throw their cash away. (Alienware computers for an example closer to home, maybe?) Games are luxury products, and frippery within games, even more so. It’s all about capturing that top end of the demand curve. If they do that without breaking the gameplay balance… that’s a good thing.

  8. The “threadnaught” you linked to on the EVE-O forums is hilarious!

    What makes it worse is that there’s still no public space for your avatars, so short of taking a screenshot and posting it somewhere then getting your friends to view it, there’s no way to get anyone to see how you look with your overpriced vanity clothing.

  9. As an active EVE player and someone that market trades in the economy I’m not much a vanity item buyer. But my business is trading game items whatever it is ships or the new clothing wear…. eventually if i think i can make a profit somehow. What makes EVE a bit different is that everything in game is market tradable even the new NEX Vanity store items. Vanity store items can be bought, traded and even looted from killing someone and looting them if it drops from their ship when exploded. Nothing different from anything else in game already.

    Any of the new items added to the NEX store is ingame immediately is re-tradable back on the ingame market system which is a bit different to allot of game when it comes to vanity items. The cost of the new NEX Vanity clothing which is bought with the new currency “Aurum” is also tied to the price of PLEX which players buy and trade to pay for their monthly subscription fee converted from ISK. Price of PLEX is usually rather stable and guess CCP wouldn’t want to do anything to “intensionally” destabilize the PLEX market which is all traded by players.

    Players make, sell, kill loot stuff in game for ISK > ISK buys PLEX > PLEX buys Aurum > Aurum buys NEX items/clothing/furniture > Aurum items can sell back for ISK. Its one complete circle with everything tradable.

    All the way up to Incarna release the price of PLEX has steadily been rising to which a few days ago it was over 400 Million ISK per PLEX. Was quite a bit of game trading/volume due to market speculation for Incarna. PLEX prices were high and increasing everywhere in game as its traded on the market. The higher the cost of PLEX the more it would cost to buy the new currency Aurum which in turn buys the new Vanity Items. Jita market price of PLEX today in game was down to 391 Million ISK per PLEX.

    The way i see this and my best guess is CCP probably made the decision to artificially increased the price of the NEX store Vanity items which is purchased by the new Aurum currency to maybe “not” destabilize the PLEX market which was already believed to be a “Bubble”. Which as much market speculation that was going on months heading up to Incarna and players hoarding PLEX it was likely that PLEX would probably continue to increase with the “PLEX Bubble” if NEX store Vanity items were too low maybe.

    I can only guess more players would cry tears for their monthly subscription that use PLEX to pay for it if PLEX prices kept skyrocketing like it has in the PLEX Bubble vs not being able to buy Vanity items. I remember when players were crying when PLEX price went over 300 Million ISK per PLEX. Now its right at 400 Million roughly.

    So the way i see it is probably CCP did the right thing and artificially increased the price of the NEX Vanity store items for some unknown period of time to maybe not destabilize the PLEX market and maybe in doing so pop the artificial PLEX Bubble a bit. But thats just my speculation as to why NEX Vanity store items are higher than anticipated and it sure make sense to me since it all start roughly with buying PLEX or as traders like to do speculate on trading PLEX.

  10. It’s worth remembering that anything Eve players say about the game economics is usually a manipulation attempt. A large amount of people stockpiled in the hopes/expectations of a plex price bonanza linked to the popularity of the shop. What CCP have done screws the speculators, keeps the economy more stable and keeps the price of plex down. (It’s actually temporarily in free fall as short term speculators cash out in disgust).

    CCP will eventually make rather a lot of money off these items. There’s an element of wearing the colours, just like sports fans pay £40 for an official Man Utd shirt.

    A lot of Eve players are extremely rich, both in real money and in isk. Even as a comparitive noob I bought 5 plexes to speculate on these cloths without more than scratching my personal fortune.

  11. I agree with a bit of what Azuriel said, ”
    Honestly, at what point do we all admit to being a part of that old hooker joke? “We both “already know what you are, ma’am, we’re just quibbling over the price.”

    Would anyone be willing (wanting?) to pay $25 for a mount, if the game subscription was only $5/month? What if the sub was $20/month and the pony game as part of the game itself? Would the game be too expensive then?

    Tesh said, “I don’t spend as much money on entire games as I spend on a good shirt.” You sir, have the most expensive wardrobe of any person I know.

    I’m assuming most here play at least 1 subscription based game, paying an average of ~$15/month to play that game. That’s $180 over the course of a year, not counting buying the game and/or expansions/DLCs. Going from $180 to $200 dollars for a year-long subscription is inconsequential for most players (equal to raising the monthly sub to $16.67). But paying an extra $20 -TODAY- seems like too much at once.

    It’s all about what you as a person get out of the game you’re paying for. One might argue that with $68, you could pay for over 4 months of subscription time. But if that monacle makes you chuckle to yourself everytime you see it – thus making the game more fun for you – then cost is worth it To you at least.

    I can’t fathom paying $50k for a car myself. But BMW continues to make profits, clearly indicating there are enough people out there that are willing to pay a premium for something that’s more than the bare essentials. I don’t see how other luxury items (virtual or otherwise) should be any different.

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