Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pay to win

And now an important message from Jester's evil twin, Garth.  The opinions of Garth are not the opinions of Jester (unless they are).

Readers, I come to you today with a confession: I have been misled.  I thought CCP Navigator was a kindly sort.  It turns out that this fine CCP employee is actually an unrecognized evil genius of absolutely first caliber.

Why, you ask?  Let's look at how the teams for this year's Alliance Tournament will be chosen, shall we?  It's a really fascinating process this time around.

In part, the process states:
The 64 competing (ATX) teams will be decided as follows:
  • 32 teams will be drawn randomly. We will record the draw and host it on the CCP You Tube page.
  • 32 teams will bid for a position in 3 separate auctions.
  • Entry into the random draw will cost 10 PLEX.
  • Auctioned slots will begin at 10 PLEX and have no maximum price.

First off, this means that Alliance Tournament X has a (sadly, refundable) entry fee of $175.  But if you actually make it into ATX, that entry fee becomes a non-refundable $175, minimum.  That's some fine evil genius right there.
As we intend to stream all four weekends, we obviously incur additional costs. Using PLEX allows us to provide a top quality stream and production throughout the entire event.

But OK, let's not think of it as $175.  Let's think of it as five billion ISK.  And that's a paltry sum, of course.  Every alliance in New Eden has five billion ISK that they can casually throw around.  So maybe we should up the stakes a little, what do you think?  After all, EVE is a free market economy.  With one or two notable exceptions, I don't remember EVE's richest alliances doing all that well in past Alliance Tournaments.  As a matter of fact, I remember most of EVE's richest alliances getting monkey-stomped in the early rounds the last few years.  But that's just dumb.  Job creators should have a bigger say in this Alliance Tournament thing.  Why should the poor alliances have all the fun?

Last time I counted, there were 15 alliances that are participating in OTEC.  Let's suppose each of them committed the proceeds of four Technetium moons each for the two months between now and ATX to their entry fee budget.  That's 50 billion ISK.  That ought to drive a lot of worthless poor people out of Alliance Tournament X to make way for the job creators, don't you think?

But nahhhh... I'm sure there's a way we can be even more evil... wait, one is coming to me.

Each OTEC alliance finds the scrubbiest scrub lord high-sec PvP alliance that they can.  I'm sure it would be really difficult to find 15 high-sec PvP alliances that have wildly over-inflated views of their own competence, but it's OTEC.  They're job creators.  I'm sure they're willing to work hard to find 15 of them.  Each OTEC alliance diplomat approaches their chosen victi-- errr.... sponsoree and says...
Hi!  We're really impressed with your alliance, [enter scrub lord alliance name here]!  Are you entering Alliance Tournament X?  You should!  Our alliance would like to LOAN yours 15 billion ISK with which you can buy PLEXes for your ATX entry fee.  We have placed 15 billion ISK in escrow with Chribba.  Please contact him directly to confirm this.

This 15 billion ISK will be sent to your alliance on the condition that you enter ATX and bid 35 PLEXes in the ATX slot auction.

If you win an ATX slot with your 35 PLEX bid, Chribba will release the funds from our LOAN to you.  If you do not win an ATX slot with a 35 PLEX bid, Chribba will not release the funds to you (but of course you'll receive your 35 PLEXes back from CCP, and trying to enter will cost you nothing).

Given the match rules of ATX, we cannot provide you with any material help other than this LOAN.  The only purpose to this LOAN is to make sure that you can afford to enter ATX, since you clearly deserve to be there, [enter scrub lord alliance name here].  We want to make sure you can participate.

You might ask what we get out of this.  If you fail to win ATX, this LOAN will be forgiven.  However, if you win or place in ATX sufficient to receive prizes, you must repay this LOAN out of your ATX winnings in either ISK or equal value to the LOAN in BPCs of the ATX prize ships.  For us, this is an investment, nothing more.

We really hope to see you in ATX, [enter scrub lord alliance name here]!  Let us know if you're interested in this LOAN.

Each OTEC alliance commits 35 billion to their own ATX bids (75 PLEXes or so) and 15 billion to their chosen victim's ATX bid (35 PLEXes or so).  This would instantly have two effects:
  • It would raise the minimum price to participate in ATX to between 15 and 50 billion ISK.
  • It would virtually ensure that every OTEC alliance gets to participate in ATX.  I mean, that's only fair, right?
If more than 75 PLEXes are needed to ensure each OTEC alliance gets an ATX slot, then the remaining 15 billion ISK can be committed (since the scrub lords won't need it and the job creators do).  But if the bids of all 15 scrub lord victims win, then all of this new blood will of course make ATX more exciting for everyone too, wouldn't it?

I'm sure OTEC wouldn't do anything like this.  Nope.

Garth out!

The preceding has been an important message from Jester's evil twin, Garth.  The management definitely does not endorse any product, service, or suggestion that Garth thinks is a good idea.


  1. heheh garth is an evil-genius, you should release a mini-garth colllectable figure.

  2. Of dumb posts..
    This sets a new high ?

    1. I kinda have to agree.

      Plex and ISK are freely interchangeable. Running the AT tournaments as serious competitor takes alot more then 5 billion per round. Especially if you field your flagship and T3's. I'd not even give it back if the bid failed!

      Wheter you pay with plex or isk doesn't matter at all, everybody uses plex, including you jester why all the hoopla about CCP using their own damn product?

      Regarding your idea of "scamming" the tournament, CCP has institued quite strict but "broad" rules about banning people who would try to do that this time making it easy to stop anything untoward happening.

  3. The reason you won't see this is that there are a fairly limited number of teams that can claim they have a significant shot at the gold.

    For many alliances flying in the tournament is easily worth 5 billion, and for more well off groups it can be worth a good bit more. They can have a great time, help train their theorycrafters and FCs, and get their name out in front of a large audience. However spending 50 bil on the tournament is a business decision that only makes sense if you feel you have a realistic chance of beating Hydra in their prime.

    For that reason I don't think this scenario has much chance of happening.

    1. Also worth noting that moving the auction until after the drawing will do a lot to drive the price of auction spots down as some of the alliances that would spend oodles on a guaranteed spot will get in the normal draw.

      I do think that the only good long term solution is to increase the size of the tournament (probably will a big set of unbroadcasted prelims) as demand goes up.

    2. Did you read the measures Hydra took to prep for last year's tourney? They didn't win because they are that epeen and no one can touch them. They won because for a few months all they did was test setups on SISI against a wide array of other setups. They were simply the best prepared team on the grid, and it shows with how heavily they dominated the tournament.

      Given that everyone knows what the standard is now if they want any hope of winning, and that everyone knows how they achieved that standard... well... pretty much all heavy PVP alliances have a shot. Assuming of course they put in all the work.

    3. There's a big difference between knowing how much work is required and actually doing it. Believe me on that. ;)

      I call this Hydra's prime because the year after you win for the first time is when you can generally expect people to be super motivated. After a few years the enthusiasm can wane.

  4. Its a stimulus package for the icelandic economy!

  5. In previous years the entrance was in isk alone, right? What kept this from happening any given year in the past, if so? If nothing... why the sudden paranoia?

    1. In previous years, it was a flat (low) fee to enter.

    2. Last year there was a random draw and a auction, just like this year. The changes this year are an increase in the cost of entry to 5bil (from 2 bil), moving more of the slots to the auction from the random draw, and moving the action to take place after the random draw instead of before.

      The result of the changes is that the average cost of a auction slot will probably be lower this year than last.

    3. What did the slots cost in the auction last year?

    4. White Noise. - 20bil
      GoonSwarm - 19bil
      The R0NIN - 15.7bil
      Outbreak - 15.1bil

      I'd bet that this year the highest paid slots go for well over that but the average stays slightly lower.

  6. To be fair though if every Alliance paying 1b was put into a hat I've been considering making an Alliance or two just to bid with the intention of selling the spot if I won it.

  7. Confirming OTEC is literally the Illuminati.


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