Don't worry: I'm not going anywhere. I'll explain.
Until very recently, all of my mains were men and all of my alts were women. I ended up breaking this trend when I bought a cheap market alt to sit in Jita earlier this year. I'm going to be breaking it again soon when I finish training an alt for flying in high-sec incursions again, who happens to be male. A couple of months ago, I worried that PLEX prices -- spurred on by what I believed were overwhelming amounts of ISK being produced by AFK faction warfare alts -- might approach one billion ISK each. Fortunately, CCP shut down the ISK fountain in time to prevent that, but PLEX prices have stabilized at what looks like a new normal around 600 million.
If you don't have moon-goo or ultra-safe sov ratting space, that's a lot.
I had been paying for one of my four accounts exclusively with PLEXes and had been toying with continuing the incursion alt's training with PLEXes bought with ISK made from incursions. It's looking increasingly likely that I'm not going to do that. If I play EVE these days, I want to PvP, not be tortured by EVE's PvE. If I feel like PvE, I have the very much superior Guild Wars 2 for that. It's actually... you know... fun. Engaging. Challenging.
Words I was forgetting the meaning of when applied to PvE. ;-)
So that's where I was four months ago: thinking about having five accounts instead of four, with five mains: three PvP toons, an industry toon, and an incursion toon. Three of those would paid for with subscriptions, two of them paid for with PLEXes. With PLEX prices up 50% in a year and my enthusiasm for incursions waning before I even start doing them again, I can't afford that. I'm just not going to have the kind of income that guarantees 1.2 billion ISK every month, plus the additional ISK I would need to replace PvP ships. These days, the vast bulk of my income comes from industry.
And industry is down... quite a lot. I'm coming increasingly to believe a lot of us are producing our own stuff instead of buying it on the market. I don't think it's a coincidence that CCP Soundwave's answer to every question of why something's changing for Retribution these days is "because it will make more ships explode." I would give a great deal to have access to EVE market data over the last 18 months. I can only guess the trends based on the things that I manufacture for the market myself. Hopefully Soundwave's plan will succeed, we'll get a lot more ship explosions, and that will lead inevitably to a nice boom market.
As Zoë would remind me though, "Possible you're not recalling some of his previous plans."
So now I'm going to be dialing back instead. No more accounts paid for with PLEXes until I see where the PLEX market is going, and I'm going to reduce to three mains. That means to keep some of my more useful alts, I had to start bio-massing old toons, something that I hadn't done yet with characters I actually used frequently.
One of my very first blog posts was this little bit of artwork showing the five alts I had at that time. I'm still proud of my little bit of Photoshopping, but two of those alts are now bio-massed.(1) They were very useful alts for the time. They were created in the post-Blood Lines era, when brand new characters were started with nearly 900,000 SP. At the time, you could choose where those SP were applied, and for the two of them I applied all the SP I could to Science skills. And then over the next eighteen months, those two alts researched virtually every ammunition, small ship, mod, and crystal BPO in the game. I figure I researched some 400 blueprints with the two of them. But with that job done for more than a year now, I haven't used the twins since that time.
So they had to go. I almost felt sad about it.
|Most names blurred to protect the guilty|
Then came the painful job of moving toons around my various accounts, at $20 U.S. a pop to compress to three. Process for doing it? Write the names of all my toons down on little yellow scraps of paper, then shuffle them around circles representing my soon-to-be-three subscribed accounts until I had an arrangement with the fewest character moves. It's going to cost me $60 to get the rearranging done, but on 18 November, I'll be down to four accounts and on 23 December I'll be down to three.
That also makes me sad. I can't remember the last time I only had three EVE accounts.
But hey, three accounts is still a lot, right? ;-) And I won't be throwing the password to account number four away just yet. If something comes along that makes me want to resub it, it'll only cost $20 to move a character back there. So we'll see how it goes. But pretty soon, that banner text up top will need some updating...
(1) The twins with the black hair and matching outfits, if you're curious.