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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Friday, November 9, 2012

And then there were three

And then there's the third thing that you can use to recognize a bitter-vet: a bitter-vet is constantly subscribing and unsubscribing accounts.  I'll find myself doing this for the first time in the next ten days or so.  Even when I was thinking about quitting EVE for good last summer, I never actually let an account lapse.  But soon, I will.

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 Zoƫ 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.


  1. "Hopefully Soundwave's plan will succeed, we'll get a lot more ship explosions, and that will lead inevitably to a nice boom market."

    Except not. The changes affect cruisers, frigates, destroyers. How many Scythes have to explode to create the same market effect as one Scimitar?

    1. not so much. at least not in module market and t1 minerals.
      if you are looking for an impact on T2 components, it will take some time.

      but trit and pyrite etc. will feel the more losses in T1 versions

    2. Soundwave is utterly clueless, with regards to market stuff.

      The T1 module market is dead, kaput. Does anyone actually fit T1 modules anymore?

      Mining has been buffed to a ridiculous new high. An alt with minimal training can fly a Retriever and AFK mine all of the minerals needed to build any T1 ship. Why buy minerals, when you can get them for free, while watching a movie, eating, or taking a nap?

      T1 ship construction will *never* revitalize the market, as long as the flood of free minerals is available (for those finance noobs, incl. DrE, who still believe that faucets only apply to ISK, take another look at what happens when you have endless supplies of raw materials).

      Tech moons... 'nuff has been said about them already in recent months.

    3. @Anon 1:24PM

      Some people do still fit T1 meta 0 modules, mostly noobs and others who don't know better. Spend some time in an NPC corp and you will see people playing for months or even years asking for advice on their fits, fits containing mostly Tech 1 Meta 0 modules.

    4. @Anon1324 - Regardless of mineral costs, the T1 module market will remain "kaput" until CCP seriously nerfs the drop rate of meta modules from NPCs, and/or dramatically increases their recycling value to be much higher than that of the corresponding T1 module.

      The supply of meta modules is such that prices for them is currently the same or below the price of T1 modules - usually, this is around the mineral recycling value.

      So, with meta modules being plentiful, costing less and having superior performance to T1 modules, no one has any reason to fit anything less. And, if no one is fitting them to ships, there isn't much incentive to build or sell them, either.

  2. "Life's full of tough choices, innit?" - Ursula

  3. Its going to take some herculean development to reverse the stagnation. I doubt CCP even knows where to begin. Even after all that they still have to compete with match-making/instanced pvp games like World of Tanks, MWO, Planetside 2 and eventually Star Citizen that give the illusion of openworld/persistant pvp without all the headaches like actually finding a fight.

  4. Couldn't you just... pay for one the normal way? I thought you were a business owner or something, Jester, the cost of one account is hardly bank breaking.

    1. Five accounts paid for the normal way, even with one year subscriptions, are $850/year. It's a bit much for a video game, even one that's supposed to be a hobby like golf. ;-)

    2. Agree with Jester. It is easy to let this sort of expenditure get out of hand.

      Myself, I recently scaled down from 6 paid accounts, to 2 accounts, soon to be reduced to just 1 account. When I need an alt account, I just create a new one for free, using the buddy invite and let it go after the first month.

      I know of several others who are doing the same, and I think this bodes ill for CCP's future cash flow, unless they can attract a lot of new subscribers.

  5. The changes affect more than cruisers Gevlon - the fact that the cruisers are being buffed to the point of being very useful and T2 is not being touched at this stage... expect deadlier, cheaper fleets killing more expensive fleets. More killing in general.

    Changes to mechanics in various areas will likely also push PvP. For any PvP based expansion to be considered successful it has to increase the amount of PvP being had. More PvP = more things exploding. More things exploding = more money for those building the ships.

    Expected more from the self professed eve market "expert" to be honest.

  6. Oh, my god, I just realized that I'm a bitter-vet, too, and reducing the number of active subscriptions is also on my list, but I still have a few weeks before moving around my first set of alts.

  7. I would rather spend an hour working (IRL) than doing pve for isk, ergo, I don't know why you just don't buy plex and sell it for isk.

    Tbh, if you're willing to pay $60.00 for character swaps, why not can (or sell) your indy characters for isk, keep only pvp mains and buy isk with plex?

    (and yeah, pve is really that bad)

  8. NEVER biomass a character that has an actual profession it can accomplish. Always polish the training so that it can fly a useful alt ship (miner, hauler, covops) and can perform one alt profession well (yours sounded like research alts, so throw in some PI and quickly train up basic builder skills). Then SELL them. You still pay for the move, but at least you get ISK in return. I just did this with two hauler alts and walked away with 1.2billion after PLEX transfers were bought for both.

  9. Funny thing I did exatly the same thing as you on the last months...

    btw : http://imgur.com/U6JXN
    what I used to choose how to change who on which account before closing... it was a nightmare.

    About 6 months ago I though of opening a fith account. As I was creating new toons each time I was bored, something I do often on MMOs, but as EVE as very limited accounts by toons, it's an issue.

    I opened my 2nd account 3 years ago, when trying industry on NPC 0.0, I needed a scout / cyno.
    I opened the 3rd 2 years ago, when I got way more money than before thanks to BP research, the launch of tyrannis, and me beginning to wander on WH, I needed more space for a PvP alt, and another tengu while multiboxing on WH.
    I opened the 4th one 1 year ago, after living months on WH and becoming space rich... because I wanted to recreate a biomassed alt. And needed a new industry char.
    And some months ago I was wondering what to do... living on sov nullsec takes lots of char ; PvP alts, hauling alts, farming alts, high sec traders...
    But finally, with PLEXes price raising (300M isk when I opened my 3rd and 4th account...), and being tired of structure shooting and blueballs, I decided to not go to 5 accounts, but to 3.
    Cause I need that if I want to go back to class 4 WH, cause 3 accounts is the upper limit of multiboxing with only one screen for me, and simply cause I have too much mains to go to a lower count (I have 7 "main" char...)
    I did a break of 3 months 4 months ago, hoping I would be less bored after, but in fact it didn't changed anything.
    Corp still don't do much things, alliance still ask for lots of structure shoot, and farming is still shit on null given PLEXes price.
    CCP did lots of good things since Incarna, but they didn't do enough to make me want to play. There's still so much work to makes EVE on par with others MMO on UI... and there's a fucking need to review industry and nullsec... Hope POS rework will do part of the first one soon (well in fact we don't hear anything anymore about POS these days... I'm a bit worried...), and for the second... well it's not for tomorrow for sure...
    Maybe I should go to GW2 like you... hell even WoW PvE was xrazy fun compared to EVE...

  10. Is the title of this post a reference to the Genesis album?

  11. I was never tempted to have more than 2 accounts - keeps the costs down and my play time and style focused. And even with 2 accounts, I don't think I use it to the full extent, I could probably roll them into one.

    So, my question - what percentage of players in New Eden actually have multiple subscriptions? Personally, I think a very high percentage but maybe I just hang out with older players. Has that data been published?

    1. CCP will never release that sort of data.

      Without a doubt, there are a substantial number of players with more than 1 account. And, over the years, older players have added more accounts, yet the overall subscriber numbers remain flat.

      This means that the number of actual players has been decreasing, not increasing. CCP doesn't want to publicize numbers which support this conclusion, esp. when they are looking for investors and/or trying to go IPO.

      Note: The concurrent user numbers are misleading, too, since more players now multibox, esp. the botters.

  12. I've been looking at reducing my active accounts as well. Another consideration to keep in mind is multiboxing. If you're going to want to use two or more characters at the same time, plan ahead now! Make sure no such combination is on the same account.

  13. I'm dropping both my active accounts this month. I've been paying for one with PLEX all along, and the plan was to eventually pay for both without having to work eve like a 2nd job, but the finish line kept moving just out of reach with rising PLEX prices. So I'm giving up. I have a hell of a lot more fun playing WoT and MWO than I've ever had with EVE, and the "grind" is simply playing the game, with no sub fees. I want to like and enjoy EVE, but it makes it difficult to do so.

    So long internet spaceships.

  14. None of Soundwave's plans have actually worked out well. He is much better at hype than design.

    I think CCP needs to trade up for a "real" game designer. Maybe they should consider hiring Chris Roberts? :)

    1. CCP Soundwave truly has failed to deliver, hasn't he?

      I've already let half of my accounts run out, and I'm letting the rest go dormant in the next month or so.

      Retribution adds absolutely nothing that excites me to keep subbing. And, given the current trend - Crucible, Inferno, Retribution - I just don't see things improving until CCP gets new game designers, with new ideas, and not just more (bad) fixes and more (awful) tweaks.

      Chris Roberts? Now, that would be awesome - perhaps enough to get me to resub all of my accounts....

  15. To quote from the Blues Brothers "How much for the women?" Seriously, if you have good alts, sell them, move on, or park them on an account and unsub, then later you may can use them again.

  16. I could always use another research character, so if you're going to biomass them, or move them to an account that gets unsubbed, I recommend selling them. Perhaps one to me? I have no plans for more than 1 account.

  17. Biomassing toons is the only honest way to shutter accounts.

    If CCP wasn't so greedy, they would have disallowed the selling/transferring of toons - which is just another form of P2W.


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