Friday, February 24, 2012

Aurum is NOT a Dirty Word

"Security isn't a dirty word Blackadder. "Crevice" is a dirty word, but security isn't"
-General Melchett

When I got in from work earlier this week, I thought I'd jump in a ship and go for a solo roam. After an hour of chasing chicken-shit Caldari Militia who were flying a variety of stabbed and cloaky ships through low-sec I decided to dock up.

Bored, I messed about for a while and made a couple of posters supporting Hans Jagerblitzen for the 7th Council of Stella Management. I posted these to Twitter.

Although I personally liked the Skyrim one, the Typhoon in space got most comments by far. Not for the message it gave, not for the "artwork", not for the cool Eve background.... they were about the pin-up I stuck on the side of the Typhoon sat on a Barrage shell. Whilst I cannot disagree, a brunette in stockings should ALWAYS get lots of comments, some of the messages regarding "When can I buy this with Aurum" got me thinking. Never one to shy away from controversy I'd like to say....

Aurum is NOT a bad thing.

Before everyone sharpens their pitchforks, lights their torches and oils their nut-crackers and comes for me in a Frankenstein's monster style mob, let me explain.

Aurum is Just ISK with a Different Name.
Take ISK, buy a PLEX from the in-game market and convert to Aurum. No money is required. AUR is only used on vanity items too, so there is no need to use it if you don't want to. The only real problem would be PLEX inflation. Personally thats not a problem for me. I tend to fund my PvP addiction by buying PLEX and selling on the market. Therefore with PLEX inflation I get more ISK for my Euro and more ships to Leeroy into the Caldari Militia. But I do know a lot of people use ISK to fund their game-time. High PLEX prices mean they have to grind more rather than having fun.

Aurum was not the "Problem Issue" with the NEX Store and Incarna
Why did players rioted and shoot the Jita monument? Were the under-lying reasons the introduction of a new in-game currency? No. In fact, wasn't Aurum revealed well before Incarna in Dev Blogs and the entire player-base didn't cry foul at that point? I think the main reasons for the "rioting" were:-

  • Incarna was a disappointing and very limited expansion
  • It caused many graphics cards to take an arrow to the knee
  • There was no "micro" in micro-transaction and selling virtual monocles for $60 and T-shirts costing more than real-life ones was just silly.
  • CCP took their eye (and their devs) off flying-in-space to deliver the above
  • The stance CCP took when the players complained about the above issues, the leaked email and the leaked newsletter was just pouring petrol on the already roaring fire.

If Incarna had been a success (all CQ's, establishments, player interaction, good selection in the NEX store, sensible prices and it didn't turn your graphics card into molten slag) then Aurium would have just been accepted. However, as it is tied to the Incarna expansion it is seen (forevermore?) as tainted.

Aurum is an ISK Sink
In-game we need ISK sinks as well as ISK faucets. If we had a decent reason to spend at the NeX store then ISK would be removed from the game and therefore creating an ISK sink. That's a good thing!

Seriously what's the problem with Aurum?
You can buy it with either in-game money or rl money. It can only be spent of vanity items in game. How is it different to MS Points on XBox Live? It's just another form of cash. If you don't want to use it, then don't. There is no need for you to.

The only real problem with Aurum currently is there is nothing worthwhile to spend it on currently. I'd love CCP to deliver some worthwhile items to the NeX store (WITHOUT adversely effecting FiS iterations and improvements of course):-

Custom ship skins
Custom ship decals (corp and alliance logo's or just "nose art")
Custom paint-jobs and decals for POS and outposts.
Clothing which is not "run of the mill". So clothing for suitable for...
- Pirates
- Militia Uniforms
- Alliance Uniforms
- Tight pants and F-M-B's for Sindell (she asked!)
- A general "sexing up" of the available clothing.

And Yes! This time they are @SindelPellion's legs!!!

Obviously the clothing line is pointless until we get establishments (which I suspect were mostly complete, but CCP are terrified of mentioning anything to do with WiS now).

Eve needs walking in stations. There is an untapped player-base out there who would be attracted to the game if it was properly deployed. Therefore there would be more people in-game, paying CCP more money, buing more in-game items and generally being available for me to shoot in the face! Win-win as far as I'm concerned!

Anyone out there running for CSM 7 want to respond to this? From what I've seen most CSM candidates are shying away from this "political hot potato". Eve Mail me in-game with a response and I'll post any and all CSM candidate responses together next week.... if any of them actually dare to touch this topic :)


  1. Aurum is not an isk sink. If you could buy aurum from CCP/NPCs for isk, then it would be a sink. Sure you can buy a plex and convert to aurum, but that no more destroys the isk than any other plex transaction, the person you bought the plex from still has the isk and can then spend it.

    1. But a Monocle costs 12,000 AUR which is roughly 1.7bn (Just over 3.4 PLEX at 480m ISK). I'd say that transaction pretty much puts the ISK out of the game even though technically it still exists... just pointlessly :)

    2. The ISK is not leaving the game though. It's only trading hands to another capsuleer who is selling the PLEX. Aurum is a PLEX sink because it is destroyed in the process.

  2. You win one internet for quoting blackadder. You also have "Nein" spies in your corp apparently.

    I'd actually like to see some microtransaction iteration. I'd even take a *SMALL* amount of slowdown on FiS in the short run as I believe that in the long run this will allow CCP to spend more on EvE.

  3. Aurum is not just ISK with a different name, nor is it PLEX with a different name.

    At the moment, ISK generation requires an investment of time and effort from a player, and ultimately it's this commodity "time" that the ISK market is based on. PLEX prices are based heavily on the isk earning power of the people buying it, and as PLEX's don't generate anything tangible, PLEX is inherently tied to and not destructive of this player market.

    Aurum though can bypass the isk market. Buy PLEX with cash, turn it in to Aurum, and the player market is left to the side. This market doesn't "react" to player behaviour, so ultimately, it's not limited by the investment of player time. The only limit is the amount of cash someone can throw at the game, and the payoffs for that cash are linear.

    In spite of all of that, the above isn't actually a huge problem if you're only talking about vanity items (ideally, vanity items that can be destroyed), because effectively the linear purchasing power isn't actually buying you anything tangible.

    Once you can buy something game impacting with Aurum though, you now have the ability to impact the game through purchases that bypass the player market, and thus, your purchase price won't react to demand etc.

    So no, Aurum is not just ISK (or PLEX) by another name

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments, Drack.

    If the EVE Online experience can be expanded to be more inclusive and attractive to a wider demographic without detrimental effect to the existing game experience, then there really is nothing to complain about.

  5. I would love to use my aurum to put a crazy skin on my ship, but I will never use it to buy hot pants.

  6. I hope Hans agrees with your aurum stance because Mittens frankly doesn't care and won't do anything with it. Granted, his main concern was over the possibility of gold ammo. With that concern out of the way, he doesn't care. That being said I've been reading a lot about vote dilution with many candidates and I'm hoping if Hans stands for all you've mentioned that he gets enough votes to get in. The fact is for all the hate Mittens gets he is only one man and if he is re-elected he fills only one seat so there are going to be other candidates, lots of em, and the primary concern is the highsec and lowsec representing ones beat out the rest of the nullsec candidates. What the CSM doesn't need is a full rack of nullsec reps because they all admit they know little of what goes on in highsec and lowsec and that will be terrible for iteration there. Have you stopped by EN24 and is Hans lined up for an interview there? I know things have a Riverini slant but they claim to be interviewing all of them. ( and I do mean all... I saw Mintrolio's and it was hilarious )

  7. I disagree. Aurum is fucking terrible. The fact that it seems acceptable if it's not $60 monocles says something interesting about psychology and the "anchoring" effect but it is fundamentally a flawed idea.

    However you cut it, it's MT in a game which we are already paying a sub fee.

    You also have to consider that CCP were semi-quoting that paying to win presentation EA did about Battlefield: Heroes.

    Thin end of the slippery slope my friend. Thin end.