This series of posts is intended as a discussion and my thoughts in how ISK affects PvP and how PvP Affects ISK; further entrys can be found here.
Losing ships is expensive. “No shit Sherlock” right? But have you ever stopped to think what that actually means? I can’t think of many other games where (arguably) what is the “End Game Content” actually costs in game money to do. Even in the dreaded WoW (I’ve been clean for 3 years now), the “End Game” Raids can earn anywhere between some and significant amounts of money, dependent on how good your Raid Group is. Can you imagine if Call of Duty or Battlefield required you to earn money (or maybe respect points) by performing Drill, Peeling Potatoes and “Cleaning the Head” (whatever that means) before you could afford to play a PvP match? Yet in EvE this is effectively what you have to do.
Now some might argue that 0.0 (Wormholes too, and to some extent Low Sec) PvP does earn you money, as winning in PvP dictates who holds sovereignty over the systems. Yet, the only income available as individuals is through Plex, Anomalies and mining. To draw back on the FPS analogy, we are now able to perform Parades, peel New Potatoes (without the horrid sprouty bits), and Sprucing up the Officers Powder Room. The actions are the same as High Sec, we just earn more for them.
The only people who do earn money directly PvP, are Alliance/Corporation leaders (Moon Goo), Mercenary Groups (Contracts), Small Gang/Solo PvP’ers (loot) and that guy who always seems to be able to scoop loot before I do at gate camps (wanker). That’s a pretty small percentage of PvP players.
Don’t get me wrong here I’m not rallying for change, nor incandescent with rage at this indecency. No I find this an interesting study in our psychology as gamers, and perhaps as an insight into the level of grip EvE PvP has on us.
Now I will admit that as someone who really doesn’t enjoy extended periods of Mission running or mining; my first thought on this subject was “Wouldn’t it be nice if PvP earned me money”. Perhaps with each killer earning a percentage of the market value of the victim’s ship and its fittings? Or a mechanism for Corporations/Alliances to automatically distribute funds to pilots when they participate in fleets. This could aid the currently inhibited top down money flow (a topic I will discuss in the next in this series).
We might also see an increase in numbers flocking to the more lawless areas of space. In the head of a Carebear (I was one once) acquisition of money is often the key motivator, perhaps if PvP were a real money spinner, we might see a bigger migration flow to Null/Low Sec. Furthermore if PvP paid money we could also see more wars, and more people in fleets (that’s a good thing right?).
It sounds wonderful but how would it affect those of us already PvPing, and indeed the landscape of PvP space? Currently the people who are in Null Sec are the people who really want to be there. Because of the cost of entry we have invested time and money into our position, and we are dedicated to our causes. Would an influx of money seekers begin to muddy the waters? To water down that passion? PvP for profit would herald an entire new mentality in Null/Low Sec. Wars would be fought by entrepreneurs rather than Zealots (not the ship). We already see blobs more and more every month in eve, and with the current effectiveness of Super Capitals, and other Low Risk PvP methods (improbable Tengus et al) we might also see the decline of “Gud Fights” in favor of “No risk PvP”.
As a note here; I’m not a fan of the argument “I had to go through it so why shouldn’t you HTFU”. It’s a little bit too close to the British Boarding School mentality which brought us Fagging. The point I’m trying to make is that maybe we shouldn’t work too hard to bring High Sec dwellers into Null/Low Sec; if they don’t want to be out here, and we shouldn’t change our game to make room for them.
We would also have to consider the economy. Every Carebear that moves to Null/Low Sec is one less mining our jump fuel and building our ships, even mission runners source the faction modules we love so much. Economy speculation is not really my strong point, but my feeling is that if an ISK faucet opened in Null/Low Sec opened up, the exodus of Carebears would hitch the prices of our trade’s tools until the profits we made were nullified. And even if they didn’t the economy of EvE would require CCP to develop even more ISK sinks for us (something they are teetering on doing any way).
Making PvP profitable would change how we as PvPers in any form view combat. Right now life in Null is a wonderful lesson in self-support, and risk. If we were making money hand over fist, the risk/reward ratio would shift furthermore we might not get the same buzz from our kills, and the “ISK war” would become far more important that it already is.
I think as with most things there is a middle ground to be had with this. I do feel that Null Sec profits rest in the hands of too few, encouraging a trickle down of funds (or indeed trickle up) is a great idea (the next topic in the series). But equally too much profit in PvP would be a bad thing for our landscape in the long run.
Of course equally, should someone wish to give me a chunk of cash for PvPing, I would not complain.
Thanks for reading,