Greedy Goblin

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I told you so, hahaha!

I wrote on the "Don't play Albion" page that it's totally unacceptable to allow players to speculate on the price of the premium currency. Not only because it's an income that makes every in-game income laughable, but because it's trivially easy to "rig", using insider info.

Manipulating the premium currency is the most important job of the sales department (subscriptions are more stable and respond much less to marketing), so they perform extensive research about it with "top men" and all possible data. Their jobs depend on predicting what will happen if they do an Amazon sale, or if they partner with a famous streamer who advertises a promo code or ... if they cut PLEX into 500 pieces. That made the price of 30 days subscription (1 old PLEX or 500 new) price skyrocket. In hindsight it's obvious why the price increased: because the 1/500 unit price allows poorer players to buy PLEX. Previously you needed 1.2B in one piece to buy a PLEX, which is somewhat a problem for people who file for reimbursement of a 200M ship loss. Now they only need 2.6M to buy one fragment, so they can buy a few for one extractor, for a single "cool" skin or whatnot. This is the point why CCP did it. They wanted to increase the demand of PLEX, because that means more people will pay $ to get PLEX.

I've written hundred times, but I repeat: I have absolutely no problem with open monetizing of a game. CCP had the right to do the split and doing so was a smart move. There is nothing wrong with the PLEX change. The problem is that this can be used by players to profit, instead of the company. If you had a trillion ISK two months ago and invested it into PLEX, you already made over 200B profit without even logging in and the prices are still growing. Who knew this will happen? Everyone who had connections to CCP. Those who were told by buddies "over a beer" that PLEX price will skyrocket surely invested in it. We can see that both the price and the traded volume started to elevate months before the change (despite decreasing player activity), as connected "players" started to stockpile PLEX:
I guess I'd be upset if I'd realize that I lost 1/5 of my in-game net worth because I missed this investment. Since I've left this heap of corruption and gave away everything I had, I'm just pointing at players and laugh. I told you that CCP will keep being CCP and success only depends on your connection to the devs! I'm also vindicated about my Albion choice, which was rejected by many as "the gold speculation is not that big deal". Yes it is!

In WoW, the token price jumped similarly, when Blizzard allowed redeeming the token to be used in other Blizzard games. But no one could make a bank on that, because speculation is forbidden: if you buy token for in-game money, you can't resell it. So someone having lots of gold and seeing the change coming could only stock up for his own subscription and other-game needs, but he couldn't resell it in WoW to increase his WoW gold value.

This is a cautionary tale that if you see a loophole that can be used for rigging and the company refuses to close it, run, don't wait until the "connected" players make a bank!


Anonymous said...

Who knew plex would rise?

Anyone who can do basic maths. There is no conspiracy, beyond people who didn't realise that if you increase demand for an item, the price will rise.

PLEX was up to 1.2 before the split, now with lack of orders on the market + Alliance Tournament (probably a Dev RMT conspiracy) + increased usability of plex, tell me how anyone could come to the conclusion that the price would go down?

Of course,I could have been told this by a dev at a bbq back in 2015 or something alternatively.

Gevlon said...

Sure, basic economy can tell PLEX will rise. But how much? Only detailed marketing info can tell. There are two ways of losing on a "sure rise" speculation:
- the rise is too small to offset the transaction taxes + opportunity cost (you aren't using your money for a month)
- other, more informed investors already got in and you are jumping in too late. For example PLEX risen from 1B to 1.2B in 3 months BEFORE the split, mostly because of speculation. If the final PLEX price would be 1.15B, those who jumped in at 1B made 5-10% profit (after tax and opportunity). Those who jump in at 1.2B made a huge loss.

That said, it's not impossible to speculate without insider info. It's just much harder. Also, speculating on real world marketing decisions is hardly gameplay.

Anonymous said...

Possible. But I think this has more to do with Alpha clones. May is almoast exactly the time when Alpha clones reach 5mil SP cap. After that an Alpha clone can be turned into an Omega for 500 PLEXls an keept Omega for its trained SP. A free utility account.
Next SP trading is gona crash (already started) and only full SP farming accounts, using the new 485 PLEXls multi pilot training certificat and all 3 toons, will still be viable and turn in profit.
It does not take insider information to see this, just simple math. Ofcourse CCP "didn't see it" and made the glorius decission not to convert all aurum.


EVE is dying and no one wants to pay for it anymore or a premium for PLEX. Than soon login numbers will crash and this ends the game or at least active development on it. But where ís the alternative? You know very well there is none, least in a scifi setting.

Anonymous said...

It was a sudden spike and that made it look like manipulation. it gone steadily up buy 10k+ per day, but yesterday alone it was 100k+ Also what caught my eyes that there was a sudden one time oversell of plex on all the main trade hubs. Rens was maybe really an accident as it was only 3m, but jita and dodixie had both about 24.4m on top. I doubt it was an accident. My guess is that it helped to mask the real highest sell so players will go even more into panic buying.

Also wanted to thank Goblin for the tips in markets. Back in 2015 wanted to get into trading a bit more and found your blog and I could make with my old, broken char with a few millions and made about 4b in 1-2 month.

Too bad now that I got back after 2 years of absence and the market feels screwed, or it's just that there is no major wars, but the turnover got really slow vs. 2015 or I just didn't look into the market research enough. Also higher tax rates and citadels everywhere, wtf.

Anonymous said...

detailed marketing... OK going to level with you here you realize we play a game where people will create spreadsheets that code into other spreadsheets to pull exact prices to track long term trends to give and estimate of what profit margins on a given ship will be to the .01 isk. Your not playing a standard game here and many more people properly assumed the price would go up as they were right to do so. Also the same things can be said for the current investors in faction battleships. We know ccp isn't ok with the current price being so low. it could take years but it the nest egg doubles in price suddenly it's an issue cause we had info that another person didn't bother to look for? You don't need developer best friends to figure this stuff out its math and macroeconomics.

OF COURSE THE PRICE JUMPED in the last few months. Speculation began immediately as the Dev blogs released. increasing over time as people caught on to what was going to happen. (this is what your graph is showing)

Gevlon said...

Running spreadsheats about an in-game item is one thing. Everyone has the same ability to predict or AFFECT how prices of ships change. But with PLEX, some people have perfect information (devs and their friends) and others have wild guesses, while only devs have the ability to make changes.

souldrinker said...

"We can see that both the price and the traded volume started to elevate months before the change"

What can be seen on the chart is that the volume did not fluctuate much. It did decrease slightly in 2nd half of 2016 compared to the first half, and then went a bit up in 1st half 2107.
There were some "suspicious" spikes in the volume (e.g. around Nov 25th, 2016), but they coincede with strongest downwards movements of the price, so can be explained as panick sales.

Could you clarify further, where in the chart is the evidence of insider trading?

Alrenous said...

When a human have motive and opportunity to defect, it's 90% of a conviction right there.

Realistically, presumption of innocence is for murder trials. Epistemically, CCP has to actively prove they didn't leak their insider information for kickbacks, because just about everyone else in their position would have.

Anonymous said...

So when you're going to make an article about a game I should play? Or something positive............

bg. said...

It seems like there has been a glitch that allows people to plex for one month and keep getting their skills up even in alpha then sub again after a few months or so and extract and sell injectors, making it way cheaper to do skill farms.
This may also be participating to the rapid rise of PLEXes as the word is getting out.

Obviously, those that pay their subs or plex their account as usual are the big losers of this new issue, both because they are paying their accounts the regular way and because it participates to the rise of the PLEX..

all in all, once CCP get this addressed, I hope they ban all those that used that exploit, else, everyone that has not been on this new cheat train will be pissed off...

Gevlon said...

@Anon: as soon as I find one. I'm just as frustrated as you are.

@Bg: they will be just as banned as Mynnna was after he made trillions from the faction war manipulation (he wasn't). I wouldn't be surprised if the "bug" was intentional at the first place.