Cash shop item creation clarification

This somewhat jumped out at me about Pathfinder planning to sell in-game items, and how some argued that because said items are tradable in-game, the system is basically the same as PLEX. Spoiler alert: it’s not. Not even close.

The massive difference is that with cash-shop items, the store itself is creating something of use in the game. This means that, theoretically, there is an unlimited supply of, say, tents in PFO. No matter how many are bought in the cash shop, another can always be bough, at exactly the same price as the first. The game’s cash shop is creating items.

With PLEX, CCP isn’t creating an item or money. They are simply letting you trade/sell 30 days of subscriber time to others, represented in-game as a license. No item of in-game function is created. That is the critical difference. Without PLEX all players would pay there $15 a month directly, with PLEX some can opt to have others pay for them in exchange for trading some of their in-game work (ISK) for it. But PLEX doesn’t create that ISK, unlike in PFO where the shop IS creating something.

Just a quick note, but for whatever reason it stuck out and bothered me.

10 Responses to Cash shop item creation clarification

  1. dachengsgravatar says:

    To be exact, a PLEX is an in-game item, like any other. Like nearly everything else, it can be blown up, or stolen, or sold, or gifted, or transported from A to B. Its other in-game function is to provide your pilot with a 30-day pilot license extension, without one of which she is unable to fly.

    In other words, the cash-shop is creating something of use in the game. This means that, theoretically, there is an unlimited supply of PLEXes in Eve. No matter how many PLEXes are bought in the cash shop, another one can always be bought at exactly the same price as the first. The game’s cash shop is creating items.

    • SynCaine says:

      Yes, but the PLEX doesn’t DO anything in-game that buying a month of account time can’t do, and in all subscription games everyone goes in knowing/accepts that buying account time is always an option in unlimited quantities. But it has no actual gameplay function beyond that.

      That’s very different from buying an item that has some use in the game, such as a tent, especially because in PFO that tent is also craftable in-game. That tent also has some gameplay related to it that determines it’s in-game value. If tents become a hot item due to say making mob farming 10x easier, value goes up. If having a tent is pointless because a house is easy to get and outright better, the tents value drops. A month of game time is always a month of game time, that never changes.

      • dachengsgravatar says:

        Doesn’t DO anything in-game? I think I mentioned several things it does (or has done to it) that create quite a bit of game-play, both emergent (such as getting blown up or stolen) and planned (such as providing a pilot with a license to fly spaceships. Note that this is an in-game benefit for your pilot). It provides more game-play “function” than many pilots!

        As for the value of a month in-game never changing, isn’t that exactly what you said about the tent? “No matter how many are bought in the cash shop, another can always be bough, at exactly the same price as the first.”

        Sure the price of the tent measured by in-game currency is constantly changing. So is the price of a 30-day Pilot Licence Extension, measured by in-game currency. How are they different, again? In both cases, the store is creating in-game items. in both cases, their out-of-game cost is constant. In both cases their in-game cost varies depending on their usefulness compared to other in-game items, and in both cases they have game-play associated with them.

        • SynCaine says:

          PLEX doesn’t do anything in-game. It has no inherent gameplay. That EVE is a sandbox with full loot and destruction means anything, including 100% fluff items like a shirt, can create ‘something’ when involved in conflict. But you wouldn’t argue that a 100% fluff item has ‘gameplay’, would you?

          Which is also why creating PLEX from thin air is different than creating functional in-game items from thin air, that can also be created via in-game actions, is different. PLEX can be created the same way someone can create 1000 accounts and sub each one for a month. A tent can be bought the same way someone can craft one in-game. See the difference?

  2. dachengsgravatar says:

    Well, it looks like we’re going to have to differ on this one. I have twice told you what in-game benefit a PLEX provides, and you have twice ignored that and replied that “PLEX doesn’t do anything in-game”. Apart from the gameplay that it provides through destruction, looting and transportation (which is not minimal), I have already mentioned twice that it provides your pilot with an in-game benefit of great importance to gameplay: “to provide your pilot with a 30-day pilot license extension, without one of which she is unable to fly.” Note that this is an in-game benefit to your pilot (as well as an out-of-game benefit to you, personally)

    You also made a second point, where you introduced a new argument that you did not make in your original article. Your original argument was that “The massive difference is that with cash-shop items, the store itself is creating something of use in the game”. I pointed out that PLEX is indeed an item of use in-game. Having failed to persuade me of your original argument, you have now added a new one: that the difference now is that the tent can be created by in-game means, while the PLEX can’t be. I doubt you want to stand over that as an argument: if the tent (or other cash-shop item: monocle, for instance) couldn’t be crafted through in-game means, would that make it more like PLEX in your eyes?

    I hope you will try to back up your original arguments, rather that try to create new ones ad-hoc. I accept that there are differences between a tent and a pilot licence extension (for instance, one may be blue, the other green; one may provide shelter from the rain , the other not; one may be craftable, the other not), but I’d like you to show me how they differ materially in terms of your original assertion that “The massive difference is that with cash-shop items, the store itself is creating something of use in the game”.

    • SynCaine says:

      PLEX doesn’t do anything in-game. It has no inherent gameplay. That EVE is a sandbox with full loot and destruction means anything, including 100% fluff items like a shirt, can create ‘something’ when involved in conflict. But you wouldn’t argue that a 100% fluff item has ‘gameplay’, would you?

      So basically, you would consider a 100% fluff item like a shirt having gameplay? Because if so, yup, we are just not going to come to an agreement here.

      • dachengsgravatar says:

        The pilot license extension is not a 100% fluff item, because (for the fourth time of saying it), it has an important in-game purpose: “to provide your pilot with a 30-day pilot license extension, without one of which she is unable to fly.”. That’s not fluff.

        That said, I _do_ consider a 100% fluff item like a shirt could provide a lot of gameplay. Remember, almost all gameplay is generated by players. That’s the point of a sandbox. Ore provides gameplay because players want it for their own purposes. Players decide what value in-game items have, based on their own gameplay. If a corporation suddenly decided that as a mark of membership, all playesr had to wear a particular personal uniform, including your 100% fluff shirt, suddenly that shirt is a potential source of player-generated gameplay, just like null-sec systems or wormholes.

        Gameplay is where you find it.

        • SynCaine says:

          “Gameplay is where you find it.”

          From the view of the players, yes. I’m not talking about that view, since that’s like debating what’s ‘fun'; its personal opinion.

          I’m talking about the view of the devs. Goblinworks designed the tent to have a valued in-game function for players (shelter). If players decide to play tetris with tents, that’s on the players, but GoblinWorks didn’t pre-plan tents as a tetris tool.

          CCP designed PLEX to allow someone to subscribe to the game. That’s it, and again everyone walking into a sub MMO knows and accepts that the company sells you accounts and account time.

          PLEX doesn’t provide shelter or anything else by CCP design. The fact that every item in EVE has some value and therefor factors into the economy and combat is a factor of the sandbox, but it doesn’t change the intent CCP had behind PLEX. Again, just because EVE has collectors who see value in a 100% fluff shirt (example), doesn’t change the fact that CCP designed said shirt to be 100% fluff with no gameplay functionality.

          If CCP sold ships, ammo, or anything else with an intended gameplay function, only then would it be similar to Goblinworks selling tents. They don’t do that, very intentionally, because it could very easily ruin your sandbox. Goblinworks is flying down that path already.

    • dachengsgravatar says:

      By the way, for me the important difference is that the PLEX provides an out-of-game benefit that the tent does not. If I could pay for my subscription with tents, then they would be as useful as PLEX, whether or not they also provided shelter. And if you had made that argument in your original argument, we would be in agreement.

      On another, related, topic. If a PLEX (or a tent that we could use to pay our subscriptions with) was craftable in-game, that would have a very interesting effect on gameplay. The ISK value of the PLEXtent’s raw materials would rocket, just as the ISK value of PLEX today is on a one-way ride upward. That in turn would drive up the price of other items made from the same materials, and increase the income of the gatherers of those materials (e.g. miners), and increase the importance of ownership of the sources of those raw materials (moons, planets, asteroids, whatever). That’s a lot of extra gameplay.

  3. Galien says:

    In a situation where demand, not supply, is the limiting factor for whether or not a thing gets created, adding currency to stimulate demand is identical to creating that thing from thin air. That’s true for many items in EVE, especially given afk-bot-mining, afk-ratting, PI, potentially unlimited accounts per player, and the fact that trained pilots are also sellable ‘things’.

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