The Difference Between MT and PLEX

This was posted by Malcanis on Kugutsumen, but I definitely think it needs posted and shared everywhere

Original posting

“Originally Posted by Kazanir
You spend the equivalent of hundreds or thousands on your supercaps or your pimp mission ships and some people spend real money for those too, albeit through the secondary channel of PLEX.
Lots of people are still unironically asking this question. ‘Why the hate for power MTs when PLEX are already power MTs?'”


Think about what happens with the PLEX transaction. The originating player buys a GTC from CCP or some other retailer and redeems it into 2 PLEX. At this point CCP count their product obligation as fulfilled; the player has receive what he has paid for, regardless of what happens to it in the future. So far, this is pretty much identical to any other MT: gief publisher monies = can haz in-game itemz. But what can you actually do with your PLEX?

Well first you can add it on to your own account, which enables you to play the game for another 30 days. Of course this isn’t really a MT in any way that people care about, just a slightly roundabout way to pay a subscription, but I presume we can agree that this promotes gameplay, insofar as it means that the original purchaser will play EVE for +30 days.

Secondly, you can sell it to another player for ISK. This is where it gets interesting, and where it starts to look like RMT and so forth. The most important difference is that the ISK exchange is between two players, not between a player and CCP. This sounds too obvious and trivial to be worth mentioning, but so many people don’t seem to understand how important this subtle difference is. Player A sells a PLEX to player B for 400M ISK. (In and of itself, this is a player interaction just like any other market trade, BTW) The amount of ISK ingame stays the same. The ISK that player A receives, he receives apparently without doing any work for it, but the important thing is that work was done for that ISK. So player B had to do missions, convert LP, play the Jita market, risk his ship ratting, run a research POS and sell BPCs or do whatever other activity he engaged in to raise that 400M ISK. If Player A wasn’t lazy or time-restricted or whatever other reason he’d rather pay $17.50 than make 400M for himself, he would have done all those activities. As it is, Player B did it on his behalf, but those activities still had to take place, with all the normal implications for wider interaction with the EVE economy and community. To the rest of EVE there is no functional difference between player A selling a PLEX to player B, and player A using his ISK making alt AB to make 400M.

Additionally, the value received is determined directly by player supply and demand. The amount of ISK you can get for your $17.50 is always dynamically set to exactly what the EVE playerbase as a whole thinks it should be. If CCP sold ISK directly, they’d pick a value (and you can bet your ass it would be hilariously wrong) and stick to it.

Conversely, if Player A was simply able to buy ISK directly from CCP then all that activity would not take place. In addition, it is quite possible that Player B simply wouldn’t be playing, as for many people, being able to play for free is all that keeps them subscribed. Even if they kept their mains going, the number of “ISK making alts” would plummet, as the Player B’s partly have them to pay for PLEX. So Player C cant buy his faction ammo from B, sell his stuff at Jita to B, gank B’s ratting Drake or do whatever other interaction might take place, or at least has less opportunity to do so. Player interaction is reduced, player population is reduced, gameplay is reduced.

Additionally, because the amount of ISK you can buy is limited by the amount of ISK that other players are willing to spend on PLEX, there’s a hard cap on how much ISK you can buy this way. It’s a pretty high cap, but it’s there. If CCP sold ISK directly, they’d sell it at the rate which maximised the amount of money people give them, which obviously means that they’d have every incentive to sell it for ever cheaper prices, since they can spawn as much as they want for free. Hello galloping inflation! Apart from anything else, the last thing the EVE economy needs is another massive ISK fountain like CCP selling ISK for a buck a billion.

It’s even worse if CCP directly sell items; not only are all the effects above seen, but instead of A using his purchased ISK to buy stuff, supporting all the supply chains that create ships, modules, etc, he bypasses all that and just gets an item magically appearing in his Hangar instead. Although from A’s immediate point of view, he doesn’t see a whole lot of difference, suddenly EVE has a great deal of things less to do, and less to care about. Why make ISK when the best ships are in the NEX store? Why do invention when the best modules are in the NEX store? Why run missions when the best ammo and implants are in the NEX store? Why run plexes when Y- and Z-type stuff is in the NEX store? Why mine? Why run a moon?

And when there’s less point doing all of those things, then why bother to PvP about them anyway? EVE devolves towards being a shallow, mindless shooter.

  • Every once in a while something useful comes out of Kugu.