EVE Online devs cause a kerfuffle over in-game currency revamp
The developers working on CCP Games' massively multiplayer space/economic simulator EVE Online have laid out a few changes they'd like to make this year to the free-to-play game's premium currency systems -- and some players aren't having any of it.
What's interesting here is not so much that people on the Internet are mad about something, but what they're mad about: the destruction of currency.
If you work on games with in-game currencies (or just have an ongoing interest in the fascinating economics of EVE Online) you should check out the dev team's blog post on what they'd like to change; if you're not up on how EVE works, you should probably then read this PC Gamer article that breaks down why these changes matter to players.
Most notably, the dev team would like to get rid of EVE Online's premium "Aurum" currency (which is typically bought with real money and used to buy in-game cosmetic items) and convert all players' remaining balance of Aurum into the game's other premium currency, "PLEX", which is going to be redesigned so it can be traded in smaller units and used in place of Aurum.
However, the dev team is currently only planning on doing the Aurum-PLEX conversion for players with more than 1,000 Aurum to their name -- it appears that players with less will simply lose it.
"Aurum had its run but we are excited to move forward with PLEX only," reads the blog post. "On launch day for this feature we will convert all existing Aurum balances above 1000 Aurum to the new PLEX."
Since 900 Aurum costs $5 in CCP Games' storefront, some players are voicing outrage over the prospect of losing in-game currency with some monetary value due to the vagaries of how the dev team plans to pull this off.
Another proposed change would see it made much easier for EVE Online players to carry PLEX in-game without risk. This is not a given; since PLEX can be moved around EVE as an in-game item, it can also be lost or stolen when players don't take care in transporting it.
The sense of risk and gain that comes with having tradeable, destructible in-game items with a defined monetary value has long been one of EVE's prime talking points, but the dev team says it also does too much to discourage new players.
"We know how much you love it when ships blow up with piles of PLEX inside," they wrote. "We even might understand why, but, we also don’t want new PLEX users to be losing their PLEX before they can trade it because they didn’t know how to get to market safely."
In addition to the aforementioned blog post, you can hear EVE executive producer Andie Nordgren pitching these proposed economic changes in a recent video published on CCP Games' YouTube channel.