EVE Riots And The Merits Of Microtransactions

Online gaming companies are always trying to come up with new and clever ways to insidiously drain our bank accounts, and while some are more subtle in their attempts than others, there are still times when fans will rise up and shout in unison that enough is enough. One such instance has occurred recently with developer CCP’s sci-fi MMO, EVE Online, where an in-game riot occurred after the release of the game’s latest expansion ‘Incarna.’ Aside from its other features, the expansion introduces a new microtransaction system which allows players to purchase in game items using out of game currency (aka money). The riot consisted of large groups of players declaring war on the game’s most highly populated and profitable trade hubs, such as Jita and Amarr, in an attempt to shut them down entirely, whilst spamming “no forced Incarna!” in local chat.

Not only is this event rather comical in nature, but it also raises questions that stretch beyond the limits of EVE Online, as more and more online games add the option for purchasing virtual items and benefits with cold hard cash. I can personally recall spending more money, within a matter of days, on the Lord of the Rings Online in-game store than I ever would have spent on a monthly subscription, yet I constantly see web banners boasting that it is ‘Free to Play!’ The same story could also be told from countless others with games such as Dungeon Fighter Online or League of Legends, even if some would be less than proud to admit it. But it is hard to deny the fact that if the bastards are clever enough to make a game that can hold your attention for such vast spans of time, coercing you into dishing out seemingly small amounts of cash again and again with the click of the button would seem like a minor feat, at best.


Those cosmetics were just so appealing...

In truth, the real irony of the situation with in-game stores and micro transactions is that most of us are fully aware of the ironclad grip that our favorite online games have upon our souls, yet all we can seem to do is ask for more. But how do you really feel? Do you enjoy the option of purchasing your ‘achievements’ in games with the use of your credit card? After all, gold sellers have been cashing in on this idea for years, why shouldn’t the developers jump on board? There are even rumors that through Activision’s divine influence, Blizzard might be adding a microtransaction store to Star Craft II and their highly anticipated dungeon crawler, Diablo III. But even if Diablo III remains untainted and said rumors prove false, doesn’t the mere possibility stir up a sense of fear and even anger? I personally think I spend enough money on games as it is, and could do without spending even more while I’m actually playing them.

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  • Anonymous

    I think its sad how developers are exploiting gamers with microtransactions. Its completely criminal how much items cost, and in the long run its self destructive. AOL once tricked millions of users into joining its service, and for many years was very profitable. But it did not last forever, and now they are not even a fraction of what they used to be.

    Seeing the prices for EVE Online, Team Fortress 2, and other games content is ridiculous. In other games like AVA or Combat Arms its pretty bad too, charging about $3-5 for one weapon. 

    That is so expensive. If content like that came out on XBL or PSN there would be a riot. People are mad enough at $15 COD map packs, imagine their outrage if each one was in the $7-$10 range. Thats effectively what these PC developers are doing.

    I think Team Fortress 2 is the absolute worst offender. Valve gets praise for all the free updates they release, but no one mentions how they charge $15 for an in game hat. Yes one HAT, is $15 – which was the price of the game before it was made free-to-play. If you go into the item store each weapon is at least $1, and some are over $5. The hats are so much worse, they do nothing, and they arent even being sold in limited numbers. Its $5-15 for one freaking texture. Its such a price gouge and if i was a player I would be very offended.

    Of course these EVE riots were over even worse gouging, with one of the in game items, a monocle  costing $65 USD. I really cant believe anyone at CCP would think it is fair to charge that much for a few lines of code.

    • Well if a monocle would cost that much imagine how much 1 glasses would cost on that game. But I do agree with that it’s getting way out of control when it comes to redicilous prices when it comes to microtransactions. If you where aware when soul calibur IV where launched the PS3 version had darth vader and the 360 had yoda as a special character the twist was the both game had the characters in the disc. but to make yoda selectable on ps3 version you have to fork over your hard earned cash to just play as yoda on ps3. Because of that I never bought the game.

  • ScreenWipe

    Riot? I’d call it more of a scuffle, 1k pilots protesting in main trade hub, while 54k other pilots took no notice.

    6k pilots threatening to quit, from 300k subscribers, it’s only a mere fraction, get your facts right before posting dribble.

    Micro Transactions are the future of MMO, Change is good, if you cant handle it, you might as well go play zuma blitz on facebook.

    • Anonymous

      While Ryan may have been misleading by saying it involved “large groups of people”, its still a notable event. How often do any players get together in game to protest? Hardly ever. 1000 people actually doing something to show their feelings about the games changes is a great community event. Maybe only 1000 people actually participated but by viewing the forums its obvious many more people are not happy with the new changes.

      And CCP agrees since they are holding a meeting to discuses the changes they have made.

  • Grybeard

    The trade hubs in eve are capped. Jita at least is capped at 1800 ppl. In the early states of the protest thee were able to reach that cap and prevent pilots from entering jita. This did cause problems with the market.

    A big reason ccp is suggesting this us due to the fact a lot of people have been playing the game for over 7 years. This causes newer players to be at a significant disadvantage. Adding microtransactions that boost stats help new players get upbringing speed faster. This is what they have done in the past with accelerated skill points in the first 2 mil.

    I still do not agree though. It’d bad enough there is already a rmt market that was exploited in order for DRF and PL to steamroll the NC.

    • Grybeard

      Stupid auto correct.

  • Darkhour

    I really hope that D3 doesnt have these, one of the things i always loved about blizzard games, up to WoW of course, was that they were free to play. And Bliz has promised that D3 will be free on Now i understand this is one way to combat gold sellers, but the prices are kinda rediculous, in responce to the Xbox Market comments, ya map packs are “fairly” priced, but have you looked at how much some of the avatar items cost, or arcade games? Gold Farmers are a problem, micro transactions are just one way to combat them, but at the end of the day they are still just annother subscription to the game. 
    There hopefully will come some sort of middle ground. Perhaps a level based monthly allowance that can be purchased.