Eve Online's Incarna update launched yesterday. In addition to the ability to walk around outside your ship, you can also buy micro-transacted items to spruce up your avatar. The problem? The cost of these items is far, far beyond most DLC prices, and it's affecting the delicate Eve economy.
Things can get a little complicated here as there's three different virtual currencies involved, so here's a breakdown:
- Customisation items, including clothes and the ocular monocle pictured above, are purchased using a new currency called Aurum. Most clothes cost 3,200 to 4,400 Aurum. The monocle costs 12,000.
- Aurum is gained by trading in a PLEX at the game store. A PLEX is essentially 30 days of subscription as an in game item. One PLEX gets you 3,500 Aurum.
- You can get PLEX by buying it from the Eve store. $35.00 will get you two PLEX...
- ...or you can trade for it in game with ISK, the main Eve currency.
If you've followed that, you'll have realised that in real money terms the clothes cost around $17.50 each and the implant costs more than $70.00 (or four months subscription). An astonishing amount for an item with no in game functionality. For comparison, Bethesda's often mocked Horse Armour DLC cost $2.50 on release, some 28 times less.
Of course you could trade for it in game, but the new demand caused by these items has driven the cost of PLEX up. It now costs 400 million ISK, up from around 370 million before the update.
Would you pay $70.00 for a monocle? No matter how classy?