EVE Evolved: What’s the deal with EVE’s PLEX changes?

This week CCP Games announced that some big changes are on the way for PLEX in EVE Online. The PLEX or “30-day Pilot’s License EXtension” is a virtual item that represents 30 days of subscription time and can be bought for cash and then sold to other players for in-game ISK. This simple mechanic has proven to be one of the most important innovations in the subscription MMO business model over the years, allowing players with lots of in-game wealth to effectively play for free while permitting cash-rich players to buy in-game currency without funding dodgy farming operations that can disrupt the game world. Dozens of games now support some kind of player-mediated currency roughly like PLEX.

The proposed changes are intended to simplify EVE‘s business model by merging PLEX with the microtransaction currency Aurum. Players will also be able to put their PLEX into invulnerable account-wide PLEX Vaults that are accessible at all times rather than having to move the valuable items manually by ship. There’s been significant backlash from the EVE community over the newfound invulnerability of PLEX, plans to delete some microtransaction currency from the game without compensation, and the possibility that someone leaked the announcement to friends early in order to make a profit. So what’s the deal with these PLEX changes, and why are some EVE players going nuts over them?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the upcoming changes to the safety of PLEX, the opportunities that more granular PLEX could have for EVE, and why players are up in arms over plans to delete Aurum from thousands of accounts.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic opens up direct sales of the Unstable Arbiter’s Lightsaber

When Star Wars: The Old Republic first introduced the Unstable Arbiter’s Lightsaber with one of its random item packs, players were unhappy about it. It was a highly desirable item locked behind an uncomfortable amount of random chance, which is bad enough in and of itself, but it was also being advertised as if it were common. Bit unfair, that. So now you can, in fact, buy the lightsaber directly, the first time that a high-rarity reward from an item pack has been available for purchase directly from the game’s store.

The down side, of course, is that it’s pricey. Sixty bucks for a lightsaber pricey.

The rationale is that this will, hopefully, preserve the rarity of the item (and the sense of it being either very expensive or a very lucky drop) while also making it directly available to fans who want it. Naturally, no one is happy about this, either. Expect a similar reaction in a few weeks when everyone just gets a half-dozen unstable lightsabers for logging in and the people who had already acquired one are unhappy about having their work ruined.

Source: Official site via Dulfy; thanks to Sally for the tip!


Revelation Online offers players bonus currency for buying currency now

The third closed beta for Revelation Online is running, and you can test out the game’s cash shop right now if you’re in the testing. But maybe you’d like to spend some money on the game while it’s testing? Aside from buying a Founder’s Pack, or possibly in addition to it. Because the game wants you to spend a bit more money, and it’s enticing you to do so by… giving you money.

It’s a very simple promotion at the core. Spend money for cash shop currency now while the game is in beta, and you can spend it freely within the cash shop in this test phase. Since the servers will be wiped, all of that money will be refunded to you after this test, but 15% extra on top of what you would normally get. So you get the money back and more besides, which is a pretty good deal if there’s stuff you already know you want to buy when the game goes live.


TERA adds new underwear to the cash shop, you don’t want to see it at work

Are you at work right now? If so, you probably shouldn’t be reading this site anyway, your boss would be mad. But your boss will be really mad if you’re watching the TERA video just past the break. It’s kind of inappropriate for work environments. Heck, it’s kind of inappropriate for some home environments. You may wish to usher your children and smart pets out of the room. Drape cloth over the cages of any reptiles. If you have a tegu, it can stay; those lizards have seen some stuff, man.

What’s the video actually covering? Not much. Specifically, it’s about new underwear, which… yeah, you get the joke, it’s a strong breeze away from wardrobe malfunctions that would somehow feel less obscene, because at least then it’s just naked people. The new inner armor can be purchased on the cash shop now, and if you feel sufficiently morbidly curious, you can check out the video for said armor just below. But please don’t do so at work; we don’t want to hear about you getting fired for watching this.

Monkeys are involved. Take that as fair warning.

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Star Trek Online shows off the contents of the Kelvin lockbox

The Kelvin timeline is edging its way into Star Trek Online, but only in little ways here and there. There are incursions from the timeline that players will have to deal with with the release of Agents of Yesterday, for example. And then there are the ships, traits, and uniforms found within the Kelvin Lock Box, allowing you to take the tools of an alternative 23rd century to fight your battles in the present.

We’re leaving that bit of cross-universe time-travel right there before we try to piece the whole thing together and it makes no sense again.

Players who pop open the Kelvin lock box will have a chance of winning one of three faction-specific ships, with Federation captains earning the big-screen Constitution class, Klingon captains picking up the D4x Bird of Prey, and Romulans fielding the T’laru Warbird. All three factions can also use the Vengeance class Intelligence Dreadnought Cruiser, based on the intimidating ship from the climax of Star Trek: Into Darkness. And that’s not getting into ground weaponry, uniforms, or traits that can be used to further customize your appearance. It’s a whole lot of Kelvin timeline styling in the game, all locked within one box.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Anon for the tip!


Landmark will introduce the Fantasy Appearance Pack at the end of the week

Landmark is a game in which you can make a wide variety of different things to suit your deepest desires. Want to make a fantasy castle? Go for it. Want a technological paradise? Have a blast. Want to make your character look nonhuman? Well… you’re kind of out of luck there. Or you were, anyhow; the upcoming Fantasy Appearance Pack will allow you to customize your character with a variety of new fantasy-themed options, giving a bit more choice to players who want to jump into the fantasy end.

Players who purchase the pack will have access to several new face options, skin tones, and eye types for each body size, with the usual small Lumen fee for changing your character’s appearance at the Crimson Parlor. The pack won’t be available to purchase for Lumens initially, although the designers are open to more options for purchase in the future based on feedback. It’s slated to go on sale around the end of the week, so you can nab it and play around with the options a bit during the weekend if it sounds like your sort of style.


Battleborn patches in premium skins and currency

Quick question: What does Overwatch have that Battleborn doesn’t? If you answered “Winston,” you are correct, but that’s not the point. If you answered “players,” your snark is appreciated, but that’s still not the point. If you answered “the option to pay money for skins and taunts,” you are correct, but you won’t be correct after the June 16th patch adds in a premium currency that can be bought for real money and exchanged for skins and taunts.

The new skins are more than just the color swap variety and cost 420 Platinum, while taunts cost 230 Platinum. Platinum cannot be earned through gameplay, only bought; 230 Platinum costs $1.99, while 700 Platinum costs $4.99. There’s no random element to the unlocks, just the cost of the individual items; whether that’s a net positive or a drawback for you is left for you to decide.

Source: Kotaku


Desert Nomad: Diving deep into Black Desert’s cash shop

Hello, friends, and welcome back to Desert Nomad. This week, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about a subject that has been the focus of much debate in the wake of Black Desert’s official launch: the cash shop. There’s been more than a little bit of controversy surrounding the implementation of the cash shop in Black Desert, from the relatively extravagant prices of costumes and pets to the advantages conferred by certain cash-shop-exclusive items, most recently the ghillie suit.

Naturally, the debate has been rather impassioned on both sides, with plenty of polemical rhetoric streaming from each. Some players are adamant that Daum is just another avarice-driven company willing to stoop as low as is necessary to separate players from their hard-earned cash, while others hold steadfast to the argument that the cash shop is fine and that Daum is simply trying to turn a profit. In matters like this, however, I think that the truth tends to lie somewhere between the two extremes. The argument is, admittedly, an ultimately subjective one, as every player has his or her own parameters that determine when a game crosses the line into pay-to-win territory, I hope that by taking a closer look at the items on offer in Black Desert’s cash shop, we can at least shed some light on the points of contention and, with any luck, work toward figuring out some solutions to the issues that may prove problematic in the future.

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Epic shows off Paragon gameplay, promises no pay-to-win

Epic Games‘ upcoming third person MOBA Paragon has been getting some attention lately with its fluid gameplay and undeniably high-quality graphics. The studio has been releasing informational videos and sneak peeks on the game for the past few months, and this week’s trailer looks at some of the abilities the game’s heroes can use. We can see new hero Gideon using portals to summon damage-dealing rocks and teleport around a 3D battlefield, and Dekker’s Containment Fence force field locking enemies in place. The video was reportedly created using the game’s match replay feature and was recorded during actual gameplay.

Ever since Paragon‘s card system was revealed, some fans have been concerned that these gameplay-affecting items may end up in some kind of microtransaction store and that this would disrupt competitive gameplay. There was also some worry that the game’s planned cross-platform play between PS4 and PC would create a competitive disparity as PC users will be using more precise controls. Epic reassured players in a statement to Eurogamer today that it “will never sell card packs for Paragon” and that the studio is “very aware that pay-to-win is a bad thing for competitive play,” but so far there has been no comment on the potential cross-platform gameplay issues.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMORPG without a cash shop?

During any online discussion about MMORPG payment models, someone will inevitably lament that subscriptions are better because they don’t nickel-and-dime you with a cash shop. Someone else will then point out that the vast majority of subscription games that are left in the genre do indeed have cash shops. There was a time when a sparklepony was a rare thing worthy of front-page news, it’s true, but that time was years ago now. Everyone’s doing it.

Well, not everyone. There are a few MMORPGs out there that have resisted the allure of the cash shop. So today, let’s make a list. Which MMORPGs have stubbornly refused to cash-shopify themselves, and which one is the very best at it?

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Perpetuum posts premium packages to power up players with popular pricing

The developers behind Perpetuum want you to be able to get in and start playing the game on the cheap. Said developers also want to provide a way for players to spend additional money on the game without anyone feeling ripped off. Thus, the game’s new premium packages. Each of the two packs is priced at $10 and contains various benefits for any new or existing player, but each one can be purchased only once per account, turning them into shots in the arm for anyone who is playing the game or just wants to start out stronger.

At the same time, the base game has been dropped to a $10 price as well, and a new player can pick up the base game and both packs for $28. The hope is that this change in pricing will make the game more accessible to new players without alienating existing players or creating a sense of resentment. These packages are currently available only through Steam, but they should be available via the game’s site in the very near future.

Source: Official Site, Steam; thanks to Zoltan for the tip!


Guild Wars 2 starts Wintersday today

Today is not a winter’s day, nor is it the start of winter days. That’s the solstice, which is on December 22nd this year. But it is the start of Wintersday in Guild Wars 2, which is… an extended celebration based upon Christmas festivities, which is also not for another week and change. So the timing is a mess all around, but the festivities are all right.

Of course, that’s not all today’s update contains; there are also Fractal changes, bug fixes, and quality of life improvements. But it’s the holiday part that’s the closest to being timely just the same, since Fractal Day isn’t until May.

A guide is currently in progress for the various goings-on around the holiday over on Dulfy.net, if you’re wondering how you can grab the most out of the celebration. There are also new hairstyles available in the gem store, which aren’t particularly festive but can serve as an excellent way to feel more festive. Or just serve as, you know, new hairstyles.


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