Pearl Abyss-owned CCP Games has once again dropped a hive of live bees into the lap of the already-irritated EVE Online community, this time with the release of the $24.99 Prospector Pack. The bundle includes 30 days of sub time, 100 PLEX, and a “ready-to-fly Retriever” mining barge with “everything you need to fly it including skill books, modules, and tokens to redeem for Skill Points and ship insurance.”
EVE Online players have understandably taken to Reddit to decry the move, as it’s about as overt an instance of pay-to-win in the galactic sandbox MMO as you can get, plus there’s the whole issue of how it impacts the game’s crafting economy and how easy it would be for a newbie to buy this pack and immediately lose it in PvP and then ragequit.
Brisc Rubal, an elected player rep on the current Council of Stellar Management, blasted CCP on Reddit, noting that the CSM has repeatedly told CCP players not to cross this particular pay-to-win line; apparently, the CSM was just as blindsided by the launch as everyone else.
“I have consistently said, over and over again, that the line is and has always been selling in-game objects that are player created,” he writes. “We say this to them over and over and over and over and over. I am sick and tired of seeing this kind of habitual line stepping when it comes to monetization. Selling fitted ships, even to new players, is not okay. Learning how to buy ships in game, earn the money to buy them, fit them out, and the like is fundamental EVE and if you dumb the game down so much that you let players bypass this for $25, even just once, you’re screwing yourself in the long run. When it no longer is this easy, people are going to quit. If they get used to how the game works early, they will stick around.”
MMO gamers will recall that Pearl Abyss’ recent financial report showed that EVE Online revenues declined only 3% in Q4 2021, but the companies’ willingness to dabble in NFT cryptobabble has certainly put players on their guard. Pearl Abyss told us in February that is merely exploring the tech for its “future business,” but it declined to answer our follow-up questions about impacts on EVE Online and Black Desert.