So, CCP is currently giving out 235 million isk to omega accounts via a temporary login campaign. Naturally, a lot of players are happy with the handout, but others, including myself, have their reservations. I know, I know… Eve players complain about everything. As Dunk Dinkle once noted, “if CCP cured cancer, there would be players complaining that they were putting doctors out of work.” But I don’t know how else I’d fill my day if I stopped complaining about Eve. So, let’s talk about it.
Money Supply and Inflation
Extra credits already made a couple of videos that discuss this topic far better than I can. So, rather than regurgitate their excellent videos, here’s a TL:DW.
- Too much money is bad because it will cause inflation.
- Not enough money is bad because it will restrict economic growth.
- In RL, government d-bags control money supply.
- In MMO’s, players print money by doing PvE. Devs can only indirectly control money supply by adjusting isk sinks (destroys currency) and faucets (creates currency).
- If the devs aren’t careful, players will print too much money and cause hyperinflation. This has been a very common problem in MMO’s.
- Want to know more? Check out this and this.
Probably Not Going to Cause Inflation
Now, to be clear, everything I’ve learned about economics and MMO economies, I’ve learned from Youtube. So, I’m not exactly Ben Bernanke over here. Moreover, I seriously doubt that CCP arrived at 235mil figure all willy-nilly. In fact, I don’t consider it unreasonable to assume that they first estimated how much money should be printed in order to help encourage economic growth without triggering inflation, and then divided it by the number of omega accounts that they expected to claim the reward.
Of course, this is not to say that their estimates weren’t off. However, it does appear that they errored on the side of caution. I don’t know exactly how many Omega accounts Eve has, and what percentage of them will claim all 235million, but even if we assumed 245k omega accounts all claimed the entire amount available, that would only come out to 57.5 trillion isk (about a 4.4% increase in the money supply). Like I said, I’m no expert on economic matters, but I seriously doubt that that’s the kind of increase that will cause significant inflation. Moreover, a cursory examination of various item prices has failed to turn up any compelling evidence of inflation so far. Of course, money is still being claimed, but I’m going to predict that we won’t see any significant inflation. Guess we’ll see if I have to eat crow or not.
A Better Way?
That being said, I’m not particularly enthused with how CCP disbursed the funds. Don’t get me wrong, I love free stuff, and I like the daily logon rewards. But I would have rather seen a particularly lucrative live event over cash handouts. Not only could this have increased the money supply by a similar amount, but it would have also had other benefits.
- Players would have actually had to go out and earn the isk -SP farms and other neck-bearded, basement-dwelling, no-lifers with a ton of accounts couldn’t sit back and collect billions of isk (f.y.i. I am collecting 2.5bil myself).
- It would encourage people to actually undock, and go have some fun playing the game. This would create content for PvE’ers, hunters, and possibly even ninja looters depending on how it was designed.
- It would encourage people to go out and spend some cash on ships that could engage with the content.
- The temporary nature of a live event would keep players from turning the event into an isk faucet that is detrimental to the long term health of the economy.
So, to me, handing out stimulisk checks just doesn’t seem like the best way to go about doing this. Sigh. I suppose 235mil is indeed a lot of money to a newbro. And depending on the difficulty of the live event, it’s quite possible that they would have been effectively excluded. So, I guess the fact that it doesn’t exclude anyone (or disproportionately benefit older players) is one good thing you can say about it. Moreover, they are doing other stuff, such as reducing market taxes and releasing the ESS reserve bank keys now. So, it’s not like cash handouts are all that they are doing.
Some people are also concerned that CCP is testing the waters for selling isk directly to players. Personally, I don’t know what to think. On one hand, they seem to be babystepping towards more and more P2W monetization methods. But it’s also plausible that this had nothing to do with monetization. The economy is struggling, PCU’s are down, and players have been complaining about scarcity. So, they might have considered it to be a nice way to address several problems. And the only reason why they restricted it to paid accounts is because everyone and their grandma would have sat around creating thousands of alpha alts if they hadn’t.
Sigh… I dunno. I usually have no problems dismissing bitter vet conspiracy theories, but this one has me a little bit worried. Hopefully, I’m just being paranoid.