Monday, March 24, 2008

Character Selling

An anonymous commenter on my An Old Face post had this to say:
Selling characters isn't really all that "cool."

Ah, well.
I responded there with:
Well, that is a common opinion and I can understand why someone would feel that way.

On the other hand, grinding missions or ratting for 23 straight hours is not cool to me as I can't do that and make the isk like someone in college or on summer break can. And other people think having more than one character at all is not cool. It all depends on your point of view.

I prefer the live and let live approach. :)
But I want to expand upon that as this is an issue I struggled with a lot last year before I bought and sold an Eve Game Time Card (GTC) for ISK. It was something I was going to write for the Eve Tribune but what the hell, they can't get all my good stuff. ;)

There is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly when it comes to making ISK in Eve.

The Good is all those things you do in game that were designed to make you money, or evolved from the game mechanics. Mining, missions, ratting are the big three; manufacturing, couriers, researchers, trading, salvaging, exploring, alliance or corp creation are the less popular but still common; pirating, corp thieves, scam artists are even more rare but very notorious. And they all occur within the game itself.

The Bad are all the bannable offences outside of the game mechanics. Buying ISK or ships or characters off of Ebay. Hacking accounts. Macro-mining. Selling services for ISK (although there are exceptions). The game developers have stated these are against the EULA and thus getting caught at doing these are grounds for expulsion from the game.

The Ugly is the grey area. These are actions outside of the game mechanics but are allowed by CCP. Selling characters, buying Eve GTCs from approved sellers for and reselling them for ISK, selling select services such as website hosting for corps or creating graphics for forum sigs or corp/alliance banners are all acceptable in the developer's eyes.

But a lot of gamers look down on the Ugly ways of getting ISK. They feel they are just other methods of Real Money Trading which is bad for the game overall. It causes inflation, or dilutes the experience, or encourages "farmers" who don't actually play the game but exploit it. (Its worth mentioning that this mostly applies to GTC selling and a little to character selling, not so much to graphic artists.)

So I am not surprised to see that my selling of Sarah last year and Optivus and Barak this year would elicit some disapproving frowns from those who feel that the Ugly should be lumped in with the Bad. Or perhaps they just feel its cheap, or cheating. I didn't "earn" the billions of ISK, I just exploited the system.

To which I answer thusly: get of your fracking high horse and take a good look at yourself. Eve allows your character to progress while you are offline. Eve allows you to build things and research things and sell things while you are sleeping or going to work or making out with your girlfriend. In fact, practically only the "big three" require you constantly at your keyboard to make ISK.

Yes, selling characters is meta-gaming but so what? I don't have hour upon hours to grind out ISK the way a high school student on summer break or a college student with no deadlines might have. And having more money is key for me to having lots of fun in this game. And if I do it in a way you don't like, tough. Its a game, and I'm not doing anything that anyone else does not have access to. I didn't sign up to play by your rules, I signed up to play by CCPs rules and seeing as they not only allow it, they have put in place a forum and instructions to explicit do it, I think I'm in the clear here.

I'm not a purist. I'm here to have fun and for me, having fun is not 101 missions to earn my first billion, or slaving over the mobile labs inventing for months to irk out enough ISK for my first carrier.

Well, that incoherent rant is over. Carry on. Normal posting resumes in 3, 2, 1....

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