Monday, March 26, 2012

Definitions - ISK Faucet Versus ISK Sink

I need a post I can drag out and throw at people when they get confused so here it is.

PLEX is not an ISK Faucet. Nor is mining, wormholes (with one exception), or station trading (with one exception). Destroying a ship is not an ISK sink, its actually an ISK faucet.

An ISK faucet as a mechanic that generates ISK out of nothing and puts it into circulation. Similarly, and ISK sink is a mechanic that takes ISK from circulation and destroys it.

PLEX is a mechanic that moves ISK from one player to another but neither creates or destroys the ISK (except a miniscule amount in the order taxation).

Mining ore and minerals and then selling them on the market does not create ISK as it comes from another player.

Destroying a ship produces an insurance payout making it an ISK faucet and not a sink since ISK is created and not destroyed.

Wormholes generate wealth but not ISK, excepting the blue data cores in Sleeper wrecks that players take back to empire space and sell to NPC buy orders. In fact, all NPC buy orders act as an ISK faucet because they create ISK out of nothing to give to the player sellers.

NPC pirate bounties are a big ISK faucet, as are the Sansha incursion payouts. Loyalty point stores, on the other hand, are ISK sinks since players give ISK along with the LPs and tags to get items.

ISK in a character's wallet can be sunk if that character gets perma-banned. Players that unsubscribe and don't come back sink their ISK too, but a returning player frees their ISK up again.

Aurum is neither an ISK faucet or sink as it does not generate or destroy any ISK in circulation.

Any questions?


  1. Insurance is both ISK sink and faucet.

    Insuring a ship that does not blow up before its insurance runs out is an ISK sink. Insuring a ship and getting it blown up is a faucet.

    But on a pedantic note, I would rather say that a faucet creates ISK from nothing, rather than generates ISK from nothing. But that is simply sophistry, and does nothing to take away from your presented arguments.

  2. What are examples of an actual ISK sink?

  3. Buying insurance for a ship that is not destroyed. Transaction taxes and contract fees. Buying goods from NPCs (not much of that left, but skillbooks is a good example). Loyalty point store items that take ISK as well as points and items.

  4. Thanks for the clarification Kirith :)

  5. Thank you for this. I have to keep explaining this to people, too.

    Also, I was confused when Dr. E had a slide that suggested that wormholes were a big ISK faucet. I didn't have time to ask him. I had forgotten about the NPC buy orders for datacores.

  6. Anonymous11:00 pm

    Ship loss is more of an ISK sink than an ISK faucet. Insurance doesn't cover the loss of the ship, which is permanent. The ISK for the ship is now out of the game. As well, half the modules are destroyed permanently, the ISK spent for those permanently out of the game.

    1. Stan--no, it's not... The ISK for the ship is in the hands of its maker, and likewise the creator or seller of the modules for it. Now meta modules themselves appear out of thin air from rafting, plexing, and missioning, but then so does ISK. Hence my Really Immodest Proposal to eliminate ISK "from thin air". ;-)

    2. Hong, you can't eliminate ISK "from thin air". The game needs an increase in the money supply as long as the population is growing. On the other hand, as Dr. EyjoD pointed out, a 24 trillion isk per month growth like we saw in 2011 is too much.

    3. Noisy, I can't, but CCP can. They won't, because something from/for nothing is very "in" these days... But I wrote a nice blog post on how to go about it anyways.