CZ Minutes: Pay 2 SP


When the dev blog concerning skillpoint trading hit, EVE media exploded. A few hours after it was published, the reddit thread already had a thousand responses, ranging from rage about P2W and wild speculation to measured contemplation and even careful optimism by a few. CZs Gorski Car has already written an article on the subject, but we all had our opinions on the matter.

What do you think about this proposition? Do you agree with the “P2W” and “money grab” crowd and are looking for your pitchfork? Or do you regard this as something that will even the playing field, help alleviate wasted SP and be a general SP sink for the game? Is this a misstep from CCP or a smart move as an option to the convoluted character bazaar?

Dunk Dinkle:How to determine when change is good or not:


JEFFRAIDER: I’ve yet to hear a good reason why this is totally going to kill EVE and the Character Bazaar did not.

SpaceSaft: It makes the game more pay to win. People claiming it was before because of the character bazar are partly wrong and partly right. Yes you could buy power on the character bazar but you didn’t have free reign over how that power is distributed. With this, effectively, I will be able to buy SP on the market. (Like I do buy gametime making Eve somewhat free to play.) I don’t like the change because I think the skillpoint system is bad because it was an undercover pay to win system to begin with. There are advantages to passive skill training but it’s obviously and mostly meant to incentivize staying subbed. I think the better move would be to change the skill system so you have to earn skills by doing stuff in game. That it’s now more overtly pay to win doesn’t make it ok. I do have to admit that the idea of play more, earn more ISK doing it and then getting more SP as a reward has a certain appeal.

Jason Quixos: This can only help level the playing field, but the old/rich players have a lot of ISK and SP. They will control a lot of this new market, SP will be expensive, and transportable. Transneural Skill Extractor, sounds like my type of ingame item to scoop from wrecks. What if it has already been loaded with SP too? This is an awesome way to bring the character bazaar to the in game client, 70 trades a day, wtf. TSE Will lose some value once players crack the training formula for max returns. I like PvP, sorry.

Jakob Anedalle: CCP Rise mentions that there are 70 character transactions a day.  That’s much higher than I would have expected, and also means that the market in SP is already very alive and well.  I hear about the finer-grain control of the SP sales under this concept, but with that many transactions I’m guessing you already had your pick of how exactly to get your SP.  I have heard a lot on podcasts and blogs about buying characters, often the players 8th or 9th it seems, so it’s hard for me to see how that isn’t Pay to Win and this system isn’t.  The big difference here is that this is open to a much larger mass of players both in terms of visibility and accessibility.  High asset-value players already have access to the bazaar to buy their super and titan pilots.  This new concept is squarely aimed at the sub-50M SP character with correspondingly lower assets.  The ISK-rich will find it more efficient to buy whole characters to meet their specific needs.  I think once people get over the initial ranting phase we’ll see better discourse here.  One thing I do agree with is that presenting this idea in a dev-blog instead of in the Features and Ideas forum made it appear much more solid and final that a reading of the content would suggest.

General Stargazer: okay I’ll admit when I saw this does blog tweeted out I was one of the people that read the name of the title and went whaaaat. Reading it over a few times now I have mixed feelings about this. I suppose I should start off with just reminding everyone that this isn’t something actually coming at this point it’s just an idea.  

Diana Olympos : Well that was unexpected. Now how does it impact the game? ln my opinion not a lot to be honest. But what would be the use cases and the impact. If you buy a character in the market bazaar, there are two cases. You buy an old toon that was going to be biomassed (you saved him ! Good action !), mistakes in training and all. Bad skills. Wrong things. You buy history. Now you can also buy a dedicated alt grown up by a specialist. You got exactly all you need, even if you have no experience with it. If mistakes were made, it was not by you.

Now what will happen with that new thing. Mistakes will be yours. You will keep your personal history with your character.

On an economic side… Hard to tell without an idea of the price in AUR of the thing. But my first gut feeling is a big tanking on Multi Character Training Token. And a visible tanking on PLEX. (Did you know that the bazaar is destroying 140 PLEX a day? That makes 4200 PLEX a month. That could help the market….)

All in all, I agree with Elise. And I ask you to remember that it is not something that will come tomorrow, nor in 6 months. This is a very early way to get feedback. And whatever you think about CCP, having them ask for feedback before implementing the thing is an amazingly great thing. So get out and tell them what you think. In a constructive way.


General Stargazer: Ok, having slept on the idea it’s given me the chance to think about it a bit more. While i’ll admit that i’m not overwhelmed with the idea I can see why they want to implement it. I’ve been playing virtually since launch and obviously over time I’ve accrued a fair whack of SP, which is the bare bones of what makes up the mod/ship progression system in eve. You have a calculable value to max SP gain per time playing and no way of exceeding that value (beyond the cerebral implants you can get in the first 30 days). This is the way i’ve looked at Eve “rewarding” the players that have stuck with it as it gives them more diversity in picking and choosing what they want to fly. Inevitably they reach the point they can then fly everything and only improving existing skills.

When you buy a char on the Char bazaar, you’re buying a char that is “X” amount of time old that has accrued skillpoints. So if you’ve done it right you can look at the age of a char and figure out how many SP’s they are likely to have. (It’s something i know some people in FW look at as well – if they are going to 1v1 someone as it’ll give you at least quickly a rough idea of the opponents viable ship and mod options). So for this to potentially become a bit of a wild card i really don’t like. The same really with knowing that i’ve spent almost 13 years acrewing my level of SP and someone else can get there in a fraction of the time (albeit at a considerable cost), I don’t like either. (Also I’d like to know how many 100m-200m SP chars are sold yearly on the bazaar because i don’t think it happens too often)

Moving beyond that and looking at the bigger picture of what i think is better for the game. Ok yes, i can see what the intention is. You make your char, you customise it how you want to and you pay to make your char better instead of getting ISK and buying someone better. I get that. Let’s be honest as well – everyone hates it when there’s a fleet planned to fly a ship and you don’t have the skills available to join with that ship. This will open up the option of getting more players playing and having fun with the rest of their social group, instead of logging off till you have the skills or unsubbing because you’re not willing to wait for the skill gain.

I think the system could be made to work a bit better IMO – I’d be interested to see how many SP’s are required to just fly (not perfectly) and use all the mods in the game and set that number as the upper SP limit (i.e you can’t “buy” any more SP after this number, not even the small 50k gains) because after this number its only improvements, which i think should be trained in normal time.

SpaceSaft: I too have slept on it. The most important point for me is this: What happens to people who don’t want to do this? Getting the first 10mil SP with this new system might be nice, but it’s very very heavily disadvantaging the people who don’t want to take this path. If CCP thinks they should level the playing field or that these first 10mil SP are necessary, the way to do it is to change the skill system, not to introduce more options to cheat yourself through it.

It also messes with the balance of Tech level items. Before this there was permanent investment you had in your weapon system or racial ships. They were also expensive in terms of ISK but the most expensive part of them is the weeks or months you have to train for the required skills lvl 5. With this change, this balance is completely gone.

We will end up with a game where a few rich people, be it space rich through actions of their own or RMT rich, can do anything they please by essentially bribing the DM to change the rules for them. Maybe this is not true for the majority. That’s not the point though, the point is that it’s possible.


Ashterothi: First of all, let’s discuss what this change does NOT do. It does not change the level of “pay 2 win” or “free 2 play” nature of the game. The character market already exists, and so does PLEX. This does not grant anyone any new access to power that they did not already have access to in order to convert real life money into in game power. What this does do is it allows it to be done more conveniently, over time, and in smaller amounts. This does not actually compound any problems with p2w that other games experience, because no new avenue of power is being created, what this allows is more access, and more understanding of that process.  

However, what this change does do is allow players to invest their power in what they care about.

Now I know, a lot of you vets understand that our ships are our tools, and our characters are just tools to access our other tools. That the game is played by players, not characters. You have to shake that feeling off, and realize the customer this is being sold to. Because, this side of it ain’t for you.

I have always made a hobby of recruiting people into EVE. I am very passionate about it, so tolerating me for any real length of time generally requires you to know enough about EVE to have a) heard about it to any length you desire and b) gotten a trial account and anything you want and personally lead through the game if you so desire (I am a bit over-zealous I am afraid). However, thanks to this and my love for newbies in general, I have kept a pretty good pulse on why people quit the game, and what I have found is very large percent of players quit because they want to advance faster, are willing to pay for it, but don’t want to give up their identity.

We aren’t talking about huge claims for power either, some people would be willing to pay the price of a game (50 bucks) to buy enough SP to get started. A few million SP to allocate to ensure you can at least pull your weight with your buddy, nothing wrong with that. The problem they all run into is that buying a character on the market is too impersonal for these people. They are not attached to the game yet. Their whole attachment is their character. The first thing they did was painstakingly chose a race, bloodline, school, and sculpted every contour of their skeleton until it was perfect. Now, drop him, pay 50 bucks and buy xXMOMhumperSS from the market. I know he has corp history that is suspicious, but that is why he is so cheap. And that is when you lost them.

This change allows those wish to invest in their own identity a chance to compete with those who couldn’t care. The pricing will be prohibitive to make a profit off the system, the price of aurum can dictate the value of the product vs. PLEX, and they will ensure you cannot sell your SP for greater than the cost to have an account long enough to earn that SP.

There are some funny things to be sure, like what happens when a hacked account gets sold in parts, and applied, those skills then are used to fly a ship. Then that SP is taken away, what happens? However, these are just design concerns that can easily be worked out. CCP has given us the power to finally shave off those cruddy mining skills we accidentally trained when we didn’t know better, and also allow new players to step up to the plate just a little bit quicker. What’s to hate?

Lillik: War, huh! Good God, y’all! What is is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again! 🙂

Ganky Deska: To be honest, this gives more options to players, more versatility and makes it more accessible than something like a character bazaar would be. I am worried that this is going to turn into a player’s second PLEX that they have to grind for monthly and I can say that personally I’m going to be taking advantages of this system but neither of these things are going to kill the game. Eve doesn’t have a time limit. If you want to take a month to gain an amount of SP equal to grinding really hard for a week, then you can and nobody cares where that SP came from. This also rewards both veterans and newbies at the same time. 150mil+ SP pilots who are training Cosmos industry skills because they literally have nothing else left now have a viable alternate sources of income for their skills and the newbies who want to level themselves up win by having access to that SP. This also opens doors for people who want to get higher in the game but have a specific skill track that they’re following. Essentially you can train as many skills as you have money for. The ability to finish Logi V and have literally every other support skill to V at the same time would be kind’ve fantastic.

Niden: Literally all this does is character bazaar 2.0. Either you’re against PLEX, the character bazaar and SP trading, or none of it. Drawing the line at SP trading doesn’t really work. Essentially what I hear people saying is: “Well the character bazaar is OK because it’s convoluted and hard to work with, but this new system that makes it easy and fluid is not OK.” I think SP trading in this form is a good and useful idea and I’m for all the above things. It’s worth noting that I have no plans of using it, nor have I ever used the character bazaar.

Oh, and if you’re quitting because of this change, can I have your SP?

Royalty-Free Stock Photography by Rubberball.com
Tags: cz minutes, SP trading

About the author


Perpetrator of thuggery in low security space, artist, and known as “The Stalin of Crossing Zebras” - Niden is the Editor-in-Chief of CZ.

  • Druik Arbosa

    To me, the concept of “Pay to win” doesn’t fit the conversation, this “Pay for skills” concept doesn’t give you anything but an even playing field, but only to a point.
    The veteran players are always going to know the game mechanics better, what this may give to a new player (should they wish to pay it) is the ability to survive that little bit longer, make a mistake and survive it that little bit longer, a veteran player is always going to have an advantage.

  • Nihi

    I really don’t think this is any more P2W than EVE was before. However I’m not so sure it’ll have the positive impact for new players that people think.

    Now when a new player is looking at EVE they’ll see that skills are trained over a long time, but if they want to pay money they can train faster. Despite the character bazaar I think this will look more P2W from the outside for newbros.

    If it was me looking at that system as a new guy it’d turn me straight off the game. “I’m already subbing, now I have to pay more to do this thing that sounds cool, or wait forever?” Before it felt like there was no choice, but in a way that made the training time more acceptable, everyone had to go through it, and learn stuff as they flew the little things. With choice it makes the guys that don’t chose to pay more feel like they’re paying subscription for an inferior product.

    In reality it gives new players more choice if they do want to spend more, without the confusing and less accessible bazaar, and also allows them to undo mistakes when they realise all that pvp training was in vain and go on to enjoy the true calling of hi sec mining.

    I’m just worried that far from encouraging newbros, it might have the opposite effect, and only encourage more of the people who plex to buy the best l4 mission runners before they can fly them, and rage quit once they get ganked anyway.

    I don’t think the new system will improve the number of new people joining, but I actually think its fine and no problem as it is and has been done for the right reasons.

    And I’ll never use it, but that’s not really the point.

    • Dirk MacGirk

      Options allow for you to not use it. Just like not using PLEX is an option. Just keep playing the game like you do now and enjoying the slow steady process. For someone who wants to pay, there’s that option to. Maybe it works to help new players get involved a bit quicker, maybe it doesn’t. But even if it fails in that objective, it doesn’t break anything in the game, other than the minds of those who are so dead set against it.

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    I love the Venn diagram. That’s bloody spot on.

  • JZ909

    “If CCP thinks they should level the playing field or that these first 10mil SP are necessary, the way to do it is to change the skill system, not to introduce more options to cheat yourself through it.” -SpaceSaft


    • Dirk MacGirk

      nah, I too used to say fuck it, give new players 20 million SP. But it can be so heavily abused by veterans just tossing together throwaway gank alts. Anything associated with convenience and immediacy should be associated with cost. It’s not cheating your way through anything.

      And yes, veterans will be able to use this for alt characters as well. But they’ll have to pay just like everyone else and then have to ask themselves if its worth it.

      • JZ909

        A flat SP bonus would be a crude way to deal with it. A better way would be to restructure the SP system so that it takes less time to max out the potential of lower tech/size ship. Maybe you shouldn’t have to train advanced weapon upgrades 5 to max out the potential of a Rifter.

  • Kamar Raimo

    Ok I missed the memo so I will write my comment here.

    I have pondered this issue and there is only one potential negative consequence I see here: This mechanism could create yet another way of corralling (new) players by means of wealth and regulations. I can see a scenario where larger and wealthier organisations will create SP generating alts and hoard skillpacks. When they decide on a doctrine they will tell their players to respec their skills and give them the skillpacks in exchange for paid-for packs that are to be used according to the new doctrine. Flexible, yes if used by individuals based on their own informed choices, but plugged into some of the organisational bureaucracies of the game I see the potential for yet another straightjacket regulation disguised as a benefit for members.


    “Yes you could buy power on the character bazar but you didn’t have free reign over how that power is distributed.”

    Obviously you have not been paying attention to the bazaar in the past few years. Entire third party services are devoted to training toons with specific skill sets and no wasted SP.

  • AFK

    Differences with the bazaar:

    – If your alliances changes doctrines to say, typhoon, you don’t rush out and buy a typhoon alt. Under the new system, you can buy up typhoon SP instantly.
    – No sink in bazaar. New system has SP sink.
    – Bazaar disallowed scams, ganks. New system allows loss(transfer) of SP through scams, ganks of the transneural units.
    – Bazaar had market forces dictating the value of different SP, mining, trading, capital etc. New system normalizes all values into one creating extra expense for miners and discounts for combat and capitals.
    – Bazaar was limited by supply. If CCP buffed the Phoenix and all Phoenix alts were bought, you paid over for scarcity or tough shit. Also allowed market pvp, speculation, etc. New system anyone can be in the FOTM ship tomorrow.
    – You took isk to the Bazaar and bought the toon, no matter how old you were. New system has diminishing returns for different ages becoming pointless to use at a certain level.
    – Bazaar created an emergent cottage industry with it’s own learning curve and speciality. New system allows anyone with a pulse to be a perpetual SP farm.
    – Bazaar was a modest PLEX sink. New system will be an outrageous AURUM greed is good gouging on par with Incarna.
    – Bazaar allowed counter intel to identify obvious spies, awoxers, etc easily. New system now requires alliances to ramp up shady counter intel methods to catch the same level of spies.
    – Once bought alts needed subbing either PLEX or $. New system allow virtual F2P accounts via passive SP income perpetuating alts online beyond anything ever seen before.
    – The bazaar was a niche forum whose purpose is to combat ebay and not found until later in the game by most. New system will have every gaming article and forum rife with “EVE….that game you have to pay $1000 just level or face staying scrub for a year?”.

    Go ahead, tell me more about how this is “the same as the bazaar”.

  • David Maynor

    Consider…… you can now activate your 2 other characters on your account to gain SP in the background as your main also generates SP. This means 2 built in character slots can be SP generators for your main. Once they hit the proper thresholds, in ANY skills, you rip those puppies out and move them all to your main. It is not entirely tripling your SP gain for one character, it is nowhere near that efficient. But it is certainly a nice boost…. if you can cover the costs.

    Someone will work out the perfect math for it shortly I am sure.