CZ Minutes: There’s more than one way to SKIN a cat

(Featured image by T’amber) With the release of the Mosaic expansion, EVE now offers alternative skins for your ships, paid for with real world money. Replacing the old Ship Skinning Program, SKIN introduces a new avenue for microtransactions by which CCP hope to mimic the success of similar programs in other online games. However, its launch has not avoided criticism, especially after a glitch was discovered whereby a SKIN for a certain ship could be applied to any other ship in the game, essentially cheapening the value according to disgruntled players. First of all, do you care about SKINs at all, or is this just a storm in an irrelevant teacup? Do you think that the fact that the SKINs weren’t specifically crafted for certain ships cheapens their value, or is it just a smart technical solution? Do you agree with the pricing model CCP have chosen to go with? Have you bought any SKINs yourself and why? Lillik: I’m waiting for industrial or steampunk styled SKINs. Short of those, I’d settle for Hello Kitty or Purple People Eater SKINs. No good stuff, no money. Gorski: Personally I think CCP could have handled this way better. They should be happy though. When CCP released Incarna people were outraged and didn’t want it at all. Here we have the opposite. People want more skins and want skins on everything. I think the launch went pretty good until the bug revealed that most skins work and look fine on every ship. I care about skins, it might be a useless thing from a gameplay and balance perspective but still it is something small to personalize your ship and I like that. I do not agree with the pricing model that CCP has decided to go with. Here is a link with all skins in a spreadsheet made by Bam Stroker. In general I think that the pricing structure here is kinda bad. First of all the skins are locked to specific skins and very inflexible. They are also locked by corporation and race so you can’t put Sarum skins on Caldari ships. CCP Cognac has stated that these cross-faction skins won’t happen here. This is probably what I am most angry about. There is absolutely no real lore reasons for the skins to be limited. We are immortal space demigods with insane wealth and seriously that is what Serpentis designed the tech to do… CCP has also stated performance issues and I am pretty sure that is bullshit on our end at least I haven’t noticed any real FPS drops from certain skins. There are some skins that might not look as good though but I don’t really think that is a big deal because they still look good. There is also a problem with the skins being fairly underwhelming. Especially for that price. A $25 skin should definitely be more than a recolor. I think CCP should have rolled out way more cheap “base” skins and have special skins for ship classes/races and don’t limit the thingy. I liked a idea I saw on Reddit about making the pirate LP store offer a one run item that lets you apply any skin you own to any ship. One thing I wonder is why we haven’t had any real statements from the CSM and I would like to think that at least some of them support and like this feature but CCP is probably less than perfectly happy with them if they support a “exploit”. I would definitely like to know where my representative stands on skins in general and I am sure they have been heavily consulted in order to avoid Incarna season 2. Personally I would leave this “bug” in the game but since this is CCP we are talking about they are totally going to remove a feature that people are using and having fun with. I would at least leave it in until they can make something better out of the skins offer and stop being so limited/locked in just to try to get a tiny bit more money from their “microtransactions”. And CCP needs to be careful here because a removal could cause Jita riots again… Niden: Those of us who know T’amber (CSM 4 and 5) and/or have used the Jeremy project know that this form of free repainting that the bug enables has been possible for years. It was even mentioned in a dev blog by CCP Mankiller last year. So I was hardly surprised by it. The issue of how “skins” work in EVE may seem simple, but is in fact technically complex. So much so that even talking about it without going into rather esoteric details is very difficult. The base fact is that CCP have never actually hidden the fact that you can apply faction colours to any ship, so it should not come as a surprise to anyone. However, it could be argued that with this in mind, the pricing is a bit much. CCP have already made it clear that they want to retain some control over how EVE looks. Naturally, this extends to how ships look. This is not a question of lore really, it’s a question of art direction. Who should be in control of how EVE looks? CCP or the players? However, it could also be argued that while we are demigods, capsuleers in fact take their world a lot more seriously than we, the players, do. Allowing people free reign when it comes to colouring their ships would break that immersion because you can be sure a lot of people would just paint their ships in the most ridiculous way possible. If it can be done, players will do it. Niden-Dram-Skin-Bug Nashh Kadavr; I absolutely love the SKINS! granted I am vain and I like pretty things; this is one of the best things to come out for EVE this year. I can only hope for more of these to come out over the coming period and allow for more individualism for pilots in New Eden. Mizhir: It is wonderful to see that CCP has finally released a proper skin system that works in the sandbox, but I am also sad to see that they have learned absolutely nothing about microtransactions. The prices are way too high especially when you consider that it is a game where you can easily get to fly many different type of ships. Many SKINs were bought when it was released but it may as well just have been an initial hype. But in order for microtransactions to really generate some income they need to make people buy them as impulse purchases. To me there are no t1 ships that are worth SKINning and I am probably the person at CZ who has spend most isk on spaceship barbies. I feel that the current system is too limited. One SKIN for one ship with those prices is simply not enough for the money. If they want to keep the prices that high they should at least offer more flexibility. The current bug with the SKINs that allows players to apply SKINs across ships has been extremely popular and it certainly shows the demand for a more flexible system. I am not sure what their plans are for SKINs for faction and t2 ships. I do hope that they introduce SKINs for that as well however I would have loved if SKINs were per hull type so the same SKIN would cover both a Omen, Zealot and Nomen. Tarek: Personally I couldn’t care less about SKINs. I know it’s a thing these days and it is in almost every game. Currently even single-player games offer the possibility to buy colour-schemes for weapons and clothing items for characters. Sure, it looks nice but for the rest it is meaningless. If there is a market for it and CCP can make this work for themselves in revenue terms, well great for them, but to me having this whole discussion about it is as irrelevant as the SKINs themselves. I wont be buying any despite the fact that I find many of them very good looking. BTW, has the “they should not waste dev time on this while X is still broken” argument come up yet? That tends to be the point when those discussions become really crazy. Niden: That’s both the beauty and the problem with SKINS: I’m going to venture a guess that since this has pretty much been possible for a good long time as a bi-product of how EVE ship graphics work, very little actual dev time had to be invested. Funnily enough, players complain because not enough effort was put into the feature when you consider the prices, but had a lot of effort been put in, players would instead complain that dev time could better have been spent elsewhere. Either way, the problem is exacerbated by the current prices which most people seem to think are too high. Undoubtedly, there are problems with the current system. Personally however, I don’t believe in being able to use any faction skin for any ship as we can with the bug, but I’m very positive about skinning in general. I’m a sucker for pretty things and wouldn’t mind spending some change on making the ships I care about look nice. Once they put in SKINs for Dramiels and Machariels, I’ll probably start caring a lot more about the prices myself.   Read Mukk Barovians extensive article on the subject here.

About the author


12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.