NEX(t) DebacleForlorn Wongraven
With Kronos CCP reworked the NEX store, EVE’s microtransaction system. Currently pilots can only buy either apparel for the abandoned avatar gameplay or custom ship skins. PLEX can be exchanged into Aurum but not vise versa. Additionally CCP gifted every account 5000 AUR in small steps since Incarna. Thankfully there are no pay-to-win ships, ammo or implants available.
While I think that all the available ship skins look very nice and give credit to CCP‘s art department they work against with a key rule of EVE. Newbies learn it rather quickly and veterans keep repeating it over and over again: ‘Don‘t get attached to your ships, consider it lost as soon as you undock’. With that in mind a shiny new skin has only value to collectors. When people want to show that they are rich in real life or in game they tend to use higher priced ships that actually give a bonus such as faction and pirate ships. Additionally, due to EVE‘s demand for situational awareness most pilots fly their spaceships zoomed out, reducing the bling-bling effect of ship skins.
Being available only for T1 sub-capital ships, I see no reason to own one of these. When CCP introduces skins for T1 capitals and certain T2 ships like marauders, blackops or faction/pirate battleships I would consider it since those ships tend to live a longer life in the stars. Also the current method of applying these new skins with BPCs rules out supercapitals which many players including myself would nearly immediately buy as long as corp or alliance logos could be applied to the hull. During Fanfest 2014 the art department showed a new way to customise the look of ships. When CCP deploys this technology to the client and can tie it with AUR or PLEX micro payments this might be possible, but CCP has a long tradition of showing amazing features and not delivering.
In the same category falls the clothing of EVE‘s avatars. There is no gameplay attached to our avatars except running around in a lonely CQ, watching random video streams sitting on a virtual coach. Two years ago CCP devs showed a small prototype that included a little avatar based gameplay – a hacking mini game outside your ship. In this environment there could be a drive to customize your avatar as you can interact with other players and show off your monocle or tattoos. Incarna is widely considered as EVE’s worst expansion but the technology of the now dead WoD could still live on and help CCP monetize on code they have already written off.
With the recently added new and fresh staff coming from EA CCP could implement a working microtransaction feature. Until than I am just gonna sit on my AUR gifts on various accounts and not even consider putting any new PLEX into the system. So far Aurum and the NEX store are just proof that CCP can always deliver what I have seen so many times in New Eden: another feature debacle.