When I did my last post on what I think/feel/believe is a pay-to-win scenario that already exists in Eve, I had it on a time delay for posting. In the mean time, one of the items I mentioned, the latest open tournament, has had some changes.
First, the entry fee of 20 PLEX was reduced to 10. Apparently this was in partial response to complaints from players that the entry fee was too high. If true, that's a step forward from CCP.
At the same time though, word from CCP was that there were anywhere from 60 to 80 teams who signed up for the tournament. That number depends on the quality of your rumour connection I guess, but a number in the 60's was apparently put forward directly by CCP. Amazingly, more than half the signed up teams bailed on the tourney before the bidding for spots would start, though. That's crazy, right?!?! Now, the conspiracists would proffer that there never were that many teams that signed up, and that the number of teams claimed by CCP was a very pathetic and douche bag attempt for CCP to try to get player groups to bid more PLEX for the 32 team spots. More PLEX bid means less PLEX in game, which means PLEX prices will rise (as they are doing), which means more PLEX will be bought to replace tournament PLEX and sold at higher prices. Can't really see who would benefit from all that PLEX selling, except of course CCP, oh, and the richer Eve players.
So, move ahead a bit to the point where the bidding is done, and they couldn't get enough teams to play in the tournament. Of the only 27 teams that actually bid for a spot in the tournament, only 3 teams bid 10 PLEX, and the top teams bid over 40. Of the 27 teams, 575 PLEX were bid. Once players found out that there weren't even enough teams that bid for spots, some wanted a complete refund and were ready to bail out. At that point CCP decided to give everyone back their extra PLEX, and so all 27 teams were in the tourney with a 10 PLEX bid. Hopefully, that's 300 PLEX that might end up back in the hands of players to help stave off more PLEX inflation.
More tin foil time though. It is rumoured that there was some behind the scenes shit going on with some CCP devs trying to entice certain players into the tournament. Now, with their denials about the whole T20 incident, and then their recant of the denials when the CCP dude admitted that he was a cheating fuck, but they still didn't a) fire him or b) re-instate the player's accounts that outed the mess, so I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an honest answer out of CCP if a couple of their devs WERE pulling strings. The whole "pro-Eve tournament" thing would be another potential cash cow if CCP could siphon off a bunch more PLEX. The tinfoilers would also be remiss if they didn't point out that 2 of the three 10 PLEX bidders also got a bye for the first round. How many OTHER alliances/groups (with perhaps tournament participation history) did CCP contact with possible enticements for the tournament? Were the two 10 PLEX bidders given a little nudge nudge wink wink and a bye if they decided to join the tourney?
Personally, I don't give a fuck about the tournament, or whether CCP has a couple devs doing shit in the shadows. I'm more concerned about how much more lag or bugs they'll inject, or how they're going to fuck up the UI. If CCP wanted ALL players involved, CCP could have accepted ISK for entry fees as well. After all, they've already been PAID for every PLEX that's in the game. Apparently though, they only want the "most dedicated teams to enter and compete to be champions". Uh, yeah, ok. Mainly though, the teams most willing and able to pay CCP with real cash to let them in the tournaments. Pay to win, much?
But wait! There's more! :)
In more pay-to-win news, CCP is thinking about accepting PLEX as a form of payment to attend fan events. Good for them, bad for players who buy PLEX with ISK, but then, like so many "programs" amd "offers", CCP is only interested in the players who can AFFORD to do that. PLEX is a cash cow to be milked. Fuck the fact that PLEX for ISK was implemented to HELP players pay for their subscriptions.
Additionally, according to David Reid (CCP's marketing dude), they were SO happy with the whole video-cards-for-PLEX thing, that they want to do it again. Now, why wouldn't CCP be happy when they can offload a hundred video cards (that cost them less than 200 bucks) for $300 worth of PLEX each?? Again, good for rich players who can bankroll that amount of ISK to PLEX at the drop of a hat and definitely good for CCP.
Last point, according to our very own Alekseyev Karde, you know, the CSM dude, the guy who represents players? Well, according to him and his buddies, any player that complains about the inability to use PLEX to pay for their subscription, (which is why it was instituted in the game) is a whiner. Nice. Good thing Alekseyev is thinking about ALL the players, or maybe he's only interested in a select subset of players, like the ones who have enough disposable income to pay for subscriptions and PLEX with real cash. Start at 20 minutes. That's some fairly elitist bullshit, but at least then he casually wonders what effects it will have on the people/plebes that he thinks are whiners. Yay player reps!
Tournaments, CCP convention tickets, video cards? My, my. So MANY uses for people who can afford to throw PLEX around. I guess the dumb-ass, whining players who actually use PLEX for what it was intended for will have to HTFU, or go play something else. Go pay-to-win! ;)