Home > Uncategorized > Phil is convinced that EVE Online macroeconomics are a new mini-game

Phil is convinced that EVE Online macroeconomics are a new mini-game

This is a spiritual parody of the classic Daily Victim series, “GameSpy’s daily tribute to the millions of fine people who populate Internet culture.”

You can’t really blame him: he’s still recovering from his years spent in World of Warcraft. But this really all got started with WoW. See, WoW has auction houses, where you can buy and sell various magic items, trade goods, whatever. It’s classic laissez-faire economics, with supply and demand making the price.

That, of course, means that the price can differ from day to day. Little fluctuations, like 5% more Iron Ore for sale one day. Or maybe some dude decides to hang up his spurs, and sells off his entire bank worth of Adamantite Bars: big supply jump, price bottoms out. Scoop it up and sell it a week or two later, and you’ve made money for nothin’.

Of course, Phil was totally in to that. He got those addons that tracked average prices and put up red flags when stuff was selling below market value. But, he started taking it too far: futures markets.

Blizzard announces a patch coming down the pike for a new crafting pattern? That means that the demand for the components are gonna go way up ‘cus everyone wants one. So he stocks up and waits. When the demand his, he sells off all his stock and makes a killing. But he never used the cash for anything. He didn’t even realize the untold fortune he was sitting on. About a year or so after he started, he crashed the servers when he caused an overflow from having too much gold.

So he gave up, and went back to Counter-Strike for a while. Sure, it’s got “money” involved, in that you get cash for killing people that you use to buy guns. But there’s no trading, no strategy, no market.

But now he’s found EVE Online. This game is basically capitalism online, where just about everything is centered around getting more money to put into the virtual economy, buying player-made goods from players who log on every day to manufacture fictional stuff.

But I don’t think he really “got it” until they started releasing quarterly financial reports. These days, it’s not about getting a new ship or completing missions for rewards for him. No, he plays so he can gather data. While the rest of us value in-game skills like “Gunnery III”, his mind is solely focused on charts.

Some days, he logs on and just sits in a station, looking at the market prices for Tritanium and Minmatar Cruisers and so forth, just jotting down notes like there’s gonna be a test. I don’t think he’s even got a real ship: he just flies around the galaxy in his little shuttle, checking out various prices in various regions, all the while tabulating and correlating.

My guess? He’s angling for a job as the assistant to the Official EVE Economist.

He’ll just ramble on for ten minutes, about money supply deflation and a lack of inflation and then get this look on his face and say “Isn’t that interesting?” like I’m supposed to know what he means. I’ve tried giving him a taste of his own medicine by talking about the strengths and weaknesses of missiles versus rockets and heavy missles versus cruise missiles, but he’ll always get this glazed look on his face halfway through and start looking around for something. In 30 seconds, he’ll have found a chart showing this “really neato” trend of Torpedoes versus Heavy Missiles that (“even though they’re supposed to be balanced with each other”) shows that Missiles get used much more.

How fascinating.

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