Monday, February 1, 2016

Guesstimating The Cost Of Skill Point Injectors

Whether we like the feature or not, skill trading is coming to EVE Online on 9 February. The time for debate is long past, so I will put on my prognosticator's hat and and attempt to determine the cost players will pay in order to advance their characters more quickly. The figure I came up with is 500 million to 600 million ISK. How did I come up with that price range? Time to show my work.

First, the professional ghouls with their clone farms have to cover the subscription price. I imagine those running the farms will PLEX their accounts. What is the cost of a PLEX? Currently, the price is hovering around 1.2 billion ISK. I expect that the price of PLEX will increase as skill point injectors become more popular, but for now 1.2 billion ISK is a fairly round number.

Next, how many skill points can a clone generate in a 30-day period? Assuming I know how to use EveMon properly, a character with +5 learning implants can generate 2,700 skill points in an hour, or 1,944,000 in a month. With each skill point injector holding 500,000 skill points, that means a single account can generate a total of 3.888 skill injectors per month. For simplicities sake, let's round the number up to 4 skill injectors.

To merely cover the subscription price, the skill point injector manufacturer must charge at least 300 million ISK per injector. If the clone farmer is thinking long term, then substitute the actual figure of 3.888 skill injectors and the total to cover the subscription cost is 308.6 million ISK.

But wait, the farmer also has to purchase the skill extractor from the cash shop. Once again, the clone farmer will not want to spend real life cash, so will purchase a second PLEX. The conversion rate of PLEX to Aurum is 3,500 AUR per PLEX.

Now for the 64 million ISK question. How much will CCP charge for the skill extractor? As of the time I write this post, CCP has not said. My someone educated guess is between $2-$3 USD. If I were setting the odds, I would put the over/under at $2.50 USD per skill extractor.

Why $2.50? Because I believe that CCP is targeting the player with between 5 million and 50 million skill points. CCP will want to charge the player for the amount of training time saved by purchasing and using skill injectors. The number of skill points gained per injector use is below:

  • < 5 million total skillpoints = 500,000 skillpoints per injector
  • 5 million – 50 million total skillpoints = 400,000 skillpoints per injector
  • 50 million – 80 million total skillpoints = 300,000 skillpoints per injector
  • > 80 million skillpoints = 150k skillpoints per injector
Since a player in the target skill point range would need to purchase 5 injectors, that means manufacturers would need to spend $12.50 USD in order to create enough injectors to supply a one month supply of skill points. Looking at the subscription price chart, a three-month sub costs $12.95 per month and a six-month sub costs $11.95 per month.

Now for the key. How much aurum can one buy for $2.50? The below graphic from the account management page gives a clue:

Aurum prices in USD
I figure the price from the $5 amount, or 450 AUR. If purchasing PLEX in-game to convert to aurum, that means a clone farmer can get 7.78 skill extractors per PLEX. For the sake of the math, I will round the figure up to 8. So the monthly manufacturing costs per clone must include additional half a PLEX, or 600 million ISK, to cover the purchase of aurum. That brings the total monthly production cost per account to 1.8 billion ISK, or 450 million ISK per skill injector.

Will the traffickers of skill injectors sell their products at cost? Hardly. But what is a good mark up? I think 33%, which brings the total up to 600 million ISK per skill injector. Since one account can create 4 skill injectors per month, that means two accounts should just about generate enough ISK to purchase one PLEX in order to pay for someone's main account.

I personally won't enter the skill injector market. Besides the thought that extracting skills from clones is icky, I am not sure if the demand for skill points will really bear a 600 million ISK price. Personally, I do not believe so. CCP would do better with a $2 USD, or 360 AUR, price point. The only problem with that price is that some illicit RMTers may try their hands at clone farming. Still, I think the big RMT operations won't bother with the low profit margins involved with skill point training. Of course, I'm probably wrong. At least I won't have long to wait to find out.

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