I watched the big Keepstar fight in 9-4RP2 Tuesday on the INN Twitch stream. Matterall and Dirk MacGirk hosted the stream and had a lot of knowledgeable guests like Grath Telkin (Pandemic Legion), Vily (TEST), and Seleene (Mercenary Coalition). One question that frequently came up was how much real life money a titan costs. A lot of long time EVE players don't like the question, as they see the conversion of ISK to U.S. dollars as a marketing ploy by CCP. Worse, when real life money is thrown around, people outside of EVE get the impression that people pay a lot of real world money for a bunch of internet spaceship pixels. In the past, the figure quoted for a titan has reached as high as $7000.
As someone who doesn't play with the big toys like titans and supercarriers as well as closely follows illicit RMT in EVE, I don't have quite the reluctance about talking about the price of ships as other people do. Still, some of the prices quoted out on the internet are a little silly. Also, a few methods exist on how to figure the price, so people can legitimately disagree on the real world price. Let me walk through the methodology of how to come up with the price of a titan.
First, all real world prices for events and ships in EVE are based on the conversion of ISK, the in-game currency, for game time in the form of PLEX. Currently, players can pay for a 30 day subscription (called Omega time by CCP) for 500 PLEX. The average price of a single PLEX is approximately 3.2 million ISK in EVE's main trade hub in The Forge, making a subscription 1.6 billion ISK.
Looking at the loss mails on zKillboard, I am going to use a figure of 80 billion ISK for the price of a titan. Some, like the Avatar, are priced lower, and I hear that the Imperium sells titan hulls for much lower, but 80 billion ISK seems a reasonable figure. So doing the conversion of ISK to game time, a titan is worth 50 months of game time. Put another way, if the owner of a titan sells the ship instead of taking it into battle and losing it (and the ship loss is permanent), the player can play EVE without spending any real money for over 4 years.
At this point, the real life price conversions begin to differ. Some people look at the 50 months of game time and simply multiple the 50 months by the cost of one month of a one month subscription ($14.95). The result is $747.50.
Most, however, will calculate how much real life money a player would spend to purchase the ship with real world currency. One can buy a titan with real life money buy purchasing PLEX from CCP, selling the PLEX for ISK on the in-game markets, and then using the ISK to purchase the ship. However, people can use three packages for performing the calculation.
The first package is the one most frequently used to estimate costs. CCP has a 500 PLEX package that sells for $19.99. Fifty packages (for 50 months of game time) comes to $999.50. Not as expensive as some of the ships in Star Citizen, but an impressive number all the same.
The second package is the one I use for determining the price of ISK when comparing the price of black market ISK to ISK bought using CCP-approved methods. CCP sells a package of 1100 PLEX for $39.99. Using that price, and not removing the extra 200 PLEX, the price of a titan is $919.77. For those who want to spend as little money as possible using different packages, the price slips down to $914.75.
The final package is the one someone wanting to purchase a titan using real world cash would use. The best value is the 2860 PLEX for $99.99 package. Buying 9 packages results in a total price of $899.91.
Typical EVE, right? Four methods, each of which can produce a defensible result. But for those who ask, I have an answer.