If I were to tally up the cost of my Kronos Marauder, modules and all, in it’s current configuration, I’ve probably sunk 1.25 billion ISK into the ship. It’s that expensive because it’s not only a second level technology (T2) ship, but it takes some serious hardware fitting to make it an excellent PvE ship. It’s good enough to have had an ROI that was less than two months long. When was the last time you had such a large expense with such a short ROI? If this was RL, I’d be fist pumping in the office.
Now along comes the Nestor, the new Sisters of Eve (SoE) first technology level (T1) battleship. The initial sell prices were at about 1.9 billion ISK in Dodixie, though some think they can get more.
The price will stabilize at around 1.6 or 1.7 billion ISK in all likelihood. That’s over 60% more expensive than my Kronos hull. How can this T1 ship, with some great stats mind you, but still a T1 ship, cost so much? The answer is in the exchange rate between LP and ISK.
If you’re an old hand at EVE Online, you may want to just skip to the next paragraph. If you’re a new bro, here’s how it works. LP is awarded to you, along with some ISK and perhaps loot, as reward for completing missions for NPC agents. LP is awarded in increments from about 1000 LP for an easy level IV mission, to just over 6000 LP for a hard level IV mission like Worlds Collide. For Level I through III missions, reduce the award considerably. This is fairly standard across all NPC agents, no matter the faction. However, you can only spend LP in the LP store of the faction that awarded it to you. These LP are used to buy items that are unique to that faction. Thus, if you want to buy blue print copies (BPCs) for SoE ships, you have to earn SoE LP with which to buy them. There is a small ISK fee too, but most of the “cost” is in LP.
The cost of each BPC is in the public database. The Astero frigate BPC costs 30,000 LP, the Stratios costs 120,000 LP and the Nestor costs 600,000 LP. Here I can tell you why the Nestor final price will likely be 1.6 billion. An Astero sells for about 85 mISK on the market now. The BPC costs for a Stratios is four times the LP of an Astero BPC. Four times the Astero market price is 340 mISK. That’s about the price of a Stratios hull. If we extend that to the Nestor, which is 20 times the LP cost of an Astero, it’s ISK price will be around 1.7 bISK.
But LP doesn’t cost any ISK you say and the ship costs are just pure profiteering? That’s just not true. There is a very high cost to that LP. In order to earn enough LP to buy one Stratios BPC, I have to run at least 30 level IV missions. If you run a full loot and salvage, one man operation, and you’re slow like me, it takes from 30 minutes to 120 minutes to run a mission. If you assume a 60 minute average completion time per mission, that’s a 30 hour investment in real time. And since time is money, the LP earned are most certainly not “free.” I can guarantee you I will not be lowering the cost of my Stratios hulls. It’s just not worth my time to sell them for less than I deserve.
And that’s interesting economics to me. I make something, a ship, for a lot of time investment and a little bit of ISK. I sell it for a lot of ISK. In a game like EVE Online, what’s the economic reasoning behind allowing that to happen? I mean, in real life that’s like creating fine art and selling it. It’s a lot of time investment with little money spent but can be sold for an amount seemingly beyond its material value. So is my ship manufacturing filling the same niche in the EVE Online economy that fine art fills in the RL economy? That’s the odd question I’ve had cross my mind repeatedly during my mission running and SoE hull production, and I’ve not come to any conclusions about it. What do you think?
One thing I do know, I’m gonna keep doing it. It’s good ISK, and I’m still working on the mission blitzing data. I’ll have more to say on that in about three weeks.
PS: Go back up to the graphic and take a look at the description on the big picture of the Nestor. Obviously some Caldari punk teenagers have already hacked and altered the public database. 😀