This is a post I didn’t publish about a month ago in response to EVE’s PLEX changes: “I’m curious as to the legal ramifications this may have. I’m guessing they’ve already figured any of those out because you can already sell PLEX, just not outside of the station you got them. Still, it’s $14.95 that can either be taken by another player or destroyed entirely in a blast. The latter is actually the scarier of the two for CCP, I think, because you’re now able to give them $$ for something that they can (be accused of) destroy(ing) via code.” Less than a month later, and someone destroyed more than $1000 of PLEX in one PvP battle.
74 PLEX, at a cost of $14.95 per month of game time, were destroyed by Method Of Destruction players. That amount of PLEX could have been used for six years, two months of EVE subscription time and cost $1106.30 US to whomever purchased the game time initially. All 74 PLEX cards were destroyed in the PvP battle, leaving CCP the benefactor of $1106.30 worth of unrecoverable destroyed virtual goods.
What this represents is a fundamental shift in the way certain PvP activities must be considered. Before, you could attempt to attribute a real dollar value to destroyed virtual assets, but it involved a lot of hocus pocus. Now, you can actually know the exact dollar value of certain destroyed virtual assets, because they were purchased for real currency.
I’m not accusing CCP of destroying the 74 PLEX in the conflagration (though their loot code needs some work), but it’s still interesting to watch player reaction to an unprecedented event in MMOs, and it’s a decision I certainly would never have made as a game designer (that said, CCP makes a lot of decisions with EVE that I would never make, such as making it literally impossible to catch up with other players if you didn’t start playing EVE on day 1 and maintain a permanent subscription).