I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for a while, but with one thing and another I kept putting it off ;)

How can I stand behind the title in the face of the billions of ISK people have been making with Factional Warfare (FW for short) cash outs? Because it is completely true. In fact, and hear me out, FW cash outs are an ISK sink!

The TL:DR before people flame me ;)

  • FW rewards a player Loyalty Points (LP) not ISK
  • Buying many of the items from the LP store cost that player ISK (which is actually removed from the game).
  • The FW player comes out of a cash out with less LP and ISK, but with items worth ISK to other players.
  • The FW player puts the items on the market (costing a small amount of ISK which is removed from game)
  • Other players buy the items, giving their ISK to the FW player (minus the market fees which are removed from game).

No ISK is created in the process but a small amount is removed. The new-found billions the FW players have in their wallets has come from other players’ wallets. This isn’t unique to FW either, this is the case with all LP stores (which is why CCP like them, they are one of the few actual ISK sinks in game).

Now you might at this point say I am splitting hairs but here is the issue. If you speak to CCP and complain about how FW is creating ISK, their in house economist will smile politely and tell you that you are incorrect. If you are going to engage with CCP on certain issues you have to make sure you are not making basic mistakes with the subject. CCP are usually looking at the economy as a whole so you have to as well.

Sources and Sinks
Players as a whole also seem to confuse many of the ISK sources and sinks in Eve. I’m not an economist, but I’ve listened to one talk about this subject and also in some cases had the “Hold on, wait, that isn’t right… ooooh I see now >.<" moment.

So what are the sources and sinks in Eve? Well I'll list the common ones here but I might have missed a few.

Sources

  • Mission Agent Rewards
  • NPC Bounties
  • Insurance Payouts
  • Incursion rewards
  • NPC Buy orders (tags etc)

As you can see, not very many.

Sinks

  • Insurance Payments (i.e. insuring a ship)
  • LP Store purchases
  • Market Transaction Fees
  • Manufacturing job Fees
  • NPC controlled Corp tax
  • Buying NPC supplied items
  • Sov Bills
  • PI Fees/Taxes
  • Clone Replacements / Upgrades

Edit: This is a good link with numbers, thanks to Cass Lie for passing it on – ISK Faucets and sinks for 2012-01

More sinks, but they are not capable of dealing with the amount of ISK added to the system on a daily basis. In fact the amount of ISK in Eve grows by trillions every day. Also it is interesting to note that each time CCP remove an item from NPC supply, such as POS control towers, they actually remove an effective ISK sink.

Next I’ll tackle a few of the common points raised.

Blowing up ships removes ISK from Eve
Incorrect, blowing up a ship (usually) causes an insurance payout. In the case of a concord kill the insurance isn’t paid out, but still no ISK is lost. Even the player losing the ship doesn’t lose any personal ISK when the ship is destroyed. They do however lose the ship and a number of the modules.

But when the player replaces the ship, they lose ISK.
If the player decides to replace the ship then yes, that player’s wallet will drop; but that ISK goes to another player, it isn’t removed from Eve (apart from the market transaction fees which are a fraction of any insurance payout).

Buying Plexes creates ISK
Incorrect. Buying a plex gives you a plex, selling it on the market gives you the market price in ISK from another player. No ISK is created and only a small amount is removed (via the market transaction). A plex item sale is no different from any other market transaction in Eve.

Using a plex or otherwise giving it to CCP removes ISK from Eve
Again incorrect, using a plex removes a plex from Eve (and gives you the Plex’s true value, which is 30 days more gametime). If given to CCP (such as as entry to a PVP tournament) they may choose to give it to another player as a prize in which case it isn’t removed at all.

So mission runners and ratters are the biggest ISK source in Eve?
I believe this was the case the last time I saw any figures. It could change depending on how many insured ships are lost during that time period. But yes, Mission runners are causing the creation of trillions of ISK in Eve each day not FW or other LP based systems.

In the end, if you are talking about ISK being created or destroyed in Eve, you have to take the bigger view and not just your personal wealth (or lack of ;)).

Edit:
I’m not saying there isn’t/wasn’t a problem – I’m saying that you need to specify the correct problem when talking with CCP ;)