By turns EVE On-Line remains both the best and worst game I’ve ever player, a true example of the sandbox game with player driven emergent gameplay. To get the most from the game you need to devote at least a couple of hours a day, preferably more, and be an active member of an active corporation. If you can’t find this spare time you end up playing solo as most player groups demand active participation and, let’s be honest, EVE’s solo player experience is rather limited. Unfortunately I’m rather time poor these days and as a result EVE ends up at the bottom of the pile of stress relief displacement time sinks. Despite that I still like the game and want to keep my account active, but I can’t justify the monthly subscription charges for, effectively, a space themed and poorly implemented instant messaging client.
To the rescue comes PLEX — the ability to purchase subscription time from other players using in-game currency. This feature was originally introduced to stop ‘gold farmers’ from selling in-game ISK for real money yet satisfy player’s desire to ‘buy’ success in-game with RL cash. While it has not eradicated that practice it has stemmed it somewhat. CCP win by selling subscription, the seller wins by gaining in-game currency in exchange for their real world money and the buyer wins by gaining play time without spending their own cash. Further, CCP do not lose out on subscription revenue as the original subscription time still has to be purchased (at a cost premium) from CCP by the selling player.
If you have in-game cash reserves this is a great way to subscribe to the game, especially as an inactive player. Save your real life cash for other things and keep you EVE account rolling, your characters training. I’ve been subscribing through PLEX for at least 5 years, over 60% of my EVE time. As of this post I have 445 days of subscription remaining, all purchased with in-game currency. I’ve also recently sold some extra rare items and am now looking to purchase an additional 600 days of game time (ten 60 day time codes), giving me almost 3 years of additional gameplay. Maybe by the time this runs out I’ll have permanently given up on EVE. More likely is I’ll have earned more ISK to extend my subscription further and continue my love / hate relationship with the serious business of internet spaceships.