Blog Banter #49 – Defining Rich

It’s been over a year since I participated in a blog banter. With my enthusiasm for the blog dwindling quick, I figured it’s a good time as any to get back into the swing of things.

So onto Blog Banter #49 – Rich

What is “rich” in EVE? Is it simply having more ISK than most everyone else, is it measured in raw numbers of some other ethereal quality? Can you actually be poor? Have you ever lost nearly everything and had to claw your way back? If you are rich, how do you know and how did you get rich? 

Having a great deal of money or assets; wealthy.
(of a country or region) Having valuable natural resources or a successful economy.

Being rich in real life involves having a lot of money. Being rich in EVE involves having a lot of virtual money. It’s simple.

Or is it?

In our spaceship game, wealth and being “rich” is subjective in more ways than one.  For most people it involves two main factors:

  1. ISK in the wallet
  2. Assets in stations/space

This is then broken down even further:

  • Income
    • Are you rich if you have little isk/assets but have a large income? You just spend it really quick and lose said ships really quick?
  • Investments
    • Little in the wallet. Practically no assets, but billions and billions in market orders. The ISK isn’t there yet, but it has the potential to be.
  • Number of assets vs quality
    • Are you richer if you have lots of cheap ships or one pricey one? 20 Frigates in the hanger vs one Battlecruiser, for example. Is this purely on the total cost of the ships, or is the equivalent value?
  • Relative value
    • A million ISK is a lot more to a new player than it is a year-old pilot. A billion is an insane amount to the month old but pocket change to the 5 year. Where is the line drawn?

With a fair few factors affecting what determines wealth and, by extent, “richness” then we struggle to draw a line between “rich” and “not rich”. A combat pilot will see far more value in 5 fully fit cruisers than, say, an Orca. So to him the cruisers are worth more, but if we went by ISK then the Orca wins hands down. On a similar note, a day old newbie will see the 10 million as rich, whereas I can drop that on a single module without caring, yet I do not view myself as rich.

So we must determine that the value of wealth and being rich varies depending on the player. Right. Easy. There are obviously a few exceptions (having 1 trillion, for example, is rich for 99.9% of the playerbase) but in the billion ranges it gets very very murky.

With that out the way, it’s time to turn to myself. This is my blog, after all. It’d be rude not to.

ISK is something I regulate carefully. There are a few golden rules in EVE but the one I live by is “Don’t fly what you can afford to lose”. Living in wormhole space (with the threats of theft and sieges) means “what I can lose” extends to everything in my POS Hanger. As a result I always keep a value in my wallet equivalent to totalwspaceassetvalue x 1.1+. If I lost every ship I owned, I’d be able to replace them all with a little bit left over. This also helps me define my own “rich” and poor quite easily. Right now, I have a wallet “limit” of about 4 billion. My actual wallet is 4.3 billion. That means I have 300million spare for “whatever”. So I’m not poor. If my wallet was on or below my threshold I then consider myself “poor”. I can no longer afford to replace what I could lose. It’s not poor compared to other pilots, but we’ve already established that this is relative.

With me so far?

So what defines “rich” to me? In my view, anything that is over double my wallet limit is “rich”. If someone has 10billion liquid ISK then they are “rich”. This stretches to assets, as I see a use for every ship in the game. Everything is useful in some fashion. Even mining barges make OK bait, so I view the worth of the ship by it’s raw value in ISK. In a fight, I’d much prefer a Command Ship over an Orca, mind you. So if someone has 6 carriers they are “rich” by my standards. Likewise with 5 Orcas.

So we’ve established my own views on rich and not-rich. It’s dependent on my own ISK at the time and that ISK came from somewhere. But before a rise comes a fall and I have previously very nearly hit rock bottom in terms of wealth. It’s where my wallet threshold comes from. My displeasure with buying unnecessary ships.

I lost a ship.

It was no ordinary ship. It was a Dominix. It was my first ever battleship. It was in a mission. I was 2 months old at the time. I was not skilled. It was nearly all my ISK.  The first mission room tanked fine with my T1 mods. I was confident. The second shredded it without mercy. Scrammed, webbed and under heavy fire, my first ever Battleship went down in flames. My wallet was at a mere 10 million ISK at a time when the Dominix still cost 40-50. I felt lost. Poor. Out of ISK.

So I went back to my Vexor and started again. Clawed my way up. Got a new Dominix as I hit T2 armour skills some many weeks later. The rest, as they say, is history. My ISK flatlined as I hit RvB a few months later, but those were losses I was happy to commit to.

So I’ve been space-poor early on in my career. Now how did I become not-poor?

Fast forward to today. I live in a wormhole. Common knowledge dictates that I should be loaded. Sadly this is not quite accurate. I’m currently sat on a grand total of 4.3 billion, with about 3 billion in wspace assets. Not that much for a 3 year old wormhole pilot. The thing is, i’ve been sat on this amount for about a year, despite losing a Proteus, 4 Absolutions and 4 Guardians in wspace alone. The key is careful spending and getting really bloody lucky.

To careful spending; Only buy what you need (my hanger is rather empty of non-critical ships) and only replace a ship when you have the ISK to replace it a second time.

To getting lucky – I got two major windfalls of ISK. The first was making billions off an offline tower. The second was making billions off looting a CCP fleet. Win win. Through these windfalls and the occasional PvE I’ve managed to keep my wallet at an acceptable level for the last 2 years. I could be a lot richer if I made the effort to run sites, but hunting people is much more satisfying.

We now know how I make ISK. We know how I keep ISK. We know what I define to be rich and poor. We know that everyone thinks differently on what rich and poor is. So I’m going to leave you with an extra thought;

A ISK-poor frigate pilot with a lot of contacts can do infinitely more damage with a simple conversation than a lone pilot with several billion ISK. Does being rich matter so much in EVE?

Posted on September 13, 2013, in Blog Banter. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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