Fair Market Value: Lockbox ships, the Exchange, and MMO economy in STO.

Going into my second(?) week of being banned from the Forums now, and a discussion has risen that finds me agreeing with Repetitiveepic.

That is, that the RNG is a fair mechanic for acquiring “Lockbox” ships, gear, etc.

That’s right, it’s FAIR.  why is it fair, you ask? because, folks, it’s fair on the basis that nobody is guaranteeing anyone will win anything, no matter how much they spend, it’s right up front about it, direct, the amount you spend is equal to what you are willing to part with to make the try.  Meanwhile, Cryptic can use the funds from players willing to take the gamble, to provide the content said players are demanding (or to not provide it, if said players are PvP players or want faction-specific missions…)

A ‘naked cash grab’ does not automatically mean predatory business practices, nor does it mean unethical actions, nor does it imply malice, evil, foulness, nastiness, or insensitivity to the victim group of the week.  It’s a necessity to stay in business.  Money does not fall from trees unless you run an orchard and are growing something in demand.

nor can you pull it from your colon outside of certain medical testing experiments at certain universities.  to keep in business, they gotta get you to spend money, and Lockboxes are a proven, reliable, method-as are the newer permutations like the promotional packs (which often have things with broader utility than just some ship.)

It is fair, because it involves the consent of everyone in the transaction.


Something ELSE involves the consent of everyone in the transaction-the reselling of premium ships outside the exchange.

The Exchange in STO has a price-control of five hundred million EC.  In private trading (as documented in the linked thread) some ships resell for far, far higher values-off the exchange.  This, too, is not predatory, as the three-way transaction for the reseller is consented to by all parties.  it reflects what:

1. The final buyer is willing to pay for a given ship (Krenim, Annorax, Jem’bug, etc.)

2. the Original Seller believes he can GET for the ship

3. what the reseller is willing to pay the original seller for, and what he or she estimates the final buyer is willing to pay-which can be negotiated (unlike the Exchange, which functions as a one-price store).

This is FAIR.  It’s also allowed, STO has the mechanics for this built right into the game, it’s likely INTENDED  to work this way.  mind that this is NOT gold-selling, hte prices asked on all fronts are in EC-that is, in-game currency, except in the case of the lockbox key used by the original seller to obtain the item in question-he or she either spent lots of time, or a small amount of real-world money (or, possibly, a great deal of real-world money)-the point is, at the only point where real-world money is changing hands, Cryptic is the recipient.  It is up to the players involved whether that virtual good (which is just some code-strings delivered by random number generation) has value, but the price is locked to a value in ones-and-zeroes phake currency.  (Gold sellers require real-world money for a similar service-this is why they’re not allowed…they really aRE ripping people off.)

The economic definition of ‘fair’ is all about ‘consent’.  What I am willing to ask, what you’re willing to pay.  I don’t DO this, I really see no point to it, my needs aren’t that vast and I have yet to find a place of desire for non-faction ships built intentionally to be overpowered, but I can counsel respecting the rights of others to both waste their money, and their in-game-phoney-money, however they wish so long as it’s both allowed, and harms no one else-eg ‘lawful and consensual.’

In my humble opinion, those that condemn these practices are indulging in vices of Envy, Greed, Arrogance, and at times Wrath.  Just because you can’t afford something doesn’t mean it’s wrong for someone else to either charge for, or pay, so long as it is, as everything in this game is, a Luxury.


Likewise, if you want to spend a month’s pay on lockbox keys in hopes of getting a special ship or item-that’s your business, I can condemn your foolishness without demanding that someone sit on you and forbid it.


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