EVE Online's creators have decided to give us players the choice of several gifts this holiday season. But which is most valuable? Is that the best gift to get? With such a bewildering array of choices, this guide will most certainly be helpful.
The players of EVE Online have always been receiving gifts from CCP, the makers of EVE. They give us special ships on EVE Online's birthday, on christmas, and sometimes for no reason at all. Sometimes the gifts are helpful, sometimes they are valuable, and sometimes they are just cool.
Gifts help CCP keep EVE Online players subscribed longer, and help new players have enough in-game cash (ISK) to enjoy themselves. Unlike in years past when we'd just get a single gift, CCP is giving us a choice here. This is useful because it presents a de facto poll of where players' interests lie. If players are really interested in clothing they will take the aurum option. If players want to manufacture, they may take the fuel block blueprints. If players have wanted to try using boosters but have never had the chance due to prices and illegality, this is a good way to do so.
But we pro players do not care for where our interests lie. Indeed, we care only which is most valuable. Finding that out was actually way, way more painful than you'd think.
How To See The Gift List
It is important that you log into your account management on the official EVE Online as soon as you read this, because the deadline for choosing is less than 24 hours away. If you do not pick a gift, you may not receive anything. It is possible that CCP will assign a default gift and forgot to tell us that they would, but I'm not counting on it.
So: log into your account management, click on the gift banner on the right. Pick your gift. Once you have selected your gift and clicked the continue button at the bottom of the page, you can forget about the goods for a while. In a week or so, the gift icon will appear at the bottom of your character selection screen, when you log in. Pick a character that is docked in a station (or log in, move a character to a station, and repeat) then accept your gift. Voila.
Choosing Your EVE Online Gift
As of this writing, there are 23 possible gifts to choose from. Many of them involve more than one item, and several include items that are rare or otherwise not really within EVE Online's general day to day experience.
So which to choose? As I see it, there are three main ways to approach this.
First, you could choose the package that you think will be the most valuable on the day you receive it. That way you can flip it onto the Jita market (or wherever) and call it a day.
Second, you could choose a difficult to obtain item that you expected to increase in value over time. This might be a good choice if you expect the item with the highest raw ISK value to be chosen too much and decrease in value, before you can take advantage of it. Or perhaps you won't be around in EVE Online during the holidays, and will not be able to play the market to its fullest extent. If so, a long-term strategy might be the best choice.
Third and finally, you may have a pressing immediate need for one of the gifts. Maybe you live in a station in deep null-sec, and would rather have faction ratting ammo than ISK. Maybe you are like me, and have a bunch of starbase towers that are going to need fuel blocks down the line, and would rather have some fuel appear in the middle of nowhere and reduce the need to import or produce your own. Other possibilities include you really, really liking Quafe Zero for PvP, or being so new to the game that a pile of frigate ammo will help you more than ISK.
Value Per Package
Even as I write this, prices have already fluctuated. The uncertainty principle applies as much to economics as it does to physics.
Here are the values of each package, as I assess them:
Frigate Faction Ammo Packages
The first four options are nominally the most newbie friendly, but their apparent value is grossly distorted by the fact that nobody uses, buys, or makes the goods involved. And with good reason: most players stick to two or three ammo types, and ignore the rest. Whenever a commodity is not used, the two or three market diehards that actually bother to put it on the market will generally demand an inflated price in the hopes of making it worth their time. One sees this with tech II smartbombs, weird COSMOS components and, more saliently, one sees this with small-sized varieties of faction ammunition. In short, do not assume that my listed values here are what you can get for these on the market. My guesstimate of real market value is more like a third of that listed.
We Come For Our People: 60.58mil ISK.
For The State: 78.42mil ISK.
Liberty Or Death: 58.76mil ISK.
Cruiser Faction Ammo Packages
Cruiser ammunition is more likely to actually be worth the listed amount, but some types still don't see much market action.
Imperial Crystals M: 44.42mil ISK.
Republic Shells M: 34mil ISK.
Federal Plasma M: 40.55mil ISK.
Navy Missiles M: 49.62mil ISK.
Battleship Faction Ammo Packages
There's a market for faction battleship ammo. These will sell, though some will sell slower than others.
Imperial Crystals L: 51.93mil ISK.
Republic Shells L: 35.4mil ISK.
Federal Plasma L: 28.77mil ISK.
Navy Missiles L: 42.74mil ISK.
Some new players might have missed when these ships were previously given away. Though available on the market, they can be prohibitively expensive.
Windjamming: Zephyrs are fetching about 18mil ISK.
Harvest Time: Primae are fetching about 7mil ISK.
Strange Magic: The lamentable Echelon is fetching about 4mil ISK on the market. Don't choose this one, folks!
Fear And Loathing In Cyberspace
Core Augmentation: The CA-1 implant fetches about 62mil ISK on the market. Although this is prone to fluctuation and market dumping, it may be one of the better choices for long term value.
Get Wired: A handy collection of +3 implants worth about 43.62mil ISK. Not a bad choice if you need implants and are in deep null-sec, though less valuable than other options.
Neural Surgery: A free attribute re-map. Really great for newbies that are planning their skill training over the long term. As of this writing there is no way to get additional re-maps beyond CCP's "once per year" bonus, making these essentially incalculable with value. It is likely that CCP will eventually let players re-map in exchange for a PLEX card, which costs about 450mil ISK as of this writing. That's by far the most ISK value for your buck, but consider that you cannot transfer the re-map away from your character and so it is not truly worth that amount. Basically, if you have re-maps to spare this is not for you. If you are following a skill plan and can use the extra re-maps, this may be for you. For newbies that are not in desperate need of ISK, this is probably the best gift package.
The Doctors Bag: A package of illegal standard boosters worth about 22.45mil ISK. Not that great (unless you are an addict).
In The Heat Of The Moment: A five-pack of Quafe Zero worth about 29mil ISK. Not too bad, and probably least susceptible to market crashes.
Fully Fueled: This collection of fuel blocks of all races is definitely going to hurt the block-making market, but it will probably make the transition to using fuel blocks more smooth overall. It is worth about 77mil ISK by my reckoning, and even though it is likely to go down some it still seems like the most lucrative choice for raw ISK. If you do not need a re-map and can get the blocks to Jita or another market, this is the one you should pick.
Purification Prints: The four fuel block blueprints, worth about 43.05mil at Jita prices, though less if you fly around and get the prints yourself. This is sort of a red herring: you're better off taking 'Fully Fueled', selling the blocks, and then buying these prints.
Passion For Fashion
Passion For Fashion: If you are a diehard Incarna holdout, it might make sense to take this option. Get yourself 2000 AUR for space barbie clothes and call it a night. Theoretically this is worth some of a PLEX, but I doubt the real market value approaches that.
Some Observations About EVE Online Gifts
It might make sense to sell any fuel blocks you have in Jita presently, because their price dip once players start collecting their gift and selling it. You can then use the proceeds to buy more blocks than the gift is worth. If you are in deep null and need to fuel starbases, though, you should probably just take the darn blocks and not lose any sleep over the lost ISK.
Happy holidays from all of us at Ten Ton Hammer!