Friday, April 6, 2012

Mercenaries, RMT and DUST 514 With CSM 7 Chairman Seleene

When I put together a list in my head of people I wanted to contact about how RMT could impact mercenaries and DUST 514, Seleene was near the top of the list.  Not only did he command the legendary Mercenary Coalition but then moved on to work at CCP as a developer for 3 years.  Currently, he continues his mercenary activity as a member of Pandemic Legion.

But another reason for contacting Seleene is he is a member of Eve Online's Council of Stellar Management.  At the time I asked and he agreed to answer some questions he had not yet been elected to the chairmanship of CSM 7.  So while I was interested in getting the reactions of members of the CSM, I never imagined I'd wind up getting the opinions of the chair himself.

The Nosy Gamer:  Did the possibility that a potential client engaged in RMT influence whether you accepted a contract for BDCI and later Mercenary Coalition? If so, how did you determine whether a potential client engaged in RMT?

Seleene:  This will be a very un-sexy answer but back in those days, it simply wasn’t something that crossed my mind much. I closed Mercenary Coalition in mid-2008 and for the over four years it was active I never really bothered to back ground check the legitimacy of a client’s ISK. So long as the money exchanged hands, the job was taken. It’s also important to bear in mind that contract prices back then were a pale shadow of what they are today. Only in the last couple of years have I gotten a real grasp of how insane this problem is and the tools that people use to make it happen.

The Nosy Gamer:  The changes in the war declaration mechanics will allow prospective clients to view a mercenary corporation's war record. Do you believe CCP should add a mechanic that allows mercenary corporations to view whether a prospective client has ever paid a mercenary corp in RMT isk or otherwise engaged in RMT activity?

Seleene:  Yes, but with conditions.  I believe what is commonly known as the Scarlett Letter mechanic would work just fine for this. I like the idea of "first strikers" only having their shame on display when they try to join a corp or pay for a merc contract, etc... This gives players a chance to reform and become Good Guys while still allowing you to make a judgment call as to whether you want to do business with a convicted felon.

The Nosy Gamer:  With the upcoming changes in the war declaration mechanics to allow mercenary corps to formalize their relationship with their clients in some circumstances, do you believe that CCP should put in mechanics to protect mercenary corporations from being paid in RMT isk for becoming an ally?

Seleene:  I think that such mechanics should apply to ALL players. I would also like to think that the same protections would purge the RMT isk out of the system before it even got to that point. It might be a bit ~head in the clouds~ but I’m a pretty big fan boy of nuking everything RMT-related.

The Nosy Gamer:  With the coming of mercenaries to New Eden from DUST 514, do you think CCP should build a lot of systems to formalize relations between mercenaries and their clients or do you think the current systems after the war declaration changes are implemented will suffice once DUST 514 is integrated into the Eve universe?

Seleene:  As with everything else EVE related, I believe that the systems will evolve over time.  With DUST 514 this will require even more care.  The initial links should be simple as possible to prevent severe disruption to the game play of either side. What I think will happen is that the developers of both games will put some core systems into place and then watch how players interact and evolve those systems accordingly.  From speaking with CCP Jian (the Executive Producer of DUST 514), I’m confident that player feedback is going to be an enormous driving factor in how the two games interact in the future.

The Nosy Gamer:  Is there anything else I didn't ask that is important about this issue that should be covered?

Seleene:  I would just say that people who don’t know about the PLEX 4 Snitches program should take note of it. At the moment if you provide CCP with information at ‘’ which leads to them discovering something of value they can action against, they will give players a reward which matches the value of the data.  As a caveat, they don't use this for individual botters, for instance, but detailed information about an RMT ring might qualify.

I'd like to thank Seleene for taking the time in the middle of all the craziness that must have surrounded his assuming the chairmanship to answer my questions.  And I'd also like to thank Alekseyev Karrde for his quick reply which helped keep me for totally falling for Pandemic Legion's troll.  However, I can't complain too much about the troll because that is what gave me the idea to contact Aleks and Seleene.

Related post:  Mercenaries, RMT and DUST 514 With Alekseyev Karrde

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