Friday, April 27, 2012

CCP Sreegs Unleashed: A Three Week Update

Yesterday CCP Sreegs provided an update on the illicit RMT crackdown that began about 3 weeks ago.  After the initial rings were busted at the beginning of the month, the campaign continued with the number of accounts permanently banned at 1268 with 524 accounts having 1.5 trillion isk purchased removed.  The RMT sellers and suppliers took a bigger hit as Team Security seized 4.2 trillion in assets.  That is an average of 300 billion isk seized from the RMT trade every day.

A couple of additional facts stand out.  The first is that 90% of the accounts banned were considered "very young".  CCP Sreegs feels this is important because it means that long-term customers are not working in the RMT trade.  The next is that out of the 524 accounts which had isk removed for purchasing illicit isk, only 10 of them quit the game.  That will make the bean counters looking at the bottom line feel better about Team Security's efforts.

One other important fact should be stressed.  CCP Sreegs' dev blog was about the anti-RMT efforts, not The War On Bots™.

What follows are some of CCP Sreegs answers to questions posed in the thread.

Question.  Can you give the number of accounts that were paid with plex and money?

CCP Sreegs"I cannot right now. I can say that I was surprised by the percentages if that's indicative of anything."

Q.  Do you have any actions planned for spammers and the like, many of whom are most likely associated with RMT?

CCP Sreegs"Spam is an annoying problem and I am not sure it should reside with us but I'll start some emails internally and see what kind of conversation I can stir up."

Q.  Can you give us an updated count of false positives?  I know for a fact that it's at least 15 now, and maybe as high as 50.

CCP Sreegs"That is untrue and as I elaborated in every single case we've found where someone was flagged for RMT who shouldn't have been, they were doing something else they shouldn't have been. Not so much a false positive as a positive for the wrong activity.

"It may be mincing words a bit but there's a very big difference from my perspective as these aren't really innocents getting caught in the crossfire."

Q.  If you do find that someone you have accused of engaging in RMT is innocent, will you come out and admit it?

CCP Sreegs"I believe we have. We've also reimbursed people who were wrongly caught in the crossfire. I'll add to that though that everyone in prison is innocent and not everyone claiming to have been caught in some massively wide net that doesn't exist is doing so honestly. :)

"I don't feel any pain one way or another by admitting a mistake. We did the same by admitting we had any false positives at all."

Q:  Other than isk, did the banned accounts have lots of ore, factions goodies and other items of interest?

CCP Sreegs"Assets are calculated into an isk value for the sake of simplicity. You can imagine that items seized run the gamut."

Q.  Were there any unique items seized? By that I mean ships like the Freki, Mimir, Adrestia, Utu, Silver Magnate, Guardian-Vexor, etc... of which only a few have been released in the game and there's no way to add more?

CCP Sreegs"I don't think so but we'll look. As I said in the blog these really aren't EVE players. They don't enjoy the game or play it as anything other than a business."
Q.  There was a suggestion at Fan Fest that the confiscated PLEX might be sold to players.  Why not some of these assets as well?

CCP Sreegs"One problem I have with this is that we're seeing patterns of activity where the isk is botted up and in this case we're printing isk at a rate which it should not be happening at out of thin air.

"At the end of the day though I'm not an economics guy so the assets sit in the banned accounts until or unless someone decides to use them for something.

"I'd considered at one point using them as a reward system but I can't get over the fact that a lot of this stuff just simply shouldn't exist and that can't be good for an economy."

Q.  I understand that you have reservations about returning ill-gotten goods to the economy, but there’s a sizeable amount of isk in circulation that was created through illicit means as well; and Dr. E. seems to be more worried about the isk at this point.

CCP Sreegs"The isk was created to purchase the goods. :)"

Q.  What did you decide about "scarlet letters"?

CCP Sreegs:  "There's been no decision reached yet and I'm still going over the various responses."

Q.  Where are the graphs?

CCP Sreegs"Graphs are Stillman's department."

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