The massive troll Pandemic Legion pulled on people over the weekend in connection with CCP Sreegs initial anti-RMT bust got me to thinking. With CCP trying to design features to encourage mercenaries, what would happen if these fledgling mercenary corporations got their contract fees yanked because their clients payed with RMT isk? That would certainly put a damper on the enthusiasm for that play-style, wouldn't it?
I then took another step down the rabbit hole and thought about the effects on DUST 514 if brand new players saw their profits disappear because someone in Eve Online decided to cheat. Not only would that be bad for a new game, but Sony wouldn't be very happy. Not very happy at all. Hmmm. Do you think someone made a very persuasive business case for cracking down on RMT and botting and that is why CCP Sreegs was finally unleashed?
As a carebear I don't know anything first hand about the mercenary business except that I may need to hire a few in the near future. Having recently seen people making fools of themselves trying to report on Eve, I knew I needed to contact an expert. So I asked around and Alekseyev Karrde was gracious enough to answer some questions. For those who don't know, Aleks was recently elected to CSM 7, his second term on CSM having served on CSM 4. More importantly, Aleks is the head of Noir. Mercenary Group, one of the most successful mercenary alliances in Eve today. He also wrote the mercenary guide on the Evelopedia.
Before I get to the first question, please remember that Aleks answered the questions before CCP Sreegs dev blog exposed Pandemic Legion's claims of massive isk confiscation as a hoax.
The Nosy Gamer: Does the possibility that a potential client engages in RMT influence whether Noir. declines a contract? If so, how do you determine whether a potential client engages in RMT?
Alekseyev Karrde: We've never had an issue with it, but if I happened to know that the client was an RMT suspect I'd petition CCP so there was a paper trail about what the money was for.
TNG: 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?
AK: If RMTers have been caught by CCP they will be banned and if ever unbanned watched closely so I dont see this as a useful feature.
TNG: While RMTers get a permanent ban, people who use mission and courier bots receive 14 and 30 day bans, but CCP still seizes the money produced by the bots. Do you think marking corporations who have been caught paying mercs with botted isk should be instituted somehow?
AK: In that context sure. I'm pro flagging botters.
TNG: 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?
AK: I dont know if mechanics will be possible, but at a minimum there should be a GM ruling/policy to that effect. No merc should be penalized because their client did something bad.
TNG: 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?
AK: I am not satisfied with the current way the "merc market" will function. There's more to being a merc than just assisting corps under war dec, and CCP needs to support things like offensive wars and lowsec/0.0 work. I cant comment on DUST 514/EVE Integreation other than I'm sure there will be a mechanism for EVE players to hire DUST players and who knows, maybe vice versa.
TNG: Is there anything else I didn't ask that is important about this issue that should be covered?
AK: RMT is serious stuff, and both Noir. and the merc community in general take a strong stand against it. The circumstances around the latest RMT purge aren't clear, but what is clear that both clients using RMT'd isk to hire mercs and mercs involved with RMT are extremely uncommon. I can't even remember the last time it came up.
After hearing from Aleks I felt a lot better about the impact of RMT on the mercenary business. Looking back in hindsight he probably knew, or at least suspected, that PL was trolling people about their "red wallet balances". We were exchanging Eve-mail on Sunday and his answers convinced me to wait until more facts emerged on the anti-RMT story and instead post some Eve bot forum porn on Monday. For me that turned out to be a very good move.
While CCP's anti-RMT/bot efforts in the past have not interfered with mercenary contracts in the past, I still have some concerns considering CCP Sreegs is planning on seizing 100 billion isk per day from botters. Three trillion isk a month is a lot of isk that could wind up in a lot of innocent (or at least not guilty) peoples' hands. But I think with Aleks' influence that any loss of isk by DUST 514 players will come from legitimate scamming and not from CCP Sreegs enforcing truth, justice and the CCP way.
Related post: Mercenaries, RMT and DUST 514 With CSM 7 Chairman Seleene