Monday, November 19, 2012

CCP's War On Bots: Winter Is Here

When word leaked out from Eve Skunk that Against ALL Authorities fleet commander Lee Chanka cancelled a call to arms due to CCP banning 20 -A- logistics accounts one couldn't help but wonder if the Eve mail was just a troll.  A look at the price on illicit ISK in Eve Online since that email on 31 October strongly suggests that has taken action against at least one major RMT operation in New Eden and perhaps more.

At first glance the price appears to have not increased very much.  Using the list of companies listed on MMOBUX as a guide, the median price of 1 billion ISK only rose from $22.00 to $22.50, an increase easily attributable to increased demand as the winter expansion Retribution approaches. The 2.2% increase in the cost of illicit ISK corresponded with a 2% decrease in the real-world decrease in the cost of ISK when buying PLEX through CCP and then converting the PLEX to ISK in the Jita market.  But a closer look shows that some companies are having difficulty acquiring new product.

Fully 1 in 5 websites listed on MMOBUX were selling ISK at a higher price that someone could purchase the same amount by just purchasing 2 PLEX from CCP and selling the PLEX in Jita.  Three weeks ago that number was 1 in 8.  One of the big selling points of purchasing virtual currency via a third party site is obtaining a cost savings.  How can an RMT company stay in business if they charge more than the game company?  That could explain why two of the four websites selling ISK at above market rates on 28 October are no longer online.

Looking at the 26 websites listed on MMOBUX on 28 October that are still listed today, nine of the companies raised their prices an average of 15.7%.  Two of the larger companies in the virtual gold selling industry, Avatar Bank and Koala Credits, were hit especially hard.  Koala Credits raised its prices 7.8% in the days following the leak of Lee Chanka's Eve mail.  Avatar Bank apparently was hit a few days later with a major disruption in supply as the company had raised its rates by 18.5% by 11 November.  Apparently another suppy disruption occurred within the last few days because both websites raised their rates to over $29 per 1 billion ISK yesterday.  Over the last three weeks Koala Credits have raised prices 27.9% and Avatar Bank by 21.1%.

One of CCP Sreegs' stated objectives is to make operating in Eve financially unattractive to botters and ISK sellers.  This latest offensive against illicit RMT operations succeeded in that regard as one web site, InGameDelivery, no longer sells ISK.  That move came sometime between 4 November and 11 November.  One of the interesting facts I discovered while investigating this story is that InGameDelivery is associated with Avatar Bank.  Apparently when Avatar Bank found ISK in short supply the decision was made to cut off InGameDelivery.

During my time playing Eve Online I have often heard the phrase "winter is coming" when discussing when war would begin in null sec.  For those whom CCP Stillman and CCP Sreegs warned about turning their alliances into RMT operations, winter is apparently here.


  1. Amusing that anyone pays that much for ISK.

    Those out-of-game sellers are just like petrol stations in the US, which raise their prices upon any rumors of a possible shortage, despite the fact that the fuel they have on hand was already paid for. Stick with an in-game seller.

    Most of us get our ISK from sources inside GSF, and now, TEST, as well. Sreegs and Stillman can go bugger themselves, since there is no way for them to distinguish between RMT and non-RMT transactions, in an alliance of our size, if you do it right (those amateurs in -A- deserved what they got for being stupid).

    Besides, RMT isn't illegal. CCP is just greedy.

  2. Botting in mining should be even easier since the changes to the mining ships.

    About 1/2 of my corporation now does AFK mining, even while at work or in class. The bigger holds on the Mackinaw and Retriever mean that you don't need to pay any attention, just fly back to station every 1/2 hour or so to empty the hold. Ice mining is the best, since the ice roids never run out, unlike the mineral roids.

    So, how exactly can CCP Sreegs differentiate between an AFK player and a bot? They are both going to do the exact same thing over and over again, and be equally non-responsive to queries in local chat.

    I guess you can always find the guys who mine 24/7, without fail, which isn't possible for a RL person, but you could never find the guys who are smart enough to randomize the start/end times for the bots - which is easy enough to do in code.

  3. If you actually read the End User Liscence Agreement, you will notice that by clicking agree you give CCP the right to look into your computer and scan anything that relates to their software. If your using a bot it will show up. They dont have to message people in chat during the game. It's really quite simple to remote into someones PC as you have already opened your firewall to them as you are recieving information from their servers already.