"I've been in the Eve blogging community for seven years, podcasting for over two, on twitter, and paying attention to Eve during that whole time and not ONCE do I remember hearing of this guy. EveTimeCode.com, however, has been visible in the community practically during that whole time and Diana Dial has supported podcasts frequently. Battleclinic has widely recognized loadout section, forums, killboards, hosts EFT and supports the community as well as selling Game time codes for Eve. So I'm not sure how I missed Markee Dragon."
So who is Markee Dragon? Given his history in the MMORPG community I was surprised that CCP would choose to make him the subject of a community spotlight. That's right, if Kirith doesn't know him and I do, you know what that means: botting and RMT.
Markee Dragon (real name Marcus Eikenberry) got his start in Ultima Online back in 1997 selling in-game gold and items. As he frequently tells viewers of his videos, conducting RMT in UO, at least for the first few years, did not violate the terms of service. From there, he branched out into World of Warcraft, where his activities did lead to violations of the terms of service.
Markee Dragon is one of the characters hanging around EVE who were involved in MDY Industries vs. Blizzard. While Markee Dragon was one of the top 3 affiliates for RMT giant IGE, earning $10,000/month for trafficking in World of Warcraft gold, he also made money by marketing and distributing the Glider bot on his website. Blizzard's legal fight against the maker of the Glider bot is the biggest victory the MMORPG industry has won against the RMT trade.
Regular readers of The Nosy Gamer's coverage of CCP's War on Bots probably remember that one of Sean Conover's (aka Darius JOHNSON, formerly known as CCP Sreegs) goals was to make botting and ISK selling/buying financially unattractive. Markee Dragon reached that point in March 20101 when he announced that he was removing all content that violated the terms of service of any game. In the video explaining the decision to exit the "grey market", he explained...
"But, what started to happen was that with some of our other companies we would be doing business with them, with the game publisher, and then they would say, 'Oh, you guys are Markee Dragon.' And we're like, 'Yeah.' And they're like, 'Sorry, we can't do business with you.' So, that was a really big deal..."The forums, 200 or so RMTers who made their living selling in-game currency and items, and 95% of forum goers were sent over to MMOBay. He's played by the rules set down by the game companies since and is reporting doing much better financially.
"It's very upsetting that I have to give this up in order to meet our other goals. But we're doing this because we see the long term. So, one is that one of our other companies is really doing really well right now and with the industry contacts that we have and all of the potential we have there what Markee Dragon earns for the business is a drop in the bucket compared to what our other businesses do. And for that reason this is the right choice. It's not the choice that I personally wanted to do. It is not the choice of any of the volunteers on the site and I'm sure most of the members don't want it either. But it's the right thing for our goals." 2
Markee Dragon isn't a recent immigrant to New Eden. The earliest mention of Markee Dragon on the Eve Online forums I could find dating back to September 2006. And while Kirith may not remember Markee Dragon, he's probably heard of Shattered Crystal, a seller of game time codes that Markee Dragon founded. Shattered Crystal, and the name Marcus Eikenberry specifically, was even brought up in a candidate thread in the election for the first Council of Stellar Management.3
Shattered Crystal built up an affiliate system involving over 100 Eve fan sites that led to one interesting story that apparently helped influence null sec sovereignty. In a video released last week, Markee told a story about one of his affiliates...
"One of the biggest back in the day was Goons. So Goons used to send all of their people through us to help fund the site operations. But then also they would have cash left over. And from that cash left over they turned around and bought more time codes and converted them into ISK to fund their campaigns within the game. It was a pretty brilliant system that really allowed them to generate this external thing to help generate things for them in-game." 4But the community spotlight article didn't reference Markee's efforts with Shattered Crystal. Instead, the article made it sound like these efforts were all with Markee Dragon, although I get the impression from watching the video that he was referring to his entire time conducting business in New Eden. I should add that MarkeeDragon.com does have an affiliate system whose biggest partner is probably SomerBlink, another website that received a community spotlight article.
Another factor that probably made Markee Dragon an attractive candidate for a community spotlight article is that he is a YouTube personality with over 1000 YouTube videos to his credit. But even before he started and published his EVE 30 Day Challenge he usually had good things to say about EVE and CCP. Of course, I became acquainted with his videos while doing research on botting and RMT and have to say I enjoy his work.
I'll conclude this rather long post with some of Markee Dragon's YouTube videos. For those interested in the history of 3rd party RMT in games the first two are a must watch. The last three are present to show why CCP may have selected Markee Dragon as a subject of a community spotlight and to give a little more background on the man. Enjoy!
History of MDY Industries v Blizzard
Markee On EVE, February 2012
Markee Interviews EVE Player, December 2012
History of Markee Dragon and EVE Online
1. This does not imply that Darius JOHNSON had anything to do with Markee Dragon crossing over to the light side.
2. The Full Story Behind The Changes At Markee Dragon, 5:59 to 8:11, 3 March 2010, Markee Dragon
3. The player who made the post went on to win a seat on the first 2 CSMs and then proceeded to get a job with CCP where, among his many duties, he makes botters cry.
4. History of Markee Dragon and EVE Online, 17:57 to 18:31, 30 August 2013, Markee Dragon.