Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Watching Others Do The Work

Over the past few weeks I've happily sat back and watched others cover stories about real money transactions in EVE Online.  Funky Bacon was ahead of me on the RMT aspects of SOMERblink's operation.  I even used one of his graphics in one of my own posts on the subject.  But that was on a controversial topic that had forces behind the scenes digging up dirt in a vast anti-SOMERblink conspiracy.  Absent drama, I wondered if we would see that type of focus on EVE's botting and RMT underworld continue.

At least in the short term, the answer is yes.  Team Security's CCP Stillman and CCP Peligro paid a visit to Jita yesterday and's Ali Aras quickly had a story up on the absence of spam bots in local.  Ali, who is also a member of the Council of Stellar Management, has to take care to use publicly available information on security matters to avoid running afoul of the dreaded NDA, so she left me with some things to write about.  But her story gives me some things to use in my upcoming post.  Perhaps more importantly, by publishing the story so quickly, she allowed me to focus on finding sources that can help in evaluating the effectiveness of whatever Team Security pulled out of its hat.

As an added bonus, I got to sit down and actually play EVE.  Getting up to 70,000 loyalty points for the Sisters of EVE plus having the time to go back to Metropolis to start some manufacturing jobs was really nice.  I like to write, and the research is interesting, but flying around space in an internet spaceship delivering pixels is pretty relaxing.

So for all of those out there wanting to write about the subject, jump on in, the water's fine.  And I won't mind.  Honest.


  1. I'll say up front I'm not much of an eve player, I mostly just read about it for fun drama, but this Somer RMT thing- and the GTC resellers- has me really fascinated.

    Here's what I was thinking about this morning: what stops Somer from starting a new corp (say, "SOMER Friends") that hands out a monthly isk stipend to all members and encourages them strongly to buy their plexes from her referral link? There's no direct quid pro quo, but it's understood by everyone that if there aren't enough sales the gravy train stops...

    And I realized that, gee, there are some pretty smart eve player who probably figured this out before the GTC program was even established. The first google hit was an outdated page that showed that the Goons used to be associated with Shattered Crystal, and highly encouraged members to buy time cards from them. Huh, so that's what the whole "space socialism" thing is about.

    I don't know to feel about that without thinking on it quite a bit... 1. Use isk to build organization and entice followers. 2. Get followers to buy cards. 3. Profit. It's not exactly unhealthy for the game.

    Sorry for the rambling post, but I really hadn't thought much about RMT in any game except reading about it on your blog- I just assumed it was a pretty shady affair with some big players but overall not a mainstream thing. WIth the GTC resellers in eve, though, it seems like any major organization would be foolish NOT to be involved in it in some way- who wouldn't take the cash? Maybe I was just hopelessly naive, but that comes as a shock to me. Is this commonplace in other MMO's?

    As an aside, given how forthright the Shattered Crystal guy was about Somer I wonder if he'd be willing to expand further on his other partners.

    In any case, thanks for writing your blog and I'm glad you've had a chance to have some fun playing.

    1. What stops people from doing a sneaky plan like that is that if a player affiliate misbehaves, CCP will go after the GTC reseller and probably cut the reseller off. And because the practice is now declared RMT, the accounts sending the money would get banned and all the ISK distributed would get confiscated. I don't think people are going to take the chance, especially the GTC resellers.

      And RMT is present in every game. EVE co-opted a lot of it from the ISK sellers with PLEX, which mitigates many of the negative effects. Believe it or not, CCP is doing a fairly decent job of battling the problem, but it has taken them years to achieve the success they have so far. If you want to look at a game with a major problem, look at Runescape. The publisher announced in September that up to 40% of players with paying accounts also purchased RMT gold from shady gold selling sites every month. Also that they had banned 1.1 million botting accounts this year. Now that's mainstream!