Tuesday, February 10, 2015

CCP's War On Illicit RMT: Buyer Beware

Today's post doesn't quite belong in the Rabbit Hole category, but the subject is still RMT.  I monitor the Player Auctions RMT trading site to try to get an indication of what is happening in the secondary ISK market.  Secondary ISK market is a nice way to describe black market RMT activity and I normally try to use more academic terms.  But I've noticed a trend that I'd like to note now.

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed a trend toward larger bulk purchases as the price of ISK has lowered closer to $9 USD per billion ISK.  I don't recall seeing as many purchases of 20 billion ISK or more as I have in the past month.  I even saw a single individual purchase of 100 billion ISK.  Either a lot more fighting is occurring between alliances with horrible ship replacement programs, or the sources of cheaper ISK are drying up and the RMT sites still selling ISK are using Player Auctions as a source of ISK.  If the latter is true, that is good news, as shops buying ISK at $9.50 USD per billion and selling at $13 USD per billion are definitely seeing reduced profits.

But at the same time, those reduced prices are also available to the average player.  And with the price of ISK in Jita hovering around the $21.50 - $22.00 USD per billion mark, the allure of that cheap, cheap ISK is probably tempting, especially to new players.

I'm beginning to think that CCP should hire Rixx Javix to produce a series of videos on the evils of buying ISK.  Since in the EVE Online lore capsuleers are sometimes referred to as "eggers", I've wondered how Rixx would remake the classic "This is your brain on drugs" series.

But cheap ISK isn't the only danger to new players.  That realization hit me when Ubisoft started revoking game codes for games like Far Cry 4 because EA sold a lot of game codes to people who used stolen credit cards and then resold the codes to outlets like Kinguin and G2A.  A lot of gamers were upset that something they purchased was taken away with no refund.  But in real life, does anyone really expect to keep stolen property if the police show up at the door?

Game companies have to deal with credit card fraud, and CCP is no exception.  As such, purchasing PLEX from a source other than CCP or an authorized time code reseller entails some risk.  I'd really question any site other than Amazon that sells PLEX for less than the cost of a month's subscription, especially if the price is in U.S. dollars.  That smells of credit card fraud and I'd steer clear of such a "deal".  If the seller insists on making the exchange in-game, run away.  That is a definite sign of activity that CCP will issue bans for.

Personally, I don't buy game currency, even using approved methods like PLEX.  I even still have the 2 PLEX i obtained through the mystery code from the two copies of the Collector's Edition I purchased and won.  But for those who have to buy ISK, please be careful, do your research, and make sure to follow all of the rules.


  1. Seeing the dangers of secondary damage apart from being banned from the game (CC fraud, identify theft), maybe this would be the video to remake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE7ukc7MV-k

  2. FYI, the new ban rules are apparently also being applied to players who bought ISK from RMTers in the past, but who are only being caught now. 3 players recently got hit with the banhammer, for ISK they bought early last year. One of them voluntarily turned himself in (I think he correctly figured that he would get caught by association with the others), and was "rewarded" with a lesser penalty.

    I've also heard a weird rumor that some of the RMT sites have been turning in players. Apparently, the thinking behind this is that the illegal in-game currency gets confiscated by the game company and removed from the game. The first-time offender gets hit with a temp ban, but his/her guild/corp still needs the gold/ISK, so they go back to the RMTer, either with another player who hasn't been caught yet, to buy again - thus doubling the sales for the RMTer. Go figure.

  3. Hmm... your priorities are a bit skewed. I think that CC fraud and identity theft are the primary dangers, and getting banned from playing a game is secondary or less.