Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Did The Judge Really Pull Off The Biggest Heist In EVE Online History?

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, 12 September, Circle of Two's head diplomat, The Judge, pulled off a stunning robbery, emptying alliance wallets and selling citadels, including Co2's keepstar in 68FT-6, to the tune of at least 1.5 trillion ISK. In terms of raw numbers, The Judge pulled in higher numbers than the previous record held by Eddie Lampert and Mordor Exuel and their 1 trillion ISK Phaser Inc. ponzi investment scheme. But in terms of value, did The Judge set a record?

Back in 2012, I converted the ISK value of some of EVE's biggest events into their PLEX values. While ISK changes in value, 30 days of game time will always be 30 days of game time.
Two of the biggest scams in the history of the game, the Phaser Inc. ponzi scheme and the Titans4U investment scam, were worth 2,953 PLEX and 2,575 PLEX respectively. Converting the old-style PLEX into modern PLEX, the Phaser Inc. scheme netted 1,476,500 nuPLEX and Bad Bobby's Titans4U scam raked in 1,287,500 nuPLEX. In comparison, the 1.5 trillion ISK to 2 trillion ISK The Judge stole will convert into between 500,000 to 666,667 nuPLEX. In other words, while in raw numbers The Judge comes out on top, the value of his theft will most likely be 50% of what Lampert and Exuel gained through their ponzi scheme.

Leaving the two financial scams aside, surely The Judge pulled off the biggest corp/alliance theft in EVE history? Not so fast. What about the famous strike by the Guiding Hand Social Club against Ubiqua Seraph and the assassination of its CEO, Mirial?

At first glance, comparing the GHSC's 20-30 billion ISK take seems ludicrous. But the event did occur in 2005, and the value of ISK definitely dropped over the ensuing 12 years. Also, since PLEX did not exist in 2005, doing the conversion of the GHSC numbers to 2017 ISK would require some knowledge of black market ISK numbers in EVE Online. Fortunately, I possess the required knowledge.

The black market price is given in the PC Gamer article linked to above. The author used the price available at RMT giant IGE (now out of business), which was $550 USD per billion ISK. I'm pretty sure in those days ISK was sold in millions, but in order to match up with today's pricing, I converted the units to billions. Looking at my data from Player Auctions for the month of September so far along with the pricing from some ISK-selling websites, the current price of one billion ISK is $5 USD. The result is that 1 billion ISK in 2005 is 110 billion ISK in constant 2017 ISK. Or in other words, the GHSC heist in 2005 was worth between 2.2 trillion ISK and 3.3 trillion ISK in constant 2017 ISK. Quite a bit higher than the estimated 1.5 trillion - 2 trillion ISK The Judge is estimated to have gained yesterday.

Up until now, I have used a range when describing the value of the Guiding Hand Social Club's actions. For the below table, I'll use the commonly used figure of 30 billion ISK for the heist to perform the conversion of constant 2017 ISK into PLEX using today's prices.

My post isn't meant to denigrate the scale of what The Judge pulled off. Getting a minimum of 83 years of game time isn't anything to sneeze at. But the people that came before him did pretty well themselves. Sometimes taking a second look lets us appreciate the scale of what they did.

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