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      CommentAuthorMike Black
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009
    Hadn't seen this posted, so here it is. If Second Life is the trippy & happy creative outlet of the MMO scene, EVE is the seedy Cold War scandalstorm that Cyberpunks have been dreaming about for years.

    On August 26, EBANK -- EVE Online's largest player-run financial entity -- revealed it currently has a (roughly) 1.2 trillion InterStellar Kredits (ISK) deficit and would freeze all player and organization accounts that were investing with the bank.

    ...In June, former EBANK CEO "Ricdic" embezzled over 200 billion ISK from the bank and later sold it in real life, triggering the complete destruction of trust built by the organization. While safeguards were in place to halt any corporate malfeasance, EBANK was rocked by the embezzlement and over 380 billion in defaulted loans on top of the corruption have pulled the organization deeper into the red.

    Ricdic's embezzlement was huge in the EVE universe. He was able to put a down payment on a home with the money, barely flinching at his permaban from the game.

    $200B ISK in real money works out to about:

    60 day GTC = $500,000,000 ISK = $47.57 USD
    $0.40 USD = $1M ISK
    $200,000,000,000 ISK = $8,000 USD in today's market rates

    Conversion in EVE is really simple, as CCCP allows trading game time cards (60 Days = $47.57,) for in-game currency. There's a constant conversion rate to real dollars.

    As far as I'm concerned EVE is the most fascinating large scale social experiment going today. The entire universe is rife with controversy, intrigue, political killings, and warfare. This is sort of par for the course, other than the scale at which it's happening. A simple Google search for EVE scandals will provide hours of reading equally as engaging as a history of the Cold War.
  1.  (6704.2)
    Also recommended: THIS GAMING LIFE, Jim Rossignol.
    • CommentAuthorPrestwick
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009
    I remember this story breaking and it did cause a hell of a lot of controversy but CCCP do point out that while these scandals are rare, you do take a huge risk if you invest in these kinds of "banking" schemes.

    The open and extremely laissez fare nature of the game is designed to encourage an economic, political and social free for all and any kind of imposed regulation would effectively kill the game in my view.

    There are plenty of stories of "goons for hire" in Eve who hire themselves out to disrupt unsuspecting groups mining and trading operations through war decs, casual piracy and even sabotage and invasions.
  2.  (6704.4)
    Wonderful scenarios like this are why I scoff at gamers who label themselves “hard-core” because they sit around all day collecting achievements for doing the stuff in a video game that one is supposed to do. Ripping off thousands of dollars of virtual currency, swapping it for real money, and wrecking the economy of a galaxy that doesn’t really exist—that’s my idea of achievement. The philosophical implications of this happening in a future where these games are full of sentient characters who can be reset by pushing a button could make my head spin all afternoon.
      CommentAuthorMike Black
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009
    Also recommended: THIS GAMING LIFE, Jim Rossignol.

    I wasn't aware of this book. I was actually hoping, earlier today, that there was some sort of American Hardcore-style book that I could hand off to people to explain to them exactly how cool EVE is. Huge player-run hegemonies locking down huge blocs of zero-sec space and warring with other super powers. Band of Brother's long reign as kings falling apart due to constant warfare and eventual confrontation with Goonswarm's hatemachine. The Guiding Hand Social Club perpetrating the largest virtual theft ever in a year-long operation that would put Danny Ocean to shame. There's just so much that's happened in the last few years that's hard to wrap your head around.
      CommentAuthorMike Black
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009 edited
    Not to get too far off track, but from looking at EBank's website it appears they are handling around $4.3m USD in ISK. That is, following the $0.40 USD = $1M ISK conversion rate. (Assuming my math is correct. Which it most likely isn't.)

    Between current deposits, outstanding loans, interest earned, and commissions the bank is currently holding $10.9T in total in-game monetary assets.

    Frankly, I'm shocked they've managed to take a hold of that much money in a universe renowned for theft and con artistry.
  3.  (6704.7)
    Frankly, I'm shocked they've managed to take a hold of that much money in a universe renowned for theft and con artistry.

    I get the impression that EVE players actually go for screwball social interaction through virtual economics. For them it’s what makes the game fun as opposed to combat-centric stuff. Who cares if everybody loses a few virtual dollars if it makes for compelling story?
      CommentAuthorMike Black
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009
    @ James Puckett - I completely agree, and there's definitely a ton of that going on. The numbers are just staggering, really, when converted to real dollars. There's no way that much will ever be siphoned off to RMT's, but still a bit shocking when put into perspective.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009
    The scandal with the destruction of the original Band of Brothers corp was super intersting to read about.
  4.  (6704.10)
    THIS GAMING LIFE, Jim Rossignol.

    Great, another interesting-looking book to clog up my tiny house. The only EVE scam I'd heard of involved a guy spending about a year building up a corporation just to get revenge on someone else. I never realised this happens all the time. Now I'm quite pissed off that a friend sent me a link to this video and I stupidly took it at face value and decided against getting into EVE a year ago.
  5.  (6704.11)
    If I had the time, I'd definitely get in on EVE, if, for nothing else, because of how realistically many of the wars and politics within the game seem to pan out.
  6.  (6704.12)
    There was absolutely no need for CCP to introduce real currency conversion, The gold farming market does that well enough in MMOs anyway, but I think they'd seen the 2nd Life model and decided it might be a good source of revenue. This coupled with the game having its own, pretty much real/artificial economy, was just asking for this kind of thing to happen. Eve always had a wierd dynamic, you'd have people paying for multiple accounts they'd do nothing but research with, rather than go about the rough and tumble or spacey adventuring, and they'd fund people to behave as muscle. it is an absolutely fascinating game, Personally I loved it, but time-sinks are time-sinks.
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009
    This stuff is really fascinating I've read up on some of these scandals and they're very interesting.

    also the game looks great for something as old as it is.
    and for christ's sake, you get to fly around in your own space ship, and if that's not something I love thinking about, I'm not sure what is.

    by real problem with the game is that, as vertigoJones said:
    time-sinks are time-sinks

    and aditionally, when i played a few days of a trial a few years ago, I was dissapointed about how little I was interacting with other players and to some extent how steep the learning curve was, or at least seemed to be. maybe I'll give it another go since I've got a week until I start grad school up.
      CommentAuthorMike Black
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009
    This coupled with the game having its own, pretty much real/artificial economy, was just asking for this kind of thing to happen.

    Well, it pretty much was. If you think about it, couldn't there be some form of criminal charges brought against the player in question for theft? I mean, the item that was stolen (the ISK,) had real monetary value, and real money traded hands for it. However, CCP hasn't gone out of their way to do any more than ban the guy - which, to me, implies that they're silently applauding it.
    • CommentAuthorPhranky
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009
    I've played this game for years. There are many scams, thieves and undercover agents throughout the game. I don't trust a single one of them.
  7.  (6704.16)
    If you think about it, couldn't there be some form of criminal charges brought against the player in question for theft?

    EVE players don’t own any of the items, so nothing was ever stolen. EVE is just an online service that they pay for access to, and the items never left the possession of CCP, the company the runs the game. The money was just information in a CPP database moved from one space to another. And, EVE being a role-playing game, a good argument can be made that the theft was part of the gameplay. All CPP can do is boot the player for violating the terms-of-service by selling items for real money.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2009
    I've been meaning to read 'This Gaming Life' for ages now (and given my vocation it's borderline scandalous that I didn't buy it when it was first published) but now I've been reminded it exists I've stuck an order in on Amazon. (amusingly, the 'bought with this' section for it includes both Phonogram and Suburban Glamour. I do believe we're trending on Amazon...)