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In Isk We Trust: the EVE Online IskBank Exposed

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the massively-multiplayer-black-market dept.

The Almighty Buck 145

riverni writes "Eve News 24 is running a couple of articles uncovering the lucrative 'black-market' existing in EVE Online, a sci-fi themed single-server MMORPG. The overall scale of the operation is breathtaking. While there exist legal ways to exchange real world currency for in-game currency, the black market, primarily driven by botters (users who utilize automated macros to perform rewardable tasks in game), remains strong. One article reports on how Iskbank.com made approximately $290,000 in sales during a 10.5-month period. These figures do not include any sales made through their sister site, Eveisk.ru and yes, those are US dollars."

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145 comments

Wrong title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444814)

Shouldn't that be "In CCP We Trust"?

Re:Wrong title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445012)

Who cares......

Re:Wrong title (1)

catd77 (1743104) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448096)

I tried it and it was a little bit too in depth. It took weeks just to be able to "really play". It's probably really fun for veteran players though.

EVE is terrible. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444882)

EVE is terrible, CCP is terrible. Don't play!

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444942)

Play? How about making money?

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445036)

Let's be realistic. They have $290k sales in 10.5 months? That sounds like a lot until you realise that's how much it would cost to cover the salaries of three good software engineers, assuming those guys agreed to work from home. If that's split four ways, then there's a decent chance those four people are making a loss.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445120)

They're based in Moldova where average wage is US$250 per month. It's a large amount for them.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

rrhal (88665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445800)

100 third world sweat shop laborers are probably cheaper than 3 good software engineers - they just run mining operations on several accounts at a time.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447310)

You're also assuming said software developers are overpaid like all the others, and wouldn't stick around unless this was true. Perhaps they enjoy their work there, or the company, or the product etc.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447560)

Let's be realistic. They have $290k sales in 10.5 months? That sounds like a lot until you realise that's how much it would cost to cover the salaries of three good software engineers, assuming those guys agreed to work from home. If that's split four ways, then there's a decent chance those four people are making a loss.

Let's be realistic. They have $290k sales in 10.5 months?

290k in revenues from selling in-game currency is breathtaking alright, its breathtakingly small amounts.

While working in anti-cheating side of player support for an online MMORP game developer that does not have a legal way to buy currency, I could quite easily ban gold farming accounts worth that amount in two days (assuming value of both the accounts and the gear/currency on those accounts sold at the cheapest available rates). Is TFA referring to a largely unsuccessful 'goldfarming' venture or is there not a lot to be made from 'botting' in Eve where players can buy money legitimately?

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444960)

> EVE is terrible

Show me another MMORPG (aside from UO = Ultima Online) that doesn't have character classes please?

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

Drumpig (13514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445008)

CCP ruined everything.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

random_ID (1822712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445028)

Champions Online (paid version) has freeform characters.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445044)

A couple of my friends are really into EVE, and while it doesn't have character classes, does it not have ship classes? And since you need to level up particular skills per ship it's pretty similar.

Re:EVE is terrible. (2)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445172)

The difference is that EVE lets you "skill up" to at least combat-competence in a ship class fairly easily, and once your character is old enough to have sunk enough skills into it, could in theory be proficient at multiple flying ship classes of varying classes (frigate, etc) and races (since some races' ships are better suited as laser boats or shield tanks or gun turrets, and thus fit different players' preferred style).

I hear that Rift comes close, in that you have a lot of choice within your calling (warrior, cleric, etc) as to how to specialize -- both in terms of which soul trees you choose (riftblade, paladin, etc) and how you distribute your points between them. (It sounds really tempting, as someone who mainly plays WoW.) I believe they allow some degree of respeccing among soul trees (the name of which I am surely getting wrong) depending on which you've collected/unlocked/???, so that starts looking pretty close to not having character classes. You do in name, and you have a calling which you can't re-roll, but each of them is so generic that it LOOKS to offer a ton of flexibility.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445490)

I can fly frigates, cruisers and industrials from every race, battlecruisers from 3/4 races, plus just about every minmatar ship that exists apart from super capitals. Comparing ship classes in eve to character class in other MMO's is wrong. I also played wow since the beta. I stopped playing wow because the gameplay is thinner than a lawyers smile, while I am also a little tired of eve I do plan to go back to it, whereas with wow I never will. If someone says they don't like MMO's I nod and agree with their reasons, if someone says eve is worse than the other MMO's they will have huge problems convincing me of that. If you like spaceships, and you don't hate MMO's, don't let these naysayers form your opinion for you. If you have already played it and didn't like it, that is just fine but don't tell other people what to think.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447758)

I just don't like PvP games. I hear they do an amazing job managing the in-game economy, however (the in-game currency remains useful after the game being live for so many years)

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446342)

Another difference is that there is no "skill point limit" and fixed specialization for EVE characters. It is like being able to learn all the skills from all classes in a traditional MMORPG.
Of course you can fly only one ship at a time, which counts as a temporary specialization. But the "re-spec" is only a flight to your hangar away. So an EVE character is never permanently gimped because of investing in the wrong skills. At worst, it takes extra time to learn the other skills too.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446850)

I believe they allow some degree of respeccing among soul trees (the name of which I am surely getting wrong) depending on which you've collected/unlocked/???

You can obtain up to four roles per character, each of which can have a completely different spec built out of up to three of any combination of your classes souls that you have unlocked. You can shift between roles at will (as long as you're out of combat). You can reset and respec a complete role for a small fee in town.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447242)

So wait, I could have a warrior, and swap it to a cleric or rogue-ish person, not just swapping out different soul trees? If so, that's even more character flexibility than I thought.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

alanthenerd (639252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445316)

Except to level up the particular skills required per ship class can be as simple as:
1. Log in
2. Set skill training
3. Log out and go do something else until the skill finishes training

With the ability to now queue skills to train so long as the last one to start fits within a 24 hour skill queue length there is no longer a need to log in for skill training more than once per day. The last time I actively played was probably a year ago and yet I haven't missed a single second of "levelling up" in that time. No hours of grinding away doing repetitive tasks in order to level up as many other MMOs do.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445850)

That sounds like fun ^.^

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447256)

To be fair, much of EVE is about understanding the economy, and relative strengths of kit -- which is player learning, not character learning. Having your character get Better At Stuff (or unlock new stuff) while you spend time mastering world of spreadsheets has some positive effects, in that you don't have to do both. ;) You can just sit there and learn how best to use what you DO have (as a player).

I liked that aspect of EVE. I had a hard time dealing with the harsh losses incurred by failure.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447800)

Wow, so it's just like ProgressQuest!

Re:EVE is terrible. (3, Interesting)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445748)

It has a *lot* of ships and even ship classes. I haven't played for years and even then it was pretty diverse in that regard. Even ship classes do not limit you to a certain style of play because anyone is allowed to fly any ship class. Some are just harder to train for and to obtain than others.

There are definitely generalized roles that you can get into, but you have a great deal of choice in how you spec yourself. Since skill learning is done in RL time, and not based on "levels", you do have to make some choices about what you are going to do which will be difficult to alter. That is made even more time consuming because the skill trees are very deep. However, there is no bar to one player learning every skill in the game, except for the fact that there are so many skills that no one is ever going to have the time to learn them all unless they stop adding classes and you play for years.

You could, for instance, in a relatively short amount of time become a freighter pilot and also become very, very good at a specialized combat role like flying as a tackler (slows/immobilizes enemy ships so the more powerful warships can catch up to attack it) in a small, but fast interceptor. Being a freighter pilot and also being a tackler are both important, if not overly glorious roles. This also doesn't prevent you from flying a Titan (the biggest capital ship available), but unless you start down the skill path to that end, the skill trees and the realtime skill progression does postpone that day into the far, far future if you are not focused on it.

So, I would say that it absolutely correct to say that there is no class system in EVE. It is clear that there are some broad roles that exist, such as tanking, mining, crafting, logistics and electronic warfare, but players are not forced to select skills based on a class, they select skills based on how they want to play. A priest in WoW may be able to spec for healing or damage, but they will never get to use warrior or warlock or mage skills. In EVE, your one character can use any ship or capability that they have the skills learned for, and later on, they can decide to learn something else, and they don't lose the skills they have already learned.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

SlowMovingTarget (550823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446566)

...they don't lose the skills they have already learned.

Of course, it is possible to lose skills. In Eve, loss of ship is fairly common. It is also possible to die if you have lost your ship and then also get your pod blown up, in which case your consciousness is restored into a clone (naturally). The trick of it is, you must purchase a clone of sufficient quality to hold all of the skill points you've accumulated. If you don't you will lose some of your skills. With Tech 3 ships, losing the ship causes "neural trauma" and you may lose some of your Strategic Cruiser skills.

If you fail hard enough, you can lose everything you've accumulated, usually at the hands of other players. This is where the meat of the game is. The striving for sovereignty, the warfare between large player factions, each one attempting to protect their own supply lines while damaging their opponents. The "play" extends right down to spies infiltrating rival player corporations and playing trust games to gain access to assets and liquidate them. More than most MMOs, this is a true sandbox game.

WoW funnels its players into "content" using "instancing" to fragment the gameplay player-by-player. EVE puts everyone in the same world, at the same time.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447262)

I didn't know about the T3 changes. I suppose that's what happens when you don't play for years.

On the other hand, I do recall instances where people could risk losing points when it became incredibly expensive for them to keep purchasing Clones at the level required to make sure they didn't lose any skill points when they got podded. Usually that just caused people to stop playing after they realized that they were running out of money too fast to keep PvPing, I don't know if anyone actually lost points that way. I suppose that is one edge case where money did become as important as time-in-game.

Still, technically, my point was more that you don't have to lose existing skills to gain other skills, even if they are skills that might be considered part of a vastly different role. You can lose skills if you don't get or can't afford clone backups, or apparently have your T3 ship blown up, but that doesn't limit your ability to learn skills on any skill tree you want to work on in the way a class system would.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447878)

If you fail hard enough, you can lose everything you've accumulated, usually at the hands of other players. This is where the meat of the game is. The striving for sovereignty, the warfare between large player factions, each one attempting to protect their own supply lines while damaging their opponents.

Wow, that precisely describes everything I dislike in a game! Now that's targeted marketing!

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445160)

There are quite a few... off the top of my head though, I can name two (Fallen Earth, Darkfall) Most of them are smaller titles. I have speculated that this is because people tend to want direction when they play and people that play with them want them to fit in a role. (I'm a Cleric, I must heal...) I've been playing Rift and noticed a lot of disgruntled people whine and cry when the cleric that joins the group is not a healer or the warrior is not a tank.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447830)

lot of disgruntled people whine and cry when the cleric that joins the group is not a healer or the warrior is not a tank.

That's true in almost every MMO ever. That's because no one wants a cleric, they wan't a healer, or whatever. It's a fundamental flaw in MMO design: the LFG system should hide your class, and show only your self-designatedrole. That way everyone is happy.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445378)

Show me another MMORPG (aside from UO = Ultima Online) that doesn't have character classes please?

Runescape doesn't have them.

Re:EVE is terrible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445760)

And was more enjoyable in my opinion. Get bored of one thing, go do another.

Re:EVE is terrible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445516)

Darkfall Online

Re:EVE is terrible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445018)

This comment is accusatory and completely devoid of any real content. It would be right at home on pretty much any news commentary thread in existence except this one. Try again, this time explaining why EVE and CCP are terrible.

Re:EVE is terrible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445360)

Are you that guy who wants to nerf cloaks?

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

Drumpig (13514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445086)

CCP is terrible.

This is very true.

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

SlowMovingTarget (550823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445290)

EVE is terrible, CCP is terrible.

Obligatory: Before you emo-rage-quit, can I have your stuff?

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446182)

I have 15 bill in assets, and no you can't have my stuff...

Re:EVE is terrible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446416)

I have 15 bill in assets, and no you can't have my stuff...

How do you manage to get errands done when women are constantly surrounding you, swooning in adoration?

Re:EVE is terrible. (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446508)

lol. I really don't care what women think of what I do in my free time.

Dirty use? (2, Insightful)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444896)

Sounds like it could be a good way to launder money.

Re:Dirty use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445030)

What the hell am I doing writing tax software for a living??? Writing game-playing bots and raking in a thousand dollars a day seems so much more rewarding.

Damn. I am such a failure.

Re:Dirty use? (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445078)

Offtopic: Do you work for CCH or are you doing this on your own?

what about the tax on that cash will they pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444912)

what about the tax on that cash will they pay or will the IRS have to bust some ass?

Re:what about the tax on that cash will they pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444948)

If it isn't in the US then no taxes for the IRS to worry about

On the plus side.. (2)

tetromino (807969) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444980)

...the people who resort to buying ISK from RMTers are usually those who don't know how to earn ISK legally in the game - i.e. noobs and clueless folk of one form or another. So of course they end up spending all their bought ISK on shiny ships that they have no idea how to fly properly, quickly get themselves blown up, and leave wrecks full of juicy loot for those of us who play by the rules.

Re:On the plus side.. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445214)

That's completely false. I know of several people ( that were caught ) buying isk. They all knew exactly what they were doing and did it because they wanted "that extra 500 million isk" to play around with or they didn't want to run missions for isk. A LOT of people buy ISK to fund PvP.

Re:On the plus side.. (2)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445284)

Yes, a lot of people do buy isk! You know. By buying PLEXes and selling them in the market like you're supposed to. The question is, why to people use illegal outfits like this, instead of the CCP-sanctioned method?

Re:On the plus side.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445426)

It's cheaper.

When I played Eve, I had a single etailer that I used for ISK. It was a Chinese bot farming company, and they seemed to be doing quite well. I bought probably 20billion ISK over the course of 2 years.

Re:On the plus side.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35447306)

And the answer is easy: because third-party ISK is considerably cheaper than PLEX.

Re:On the plus side.. (0)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445226)

This.

Re:On the plus side.. (2)

Kemeno (984780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445626)

This is no doubt true in some cases, but a LOT of people play EVE for the PvP, which is expensive (particularly if you're flying in big ships). You have 2 options:

* grind for hours to get the ISK you need to buy the ship
* sell PLEX/buy ISK from farmers

Since ship loss is permanent and EVERYONE loses in EVE eventually, you need some source of cash to keep PvPing. People play games to have fun, and if your time is more valuable than your money, why would you do all that grinding? It doesn't actually make you better at the game.

Why you'd go to farmers instead of using PLEX is very much an open question, though I imagine that the exchange rate is better for the buyer to offset the risk of black-market trading.

Re:On the plus side.. (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446218)

Why you'd go to farmers instead of using PLEX is very much an open question, though I imagine that the exchange rate is better for the buyer to offset the risk of black-market trading.

This is what I have heard, but I just pay the additional fee as I don't want my account banned. But I am also pushing something like 5 GTC a month, so no biggy.

Re:On the plus side.. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445852)

True. Making ISK legally is painfully easy. I have made hundreds of millions of ISK in game by simply having a character with a newb shuttle sit in Jita and do market speculation. Not very interesting, but devoting an alt to it beats the hell out of mining in just about every way. Anyone who needs to buy ISK with real money is doing it wrong.

In fact, mining is so boring, you almost should be paying someone to do it. I should know, I spec'ed into T2 mining barges and there is nothing more lucrative, but more boring, than being a miner in a 0.0 mining op.

Re:On the plus side.. (2)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446248)

When you get to 0.0, it becomes pretty much no work.

Run two towers, do simple, then complex reactions

input ~2 bill a month
output ~4 bill a month

Empty towers every other day, transport final product to empire once a month...I don't know why more don't do it.

Re:On the plus side.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448016)

Because PL will come and blow up your towers

Loving all the rage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445010)

Pretty funny reading all the comments on that site. Lots of EVE Nerds apparently like to rage about real-money transactions.

I honestly don't think it matters unless it is screwing up the in-game economy. Otherwise, I think people should probably stop crying. If some fool wants to spend $3,000 buying fake money for a MMO, you should be laughing, not raging about how unfair it is.

Re:Loving all the rage (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445066)

From my brief and infuriating experiences with EVE, my impression was that the in-game economy was already fucked beyond all hope.

Re:Loving all the rage (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445526)

As a former player, it does upset us a bit because it makes the game unfair.
I flew a Megathron. That's a big battleship, and it took me months to save up for it and all it's fittings. It was a good ship, well fit, and very expensive... to someone who doesn't spend real money. But if I were willing to, I could buy one for the cost of one PLEX and still have change. If I cut out the faction fittings, I could buy two, maybe three.
The implication of this is that a player willing to spend real money becomes near-invincible. They can afford to lose ships, and long-term conflict in EVE is all about economic war and attrition - cut off the enemy corp's industry, wear down their funds and resources. But you can't do that when they are spending real money. It's just unfair. It means the game is no longer a contest of skill, but about who has the best funding in real life, which just completly ruins everything.
MMORPGs are to escape reality. If you give those with real money an advantage, that's reality intruding.

Re:Loving all the rage (1)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446034)

If it took you months to save up for a BS which costs 150 million isk with t2 fittings then your doing something majorly wrong. You can make 150m in a few hours of rattin gin 0.0 or now doing the Incursions in low-sec.

The implication of this is that a player willing to spend real money becomes near-invincible. They can afford to lose ships, and long-term conflict in EVE is all about economic war and attrition - cut off the enemy corp's industry, wear down their funds and resources. But you can't do that when they are spending real money. It's just unfair. It means the game is no longer a contest of skill, but about who has the best funding in real life, which just completly ruins everything.

Now your just plan wrong. IT (aka Band of Brothers 2.0) had over 500billion isk available yet they couldn't defend against the goons in Fountain. ISK selling may get you a short-term gain but if your alliance is at that point where you need to purchase isk, your alliance is already failing.

Re:Loving all the rage (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446320)

You are a little off on numbers...IT had more like 1 trillion at the end...

People and Places, character (exact), CorenJames

The part that caused IT to collapse was infighting, and the fact that our two biggest PVP Corps never even showed up to fight goons. I still have like 3 billion in Delve...

Re:Loving all the rage (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446482)

My main income at the time was from hi-sec mining, mostly alone, as my corp-mates tended to be on a different schedule. Timezone issues. Take hulk, get pyroxeres, repeat.

Re:Loving all the rage (1)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447140)

If you're stuck in high-sec, run missions then - getting 150m for a ship is one evening, two at the most.

That explains a lot (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445062)

Is that where all the old World of Warcraft gold selling bots went?

Re:That explains a lot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445192)

Nah, I doubt that, I bet in WoW it just went more underground, like it did with FFXI back in the day.

There probably are more gold farming bots than before, but they are controlled by the fewer big seller sites instead of dozens of smaller sites all spamming in game to get buyers to flock to their sites.

So you "see" less spam about it in game, but it's as active as always, so therefore less uproar over it by real users.

Currency conversion and a reference of the value. (5, Interesting)

feedayeen (1322473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445102)

CCP's attempt to combat real world traders is called the PLEX system. You purchase a 30 day time card using $20 and you can sell it in game to other players for the equivalent of ~350,000,000 ISK (the in game currency). This produces a base exchange rate of about 17.5 million ISK to one USD. The black market does not directly deal in PLEX's, but it is safe to assume that the conversion ratio is at least as high, if not higher in order for it to be profitable for other players to take this route. Because of this, and the company's transactions of $290,000, it is safe to assume that the real world market trading has a value on the approximately of 5 trillion ISK. The second link reports that the company holds an estimated 4 trillion in virtual assets making the total value of this to be 9 trillion. Because the population in EVE is ~300,000 active accounts, this sums to be nearly 30 million ISK per user, the total wealth which based on their most recent economic reports (yes, CCP hired an economist to write these), shows the average subscriber has 300 million ISK. While this is not an insignificant sum of wealth, it is only about 10% of the games GDP.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (1)

KillAllNazis (1904010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445198)

> yes, CCP hired an economist to write these
Oh that explains it.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445258)

You don't mean GDP. GDP is a rate. You mean 10% of all the cash in the entire EVE universe. Slight difference.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (1)

scotjam (1876182) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446652)

"Gross domestic product (GDP) refers to the market value of all goods and services produced within a country in a given period." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product [wikipedia.org]

You are referring to the rate of growth of GDP, which is often quoted in news reports, but is not the same thing as GDP itself (which is, as per the usage of the person posting above, an absolute amount rather than a rate).

Also, if I read the above correctly, 10% is the percentage of the value of all assets, rather than just cash.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447954)

What part of "produced within a country in a given period" sounds like an absolute amount, and not a rate to you? GDP as usually presented is the annual production of a nation. This is quite different than its money supply, or its total assets.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (5, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445562)

Just to give you all some idea.

US$30 = 350,000.000 ISK.
One battleship, unfit = 65,000,000 ISK
One battleship, moderate kick-ass fit = 150,000,000 ISK.

So it's roughly $15 to buy a battleship. Not the best around, but decent enough to be a potent weapon in a fleet.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35447590)

US$30 = 350,000.000 ISK.

You don't know what you're talking about. The exchange rate is almost half that. $35 gets you 2 PLEX cards straight from the official site which can sell for ~330mil apiece if you low ball for an easy sell.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446084)

Wow, the average subscriber only have 300million isk? They must have no clue how to play the game. I have only been playing for 8 months now and I have well over 3-4 billion isk. I even make enough to pay for a second account with game money via the PLEX system (and am about to start doing the same for all my accounts once I get a little more established). In EVE, you need isk to make isk. Once you have a few billion, you can simply just invest that in the market and can very easily make 10-20% a week of your investment. I make about 100-200 million a week just spending 5-20 minutes a day. And if I actually play the game, I make about 60-80 million an hour.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446712)

Wow, the average subscriber only have 300million isk? They must have no clue how to play the game. I have only been playing for 8 months now and I have well over 3-4 billion isk. I even make enough to pay for a second account with game money via the PLEX system (and am about to start doing the same for all my accounts once I get a little more established). In EVE, you need isk to make isk. Once you have a few billion, you can simply just invest that in the market and can very easily make 10-20% a week of your investment. I make about 100-200 million a week just spending 5-20 minutes a day. And if I actually play the game, I make about 60-80 million an hour.

Soooo.... US$30 == 350,000,00ISK
You take in 70,000,00ISK per hour (Median of your estimate).

Using exchange rate / acquirement rate, we arrive at your USD income.
350,000,000 / 70,000,000 = 5

Congratulations, you make US$5/hr.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447308)

Making $5/hour (effectively) means that you can subsidize your month's subscription in about three hours of play. I'm sure most EVE players play a lot more than three hours a month, so it sounds like a skilled player could very easily be self-sufficient.

Re:Currency conversion and a reference of the valu (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447514)

Yep. It takes a few months to get to that point though. My "afk" income only takes about 3-4 days to train up the in-game skill requirements. The rest is knowing how to read and play the market (the whole, buy low, sell high thing that people still don't understand, which is why they pull their money from the market when the economy has already gone bad, which is one of the worst things you can due unless you expect the market to keep on getting worse and you buy back in before it gets back to the point that you got out.... Which is also how I tripled my retirement funds when the economy dumped and rebounded in the last 3 years).

Needs more data (1)

TooMad (967091) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445254)

How much ISK did they have to sell to make $229,000? 6.1 Billion or so? Back when it was still possible to "get fat" on long limbed roes I made a little over 200mil ISK in my first month as a player. This was probably about 60+ hours of work even if it was mostly just clicking now and then to initiate the next warp or jump gate. If I wanted to buy that much ISK now would be about $8. That's about $0.13/hr. Even if someone was 200 times more efficient than that it the gross for 200mil would be $26/hr. I am still an EVE n00b and don't even play anymore. So can an expert estimate how long it would take to make $200mil? How high is the risk? If you need a 2000mil rig to mine or whatever and the risk is high you stand to have your "profit" wiped out at any time. Bodyguards don't help much either because now you're dividing your gross by n players and multiplying your risk by n as well.

Re:Needs more data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445428)

6.1 billion? That's a few hundred dollars at most. There are individual players with personal wealth in the billions of ISK, and I'm sure the average older player in a major alliance has at least a couple of billion ISK to his name despite high expenditures (and old carebear-trader types in empire space even more). I'm sure they sold at least 10 trillion ISK to earn that amount.

Re:Needs more data (1)

TooMad (967091) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445580)

Correction, 6.1 trillion.

Re:Needs more data (2)

discord5 (798235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445876)

How much ISK did they have to sell to make $229,000?

Let's see.... I haven't played Eve in a long while now, but from what I remember, you could buy two PLEXes for about 35 USD. At the time I played a plex was worth somewhere between 300M isk and 350M isk, but the market is user driven, so the prices vary. Let's say 300M so we don't overinflate the number. (Feel free to pricecheck in that hellhole known as Jita)

229.000 / 35 = 6543 ETCs, which amounts to 13086 PLEXes (both rounded up). That becomes 13086 * 300.000.000 = 3.925.800.000.000 ISK . So rougly 4 trillion ISK, assuming that all items sold were ISK, which they weren't (the article mentions super carriers, titans and characters, but for the sake of curiousity I'm going to ignore the article).

Re:Needs more data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446148)

When I checked a week or two ago, they where about 350mil, 60 day GTCs are running about 650mil

Re:Needs more data (1)

TooMad (967091) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446180)

"but for the sake of curiousity I'm going to ignore the article" Even characters can be sold for ISK so everything can be broken down to an ISK equivalent value. It's like the people in any given MMORPG who farm materials to make item and are so happy they "saved" so much money rather than buying the raw materials from another player. When they could have sold those same raw materials for the same amount of money they have "saved" and yet they had to spend that time farming so it is really a net loss. Ok, starting to feel a bit trollish here. Not trying to have the final word or anything so feel free to reply but only going to address a direct question now.

Re:Needs more data (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446606)

You are very accurate. Current PLEX rates are between 300m and 350m. GTCs are 550m - 650m, as they plummeted recently.

lol Botters (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445392)

This is why its fun to kill any RMT miners/ratters you come across on a regular basis. Its one of the the things that makes eve so much more fun. In other games, you cannot kill RMT's and thus cost money and time. And when we're talking about RMT miners, we're talking easily 200mil + per ship loss. At an average of 10mil per hour in mining, you're costing them 20 hours of work everytime you pop one of them.

From my brief and infuriating experiences with EVE, my impression was that the in-game economy was already fucked beyond all hope.

From your brief stay, one would assume you had no clue as to how the economy works in the game.

Re:lol Botters (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445414)

How much ISK did they have to sell to make $229,000? 6.1 Billion or so?

6.1 billion is slightly less than what I make legitimately on the market monthly.

Re:lol Botters (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445494)

There's an idea - incentivize killing macro miners. If a player spots a suspected macro miner, a petition function should be there so they can report it. A dedicated GM should then respond and verify the macro behavior - once verified, the player should be awarded the opportunity to destroy the offender's ship, and kill rights than last 30 day on the offender.

Integrate this into the story, of course. "A recent drone evolution has created nanodrones that infect the minds of podpilots via the mind/machien interface with their ship. CONCORD has contracted civilians to find and eliminate these "Vectors", and urge pilots to report suspicious activity to..."

Re:lol Botters (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445754)

I had a similar idea -- in game spammers, when reported by enough people, should be automatically marked as PvP-able by anyone, anywhere. 'Cause killing them would be so satisfying, it would pretty much amount to an instantaneous death sentence.

Macro-ers are a little harder to detect. What if someone is simply mining by hand in several accounts simultaneously? How is that distinguishable from someone who is, e.g., checking Facebook while playing?

Re:lol Botters (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446654)

Steal their can, if no response after a couple times, they are macros.

Re:lol Botters (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445826)

Except for the problem that mining is a relatively simple way for low level players to earn in game money. So, its very likely a new player who is already overwhelmed by the craptastic EO interface could get caught up in this. Further, from my experience botting in other games, any decent bot can detect other players in proximity, and scripted actions can be taken. For instance, sense another player is nearby, travel to waypoint x or y. Return 10 minutes later. I had a fishbot in FFXI that would do that, emote to other players. It also would play the sound of a baby crying should I get a PM from another player. Run a bunch of bots, sit down, watch a movie. If you hear a baby cry (a sound the human ear is already good at picking up) and see which bot is having an issue.

Re:lol Botters (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447316)

Ideas like this have been around for five years. CCP simply does not deal with them in any way that's effective. Since they can effectively print money by generating ISK in their database, I suspect that this has a lot to do with it. ie - they don't really case in the end as long as they get some of the money, be it via subscription fees or PLEX that's bought.

Also, stories like this are four years old. The reality of game currency trading is that it's all connected to massive third world country server farming operations and organized crime. Money laundering via game items and currency is a very common use as well. When you visit a typical site to buy or sell such currency, you are immediately hit with several back-door programs and key-loggers. Their real goal is identity theft and to use your machine in their botnet if they can. Since more than 50% of people don't run adequate protection on their machine, it's quite effective.

Game companies need to be extremely aggressive as a result. CCP just has dropped the ball on this one for years, because if you actually DID this, players would shoot the bots clear off of the servers in under a week as bots and the price problems and server lag that they cause are the #1 most hated thing in the game and people in EVE live for blowing stuff up if they can.

Re:lol Botters (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445602)

Or about US$20 in real money, if they just sell PLEX to pay for the loss.

Re:lol Botters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446194)

I have a lot of reason to believe that you have probably killed more players than bots:
- I have been in a few mining corps, almost every time we were accused of botting.
- A few times we were even ganked (not during hulkageddon), this happens most often in Amarr highsec.
- CCP says most botting happens with L4 missions because it is just so much more profitable, and not so long ago you would even get more minerals from doing L4 missions and salvaging.

I think the accusations happens mostly when miners are not looking at local. Miners are often watching TV, and talking to each other and don't feel like looking at local and it can take several minutes to respond to messages from local.

Re:lol Botters (1)

Ganthor (1693614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35447294)

Any hints on how to identify bot miners?

Would train up a bot hunting alt for this!! ;)

MMORPG users buy in game money for real money. (0)

residieu (577863) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446160)

So, Eve users buy isk with dollars from botfarms? Just like players of every other MMORPG? Wow, what news.

Who runs the english and russian sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35446264)

I doubt anyone would care, but the site is not run by organized crime. It's run by three people from the Northern Coalition and the Drone Russians, I am sure their names will leak out soon.

so let me get this straight (1)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446620)

you play a game where you skill up by logging in once a day and clicking the skill you want, and you buy in game money rather than playing the game to get it. . . .

why do you play the game?

Re:so let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35447152)

Because for some people, the interesting bit is what you do with the skills and the money, not the process of obtaining them. What they're really buying is the ability to skip the boring part.

Re:so let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35447276)

You play the game so you can blow up other people's ships and feel like you really harmed them since the ship is permenantly destroyed.

RMT, Bots, Grind (2)

pellik (193063) | more than 3 years ago | (#35446704)

EVE has, for a long time, had a dilemma regarding RMT, Bots (macros or injection based programs to automate activity), and their relationship to making isk the old fashioned way. The core of the problem is that, while sandbox poliltics and war are engaging social games, the process of making isk is an extremely tedious and largely solo activity. The end result is that making enough ISK to actually play the game is really not fun.

Further compounding the demand for easy money solutions is that EVE itself is not designed for the risk-averse. When you lose a ship in EVE it is gone. You may get a token insurance payment, but most of the wealth and effort you had tied up in that ship is lost to you. It is only natural that people who play such a game are more willing then normal to take additional risks to better themselves in EVE, fueling a higher normal amount of cheating. So right away CCP is at a disadvantage compared to other MMOs.

CCP in recent years has demonstrated significant effort in combating external RMT, with the most notable effort being the introduction of the PLEX (an in game item that when redeemed adds 30 days to your subscription). So to combat RMT eve has set a sort of standard RMT model whereby players can buy ISK. The catch to CCPs model is that the value of ISK is tied directly to the number of people who want free gametime.

Now, here's the catch. Thousands upon thousands of PLEX are paid for every month by people running bots (click macro or injection software to automate the game). Botting is the staple of RMT. So long as it is easy for people to bot it will be easy to set up shop in RMT. If ccp really wants to go after RMT they would need to address the botting epidemic in their game, which will absolutely kill the demand for PLEX. This system ensures that forum whiners will always have a reason to call the game unfair, and ccp developers will never be viewed as competent.

Good luck CCP.

I don't see the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35447302)

I mean, China got sweatshops, Eve got Macroers. Eve just models the real world more than we'd like to admit :-/
 

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