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The Deadly Dollar of Eve Online

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the taking-it-in-the-wallet dept.

The Almighty Buck 64

The Escapist this week talks griefing and griefers. One of their features delves into the down and dirty economic wars in Eve Online. From the article: "Having transferred the money and placed their trust in these virtual business proposals, the investors realized that they had been duped, but could do nothing to rescue their lost capital. The scam tolled 480 million ISK (EVE's currency), which is almost $1,000 in meatspace money."

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The Escapist is a Pain in the Neck, er, Eyes (0, Redundant)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066680)

I'm very tired of The Escapist. Their fonts don't scale and they try too hard to make a web page look like a magazine. Somebody throw me the highlights 'cause the site gives me a headache.

Re:The Escapist is a Pain in the Neck, er, Eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14066770)

It looks perfectly fine to me (I'm using Safari). Anyway they offer you a text version and pdf version for download. Check it out.

Re:The Escapist is a Pain in the Neck, er, Eyes (1)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066790)

At the bottom of that big image, er, page, er, whatever is a pdf and text link in small text. Here's the text version [escapistmagazine.com] if you're lazy.

Re:The Escapist is a Pain in the Neck, er, Eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14067353)

I really like how the Escapist makes their layouts of the site... But give me the option to either get the full text somewhere else, or let the site be properly scalable :/

The griefer is a player of malign intentions. They will hurt, humiliate and dishevel the average gamer through bending and breaking the rules of online games. But their activities are hardly extraordinary. Indeed, they only exist at all because of normal, human urges, albeit the ugly and reprehensible ones. They want glory, gain or just to partake in a malignant joy at the misfortune of others. But does griefing always mean overcoming the rules of a game? Can the intentions of the griefer be satisfied by something totally within the bounds of a game?

One game in which players are particularly cruel to each other is EVE Online. While naturally player vs. player (PvP) focused, its intricate economics emphasize the way in which malignant human impulses can find their way into a game-world. People will do anything for money, even virtual money, especially when it involves the challenge of emptying the wallets of unwitting players. Usually the gaming griefer is a lone chump, but in EVE the troublemakers might well be a group of intelligent, patient folk, as my later examples will illustrate.

Of course, online gaming has long brought out a tribal instinct in players; they band together looking for friends or fights, or even looking to pick on the vulnerable.

Many players will go out of their way to avoid what Ultima's Richard Garriott calls "non-consensual conflict"; while for others the whole point of online gaming is to test their mettle - and that of their allies - against human opponents. Games like Second Life, in which almost all activities are non-adversarial, work hard to discourage conflict on all levels. For those players who want to play with people, but have no interest in playing against people, the idea of personal conflict is troubling.

Most gamers have been disposed to this pacifist attitude at one time or another, and who can blame us? I, for example, found being slaughtered by a higher-level enemy in World of Warcraft's PvP needlessly unpleasant. It left no room for retribution, and hammering a junior gnome just to expunge some frustration was more grief than my conscience could handle. So I moved to a non-PvP server, where my adventurous dwarf has been happily unmolested by matters of guilt or bullying ever since.

But there's always the other possibility: We look for trouble. This is where my EVE-playing personality appears. I want battles, double-edged conflict.

This attitude is perhaps more common to gamers, who want to play to win against other human beings, be it in Warcraft, Battlefield or a game of internet mah-jong. It's easy to find this kind of conflict online. Most games are built around ideals of direct competition: rankings, hi-score tables, winners and losers. We've all been there, and liked it or not.

But then there is another kind conflict, subtler than that of the battlehammer or the bazooka. It's something that can hit people harder than any deathmatch loss. It's more sophisticated and more satisfying than the most elegant Counter-Strike maneuver. It's malicious, but lacks the base stupidity of team killers or campers. It's the smartest kind of player griefing currently imaginable. It's the scam.

Most games aren't quite complex or realistic enough to allow scams to take place, but EVE Online's multifarious galaxy, which hosts player-run corporations and a sophisticated market-driven economy (with all the functions and utilities that such operations entail) regularly suffers the machinations of the scheming ne'er-do-wells.

Many gamers have now heard of "The Great Scam," which was one of the earliest examples of how EVE Online's game mechanics gave way to a massive rip off. The infamous 15,000 word article documented how two players were able to accumulate both the trust and the cash of a lot of other, more gullible players, simply by playing the kind of confidence tricks that investors rely upon in the real world market.

The scammer revealed that he and a friend had proposed an open business venture to purchase blueprints from which one of EVE's most expensive and coveted battleships could be built. They played on the innocence of gamers, acting as if this kind of venture was a matter that was regularly enjoyed by EVE's savvy players. Their investment was supposed to give rise to an in-game manufacturing venture which would make everyone involved rather wealthy; paying back loans and generating profits for those who gave up their money, according to the amount invested.

This all sounds familiar, rather straightforward, just as all business scams should. But actually producing ships in EVE takes some work, and instead of going into business the two scammers simply shut up shop and made off with the cash.

Having transferred the money and placed their trust in these virtual business proposals, the investors realized that they had been duped, but could do nothing to rescue their lost capital. The scam tolled 480 million ISK (EVE's currency), which is almost $1,000 in meatspace money.

Their investors were left with nothing and, because they'd willingly parted with the money through no fault of the game itself, they had no recourse but to make impotent threats of revenge. Grief indeed.

Of course there are other, lesser tricks that EVE players can perform to dupe the unwary, like pricing scams.

It's harder to fall for now, with recently-installed big red numbers telling you when a purchase isn't a good deal, but yes, I've accidentally bought a shuttle for seven million instead of seven thousand credits. When you're in a rush, do you always count the zeroes? It was a hell of a blow to my skinny wallet, and that simpler scammer must have been laughing.

Just as with "The Great Scam," there was no way to take it back. EVE provides no safety net for your mistakes. The same is true of the actions of corporation thieves, those sly folk who join corporations (the EVE equivalent of guilds) and then steal from communal resources, potentially looting items that have taken months to accrue. Their actions are entirely within the mechanics of the game, and will always be so. The lesson seems to be: This is a game in which there are other people, and you never know how far you can trust them...

As such, there's been another even more profound example of the potential of EVE's game mechanics leading directly to player grief, one that has inspired awe wherever the story has been told. Compared to this awesome venture "The Great Scam" is positively miniscule, a mere trifle amid the majesty of EVE's greatest takedown. This is more than a scam, and to refer to it as such only diminishes the scale of its achievement.

Revealed with a flourish on the Eve Online forums, the attack by the Guiding Hand Social Club on one of Eve's wealthier corporations, Ubiqua Seraph, was a masterstroke of patience and cunning. Initially, the Guiding Hand, who had previously set themselves up as committed assassins, had been hired to assassinate the CEO of Ubiqua Seraph, and were to be paid handsomely for the task. Their method, though, was not the crude and difficult matter of waging war and killing the mark by martial means alone. Instead, the Guiding Hand infiltrated the Ubiqua Seraph to the highest level, taking 12 months to ingratiate themselves with the corporation and gain access to its extensive resources.

Like the 1930s FBI infiltrators who organized the Communist party meetings in which suspected conspirators were to be arrested, the Guiding Hand's own influence on the CEO of Ubiqua Seraph arranged the time and place of her doom. Not only did they schedule the trap,but the executioner was to be a fellow colleague, a director of her own corporation, and just another member of The Guiding Hand. When the time was right, The Guiding Hand ambushed their quarry in space, claimed the bounty, and pillaged the corporate coffers. What had originally seemed like a large sum was but a fraction of what The Guiding Hand plot would actually claim.

The mark lost her near-priceless battleship, one of a number of limited edition objects that the developers dropped into the game. She also saw the assets of her corporation, which she and her corp-mates had worked for 18 months to accrue, ransacked by Guiding Hand infiltrators. The Guiding Hand members who devastated Ubiqua Seraph took some 30 billion ISK in game money and assets, an amount that, if taken at current eBay exchange rates for EVE's virtual currency to real cash, comes in at a staggering $16,500.

Ubiqua Seraph was far from destroyed, but it's impossible to gauge the psychological impact of such a brutal strike on the players behind Ubiqua Seraph itself. Could they ever trust other online gamers again?

All of which begs the question: Are these devastating events really just acts of griefing, or just smart play?

Both the scam and assassination take place within the spirit of the game, which is one of ultra-capitalist competition and faction-warfare, and yet they cause the maximum hurt and upset to the players who've been victimized. They were organized and executed entirely within the game mechanics (with the odd real-life phone call), and as such, did nothing to abuse the economic or combative systems the developers installed. The Guiding Hand and their like might as well have been seen as just another guild full of dedicated roleplayers, just playing along with the game. Or are they the worst kind of griefers? Perhaps they could be both.

"The Great Scam" and The Guiding Hand takedown were massive betrayals of trust that, potentially, had real-world financial impact.

It's the breaking of unstated trust between allies that represents the deepest injury, however. The Guiding Hand infiltrators, in particular, had lied through their teeth and manipulated other players for over a year. It demonstrated that in spite of appearances, no one in the Eve game world could be trusted, especially if they were playing the game as it was meant to be played.

What do the developers of CCP do when people agonize on forums and petition their losses in these scams and schemes? Very little. They know that, in essence, this is what it's all about: people interacting. And wherever they do that, however they do that, they end up causing some grief.

Perhaps this is the most exciting aspect of EVE: It is a genuinely cruel game. If you destroy people's resources, either by war, scam or personal carelessness, you are literally wasting their time. You destroy part of what they have chosen to invest: their lives. It's a brutal fact, but then what other game can be said to provide such thrilling risks, and such extremes of gaming possibility?

This is a line in the sand: between griefing for its own stupid sake, as something that can be switched off and ignored, and the kind of grasping malevolence in gaming that leads to real, financial consequences. With virtual cash, comes virtual responsibility, and all the greed and cunning associated with it. The events we've outlined throw those facts into sharp relief, and reveal a new age online of economic exploits. Could these scammers represent a new breed of griefer? A smarter, sharper creature for the massively multiplayer age? As humorist Spike Milligan so dryly observed: "Money can't buy you friends, but it can buy you a better class of enemy." End Article

Jim Rossignol is a writer and editor based in the South West of England. He writes about videogames, fiction and science.

Re:The Escapist is a Pain in the Neck, er, Eyes (1)

Xarius (691264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071502)

Download the PDF version, it's much nicer to read. Although I agree that the website doesn't work well at all. Perhaps they should use the website as a 'light' version of the actual magazine?

awesome phrase (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066681)

"meatspace money"

That's just fabulous.

Re:awesome phrase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14066835)

It's funny; that one phrase stuck out in my mind, too, but only because it was in the "we're trying much too hard to look hip" vein that I thought went out with Wired Magazine.

Just because the laws of physics say I can shoot (1)

Dria Rain (924729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066719)

you with this gun here, does it mean I should? Many games have rules against scamming and generally misleading people. Apparently this is not the case in Eve... if there are no rules against it, does it make it right to do? How is it right to mislead somebody for your own gain? I don't see the point in this article. To me, it simply tells about a bunch of corrupt people in a corrupt game. Yes, it's just a game, but there are real people behind it, real money, real feelings. No matter how smart the scammer is, it's still a scam.

Re:Just because the laws of physics say I can shoo (5, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067048)

That's the whole freaking point of Eve. It's a sandbox where you can do whatever you want to do. It's a different game than other MMORPG where ripping people off is frowned upon. In this game people are famous for pulling off these sort of things. People put bounties on other people's heads. They try to gain the trust of a corporation just to rob everything that they own. That's the point of the game. It's like complaining that WoW can't be played without an Internet connection. I can understand if some people would not find this type of game fun...but you have to see why some people would be drawn to a game where anything goes.

Re:Just because the laws of physics say I can shoo (4, Insightful)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067610)

Eve is very unique in this sense. The rules of the game are set up where this kind of espionage is possible, and the players know it. That is what makes the game interesting. A rival corporation trying to squeeze into your marketspace? You can try and beat them in the market by undercutting them until they can no longer keep up, you can declare war on them and hope to disrupt their production via physical might, you can attack them politically with a smear campaign, or you can hire someone shady to destroy them from within.

This is what really sets the game apart. You have so many choices in how you want to accomplish your goal, and so many of the possible avenues require player skill instead of character skill. The game is brutal, it is ruthless, it is unforgiving. But when you truly succeed at something in this game, you are deserving of respect.

As much as I would hate to be on the recieving end of what they did, I have to respect GHSC for pulling off what they did. How many times do you hear of MMO players dedicating over a year of prep work to one goal? That is a LOT more patience than your verage gamer demonstrates.

Same Old Story (2, Insightful)

Reapy (688651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066749)

Does anybody know any publications, online or off, that focuses on gamer's experiences?

I mean, I see stuff like this article, and they always tro to comment on the "bigger issues" behind the actions. But I've read 5 million "why do griefers do it" articles, and really, it is boring. There aren't very many shockingly great conclusions. When someone cause trouble it's because they are having fun doing it and there are no concequences, end of story.

But what I would really like to see, would be a publication that had articles like the mentioned "the great scam" or whatever it was called.

That was a great read for me, and it is often why when I am interested in a game I will lurk in forums looking for player experiences.

So I'd like to read about the particulars of certain games. I want to hear about how a group stole a dreadnaught in eve online. I want to read about the plague in wow. I want to read about a newbies perhaps unusual playing experience. Perhaps I could hear in detail how a group of battlefield 2 players swept around a map and were cleaing up at every angle.

I really just like hearing about what people are doing in games, and doing well at. Not just a factual breakdown, but with a little embelsihment to make it more personal then a list of events. Really that one linked article is the perfect example of how I'd like to see lots of gaming situations narrated.

Most every gaming article I see has to be some persons attempt at the sociology of gamers, or how gamers make money (but never give too many details), or a thousand other things that would relate to a "mainstream" audience.

I really would like to see some writing about games that does a great job describing the emotions we all feel as players when we are sitting around accomplishing things in our games. I want it to drag me in to make me feel like I'm actually accomplishing those objectives with the player.

Wishful thinking perhaps, but I just thought I'd get that out there.

Re:Same Old Story (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067004)

Google on the guiding hand social club. The heist was fascinating and there have been a number of articles about it, although mostly from the perspective of EVE players.

agghh my eyes (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066809)

i'm white on black blind

Re:agghh my eyes (0)

karnal (22275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067596)

Is that anything like accidentally witnessing "jungle love"?

Roleplayers and Time (4, Insightful)

BobBobBobBobBob (861762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067040)

It seems to me that the players in the Guiding Hand Social Club were really just very dedicated roleplayers (as is suggested, then rejected, in the article).

For them to spend a year planning and executing the infiltration, assassination, and thefts shows that they were in it for more than just "getting" the target and her corporation. In my experience in other games, griefers tend to use the power/influence they've accumulated working alone or with random strangers to kill/loot/annoy other random strangers for that moment of glee they get from their target's anguish. It's more about showing their power than it is about personal gain, since they usually target much weaker opponents.

The Guiding Hand was hired to do a job, in game, and they did it, in game. Yes, they also found a way to make it easier for themselves (the article mentions that it's much harder to assassinate a character through purely military means), but it took a year of their time. What they did proved that they are talented in-game manipulators and assassins, and ensures that they'll not lack for lucrative contracts in the future. They spent their time on acquiring in-game resources for themselves by the best means possible, taking them from others who had spent their time gaining them.

For the players of the members of the target corporation (Ubiqua Seraph), this was probably a very upsetting experience. Characters (people) they thought they knew had betrayed them. Would the Guiding Hand members act like that in real life? Most likely not. Would they act like that if real life were like EVE Online's universe? Likely. The Ubiqua Seraph players will probably have real trust issues, if they made that all too common mistake of assuming that your online opponents' characters are your online opponents.

Re:Roleplayers and Time (1)

BobBobBobBobBob (861762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068065)

Also possibly useful to discussing this issue, from Gamasutra's interview [gamasutra.com] with Nathan Richardsson of CCP, the company behind EVE Online:

We feel that the emotions involved with losing something of value is just as important as gaining something of value, it makes a very immersive experience. There have to be lows to make the highs more enjoyable. PvP allows us to achieve that.

The Guiding Hand players (and even the scammers from the earlier escapade aka "The Great Scam"--the long write-up by one of the participants in that was very good reading) were doing what the developers intended, within the framework of the game. The Guiding Hand players were definitely not griefers as they continued to play. The "Great Scam" duo may border on griefers, since at least one of them gave away the profits and left the game.

Original (4, Insightful)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067091)

Having read the original story/writeup of the guy who executed the scam, I have to say it was one of the best pieces of writing I've seen in a long time. The way he describes the personalities of the other parties involved added a lot of depth to the story.

As to the scam itself? Bloody brilliant. But in an age where suddenly there's a SERIOUS time commitment to make that amount of cash, and theft causes SERIOUS anger in people, it makes me wonder how long it will be before the government tries to get involved. I mean, how is cash in a game different from any other nonphysical thing which you can be busted for stealing?

The funny thing is that after he got it all, he gave it to some noob and deleted his character, since this was this guy's way of "beating" the game. Which I guess makes sense in a game that places so much importance on the all mighty credit.

Re:Original (3, Interesting)

aafiske (243836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067266)

"The funny thing is that after he got it all, he gave it to some noob and deleted his character, since this was this guy's way of "beating" the game."

That's interesting, but I can see it seeming a little unfair. Essentially he performed a huge corporate theft/assassination, and then ... committed suicide. Which, on some level, might be just because he is now denied the pleasures of the game. But what if he had just deleted that character, then started anew? Dodging retribution by killing yourself isn't such a smooth move in the real world, but in a virtual one...

It seems like these games (esp Eve, which is more realistic and cruel than most games) are simulating a reality where reincarnation and an afterlife are guaranteed. You're not really role-playing a character just like in this world, you're role-playing one in a world where if it dies, the motivating force behind the character can be put into a new character. Or at least has a heaven to hang around in and do more fun things.

How would people behave differently if they knew for a fact reincarnation was real, and unrelated to past behavior? It'd be fascinating to see a game that directly worked with these concepts of what happens when your character dies, assuming you In Real Life represent the soul.

No, no, you got it all wrong. (1)

gozu (541069) | more than 8 years ago | (#14074035)

Te Grandparent is talking about the 500 million scam perpetrated by NightFreeze (he's mentionned in the article) whereas you are thinking of the 30 Billion heist / murder by the assassin guild which is the main topic of the Escapist article.

  They are two completely separate things.

Re:Original (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14067325)

I agree. The original story (which I have archived on some disk somewhere) is a good read. Very entertaining. A scroller (Ya know? Scroller? Like page turner? Bah!).

This does raise the question: Was it real?! As I recall, little evidence came about proving that it was.

Re:Original (3, Informative)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067358)

Okay, I can't read the article because of a work firewall. However, as a long time Eve player, I know a lot of the major stories that have come out of the game. It sounds like there are two different stories mixed in here. The first, is the long and complicated infiltration/theft/assassination job done by the Guiding Hand Social club. IIRC this is fairly recent. The other story is from way back when the game was new, and a guy conned people into giving him isk to joint buy a battleship blueprint. Once he had finished his scam, the guy transferred all the isk to a noob, and quit the game.

IIRC, The Guiding Hand Social Club did no such thing after they completed that contract. I could be wrong though.

Re:Original (1)

Lewisham (239493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071224)

You might be interested to known that Jim Rossingol is a journalist for Future Publishing in the UK (home of PC Gamer, Edge, Gamesmaster and others). He may have gone freelance, I stopped reading the last publication he was publically credited with a long time ago :)

This is exciting stuff (2, Insightful)

triptogn (932201) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067116)

I find it exciting that this kind of social interaction is going on between players in an MMO. I feel for the players that got hit by this "scam" but it is really amazing that they would go through this kind of effort to pull something like this off.

Retribution (4, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067250)

The problems with scams is that they leave the victims with no course of retribution.

I personally believe sams have their place in PvP, but not so much PvE games.

In Ultima Online (back when everything was "unconsensual" as the article states Lord British saying) if someone scammed you and you knew who they were you had a chance of taking revenge on them at least by killing them.

I knew a guy that scammed my coworker back in 2000 (or was it 1999) and he took it personally. My coworker had a house and somehow this guy actually hacked his account with a trojan that he sent him on ICQ since he was supposedly a friend online and cleaned out his house and since it was obvious that it was the file that he had sent him he knew what the other names he played with.

We spent many a night just showing up and following him around. Out of the blue when he stepped out of the town we would kill him. We turned him in for macroing several times and even had someone make a character just to join his guild that he was in to mess with him.

When he was in town we'd have throw away death robe theives to steal from him and even run up to him naked with DP (deadly posion) daggers and hit him to make him die in town (even though the guards would halberd us at the same time)

After a while, we might have made it over excessive given the retaliation harrasment we gave him, but with player justice we took things into our own hands rather than letting the GMs handle it.

In a PvE environment this is really impossible since players do not have any other ways of retribution other than reporting the offending player.

However, the down side of player justice is that if you weren't in a guild or were just a poor player compared to the rest you don't have much chance of retribution. Secondly, I think often times player justice would often kill the wrong player or people that were supsect of scamming or being pks.

In a simulated world scams are just an extension of the theiving and player killing and perhaps is a legitimate strategy (although I would disdain anyone who would scam anyone in a game). However, you still have to balance that out with what the player base will tolerate in the terms of 'greifing'.

Re:Retribution (1)

zap0d (559630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067519)

Eve-Online is a free far all PvP game with some PvE elements.

Re:Retribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14069645)

What's the point of being naked when your an up to him with a poison dagger? I mean yes, it's obviously fun, but did you gain some advantage by being naked?

Re:Retribution (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070088)

No equipment to lose?

Re:Retribution (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14076748)

A keylogging trojan IMed to somebody is automatically out of line because it doesn't involve in-game mechanics. You probably had more serious retribution thna some PKing available given what he did.

Re:Retribution (1)

ArachV0id (614586) | more than 7 years ago | (#14088963)

You're wrong about people having no way of retribution in EVE, if Ubiqua Seraph had cared about their losses they could've declared war on the Guiding Hand Social Club and hounded us until we quit. They chose to cut their losses and move on, if they wanted to they could hire other people like us to punish us for them, believe me they could afford to cause us plenty of difficulties. That's the nice thing about how we went about it, we did not hide behind alts, we took credit for what we did, we gave everyone the opportunity to punish us for our "evil". The fact nobody ever chose to does not mean it isn't possible (or easy for that matter).

Wait a minute! (2, Funny)

CyberVenom (697959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067292)

480 million ISK goes for $1000 real money? What the hell am I doing reading Slashdot at work? I should be reading Slashdot while playing EVE online!
Seriously, thats a lot more lucrative than I thought the market in EVE was - 480M ISK is not THAT hard to come by.

Re:Wait a minute! (1)

vmardian (321592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067667)

Maybe that's an old number because current price is $224.99 / 500M according to one infamous site.

Re:Wait a minute! (1)

Amerame (873520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14067715)

They understood something wrong, 480M Isk is worth closer of 100$ than 1000$, 3 months gamecard (ie 50$ worth) goes for 300M Isk, it's probably not the same ratio on ebay, but still that should give a rough idea. A decent player will get something in the range of 10-20M Isk / hour with a single account.

Re:Wait a minute! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068000)

That is because the scam took place almost 2 years ago. It was in the beginning of Eve, when the first battleships were not yet made, since noone had the BPO (blue print original).

The complete story on this, by the scammer himself can be found here:
http://static.circa1984.com/the-big-scam.html [circa1984.com]

Griefer Pit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14067334)

What this means to possible EVE players is:

"EVE is a busted game where griefers aren't just content to make you miserable: they will actually steal your real money/time from you."

Enjoy!

God, I hope they never get rid of EVE. Having a central pit for so many griefers is worth the price (CCP pays for us).

Old Story (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068100)

About a year ago. [slashdot.org]

Re:Old Story (1)

tvalley000 (410933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14083853)

About a year ago.

RTFM. Although the article references this old tale in comparison, the bulk of the article is about a recent scam.

Home shortcut takeover? (1)

silvaran (214334) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068349)

I'm not sure if this is significant or not; it's related to the article. When I hit Alt+Home in Firefox to go back to my home page, it takes me to this link [escapistmagazine.com] instead. The home button still works properly, however. Bug in FF, or is the article set up to capture this shortcut?

I'm not sure which is worse: My confusion, or admitting to having read the article.

the escapist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068524)

If I wanted to read EVERY escapist article that comes out EVERY day or EVERY Joel on Software article that comes out EVERY day, I would go to those actual fucking sites or get an RSS feed of them.

Seriously, there are plenty of other commentators and game sites alike. The only explanation for Slashdot posting their storeis and linking to them SEVERAL TIMES PER WEEK *EACH* is some sort of back-door monetary tie-in.

How fucking dispicable. At least have a "this story bought and paid for by..." byline if you're going to do this shit, guys.

Re:the escapist (1)

msoya (599813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14113069)

Well, I found it worth reading. Not everyone reads the same mags and sites you do.

EVE sounds worse than RL. (0, Troll)

Phyvo (876321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068527)

You can't perform a background check for one thing (the person can create an entirely new character). There is only two things you can do against such tactics: Double agents, and freezing hiring. But before the hiring freeze your enemy can get in anyways, or simply use war to kill you through superiour unmbers. Double agents are just more of the same subterfudge. Seems to me that it's impossible to avoid. Even if you manage to kill everyone in an enemy company they can create new chars and kill you, in revenge, no matter how powerful you are by using your power against you.

I don't care how good you think EVE is; it's terrible. Any "game" which allows any person to crush the dreams of another like that is completely stupid. Getting highs because of the lows? What kind of crap is that? Does theft in real life work like that? No. If I get my house robbed I'm much more upset than I was before. When I get past the issue will I be happier simply because my house was robbed? Is life better when we hurt each other? When we are more brutal and savage? How then can a game do better?

EVE seems to be paticularly nasty in that those who hurt others for fun can do so with no consequences whatsoever. Granted, massive corperations can't just all reroll, get together again, and then do another attack without being noticed. That can happen in RL too, but at least there is some justice.

You who think that EVE is fun should probably just stick to living life unless you derive some glee from participating in scams, destruction, and theft. Then you'd better stick to EVE.

I agree, just like football, or chess, or ANYTHING (1)

tacroy (813477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14068774)

Anything with competition anyway. Which by definition is destroying someones goals to achive your own. It's really just a opinion on what is fun. Some people like competition some like to just relax.

Re:I agree, just like football, or chess, or ANYTH (1)

Phyvo (876321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14072580)

There is competition, and there is competition. For most people I imagine that after investing a year or two into something you'd take having it all destroyed personally, whether you worked in a virtual world or not. Having people that you trusted betray you just makes it worse. At least in most competitions there are defined rules that eliminate most dirty play.

Re:I agree, just like football, or chess, or ANYTH (1)

tacroy (813477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14073716)

Yup. And the rules of the game ARE to have corruption and stealing and the what not. It's one of the purposes of the game. If they dont like it, then they should play something else. Similarly, if you like conflict but dont like contact, dont play football. A better game for someone that is turned off by this would be WoW or any number of MM-things that dont allow for this style of gameplay.

Re:EVE sounds worse than RL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14068788)

Please, stay in games like WoW then where your hands are held and you never have to risk anything.

Eve is for big boys, if it hurts your feelings that, god forbid, a game simulates life a bit more realistically then another, then we really don't want you playing.

And as for the original article, 480 million isk is approximately worth $30. If that. Trust me, with 1.2 billion isk in my wallet atm, I would have cashed out LONG ago.

Re:EVE sounds worse than RL. (1)

NateE (247273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069025)

Yeah, I agree there is no hand holding in Eve. I played back when it was first released. Eve has very nice graphics but the gameplay isn't for everyone. Spend weeks getting a good ship, lose it in less than a minute to a player pirate or a bit of lag.

Back then a significant problem was in letting newbs into your corp. Is it a throwaway alt of somebody who is looking to rip you off? Or is a legitimate player who will be an asset for your organization.

I was hoping that the devs would add an account lookup feature to see stats on an account's characters. Since multiple characters per account is so standard nowadays, I knew they would never go to a one character per account policy.

Re:EVE sounds worse than RL. (1)

Phyvo (876321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14072611)

Disclaimer: I am not assuming that you're somehow inexperianced with losing stuff in EVE. I'm just curious and want to understand your point of view further. How much have you lost in EVE, and why do you keep on playing?

Re:EVE sounds worse than RL. (1)

NuShrike (561140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14112366)

Some people don't get enough pain, or just enjoy their RPG lives a lot. I personally rather get away from more pain with the limited time I get to game.

This is why I quit EVE, and play Warcraft (PvE) or Tenkaichi instead.

Re:EVE sounds worse than RL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14072616)

Um, dude, look at ebay.

Two weeks ago, you could sell 100m for $30, which translates to $360 for 1.2 billion. I doubt things have changed so drastically in that little time.

Re:EVE sounds worse than RL. (1)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070016)

You who think that EVE is fun should probably just stick to living life unless you derive some glee from participating in scams, destruction, and theft. Then you'd better stick to EVE.

By extension, those who derive glee from killing hookers and cops also play Grand Theft Auto. In which case, there is a Jack Thompson on Line 1 whom would like to speak with you.

Repeat after me. It is a computer game.

The Great Scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14069015)

I should point out that the article quoted by The Escapist titled "The Great Scam" has serious inconsistancies and is widely believed to be mostly fiction. Its an interesting story, but I dont believe that its anything more then that.

Clarification (3, Informative)

Silver Night (932333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069197)

There are some things that are incorrect. The actual amount stolen was some 30 billion in assets. This has an aprox. 'ebay' worth of $16,000, thats with 3 0s. The character was not deleted. It ws that players main character, and they continue to use it, as a member of GHSC to this day. Other points of intrest: The CEO of UQS was killed in a ship that is rare and wirth a couple billion by someone in one of 2 exsisting Imperial Apocalypse class battleships, worth at least 10 billion. To those commenting on the Game, its jsut a game. Ther are ways to make sure this doesn't happen, UQS didn't use them,a nd they paid the price. They do still exsist and have mostly recovered. You can check out peoples backgrounds. If they are new characters, you don't trust them, tahts all. I've been playing for 2.5 years, and I haven't seen many people complain. Its jsut not a fuzzy 0 risk for your reward game like WoW or something is all. Players deal with it. And there are reprocussions to people who do things to you. Merc corps, assassins, bounties, war declarations. All sorts of things.

Re:Clarification (3, Informative)

Silver Night (932333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069236)

Sorry, slight error, UQS did you the methods, tehre is jsut no way to deal with that commited an infiltrator. But people that commited are not the norm. There are ways to prevent theft though, usually. The UQS thing had a high ranking member of the alliance pulling it off, and they manipulated the entire bunch into doing what they wanted so tehy could strike.

The Truth about the "great scam" + clarification (0, Redundant)

ArachV0id (614586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069676)

Here's a topic about the article on the EVE-Online forums; http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topi c&threadID=248136 [eve-online.com] The "Great Scam" was pretty much entirely fictional, an entertaining story written and inspired by a much more simple scam where someone got investments, paid 50% on top back for a while and then ran off with all the money once he got some publicity and massive investments. Quote from thread: "Haha, oh Nightfreeze. You wonderful "goon", people still think your piece is real." The stuff about the Ubiqua Seraph "job" is for the most part true, apart from a couple of minor points, such as the article writer overestimating the rarity of Mirial's Apocalypse Navy Issue (about 2 billion worth), the Apocalypse Imperial Issue used to destroy it is indeed a unique item in the game, only two of which still exist, and no more of which will be released according to the devs (estimated value 15-25 billion isk). The heist and assassination were extensively covered by PCGamer UK in the september edition and have been all over the news everywhere since, here's a link to online scans of the article: http://eve.klaki.net/heist/ [klaki.net] I'm pretty sure that'll stand up to being slashdotted ;p PS. I'm the CEO of GH-SC.

The Truth about the "great scam" + clarification (2, Informative)

ArachV0id (614586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14069693)

Here's a topic about the article on the EVE-Online forums; http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topi c&threadID=248136 [eve-online.com]

The "Great Scam" was pretty much entirely fictional, an entertaining story written and inspired by a much more simple scam where someone got investments, paid 50% on top back for a while and then ran off with all the money once he got some publicity and massive investments.

Quote from thread: "Haha, oh Nightfreeze. You wonderful "goon", people still think your piece is real."

The stuff about the Ubiqua Seraph "job" is for the most part true, apart from a couple of minor points, such as the article writer overestimating the rarity of Mirial's Apocalypse Navy Issue (about 2 billion worth), the Apocalypse Imperial Issue used to destroy it is indeed a unique item in the game, only two of which still exist, and no more of which will be released according to the devs (estimated value 15-25 billion isk).

GH-SC's Press Release on the EVE forums at the time; http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topi c&threadID=172529 [eve-online.com]

The heist and assassination were extensively covered by PCGamer UK in the september edition and have been all over the news ever since, here's a link to online scans of the article:

http://eve.klaki.net/heist/ [klaki.net]

I'm pretty sure that'll stand up to being slashdotted ;p

PS. I'm the CEO of GH-SC.

Err reposted, because I'm a dumbass, can previous post be deleted or something ? :/

Re:The Truth about the "great scam" + clarificatio (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070390)

Fantastic story, worthy of a book !

I'm not an Eve player, though my friends and I did contemplate it pre-launch.

Absolutely terrible to be on the receiving end, mind you.
What I've not seen anywhere (and I haven't looked very hard) is what was the post-heist response of Mirial to her downfall.

The real psychological effect must have been depressing. Try explaining that one to your shrink!

any links ?

Re:The Truth about the "great scam" + clarificatio (1)

ArachV0id (614586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086181)

She stayed off the forums entirely. Still plays tho, and never stopped, so can't have bothered him that much.

Re:The Truth about the "great scam" + clarificatio (1)

MojoReisen (218327) | more than 7 years ago | (#14095828)

That was a job of epic scale, I'm impressed. Bards should write songs and poems about it. Knowing that such activity is possible, and that your organization is so patient, efficient and ruthless, makes me want to buy EVE and join the GHSC. I played the beta and loved the concept and the graphics, but got bored with all the mining. Anyway, good show. You're a legend in my mind.

Misleading example. (1)

Dixie Flatliner (850959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070501)

480M ISK is worth about $240, not $1000 - and I seem to remember there was about 20 or 30 people who got scammed in the battleship rip; so...that's what? $8-12 a person?

Frank Abignale they ain't.

I am a member of Ubiqua Seraph (2, Informative)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070825)

Guiding Hand Social Club are great roleplayers (particularly Istvaan Shogaatsu), but the story is always blown out of all proportion. Ubiqua Seraph (UQS) was not a particularly rich corp before the robbery, in fact it was quite poor compared to my former corp (Jericho Fraction, one of the most famous corps in EVE) who were well of by EVE standards but not rich. And the robbery only got corporate assets, the wealth of the players in most corps far out strips that of the corp itself. The worst thing was the loss of limited edition items (such as Mirials battleship) and some Tech 2 blue prints originals (Which are generally lots free money through building T2 ships).

And in reality it only set the corp back a few months. We are happily functioning now just as well as before the robbery. And as Guiding Hand's original statements indicated that they believed it would be a mortal blow (they specialise in griefing corps out of existence), we are quite happy to flaunt our recovery to them. I would also note that the amount lost was high for a theft, but was about average for the amount of ISK damage a good merc corp can cause through combat.

Guiding Hand are great roleplayers, and good at what they do. But they are terrible braggarts.

Not the biggest eve scam ever (3, Informative)

Daikiki (227620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14071117)

This scam was fairly elaborate, true, but it's not the biggest heist ever pulled off en eve, not by a long shot. The guiding hand social club once infiltrated one of the most powerful corporations in the game, Ubiqua Seraph, in order to carry out a 1 billion ISK assasination contract. It took them a year to gain access to almost all of the corp's resources. When all was said and done, they took off with resources valued at 30 billion isk, at the time nearly $15,000 dollars worth. The entire writeup can be found here:

http://www.mmodig.com/?p=155 [mmodig.com]

RTFA (1)

lazyl (619939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14081854)

Moderators too.

Re:Not the biggest eve scam ever (1)

ArachV0id (614586) | more than 7 years ago | (#14088943)

Heh, thanks for the compliments to the Guiding Hand, but UQS is not a powerful corporation, never has been, never will be, they're a small corporation focused on roleplaying and Amarr (the game's slaver race) supremacy.

"The Great Scam" Was entirely fictional, the article goes on to talk about the GH-SC Heist, thread starter focused on the wrong part of the story.

Eve is for adults (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14080697)

Eve is a game and if you view your game time as the act of playing i.e. What you do as opposed to what you have then this is all part of the rich experience.

I'm an alliance leader and CEO of a corporation and one of our war enemies was the controller of a corp thief who struck. As we were set up to effectivly handle losses from our general access low level modules and ammo hangers the impact wasn't so high and it invites the possibility of striking revenge against the enemy in question. Awesome way to spend you time eh?

If you like playing in a sandbox rather than being in a theme park with predefined activities Eve is for you.

Not the worse thats happened.... (1)

Rabbitgod (923989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14105968)

I'm an EvE player and the worse scam took a year to pull off. The Guiding Hand members who devastated Ubiqua Seraph took some 30 billion ISK in game money and assets, an amount that, if taken at current eBay exchange rates for EVE's virtual currency to real cash, comes in at a staggering $16,500.
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