Iskbank.com Customers Speak Out
Before we broke the story about the Iskbank.com database leak, I approached several of the players who were listed as customers. Originally, this was a way to test the validity of the list printed in our first article and to gather some quotes. As I progressed, I became more interested in the stories that the customers told. Once the interviews were complete, I decided to publish in an article of their own. Whatever the actions or motivations of the people involved, I believe that their stories deserve to be told.
All names have been changed. As there is no way to confirm the facts behind the stories, all interviewees have been given the benefit of the doubt.
The Big Spender – A Brother’s Regret
The decision to purchase of thousands of dollars in items from Iskbank.com was born from a destruction. “[My brother] let me use his capitals. Imagine the rest,” confessed Eric, referring to the accidental loss of the Titan and Supercarrier class ships owned by his brother, another avid Eve player.
After the loss of his brother’s ships, Eric went into panic mode. “I was going to buy GTC[s] from [Iskbank.com, but the representative] said he would give me a deal, and I needed to buy a lot. It went back and forth, and he said he would just get me the two ships. I was in a hurry, because I felt like a dumbass.” Eric agreed to the transaction, paying by his estimate, about $2,500. While the order was prepared, Eric realized that he didn’t have any way of moving the ships, so he purchased characters for the express purpose of moving the ships (it is unclear why the ships’ original pilots were unavailable). Later records indicate that he made a separate purchase to outfit the Titan.
When asked about his willingness to spend such a large amount of money to replace in-game items, Eric’s response reflected embarrassment. “This is going to sound gay as can be, but I don’t have a lot in common with my brother, other than this game. I’ve had a successful life, all the breaks; he has had none. He was proud that he was better than me at this game, and I fucked up his work, even if it is a dumb game. At the time, I panicked. I should have stuck with the GTC route and gave him the ISK. It only saved me a couple hundred dollars and some time. I’m not sure anyone relates, but it mattered to me at the time.” He added, “The [Supercarrier] is gone already. [My brother] lost it, like, a week later.”
The Regular – Money Talks
“It’s simple, really. Isk is cheaper thank PLEX, and PLEX is just a legalized way of buying ISK,” replied Paul, when asked why he made several ISK purchases from Eveisk.com. His purchases, spread out over several months, ended up costing more than a thousand dollars. For Paul, dealing with RMT retailers gives him more for his money. Originally, he bought ISK to pay for equipment and resources, but over time, he used the ISK to fund market speculation. When asked if he’d ever been caught, he simply replied, “Nope. If I did [get caught], I doubt I’d continue.”
The First-timer – A Clueless Newbie Story
“I came from World of Warcraft. There is no PLEX system in that game, so old habits kind of carried over,” admits Angela, who had only been playing Eve for a short time when she found Iskbank.com. “I had just started playing, so the risk was low and the reward was high. I don’t have a lot of time on this character yet, so I can always start new if I do get caught and banned.” she said, speculating that, “The longer you play, the more you risk and the reward is probably a lot less,” noting that more experienced characters have more options when it comes to making ISK.
Angela had heard of the PLEX system, but didn’t really know what the difference was between it and buying through RMT sites. “I’d heard about PLEX before, but didn’t fully investigate what it was,” she mentioned. She has since learned more about the PLEX system and the penalties for engaging in RMT, coming to the conclusion that, “I honestly don’t think I’m going to be using 3rd party [sites] anymore. I feel more inclined to play legitimately.”
The Scammed – Cheater Gets Cheated
Mark wants me to be clear. When he tried to buy a character from Iskbank.com, he didn’t know it was against the rules. “I was a newb back then. I thought – because of the way it looked – that it was a legit site; like how you buy time codes.” After paying a few hundred dollars for a character that he didn’t receive, he learned otherwise. Out of ignorance, he contacted CCP to complain. “[They said] that wasn’t the way to buy characters and pointed me to the Eve Online forum where you can buy characters with ISK.”
I asked Mark if he ever got his money back from Iskbank.com. “Ultimately, no. They took my money and I didn’t get anything back from it. ISK is money anyway, when you’re a PLEX player, so I took it as another Eve scam.” He added, “I thought it was a legit way to buy characters. I tried to contact them about it, but after a while I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I can’t sue them.”
When asked if he thought CCP could do more to explain that RMT is a violation of Eve Online’s rules and that the alternative exists. Mark replied, “Yeah, it’s in the fine print at the start, [but] there should be something simple, like a corp bulletin, which says ‘anything bought with real money outside of Eve that isn’t a time code is illegal’.”
When asked, all of those who agreed to an interview said that they had faced no consequences from CCP for engaging in RMT activities. While most (but not all) of those interviewed stated that they were more likely to use the PLEX system in the future, it is impossible to know if this is more due to a genuine desire to play by the rules or simply a result of their discovery that Iskbank.com‘s customer database was leaked.
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