Chances are, by now you’ve heard the tale of the 317 billion ISK donation that was made to EVE University, and how the donation was then confiscated. If you haven’t heard the tale, it’s covered at length on both TMDC and EN24. Poetic Stanziel has also written a post copying Kelduum Revaan‘s notification of his understanding of the facts to the E-UNI membership, and a follow-up post covering his concerns about a security team that apparently reports to nobody but the security team.
So the facts here are well-covered and I encourage you to make yourself familiar with them. But I will very briefly summarize. Skip down three paras if you’re already familiar with this story.
E-UNI had a long-term member, who Kelduum referred to as “John”, apparently a model E-UNI member. But he also managed to rack up the aforementioned 317 billion ISK through station trading and market manipulation. One of the means of this remarkable success was a self-built tool meant to operate in the in-game browser that — as far as I can tell — made it easier to facilitate price changes of market orders in Jita. I presume this tool operated by doing pulls of market data, comparing it to the known prices of the programmer’s buy or sell orders, and then likely notifying John which orders needed to be updated.
I don’t know for sure if this is how it worked, but based on the limited information that’s been provided to date, this seems the most likely scenario. However the tool worked, the efficiency of John’s station trading was flagged by one of CCP’s internal security tools, John’s account was flagged as “suspicious”, and he received a 14-day ban for a violation of the EULA, specifically the portion forbidding the use of macros. At the end of the 14-day ban, John over-reacted rather badly, donating his entire fortune to E-UNI and bio-massing all of his characters. Kelduum took the donated ISK, transferred it to a shell corporation, and sent a petition to a GM informing CCP where the ISK came from and asking for assurance that the ISK was not gained through illegal means.
A few days later, CCP responded by confiscating the ISK. Kelduum objected both privately and publicly, repeatedly, but CCP has held firm stating that it is their belief that John violated the EULA and the ISK was ill-gained.
There’s several interesting things going on here.
Let’s start with the basic one. CCP Sreegs has flat-out stated that John was botting. So anyone who is arguing against CCP’s response on this is essentially defending a botter. Now, given how much CCP enjoys negative publicity (hint: they despise it), I think we can all be confident that Sreegs is pretty certain of his facts here. The better part of a month went by over the course of this investigation, the whole thing has gone very public, and the person at the center of this is a member of the CSM with unprecedented access to Sreegs and the rest of CCP.
In short, I think we can be pretty damn sure that this was looked into pretty thoroughly before Sreegs was permitted to go public.
But weirdly, this situation seems to have escalated beyond that, on two levels.
The first weird level is Kelduum’s participation. As I said, this guy is a member of CSM7. As a result, he could have (and should have) kept this thing entirely private using the contacts he has with CCP to address this. In his post, Sreegs seems quite honestly perplexed that a CSM member would take something like this public, and so am I. In an ironic twist, CSM members aren’t supposed to get directly involved in GM petition disputes regarding single player issues — it’s one of the hidden quirks of the job. But here we have a CSM member doing just that, then quite frankly trying to air the thing in the court of public opinion when the decision didn’t go his way.
That’s ironic in the extreme. And as far as I can tell, Kelduum seems entirely motivated by the money. Now granted, that’s a lot of money. But still, this is the windmill he chooses to tilt at? Really? Here’s my favorite bit of his e-mail to his membership (it’s from one of his petitions to the GMs):
I appreciate your time spent checking this for us. Not to be ungrateful, but are you absolutely sure that all of the ISK was illegitimate? There isn’t some fraction that is legitimate that we could keep?
Oh dear Heaven. Really?
That’s the quote of the week, by the way.
So here we have a CSM member defending someone who is at best a market botter and is at worst a full-on violator of the TOS/EULA. And then he’s trying to keep this botter’s ISK, even if he only gets to keep a portion of it. Forgive me for not having much sympathy but as someone who legitimately trades in Jita every day and spends hours fighting market bots and macros, I’ve gotta tell you that I despise everything John stands for. Sorry about that.
If that wasn’t ironic enough, on the other side of the debate is Poetic Stanziel defending EVE University! Who ever thought they’d see that happen? He argues that Sreegs over-stepped his bounds and is operating without oversight. To be fair, Sreegs does seem to imply that while the initial investigation into John’s activities found relatively minor macro use, deeper investigation revealed more serious EULA violations. Poetic is troubled by this and compares it to a policeman investigating one crime, eventually finding the suspect innocent of that one, but during that investigation finding the suspect guilty of a completely unrelated crime and prosecuting that crime instead.
Pardon me for interjecting a little reality into the situation… but… ummm… so what?
Kelduum brings up U.S. jurisprudence saying that John should be innocent until proven guilty, and that’s so amusingly ridiculous that I’m surprised he even thought of this issue in that context.
Guys, we play a game on a server. CCP owns that server. CCP owns everything on that server, including all our characters and all our assets. Don’t believe me? Check out the TOS for yourself. It’s in there. That gives them the perfect legal right to delve into any activity we’re involved in on their servers and stomp the crap out of us if they find we’re doing something untoward. Whatever it is. However they find it. For any reason they care to. Any time they like.
Let’s be clear here. I’m not exactly a fan of Sreegs sometimes. But he’s completely in the right on this one, and anyone arguing otherwise is wrong. I realize this probably won’t be a popular opinion, but I think he’s got good reason to be perplexed at people arguing with him. And trying to say that he’s acting without oversight is just silly.
Kelduum, good luck with that windmill. Let me know how it goes.
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