Comments

Let’s imagine that everyone’s worst nightmares about EVE and RMT are true.

What if RMT (by which I mean the trade of EVE’s in-game currency, the ISK, for for real world currency) is not only being done on large scale by EVE online players, but has become the primary reason for EVE Online’s existence.

Let’s just say for argument’s sake that major in-game sov-holding entities and alliances, EVE gambling sites, EVE web hosting sites and a parade of EVE services purveyors, both in and out of game, are taking big stacks of ISK and systematically rolling them over into real world money. And heck, as long we’re blue-skying here, let’s say that CCP is not only unable or unwilling to stop EVE’s RMT trade, but are actually knowing participants and beneficiaries of the trade. Let’s say that CCP is colluding with key RMT interests for a percentage of the take and in order to optimize CCP’s RMT yield.

Let’s say EVE Online is no longer an entertainment for spaceship geeks of all ages and nationalities. Let’s say it merely exists as a money spinner, a machine for generating game world transactions that, in turn, generate real world transactions, thereby making real world money out of thin air.

After all, it’s not like this sort of thing is science fiction. It’s commonplace in the financial world. Wall Street is chock a block with financial organizations whose stock in trade is turning over transactions that have no point beyond the transactions themselves. The firm takes a small cut of each transaction, adding nothing of value to the item transacted. In such cases, the item and its value (or lack thereof) is not the point; the transactions, not things or services that provide utility of any sort, are the product.

Spinning money, it’s called. Right? OK, so let’s say for just a moment that all this is happening in EVE, and CCP (or key elemens thereof) are hip deep in the trade of real money.

Would it make a difference?

Think about it. Would you stop playing? Go play something else? Would it change the game for you? Would you be less entertained? At the end of the day, does it matter? And if not, should it?

Just something to think about.

- Mord Fiddle

About the Author: Mord Fiddle’s writings are an invitation to high tea in a world of rave parties. His readers gather at fiddlersedge.blogspot.com/ for thoughtful analysis, daring prose, deep insights, and Mord’s tendency to use words not writ nor spoken conversationally since Middle English went out of fashion.

  • Gareth Jenkins

    RMT isn’t a problem in and of itself, it only becomes a problem when it disrupts the in-game economy to the point of impacting player enjoyment. RMT can, potentially, even be a benefit to a game where it helps balance the economy of currency providers/sinks.

    I don’t doubt that the primary reason for EVE, as far as CCP are concerned is to convert the experience into real world money and in that respect it is, as you describe, there to convert in-game activity into money. The extent to which other folks benefit from that is probably irrelevant (to those not benefiting) apart from it’s impacts as outlined above.

  • Dumbledore

    Great to have back Mord Fiddle, the nullsec reporting legend. Waiting for your analysis on the current situation!

  • fatalll

    as a two day old player of eve, the fact that there are three articles about gigantic amounts of rmt on the homepage of this site kind of worries me.

    • GFY

      Go back to WoW then.

      • fatalll

        wasn’t aware i have ever played wow? but way to be a douche, i know you need to say that to at least 3 people today.

        • GFY

          Oops, I just figured with your whiny attitude, that you played. No one cares about your insignificant opinion, or worries.

          • fatalll

            sigh should i even bother? the only whiny attitude i see here is the authors of these articles. But as your post history shows it doesn’t matter what i say.

          • Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

            Don’t mind GFY, someone forgot to relock his cage when they fed him this morning.

          • Joseph Blade

            your retorts are seriously subpar.

        • Andrew Metzger

          EVE trolls are nothing if not dedicated individuals.

    • Joseph Blade

      as a player you won’t really notice too much from any of what is going on, but a lot of people have convinced themselves (correctly and/or incorrectly) that most 0.0 alliances have RMT outlets, armies of botting ratters and suchlike.

      however if you’re several days old, you are probably at least severak months away from even running into a potential botter or 0.0 unless you know people

      • fatalll

        trying to join a corp enl-i that gets you ready for nullsec, so i if all goes well i will be going my first time tomorrow or tonight :)

        • Provi Miner

          gl decent introductory null corps are hard to find. Sound mind was one of the best imo, right on a major pipe 0-5 mil sp only and they did their job they held the pipe. I miss sound

      • dichzor

        yes, there are bots in all citizen alliances. Why would you NOT bot if youre paying for the system anyway… incentive is there… ya, its broken. Yea, some people have more isk then braincells. RMT is a thing humans do in virtual worlds, therefore it will exist in some form anywhere and everywhere.

        Is it the game-breaking mechanic, that makes game worse for everyone? I severely doubt that premise. Yea, it dumps market prices a bit, but other then CCP losing out on some single digit % of the PLEX revenue, i fail to see the socioeconomic impact.

        RMT’s just another bucket of shit to fling on your opponents in the sov war discussions.

        • Kamar Raimo

          The main impact would be, that botting would create more ISK than “humanly possible” (i.e. who could mine/run missions 23/7) and that extra ISK supply creates inflation. That makes bounties worth less in comparison. Also botting pushes down the prices of minerals and loot because of their high availability. That is negative for miner revenue and PVE.

          On the other hand, price inflation coupled with lower prices in component materials (loot and minerals) would mean higher profit margins for manufacturers.

          Now, on metagame and out-of-game level RMT is more problematic as many people have explained before.

          The main in-game effect of the metagame would be that it benefits the position of larger established powerblocks (_if_ indeed it’s mostly them who do the botting/RMT) and that would make it more difficult for newer players to enter that field of gameplay on their own terms.

    • Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

      Don’t worry about the RMT articles… Just some tinfoil hat wearers seeing conspiracies everywhere. Then you have the trolls that feed them, hence all the commotion you see here.

  • NoTech

    Well, as long as CCP doesn’t give away SP for ISK/AUR I couln’t care less. And I’m not talking about this Cerebral Accelerator implant which gives up to +17 to attributes, I’m talking 1M SP for lets say 1 Plex. If CCP pulls that maneuver I’d unsub immediately.

    • Andrew Metzger

      What we need is the ability to sell Skills for ISK, then the “bittervets” would stop whining, It would also end clone cost tears, and level the field between newer players and the aging playerbase average.

      • Fartolio

        nope.

        • Andrew Metzger

          [channeling sean connery]

          yesh.

          • OPSEC Duder

            You can, it’s called the character bazaar.

      • NoTech

        I’m going as far as consolidation of SP. I mean like u have SPs in skills u never use. Once a year maybe you are able “forget” one completely and put the SPs into a new or other skill/s. But everything near ISK/AUR for improving/selling skills is not acceptable. Eve would loose its uniqueness regarding skills.
        And what good would a two weeks toon be with Elite (V) Logistics skill be when the user acc NEVER had live experience with it ?? The “Eve learning curve” is there for a reason.

    • Lowie

      Me too , with all her flaws , eve her skillpoint system is the best in the mmo world , soon as you can speed up skills with isk or euros im unsub too

  • Robo

    Rmt is a problem when it’s the certain drive, the primary reasons for certain coalitions taking certain actions.
    Eve should be all about fights, fun and content, not “you have to grind regions for me, so I can get a bigger rental empire/rmt”

  • Fartolio

    This is a good point.

  • Provi Miner

    nice you take it from A to K but forget the finish line. The finish line is in the abuses, the lack of in game content, and the real world threat. Lets say you are doing ok with your RMT empire you do well enough that you concentrate on that to the exclusion of a real world job in fact it is your real world job. Now what happens when some group comes in and begins to destroy your RMT empire. Understand they are not destroying space pixels, they are not just “grinding Sov”. Understand that they are directly threating your lively hood. The food you bring to your family, the car you drive the roof over your head. It stops being a game and becomes a survival thing. Do you begin to think of non game methods of protecting your RL income stream? Do you consider hiring a hackker to take out the opposition in RL? Maybe, maybe not, you know the answer but lets say you say “ok” and go back to delivering pizza’s. Thats you, now do you think all 63,000 eve players will simply get a real job and say “bah didn’t want that new xbox one anyways”? I don’t. I think only those with a certian style of personallity would bother to RMT anywyas and of them perhaps only a few would carry it into the real world. But even if just one person did it what do you think would be the result. BTW you need to watch mittens vagas forum “Mittani, find where he lives next time he onlines the titan I will have people cut his power”. We know that there are neo-nazi’s who the play the game, we know there are russians who are ummm less then all above board who play the game, we know that people with real world influence play the game. Still a nice A to K story.

  • Lee Thrace

    There are a growing number of entities ranging from the mafia to MS13 who have used gaming currency to wash money. The Linden Dollar(second life) is an example of a currency used for this purpose.

  • Garandras

    I feel more stupid for reading this

  • aralieus

    You must be very very VERY bored…

  • UncoveringCCP

    Oh good grief. They may have developed a great game. Those who don’t see it and/or don’t want to see the writing on the wall, are clearly the stupid ones. We get bound by rules in eve everyday. Any of us break them, we get banned. Yet ccp consistently breaks one of their own cardinal rules regarding RMT. We all know the stories are true, the evidence slaps you in the face all the time. If vendors are not paying ccp a fee, they get shut down in some way or another. The question asked in the article above are valid. A lot of people won’t care. They will still play, regardless, because in most cases they either got more in-game isk than you can imagine, or they are simply rich guys with too much money and don’t know what to do with it all. However, they fail to realize that a lot of new players joining the game find it harder to actually make isk like most rich boys in eve. They don’t have the resources to make the kind of isk most of the guys in eve do. Why you ask because you would say they do. Well, firstly, training takes time, in some cases too damn long. The longer ccp can keep you training the more they make. In many cases some of these guys go to RMT vendors to get that extra small boost of isk to keep them going while training because ccp’s plex prices are too high. Plex prices, i see why many would go to vendors. I would agree and disagree that vendors are good to have, because they drive prices of plex down if this was a market not being interfered with by ccp. We all know that ccp does interfere in the markets, and we all know ccp is involved in rmt trading with vendors. If you want to deny it because you are stupid, then by all means, you may do so, it is your right. However, the facts are still out there and a number of people have made it public knowledge that ccp is in some scheming way involved in benefiting from it. Now i don’t say that is wrong or right. What i do say is that if ccp create rules that forces players to suffer for buying isk or items from vendors, then ccp should too, because ccp are the ones banning accounts and/or setting their wallets to negative. Why are we as the Eve community allowing ccp to break their own rules and not suffer consequences for it? ccp keeps telling us that the players are in control of the markets. Why do we allow ccp to break their own cardinal set of rules they use on us as players?

  • Titshit

    Fiddler’s Edge : So?

    I don’t understand this RMT paranoia. I spend my isk on spaceships to blow them up because its fun.
    If somebody else wants to spend his ISK on a BigMac. Why would I want to give a fuck ?!

  • ><a1N

    There would be a figure on RMT amounts and I suspect CCP would not publish such an amount. However feeding huge amounts of isk into gambling sites via corps or characters that represent them is a nice way for the RMT trade to exist. So while I could pump 100 billion into a gambling site via an in-game representative corp there is only really one way to tell whether possibly a gambling site is also doing RMT. We need CCP to publish the balance sheets of the gambling representatives that exist in-game. So if a large amount of isk is coming in but little going out then put them high on the watch list of potential RMT traders or (traitors).

  • ><a1N

    By the way 5 years of playing EVE at a minimal average of 10 hours per week is (520 hours/year) X (say $20/hr you could have made working for a real job) = $10,400 you have lost/year playing EVE. Over the 5 years you have lost $52,000. Call this negative RMT where you trade your time for EVE time.

    • Provi Miner

      actually incorrect you fail to take into the positive factor of doing something you enjoy. Eve is not tax’s were every minute spent on them is one less minute spent on something positive. Consider how many people would actually work the extra 10 hrs for straight pay? No one I know would. How many people actually turn down overtime so that they can play eve? No one I know. However when you say ok here is a ten hour block now fill it, with something you ‘want’ to do. EVE is actually a very cheap alternative to other forms of “entertainment” comparably speaking. Cheaper then movies, cheaper than a lot of hobbies, cheaper then buying 10 hours worth of reading material a week.

    • http://robertbrewitz.com/ Robert Brewitz

      Logically true, till you realize, drinking a bottle of wine and a few cans of beer shooting at spaceships is the next best thing to do after a day of intense work ;)

  • Ciaphas Cyne

    plex is currently trading competitively with advertised RMT outlets. you begin to wonder just how profitable something like this could be for your average westerner. look at the price that ISK sells for, consider the small market you are dealing with (50k potential customers max?), and the relatively poor exchange rate from ISK to USD. unless you are living in the third world i cant see how RMT in EvE is going to pay for much of anything. maybe im wrong and half of eve players are buying ISK from unlicensed sources but I highly doubt it. The demand just isnt there.

    • UncoveringCCP

      From the research i have done. There is a demand, and there are players from all over the world that will buy from unlicensed vendors very much due to the fact that its far cheaper for them in the sense that for them buying PLEX=USD for them, and the USD for them when you calculate exchange is very high. So they pay more out to get a little bit back. One of my own friends the other day made a remarkably true statement, that most of the US and EU and UK based players do not take into account the slightly poorer players from 3rd world countries. They afford the subs, but to make isk is not very easy for them, because of a variety of reasons. So why is there discrimination against those that are slightly poorer than the EU/UK/US based players that have a far stronger currency making it easy for them to get plex costing them less due to exchange. I can see why they would try to find vendors to make buy isk cheaper. Understandably, some would exploit that ability, but there are those that try to get isk cheaper due to the fact that they are in 3rd world countries. Is Eve Online only developed for the higher working class and rich people, or is it meant to be for everyone?

      • Ciaphas Cyne

        just do the math. even if every single eve player purchased 500m isk a month from illegal sources it still couldnt support a network of full time RMTers

  • http://robertbrewitz.com/ Robert Brewitz

    Spun off the Bitcoin debates and articles to get some traction, congratulations! :D Worked on me at least, even though it wasn’t a very interesting read ;)

  • grammar_notseen

    I’m still asking for PLEX for Christmas rather than bitcoins.