An entrepreneur in the video game industry, MarkeeDragon, has been involved in gaming as a business since 1997, when he played Ultima: Online. Before ‘RMT” (Real Money Trading) was a coined phrase, MarkeeDragon discovered a loophole in Ultima’s game-time codes. Selling in-game currency and items for real money was not frowned upon back in the days of Ultima: Online, and MarkeeDragon realized he could trade Ultima: Online game-time codes for gold, and then resell the gold for a profit.
This became very profitable for MarkeeDragon, and he eventually turned RMT into a business. When EVE Online was released, MarkeeDragon gave it a shot, but he just couldn’t get into the game. He did however, realizing the potential of the game, add EVE time codes (PLEX), to his store. While he couldn’t sell the PLEX for real life money, he instead focused on digital distribution of the game-time codes to locations where CCP were unable to reach. Suprisingly, this bussiness also turned out to be very popular. At the time of the creation of this business, EVE time-codes were only available physically, so he had to purchase the codes, have them delivered from Iceland, and then type the codes in manually. Over time, the business grew, and CCP named markeedragon.com and official business partner. To this date, Markeedragon.com has sold $45-$50million worth of EVE game-time codes.
MarkeeDragon wasn’t always an EVE Online player though. His passion for EVE was born when he accepted a 30-day challenge. He dedicated himself to learning as much as he could about EVE within 30 days and become as good at EVE as he could. CCP promoted the event, and MarkeeDragon recorded all of it. He received a lot of help from the community, and that is where his passion for EVE came from. CCP even featured MarkeeDragon in a spotlight, where you can find more details of the 30-day challenge. [video]
MarkeeDragon is also a successful EVE streamer on Twitch.com. He streams EVE six days a week, and his channel has an average of 400 viewers. With the release of Youtube Gaming today, MarkeeDragon found himself featured on Youtube’s home page, and found himself with 6,500 viewers including CCP staff commenting in the live stream, where they helped answer questions. EVE is not a popular game on Youtube, and for MarkeeDragon to be featured for 8 hours today was a great thing for EVE. He was planning on streaming until he either fell asleep or was not the number one featured channel. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.
MarkeeDragon found himself victim of ‘Swatting’, where a person calls the Police claiming that the streamer is holding someone hostage, or has killed someone, causing a SWAT team to storm the stream. The Wikipedia definition of swatting is:
Swatting is the act of tricking emergency services into deploying an Emergency Response Team based on the false report of an ongoing critical situation
During his stream, he heard shouting in the house, he went on to say
My house is not a shouting house, the only time anyone shouts in my house is to tell a cat to get off the counter. So I went out into the hallway to see what was happening, and as I left the room, there were officers pointing guns at me. They handcuffed me, and had me kneel outside, and they cleared the whole house. My son who was asleep, he’s 22, but they handcuffed him too. Fortunately they didn’t handcuff my younger children, but I spent 15 -20 minutes in handcuffs, while they figured out what was happening. One of the officers was friends with my son, and as I went on to explain what swatting was, he agreed with me. The older officers had not heard of ‘swatting’.
It all worked out ok, but someone had called the local police saying that I had killed my wife, was holding my children hostage, and had a pipe-bomb ready to kill myself. And these weren’t just handguns they were using, they were assault rifles. And things can go wrong very quickly. Fortunately, I have experience with law enforcement, and knew exactly what to do. So now the local authorities now that I stream, and troll calls may happen, and to not take them seriously. I had never considered myself being swatted before, and of course, it happens today when I am streaming to a wider audience.
In the video featured, you can hear Thor, my Icelandic friend, talking about how I received a phone call 15 minutes before the police arrived at my house, and you can hear Thor say that whoever called me was probably the person responsible, making sure they had the right number. But of course, the media heard of it, and they arrived too. It was an uncomfortable evening, but it takes a lot to shake me. At least the local authorities are now aware of the issue, and hopefully it wont happen again.
Thankfully, MarkeeDragon is OK, and nothing seriously happened tonight, but the situation could have been completely different. He advises that anyone thinking of streaming, if you happen to become popular, and you are receiving an increase of viewers, you should probably notify law enforcement that ‘swatting’ happens, and that you may find yourself a victim of it.
To the person responsible for what happened tonight, he simply states
Swatting may be seen as a joke, but it can have potentially serious consequences, and you can find out more about swatting here