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Jester’s Trek: The Bonus Round

March 25, 2014

Let’s delve into a simple story of EVE players behaving badly.

I’m not usually the type to call out individual EVE players on this blog. This time I’m going to. Erotica 1 is an EVE player. He is also a despicable, vile, evil human being. I am ashamed to share a video game community with him. I’m not going to tell this man’s full story because that wouldn’t be a blog post. That would be a novel. This blog post will be quite long enough. Feel free to Google him and look at the appropriate threads in Crime and Punishment on the EVE-O forums and elsewhere. No, I’m going to limit myself to a short introduction and then a single link to a simple recording.

It starts with ISK doubling. Now ISK doubling is a pretty standard scam in EVE and quite profitable for those that engage in it. You create a set of rules, and then you exploit the fact that most humans have a difficult time following a specific rule set. It’s not nice behavior, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s relatively harmless. People lose a few billion ISK and emerge from the experience sadder but wiser, and then they keep playing, or they become ISK doublers themselves, or they quit.

Erotica 1 has taken the practice to a new level. Every once in a while, he finds a victim and escorts that victim into what he calls a “bonus round.” The purpose to the bonus round, supposedly, is to quintuple the amount of ISK put into the pot by the victim. The real purpose to the bonus round is to inflict as much humiliation on the victim as possible with the intent of making the victim snap. The entire thing is recorded and the recordings listened to by this slime and his buddies for their enjoyment, and very occasionally shared with the EVE community at large.

I encourage everyone reading this to listen to this bonus round in part or in full. I have listened to it in full. I owed it to the victim to understand his story. He lived through it. The least you can do is understand what he was put through… for more than two hours.

The bonus round proceeds in three “phases.” In phase one, the victim is instructed that he must have “faith in the process” and must volunteer to follow all instructions given to him. The victim is then pulled into an out-of-EVE Teamspeak session (to attempt to avoid EULA or TOS issues that might result). The victim is then instructed to create a full API to which Erotica 1 and his team of instigators will have access. The victim is then instructed to:

  • contract all of his assets to the instigators;
  • send all of his ISK to Erotica 1;
  • turn over any items in the redeeming system;
  • turn over any PI materials;
  • cancel any in-work science and industry jobs and turn over those blueprints;
  • turn over all in-game clothing;
  • convert any sizable balances of LP into items and contract them over as well;
  • turn over all balances in any EVE-related gambling sites such as EVE Online Hold-em, SomerBLINK, et cetera.

By now, most of you are saying that anyone who would agree to these terms is not thinking clearly and I would tend to agree with you. Except we’ve established for a long, long time that there is a subset of EVE players who are (a) ignorant about the nature of the game, and (b) greedy. I have no doubt that Erotica 1 gets his share of victims by simply dangling the prize of a quintuple payout. Who knows, perhaps from time to time he does even pay out for the sheer entertainment value.

In this recording, the victim follows all instructions (or as the instigators put it, “he shows faith in the process”). Things then proceed to phase two, the “educational component.” The educational section involves the victim reading the most boring, pointless tripe imaginable for long stretches. Early in the proceedings, the victim admits to having a minor speech impediment that quickly becomes apparent. One of the instigators pounces on this and suggests that any word the victim cannot pronounce properly, he be made to look up the definition for and read that definition as well. Another of the instigators decides that the best possible “education” will be for this person with an admitted speech impediment to read a Wikipedia entry about Russian history(!).

By forty minutes in, the victim is understandably a little bit upset. How long is this going to go on? He wants to know. It’s quite late at night for him. He has to go to sleep and go to work in the morning. “Have faith in the process” he’s told each time he gets frustrated, bored, or impatient. “Think about what you’re going to do with your winnings!” he’s reminded. And the process continues, and continues, and continues, increasing the pressure on the victim. This phase goes on for more than an hour and a half!

Then phase three begins: the “social component.” This starts with the victim singing songs and generally acting out childish behavior at the urging of the instigators. By an hour and 44 minutes in, the bonus room instigators are obviously having a very difficult time holding in their laughter and from time to time they mute the channel so that they can laugh at the bonus room victim. At these times, they alternate speaking. This gives one instigator the chance to get his laughter under control while other instigators continue to prod the victim. This alternating of torturers allows one to deliver a masterstroke. The victim finally asks in exasperation how many songs the victim he have to sing. The torturer casually says “We usually do ten or twenty songs.”

Needless to say, at this point the victim snaps and goes into a
profanity-laden rant to the very great amusement of the torturers.

I do not use the word torture lightly. Look at any list of psychological torture methods you like. You will invariably find on that list:

  • Sleep deprivation. Check.
  • Creating a state of learned helplessness. Check.
  • Subjecting the victim to interrogation for long periods. Check.
  • Isolating or surrounding the victim psychologically. Check.
  • Inflicting pressure through greed or blackmail. Check.
  • Exploitation of phobias, such as — say — making a man with an admitted speech impediment perform long periods of public speaking. Check.

I remind you again that this is happening in the game that you play.

EVE is real. And I assure you, what is being done to this man is also real. If you — for even a single moment! — would think to defend what is happening here or if you think it is “funny”, I invite you to share this recording with your mother or your aunt or your grandmother or your sister. Tell them that this is something that happens in the video game that you play. Tell them the “funny” tale of a few friends in EVE Online having a few laughs. Play her the recording. Let her judge this recording from outside the bubble that you’re living in.

I assure you this female relative will look at you in a whole new light thereafter.

I do not know the mental state of the victim and frankly, it doesn’t matter. It is quite clear by this point that the purpose to the “bonus round” is to inflict psychological torture on the victim for a long enough period of time until the proper pressure point is found and the victim snaps. Given the increasingly volatile nature of the EVE player base — something I’ll talk about later in the week — I can’t imagine this is too uncommon.

So here’s the victim, having snapped. He’s shrieking, he’s ranting, he’s screaming obscenities. His wife has to intervene and try to calm him down… unsuccessfully. She retires from the proceedings, apparently having a panic attack. At this point, any human being with any conscience at all… anyone with even the smallest drop of human mercy in them would put a stop to the proceedings.

Erotica 1 and his fellow torturers do not. They continue to exploit the victim’s fear of losing all of his in-game assets and his greed and his rage for their own jollies for a further half hour, continuing to increase the pressure all the while! “Perhaps you could get your wife a paper bag to breathe into,” one of the torturers says, trying not to laugh, “I hear that helps.” Eventually, the torture ends.

And once it’s over, Erotica 1 publishes the recording to the world. In the process, he can no doubt piously claim that the victim threatened him, screamed at him, swore at him. I suppose that allows this vile human being to look at himself in a mirror. More likely, he sleeps like a baby. I assure you, Dear Reader, that there is evil in this world.

“The bonus round isn’t intended to be fun for everyone,” the victim is told by his torturers. No doubt.

So, how does CCP respond to this vile human being? I can tell you that if I were in the position to make a decision about this person, I would seize his assets, permanently ban his accounts, and I would then go to work on his buddies with asset seizures, negative ISK balances, and temporary bans. I personally believe there is absolutely no place in EVE Online for this level of depravity and evil. To date, CCP has chosen not to do that. Sooner or later, they’re going to have to decide, though: is this the sort of thing they want going on in their EVE?

“Isn’t that the game where…?”

What’s changing about EVE player culture? The intensity level, that’s what’s changing. Welcome to the bonus round, everyone.

– Ripard Teg

If you would like to read more we invite you to visit his blog here.