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EVE Devs Dissect, Explain Massive Economic Exploit 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-is-how-you-deal-with-such-events dept.
In December we discussed news that a major exploit in EVE Online had just been widely discovered after being abused by a few players for up to four years, creating thousands of real-life dollars worth of unearned in-game currency. Representatives from CCP Games assured players that the matter would be investigated and dealt with; a familiar line in such situations for other multiplayer games, and often the final official word on the matter. Yesterday, CCP completed their investigation and posted an incredibly detailed account of how the exploit worked, what they did to fix it, how it affected the game's economy, and what happened to the players who abused it. Their report ranges from descriptions of the involved algorithms to graphs of the related economic markets to theatrically swooping through the game universe nuking the malfunctioning structures. It's quite comprehensible to non-EVE-players, and Massively has summarized the report nicely. It's an excellent example of transparency and openness in dealing with a situation most companies would be anxious to sweep under the rug.
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EVE Devs Dissect, Explain Massive Economic Exploit

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  • Cool! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @07:43AM (#26810585) Journal

    Makes me actually want to go and play the game. I mean, when you have a company that obviously does care, to a certain degree, you should go and help them out a bit. Only problem is, the game has a complexity level that has me reeling.

    • Re:Cool! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DamienNightbane (768702) * on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @07:51AM (#26810615)
      The problem is that they don't care. There are so many bugs in the game that have been complained about for years and not fixed that it's no wonder that such an obvious exploit managed to survive for four years. Frankly, CCP makes SOE seem competent.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dan667 (564390)
        Like what? I play Eve and have not had any problems for quite a while.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Loki_1929 (550940)

        Let's see, of the four times I've filed petitions, one was taken care of in seconds, two within a day, and the last (which would have required some digging into logs on their part) about a week. In all cases, staff was nothing but friendly and as helpful as they could be.

        I've played for several years now, and I've seen my share of bugs (as you see in any other software). Of all the bugs I've encountered myself, only two persisted very long (more than a week), and only one continues to be an intermittent pro

      • Atop the issues of CCP compliance in the BoB alliance's rise to power, this whole issue would be laughable, if it hadn't caused so many people to waste so much time.

        Forums are rife with people who are "We fought these guys for months. We thought we were doing well... killboards looked good, etc, but they just kept throwing ships at us, and we could never figure out how they could do it! Now we know, what a waste".

        I am amazed that CCP's ECONOMIST - they employ a Doctor - would say such a thing as "Oh, you

        • by Tycho (11893)

          I am amazed that CCP's ECONOMIST - they employ a Doctor - would say such a thing as "Oh, you have to realize the amount although it looks big, is only about 1% of the EVE economy" - HUH? EVE has probably in the region of 200,000 chars... up to 40,000 on at any given time, and you're saying the fact that 137 accounts (the number banned for direct involvement) having 1% of the economy is not a big amount?!?

          So this is pretty much like the world as it exists today, isn't it? Yet there is serious howling against any sort of punishment, from certain groups, when the top 1% of the wealthy in real life do similar crimes. Prosecution, restitution, fines and prison time are only the results in the highest profile cases.

        • Compliance, eh? (Score:1, Interesting)

          by ThePsion5 (1037256)

          To say that CCP was compliant to BoB's rise in power is simply a lie if you actually stick to the facts.

          FACT: A single dev illegally spawned BPOs (NON-EVE PLAYERS: Blueprints that can be used to manufacture a ship) for his personal use when he was in Band of Brothers. These Blueprints were all for ammunition (NON-EVE PLAYERS: Blueprints of this type for ammunition are the least valuable and least used) and a single Ship, the Sabre class Interdictor. No one else at CCP was involved with this.

          FACT: These BPOs

          • Conspiracy theories? You might want to check out the now open BoB forums, where there are posts of BoB members email correspondence with GMs, "Oh, we need standings here with this NPC faction", "Please give us 3 x faction battleship blueprints", "Needs more officer spawn", "Some more freighters, please". And so on and so forth.

            You're also forgetting that many in BoB command had, and boasted of using MSN as a communication medium with GMs - with several reported instances of GMs acting upon it (one in part

        • His point was that although the impact to specific players and corporations was huge, the impact to the overall market affected only very specific t2 segments, and even then the effect was restrained by limiting factors involved. Consider also that the 0.7% of the market controlled by the exploiters was for the most part created out of nothing. The exploit makes it a non-zero-sum problem. They created wealth, they weren't taking it from others. Other people who were legitimately producing these materials w

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Before anyone posts the 'cliff of death' drawing...

      It is the complexity that keep one playing the game, day after day, year after year. So think of it like this; When you first learned to ride a bike, it was a rather complex task just to stay balanced, no?

      Learn to ride this bike, and you can have a lot of fun.

      • by Kokuyo (549451)

        That's true, but when you have trouble finding up to date help on the web and the ingame channel ignores you, what do you do? ;)

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by rokknroll (677118)
          Use the many help tools available in game, including the EVE Wiki which is available in the ingame browser. Aurora (the female voice) also has a slew of informative tutorials available from the help menu. Eve wont hold your hand for you, if you cant take that then it's not your game. Eve is to WOW as Bash is to Windows basically, cant just click and hope, you need to read the man pages.
        • The eve forums [eve-online.com] are pretty good at providing help.

          One other commenter to your post mentioned the eve wiki available through the In Game Browser (IGB). It's not my favorite, but it does have the eve-online database behind it. Other wikis include www.eve-wiki.net [eve-wiki.net] (my favorite), as well as one run through wikia (eve.wikia.com [slashdot.org]). Each of these provides links to yet more eve resource sites.

          The advantage of the wikis, of course, is that when you find your answer through other means, you can add that information

      • Re:Cool! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Cornflake917 (515940) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:40PM (#26814231) Homepage

        Learn to ride this bike, and you can have a lot of fun.

        If Eve is a bike, then instead of having pedals and handlebars to control, it has complicated and unintuitive set of buttons that take a full day of tutorials to understand. Then once you get this bike, you have to ride the same trails over and over until you can get a better bike. Then once you get a better bike you ride a more challenging set of trails over and over, until the boredom is unbearable. Once you get a good enough bike to race against other bikes (or you just get sick of the trails), you find that all the veterans will always have better equipment, skills, and money then you. So only way to way to win at bike races is to get a bunch of friends, sit outside a gate, and beat the shit out of any unsuspecting bikers that come through, and then race them while they have broken legs.

        • If Eve were a bike, it would be one without any seat. And 5,000 volts would periodically be shot through the handlebars.

          That said, it's still the most wonderful online experience available short of teledildonics (and I understand the devs are adding that skill to the next expansion...)

          • Just wait until you get Teledildonics IV. Then you can train Advanced Teledildonics, which contrary to what the name may lead you to believe, enables you to make "One Hell of a Caucasian."

            Yet another example of the steep EVE learning curve.

        • by Jaeph (710098)

          Nice analogy extension that's total BS beyond your opinion of Eve's treadmill (I don't think it's so bad, you do, whatever).

          But competitively, if I'm in a top-level tier 1 frigate (rifter, etc) with max skills, and you are too, then we're even. It doesn't matter that you're also an accomplished miner, interceptor pilot, etc. What matters is the skills you're using now.

          Even if my skills aren't quite as good as yours, I can still be within 5% or so in a variety of dimensions, having spent a lot less time tr

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Cornflake917 (515940)

            I pretty much agree with everything you said. The problem is that Eve is that, since "dying" is punished severely (at least, compared to other games), PVP battles are rarely fair matches. If you have a decked out frigate and you run into the interceptor pilot who is in similarly fit rifter, he will run away and come back with an interceptor. Isn't one of the main rules of PVP in Eve "Never get into a fight that you aren't guaranteed to win?" Since many players follow this rule pretty well, the majorit

            • by krenshala (178676)

              No, the rule is "Don't fly it if you can't afford to lose it."

              Also, "If it was a fair fight, you did something wrong."

            • I'm pretty sure "Never get into a fight that you aren't guaranteed to win" is a rule for all PvP. It's just not every game gives you the option to escape successfully.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by brkello (642429)
            How is it BS? You run boring missions over and over until you can run higher level boring missions that give more ISK and require a more powerful ship with more skills. Until you finally get to the top and decided to PvP. Then you get destroyed unless you outnumber people. Most of which is just sitting at gates and killing poor people who don't have a chance. That pretty much sums up Eve. Oh...devs cheat occasionally and they leave in bugs for years so their friends can take advantage of them. Miss a
            • by Jaeph (710098)

              How is it BS? You run boring missions over and over until you can run higher level boring missions that give more ISK and require a more powerful ship with more skills. Until you finally get to the top and decided to PvP.

              There is nothing in the game forcing you to level in the PvE missions. You could chose to be a trader, miner, salvager, or manufacturer.

              Nor do you need to "level-up" all the way. I would have to look at the numbers again, but once you have a PvE cruiser capable of tackling the level II missions, you'll make plenty of money to fund a frigate-flying PvP life.

              Finally, life in eve is not only about bigger boats. Small ships have a place.

              To summarize:

              - Small ships have a place in combat.
              - Vets are little bett

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by khallow (566160)

              How is it BS? You run boring missions over and over until you can run higher level boring missions that give more ISK and require a more powerful ship with more skills. Until you finally get to the top and decided to PvP.

              [...]

              I am exaggerating a bit, but that is essentially Eve. They make you log in to change your skills rather than actually letting you queue them...which is dumb. Massive PvP happens rarely. The community on the forums is harsh and rude. And the only time it makes the news is when someone gets massively screwed over, horrible long-term bugs, and dev cheating (and not getting fired over it).

              Nah, you're just clueless. While there is some overlap between the PvP and missioning skills, PvP is not killing AI ships with laughable tactics. One does not train for killing players in this way. Massive PvP happens often (one just needs to look for high numbers of kills in systems).

              As for the "harsh and rude" forum community, it comforts me greatly to know that these fine individuals are also common on sites like Slashdot. No doubt you will some day be driven to gentler forums like "Hello Kitty"

              • by brkello (642429)

                While there is some overlap between the PvP and missioning skills, PvP is not killing AI ships with laughable tactics.

                I didn't say that there was. Learn to read a little bit. When you first play the game, you run missions to understand how to play. If you claim you didn't you are either a liar or really strange. After you learn how to hit F1-F6 (wow, really complex, I bet you pat yourself on the back for mastering Eve) it is all about fitting your ship and fulfilling a role within the group you are PvPing with. But all the PvE content to earn ISK is boring. Even blowing stuff up is mind blowingly dull in Eve. That's

                • by khallow (566160)

                  When you first play the game, you run missions to understand how to play. If you claim you didn't you are either a liar or really strange. After you learn how to hit F1-F6 (wow, really complex, I bet you pat yourself on the back for mastering Eve) it is all about fitting your ship and fulfilling a role within the group you are PvPing with. But all the PvE content to earn ISK is boring. Even blowing stuff up is mind blowingly dull in Eve. That's my point. It isn't fun. How can you make blowing stuff up boring? Eve managed to do it.

                  In other words, group with someone who knows what they are doing. That's how you learn how to PvP. It would have been nice if that was what you had originally wrote. I can only assume that you read some of the other replies and learned from experience - a positive trait.

                  I can handle the harshness of the Eve forums just fine. But not all people are bitter assholes like yourself. Some people would like to play Eve but your awful community turns them away. This guarantees that Eve will always be the nichiest of niche games. But I think that is what your personality type likes. If it was actually popular, you wouldn't play it because you are too "cool" to play something that the masses enjoy.

                  It's not so much that I'd be "too cool", but more that I wouldn't enjoy it. Other popular games lack depth and any means for players to change the world. I don't want Eve to go that route. If a modestly abrasive forum keeps the riff raff and

                • nichiest of niche games

                  Niche games are great. Wish more companies would focus on the Niche market and not attempt to be the "WoW killer"

        • by rokknroll (677118)
          or....not. To extend the analogy, eve would be downhill racing, flatland BMX, or even just dirt riding. Achievable results with time that lead to satisfaction. Is it just me that doesnt expect/want everything on a plate, with no learning curve involved? And , yes, get off my lawn young whippersnappers, there is a satisfaction to applying yourself to something until you understand it. Used to be known as grokking. Dunno if the kids(sic) these days could be arsed even googling that. Off to collect my bu
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by ThePsion5 (1037256)
          Going by this analogy, WoW would be a Tricycle. It's a comfy, brightly-colored tricycle with a cute little horn.

          There's only one trail to ride, and it's in a large circular hallway with pretty wallpaper. Every hundred laps they change the wallpaper to something else pretty.

          Eventually they run out of wallpaper to show you, so instead they let you improve your tricycle! Every couple of dozen laps they give you a new streamer, or a thimble of paint, or a sparkly sticker for you to put on your tricycle.

          Not chal

          • as a WoW player of a number of years with a number of toons I've raided high levels with, I'd really love to disagree with you.

            Sadly, I cannot.

            Having said that, knowing that it's the most annoying repetitive game imaginable at times, I still can't stop playing. It's just fun, even while doing that boring stuff.

            Mind you, it could be because I watch movies while I play, saying something about the difficulty of the game, or maybe more about my level of ADD, but I still enjoy it.

            *sigh* I am weak.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ShakaUVM (157947)

            >>Every couple of dozen laps they give you a new streamer, or a thimble of paint, or a sparkly sticker for you to put on your tricycle.

            Yeah, that's WoW in a nutshell. I logged on for the first time in ages because I saw that there was some quest that'd put "Elder" in front of your name. Okay, cute, I thought.

            Then I looked at the requirements to get it.

            (http://www.wowwiki.com/To_Honor_One%27s_Elders)

            Then I logged off.

      • by brkello (642429)
        Complexity doesn't keep people playing. Fun does.
        • For some, complexity is fun, and simplicity is boring.
          • by brkello (642429)
            Complexity for the sake of complexity is stupid. You can have complex, enjoyable games. But the UI for Eve drains all enjoyment away from the game. You have to chase things down menu after menu to get tasks done. This isn't because it is complex, it is because Eve has a poor UI. And whenever they do take a step in the right direction, all the hardcores whine because it is catering to the "WoW" crowd. These people want to make the game more complex just to make it harder for other people to understand.
    • Re:Cool! (Score:5, Funny)

      by NightRain (144349) <ray@cyron.[ ]au ['id.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @07:52AM (#26810627)

      Only problem is, the game has a complexity level that has me reeling.

      That's not "a problem". That's what makes the game worth playing :)

      • by Alari (181784)

        I dare you to play Starquest. =)

        Get ready to Ctrl-Alt-Shift Double Right Click!

    • by ramul (1103299)

      its the freedom and variety that makes this look like such a good mmorpg. i felt the same way about ultima online..unfortunately i have played neither.

      can anyone tell us what eve online is like?

      • Re:Cool! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Sobrique (543255) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @08:19AM (#26810789) Homepage
        EVE is a large, single universe. It's adversarial at almost every level, and ... only the most trivial things can be done solo.
        The market is entirely player driven - barring a few very limited exceptions, everything there is player made and traded.
        What it's not, is it's not a PvE experience - they're looking at improving the PvE content in March, but as it is right now, if you want to go 'compete with the system' then ... well, frankly EVE just isn't particularly deep in that part of gameplay.
        What EVE is is a massively multiplayer PvP game. It's got a lot of 'strategy game' type elements - whilst you fly your own ship, and don't control much else, there's very definitely supply lines, logistics, intelligence, espionage, diplomacy, tactics, unit experience and morale. You don't necessarily get to be 'commander' but the really good corps and alliances are those with strong and effective leadership teams, at every level, but only when supported by competent and intelligent pilots.
        It's very open ended - you don't get told to 'go do this quest' or 'go level up' - this doesn't suit everyone, but once you grasp that it's just a case of 'go and do something you find interesting/fun/profitable'... well, that's the start of a giant space playground experience. I've been playing for ... 4, 5 years now, and I'm still not bored with it.
        • only the most trivial things can be done solo

          Speak for yourself. Anything but solo is easy mode, tbh.

        • by Jedi Alec (258881)

          Don't forget that the EVE universe is the ultimate paradise when it comes to "might makes right". My entire corp is based on making fellow players face the consequences of what they say and do. Friends get help, advice and defence, and those who choose to act like asses...well, let's just say explosions are often involved.

        • The lack of a specific goal leaves many people twiddling their thumbs. Not every game is for everyone. No problem with that. :-)
    • They were losing real money due to that exploit. Companies usually care when that happens.
    • They don't care about plenty of other things, though. For example: eyestrain. How hard would it be to make the fonts scalable? I think the developers of EVE all use CRTs at 640x480. I have a high resolution LCD, so EVE is entirely unplayable for me.

      Making the game more accessible to n00bs would also help a lot. They just keep adding complexity (or tedium) to the game to string the current lot of junkies along. They seem uninterested in simplifying the UI enough to get new people involved.

    • by brkello (642429)
      It really isn't as complex as people say. If you just stay in on the tutorial until the end (it is long) then you will easily have the basics. Everything else, just read the forums a bit. Ask a question if you need to. That being said, the game really doesn't have a compelling PvE an PvP is something for the more hardcore.
      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        It really isn't as complex as people say.

        It told me to goto a highlighted thing on my screen, there was no highlighted thing. I couldn't figure out what to do.

        I disagree, it is complex.

        If you just stay in on the tutorial until the end (it is long) then you will easily have the basics.

        The tutorial obviously wasn't working for me.

    • by globeadue (875462)
      indeed, my first experience with eve, had me frustrated from the get go, i was in two betas at the time, earth and beyond and eve, i went with earth and beyond, I loved that game, but it was killed by EA where as EVE has flourished.
  • Now... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @07:52AM (#26810631)

    They should find and fix exploits in the real economy.

    Earth-online.

    • Re:Now... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnr AT ticam DOT utexas DOT edu> on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:37PM (#26814169) Homepage

      What exploits in the real economy? This exploit was only possible because in a computer game the wealth generated was pretending to correspond to something real, but in actuality was just numbers in a centrally-controled system that can be incremented and decremented out of thin air.

      </irony>

      • by Tycho (11893)

        As compared to the nutritional content of your average bar of gold bullion.

      • by kLaNk (82409)

        ... wealth generated was pretending to correspond to something real, but in actuality was just numbers ... that can be incremented and decremented out of thin air.

        Good point.

        Nothing at all like the securities market. :)

      • by chrisG23 (812077)

        What exploits in the real economy? This exploit was only possible because in a computer game the wealth generated was pretending to correspond to something real, but in actuality was just numbers in a centrally-controled system that can be incremented and decremented out of thin air.

        </irony>

        In the real world, wealth is generated out of nothing on a regular basis. This is called the fractional reserve system of banking. In the United States it is set up like this. A person or people start a bank. Lets say they have $1 million to put into it. By the rules of the United States Fractional reserve system, they are legally allowed to lend $9 million dollars out to borrowers. In the U.S the ratio is set at 9:1, different countries using the Fractional Reserve system have different rates. $1 million j

  • Real fast summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by arkham6 (24514) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @10:22AM (#26811965)
    There was a bug in the way items were produced, making free items.

    The economy reacted accordingly by decreasing the market cost for these items.

    Items that need these free items were also accordingly cheaper.

    When discovered, the costs of the free items and the items requiring them shot up due to market speculation and decreased supply.

    The economy in general will have some bumps, but will eventually recover.

    The perpetrators have been shot.
    • The perpetrators have been shot.

      If by shot you mean a slap on the wrist (perm ban) while they run off with the cashloads they made from RMT (Real Money Trading)

      I was looking for a rough estimate of real life currency that was affected... This is partially why RMT is a bad thing, not to mention it promotes unfit working conditions for people (12 hours straight for Chinese farmers), plus many other things.

      Regardless, I just wish there was a way to prosecute people (further) who profit in real life from breaking a game's agreements. Hell

  • RTFA you POS (Score:5, Informative)

    by ghmh (73679) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @10:30AM (#26812053)

    If anyone is wondering what POS is short for, it's "Player Owned Station".

    Personally I think the article reads a lot better if you instead use "Piece Of Shit":

    CCP Games explains the scenario from the ground up, detailing the POS game mechanics for those unfamiliar with the industrial side of the game, and pointing out how the POS exploit worked.

    The proper order in which to evaluate a POS is essentially breadth-first traversal....

    POS Reactors are complex beasts, but not quite so bad as POS Control Towers.

    and so on.

  • posted an incredibly detailed account of how the exploit worked

    I followed links all over the place and found lots of summaries on the response and fallout, but only very vague descriptions of HOW the exploit worked. It looks like they found a way to make reactors or run them without their fuel source (one of two kinds of moons?) Sorry I'm not an eve player so I can't just guess at these things. Can anyone summarize HOW the exploit worked? Something like having a requirement to make a reactor (have a re

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by andrewd18 (989408)

      Something like having a requirement to make a reactor (have a resource), then make it, then remove/reuse the resource without the reactor being shut down / removed, then rinse n repeat?

      Basically, yes... someone removed the resource silo link when the reactor was running, and the reactor continued to create material after the resources were cut.

      • Exactly. And due to a "logic" flaw in optimizing their code, they removed the check that the reactor was still receiving input material from the silo before generating its output. "Because why run an operation to see make sure there's an input before generating an output"! Oops.
      • by ultranova (717540)

        Basically, yes... someone removed the resource silo link when the reactor was running, and the reactor continued to create material after the resources were cut.

        No. The whole issue was that the reactor didn't create the material, the receiving silo did. All the reactor did was check that there were input materials available, remove them if there was, and then set a flag to show whether they were or not. It was an optimization to avoid having the reactor to have an inventory. And it worked just fine until s

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The second link. The devblog on the web page clearly explains how the exploit worked.

      tl;dr;don't have the capability to understand english.

      Set up reactor. Let it run for a few cycles. Cut the links while leaving everything online.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by FlameWise (84536)

        Quoted from the "incredibly detailed account" linked in the OP:

        Reactors always need inputs, right, guys? Right. Let's save cycles here and just not evaluate this reactor! I mean, it'll never get evaluated and thus never come online, right? ... Right?

        Oops.

        So, presume you've run a few cycles of your POS. Your reactor is humming along nicely. It has produced stuff this cycle. It has produced stuff last cycle. The Control Tower is running all of your stuff in the right order. Everything is fine. Until something unexpected happens.

        The user cuts off all the links to the reactor.

        The Control Tower, crazed by its optimization logic, careens through the production code. Wide-eyed, it reaches your reactor first. In its addled eyes, it sees only that the poor reactor has no links.

        The Control Tower speaks.

        "We can't stop here! This is bat country!"

        Onward the Control Tower drives, speeding towards the silo at the far end of the reactor's link.

        The reactor has not been evaluated. It does not know that another cycle has passed. It still remembers, fondly, grazing on inputs during its previous, un-bugged production cycle. Without this information, the silo goes ahead and adds another cycle's worth of goods to its stack.

        Free stuff has entered the system.

        • Then set it up to do this right before downtime; so its not one cycle but all the cycles that would happen during downtime, but aren't being processed because its downtime, and the server is down/rebooting.
          • Well, downtime is usually only an hour, if not less, and the cycle is once an hour, so there would be only one cycle at downtime anyways. The only exception to this would be on a patch day, when the downtime can be 12-24 hours depending on the size of the expansion, in which case I'm sure the cycles would all be run at once when the system is back up.
    • This is a futuristic space game. Maybe they thought that POS mechanics included a reactor that ran on a perpetual engine that created matter. How were they supposed to know. I mean it apparently was in the game for 4 years!. Only the biggest corps used this to create tons of cash, probably in and out of game with their time card trading scam.

      • Well, to be fair, in the tutorial you learn about Villard Wheels, so who knows ;)

        Explanation for non-EvE players: one of the tutorial missions is a series of tasks relating to obtaining a blueprint for a perpetual motion engine, procuring parts and assembling (but it has to be handed in to complete the mission, and even if not, doesn't actually do anything, but still).

      • You can't make money from time card trading, you can buy the cards for cash and sell them for ISK, and it is all handled by CCP servers. The biggest exploiters were selling the ISK for real money, most likely related to EVE-ISK.com, but that is only my personal opinion. If you read the explanation by the devs, you would see that is was a missed logic state that caused this exploit to be possible. The inputs must be online and stocked to start the reaction, but no checks were in place to see if the player
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by andersa (687550)

      The starbase production contains several steps.
      At the start of the run it is determined which structures are active.
      When it has been determined which structures are active, the next step is for each structure to perform one work step. One structure reduces its material stack. Another structure produces an item. Yet another structure adds the item to its output stack.

      The bug was in the algoritm that determines if a structure is active or not.

      All structures are assumed to be chained together in a particular o

  • Old EVE_Online (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by TheHawke (237817)

    This was 3-4 years ago now. I recall when jet can mining was the cats meow and finding a niche in the regional market and making a few million ISK off of it was the Big Deal.
    I'd build Medium and Large Energy Shield II's and III's and sell them in Amarr space to Caldari drivers for a fine killing.
    I used to do Cattle Runs, running NPC livestock between systems and stations, buying low and selling high, turning a few million in the process, until they flipped the market upside down and turned Jita system into

  • So what we have here is a situation where few individuals manage to manipulate the system and avoid the rules designed to limit this kind of activity and create enormous amount of unearned wealth right out of thin air.

    Sounds just like Wall Street.

  • Give me a break... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cornflake917 (515940)

    It's an excellent example of transparency and openness in dealing with a situation most companies would be anxious to sweep under the rug.

    Yeah, like CCP has never been guilty of sweeping things under the rug.

    • Which is precisely why the internal affairs division and the CSM were formed. There used to be GMs who blatantly defied the rules and helped out their friends with special in game items, which is what most people refer to when bringing up CCP's past misdeeds. Those who were found to be perpetrating these acts were subsequently fired, and the complicit player accounts banned. This is actually one of the first times CCP has described how an exploit worked, previously the exploit information was kept under
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have read the source article on what the bug was and read several "summary" attempts and all the summaries are lacking.

    I know this does not have a shot at getting read, but whatever.

    What Happened
    --------------
    Some people figured out how to make their space stations produce free resources.

    How they did it
    ----------------
    Space stations take some raw inputs, spend "time" processing, and produce valuable outputs. Since no real work needs to be done in the "processing" stage, there were code optimizations to m

  • Could somebody please paste the artical in here for the benefit of us poor sods working behind work proxy filters? :)
  • Exploit like this have been found in about every MMO out there. And if the game was popular enough, finding such exploit yielded you a nice payday. I know of a group of players in UO who made 50k a piece in a course of a year exploiting one bug. It's like having the game you love to play be your day job, but not having to compete with Chinese farmers, because you have a golden egg-laying goose.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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