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A Case Study of RMTs In EVE Online 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-post-a-comment-please-deposit-eight-cents dept.
Kheldon writes with an article at MMO Gamer which explores how well real money transactions work in online games, using EVE Online as a test case. Quoting: "... My next problem came from trying to sell the [Game Time cards] through the 'Time Code Bazaar' on the forums. While I quickly found buyers, none of them actually went through with the deal. This is the inherent problem with developer sanctioned RMT. Unless true, unfettered, player-to-player transactions are allowed without developer 'regulation,' the market will inevitably be operating inefficiently. Consider gold-farmers for a moment. Setting aside the moral or legal aspects of the trade, and considering from a purely economic standpoint, gold-farmers are the RMT equivalent of large corporations. They operate on the concept of 'economies-of-scale,' which basically means that up to a certain point, the larger a company is, the cheaper they can produce that product. Of course, companies that can produce a product more cheaply can undercut the competition while maintaining the same profit margin; meaning they'll make more sales, giving them more overall profit, and supporting the corporate growth, which furthers the economy of scale. This is the market at its most pure."
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A Case Study of RMTs In EVE Online

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  • PLEX (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:10AM (#28262691)

    there is an ingame item called a PLEX, which is listable on the market & redeemable for 30 days of play time.

    Keep up, douche bag

  • RMT is essentially unfettered inflation. Its printing money.

    • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:21AM (#28262747)

      Ehmmm, not really. Let's do a case by case comparison with player A and player B.

      Scenario 1:

      Player A pays his subscription the regular way and spends the month earning 1 billion isk.
      Player B pays his subscription the regular way and spends the month earning 200 million isk.

      Scenario 2:

      Player B pays his own subscription the regular way and buys a gametime card with real life money.
      Player A, being very good at making isk, buys the gametime card from player B for a sum of ingame money.

      End result of both scenarios is the same. CCP has received the real life money for 2 subscriptions, and the actual amount of isk(ingame money) has not changed. Ergo, no inflation has taken place.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Rogerborg (306625)

        Ehmmm, not really.

        Player A is doing nothing but generating ISK. Without the market for ISK, he'd normally be spending it on deflating assets (i.e. ships, insurance, munitions). Instead, he's just earning, earning, earning.

        Now, here comes player C. He sees what player A has done, and tries to get in on the act. Next month, they both earn 1.5 billion ISK. Player B is only interested in buying ISK from one of them. Since their choices are to sell, or not sell, how much more ISK will player B get for

        • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:49AM (#28262893)

          So how is the fact that player A chooses to spend his time making isk in any way, shape or form related to the issue at hand, being RMT?

          What you want to debate is isk sinks and isk faucets, which is a somewhat related subject part of game balancing, but hardly relevant to RMT.

          Anyway, in your example you introduce a new source of demand(player C) without accounting for the fact that a new source of supply is bound to show up soon as well(player D perhaps?)

          EVE truly does have a mostly free market and it regulates itself pretty damn well. Or are you just complaining that plexes are too expensive?

          • Except it won't (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Rix (54095) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @05:32AM (#28263105)

            Because you can hire third worlders to farm gold for 15 cents an hour, and thus there is an effectively infinite supply of player Cs.

            • That's exactly it. Gold farmers are not the equivalent of large corporations in the real world that leverage economies of scale.

              Gold farmers are leveraging the difference in labor costs between different areas. It's labor arbitrage, plain and simple.

              One thing to add -- not all gold sellers are gold farmers. There are other ways of generating in-game currency than taking advantage of labor rate differences. I think these are the cases he's referring to, the non-farming gold sellers who make their money
          • by Rogerborg (306625)

            the issue at hand, being RMT?

            I thought the specific issue at hand was the ISK inflation driven by RMT?

            RMT is essentially unfettered inflation

            the actual amount of isk(ingame money) has not changed. Ergo, no inflation has taken place.

            Yup, there we go.

            Well, I'd probably get pretty angry and defensive too if I entered a economic debate without being familiar with the basic terms, or even able to remember what I'd just typed.

            Why is player D "bound to show up" (ever, let alone soon)? RMT drives the creatio

            • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              What's the demand that creates player D?

              Well you see, when a Mommy and Daddy love each other very much...

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by d3ac0n (715594)

              The problem with the "RMT Creates runaway inflation" argument is that it does not take into account several things:

              1) In the game, the economy is in a generally deflationary period which it has been in since game launch.

              2) RMT's have been around for well over a year and not only has the general deflationary cycle NOT stopped, it has sped up, with prices dropping rapidly. Observe the cost of T2 parts and ships and compare against before RMT. Generally speaking, T2 is cheaper now.

              3) Many many many many

              • by d3ac0n (715594)

                Ugh. That last sentence should have been:

                "To try and argue they do is to show a complete lack of UNDERSTANDING OF economics, the state of the eve economy, and general human behavior."

                The sad part? I proofread it and STILL missed that until after hitting submit.

                *sigh*

        • by ethorad (840881)

          For the sake of throwing numbers around, lets assume that player A buys the game card for 300m isk - I have no idea what the current exchange rate is, but that'll do for these purposes.

          Player A is doing nothing but generating ISK. Without the market for ISK, he'd normally be spending it on deflating assets (i.e. ships, insurance, munitions). Instead, he's just earning, earning, earning.

          Not quite.

          Player B will spend the isk on deflating assets instead of A doing so. Also, if A only spends say 500m isk a mon

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by goto begin (1338561)

      RMT is essentially unfettered inflation. Its printing money.

      By that logic, so is growing apples - so long as there is a market for it and your prices are competitive. The total money supply does not increase, so I think the analogy of 'printing money' doesn't quite fit.

  • Bad research (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ogun (101578) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:14AM (#28262713) Homepage
    The writer has not done his research well enough.

    There are two ways of selling game time in EVE.
    One is to use the forum and the game time code transfer system available on the character screen, which is what the writer did.
    The other is to convert the GTC into ingame items called PLEX (Pilot License EXtension) which is then traded on the market like
    any other ingame item. This is not only the preferred way, it is also more profitable to the seller; netting around 720 million
    ISK per GTC compared to about 600 million on the forums.

    The other thing is that while you could certainly buy ISK from farming operations it comes with a risk. CCP has been known to ban
    not only ISK sellers but also buyers in transactions not using the condoned methods.

    The reason behind there not being any easy way to convert ingame currency into real money is that this would open a whole can of
    legal worms for CCP. Tax departments, money laundring etc. etc. Not something a games company would want to deal with.
    • Re:Bad research (Score:5, Informative)

      by goto begin (1338561) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:20AM (#28262745)
      In addition to this, one does not need to wait for a physical card to arrive in the post or even buy directly from CCP. There are authorised sellers of electronic GTCs which are delivered instantly by email with no extra costs. I find the article to be very poorly researched - two mouse-clicks from the EVE website takes you to the list of official resellers.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)

      The reason behind there not being any easy way to convert ingame currency into real money is that this would open a whole can of legal worms for CCP. Tax departments, money laundring etc. etc. Not something a games company would want to deal with.

      Well it would be about time that one handled this seriously. I'm sure that being the first virtual economy to open to real-world money transactions can be profitable. If everything fails, relocating the servers to a tax haven can be an interesting option...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      CCP didn't ban me (or even lecture) but they did take all of ISK I bought away which left me with a negative in game balance since I had spent already spent a good portion of the ISK I purchased from a farmer. With a negative balance you can't undock to make the ISK to return you to positive. Solution? GTC transfer through the authorized system.

      As a salaried executive for a Fortune 10 company I simply don't have enough time to earn sufficient in game finds to enjoy the time I do have available. CCP's offici

      • As a salaried executive for a Fortune 10 company I simply don't have enough time to earn sufficient in game finds to enjoy the time I do have available.

        But you've got lots of time to post to Slashdot in the middle of the day?

  • boring rant... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:16AM (#28262727)

    ISK sellers, however, provide much better exchange rates: one site sells at 25 million ISK per dollar, or better in bulk. Why would players want to wait for their time cards to be shipped (not to mention the international service fees charged by the bank due to CCP being an Icelandic company), and then be hit with a sub-premium exchange rate. For 35 bucks I can get 600 million ISK with a time card, or for 27 bucks I can get 1 billion ISK from a reseller. Of course, there are some sanctioned time card sellers that cut out the shipping process for a faster deal, but that doesnâ(TM)t mitigate the entire problem.

    So, your argument is moot.

    The other major problem is that there is no sanctioned way to convert the ISK back into real world dollars.

    Most would argue that this is the exact mechanism which keeps the gold farmers out of the system, and maintains the stability of the economy. With no way to profit in the real world, there is no incentive for farmers to set up shop.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sobrique (543255)
      Indeed. You still get gold farmers selling isks for RL cash, but it's against the EULA and so catches the ban stick when people do it. I wouldn't like to think what would happen if someone could 'cash in' their isks for real money - not least, because it'd mean that the developer would need to be able to 'cover' the size of their economy - but also because it _would_ attract the type of behaviour that would stop the game being a game - when you're talking about places with low hourly wages, comparative to t
      • by lordsid (629982)
        People don't cash in through the developer, thus they have no liability. ISK has no value to the developer because they can create as much or little of it as they want. People cash in through other players buying the ingame money.
    • Re:boring rant... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:40AM (#28262843)

      "The other major problem is that there is no sanctioned way to convert the ISK back into real world dollars."

      This is important. Very important. This is the only reason why EVEs system is something the players are willing to accept. As soon as you could convert ISK into real USD, the whole game would go down the crapper in record time.

      The current EVE system allows the "high end" players to shift the cost of their subscription to a more casual player while paying in ingame assets. There is little incentive to go all-out mad ISK farm as all you can get with ISK (legimately) is game time and the economy is not harmed. It places a soft cap in what you can get by "selling ISK", yet lets people "buy ISK" legimately. Coupled with CCPs self-interest to ban people who deal illegimately (outside the PLEX/GTC system) it truly helps. Every seller (ISK for real money) CCP bans is their competitor as CCP gets the money from the fees used to buy game time. Makes it also easy to justify the enforcement costs.

      In the end, every EVE account subscription is paid to CCP in real money and the ISK just changes hands in-game without anyone profiting from it out-of-game. The only party that truly gains is CCP in the form of additional subscriptions - mostly high end players subscribing to multiple accounts simply because they can shift the cost to someone else by paying the subscriptions with ingame assets that the high end players can accumulate faster. Free market also keeps everything in check - if too many people want to buy ISK with time, the ISK value of 30 days of gametime plummets. If too many people want to pay their game time with ISK, the ISK value of game time goes up. Recently the ISK value of game time has been going up.

      It truly is the most ingenous way of tackling the problem of RMT I've seen so far. Different from every other system in subtle yet important ways that tie directly to the EVE model where PvP is everywhere and every ship you lose really hurts your bottom line. It truly is the only MMO with a real, working in-game economic system at the moment. The rest are usually inflationary (see: World of Warcraft, even if they have kept the system somewhat sane, there is way too much excess gold floating there)

  • Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:21AM (#28262749)

    From a "purely economical" point of view, the best producer of in-game gold is the developer, since they can produce an infinite amount of gold (as well as any in-game item that gold can buy). They don't do it because that would ruin the game.
    In a real world, a pure economic approach is feasible, because we (well, most of us materialistic bastards) agree that maximum production of goods and capital at peak efficiency is beneficial to society, e.g. the more everyone has, the better off we are. That means that in the real-world, accumulation of wealth is a positive-sum game.

    This isn't the case in video games. Had the developers given everyone a zillion gold, it would ruin the game by destroying the fun of making and investing money. In other words, after a certain point, the more money EVERYONE has, the WORSE off everyone is, rather than better. The whole point of "fun" is to be able to earn more gold than your neighbor. In other words, the fun-factor is zero sum, or even-negative sum.

    Therefore, gold farmers, by increasing the volumes of gold they produce and sell, give "fun" to those that buy the gold, AT THE DIRECT EXPENSE of all other players who did not buy the gold. Unless I'm an egoistical bastard, I wouldn't consider myself worse off if my neighbor won the lottery. In a MMORPG, however, the more others are better off than you, the worse your own position is. If that wasn't the case, there would be no need for an in-game economy to begin with, everyone would be just given everything they want for free (which the developers clearly can do from the technical standpoint, but don't do for clear gameplay reasons).

    The bottom line is, that measuring the benefit of "gold farmers" from a purely economical point of view is complete and utter bullshit, because in-game economy has a completely different relationship to in-game enjoyment than a real-world economy has to real-life enjoyment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sobrique (543255)
      You're quite correct - generating free cash and injecting it into the economy causes a trickledown and inflates prices across the game. But at the same time, since EVE does have a lot of destruction in it's game, that's not as critical as it sounds - the more expensive fits people fly, the more isk is destroyed when it explodes, and the edge advantage granted by pimp fitting a ship is not particularly extreme - you can maybe take on 2-3 people of your sizeclass, but against any more you're still going to di
      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jedi Alec (258881) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:55AM (#28262927)

        You're quite correct - generating free cash and injecting it into the economy causes a trickledown and inflates prices across the game. But at the same time, since EVE does have a lot of destruction in it's game, that's not as critical as it sounds - the more expensive fits people fly, the more isk is destroyed when it explodes, and the edge advantage granted by pimp fitting a ship is not particularly extreme - you can maybe take on 2-3 people of your sizeclass, but against any more you're still going to die.

        Come on guys, how hard is this concept to grasp? When a ship blows up, not a single isk leaves the economy...the only things getting blown up are assets. The isk sits safely in the wallet of whoever sold that pimp gear to the pilot getting blown up. If you crash your car on the highway the money you paid for it doesn't magically disappear from the dealer's bank account either, does it?

        RMT does not generate isk. Blowing stuff up does not destroy isk. In fact, blowing stuff actually injects a small amount of isk into the economy because of the insurance payout on the ship(note for non-players, insurance is a game mechanic where an ingame organization gives you some cash back when you lose your ship, as opposed to ingame money moving around between actual players).

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by space_jake (687452)
          If you bought some of that gear from an NPC the isk is in fact lost.
          • Only that in EVE no gear is sold by NPC. (Letting trade goods aside, which are just that: trade goods = can't be used for anything else). Oh, and skill books are sold by NPCs.

            In EVE the whole economy is player driven. All items available on the market (with the above exceptions) are either produced by players or looted by players from missions (="quests" for you WoW guys). So, each ISK (="gold" for you WoW guys) spent on the market for items flow to another player.

            • by Ost99 (101831)

              Clone reactivation is a real ISK sink, and probably a big one.
              Implants are also ISK sinks to some extent, they cannot be made by players and they usually require ISK+LP to buy from LP stores (they also drop as loot, and those have no ISK sink function).

            • Rocket fuel. Blueprints. Most containers.

              Rocket fuel is an NPC trade good (with trace amounts from missions), and is one of the more expensive components in advanced missiles.

              I admit that's the only financially substantial counterexample I could come up with. So, it all traces back to insurance, asteroid miners, ice miners, moon-mining POS'es, and mission/rat loot. Add to that the GTC/PLEX system, and those are the sources of ISK in the game.
              Sinks would be insurance payments, clones, market

            • by mrbene (1380531)

              Only that in EVE no gear is sold by NPC.

              Have they then removed the ISK component of prices in the LP stores?

              Not that I disagree with the basic premise that no isk is directly destroyed when a ship goes boom - but a ship going boom does enable a certain amount of ISK sink, if faction loot is involved.

              • Have they then removed the ISK component of prices in the LP stores?

                No, it's till there.

                Not that I disagree with the basic premise that no isk is directly destroyed when a ship goes boom - but a ship going boom does enable a certain amount of ISK sink, if faction loot is involved.

                Insurance is only a sink, if you don't collect the payout. Faction loot is irrelevant for ISK sink. One player looted it from NPCs, another one bought it from him. So the ISKs have just changed hands.

                As someone above pointed out,

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          No... It's _EVEN_ better/worse/weird_as_hell than that. People who aren't very familiar with EVE always get shocked when they hear it the first time and putter on in denial for the longest time.

          Brace yourselves:

          When a ship gets destroyed in EVE, the amount of ISK in the gameworld _INCREASES_. It doesn't disappear, it doesn't stay balanced. That is to say; loss of ships is not an ISK sink, it's an ISK faucet.

          The reason for this is that the player you bought the ship from, or the players that did the
        • by Retric (704075)

          When a ship blows up assets are distryed not ISK, but buying more items from the market distroy's cach due to market transaction fees.

          The more inflated the item the more cash is distroyed in the market. It's a vary stable self balancing system. If it get's to far out of whack you can make ISK by buying items from NPC's and distroying them for the minerals which also distroys ISK both to buy the item and in the market transactions fees.

          PS: Cheep ships are next to meaningless on the overall market economy mo

          • T3 is in, modular cruisers, and a whole slew of new systems, though getting to and from them is iffy.
            as this tangential to the main article/thread I'll just stop at that.
  • by Sobrique (543255) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @04:22AM (#28262751) Homepage
    Well, as a long time EVE player, I remember when trading cash for isks was forbidden by the EULA - and it still is, you can just work around it by selling game time codes for in game cash.
    I have to say, the article seems to have missed one of the most effective ways of doing this - PLEXes (Pilot License Extensions) are tradable on the in game market - that's by far the most effective way of trading them these days. Head to Jita, list one for sale, and it'll probably have sold within the week - much less faff than using the forum, which ... well, fundamentally it's a forum, so not that great for trading - particularly items like GTCs which are functionally identical, with a different price tag - the delay on them means that it's easy enough for buyers to request a bunch of buys off a bunch of different people, and only accept the most favourable.
    I'm still in two minds as to whether it's a good thing or not - I don't like the fact that RL cash can have influence on the game, any more than I'd be happy that a chess player could whip out a credit card and buy an extra queen.
    On the other hand, I do like that people on lower incomes can actually play EVE for 'free' (300mil isks/month isn't particularly hard to raise), and I do like the fact that someone with less 'free' time, because of an intensive job, can shortcut the direct 'run missions' or 'mine' to generate isks.
    I think the reason it actually works in EVE, is because of the nature of the game - if you fork out a few billion isks on a really pimp fitted ship, then you'll get a nice ship, sure. If you don't know what you're doing, it'll die shockingly fast. Even if you do know what you're doing, it'll maybe be a match for 2-3 equivalent class ships, but no more. And you'll then provide someone with a juicy killmail, and a nice big pile of loot.
    For PvE usage... yeah, it does skew the economy somewhat, and have some items worth ... disporportionate prices, as people pimp their shiny toy (if it's good for mission running, the price is inflated to the point where it becomes even less viable to use in PvP). But barring that, the isolationist mission runner doesn't actually have much impact on the rest of the game, so whatever.
    And it serves as a control mechanism on 'actual' RMT - by letting people 'trade' via GTCs, the game developer and thus the game itself benefits. Before that, you still had 'isk sellers', that'd elicit a ban if you got caught. Now ... you have probably more 'small time' isk buyers and sellers, as people finance their account through mission running, but the tradeoff is, because they're doing so via GTCs, it means everyone who 'buys isks' also finance an extra player account, meaning more subscribers.
    .... and more targets.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Sobrique (543255)
      Should comment on isk generation - market value of a 30 day PLEX is around 300mil. Mission running level 4s can generate up to 30mil an hour or so (varies a bit dependant on skills, equipment etc.). Mining in 0.0 is about the same, mining in highsec is ... somewhat less than 10mil/hour.
      However you can make cash much faster if you're smart and use the market or large scale industry.
      Oh, and you don't need to buy 'cards' from CCP. Shattered Crystal is an example of one 3rd party retailer who will send you
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Jedi Alec (258881)

      So far I have yet to encounter a single pilot in combat who by converting rl money into ingame assets managed to actually get a real advantage. People who aren't smart enough to figure out how to earn isk the "proper" way very rarely are able to then put said isk to good use anyway.

      Now I'll happily admit to flying some reasonably pimped out stuff myself, but I bought that stuff using isk I made ingame...doing mostly PvP to begin with.

      Flying a faction/deadspace fitted nightmare is fun. Flying one in the know

      • by Sobrique (543255)
        Depends how you define real advantage. I've got a reasonable cashflow, but have injected... a few GTCs over my time, into my wallet. Mostly because I have this bad habit of eyeing up new toys every time my wallet clears 200mil or so.
        So technically speaking GTCs funded my carrier skills and a carrier itself.
        Is that a 'real advantage' as you put it though? I could have done missions or market fiddled - and have done in the past, and since. Been playing EVE for ... something like 5 years now, so over that t
        • by Jedi Alec (258881)

          Mwah, a carrier is kinda in a league of its own. It's like debating whether or not using a GTC to buy a logistics is worth the edge.

          I'm talking about being able to fit an Isthar like this [griefwatch.net] and then going in guns blazing against a Navy Raven, a Raven, a Deimos and a Harbinger solo. Of course in the second fight it got it popped, but heck, I made it back twice from the loot ;-)

          And to put things in perspective, I tend to look frowningly at my wallet when it drops below about 2.5bil.

  • by piggydoggy (804252) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @05:43AM (#28263153)
    Sometimes the real life busts in and makes us painfully aware that some people have more, much more disposable income than others.

    EVE Online's RMT system is by and large a brilliant idea. People who are so inclined, can buy virtual wealth for real world money, and people who are good at the game can play for free. The developers benefit either case. The vastness of EVE's playerbase however means it includes some individuals who are far, far ahead of the average on the income curve.

    In the latest "Great War of EVE", a small Russian alliance RED.Overlord (ROL), with connections to virtual money farming industry, grew hostile with their neighbors, the largest player alliance Goonswarm. A certain VERY well off member of ROL then bought at least 500 billion ingame ISK (~$10k+ worth) from the black market to buy its alliancemates five Titan class capital ships (strategic weapons in EVE which take a lot of effort and 2 months of real time to build). CCP got a whiff of the transaction and banned all the titan pilots and their associates.

    Unfettered, ROL's "mysterious benefactor" turned to legal means, and publicly sold 1000 real-money-bought timecards to fund its ingame war effort - a cool $27,000 worth. That is an undeniable fact, with sale threads still visible on EVE's official forums.

    A harder to prove, but with the above in mind not the least unlikely, were his solid real-money-bribes to the leaders of other EVE alliances for help in the war. It's rumored that Evil Thug, the leader of a powerful Against All Authorities alliance, received a cool $30,000 bribe to turn his ingame organization against their former friends at Goonswarm, and there are more reliable information that certain leaders of other neighboring alliances received solid five-figure dollar bribes to either turn coat, or at the minimum stay neutral, in this purely ingame conflict. Perhaps interestingly, not many agreed.

    Real life bribes don't as such have a lot to do with ingame RMT, but that's because the effect of ingame currency only goes so far, and rallying real people one way or the other is the true means to win.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...and thats why EVE is so great. Only EVE could have war stories like that one.

      You can't really bribe all of EVE to work for you as most of the players play to have fun (= blow stuff up). At best, you can bribe to influence who shoots who today - and you have no guarantee that it'll stay that way tomorrow. No matter how many titans and POSes you obtain via GTC-funded ISK, they can all go boom the next day if enough players decide that it will be so. There are so many factions (and more cropping up as soon

    • by Endo13 (1000782)

      Unfettered, ROL's "mysterious benefactor" turned to legal means, and publicly sold 1000 real-money-bought timecards to fund its ingame war effort - a cool $27,000 worth. That is an undeniable fact, with sale threads still visible on EVE's official forums.

      It sounds to me though like that's not nearly as big a problem as outright buying in-game funds for real money. Because you can only sell so many GTC for in-game money before the value starts to drop - unless you spread the sales out over a longer period of time. Either way you can't buy nearly as large a sum of in-game money instantly like you could if you could buy it directly with real money. If they guy really did list all 1,000 cards at once, I wouldn't be surprised to find that the last few dozen sold

  • Why would CCP ever facilitate this guy's rmt wet dream?

    Why would the EVE developers want you to be able get real dollars for your ISK?

    They're not running a business to make *you* money.   They rather have the real dollars going into their own pockets selling GTCs, and happily let the abandoned accounts with billions of ISK rot away in the bit bucket.

    DUH!
  • by Turzyx (1462339) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:26AM (#28264001)
    I played EVE for nearly 2 years, WoW for the same and in total have been an avid video game fanatic for about 15 years.

    It's virtually a given that cheats, exploits/hacks, and with the rise of MMOGs, RMT, will never ever be eliminated from the gaming world. In fact, the former two is what makes some games totally great (perma beserker mode in Doom, and DK mode in Goldeneye spring immediately to mind) and developers include these 'features' on purpose, often taking suggestions from the community at large.

    In EVE, like all other MMOs, RMT is a big problem. Corporations and alliances farming materials purely for real world money-making, often hogging research and manufacturing slots aswell; although the cost of holding such slots increases expontially with time now I believe.

    CCP (the developer) used to 'unofficially' allow trading of game time cards, sold in increments of 30 days unlimited play time, for in game currency, but as time when on and more people tricked by unscrupulous businessmen, it became clear that regulation was required in order to prevent the cut-throat ingame attitude spilling out into real world, real money, scamming. The current system involves buying a game time card and putting the code with a set price in 'escrow' for another player to purchase with ingame currency. The player checks his account page and accepts the trade, the game time is added to his account automatically and the seller gets the ingame ISK.

    This system is win-win-win for everyone, with no moral issues to contend with (unless someone is so addicted they are using their food money to buy game time cards, of course), CCP gets paid for the game time card, the buyer gets to pay for an MMO by playing more, and the seller gets to bypass boring grinding.

    I much prefer this system than the alternative.

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