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The Almighty Buck Games

EVE Player Loses $1,200 Worth of Game Time In-Game 620

An anonymous reader writes " has reported that an EVE Online player recently lost over $1,200 worth of in-game items during a pirate attack. The player in question was carrying 74 PLEX in their ship's cargo hold — in-game 'Pilot's License Extensions' that award 30 days of EVE Online time when used on your account. When the ship was blown up by another player, all 74 PLEX were destroyed in the resulting blast, costing $1,200 worth of damage, or over 6 years of EVE subscription time, however you prefer to count it. Ow."
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EVE Player Loses $1,200 Worth of Game Time In-Game

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  • ok i'll say it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pezpunk ( 205653 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @03:58PM (#33194202) Homepage

    ...and nothing of value was lost.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Exactly. Digital information can be destroyed with a click of a button. It's called backups, don't put all your eggs in one basket and backups.

      • Re:ok i'll say it (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kiljoy001 ( 809756 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:04PM (#33194324)
        Or rather in the old EVE adage: Don't fly (or cargo) what you can't afford to replace!
      • Re:ok i'll say it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:14PM (#33194528)

        Actually, since these were paid for with real money and are basically "one month subscriptions" to the game they have as much value as any subscription to a service.

        • by pacman on prozac ( 448607 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:28PM (#33194830)

          It's a shame they blew up with the ship, if they'd dropped then we'd now be reading the headline "eve pirates legally steal $1200".

      • Re:ok i'll say it (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:34PM (#33195006)

        Exactly. Digital information can be destroyed with a click of a button. It's called backups, don't put all your eggs in one basket and backups.

        That has basically no relevance to this story.

        The ship was carrying PLEXes. They're in-game items representing a one month subscription. You purchase them with real money, and get an in-game item, that you can then sell for in-game money.

        This allows people to fund their EVE addition without having to pay real money.

        It allows people with lots of real money to burn to get lots of in-game money to burn.

        And there is absolutely no way to make a backup of a PLEX.

        No, it isn't very smart to carry all 74 of them with you at one time. You certainly shouldn't put all of your eggs in one basket. But you cannot create a backup.

        • Re:ok i'll say it (Score:4, Informative)

          by Kithran ( 24643 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @05:00PM (#33195644)

          However there is also no need to ever undock with one PLEX never mind 74. You can apply them to you account (ie use the item to add 30 days to your subscription) from anywhere in the game. Yes he dies trying to get to the main trading hub in the game however he could have gone to any other station in the system and had no problems. Also he was an absolute fool for flying in a very fragile ship when another group had declared war on him (thus was able to be attacked even in the main trading hub system without interference).


          • Re:ok i'll say it (Score:5, Insightful)

            by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @07:04PM (#33197680) Homepage Journal

            However there is also no need to ever undock with one PLEX never mind 74.

            You've made one error here - prices can vary by location, and buying/selling is location sensitive.

            I'm not arguing about anything else, he definitely acted the fool - but still.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              There is _NO_ excuse to even UNDOCK while carrying 22 billion ISK worth of cargo in a kestrel* during a wardec** (or even when you're not, as we have suicide ganks), in Jita*** of all places.

              The guy and his alliance is now the laughingstock of EVE, and the alliance he led probably won't survive losing pretty much their whole ISK reserve.

              * Kestrel; noob frigate that goes pop if you stare too hard at it.

              ** Wardec; one corp declares officially sanctioned war against another, being able to shoot without retalia

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shark ( 78448 )

        Exactly. Digital information can be destroyed with a click of a button.

        Nowadays, lives [] are destroyed in the exact same manner, albeit with no backup strategy.

    • Never keep all your... ...PLEX in one cargo hold ...Eggs in one basket

      Don't spend real money on fake crap.

      All your PLEX are belong to us.

      • Seriously, who would possibly think that moving that many plex in one go is a good idea?

        • by gorzek ( 647352 )

          Can someone explain why it is at all sensible to carry around game subscriptions--paid with real money--as in-game cargo?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

            Primarily, because they can be traded in-game. It's essentially an approved way of paying for just about anything you might want to pay for in-game using real money. Instead of going through other channels (ebay, etc.) you just buy game time, convert it to PLEX, and trade the PLEX in-game.

            It's beneficial to the players because it reduces the likelihood of scams--you pay CCP Games for the PLEX, and you trade it using in-game mechanisms. It's beneficial to CCP because they essentially get cuts out of every

            • by ImNotAtWork ( 1375933 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @05:21PM (#33196112)
              1. He could have contracted the item to be couriered and put a collateral of isk that was worth more than what the item was worth. If the courier loses it he loses nothing.

              2. He couriered something while he was at war with another corporation.

              3. He did not set up an instant warp bookmark for exiting the station.

              4. He did not put a cloak on this ship.

              5. He was in Jita. The biggest trade hub in the game. He did not have to pick up plex there.

              6. There is no six (Monty Python and Eve University reference).
    • Meme over (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:21PM (#33194682) Journal

      This is one of the more condescending and snotty memes out there, like "FTFY" it exists only to mock. Basically it is saying "I militantly don't care about this, and neither should you." Value is a funny thing, by definition it means whatever you want it to mean. There is no 'value' outside of the human mind. In your own mind, you are the absolute master of value, you can place whatever valuation you like on anything you like. So, when you say "Nothing of value was lost" All you are saying is that nothing you value was lost. Which is likely just as true of, oh say, those floods in Pakistan, nothing you value was lost.

      But obviously, these PLEX were valuable to quite a few people, not to mention a gaming company.

      • The point is to be condescending. What the grandparent is saying basically is "EVE is a stupid game and you waste your time playing it."

    • Nice of you to pay to be here, Coppertop

  • by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:00PM (#33194232) Homepage Journal

    Is there a reason an out of game object is stored within the game like this? Can you buy them in the game?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MozeeToby ( 1163751 )

      If I remember right (and it's been a while) you can buy PLEX in game for real cash, and then exchange it in game for game cash. It's a way of A) Allowing players to exchange real money for in game money, and B) Allow players to buy their subscription using only in game money (without upsetting their finances because someone at some point paid for it).

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:10PM (#33194442)

        Interesting... it almost sounds like a 'gift card' type situation, in which case there are some fairly decent consumer protection laws depending on the state (ie, in CA they are transferable and never expire). It would be an interesting lawsuit if the player tried to claim they were equivalent and that by allowing them to be permanently "destroyed" the company was cancelling/expiring the certificates (though I doubt any lawyer would take it unless it was common enough that they were able to establish a class action).

        • I can't see how it could be considered a gift card. They have no physical monetary value once you buy them (only in-game value), and you can't pull real cash back out from it in any form. It's just another in-game item (that happens to be capable of giving you 30 days of play time)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Nobo ( 606465 )
        Adding to the above to provide a bit of sense of the scales of money here.

        Allowing players to exchange real-world money for in-game money:
        The current rate is (roughly) $35 -> 2x 30day PLEX -> 560 million isk. 560 million isk will get you 4-5 fully equipped and fitted battleships, or halfway to a equipped and fitted capital ship. Amusingly, as with any real-world currency conversion, exchange rates vary minute to minute, based on the current buy and sell orders on the market.

        Allow players to
    • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:04PM (#33194322) Homepage

      Ever play arcade games? Remember how you got free games if you did well enough? This is that, but you can trade your quarters in-game just like you trade any other game item.

    • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:05PM (#33194346) Journal

      You can buy PLEX (Pilots license extension) in game. This means that elite players that have spent the time developing the skills to make a lot of in game money no longer have to pay to play the game. It's a good system I think, rewards the hardcore fans.

      Anyways, if you buy it in game - it would have to have been sold at a station, and the system is set up that you can't take PLEX outside of a station (or at least thats how it was about 3 months ago).

      So - this guy would have actually had to have bought the time codes from an online retailer, activated them while in his ship while in space - and not in the safety of a station where he could have used them. It's likely he wanted to check the best prices in verse for plex and then sell them for massive in game profit - however he activated them before reaching that destination (74 plex codes CAN take a while to enter).

      It's all foolishness in my eyes - I don't have any qualms with people who want to pay for in game money - be it ISK or WoW Gold or whatever. Eve at least balances it so that if you WANT to buy in game money, the PLEX is a solid and secure way of doing it, and its pretty steady based on the market of the game, and the real world value of Plex is always constant, whatever CCP says it is ($40 for 2 plexes or whatever?).

      However, this idiot basically circumvented every provision designed to stop this from happening. Had he been docked at a station this would have been impossible.

      • by Tridus ( 79566 )

        "It's a good system I think, rewards the hardcore fans."

        Isn't that a bad system? The hardcore fans are the ones most likely to keep paying you cash money. Letting your best market off for free is a good way to turn down revenue.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Someone has to pay real money for the PLEX before they can sell it to the hardcore player buys for fake money.

      • by T3hD0gg ( 908064 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:13PM (#33194518)

        Anyways, if you buy it in game - it would have to have been sold at a station, and the system is set up that you can't take PLEX outside of a station (or at least thats how it was about 3 months ago).

        A recent patch a few weeks ago opened up the ability for PLEX to be transported by ship. CCP thought that would be a good idea to allow players more control of their items and I would have to agree with them. It's helpful for those who live deep out in 0.0 and would rather buy PLEX from a corp-mate than have to travel back into the Empire systems.

        • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:20PM (#33194650) Journal

          Well its pretty silly if you ask me - considering you can create 3 characters - you can leave one of them in high sec space to deal with PLEX if you want, without having to take your low level toon out of low sec space.

          It was really a non-issue before, I don't know why anyone would have wanted it any other way. I guess it just opens itself to these kinds of stories. Because PLEX is negligable in cargo space - you can put infinite amount on a cargo ship and move them around now.

          You could have some fool moving over a million dollars worth of in game plex and have them get blown up - and theres only chance that any of the loot is recoverable - meaning 1 Million dollars worth of money ends up in CCP's pockets without anyone gaining anything out of it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Culture20 ( 968837 )

            meaning 1 Million dollars worth of money ends up in CCP's pockets without anyone gaining anything out of it.

            Now why would CCP allow that to happen?

      • Nope, a recent update changed them so that you can undock with them in your cargo.

      • by Glith ( 7368 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:15PM (#33194548)

        You can now undock with PLEX. The player didn't buy them with real money - he was the direction of an alliance and was using the alliance's pocketbooks for a "get rich quick" market speculation.

        Of course, undocking with an active wardec going on with hostiles present in the local system and no defenses are chance at getting out...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You can now undock with PLEX. The player didn't buy them with real money - he was the direction of an alliance and was using the alliance's pocketbooks for a "get rich quick" market speculation.

          Of course, undocking with an active wardec going on with hostiles present in the local system and no defenses are chance at getting out...

          Not to mention he was in a kestral. It's not a beginner ship, it just one of the next ones up. Just plain stupid of a move.

      • According to the article, they made a change last month to allow them to be transported.

        Last month, CCP announced changes to allow PLEX to be transported in a ship's cargo. This meant that if a ship was transporting pilot's licenses when it was destroyed, the killers could literally find game time codes in amongst the loot. Last night, players from Method Of Destruction corporation became the first to prove just how dangerous it can be to transport PLEX in a ship's cargo hold. After scanning the cargo of a lone Kestrel in Jita, "slickdog" and "Viktor Vegas" discovered that the ship was carrying a whopping 74 PLEX. Unfortunately for the trigger-happy duo, all 74 were destroyed when they blew the ship up.

        So this was all by design. Interesting form of gambling.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ildon ( 413912 )

        You should read this: []

      • The rules changed recently, and is/was wrong to begin with. You can not, nor could you ever convert a time card into PLEX outside of a station. However, the rules recently changed so that you can now put a PLEX into a cargohold and leave the station with it, but you are an idiot if you do, as this guy just found out. You can still activate a PLEX that you own FROM ANYWHERE IN GAME. You do NOT need to be in the same station as the item! You can also create a sale/auction contract on a PLEX FROM ANYWHERE IN T
    • I've never actually played, but I recall that you can earn game time while playing.

    • CCP had the brilliant idea of letting players buy time codes and then trade them in-game. So one person who can't afford to pay with cash, can pay with in-game money. CCP still makes the same amount in subscriptions, it is just another person footing the actual cash. I am surprised more games don't do this.

      Now CCP makes even more money as every time code destroyed is free money in their pocket.
    • Answer: Yes, you can buy them in-game. Also, TFA says it was more like $1300

      CCP recently re-introduced the mechanic for moving these items around after a long hiatus of being completely unable to do so; however, there really isn't any reason to (especially not $1200 worth.

      Once you purchase the item with real cash, you must then go to someplace which is a) perfectly safe and b) where the item can be sold; you can then 'redeem' the item, causing it to appear in the game world. While moving them between
    • Yes you can buy them in game. But why anyone would fly them around instead of using them up on station is beyond me. And then transporting them in a fragile ship like a Kestrel... :-))))

    • Can you buy them in the game?

      Yes. There is a secondary market for them in the game. It's a common method for converting real currency to in-game items (or converting game items/currency for an item of real-world value, if you want to look at it that way).

      I say, boo-hoo. Other items lost/destroyed in raids have been worth far more than this measly $1200. What's interesting about it is that it represents pure profit for the owners of the game. Someone paid real money for those items, now they're gone fo

    • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:36PM (#33195048) Journal

      > Is there a reason an out of game object is stored within the game like this?

      My guess is because it increases the profits of CCP.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Someone already explained the reason these things exist (to legally trade real money for in game currency), but I just want to point out the stupidity of the pilot. PLEX do not take up any space at all. He could have transported them in a fully cloaked (read, impossible to detect) Covert Ops ship across the galaxy if he wanted to. Certain parts of space would still be risky, but there's no reason to go to those places since PLEX aren't really sold there.... To non-players, it seems like a development issue
  • hope that guy can shoot first....

  • Sheesh! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:03PM (#33194288) Homepage

    I thought Ultima Online was unforgiving back in the day...jeebus.

    • It is designed specially for people who love to make others miserable. It is a griefer's paradise. One of the main things would be the destructibility of so much in the game that takes so much time to get. You can lose nearly everything under the right circumstances. It would be like a single player game that goes and deletes your saves if you screw up. Also there's a real caste type system in that it takes real time to increase skills, as in you set the game to increase a skill and after a fixed amount of

      • by Draek ( 916851 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:38PM (#33195112)

        Yeah, or I could say that WoW is for dull idiots who love to simply click a button endlessly til a virtual candy pops out, while EVE is for those that prefer having a simulation of real-world economies, with all the risks and opportunities it entails, in a virtual world.

        In short, don't be so fucking biased with your descriptions, if you couldn't get into EVE it doesn't mean it's just for "griefers" and people who "derive their pleasure from causing pain to others".

        Disclaimer: I don't play either of them and prefer Guild Wars instead, its just I've enough common sense not to offend people just because they don't play my favorite game.

  • by morikahnx ( 1323841 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:04PM (#33194310)
    6 years of someones life has just been gained?
  • By making extensions like that items, EVE has made it possible that people could literally pay for nothing.

  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:08PM (#33194386)
    I'll pay back Jabba with THIS shipment, I swear!!!
  • Wow, that seems pretty harsh. It's one thing to destroy in-game things that took time to build, and call that a loss of the real-world assets that you had to spend in order to build those objects. But to create a game such that your future assets are vulnerable to in-game attack is really too harsh. It's as though in Street Fighter II you could execute a special move that would decrement your opponents' Credits, instead of their health meter.

    • Because things like this I do not waste time playing MORPGs. Pay real money for "digital" itens than you can loose on a wrong button click? Bah.
  • by Abstrackt ( 609015 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:11PM (#33194450)
    This must be what developers mean when they say pirates ruin gaming.
  • massively is blocked where i'm at. Is there a link to the killmail?

  • The summary spells out what a PLEX is, so I did not have to google PLEX. Geddit? Ha.

  • This may fail under them and the lost ones may have to be given back to him.

    • How is this a gift card? It's just an in-game item redeemable for game time, that you are capable of paying for cash with. You can't take cash back out.

  • by bosef1 ( 208943 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:16PM (#33194570)

    If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times:

    First pillage, _then_ burn.

  • Wrong summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aphoxema ( 1088507 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:18PM (#33194596) Homepage Journal

    It wasn't a "pirate attack", it was a sanctioned war in a trade hub where hundreds of players are on at any time and it's difficult to spot war targets in local.

    Also the PLEX cards survived, but to stop scavengers that are all over the trade hubs the wreck was immediately destroyed.

    Quite the red-letter day.

    • Re:Wrong summary (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @05:04PM (#33195744)

      No, the killmail is API verified and the PLEX were not dropped. The article even states it: "Unfortunately for the trigger-happy duo, all 74 were destroyed when they blew the ship up."

      For those that are new to looking at killboards, bellow the picture of the ship is a list of all the items equipped to the ship and in its cargo hold. Green items survived the destruction of the ship, the others did not.

  • New headline (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:18PM (#33194600)

    The right headline for this article is, "CCP takes $1200 from subscriber."

    I'm trying to imagine if Blizzard created a World of Warcraft monster that could eat your monthly subscription if it killed you. Players would be furious, and accuse Blizzard of stealing from them. By setting up the system so that PLEX can be destroyed, CCP is doing the same thing.

    But in the cutthroat capitalism uber alles world of EVE, it's all part of the game.

    This is just one isolated incident, but I assume ships carrying small quantities of PLEX get destroyed all the time. Can anyone estimate how much real money CCP earns from this?

  • CCP? ISK? PLEX? Can someone maybe translate this into English? Or at least give some sort of three line tutorial so those of us who've never ventured into the game can at least know what's going on. That article is clearly written for people who play the game regularly. If you want me to be indignant, angry, belligerent, uncaring, etc. about it I'd like to at least understand what's going on.


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mano.m ( 1587187 )
      What I (another non-player) gather: CCP is the company that owns the game and maintains it.
      ISK is an in-game currency. PLEX is an in-game object you can buy with millions of ISK or 15-20 real-life dollars, and which you can redeem for game play time. Actual EVE players: amirite?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sanosuke001 ( 640243 )
      CCP: The company that makes EVE Online (akin to Blizzard for WoW)
      ISK: In-game currency
      PLEX: Pilot License Extension. It's basically an in-game item that can be redeemed for a month's subscription. People basically buy them from CCP for real money and sell them for in-game money. A legitimate way of buying in-game currency that is sanctioned by CCP
  • He was an IDIOT! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fallen Kell ( 165468 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:25PM (#33194742)
    Seriously, he is an idiot for taking them out of station. EVE only a few weeks ago made the change to allow players to physically move the PLEX between stations, because previously they were treated as a special item, where-in you could only convert a ETC (Extended Time Card), into PLEX (extended pilot license or something like that) in permanent station (i.e. not player controlled, or destroyable by players or other actions), and you could not leave the station if you had the PLEX in your cargo hold. But, EVE really didn't want to have to have all that extra checks to inforce these things, and let everyone know they were taking away the checks against moving of PLEX between stations, but it was at the players own risk.

    No one even needs to move the PLEX, you can use them from ANYWHERE (i.e. you do not have to be in the same station as the item, or even in the same region of space, to convert the PLEX into play time on your account). The person moving them was an idiot for doing so. The only reason to move them is so that they are closer to you so you can more easily sell them in the game for in-game money (which is also the main reason to convert them from an ETC to PLEX in the first place).
  • The article is blocked for me, but how much ISK does this convert to? Last I remember one PLEX was something like 300million ISK?

  • by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Monday August 09, 2010 @04:56PM (#33195532)

    Sounds familiar. Bond movie plot?

    This is sort of like robbing Fort Knox with a nuclear weapon.

    The idea isn't so much to take the loot, but to destroy it and in the process make your OWN all that more valuable.

    If Viktor and slickdog are PLEX dealers, this might actually work in their favor. Well...judging by their mugshots, they probably just blew up the most money they will ever see.

    Or...maybe slick and vik are CCP employees with a specific task. Gives the term "corporate raiders" a whole new meaning.

    Ah! The wonders of Alternate Universes! The Drama!

Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading. Debug only code. -- Dave Storer