Friday, February 24, 2012

Scams and Eve

Eve Online allows in game scaming. This is something that a lot of MMOs do not allow. Because the developers are very hands off about the game, they have allowed the player base a larger free reign that you would normally see. The side effect is that these scams have reached such levels that they bring people onto the game out of sheer curiosity. I was one of those people.

The thing about Eve is that most of the in game world is player created. You may be playing the game that CCP made, but when you deal with wars, gate camps, suicide gankers, and scams, your content is from other players.

Scams on eve can be complex or artificial. Most rely on the scams victim to be greedy, stupid, or not paying attention. A lot of them rely on trust. Eve is not a 'safe' game. You will make friends and you will make good friends but sometimes those friends have no other goal then to destroy you.

Perhaps, the biggest and best known is the fall of the Band of Brother's. A huge corp that dominated the game for years until another corp infiltrated them, worked their way up, and shredded it from the inside out. Yet another situation was the Eve Bank. A player made a corp that was a bank and the goal was to make loans to players that wanted ships and such and then to collect interest and use that to pay depositors and investors. It was a beautiful thing and when he finally rolled out it was with all of the money while he laughed at the people that had given it to him to invest.

There have been other banks that do this same thing but try to be honest. Its hard thou and people give in to temptation. At the same time others never start trusting.

One of the biggest scams on Eve is the double your money scam. This is either advertised in a local channel in a trade hub or busy system or in a busy chat room. Sometimes they say things like, "I'm quitting Eve and giving away all of my isk. Send me isk and I will double the amount."

The first time I saw that it made no sense to me. Why not just send people isk if you want to give it away? The scam is that they will double your isk once or twice. Once you get comfortable they will then keep it, normally once the amount is high. Someone may send them 1mil isk. They send back 2 mil. Then the person sends them 5 and they send back 10. Once the 'mark' is lured in they can be encouraged to give bigger and bigger amounts, often to the tune of 100mil+. The scammer then stops doubling it and walks off with a few hundred mill from the outraged 'mark'.

There are market scams where buyers can put up orders that sellers can not fill. This is not super common but it happens. Another, very popular one is for a buyer to put up a high sell order. They pick something small that costs only a little bit of isk normally, like a 1mm afterburner and put a buy order in for 10k each instead of the 3k they sell for. Then, in the systems around they put up sell orders for 5k for the same item. Then they wait. People will notice the profit and run around buying the 5k after burners to sell to the 10k buy order. However, the buy order has a minimum that is lets say 1027. If you have less then 1027 you can not sell to them. This way you buy all of their stuff and you are stuck with what is left.

The minimum on the buy order is right there but people get attracted by the bright, flashing number that is higher then average and they get sucked right in.

Another popular one that gets the unwary are contract scams. These scams can be simple or complex and often have to do with naming items something else. The person who is buying the item can take a moment to click on the pretty blue icon with an i inside of it that stands for info. It will show them that the Raven Navy Issue is really only a Raven. However, if they don't take the moment to do that they wind up paying for something that is something else.

The market stuff can be a bit tricky, but its allowed. The things like 'double your isk' I never understood why anyone would fall for it. The contracts I was suspicious of since people were spamming them in a local channel. There is a perfectly good market and contract network set up. Any time people try to step out of the channels that way I'm instantly wondering what they are trying to hide.

However, I have learned that scams are not allowed on other games. People get reimbursed when scamed and scamers get punished. These same people come onto Eve and think they are in the same safe place they have always been in.

But they are not.

This is why Eve is amazing.

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