Friday, May 4, 2012

A bigger picture and RMT

This is an area of influence map in Eve Online. The big colored blobs are player owned null sec. In the center is empire space, both high and low sec. There are also chunks of NPC owned null sec.

I don't think about null sec much. I don't care for it. I think, conceptually, it is very interesting. However, I am not interested in becoming an empire builder. I enjoy my life as a low sec wolf (cub really). It takes a lot to hold null space. The groups are hundreds to thousands of players who all hold the same goal of keeping their space owned by their alliance. It is truly a massive and interesting thing.

When I started there were two huge alliances on the map that have vanished over the last two months. One of them had a fail cascade due to rot at its center and fingers in RMT. The other had policies that were not flexible enough to keep up with the shifting political tide of null sec. Plus, there is a bunch of ancient (in game old 6+ years stuff) hatred rolling and frothing about.

The RMT group had been accused of it for a long time. Bots are a problem in all MMOs. They sell the 'in game money' on websites for real money. I first encountered this when I played City of Heroes. The channels would be spammed by people giving websites to buy the in game form of currency. It seemed like a stupid idea. It boggled my mind that anyone would pay real money for something they made as part of the game they wanted to play.

I was slowly educated. I learned that the RMT trade was a huge deal. I just ignored it. When I joined Eve, in rookie chat they would spam every few hours or so their website and prices. There was a nice 'report isk seller' button you could select that blocked them and reported them. I used that quite often and didn't think of it much.

On the Eve Online forums there are many, many accusations of RMT in large alliances who own swaths of space where someone can mine or npc bot in almost perfect safety. Of course people then say no but we all know that RMT is happening. Several large alliance heads over the years have fessed up to it to the tuns of hundreds of thousands of USD. They leave the game since they are banned once it happens.

Eve's security team started going after the RMT traders and Bots with a focus that was brilliant to see. When their first wave of bans came around a month ago, one entire alliance in null sec cascaded into nothing. They lost 5,000 members when the RMT and Bots were banned. It was startling to see.

During the same time, another alliance was losing its space. Not for RMT but because of that old, in game hatred mentioned before. A few days ago I watched their entire section of null vanish under other corporations.

Fascinating game mechanics.

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