Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

totallynotRMT.com

Amazing story! A player won 800B ISK on totallynotRMT.com. Maybe I misquoted the name of the site, but whatever.

RMT (usually combined with botting and account theft) is a plague on every MMO. EVE could limit its effect by using a sanctioned method, the PLEX market. It allows good players to play for free and bad players to get ISK without breaking the EULA. But it does not allow getting real money for playing, so there is still reason to bot, steal and RMT the ISK away.

The main danger in doing RMT is delivering the game money without getting caught. If you just transfer large amount of game money to a total stranger, or rather multiple strangers, it rises flags instantly. After all, EVE players aren't famous for giving their ISK away to strangers, so false positives are pretty rare.

RMT-ers in EVE started to use the fake-gank method where a ship full of expensive items were ganked in a safespot by the buyer. This blended into the baseline because lot of legitimate idiots are ganked. However such methods are often visible to the community via killboards and get publicity. Also, half of the loot destroys, halving the income of the RMT-ers.

SOMER Blink pioneered a new RMT method, using gambling. Gambling is legitimate in EVE and by its nature contains stupid and pointless ISK transfers. Someone sends billions to the site and gets nothing back? He lost! (and totally not a botter who was paid) Someone receives 800B? What a lucky jackpot! (and there is totally not a $8000 transaction to the bank account of the site owner). The reason Blink got caught is that they were obviously open with their policy with those "blink credits for PLEX" and later the "PLEX buyback promotion" that ended their career.

Such obvious method had a positive: it was easy to manage and any random guy could join. The new RMT method is more complicated, but also more lucrative (risk vs reward in its finest): the buyer pays real money and then told to make a bet and then he wins! The non-paying players lose and finance the scheme, along with botters and account thieves who deliver their ISK via large gambling losses.

I think CCP should make an official in-game lottery and ban all other forms of gambling within EVE to prevent this form of RMT transfers. The official lottery could also serve as an ISK sink in the game.


PS: don't forget the Burn Branch bounty! You can catch purple battleships! By the way anyone knowing fitting can tell if he was just dumb for putting a warp disruptor to a ratting boat, or did he really try to PvP in that thing?

PS2: a small error was fixed in the ratting analysis post, tables updated. The difference is too small to be seen on the charts. Also, a new table is inserted, the coalition ratting distribution:

12 comments:

Anonymous said...


Whoah Gevlon, this is so easy! Let us start a gambling site too and start converting hard earned ISK into real money als long as EVE still exists.

Just kidding...

But I think that there might be serious issues with RMT involved in all these gambling sites. Unfortunately, CCP lacks the legal instruments to monitor RL bank transactions. So, RMT through gambling is still a very safe way to launder ISK...

Rasmus Forlorn said...

I have my doubts that it will ever be possible to stop people from converting their money into grind-time saving.

Just for fun, go to www.ebay.com and search for EVE Online. First page, two chars for sale at or above 500 USD.

Maybe the bigger question is "who own the assets inside a game". As long as the answer is "the player" (and not "CCP"), he can do anything he wants with it, as long as he is not violating the law.

Sure, CCP can establish house rules against laundering ISK, but they will have to be compliant with Iceland's law to enforce that, otherwise they sign up for trouble. CCP destroying player owned assets might actually be illegal... (local law always overpowers EULAs)

@Anon: Granting a gaming company insight into my foreign bank account...? Well yeah, that won't happen anytime soon.

But where is the real problem? Money is there to facilitate the exchange of goods and services. If someone wants to sink massive $$$ into a hobby, why stop him? Because it did not go into CCP's war chest?

Especially in EVE, where it's not bling that wins the big fights, but block power (and to a block, what are 800B)...

Anonymous said...

"Maybe the bigger question is "who own the assets inside a game". As long as the answer is "the player" (and not "CCP"), he can do anything he wants with it, as long as he is not violating the law."

I believe on many occasions CCP have stated in the EULA that you pay a subscription to a service and don't owe any of the assets. This allows them to ban / negative balance anyone in game.

Nulli-Pilot said...

I like you Gevlon, read your blog about every day... but i dont think its as sophisticated as you think...

Personally i think it goes like this... a gambling site is bound to make shit-tons if isk in profit... at some point they sit on so much isk they dont know what to do with it... and i think thats the point where they start looking into RMT and selling their isk... i dont think there is some RMT conspiracy where they planned this all along, so they could safely move around isk... i really dont.

But i definatly think, that like blink, they will at some point start attempting to make $$ profit from their endless wallet

Anonymous said...

[quote] EVE players aren't famous for giving their ISK away to strangers, so false positives are pretty rare.[/quote]

This is totally not true. Every market hub is full of veterans who give away fortunes to other players if they only comply with some simple task.

Anonymous said...

A fair number of PvE players using overpowered/overtanked ships will take an extra mid and put a point in it so they can kill random people that attack them in complexes where cynosaural fields do not work. Of course it doesn't save you if you're stupid enough to jump gates in your blinged battleship.

killfalcon said...

It'd take a fairly significant effort to a) set up a gambling site that could be configured to win/lose on demand and b) make sure that absolutlely no-one at CCP ever found out, despite epic ammounts of logging and, y'know, actually buying ISK themselves so they can trace it through the logs.


In all seriouness, if a number of suspected/known botters are 'losing' all their ISK to totesnotRMThonest.gov, and then some portion of it ends up in the accounts of players who've bought ISK before (or CCP's buyer alts!), it'll stand out. There's a reason evebet's scheme was so convoluted: the traditional farm character->seller->buyer character route is so easily traded. EVEbet went the route of legitimately acquiring ISK by runnign a successful player-business and then working out how to turn some of that ISK into real-world cash.

I honestly think that using a public website to launder bot-farmed or hacked ISK is asking to get caught.

Xmas said...

Don't the Officer rats warp away if you don't warp scramble them? I can't find any confirmation that the warp scramble works or doesn't work on these NPCs.

Iiene of Kul Tiras said...

An unregulated gambling industry is going to be crooked, period.

The ONLY reason anyone would operate an "honest" gambling operation with in game money is to use it to launder RMT transactions. Even if they START OUT honest, it'll be 15, 20 minutes before it dawns on them that they can cook the books any way they want.

If the game company allows this, then they might as well throw their hands up with the logical side effect: botting.

I am simply astonished that anyone would think an unregulated gambling operation would be made honest by "market forces."

The problem the game company faces is twofold. They have to track down botters, then they have to investigate every site that trades in the game currency. This costs them resources that could be put towards the game.

You need to have game mechanics that make this impossible from the get go.

Iiene of Kul Tiras said...

So, how does that gambling site even work? Does CCP actually provide an API to access the ISK on your characters? That would be insane, what would stop someone from just creating ISK?

If that's the case, then CCP is just asking for it.

Anonymous said...

You need to have game mechanics that make this impossible from the get go.

pretty much this. And most probably never going to happen in EVE.

Maybe if plex was more worth than the average guy can possibly rat in a month. maybe than hacking + botting stops. But then the f2p-grinders will whine.

hacking+botting is poison. and every company will have to put manpower and resources aside to deal with it. Even if it is a sandbox game.

Arrendis said...

"Maybe the bigger question is "who own the assets inside a game". As long as the answer is "the player" (and not "CCP"), he can do anything he wants with it, as long as he is not violating the law."

I believe on many occasions CCP have stated in the EULA that you pay a subscription to a service and don't owe any of the assets. This allows them to ban / negative balance anyone in game.


Anon is correct, Rasmus. Just like Blizzard, EA, Sony, and every other MMO publisher, CCP asserts that all assets within their code remain their property. This is actually the cause of one of the current kerfuffles they're having, as they're now claiming that any Corp or Alliance Logo submitted to them constitutes as transfer of ownership of that IP, retroactive to the opening of the game.

Needless to say, our lawyers may have other opinions.