Greedy Goblin

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ghost training: new evidence to more EVE corruption

Nosy Gamer, the last desperate fanboy of EVE is upset that EVE has an "ongoing bug", the ghost training. At first, a short explanation: ghost training is setting up an Omega (subscribed) account with one month of subscription. You set a several months long training queue and log off. Your subscription will expire after a month, but your training queue will not stop until you log in again. So if you don't log in for a year, you get a character with 1 year worth of skillpoints to extract without having to pay for it. This is well documented on Reddit.

What Reddit doesn't know (and please inform them if you have an account) is that this "bug" is much older than Alpha clones. I bumped into it when my girlfriend stopped playing EVE around 2014 January, when I started the GRR project which she found not to her liking (she prefers creative project, she was right, I was wrong). To that point I PLEXed her account, but of course stopped doing it when she stopped logging in. I didn't use her account as it wasn't mine. However her character training API was on my EVEMon so I could warn her to update training. So one day - long after she unsubscribed - EVEMon notified me that her whatever race Battleship 5 skill is complete. I first thought that some unsubscription feature was missed and her credit card was billed, but no. Then I thought that I overPLEX-ed her so I asked her to log in, but she couldn't (no Alpha clone back then). I asked her to file bug report and moved on with my life. The character name was Panni Ogeko if some CCP dev wants to look into it. Back then I trusted CCP and thought it was a honest bug, so made no fuss about it and forgot the issue. Note: this user had the same result 2 years ago.

Now, I don't think it was a honest bug. Sure, you couldn't extract skills back then. But please remember that back in the day it was customary to keep supercap accounts unsubscribed between wars. I found it a bit weird, someone who can afford a super can't afford a PLEX a month to keep his pilot training?! Well, I think they were training. These guys just left the pilot with some several-months skill (racial titan 5, doomsday operation 5, fighter-bombers 5) and unsubscribed to receive free skillpoints.

It's easy to prove that this isn't simply bug-exploiting, but corruption between devs and those "in the know": what kind of idiot would risk his supercapital account banned for a 100% capturable exploit, for a couple PLEX worth of SP?! I mean the exploit leaves clear logs, takes months to be completed before someone can cash out and disappear with the money (by selling the character on the bazaar back then, by extracting skills now). If it was a honest bug, it could be closed at any moment and the exploiters banned during the long months while they were waiting for the training to complete. The only way someone would dare to use this exploit if he has inside information that he will not be banned and I'm sure that those supercapital-heavy alliances had the guarantees from corrupted devs that this is fair game.

The final evidence to corruption: CCP claimed to have fixed this in 2008!!! They either didn't, or some corrupted dev removed the fix when everyone forgot about it.

PS: I've left Albion after I've realized that the best way of getting rich is speculating on the premium currency, which is a real world coupon. Now in Archeage, I sold an APEX for 815 gold which I bought for 700. It's not yet sure that it's a viable speculation and not just a few morons selling at wrong prices, but surely a warning sign.


Provi Miner said...

its a hit and miss thing, one toon unsubed stopped after 3 days the another stopped when training limits were reached, back then you could you have X number of days in your queue (please don't forget that little factoid back in the day). Of course the other trick is the friend plex but meh... point is there are ton's of these "items" that keep happening.

Anonymous said...

I am curious, if you are done with EvE, why do you keep posting stuff about it?
Bitter Vet much?

Gevlon said...

@Provi Miner: hit and miss means "some guys have it, others not". Interesting.

@Anon: Look! I was right! I'm not imagining things, like gaslighting Goons claimed!

Anonymous said...

Ghost training in 2008 is different to ghost training now.

It was fixed in 2008. The new ghost training arose when Alphas were introduced in November, and is due to your account status not fully registering until you log back in.

It is called the same thing, but, it is the best part of a decade apart.

So, close, but no cigar.

Gevlon said...

It is the same thing. In both cases an account that is not supposed to do training does while offline until you log back.

Slawomir Chmielewski said...

Wasn't it the case that any skill trained when the sub expired would keep on training until finished? It was before skill queue was introduced and it was common knowledge, particularly used to train alts.
Sure, it was most useful to polish off those x14 skills in capitals but you still had to pay one month in 3 to change the skill to be trained. I don't think I ever used it, just couldn't be bothered to meddle with my account subscription just to save £3.

Cathfaern said...

So you say that there was some bug which was fixed, and now the same bug happens again.
While Gevlon is saying that there was a bug and it was (presumably intentionally) unfixed because now it can be used for moneymaking.
Yeah, you definitely speaking about a different thing.

vv said...

It might be a bug in very old and bad code that nobody dare to touch. Or optimization or side effect from other changes. For example game don't really calulcate your training if you aren't logged. It just compute that you should have N skillpoints in moment T. It's really hard to find and fix bugs like this in old code. It may break entire game.

Gevlon said...

@vv: they could implement long training queues and skill injectors/extractors. They could manage this.

Elizabeth Norn said...

You are wrong about ghost training after the fix and before alpha clones. Accounts would train for 3 days after the subscription running out, but that was it. I ran dozens of accounts until SP farming and over 200 since, but it wasn't until alpha clones appeared that this bug returned. People have been talking about ghost training since it appeared on Singularity, word spread very fast, while I hadn't heard a word before then which makes me very doubtful it existed.

Gevlon said...

@Elizabeth: maybe it's not the same code, but it does just the same: giving training for accounts that are ineligible.

Since they fixed the problem once, letting the same problem occur in a new code is either malice, or unimaginable incompetence.

Elizabeth Norn said...

Or perhaps it's that it's something that's difficult to fix due to it not designed for the system we have now when it was created 15 years ago and iterated upon since with that design in mind. Kind of like how we'll never get a log out to character select because of the amount of effort it would take to implement.

Anonymous said...

Did you actually log in to check her account, or did you just assume that what EveMon reported was correct? It would have cost you a trivial amount to plex and find out. Why didnt you?

Anonymous said...

This use to be considered a feature of Eve, now it's a bug exploit. I mean yes they did change skill queues to stop training after subscription expired but man were there some tears when that initial change went through. It's kind of ironic that there are just as many tears now that this "feature/bug/exploit" is back again.

Gevlon said...

@Elizabeth: it's a trivial thing to fix:
- every downtime check every account and if not omega, stop training. It might get 23 hours of extra training max. Problem solved.
- when you set up a training queue, you can't make it longer than your subscription time

Also, when something involves getting something free what the company sells for money, NOTHING is too hard to implement.

@Anon: I didn't care back then too much, because I didn't give enough though of it.

Jonathan Silva said...

Unfortunately if you're against games with real world currency and in game currency ratio exchange speculations being a form of money making Archeage might not be for you. Back when I played Steam had a credit card flaw and somehow the "bad guys" were able to launder that money that they took through Archeage. First by acquiring it through this security flaw, second by purchasing either Labor Potions or Apexes. Then selling it for gold on the auction house. And lastly extracting the money/laundering it through 3rd party websites for RMT exchange. I made a killing during this time because I happened to be day trading with labor potions, buying a lows and selling at highs throughout the day/week. They just happened to go low for up to three weeks, something like 1/3rd of their regular price, in which time I liquidated all else and bought it up. My plan was either I was getting cheap labor to sports fish, which I loved, or I'd resell when it rose. And of course whenever the steam security flaw was fixed and the thieves stopped laundering the money through Archeage, it did