The price of ISK...
Greetings EVE residents,
The topic of this GM blog is the purchase and the selling of ISK for real life currency, commonly referred to as “ISK selling” or Real Money Trading (RMT).
As most of you have heard, (and some have experienced first hand) buying ISK is forbidden. Those caught doing it will lose whatever amount they bought and receive a permanent warning on their account as a bonus. In extreme cases or cases of repeat offenders we will ban accounts permanently for buying ISK. So all in all, buying ISK is not a very wise way to spend your hard earned cash. The reasons for this tough stance will be explained in this blog, the purpose of which is mainly to raise awareness of the negative effects of ISK selling on the EVE universe in the hope that together we can put an end to the cycle of problems that is ISK selling.
In the past we have seen rare cases where players have bought such amounts that they were able to hire whole alliances to do their dirty work for them and all without having to spend a thousand sleepless nights on the bridge of their Probe, pwning asteroids with their mining lasers. It is obvious why ISK purchasing on that scale is not well received. Most ISK buyers however buy moderately to be able to afford the latest ship or that super shield booster everyone is talking about. The bulk of the ISK buying business revolves around the small time buyer, the buyer who just wants to have a little more fun without all the tedious work. That is the sort of customer who keeps this whole ISK selling business strong and healthy. Many do not see why this is a bad thing but I will come to that in a moment if you bear with me.
“Why does it concern CCP what I do with my money!?” some would ask. “Why can’t I buy ISK from someone else who has more time to spend on EVE than I do? What is the harm!” others might ask. There is no single answer to these questions so I will give you a few.
First of all, money is power in EVE. Buying your way to power while others slowly and surely play their way towards the top (within the rules!) with their fists clenched and a mad glint in their eyes, is cheating. Plain and simple. EVE is intended to be a level playground where people either make it or not based solely on their abilities and hard work INSIDE EVE, not outside of it. It should not matter whether you are a rich man or a poor man in the real world. Once you enter the magnificent world of EVE Online, all that should matter is how well you put your abilities to use in the game and the thickness of one’s real world wallet should not be used to tip the balance.
Secondly, ISK buying provides a huge incentive for would-be ISK sellers to do whatever necessary to get their hands on ISK to sell for cold hard cash. Where there is demand, the supply is never far away. Selling online currency has become a huge industry in many low income countries because of the demand for effortless ISK and the only realistic way of keeping this industry out of EVE is if our players help us by not buying ISK. Most of the players who buy ISK don’t realize what sort of operations they are supporting with their purchases. People think they aren’t really doing anything wrong and that this is all their own business. Regretfully they are terribly wrong. In the effort to educate and guide, allow me to list the most common problems fuelled and financed by those who buy ISK for real money.
1. Macro mining
We all know about macro miners. We have all seen them mindlessly emptying belts from out under honest miners trying to get ahead in EVE. All of us, whether we know it or not, have experienced the effects they have on mineral prices by constantly undercutting everyone who doesn’t use a macro to mine 24/7. As it happens, macro programs don’t need their occasional beauty sleep like the rest of us so competing with them on a free and open market is not possible. It is a common belief that macro mining gangs have ruined the profitability of mining in high security systems and that is sadly very close to the truth. This means that players with means and will to buy their ISK for real money are ruining one of the main sources of income for new players wanting a safe and profitable start to their EVE career. As you can see this is not a minor issue, it’s a miner issue.
“Dear sir (madam).
ISK for good price today. Lower prices every day! Happiness to you and your familys! ˆ_ˆ ”
Who likes getting heart warming messages like these sent to your inbox a few times a day? I know I don’t and in case you are wondering, my GM inbox gets its fair share of their daily bargain offers (smart move, huh?). These messages are rained upon our customers constantly despite our efforts to stop them. So far our efforts have only served to slow them down. A fine example of the problems brought on by the willingness of some players to pay for ISK. Keep our inboxes clean! Don’t buy ISK!
3. Account hacking
This is one of the more serious and tragic results of the ISK selling business. ISK sellers constantly conjure various plots to trick passwords out of players, for example with the aid of phishing sites etc. If players fall victim to this trickery, their ships and belongings are mercilessly reprocessed and the minerals sold to any available bidder. All the ISK in their wallets is then injected straight into the waiting ISK buyers who have bought ISK of any of the many available ISK selling websites and the process repeats itself.
This is regretfully more common than people would think so there are two lessons to be learned here. Guard your login details with your life and don’t buy ISK because you might be buying stolen goods as well as financing the hacking and violation of your fellow man. Oh... and your account might just get banned.
4. Evil conglomerates are formed and prices go up!
As you probably realize by now, ISK sellers go to great lengths to get their hands on ISK. Recently we busted a blueprint conglomerate that was set up just to skim ISK off the top. That extra ISK was then sold for real life currency. The players involved bought a large number of expensive blueprints over a long period of time with the purpose of monopolizing the market on certain items. They attempted to drive prices as high as possible so that they could skim more money off the top and sell more ISK on Ebay. This went on for some time and I am sure that a large number of the playerbase unknowingly felt the effect of this when buying ships and modules.
This conglomerate was found out and brought down by your friendly GMs and all those involved given a lifelong vacation from EVE. Their precious pile of blueprints will be reseeded to lucky players through the blueprint lottery. This is a perfect example of how those willing to buy ISK for real money can directly cause inflation and can end up costing the rest of the playerbase a lot of ISK.
5. Customer support suffers ( = you suffer)
The problems caused by ISK selling take up a lot of our time. The more time we are forced to spend on matters caused by this epidemic, the less time we have to help players with other problems. This causes longer petition queues and a deteriorating level of quality. Help us help you by not contributing to the ISK selling industry.
To conclude what I hope is an inspiring and enlightening GM blog, I would like to add that the penalty for buying ISK is (at the minimum) the removal of all ISK bought, no matter if it is still in the wallet or not. Players that buy ISK and spend it on cool stuff will end up with a negative wallet balance and in some cases cannot get out of debt. This is a sad state of affairs but in such cases we cannot provide any additional services to help players get their wallets back into a positive status. They either make it out of debt themselves or they don’t. Our main concern and focus is protecting the part of our playerbase that follow the rules and do not buy ISK.
If you buy ISK, you may get away with it for a short time but keep in mind that you will be caught when the ISK seller selling you the ISK is caught and banned. Our goal is not to punish individuals but to do what is best for the EVE universe. With your help our job will be a lot easier. Instead of buying ISK, invest in a better future for yourself and for EVE online.
$enior GM Guard
EVE Customer Support