Talking about contracts... | EVE Online

Talking about contracts...

2006-07-27 - By CCP Atlas

I'm Nonni, one of the code monke.. err, programmers working on the new Contract System which will be in the Kali expansion this fall. I thought I'd share some of the features of the system with you guys and let you know what the contract system is supposed to be all about.

In short, the contract system is not just a rewrite of the system that it's replacing (namely escrow), but a paradigm shift (yes, I got to use a Dilbertian word!) into a grand new era of formalizing agreements between people (and corporations) in the Eve universe.

Here's the kicker: Your contract history will be visible to others (scroll down for more info on that), this means that the reputation people build up through contracts can make or break a would-be entrepreneur.

We spent a lot of time and effort on designing this new system but are taking a caution route in deploying it. We will probably release it in a few steps, beginning with pretty basic functionality and then adding to it in consecutive minor releases. What we've done is not just adding a some new features but design a unified platform on which to build more functionality. So, the first version of the contracts is not all about features, but we'll hopefully start to pile those on soon after.

An important design consideration was performance and scalability since we want the system to function flawlessly later this year when we've got a quarter million subscribers :-D. This design philosophy has some implications for the end user. Most noticeably, nothing happens without user intervention.

If you accept a courier contract and are a couple of hours late, don't sweat it, the issuer might not be at his desk at the moment and the contract isn't failed without the issuer failing it himself. This means that both the issuer and the contractor have to keep an eye on the journal for expired and overdue contracts. But there's silver lining of course. If the contractor and the issuer reach some sort of an agreement the issuer might afford to be late on his loan payment since the issuer simply will choose not to fail the contract yet.

Another example is when an auction you bid on finishes; you do not get the items you bid on without getting them yourself from the contract. There is no to-your-door delivery ;-)

Although the Kali 1 release is hopefully just the first version of the system, not to worry. The first release will not just be a slight improvement over the current system. We'll have some pretty cool stuff in there for you.

The contract system will replace the current escrow and courier missions by offering similar functionality but will also have some new features. We maintained a user-interface design philosophy of keeping things straightforward and logical so the system should be relatively easy to use while also being powerful enough for advanced players.
Someone ;) has already leaked a screenshot of the main contract list and that raised a bunch of questions from you guys. I'll try to address some of them as well.

Some of the highlights

Contracts will be available in space

Your ship will be equipped with a Contract Relay Operating Tachyon Communications Hub (one drawback with that, the abbreviation is CROTCH). As a result, Contracts will not be a station service like the courier and escrow missions. You will be able to create and accept remote contracts in space and sell any of your station-based items from anywhere in the Eve universe.

"On behalf of corporation"

We will add a new corporation role which will allow trusted individuals in your corporation to create and accept contracts for your corporation, in those cases the corporation itself will issue and accept contracts.


We will have some pretty nifty filtering to allow you to find the contract that you want. It's an impossible task to wade through thousands of contracts in search of that one item or contract without these things! You will, for example, get rid of those nasty contract spammers (yes, I'm sure we'll get some) by ignoring them for good!

Splitting stacks remotely

OMG! Can we, really???

Fitted ships

You can enter fitted ships into a contract and it will survive the ordeal without being torn apart.

Public history

An important part of the this system is contractual (is that a word? Ed.: Yes, it is.) history. Based on the availability of the contracts you have participated in, people will be able to look you up and see exactly what contracts you have completed and whether they were successful. This allows you to build up your reputation through your contract history, both publicly (for public contracts) and within the echelons of your corporation or alliance (private contracts available to either of the two).

This can be a very nice way for corporation members to increase their standing in a corp. If the corporation manages itself largely through contracts (such as assigning sentry duty, mineral runs, newbie training etc) people will be able to see at a glance just how darn important you are to the corporation.

Private contracts between two characters will not be visible to anyone else though so backstabbing is supported by the system ;)

Contracts are linkable

You can drag'n'drop contracts into your notepad, evemail, chat etc. Thus, you can keep track of interesting contracts or tell your friends about your newest "hot deal".

Contract Types

We will have five basic contract types from which to choose from. Three of these can be created as public or private (named) contracts, but the two last ones can only be issued as private contracts.
In every case where the


Probably the most used contract type. You'll be able to enter any items into an auction lasting from 8 hours to some number of days. There will be fixed shotgun rules and bid increments.

Item exchange

Using this contract type you'll be able to enter any item you have in your hangar along with some ISK and receive any item type (and/or ISK) in return. Good way to exchange your megathron navy bpo for a raven navy bpo.


Basically the same as the older courier missions. Nothing too fancy here, but corporations can accept courier contracts and delegate them to their worker bees.


Loan contracts can only be issued privately (e.g. to other players or corps) and they allow you to loan items and/or money for a period of time. This type of contract does require trust towards the loaner unless the collateral is set to the exact worth of the items in question (in which case it's relatively useless) but it's a great way to keep a record of loans, especially for inner-corporation management. Your corporation could have all their fitted mining barges in loan contracts for the great mining run, thereby allowing members to build up a reputation through successful contracts as well as keep better bookkeeping.


This is a really simple contract but can be a pretty powerful tool. The issuer provides a title and a description and chooses, unilaterally, whether the contract is completed successfully or not. This can be a great way to formalize (private) agreements, both for corporation management and person-to-person. You can set up templates for your freeform contracts in order to help with management.

This contract type will not be available for public contracts.

The Nerfbat

No good deed goes unpunished ;-) The contracts will conform more ridgedly with the rest of the trade design of Eve than the escrow does. They will be much more closely related to the Market system. There are a few consequences of this.

No global contracts

You will not be able to create global contracts. You can assign a contract to any (PC) corporation or character (as well as your own alliance) or have it publicly available in the region where it begins. As such, players will not be able to view public contracts in another region. However, if you set your availability to a corporation, the contract will be viewable by members of that corp wherever they happen to be.


There will be a few skills characters will have to acquire in order to take the contract system to its limits. Everyone will be able to have a single contract outstanding, but you need skills in order to increase that limit (to a yet undecided number). Note that this only refers to outstanding contracts. As soon as your auction is over, for example, you can create a new one. There will also be a skill or two for lowering cost of setting up contracts similar to the market.


For public contracts, the cost of setting up a contract is going to be proportional to the amount money you get for successfully completing it. The cost will also increase with the amount of time your contract is visible to others up to a maximum time of 1 week or thereabouts. Private contracts will be relatively cheap with just a few coins slipped to the guy at the SCC Contracts Bureau so he doesn't misplace the paperwork.

Future additions

There are a lot of things we'd like to do with the contract system now that it's finally here. Here are some of the things that we think would be pretty cool.

Grading contracts

Once a contract is completed the issuer is able to give the contractor a grade which will add to the contractor's reputation. Especially useful for inner-corporation management.

Trading shares

We'd like to allow you to trade shares in your corporations or even auction them off.


We'd like to give contract issuers the ability to limit contracts by standings or even have standings influence price, so you could give a 10% discount to all your mates for example.

Recurring contracts

It would be a great way for corporations to manage themselves if you could set up contracts that automatically recur in a certain amount of time. There's a lot that can be done with this. For example, you could set up POS duty for a recurring contract of 1 week. For every week the POS runner might receive a lump sum for his troubles or just a reputation increase.

Bounty contracts

"Bring me the head of Oveur" muhahaha

Final words

That's it for now. I hope this has offered a bit of insight into what we're doing with the contracts. Since this is still in development you might want to take a few of the details with a grain of salt ;-)

Well, enough procrastinating, gotta get back to work. Those asteroids won't mine themselves, you know.