Welcome back to my column. I’m mirroring posts from my blog at Not all of them are going to be column worthy, but expect one or two a month. As should be expected from the title, there is no topic beyond what I feel like writing about.

Money For Nothing, Isk for Free.

Is there something else I should know?
Something hidden down below the level of your conversation?
Well he turned away before the answer,
Though I yelled aloud he refused to hear,
It became too clear.
Bob Seger – Ship of Fools

I’m sure you folks’ve seen the recent expose on isk sellers, on Eve News 24. I’ve always been amazed that people actually do this thing. CCP Games has taken steps in the past to create a method to buy isk, and it’s called PLEX. You go and buy a game time code, and sell it ingame. There’s a scam free system set up to do this.

And yet someone’s made almost 300,000 dollars off of CCP’s game. Now, some of this can be chalked up to new players. These can be excused as ignorant. In that vein, some of the blame is on CCP. There should be better information available to the new player about PLEX. The game should have a prominent message when you log in for the first time about this whole deal. Sure some people wouldn’t read it, but you don’t gotta feel guilty about those that are ignorant because they’ve chosen to be.

But that’s another matter altogether. I browsed the client list and found that a huge number of them had bought isk more than once. One guy, Icarantus, bought over 6,000 dollars in isk. I’m not sure of the exchange rate over at iskbank, but if you bought GTC’s with that and that’s a bit over 100 billion.

So I’m left seriously asking myself, what in the hell did this guy need 100 billion isk for exactly? And why was it so important that he save himself a few hundred dollars and take the risk of buying it illegally? Some of these other guys are going to be alright. They’re in the hole for 100 million, or 5 billion. You can fix that kind of negative wallet balance. Eventually, and through hard work(or buying GTC’s, you idiot) you can bring that back from the brink. But 100 billion? What the fucking fuck?

Now of course we’re not discussing the real life information of these users. It’s a good thing too, because that itself would be breaking the EULA. But these people bought isk, and it’s for the community’s good to see them pay for it. Making a public spectacle of these people, and displaying their names prominently will make it less likely for people to buy isk from the isk sellers in the first place.

But I’m always left aghast at the stupidity of people. Is there a fix for stupid? I doubt it, but better information is a good start. As long as people buy isk, the isk sellers will be breaking into accounts. They will be macro missioning, macro mining, macro ratting and just macroing in general.

There is no real life counterpart to this. Drugs work in the other direction, with the buyer willing to do anything illegal to get his fix, while isk sellers are willing to do anything illegal to have the product they need to sell. It’s backwards, but I have a distinct feeling that if CCP cracks down hard on every single person on that list, and publicizes that fact, we’ll be a bit further on the road to recovery.

So what you’re going to say here is: “Well CCP gets money from each and every one of those subscribers, so it’s in their best interest to slap them on the wrist,”. Yes and no. This one leak shows 300,000 dollars that CCP didn’t make because of real money trading. If this was WOW, or some of the other games, you’d be absolutely right. Real money trading is an annoyance, but it’s not taking any money out of Blizzards pocket. CCP on the other hands has the PLEX system, a legal way to buy isk.

“So what” you say. “It’s still more profitable to just let the accounts stay right?” Wrong bucko. 300,000 dollars is equivalent to almost 1700 accounts a year. That’s just one leak in a veritable flood of real money trading. I hear a figure upwards of 6 million dollars being thrown around pretty regularly as a guestimate of how much money CCP loses a year to this.

Now sure, banning those accounts that bought the isk is a bad idea, you should crack down on those the old fashioned way, with negative isk balances. But the people who’re doing the botting? Surely there aren’t more than 33k accounts(6 million dollars a year worth) out there doing this, right? Even if there are, you ban them all and get that money back in PLEX. If there are more than that many accounts, it starts to become a real question of profit.

But you know what? CCP needs to learn to tell the truth. Look, I appreciate you want to look tough, but this?

We are aware of the evenews24 situation and the leaked list being discussed here. At this time we cannot comment on the information in focus but we would like to use this opportunity to remind everyone that buying ISK for real money is a violation of our EULA and anyone doing so risks getting the ISK removed and punitive action against their accounts, including possible permanent bans.

Shut up. It’s possible CCP is actually dumb enough to perma ban someone for buying isk, but I doubt it(because, ironically, I have a certain amount of faith in CCP). Hey CCP, you want to be good at your job? Outline clear and exact punishments or shut up. “risks getting the isk removed”? “possible permanent bans?”. I’m shaking in my boots, really.

What it should have said?

We are aware of the evenews24 situation and the leaked list being discussed here. At this time we cannot comment on the information in focus but we would like to use this opportunity to remind everyone that buying ISK for real money is a violation of our EULA and anyone doing so will have the isk and/or items removed from their account. We will also subtract an additional one billion isk from your wallet, regardless of your current balance.

That’s clear, concise, and to the point, yeah? Say you’re going to do that, and then do that thing you said you’d do. Ban the ISK sellers as you find them, permanently. Change your policies to be a lot less lenient on Macros(no more one day bans because you’re afraid of catching regular players in the sweeps).

That isn’t to say that your super secret RMT taskforce can’t keep doing what it’s doing. I know and you know what’s going on here. You send your own folks in, buy a little isk, track the accounts that sell it to you, track the accounts they’ve ever gotten money from, do a little database searching to see if they traded items in space and all that rigamarole. You’re doing that legwork, and I get it, you can’t always crack down on people outright. It risks the investigation. But when someone reports a bunch of macro’ers in DRF space, and you give them one day bans, we know you’re not trying at all.

The responsibility lies with both the playerbase and CCP and communication is the key.


  1. helo

    Two reasons people buy isk rather than GTC's

    1. usually save 20% of the cost and if you are smart you won't get caught
    2. for a pvp pilot there has hardly been any new content in regards to pvp ships into new patches (mostly carebear shit every patch). Lag is not fixed and it never will be so fuck giving CCP any money.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:33 am Reply
    1. BntyHunter

      Ahmen Brother…Its all true

      This is the reason.

      They try to act like Plex/GTC isnt RMT…Thats a Lol on both ytou enter CC Numbers and get back products you didnt earn.

      Onl;y diff is CCP wants to monopolize on this so they ban it, this makes the price from the RMT`ers go down even more but Doubles to Triples there Biz becuase they will always sell lower than CCP.

      I know tons of guys who bought SuperCaps from Plex and tons who bought from So Called "RMT" sites the only differance besides the legalistic BullShit is the guys who used sites payed 750$ where the Plex guys spent 1000$-1100, they still got ships they didnt work to either build, Steal or Buy [with there own ISK]

      So please explain to us how its differant, and lastly I would buy GTC If I did that but only because CCP was doing better shit with it….IMHO my 15$ a month for my Toons isnt even being payed for by them so why add more Money.

      They refuse to do simple things with any real speed to fix old old problems.

      Imagine that 300k paying for 4 Employees at CCP do you really think we would have had better Lag? Better more even gameplay? Hell no, CCP as a whole actslike they listen to CSM but in reality it took 3 Yrs to fix Rockets and still not truly fix them and thats just 1 simple way easy fix that could have changed alot but taken minutes to fix….They dont deserve any more Money till they do well with ours now.

      Its like throwing money into governement that already doesnt work hoping more will change.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:43 am Reply
  2. Pacolipse

    CCP ignoring the hordes of macro-Russian trash? Do I smell another scandal or is CCP that dumb?

    No real player is online and active 23/7. Until CCP addresses botters who tip the balance of capital power in null sec, this game's market and politics amount to a joke.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:45 am Reply
    1. bff

      they getting paid off 15 a month per toon

      March 12, 2011 at 5:59 am Reply
  3. chaireth cutestory

    No, man.
    You've got to ban them.
    Here's the thing: only X% of players who buy isk will get caught. X<20%. Given that, if all you do to the 1/5 of rulebreakers who get caught is make them 20% worse off, then it will still make sense to cheat.
    What CCP is really fighting is the fact that you can buy isk for 30% less than PLEX prices. If there's a small chance of getting caught (say, a hacker breaks into the moldavian isk website's database, which is pretty fucking rare) and then your consequences are only slightly worse than if you had never done it in the first place, the equilbrium is that you should cheat.
    But the game is currently being "executively produced" by a twit who wants to show people PCUs and rising subscriber numbers to justify a wholesale resource allocation in favor of other games that are vaporware. Consequently, there will be no bans, and no integrity. The only subscriptions that will be lost to botting and RMT are those of honest players who are tired of a rigged game.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:50 am Reply
    1. BntyHunter

      Problem is I could make up a list that looked very much like a real one, and say I was employed from a company who was ISK Selling, Then I could go find political enemies look at contract history and look for times they used there own alts to transfer which lots of people do.

      Also as I said before I dont think its cheating, In my heart I consider buying Plex Cheating if I consider RMT cheating because its all the same ISK for real money.

      March 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm Reply
      1. chaireth cutestory

        Uh how is that a problem? You seem to be refuting the strawman argument that CCP should just take this list at face value and ban everyone without bothering to investigate whether or not the accounts/players involved actually participated in those transactions. Nobody is advocating that course of action, but I could see how it's much easier to refute.

        March 11, 2011 at 9:05 pm Reply
  4. Frodo the BobIT

    Also, nobody gives a s**t about negative wallets. You can have 1 trillion negative wallet and can still do absolutely everything except clone updates (which, if you were not a dumbass and didn't buy ISK with your PvP main should be a non issue) can be done perfectly well via corp wallet.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:20 am Reply
    1. Che Guevara

      Well, the one person I know who has had a negative wallet balance has said they cannot do trade window stuff, nor use the market or contracts. The only way to get items to and from that character would be to drop it in space (If it's a ship, have it flown to a safespot and eject, then have another character pick it up)

      However, I don't know whether that person had corp wallet access or not. So you very well may be able to do everything via the corp wallet. Thankfully I have never been in the position to test it.

      March 12, 2011 at 7:55 am Reply
  5. Blinker007

    Icarantus eighter has a serious gambling habit or is exploiting SOMER Blink Lottery somehow. Because thats where the ISK flow to.

    March 11, 2011 at 8:22 am Reply
  6. Steel

    Yeah, Icarantus is spending it all gambling. Check out the statistics page on to see it. Biggest spender on the site.

    March 11, 2011 at 9:43 am Reply
  7. ThinkOnce

    Hallan Turrek, your reasoning doesn't make ANY sense. You are more bothered by the fact that people bought ISK from another source than CCP, than actually buying the ISK at all.

    Why are you so concerned for CCP about not getting money from these transactions ? Is CCP in deep financial trouble ? Are you aware of their financial situation that we don't know ? Please share that with us.

    You are taking position from a CCP point of view instead of the actual legit players' one. The latter don't care about where cheaters get their isk from but that they can get it with real money altogether.

    Don't be naive, CCP just stepped into the business to grab their share out of it, which from a business perspective makes totally sense (that's their game after all ), not to protect the players whatsoever.

    March 11, 2011 at 10:12 am Reply
    1. DBowl

      What he said

      March 11, 2011 at 10:20 am Reply
    2. Dumbass

      why dont you try to create something, putting years of experience and hard work into something. you pour your life into it… you turn it into a business and pretty soon its your only source of income. Would you like it if someone is created a business that thrived off of stealing from your possible income?

      its not about if you dont care about CCP, not about any of the above BS. its right vs wrong, its the way of how our society works. These people are breaking the law.

      But i'd like to say, i agree with the rambling of a madman 100%

      CCP needs to nut up or shutup on the issue. BAN the botters. do something PLEASE.

      March 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm Reply
      1. Che Guevara

        They are not breaking the law. They are breaking the EULA, which is NOT law. Yes, CCP can ban them, if they choose. That's fine. However, I get tired of uneducated "Dumbasses" talking about these people being criminals, when the majority of them have never broken the law.

        Also, while some of the people who buy ISK from third parties would indeed make purchases from CCP were there no alternative, the majority would not. The exchange rate is way too low. Someone I know that has purchased ISK in the past bought 10b ISK for less than $300 (This was at least a year or two ago, as far as I know he hasn't played since the end of 2009, so the exchange rate is probably different, now, but it is still lower than PLEX by a long shot) while for the same amount of ISK at the current level of PLEX trading, it would be in the neighborhood of $550. I believe the PLEX conversion rate was closer to 380m in early 2010 (I'd have to login and see what I was paying for PLEX at the time, but pretty sure it was 380m) so back then $490 would've gotten the same ISK. Still, the third party website was cheaper by a long shot.

        March 12, 2011 at 8:13 am Reply
  8. obvious

    Isk-Buyers on parade…
    Get it straight, you're buying the isk off criminals encouraging them to hack accounts and exploit eve in the worst manner!

    March 11, 2011 at 11:15 am Reply
    1. oh get it straight they arn’t criminals, 99% of isk selling websites farm their own isk.

      and anyway even if they did hack, which i don’t think any of them do, why is it meta gaming if an alliance does stuff like hacking or DDos on people (both which are illegal) but horribly wrong if a website hacks for isk?

      March 11, 2011 at 11:35 am Reply
      1. 99% of statistics are made up on the spot.

        Also, I don't remember those DDoS attacks being exactly welcomed by the community either…

        March 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm Reply
  9. CCP just don’t want anyone else making money from their game, which is understandable, what isn’t understandable is chargeing 30% more for equivilant isk, when you can change the price of a plex at any time.

    they are just greedy icelandic dicks. just like their president, they want to be involved in every pie till it goes tits up and then its someone elses fault.

    March 11, 2011 at 11:30 am Reply
    1. Hi-sec forumwarrior

      what the fuck are you on?

      The plex is based on supply and demand not on ccp. (the isk value that is( which is all that really matter))
      They make the game they make the rules. You don't like that stop playing the game.

      March 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm Reply
      1. LOLnowwut

        2 plex from EVE's site is roughly $35 US.

        2 months of game time is $30 simply from the month to month payments, less if you pay 3 or 6 months in advance.

        so if a plex costs 350 million ISK then we just lost 'about' 12% of the trade value from if the person who bought it for game money would have used a credit card.

        CCP and the ISK bots are both to blame for this… CCP for being greedy and the bots for breaking the rules… not that they cared anyway.

        March 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm Reply
  10. DRF

    i think CCP would like idea of selling ISK and items for money-altough it would ruin the game….but there is reason they cant do it….unlike other MMO games here u have acctual market that behaves like real one…..pumping enormus number of ISK by selling it would cause inflation and crash the market at the end… selling plex they go arround the problem…the value of plex is acctually not in game untill someone buys it…so there can be bilions of worth of plex sitting on sell order but it would not affect a fragile nature of eves market

    March 11, 2011 at 11:35 am Reply
    1. what sort of rubbish is that, every mmo has a solid and stable market, the only difference to this market is that theres a way to flood it using outside cash courtesy of CCP.

      which is retarded in itself.

      March 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm Reply
      1. DRF

        dudeeeeee, the diference that u failed to see is that every item in game is built/trade by players not seeded by creator of game…dont talk if u dont know the facts

        March 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm Reply
        1. So what are drops off rats then? ohh shit, yeah exactly like instances in other games.

          fucking industrials thinking they know everything.

          March 12, 2011 at 12:17 am Reply
  11. "I’ve always been amazed that people actually do this thing. CCP Games has taken steps in the past to create a method to buy isk, and it’s called PLEX. You go and buy a game time code, and sell it ingame. There’s a scam free system set up to do this."

    Don't be amazed.

    The reason people buy ISK is very simple. It has a better exchange rate than PLEX. You get more bang for your buck. Of course, the trade-off is the risk of the ISK being removed or not turning up in the first place. But think about how many people try to save money by not getting health or motor insurance – you
    take an extra risk but it's considerably cheaper. It's a decision people make all the time irl.

    As for the morality, you can see the main argument for RMT in this comments section from a few posters: people don't see a difference between buying ISK from CCP and RMT, other than one is cheaper. They don't think that paying CCP would improve the game or they aren't generous enough to pay extra for it on top of an already expensive subscription. Perhaps some see PLEX as CCP monopolising RMT, with some justification.

    I have never and will never buy ISK either through RMT or CCP, and neither do I endorse it. But I can understand why people use sites like iskbank.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm Reply
  12. Empire nub

    Lol at all these people who break the rules and think its ok.

    'Taking money away from ccp will help them concentrate on lag'
    'ccp has enough money as it is'
    '99% of this money isn;t hacked'

    Bullshit guys just bullshit.

    You can try and talk your way out of it or say everyone is doing it but you are still buying money from people who break ccp rules and are not held accountable to their actions.

    March 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm Reply
  13. Get a brain shithead

    @stupid blogger nubi
    lol wrong shithead you can't call money you didnt make loses thats retarded much like the way the music industry thinks you have to asume that most of that money you would'nt have made anyways cuz your legal isk are to expansive.. 25euro for 640mil isk is a pretty bad deal… when you can have 1b for 25euro.. counting money you didnt make as loses is dumb2k. So pls go DIAF…

    March 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm Reply
  14. BntyHunter

    Its Pretty Simple BAN ALL RMT AND PLEX and flag any IP to IP Contract where the Value is way way off, like SabreTooth Missiles for 3 Bil, Then if the IP repeats with a few of these its done.

    The simple fact is if CCP was on its shit it would already have the list ready to go, but as people have said before alot of the Botters etc need to "Wash/Launder" there ISK in large amounts using GTC`s in which CCP makes Money, so actually the income is there, not as much as they would get selling only GTC, but still alot.

    Next is legalize everything, but get serious about Botting, so people had the chance to work in game and sell there ISK but get rid of forms of Bot`s, this is very simple with a PunkBuster type system, of course you would have to keep upgrading it.

    Black markets always make an arena for the criminal to win since they dont need to jump through hoops, but if CCP gave licenses to companies and gave permission to people to do it, they would actually take away alot of the business back to themselves. They need to just stop botters at that point.
    They need to stop them anyways.

    But then as a person you, could buy through a shady ass euro site or for very similiar price go through CCP.

    Its similiar to if Pot/Marij was legal the cartels couldnt compete with Longs Drugs or Phizer, and while people can use these Cheap ass Pharmacies online you might get ripped off so most people start heading the safe way.

    CCP has created these "ISK Cartels" the same as any government does who is greedy and doesnt flex.

    March 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm Reply
  15. Walrus

    Linking your personal blog in the first line is pretty classy.

    March 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm Reply

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