Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kill of the Week: Fraud

There's really only one kill to choose this week:
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=13002815&nolimit

On paper, it looks pretty straight-forward: a super-carrier dies to a good-size capital ship gang.  Helicity Boson (who was in on the kill) posted some really wonderful pictures to go with it.  The Hel really is a remarkably pretty ship, one of the best-looking capital ships in the game.


Of course, though, the actual how of this kill wasn't quite so nice.

Now before I say anything else, let me be clear: I'm as big a fan of dead supers as the next guy.  I loves me dead supers.  I also have absolutely nothing against scams in general.  I don't participate in them or instigate them myself, but I completely accept that they are a part of life in EVE Online.  Clear?  Some of you are definitely going to want to yell at me in a few paragraphs.  If you want to yell at me for actual cause, go for it.  But please don't make your yelling about "hurr-durr HTFU Jester, it's only space pixels."

Because this time, it apparently wasn't.

The following day, the story of how the Hel died came to light.  Go out and read the post.  It's apparently written from the perspective of Enochia Starr.  But short version: under the guise of inviting this guy along for some carrier kills, they talked him into jumping his super to a cyno where a hostile fleet was waiting.  And again, this is nothing at all new.  It happens in New Eden every single day.

Important pro-tip: if you wouldn't trust someone with $1000 of real life money, then don't jump your super where they tell you to jump your super.  Easy.  This guy broke that rule and his super died for it.  This trap was particularly insidious because even if they guy had neutral-scouted the cyno before hand, he would have seen exactly what he expected to see: a capital ship fleet and supporting sub-cap fleet of a good composition to kill some carriers.

Again, if that was all this was, then no big deal.  Happens all the time.

But these guys apparently took it a step farther than that.

Here's the video of the kill, apparently provided by Euripodes, who was flying an all-neut Armageddon for the fight.  Neuts were an important part of this gank, and in addition to the Geddon, there were a pair of Curses and a Bhaalgorn on the mail.(1)


Both Enochia's writing and Euripodes's comments attached to the video make it clear that part of the hook to get this guy to commit his Hel was to "teach him how to fly it".  Both mention that they gave the Hel pilot "tips" on what mods to fit and what mods not to fit.  In his Youtube notes(2) for the video, Euripodes adds this:
After Talking him into spending some hard earned cash on time codes so he could raise the isk needed to put some bling on it...
And if that's true, that means a real-world crime was committed here.

Fraud, by definition, is the intentional deception of an individual of money or valuables done for personal gain.  This qualifies.  What apparently happened is that, in the process of "training" this pilot how to fit his super-cap, he was talked into spending real money on GTCs.  He was then told to spend the ISK made from those GTCs on high-end dead-space modules worth billions of ISK...

Billions of ISK that the "trainers" intended to remove from the wreck that they would soon create.  Boys and girls, that's called intent to defraud.  And since more than one person was involved, that's also called conspiracy with intent to defraud.  These are real world crimes for which they slap hand-cuffs on people.  They're also clearly EULA/TOS violations.

If you had a niggling feeling in your head that this kill was "wrong" for some reason that you couldn't put your finger on?  Yeah.  That's where it came from.

Now, in terms of the direct fraud, the amount of money here isn't all that impressive.  If we limit the personal gain of those on the kill-mail to just the mods that dropped, two billion ISK worth of shield mods and fighter-bombers, then the financial gain to the defrauders was $80 U.S.  Basically, the pilots involved held up this guy at an ATM.  On the other hand, it could also be argued that they caused the financial loss of $1000 U.S. to this pilot.  And in most U.S. states, that amount is worthy of a felony.

So yeah, go ahead and start yelling at me.  But in my opinion, the people involved in this loss-mail went too far.  Scamming a guy into a super-cap loss is one thing, and it's no big deal.  But scamming him into spending real money on his super so that you can then steal the resulting mods from him is morally wrong.  In my opinion, the value of those mods should be removed from the game.  Then the Hel pilot should be interviewed by CCP to find out who, if anyone, talked him into spending real money fitting out this super.  If it turns out he did purchase GTCs, then in my opinion everyone he names should be banned from EVE for 30 days for a EULA/TOS violation.

Blowing up space pixels is one thing, and I'm all for it.  But this time it went too far.  EVE is real?  This time, it was a little too real.

EDIT (13/Apr/2012): Just to be very clear: my accusation of fraud and EULA/TOS violations extends only to those players -- if any -- who talked this pilot into spending real money on GTCs and then spending the resulting ISK on his super-cap fitting.  Helicity says that he is not one of those people and I believe that.  The pilots of Stop Exploding You Cowards should be examined more closely.



(1) +1 Internet to Euripodes for correctly counter-cycling all of his neuts and for using his cap boosters properly and at the right times.  -5 Internets to Emfive, who apparently fit his all neut-Bhaalgorn with meta 3 neuts.  Shame.  Shame shame shame on you.  -1 Internet to Helicity himself, whose Curse is also apparently badly fit.
(2) For context, here is the entire intro text to the video (sic throughout):
A "friend" of ours decided to buy a Hel with no idea how to fit or fly it. After Talking him into spending some hard earned cash on time codes so he could raise the isk needed to put some bling on it and being the good hearted bunch of pirates we are we decided to offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to join the Dark Intenionz super capital ship pilots school. We told him we could go on a POS bash together and we would train him how to fly it. betrayal follows. Not the best camera work on my part but i didnt think i would be the only guy to fraps it.

97 comments:

  1. I would like to reiterate, once again, that Shadow Cartel, nor myself, had anything to do with the events leading up to the Hel dying, that was entirely Enochia's handywork. We merely showed up to provide DPS when we were invited.

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    1. I agree, and have edited the post to make this more clear.

      My issue is not with killing a super-cap, nor with scamming a guy into a super loss. My issue is with people flying under false colors to get the pilot involved to spend RL money on items that they only intended to loot off his wreck.

      Delete
  2. I agree that Helicity is a rather pathetic individual, whose unhinged hysterical behavior last summer justifiably earned him a permaban.

    I agree that this kill and his trumpeting it was pretty lame.

    But fraud? No. CCP owns every ISK and every pixel in the game. They allow us the illusion of owning stuff and training chars but (according to the EULA) it all belongs to them. So no fraud here.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're too kind, I'm sorry my hysterical behaviour along with hundreds of others resulted in a 180 degree turnaround for the better in CCPs behaviour and the betterment of the spaceship game you enjoy.

      Ingrate.

      Delete
    2. I think you watch too much TV. Currently the main stream media, especially in the US, loves to push the idea that corporations are all powerful and what they say goes. There is the simple fact that there are two kinds of law, criminal law and contract or corporate law.

      In corporate law or contract law you can write what ever you want in a contract and if both parties agree then it's legally binding. That however does not mean that you can contract someone to kill your wife and have it not be criminal.

      CCP can write what ever they want into the EULA and yes we have to agree to those terms to play the game. If you ask a contract lawyer he will tell you that is legal.

      However if you ask law enforcement or criminal lawyer if convincing someone to spend real money on something in game that can be taken from them and that person gains from, then that is called a confidence game or a con game or just a con for short. The stolen mods can be converted into game time or video cards. What they did was theft. It was a con. It was criminal.

      Delete
    3. The EULA specifically allows in-game "fraud" as a a form of in-game financial PvP.

      It isn't fraud if the ground rules for ISK loss to other players are clearly laid out for all of the players.

      Try again, anon.

      Delete
  3. I agree with you on the GTC-part.

    The Meta is strong and blurry in this game. Fear it, for it may bite you in the ass.

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  4. Think calling this actual real life fraud is a stretch.

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  5. The difference between fraud and space pixels is that the actions happened in-game. I think the laws you cite apply to real-world gains such as signatures/documents, land, money, cars. As far as I know there is no way to convert your "booty" in Eve to a ATM cash-out, so in that way there was no "real" gain.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Legally, this doesn't matter.

      Say you talk me into spending money with your security company to buy a new alarm system for my house. You do this with the intent to rob my house. You arrive at my house, and remotely shut off the security system. You then proceed to start to rob my house, only your installation was flawed. The security system shorts, starts a fire, and burns down my house.

      And as a result, you gain nothing.

      It's still intent to defraud, even if you personally make no financial gain, because you caused me financial loss.

      As I said on Twitter, is a real-life criminal defense lawyer needed here? No. But what was done was wrong and those that perpetrated it should suffer bans from EVE for doing it.

      Delete
    2. Unfortunately, this is missing at least one and maybe two elements of Fraud.

      The weakest one is that most fraud-based offenses require that the victim was reasonable in their reliance on false information. As you well know, relying on any information given to you by even the best of friends in Eve isn't particularly reasonable.

      ALL fraud-based offenses require that the victim is harmed by the false statements made by the defendant. In this case, the EULA/TOS prevents this from being the case, as all ingame assets are owned by CCP. Enochia gained a service from CCP by paying money for PLEX. The duration of that service was very short, but it was nonetheless the service specified at the time of purchase. Thus, the scamming gang deprived him of zero assets.

      Delete
    3. Phyridean speaks truth. Nothing was lost by the defendant. If virtual currencies worked that way we'd all be in jail, including you Jester. ;)

      Delete
    4. Again, this doesn't matter.

      Even if millions of people tell me that Miss Cleo is a fraud, if I send money to her, I've still been defrauded. Miss Cleo's defense team does not get to claim "Dude, he was stupid! He was told Miss Cleo was a fraud!"

      Delete
    5. Sorry, instead of "Enochia in the comment above, I meant "Pheage" or "The victim"

      Delete
    6. As I said, that's the weaker of the two counterarguments.

      Also, Miss Cleo was never successfully prosecuted on fraud charges.

      Delete
    7. As I recall, Miss Cleo was working on behalf of the Psychic Readers Network, but she was not one of the company's owners. The company's owners were charged and settled out of court.

      Delete
  6. This is an illustration of the sticky nature of virtual game currencies.

    Technically once those time codes were sold for ISK, all of the assets involved belonged to CCP and only to CCP. Any use of isk, ships, or characters by eve players is nothing more than people being allowed to use CCP's virtual assets at CCP's pleasure. That's why a normal ingame scam isn't generally considered to be fraud.

    Most governments would love to start regulating and taxing virtual currencies, which is why I think CCP's plex for video cards is such a bad idea. If ingame assets become legal currency, pvping in eve would technically be illegal.

    So did anyone break the law here? CCP would say no, established tradition of MMO currencies would say no, but every government on earth would love to say yes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Maybe CCP was on to something with:

    "EVE is real"

    Maybe it should have been emphasized more as a warning. . .

    If the lads had only asked the guy to spend ISK on his ship, that'd be ok (or at least less wrong) but as you say, defrauding him out of RL cash goes outside the game.

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    1. That is exactly what happened actually, they gave him a fit, told him to use that. And then he said he was going to get plex for the fittings.

      Delete
    2. But that was not what Enochia posted on youtube. Instead he posted "After Talking him into spending some hard earned cash on time codes...". Bragging? maybe. But thats what is posted.

      Delete
  8. I'll preface this by saying that I'm not entirely a specialist in fraud or financial crimes. Still, your legal analysis strikes me as not entirely correct.

    The problem comes down to the fact that the participants never actually gained anything in RL terms. Given that the EULA specifically prohibits sale of IG items for cash (and I believe that somewhere they claim that they own all materials IG, though I can't find it quickly), once the victim bought the GTC, the money passed directly to CCP. What he's getting back is access to CCP's coding and server hardware. What happens to that in the context of the game doesn't change/affect/defraud the victim in any way. He paid for game time, exchanged that game time for ISK (all perfectly legal and within the terms of the EULA). Afterwards, due to in game events, he subsequently lost access to that isk. That doesn't strike me as fraud. Once something translate into in-game items for in-game value, there's no going back. That's why you can't directly create PLEX out of thin air and buy Plex directly from CCP for isk. They've tried to ensure that the value only goes one way: from RL currency to IG value, not the other way around. So once the victim made that purchase (even under the inducement by the other players), he passed value on to CCP. The players are getting nothing back with RL value, at least technically speaking. You can't sell the mods (legally) for RL cash.

    To address your hypothetical above, there's a clear distinction: there's a loss of RL value through illegality. Let's not forget: the purchasing of GTC is completely legal. He completed his transaction with CCP completely legally. Once he sold his PLEX for isk (and eventually buying modules with that isk) he's fallen out of RL legal systems and into the EVE economy. He gained the honest value of PLEX, gametime, and he sold it for value. The only thing he lost, so to speak, was items with in game value that can't be traded back for RL compensation anyway.

    Perhaps the bigger reason this kind analysis disturbs me, if it goes forward, is the potential repercussions. GTC/Plexes are a HUGE part of the ingame economy. If your theory goes forward, any PLEX sale, however valid it is under the EULA, could now be the basis for some kind of minor criminal liability if someone gains isk back, only to have it lost again due to a scam. We see PLEX scams *all the time* in Jita, and the isk propogates out from there. Where would be the dividing line? What makes this scam different than any other in game scam, since under your theory, in game items are now translateable BACK into RL currency?

    A bit ramble-y, admittedly (which is what happens when I'm dashing out an answer when I should be working instead of properly organizing my thoughts), but I hope I'm getting my point across.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Especially the theory that the gang would be responsible for the entire value of the (pre-existing) supercap is a very slippery slope. The GTC argument, though stretched tremendously, is still quite close to real currency, and thus real law. Bringing the hull and preexisting mods into this has implications for every other kill and asset-deprivation in the game, as Mark726 points out.

      Delete
    2. Though the RL/EVE life is a line that gets crossed, the fact that there was a push in game, for out of game wealth transfer, and not something that was purchased under normal intent. (A safer way to have enticed the purchase would have been "This is the fit you will need/should have. The sooner you can have it the better"). In my understanding, even though EVE currency is no longer RL currency, the way that RL currency was heavily recommended to get the EVE currency (to make its way to being other peoples in game currency) is what I feel the crime was. Sure the victim had the final call before he threw his hard earned (hopefully) cash into the game for fake cash, but in RL or not, the way it was said makes all the difference here. Even if this does not lead to RL punishment with Law enforcement, I do agree that CCP should BAN them for a bit and continue to keep this from being a promoted practice or else if it starts happening to often, it will get to Local Law Enforcement, News, and overall more than likely shut down CCP/EVE.

      Hell playing EVE is already almost a banable offence in the State of Arizona since they are trying to make Trolling a crime. :/

      Delete
  9. What about the consent defense?

    Eve is well known for this type of behavior and in fact is celebrated for it. In the same way a person can't sue a casino, this person essentially agreed to this type of game play by creating an account and playing.

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    1. The encouragement to over-spend at a casino here (to use your analogy) was done under false pretenses. It's one thing for the *casino* to encourage over-spending. It's quite another for another casino visitor to do so...

      ...particularly when it's revealed that the supposedly neutral casino visitor had an ulterior motive in doing so.

      Delete
    2. Yeah totally it was done under false pretenses, but what I am saying is that that particular behavior is so well known that a player almost consents to it. I don't think any player of eve can say they aren't aware of the games dark nature. Many people started playing the game because of this. So a player who creates an eve account, knowing full well that they may be lied to/coerced/tricked/scammed might be consenting to it, no?

      Delete
    3. If you're told your bet has a chance of winning, and you actually can win it, it's gambling.
      If you're told your bet *will* win, but in reality has *no* chance of winning, it's fraud.
      Finding where the limit is between one and the other is where lawyers make their money :P

      Delete
    4. This is the difference between a casino saying that if you stay at the slot machine just a little bit longer, you might win big and a black-jacks guru saying they will show you how to win big if you give them $1000.

      One intends to use the laws of probability to legitimately win your money, the other intends to abscond. One is gambling the other is fraud. Jester is accusing of the latter, not the former.

      Delete
  10. Mark276 is correct. If the gankers had gotten the money from the Hel pilot then that would be different. The money went to a 3rd party unaffiliated with the gankers. There is a break in the privity among the actors. Once the money was converted to PLEX and then again to ISK it is a fair target within the Eve game. I don't even think RMTing the loot, i.e. the gankers gaining a direct financial benefit, would be enough to make this a real world crime.

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    1. RMT, in any form, is a real world crime, since you would be selling assets which do not belong to you (they belong solely to CCP) for real money.

      Delete
  11. "The Hel really is a remarkably pretty ship, one of the best-looking capital ships in the game." What mushrooms are you smoking? Even if you meant it as sarcasm, you still suck.

    Also I have no problem with all this 'fraud' business. In fact more power to them. You think he'll try to kill himself next?

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    1. Also, can you stop shitting the internet everytime you see a meta mod? 'OMG a meta 3 mod on a ship' it's getting pretty old, just like 'OMG a girl on the internet!'. You're a dick and better than everyone else and everyone else sucks. Ok. Thank you. Got it.

      Delete
    2. In this case, it *directly* hurts the value of the ship in combat. I shall explain.

      Delete
    3. I think the Hel is the best looking capital ship.

      Delete
    4. I agree, the Hel has always had a special place in my heart :)

      Delete
  12. You know what? You're right, if only because of the precedent set by the ban on herr mutton-chops.

    Let's hope that CCP knows how to handle slippery slopes.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wonder why Eve has a hard time gaining new players. I think it is time to face it, eve isn't getting much bigger than it is now. Dust isn't going to bring new eve players, if anything it may take away. Make the game more new player friendly and the bittervets leave. (thought there are more potential new players than old vets, CCP won't make the changes that potential new players want).

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    1. And this has to do with new players what exactly? New players start with an Ibis, 10k ISK and 1x Tritanium. They have nothing to lose. They need to start slow and fucking learn - how to fly their ships, what metagame is, what not to trust, what retarted shit not to do. They need better tutorials, less shitty UI, less barriers to entry in nullsec, less dicks complaining about skill points and meta levels. Also, what about new players that join the game precisely to scam and gank and rape&pillage, and enforce Darwin's law in all space?

      This wasn't a new player. This was yet another moron who wanted to buy his way towards easy win and pwn. Cosmic fucking justice to you, I say.

      Delete
  14. As a somewhat prolific scammer, the GTC rule is a very clear and important one to abide by. The EULA forbids you to convince another player to spend real life cash for in game currency with the intent to scam (or take without their consent) it from them.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Out of curiousity Jester, have you reported the pilot who encouraged the purchasing of GTCs to fund his fit to CCP?

    ReplyDelete
  16. If the guy had the ISK to fit the ship, and no real money was involved, it wouldn't be a scam right?

    Now, he did not spend money to fit a ship. He spent money for gaming services of CCP. And gaming services he received. The money went to CCP and not the scammers. The scammers got pixel loot that are property of CCP.

    Also, I always keep telling, if you convert real money to ISK to fit a ship, you are sucking in the game way too much to enjoy that ship for more than a few hours.

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    1. You may be right with your last paragraph, but that's really not the point.

      Delete
  17. What if they had used the isk gained to buy plex and then spend it on a new video card?

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    1. Then let's hope they brag about it, so we'll see what happens :)

      Delete
  18. Out of curiosity, is the defraud marked by the loss of the victim or the gain of the perp?

    If it is only the loss of the victim, then it is fraud.

    If it is defined by the gain by the perp, then maybe not

    I don't know, and I strongly suspect that it depends on which country hold juristiction. And that is an entirely different kettle of fish.

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  19. Euripodes & Co. convinced Pheage to spend RL money on a service, knowing that he would not get this service. Then Euripodes brags about conning him out of RL money: "After Talking him into spending some hard earned cash on time codes". Now if this is not a slippery slope to a seat in a courtroom, tell what would make it so?

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    1. The service he paid for was GTC/plex. Which he got and then decided to sell for ingame currency. Which was then spent on ingame modules.

      He then lost the ingame modules.

      Delete
    2. In this specific case, could he have lost these modules without spending RL money at the start? No, and that's where the problem is.
      If they had convinced him of buying these modules *without* involving RL money, the whole thing would have been in game, and we wouldn't be playing Judge Judy :)

      Delete
  20. For the virtual lawyers out there:

    If the activity has taken place entirely within the game, with in-game assets and ISK, then it would not be considered RL fraud.

    Unfortunately, a RL money transaction was involved, in which certain persons have apparently admitted, of their own free will, that they manipulated the victim, under false pretenses, to spend RL money on GTCs and to convert them to in-game items, of which they deliberatly intended to deprive him.

    This is indeed considered to be fraud, in many legal jurisdictions.

    It is also irrelevent as to whether or not the perps themselves actually received any financial benefit. The severity and penalty for a crime is ofttimes based on the financial gain, but the actual consideration as to whether the crime has been committed does not require financial gain.

    There is also the consideration of deliberate malicious intent, which would raise it from a misdemeanor to a felony, in many courts. And, please note that "role-playing" is not considered to be a valid defense for such behavior.

    CCP, just for the record, has no culpability in this matter. They are not legally responsible for actions in which players engage outside of the game, or even for conversations held within the game, which might initiate illegal out-of-game actions.

    A separate issue is whether a court would actually consider hearing or prosecuting such a case, anyways. This really depends on the legal venue - in most places, judges have wide discretionary powers to hear or dismiss cases. But, currently, crimes involving game playing are considered to be rather trivial by most judges, unless someone is physically injured or killed. That said, if enough publicity is drawn to even a trivial case, then it does have the potential to become a larger issue, with larger repercussions.

    If you want to "play safe", from a legal POV, then restrict your gaming to in-game activities only. "Meta-gaming" and "role-playing" may seem to be fun gray areas, but, legally speaking, they do not provide any protection for your activities and the possible RL repercussions.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Whether legally classed RL Fraud or not, when they tried to involve the spending of RL money in the scam they moved into the realm of pure un-adulterated ass-hattery.

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    1. Pure unadulterated asshattery, as you called it, is ok, as long as it remains entirely in-game.

      However, as Mittens adequately proved previously, it is when you take it out-of-game that it becomes a major problem.

      There are many mature players who know where to draw the line, where game/role-playing stops and RL begins. But, everyone needs to keep in mind that there are many, many more immature players who do not. Encouraging stupid behavior from such players is irresponsibly foolish at best, and criminally dangerous at worst.

      CCP cannot patrol this sort of nonsense. They are a business, not a government. In this, then, it is up to the player base to act as watchdogs and reel back those who are stepping across the line.

      I applaud Jester for blowing the whistle on this one.

      Delete
  22. Hi there, I dont want to escalate this to a GM. Posting slander is considered harassment.

    I for one don't care about the aftermath, but I did not tell WHIPPCA to purchase any ISK in any form. This was just a misunderstanding from a corp mate, perhaps you've heard about "The Telephone Game".

    IF you want to talk to me in game, that would be acceptable. However posting fake accusations against fraud which wasn't committed, could be considered as filing a fake police report no?

    However these are EVE characters, I for one and everyone else should know that this is not real life. It's a game, in the end I did not hold a gun to Whippca's head and told him to purchase plex. Nor did I tell him to purchase anything, he simply asked me for a hel fit and I gave him one. I then followed to tell him that he was fine on his own current fit to do what I wanted.

    I began filing a petition as you may be able to see in the background, however I deleted it because this is stupid.

    Link: http://i.imgur.com/FSi5N.jpg

    Please remove this post, I'm sure posting slander is probably not what you want to have on your blog.

    Euripodes removed the video from youtube at my request, he is an old man living on welfare checks and our corp purchases his monthly game time for him via PLEX so we can keep him around. He loved your +1 internet comment regarding his armageddon, hopefully you can understand that this is all a big misunderstanding.

    Best Regards

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    Replies
    1. Threatening Jester is just plain stupid and makes you look foolish.

      Posting on a personal blog, about an in-game character, for which your RL identity has not been made public, irregardless of the subject matter, is considered neither slander nor libel, in any court of law.

      Posting accusations on a blog - false or otherwise - is not considered the same as filing a fake police report... anywhere (except in your head).

      You guys screwed up, pal. You were dumb enough to try to bask in public glory, rather than gloat in private. Now, have the balls to own up and take responsibility. Chances are nothing will come of it, but it would not hurt to be more careful in the future.

      Also, discussing RL details of Euripodes in a public post is inconsiderate and improper behavior. Please respect Euripodes' privacy. BTW - if you had posted the same personal info about Euripodes on the Eve Forums, it would be considered an EULA/TOS violation.

      Delete
    2. What this guy said^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      Delete
    3. Your panicky behaviour proves that Jester hit a nerve.

      Delete
    4. This ridiculous response, more than anything else, made me think Jester was onto something here. However, I would certainly encourage you to file a petition, thus officially bringing the whole affair to CCP's attention. I'm sure the results would be most amusing for any bystanders.

      Delete
    5. Enochia cannot file a petition now... well, he could, but it would be self-destructive.

      It would be treated as an EULA/TOS violation, since you cannot use the petition system to threaten, coerce, or blackmail another player - as he has obviously attempted to do to poor Jester here. By publishing his threat publicly and outside of the game, Enochia would probably get slapped with a ban, rather than just the usual warning.

      CCP is also unlikely to investigate further. They are not a law enforcement agency, and would simply turn the matter over to the appropriate authorities. Criminal charges are unlikely, however, since I doubt that any DA would bother pursuing this issue.

      The "victim", though, could press civil charges, in small claims court, if he felt that the financial damages incurred were worth his time to do so. It would then be up to a judge to decide if fraud was committed in this case. This action might also result in getting Enochia perma-banned by CCP.

      Mittens, as a RL lawyer, was actually pretty slick. He pleaded "no contest", proactively made amends to his "victim", and thus effectively "settled out of court". Yes, he still got slapped with a temp ban and dumped off the CSM, but no big deal in the larger scheme of things. If Mittens, or the "victim", had pushed the matter further, perhaps allowing it to drift into a RL court issue, a perma-ban from CCP would have been the very least of Mittens' problems.

      Delete
  23. Peter Parker: Spider-Man wasn't trying to attack the city, he was trying to save it. That's slander.
    J. Jonah Jameson: It is not. I resent that. Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel.


    As to the rest, I'm looking to chat with the Hel pilot myself before I make any decisions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. slan·der/ˈslandər/
      Noun:
      The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation.
      Verb:
      Make false and damaging statements about (someone).

      Talk to Whippca, his main.

      Delete
    2. @Enochia - you really *are* an idiot. You cannot even read or understand the definition which you yourself have posted here.

      "The action or crime of making a false *spoken* statement..." - not a *written* statement.

      Go read the definition of "libel", fool.

      CCP really needs to expand the EULA/TOS in order to exclude demonstrably stupid people from playing the game....

      Delete
    3. "fraud" /frɔd/
      Noun:
      1. deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

      Yep, sounds about right to me. Admit it: you guys messed up big time on this one. If it is indeed true that this individual was persuaded to buy GTCs to fit his Hel, then those who persuaded him deserve 30-day bans. And this really is the center of the issue; if it can be shown that he bought the GTCs without any external influence, then the issue can be dismissed as just another EVE scam. However, the language in the youtube video is pretty incriminating, and an excuse of "Dude, we were just bragging" isn't going to cut it.

      Also, reporting Jester to a GM for slandering you would be a great and hilarious way to make yourself look like an even bigger moron than you already do. So go ahead and do it if you want -- I'm sure there will be plenty of laughs for the rest of us.

      Delete
    4. Poor Enochia.

      People are writing bad things about him, just because he scams...

      Would a cookie and a little nap make you feel better Enochia?

      I thought this was a pretty sharp move until you started posting whiney 'poor me' posts into a serious discussion thread.

      Man up and own your own actions

      Delete
  24. Accusations of Fraud and conspiracy are pretty serious Jester. I look forward to learning what evidence you uncover for these claims.
    Really as far as I can tell it boils down to whether or not the Hel pilot was told to buy plex or not (with intent to loot the value from the wreck latter) or if they volunteered to buy the plex of their own volition.

    Truth be told Im rather surprised (and a little bit impressed) that you would "go there" after the whole mittani thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would Jester need to uncover any evidence?

      One of the fools... er, I mean, participants... in the event publicly admitted to both the actions and the intent. Case closed.

      In addition, Jester is merely stating his opinion on the matter. You might as well hang Helicity, too, after all the accusations he has flung at CCP....

      Delete
  25. What kills me is the extent to which Eve players will go to defend their ability to be complete and total dirt bags to each other. It's like they value a means to treat others as poorly as possible more than anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anyone involved in that hit are losers in my eyes. Go and get a real fight and a real kill. Had no idea about the GTC part until you mentioned it but that's even worsee.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is the face we show the world?

    Right now it is our own little secret but if the gaming press ran away with this one . . .

    Jester is right. Read the comments outside of the 'family' or try to describe any of the recent 'legal' incidents to a non-Eve player. Watch the reaction.

    I almost guarantee it will NOT be 'Oooh, I wanna play that game'.

    m

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I told my wife the whole Mittens story from start to finish, ending with "So they banned him from the game for 30 days."

      Her immediate reaction: "Good! Good for them!"

      I have to admit that I was a bit surprised.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I had a similar experience. It was a somewhat sobering realisation just how accustomed we are to this stuff and how dangerously good we have become at rationalising it.

      As a result, most of us have ended up blithely accepting incidents that would horrify any other MMO players out there.

      Delete
    3. I agree here. What drew me to this game was the epic news stories about ice mining and afk mission running. That's what the game is really about. All this scamming nonsense is ruining the reputation of a great game I tell you.

      Delete
    4. This is the issue at heart. At some point, should some of the most egregious asshattery in EVE not get cleaned up and the mainstream media paste it all over, the MMO gaming world can and will suffer. Mittens came very close to having the level of exposure needed to tip the scale see the legal back blast from public outrage. Make no mistake, people are sheep and they outnumber gamers. Once those sheep start bleating over how evil common EVE asshattery is, you will either see the company fall or the banhammer fly fast and free as CCP attempts to hammer EVE into space WoW.

      Delete
    5. Hmmm... a very telling point was made here... Beating the crap out of someone is illegal as all hell, period. And yet, boxing is legal. Think about this. Really think about it. ALL forms of martial arts wherein any person causes direct physical harm to another is ILLEGAL... except when they "agreed" to it...

      We “agree” to the way EVE is. We spend RL money to have access to this virtual world and thereby, “agree” to what happens here. Same as a boxer agrees to the risks of the boxing ring. Period.

      The guy who got scammed PAID for the chance for that to happen. EVE is a boxing ring. A virtual Octogon. We all AGREE to the risks, period.

      Delete
  28. I usually comment on scams,"Scaming is good, because it is better to learn in eve, than in real life where you lose real money".

    Seems not to apply here. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Jester, legal mumbo-jumbo aside, you seem to say that scamming a person out of RL money is ethically worse that scamming him out of ISK. Why? Both are crystallized sweat.

    X spends hours runing anomalies, buys ship, gets killed. Y spends hours mowing lawns, earns USD, buys ISK, buys ship, gets killed. What's the difference? If the scammers encouraged the victim to grind incursions instead of buying PLEX, that would change your equation?

    CCP created a universe where scamming is legal, just like in boxing ring beating somebody up is legal. Any assets you acquire in this universe are at risk, however you acquired them. Why not stop at that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scamming a person out of RL money is not just a matter of ethics - it is against the law. That's the difference.

      CCP specifically prohibits any activities in-game which may violate RL laws. They do not condone RL scamming, and it is not considered part of the game.

      Delete
  30. Hey Ripard, just wanted to say thank you for bringing this up.
    No, I don't agree with your point, but that guys reaction to it (as well as comments to his initial news item on en24) is priceless.
    - Dima.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cheerfully admit that sometimes I bring stuff up to start conversations, and this was definitely one of those. Still, I also rarely type stuff that I don't believe. I believe this scam went too far.

      The conversation about it has been fantastic, though.

      Delete
  31. I have to say Jester I'm a little disappointed that youre only now considering talking to the principle parties involved in this, particularly Whippca.

    It just seems like common sense to get the actual players involved sides of the story before you start throwing accusations around, especially if youre going to start accusing people of fraud.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not a journalist. This is not a news site.

      That said, if I talked to every person that I wrote about, the blog would be about two posts a month. I talked to Enochia last night and at one point flat out asked him, "can I blog this?" and he said "No!"

      The one time that I did blog about something after talking to the person involved, even though the blog covered NO areas that we had talked about, I STILL got accused of "breaking confidences."

      Delete
    2. You may not be and that may be true however since one thing you are doing is throwing around accusations of fraud and TOS/EULA violations I think the point stands. If youre going to be pointing fingers I think its up to you to make sure you have your facts straight.

      Im also not surprised he reacted that way considering by that point the story had been up on evenews24 for at least three days and the comments there were full of misinterpretation, trolling and flat out lies.

      Delete
  32. Eve isk has a value in real life money because of plex. this case is simply an extremely elaborate and very humorous version of those scams that occur everyday, where a corp convinces a rich newbie that to join he must buy plex, sell for isk buy expensive crap, bring it to 'x', etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Important note. Only ISK which has been obtained through a direct Money > Plex > ISK transaction has value. ISK generated from virtual enterprise as yet has no value because there's no "legal" reverse plex route. This bit is important.

      In short, if someone gets scammed out of ISK generated exclusively through in game labours, then it's tough luck and part of the game. The moment the ISK in question is made "sticky" by ascribing a direct value (through a payment which shows up on a bank statement or CC bill), items purchased with that ISK effectively have a measurable finanical worth.

      Decieving someone into -paying- for ISK which in turn funds the mods is fraud, even if it's fraud of a virtual good which is yet to be tested in a court, only a matter of time though. If CCP gets more "serious" in their commercial dealings, expect this matter to feature prominently within the EULA, even to the point of permabans / legal repercussions as with Out of Game harassment.

      Delete
    2. Sooooooo...

      Everytime I lose money in game, I point to a PLEX I bought 2 years ago, say "That's the ISK he stole, FRAUD!" and the other guy is permabanned?

      Yeah, you're not thinking that one through.

      You have it backwards, friend. The fact you CANNOT turn ingame currency and objects into real world money is the exact reason this is legal, as they cannot have a real world value, even if you actually paid money to get them.

      The only value associated would be personal; "I don't want to lose this Nightmare + fit as I decided to spend $50 to get it."

      Delete
  33. It is interesting to see the responses to Plex. Many are stating that it introduces a RL money value to Isk. In a way this is right. What is funny about this is that Plex purchasing is so accepted now. Aurum was introduced and everyone went ape shit because of the idea that it would bring about "pay to win" MT. Is there not a certain amount of pay to win in Plex? If one has no limit to the amount they want to spend RL to get a several billion Isk "I win" button. Although I understand the reasons CCP introduced Plex. For those that don't remember the Isk sellers that used to exist in local chat and the need for CCP to generate more cash as they stuck their necks out on Dust and WOD. Just an amusing thought about what breaks the game. Blog after blog on blobs,Titans, and moms heh imho Plex broke it just as much and no one cares.

    ReplyDelete
  34. So by your logic, if you ransom some guy who has to buy PLEX and sell them in order to pay your ransom and you blow him up anyways, you should be banned from game and possibly have real life charges leveled against you.

    No. Just no.

    ReplyDelete
  35. :internetlawyers:

    Fraud needs a financial gain for the protagonist. It also only applies to real world mone transfers.

    As soon as the victim turned money into ISK, any laws you think might apply, in fact do not.

    This is why CCP haven't been taken over the coals 1000000 times for frauds in the past.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To make my post here clearer, for this to be fraud, the victim would need to be giving real money for the service which scams him.

      Him buying PLEX and him giving *ISK* to a character are two separate transactions; he is literally choosing to involve real money in lieu of not having enough virtual money.

      The only way this would be fraud is if it involved RMT - so the perpetrator would say "Hey man, don't do that. Just buzz me $50 on Paypal and I'll give you the mods"

      If he did that, it would be RMT and he would be banned under the EULA AND there would be a possibility of a fraud investigation for an IRL transaction that was fraudulent.

      I accept that you *don't like* that the guy went straight from cash > PLEX > ISK > gone, but that chain of events meant that no law was broken.

      It's not even against the EULA unless the guy was harassed for it.

      Delete
  36. Our Corp kb shows "RL value" of ships and mods destroyed... I disagreed strongly because it takes things from being "pixels and fun" to "EVE really IS real."
    But yeah... well CCP wanted EVE to be real, I can't help but think about being careful what one wishes for....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the element that scares me, and the one I think most people - especially the HTFU crowd - is missing. Don't rpt don't rpt DON'T give the do-gooder element in society (particularly politics) any opportunity to go in the "there ought to be a law" direction - and that's exactly the direction I see something like this incident showing the potential for.

      When this guy was convinced to drop dime in the real world for stuff in-game, it crossed a very indistinct line that politicians of every stripe love to see and do something about. Anything to draw more power in their direction. All because it's not a law - or, shall we say, defined as against the law - now, at this time, doesn't mean it cannot be. THAT is the slippery slope that threatens our sandbox more than any other people have tried to point out. If you really want the best way to kill the sand box, that's it - give government of any sort an excuse to involve itself.

      _Don't give them that excuse._ That's why I agree with Jester, and why I think this instance of ... call it what you will - and any like it - needs to be dealt with, and severely enough to discourage it in the future.

      What happens in our sandbox should stay in the sandbox ... but let's make bloody well sure it ALL happens in the sandbox.

      Delete
    2. ^^^ this, this, and this some moar!
      It's not just RL politicians either: remember that the Carebear In Chief also sits on the Top 7 of the CSM...

      There should be a law against "there should be a law," punishable by death or at least permanent exile. ;-)

      Delete
  37. Fraud is
    noun
    1.
    deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.
    2.
    a particular instance of such deceit or trickery: mail fraud; election frauds.
    3.
    any deception, trickery, or humbug: That diet book is a fraud and a waste of time.
    4.
    a person who makes deceitful pretenses; sham; poseur.

    So all in all this is FRAUD...now Fraud that you can take to court is a different story

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'll confine my psychopathic activities in the virtual world to the murder of computer-controlled pixels, thank you very much. Men (since the crews who engage in Eve activities are almost entirely male, aren't they?) who delight in causing anguish and loss of real-world income to fellow gamers can stay in their own polluted pond. Heck, even headshotting someone in Team Fortress 2 only upsets a player until respawn.

    But getting my jollies off of real-life fraud and deceit- then bragging about it- strikes me as an _actual_ mental derangement.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Brilliant. This is why i love Eve. And the fact that sometimes it extends into real life like in case with this scam add some unique flavor to the game. And idiots must suffer hard, that way one can guess some of them actually will learn something from their mistakes. And if not, well, at least they provide good laughs for us.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is the blatant example of why Mittens had the treatment he had (I'm the guy who predicted CCP course of action in Jester's Blog when Mittens issue was hot, in Jester's post about hats) and this guy isn't having.

    Mittens was a really big public figure, tied up with CCP in several ways, his behaviour was deplorable and CCP had to cut the link between him and CCP quite fast so that CCP would state dilligently it does not accept his behaviour.

    This guy, is a regular unknown player who only was known due to a movie, and a story who some want to brag about and be e-famous. Thus far there's no problem at all, the other thing is, this guy isn't tied up with CCP as a public figure, a spokesman, thus his issue get's ignored as another regular player issue (I don't even know if he petitioned anything to CCP btw) and the news don't catch it much with the exception of our little circle of friend and forums.

    The same way I think Mittens subject was serious, very serious from a perspective of the public figure he is (also quoting spider man as jester did, "with great power comes great responsability") and I'm glad his wife has the objectivity to think the punishment fits (personally I think it fits, what was too much was the second dev blog stepping on an already stepped person, that was too much imo), I also think this is very serious.

    There is a very fine line between convincing (gullible) people to do real life actions towards an agenda in game. I welcome Jester's views I love to hear a proper rational thought about something that also interests me (EvE and all related to it) although I don't agree with everything, that's one of the things that makes us human, the power to have a set amount of variables and formulate an opinion based on it, and I think this should be investigated, with the intention to teach ppl (old and new) of what are the limits of your scams, and above all, what are the ethical limits of your scams, or else we have a game which the press will lovely want to tag as a scammer school of life as soon as we get hit by all the kiddies from Dust514.

    Small disclaimer, I don't think violent video games make violent children, their education does, I don't think eve way of 'dark' playing and scamming etc makes real life scammers, your education does, but the media and conservative ignorant father's that try to justify their education failures with something else that are not their own will reluctantly blame the games for it and EvE is not immune to it, and will be a lot worse when Dust is released, their marketing department will have a lot of headaches.

    ReplyDelete
  41. "media and conservative ignorant father's that try to justify their education failures with something else that are not their own will reluctantly blame the games"

    To pinpoint your thoughts, let met say that some media here in my country thought it was relevant to mention that the Norvegian, mentally unstable guy called Breivik was a WoW player.....

    ReplyDelete
  42. One thing is guaranteed to come out of all of this: The victim is never going to fall for a Nigerian 419 scam...and hopefully no one else who is reading this :P

    Also a question...are the people who scammed the victim from Nigeria? If not, you guys should move there :)

    ReplyDelete

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