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...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Everyone has a price

The SOMER of rage continues, and has taken a somewhat ugly turn.

Suppose I have something you want: an Etana, say.(1)  I wish to sell it to you, but there's a catch: I will only accept $1000 U.S. for it.  Let's say you're even willing to pay $1000 for it.  But we both know that to do so directly is RMT.  If CCP finds out about our transaction, they might very well take away your new Etana.  Neither of us wants that.  Is there a way that I can get my $1000 and you can get your Etana and it be legal within EVE Online's TOS?  You'd think the answer would be "no".

A new group of angry players disagrees, and they're following SOMER Blink's lead for the path forward: you have a raffle.
  1. Buy two GTCs.  For maximum irony points, buy them from SOMER Blink.(2)(3)
  2. Announce somewhere semi-public that you are having an Etana giveaway.  All people who want an Etana have to do is buy a GTC from you.
  3. Price one of the GTCs for one cent over your cost, and sell it to a friend who wants a GTC.  Tell your friend he is getting one Etana raffle ticket.
  4. Price the second GTC for $1000.  Sell it to the person you wish to win your Etana.  Tell this person he is receiving one thousand Etana raffle tickets.
  5. Have a raffle drawing among the 1001 raffle tickets.
  6. Announce somewhere semi-public that the second GTC buyer has won an Etana in your raffle.
  7. Conduct a trade of the Etana in Jita.
Since you gave away your Etana and there was more than one potential winner, technically by the terms of the current TOS, this is not RMT.  It's just like any other raffle on any other EVE gambling website.  And there are no current rules for how much one can sell a GTC for out in the real world.

Think it can't happen?  It's already happened, and is happening.

DNSBLACK is still very angry about the SOMER Blink situation and claims to have sold-- *cough*, excuse me, raffled off his main for the price of $2475 U.S.  Given the character is seven years old, he might even have made a tidy profit on the deal since 7 times 12 times $20 U.S. is $1680.  If this is a troll, it's a mighty convincing one.  As of six hours ago, DNSBLACK is no longer in Dirt Nap Squad, a corp he formed more than six years ago not long after starting his character.

CCP Falcon notes:
Our customer support team is also in the process of reviewing this particular style of raffle to ensure it conforms with our rules and policies.
They'd better hurry.  DNSBLACK states he pocketed the money and started the character transfer... which means after downtime tonight, this is a done deal.  Very unfortunately for him, though, he included a specific reference to items of value changing hands in exchange for the character, which is verboten by the rules of the Character Bazaar.  That might give CCP an out... this time.  Rule 4 explicitly states:
The character being sold must receive the ISK for the purchase and only ISK. Characters may not be sold in exchange for items.
DNSBLACK sold for 1 ISK?  Legal.  DNSBLACK sold for 2470 "DNSBLACK credits"?  Not legal.  But this is an easy mistake to fix.

Anyway, he's not the only one to kick off a rather unusual raffle.  Here's a thread announcing a raffle by Shai 'Hulud where you are guaranteed a tournament ship for $1000, or five of them for $5000.  One of them is a Vangel, unfortunately.  ;-)  And other players are also getting into the act, and by the time you read this might have seriously started shitting up the In-Game Events and Gatherings section of the forums.

Everyone has a price, apparently...

EDIT 18/Oct/2013: Second follow-up post from CCP Dolan. This one says CCP is also looking into the issues surrounding reselling GTCs.
EDIT 18/Oct/2013, later: CCP Falcon has nuked both threads from orbit and invoked the GTC Bazaar rules for GTC transfers/sales outside the GTC Bazaar.


(1) I do not have an Etana.  But if someone wants to contract me one, I wouldn't reject it.
(2) I can't take credit for this joke, but I'll let the person who can announce himself if he cares to.

(3) EDIT: 18 Oct 2013: Turns out to stay legal under the EULA, you have to buy your GTCs from CCP, not from SOMER Blink.  No irony points for you.

27 comments:

  1. Actually DNS Black sold the rights to bid on his character for 2470 black credits, the character was sold for 1 isk :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read his actual post in the Character Bazaar thread I linked.

      Delete
  2. ccp is now in a no-win situation. call it rmt, get called a hypocrite - rule it legal, open a path for rmt.

    that'll be an interesting drama bomb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If they step the wrong way this could make Incarna look like a walk in the park.

      Delete
    2. Clearly, CCP should just give them all some Ishukone Scorps.

      Delete
  3. Wonder what CCP will do to try and get out of this. Technically there's not much of substance that can be done without acknowledging that its wrong in the spirit of the EULA, but what about those "noble content creators" of Somer then...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Certain EvE Players: Hey, we're smart and have found a hole in CCP's ToS so RMT is LEGAL.

    CCP: Well done. However we make the rules, there is no "legal". We've always been clear that RMT is illegal. We define what RMT constitutes, not you. You're banned.

    Make it happen CCP.

    p.s. The players who are doing this (apparently fueled by hate for Somer) are simply causing CCP to spend money, time and effort on pissing about with legal / ethical things rather than making a much more awesome game for us. If CCP were to ban these people, EvE would be better for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If CCP were to make crystal-clear rulings that precluded 'creative end-arounds', EvE would be better for it.

      Delete
    2. I so agree with you sir. Being in software business myself I am amazed how quickly people forget that main goal off CCP is... being a profitable company. At the end of day everyone has taxes to pay and food to buy. RMT means CCP is losing money. No matter if somer blink is the cause or some smart ass player, once it gets on CFO table and catches interest of investors, the legal will step in. Execute 0.X% of account bans, tighten EULA a bit, announce X% revenue loss, then move along.

      Lach

      Delete
    3. The rules are already clear. It's just that they've been ignoring a pretty obvious violation. And it's not like they can claim ignorance, because some CCP staff have been doing stuff with Somer. It's hard to miss that big "buy GTCs get ISK" link on the front page.

      The #1 thing people want is equal enforcement of rules.

      Delete
  5. And RMT rears its ugly head again. Hasn't this been a standard scheme for years though? I remember hearing about selling a "rare" item on ebay for some artificially high cost along with an eve character "thrown in" as a freebie. Bannable? I dunno but CCP sure seems to not know when to stop digging.

    This raffle business is interesting. CCP seeing a raffle biz going on tells them, "We see what you're doing and it's cool as long as you don't engage in RMT. We'll be keeping an eye on you." For that to morph into, "You guys are so cool we're giving you these outrageously rare in-game items" is sort of mind boggling.

    Has the suggestion been made anywhere that SOMER is engaged in RMT? How would CCP know the answer to that without investigating them thoroughly? Is CCP themselves involved in SOMER management? The longer this goes on the more likely it is that someone (i.e. CCP) is going to have to audit SOMER's in-game transactions and make the results public.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is really no way for CCP to audit it, which is part of the problem. How is a bunch of ISK/Item transactions going to actually tell them anything about what happened, if the actual RMT is taking place via the 'virtual currency' or' 'credit' via the website?

      Delete
  6. Oh my, are the kiddies still pissed about Somer and the Scorpions? And now GTC?
    Wtf???

    Sure, Somer receives a some dollars from the GTC's. But alone the maintaining of the internet site costs a lot. It is fast, works on mobile and you dozens (and sometimes even hundreds) of people refreshing it every second. I would be surprised if Somer is doing a real life profit from the GTC's.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So apparently, it's okay to RMT so long as you use the money you make for certain things? lol..

      Delete
    2. RMT is of course never ok.

      But to be RMT the sales over Somer must be massive and reliable. Which they probably aren't and never will be.
      Does anyone have a chart or stats how Eveplayers are paying for their subscriptions?

      Delete
  7. From Eula

    B. Selling Items and Objects

    You may not transfer, sell or auction, or buy or accept any offer to transfer, sell or auction (or offer to do any of the foregoing), any content appearing within the Game environment, including without limitation characters, character attributes, items, currency, and objects, other than via a permitted Character Transfer as described in section 3 above. You may not encourage or induce any other person to participate in such a prohibited transaction. The buying, selling or auctioning (or any attempt at doing so) of characters, character attributes, items, currency, or objects, whether through online auctions, newsgroups, postings on message boards or any other means is prohibited by the EULA and a violation of CCP's proprietary rights in the Game.

    -------------------------
    If you auction it you are bad but raffle is allowed? But it all involves transfer and buy in someway. So the somerblink concept is allowed until when?
    If I transfer my ISK into blink credits that doesn't involve any $. If I get blink credits for buying a GTC from them they get $.

    This debate won't give CCP easy times and once again it proofs that eve players are very inventive to find any and all holes in what ever set of rules you take in place.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I used to play a game a long time ago where the trade of goods and services for real cash was and is common place. Legally, here is how you do it though game companies like to announce bans on the "just because we can" clause to try and stop it. My lawyer tends to support that it would be 100% legal in most countries.

    You don't sell the item or in game whatever, after all, it is not acceptable to sell and could get you banned.

    You sell your TIME, SKILLS and EFFORT used to obtain the item. For instance, if it takes me around X hours time to mine enough ore to equal a plex in value as an exchange rate, then instead of selling you Y mil ISK, I sell you X hours of my labor for cash and I give you the ISK. You buy time and labor, I give you ISK.

    The only thing that prevents this realistically is the ban from the company if they get their undies in a wad. If the companies would facilitate the process or ignore it completely, then it's no big thing. People cry already about pay to win, RMT and so on, CCP knows it is going on and likely have a very very good idea by whom and how they are going it so big deal.

    After all, they have already pissed on their rep with the Mittens debacle, monocle gate, Somer of rage and many many more issues, get off the fence CCP, either do something drastic and very wide spread about RMT or HTFU.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So, someone bought a call option on DNSBLACK with real money with a strike price of 1 ISK?

    I call for regulation on these derivatives that threaten to undermine our economy... LOL

    ReplyDelete
  10. Can I raffle nullsec PvE rights?

    ReplyDelete
  11. And people accuse me of tinfoil when I say RMT is rife in this game. How many other people, with trillions of ISK flowing through their hands, have not come up with ingenious methods of converting ISK to cash? If someone, like the goons, are smart and ruthless enough to control half of null sec, why does anyone think they would stop at keeping the rewards in-game, especially now that is clear that CCP looks the other way regarding RMT, if you are a favoured group.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because that would be implying that there are unscrupulous players out there in EVE and we all know that's a lie...Most EVE players get done with their Orphanage/charitable work, go and wash the feet of the poor, hand out alms and then go home to play Eve as their remaining penance...

      Delete
  12. Well this is going places....

    :CCP decision making:

    ReplyDelete
  13. CCP Phantom shut down Shai 'Hulud, with the following:
    __________________________________________________
    Posted - 2013.10.18 17:05:00 - [7] - Quote

    Quoting the EVE Online Terms of Service:
    ___
    10. You may not market, sell, advertise, promote, solicit or otherwise arrange for the exchange or transfer of items in the game or other game services unless it is for in-game sales of in-game services or items.
    ___
    Also note the following explanation:
    __
    2. Any form of ETC trading outside of the CCP created system is not permitted or supported by CCP.
    ___
    This means, if you try to sell in-game items, for example a 30 day PLEX, for real money, you violate the TOS.

    If you want to become an authorized ETC reseller, please contact the CCP Customer Support via support@eveonline.com.

    If you want to sponsor a tournament with real life money or prizes, please contact the CCP Customer Support via support@eveonline.com first, otherwise please refrain from such sponsorship.

    Please note that RMT attempts can swiftly lead to permanent forum and permanent in-game bans.

    ReplyDelete
  14. CCP Falcon, Posted - 2013.10.18 17:22:00 - [28] says:

    Lotteries for character sales are not permitted under the Character Bazaar Rules.

    Quote:
    17. Lottery style sales are not permitted. Auctions and buyouts are the appropriate method for selling a character.


    As such, this thread is locked.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Exchanging ISK for any other currency, including other types of virtual currency, should be against the rules. There's no way that CCP can prove and moderate that the 'virtual currency' isn't being used for ISK or other purchases.

    Secondly, bribing, or paying people ISK to purchase items upon which you receive any sort of real money commission should also be against the rules.

    Think about it...since it's 'okay' to pay people ISK to buy GTCs you get commission off, technically couldn't you alos legally pay people to buy stuff from you via Amazon links, for Amazon's affiliate programs? Or is it only okay if it's EVE related stuff. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Call it a stretch, but this reminds me, in a much more less offensive way, of something I saw happening around the time of the Colorado movie shooting. Some idiots were videotaping themselves walking around with AR-15s and as cops would stop them and ask what's going on. They were pissing everyone off and giving cops a hard time but they were permitted to carry the guns so they didn't get in trouble. Just making a scene and wasting police time when they could be doing something more valuable with it.

    Same goes with these jagaloons. Just because you CAN do it, does not mean you should. It's frustrating to see these people waste CCPs time when they should be wholly focused on the most important task at hand (Rubicon)

    Some people just take this "Eve is real" bs too far. If your so butthurt about the game then unsub, get on the CSM, or become a CCP employee and make the game perfect yourself

    ReplyDelete

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