I am but a humble elected representative of the people.Yep, you guessed it: that's the King of Space, having quite a lot of fun at the expense of someone who just willingly gave him 20 billion ISK. The story is pretty straight-forward. The Mittani occasionally advertises himself as a trusted third-party for super-capital ship transfers, similar to Chribba or Darkness. A trusted third-party generally acts as an escrow service: you give him the money for your new Nyx, say. He holds onto that money while you take possession of the Nyx from the seller. Once you're satisfied that the Nyx is as advertised, the third-party transfers the ISK to the seller, minus a small commission for himself.
It just so happens that the people love war, murder, scamming and sadism. vOv
Mittens likes to skip that last step. ;-) Yeah, he sometimes keeps the money, leaving two jilted players in his wake, one of whom happens to have one of the best killing machines in EVE in his possession. Even more amusing, like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, Mittens doesn't appear to take the money every single time. Just... you know... most times. Shocking, right?
I've already covered on this blog that you should trust a member of Goonswarm about as far as you can collectively throw their thousands of members, and I'm not going to cover it again. Except maybe to remind everyone that... you know... Mittens is a Goon. ;-) That post can be safely expanded to address trusting any member of Goonswarm that promises you much of anything.
Anyway, the scammed party in this case, AdmiraI Thrawn(1), started himself up an EVE-O forum thread, entertainingly and self-answeringly titled "Is it normal to get scammed by The Mittani, Chairman of CSM ???" There, he started venting his pain and rage, turning an entertaining scam into a hugely entertaining scam. If you like tears, go give the thread a read. Still, a post from half-way in caught my attention (quoted partially):
It seems obvious you're new here. CCP dev's aren't the least bit shy about saying how scamming/backstabbing in an MMO is something they not only endorse, but enjoy themselves.And any other year, I would agree with that.
Go look at some of the dev interviews (pick them at random) and you'll see this game was made by people who probably are cheering The Mittani on. You wont get any sympathy from CCP on this.
The thing is, though... this year, a course change is becoming quite discernable in CCP's handling of this kind of thing. High-sec war-dec shields and other means of avoiding war-decs are now accepted practice. A couple of months ago, a GM scolded a player for killing a newbie in low-sec. Hilmar and CCP Zulu talk in public about nerfing suicide-ganking a bit, and another new feature in the winter expansion is that suicide ganks will no longer receive insurance pay-outs.(2) The official EVE Online recruitment channel features an official notice saying that scamming in that channel is not permitted. And just today, in the client patch you'll be downloading while you read this, is hidden this little gem:
To benefit the EVE community at large, a small change has been made to game mechanics in regarding criminal flags and how they are inherited in high security space. If a pilot is remote repairing, or otherwise assisting, another pilot who commits a criminal act then the repair module will now disengage. In order to continue repairs the module will need to be restarted and a message will appear warning of the criminal flag and possible consequences.It's "to benefit the EVE community at large," natch. Slowly, in baby-steps, EVE Online's new players are being coddled.
Now don't get me wrong: I am and will remain an advocate of tearing down chunks of the EVE learning cliff. But you don't have to wreck the soul of the game in order to do that. CCP is obviously taking many of these steps because new players that are hit with these various scams and tactics get disgusted with the game and quit. That hurts CCP's income at a time that they can't afford things that hurt their income. And with Incarna out of the picture, CCP is still looking for a way to break EVE out of the niche it's locked into. But this ain't the way to do it. As Mittens correctly states in his quote at the top of this piece, EVE players get off on this sort of thing. It's part of the game we love. Avoiding being scammed or manipulated or tricked into killing yourself is part of the challenge of playing EVE.
For now, that's all I have to say on this topic. But if CCP stays on this course, I expect it's going to come up again.
(1) As an aside, may I briefly mention that it's very rewarding to engage your creativity long enough to come up with your own character names? And this character's name combines my top three pet peeves about character naming into one highly efficient package:
- he takes a name from that of an existing fictional character; and,
- he gets it wrong; and,
- he gives this character a military rank.