How To Rob A Bank In EVE Online

I haven’t been playing EVE Online for long. I only signed up to the 14 day trial last week and I’m still getting to grips with the game and it’s hugely complex OS like interface. I’m currently still spending a third of my time deciding on what do to and two thirds figuring out how to do it. I don’t mind the learning curve though because it was to be expected and I’m actually enjoying knowing that there’s so much to explore. One of things that definitely appeals to me about EVE is the full-on sandbox virtual world that it offers and knowing how vast and limitless it is.

Although it may be old news to long term EVE players, a colleague of mine found a fascinating article on the BBC news site posted today. Apparently, a few weeks ago, billions of ISK were stolen from a player run bank called EBANK and sold on for £3,115/$5,086. My first reaction was “damn, that’s so cool!” and my second reaction was “I didn’t know there were player run banks in EVE”. Guess we learn something new every day.

Unfortunately it wasn’t some exciting armed break-in into a heavily fortified vault (cue blazing gunfight) or anything like that. Turns out it the chief executive, Ricdic, just withdrew it on the sly and the then traded it for real money which he used to pay off some medical bills and put down a deposit on a house. His account was then banned by CCP. Still, he’s several thousand dollars better off and, presumably, people with savings in the bank have been screwed over.

This is a prime example of the lack of consequences in virtual worlds and how it enables people to go beyond their moral code. I highly doubt that Ricdic would’ve ripped someone off for $5k in real life and, even if he had, gotten away with it scott free. The bottom line here is that he essentially made money at the expense of others – stole from them – yet there was absolutely nothing that could be done to him in return.

It makes me wonder a lot about where the line between real and virtual worlds is drawn and to what length developers should go to enforce rules and regulations. I find it very curious (and almost a little hypocritical) that CCP have a policy of non-interference with their game world yet still banned Ricdic, not for stealing the ISK, but for selling it on. I wonder why they decided that particular act warranted banning and not any other.

Anyway, I better log back into EVE and finish figuring out how to play it. I’ve got to embark to on my master plan to impersonate a 16 year old female cheerleader called ‘Sparkle’, cozy up to the leader of some mega-corporation, eventually earn his trust and then stab him in the back and steal all of his cash. I’ve got a upcoming holiday to pay off, don’t cha know.

On another related noted, I’ve updated my post with the movie for the documentary Another Perfect World with an official 30min preview.

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14 Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    I tried to like EVE… I really did. I even got into the complexity. It was the pace of the game that killed me though – everything is soooooo slow. I just couldn’t take it any more.

  2. Jeremy S. says:

    There was a recent case, here in the US, about an older woman who went on myspace pretending she was a teenage boy, entered a relationship with a teenage girl, then later dumped the girl.

    The teenage girl then committed suicide. The woman went to court and got off scott free, on the same principles you mention about this man and EVE.

    • SsandmanN says:

      If you dump your girlfriend IRL, and then she commit suicide, you would go off scott free as well!
      You cannot be held legally responsible for another person taking his own life.

  3. You may want to read this recent Massively post about the Eve Bank fraud, including detailed interviews with LaVista Vista, one of the EBANK executives who is cleaning up the mess.

    To me the best part of the whole story is that EBANK seems to be recovering. They’ve survived the financial lost and have managed to make it look like they’ve recovered their customers’ trust. A key part here is their corporate governance structure prevented any individual, even the head, from doing too much harm too quickly. It’s a whole different thing than previous Eve scams.

    Good luck playing Eve, it’s an interesting game. It gets a lot more fun if you have a good corp to play it with: the basic mining / mission / ratting thing is pretty dull. Drop me an email if you want a friend in-game, I’m currently active again after a couple years away.

  4. Beej says:

    I fully expect that by 2020, there will be laws mandating proper ethics in virtual worlds because of events like this.

    Ricdic stole something that had a cash value, and the more integrated cyber-realities become with real life, the more there will be the need for effective legal measure to be put in place.

    Despite the woman on MySpace doing everything “within the rules” of the online environment and getting off, her actions impacted someone’s real life. There needs to be some kind of law mandating that.

    But then there comes a fine line between what is a use in game (ninja looting and scamming and PKing and griefing) and actually harming another person. And that’s a gray area I don’t even want to touch.

  5. Stabs says:

    I’m about 6 weeks into Eve now and really enjoying it.

    First off to entice you further in here’s some of the more juicy stories and sites I have found:

    Record breaking heist rocks Eve Online guild to the tune of $16,500 USD in virtual goods
    http://eve.klaki.net/heist/

    The adventures of Romeo, eve’s most lovable scammer
    http://eve-scams.blogspot.com/

    Sins of a Solar Spymaster by The Mittani, spymaster in chief of Goonswarm’s GIA
    http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/exclusives/

    On to the actual new player experience.

    As Andrew has said it’s slow and I have mitigated this recently by playing Eve alt-tabbed. I play WoW with the WoW sound off and EVE minimised with the sound on and my ship on autopilot or whatever. I can even do combat missions in Eve with this minimal attention span although I’ve lost 2 ships when I forgot about it completely while in combat.

    My combat strategy is Caldari Cruisers using a Caracal and 37 km missile range. I just turn the weapons on and hit the Keep At Range button (set to 34 km) and stuff dies. I have an active shield tank but usually don’t really need it as most NPC ships don’t even hit me at that range. To mix it up I tried a close range ship (Vexor) and died horribly. The Caracal is the best thing I’ve found so far for level 2 missions and leads later on to the Raven a bigger missile boat which can solo level 4 missions.

    My main direction is mining and I’ve joined a mining corp. Almost everyone in the corp is very relaxed and laid back and most of us are semi-afk much of the time which suits my alt tab playstyle.

    Mining is rather dull though. With hindsight I think it might have been better to go straight for level 4 mission running which probably pays just as well while being more fun.

    I particularly enjoy planning and testing various get rich quick schemes. I have paused my main character’s skillpoints long enough to get to 40 buy orders each on 2 alts. This means I can jump to an alt and collect the cheap loot those buy orders have brought in and flog it off at Jita for fat profits.

    I’ve also quite accidentally wandered into the meta game, accidentally finding secret information about one of the major alliances. There’s a ton of low level secrets around though. Still one day I plan to do some spying, seems like it would be a crime not to try it.

    I’m also very interested in pvping later on. Space piracy seems like a wonderful pastime and the great wars out in 0,0 look intensely fun.

    Many of these plans are a long way off. I’ve accepted that I’ll have Eve ticking along at a low level even if I’m mainly playing something else for the next couple of years. It’s not a game for instant gratification!

  6. Gordon says:

    @Jeremy Yeah, I read about that case. It’s interesting because it actually goes beyond virtual worlds and into criminology etc. It’s kinda the same thing as provoking someone into attacking you. In the UK we have no such defense as provocation but I think the US does.

    @Beej Definitely. Especially as the worlds start to blend exchange of money more closely – you can certainly expect people to start taking notice then. We also need to consider how real life laws should affect gameplay because some countries have vastly different laws to others and yet you could have millions of players playing together from everywhere in the world.

  7. I’m not eager to start comparing a player-run bank in a game with an offline bank. Someone making off with a chunk of game cash should be different than someone ripping off investors like you see on the evening news. And, let’s not even joke about getting the government involved in online games, okay?

    The real sin here is that there’s a way of converting ISK into offline cash. But, I’ll leave that discussion to others.

  8. Beej says:

    Gordon, I bet they would just regard it as international law with jurisdiction based on where the game’s servers were housed.

  9. Stabs says:

    I wrote quite a long comment, think it disappeared off for moderation but it may have simply disappeared. Let me know if you can’t see it anywhere and I’ll rewrite it. It’s about my first 6 weeks in Eve.

  10. Rosehip says:

    I have an EVE Online character which was adopted by my other half. Seemingly I’m pretty uber in that game :)

  11. Gordon says:

    As sad or terrifying as it might become, I have no doubt that we’ll eventually see laws created to govern our actions in online worlds. Right now these little worlds are completely controlled by the developers but I’m getting that governments will soon want a piece of the pie. It happened in China recently with their crack on QQ coin exchange.

    Regardless, it’s certainly going to be an interesting few decades :)

  12. Gordon says:

    @Stabs Your original comment got stuck in the spam folder – I think my Wordpress is setup to block anything with several links in it. Luckily I found it though! Really enjoyed reading your feedback and I’m checking out those links now. Thanks a lot for the info! :)

  13. Risky Bizniz says:

    If someone were to rip me off in eve like that (thus,. stealing all the months i’ve put into getting my money), i’d probably go look for that guy in his own home and demand a percentage of his income, and if he were to have said no, i’d hurt him so bad that he too would loose about the same ammount of time in convalecence that i lost in time in eve.. ;)

    Risky business and one only needs to get 1% av the players after him and then only 1% of those who happen to be psychopaths, to TRULY be in trouble irl. ;)

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