Are EVE Online Players Really That Naive?
So apparently there was another bank heist in EVE Online, this time the biggest, craziest, most scandalicious ever seen in New Eden (they always say that though). Except heist is completely the wrong word for it because using that term conjures up connotations of an exciting bank job undertaken by a team of charismatic scoundrels (probably sporting pencil thin moustaches, slicked back hair and suave British accents), fighting against the odds to break into some deeply secured bank vault and then escaping with their lives after an exhilarating fire fight. That didn’t happen here.
Instead what really happened was a scam, pure and simple, and a pretty obvious one at that. Based upon the classic Ponzi scheme (he says as if he’s an old hand at conning people), the two chaps who perpetrated the fraud, Mordor and Eddie, ran a simple business of offering to accept other player’s investment and then paying out 5% interest on their funds back to them every week, y’know just like a bank. If any banks in the world were actually offering 5% interest that is. After a few months though the dirty duo closed up shop, said cheerio, and walked off with all the money everyone had ever deposited with them.
Am I the only person in the world who didn’t see that coming? I’ve played EVE for all of five minutes and I already know better than to ‘invest’ in ‘banks’. I mean, this is EVE we’re talking about. The entire point of the game is to backstab and screw people over. Did anyone in their right mind actually believe that this was an honest and legitimate venture that wouldn’t end up with everyone somehow mysteriously losing their money? Are EVE Online players really that naive?
I don’t think so. In fact, I’d bet that pretty much everyone who gave Morder and Eddie cash knew they would never see it again and I think that was part of the appeal. EVE is a game built upon treachery and lies and I think players like to indulge that aspect of the game, playing along with it at every opportunity. Of course everyone knew Phaser Inc. (the name of the fraudulent investment company) was a scam, they had to because everything in EVE is a scam. And the reality is no one actually needs their ISK that much.
Instead, I think the investors, the people who lost their money, did so willing and knowingly, fully aware of the risks right from the beginning, even counting on it in fact. Because, at the end of the day, having your money ’stolen’ is a lot more fun that just having it sit in your own virtual wallet gathering dust. In many ways, this scam wasn’t successfully because of two people like Mordor and Eddie but rather because everyone decided to play along with it. It gives you stories to tell your corp mates and, probably more than anything else, cause to claim a blood feud and start the mother of all vendettas against the criminal culprits. And that’s got to be a lot more fun that mining asteroids all day long.
So I’m answering my own question here and saying that no, I don’t think EVE players are naive. I think they understand and recognise the risks yet still participate in them willingly because scams like these ultimately make the gaming world a lot more of an interesting place to inhabit.
Its also bloody good publicity for the game.