Friday, August 13, 2010

PLEX, Botting and You!

So this week we get the news that some numbnut has undocked in a small ship from Jita 4-4 with approx 70+ PLEX is his hold, a local has scanned him, destroyed the ship and all the PLEX was destroyed.  The approx total value was $1300, US dollars I assume but cbf checking into that some more.

That is quite a large amount of money for the average gamer to be playing around with, so with suspicions of more behind it I did some snooping around.

Botting seems to be rampant in Eve at the moment.  From the various comments on the forums and also chatting with some people I know they have said it appears to be on the rise. 

Botting is the control of your in game character by a third party program with the intention of levelling that character up or making in game money, which can then be exchanged for out of game money, Real Life (RL) money using a variety of methods.

So one of the botting programs, it would seem, looks for the name of the character being mentioned in local chat and then if the name is seen the program either shuts off leaving that person floating in space or it disconnects the game.  I suspect a variety of options are available to the botting player and the most popular one chosen is the former.

So a small game has developed where you mention the name of the people in local channel in suspected botting systems and then see how many either disappear or shut down their ships for a period of time.  I can see this making a very short progression to a drinking game with much success.

So where does the ISK go?  At the moment the ISK generated is still in game currency and can be used for the many things available in game, but if the botting is being used for RL money generation then that fake money has to somehow become real.

One of the ways could be the selling of ships to another character at heavily discounted prices.  So it could go like this.  Person A wants a fleet of cheap ships, so they pay Person B, the botter, some RL money via Paypal to provide those ships.  Then Person B sells the ships in game to Person A via contracts or even direct in station trade at a discounted rate, but probably not too low to attract attention from CCP.  Person B obtained the ships from selling the minerals, mission loot and ISK from missions (they can and are all being botted) and then made them available to Person A.

I’m sure other examples exist.

Every once in a while CCP bans a swathe of accounts and, so they say, the botting stops for a while, it would appear this needs to happen more often than it has as the market is being artificially manipulated by these outside forces.

Deploy The Ban Hammer.

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