It’s been no secret that CCP, the developer behind EVE Online, hates players who work the system to profit in real money from its game. In June CCP decided to enact a deastic plan that they had been working on for weeks, if not months, codenamed Unholy Rage. Ars Technica was able to talk to Einar Hreiðarsson, one of EVE’s lead GM’s, during Gamescom this week and was able to find out a bit on both the how and why behind Unholy Rage.
RMT operators take up a lot of server power. They use macros to run missions, rat (grind PvE) and mine 23/7. This adversely affects other players’ chances of making a simulated living as all sweet-spots for this sort of activity are totally overrun with RMT-type users,” he explained to Ars. Prices for mission-related items are adversely affected as well, which hurts regular players. Then there’s the criminal element.
“Practically all credit card fraud we suffer stems from the RMT element which uses stolen credit cards to register expendable accounts that they know we will ban as soon as they start using them, e.g. accounts used to spam ISK sale adverts and such.” Further, almost all hacking problems involve accounts being cleaned out by ISK sellers. The game suffers, credit card fraud becomes an issue, and accounts are hi-jacked. Something had to be done, and “Unholy Rage” was what they named CCP’s response.
For weeks they studied the behavior and effects these real-money traders had on the game, and then they struck. During scheduled maintenance, over 6,000 accounts were banned. Hreiðarsson assures us that the methods were sound, and the bannings went off with surgical precision. “We are quite confident that false positives are practically non-existent, but we examine all requests for review,” he explained. “So far less than a dozen have been found to be false positives.” The project is ongoing, and so far CCP has banned approximately 9,000 accounts.
What they found was these real-money traders were not only soaking up in-game, virtual assets as well as hacking accounts, but also taking way more than their fair share of server cycles. The result was dramatic.
“Now, that is a beautiful graph if I ever saw one,” CCP wrote on its official blog. “While the number of accounts banned in the opening phase of the operation constituted around 2 percent of the total active registered accounts, the CPU per user usage was cut by a good 30 percent.” This is great news for legitimate players. “That is a whole lot of CPU for the rest of you to play with, people.”
Areas that used to be heavily traveled by bot-controlled players are now easier for real players to visit. Systems that used to be controlled by the RMT players are now open for business. “Another great improvement is that space is now suddenly full of belts of oversized asteroids that were previously sucked up by hoards of macro miners of the RMT persuasion,” CCP wrote. “Regular players are now starting to see mining as a viable means of making some ISK and they are moving in to take over the business.” Now that the mafia has been kicked out, legitimate players and corporations can turn an honest profit in once-overrun systems.
I remember when I last played EVE I always had trouble finding a decent place to mine, and it turned me off from the game. Maybe now I’ll come back sometime, but first I have Champions Online calling me. [via- EVE Online unleashes Unholy Rage on in-game currency traders]