I broke EvE
Here's the deal:
There's a COSMOS complex in the Aphi system called "The Labyrinth". It is a maze of 9 rooms. In each room, there are four gates, and a special battleship and cruiser that spawn over and over relatively rapidly.
You can sit there and manually farm them, but this ISK is pretty bad. Works out to about 5 mil ISK/hour for each room. At first glance, the rooms do not seem AFK farm-able via sentry drones, for two reasons:
#1, the battleships do enough DPS to kill the sentry drones, even with a large remote repairer aimed at each drone.
#2, sentry drones can't track the cruisers, even with multiple drone tracking mods.
These problems combined to create a situation where after a few spawns, the sentry drones would invariably get caught firing at a cruiser, while the battleship would move out of range.
However, if these problems could be solved, I realized that farming the rooms 23/7 with a fleet of AFK dominixes could yield about 24 billion ISK per month, without breaking the EULA. (24 billion AFTER paying to PLEX the necessary accounts).
~5 mil ISK/hour * 9 rooms * 23 hours * 28 days = ~29 bil/month
I decided this was something I wanted to try. I quickly solved the problems I mentioned earlier via trial-and-error.
#1, I came up with a domi fit that was basically 5 large RRs, all omnidirectional tracking links, cap power relays and 1 local rep. Paper-thin tank, but just enough to keep the domi alive vs. the spawn DPS.
#2, I used a fleet booster to increase the amount of reps the RRs put out, solving the problem of the spawn killing sentry drones.
#3 (THIS IS THE IMPORTANT ONE) I dropped the drones in two groups, so one group of sentry drones could always hit a cruiser orbiting the other group. Getting the drones to stay apart was a challenge. Anyone who has used sentry drones knows that they invariably end up at 0 on your ship. That is because sentry drones actually move. They move at 1 m/s towards their current target, and 1 m/s towards you if they are not firing. By dropping three drones, then setting the dominix to "keep at range" or about 7km from one, then dropping the other set, it was possible to keep about 7km distance between the two drone sets that would not close. This spacing allowed the drones to successfully kill the cruiser rats.
With these problems solved, I started farming a few rooms with a few accounts. The ISK was great. However, after a few weeks, I got really sick of flying the ships into place every morning (I always get up around the end of downtime), even though I was making bank.
Another emergent problem was that people had noticed what I was doing and started copying me. People had started to scan my ship and copy my setup.
So I was faced with two new problems:
#2: lack of a desire to set up my fleet every day
I solved these problems together. I decided that rather than farm the rooms myself, I would recruit other people to farm and I would be the overlord of the operation. With a combination of suicide ganking and denial tactics, I would push out the competition. I would use these same tactics to keep my farmers from rebelling against me.
First, I recruited some people. I told them up front that I would be running what amounted to a protection racket. They would farm and pay me a percentage. If they got out of line, I promised I would park a drake AFK in their rooms, which would eventually get aggro and prevent them from AFK farming. I also told them that they would each be required to help me block others from farming if I requested their help. Each room generated about 3.2 bil/month. I would take a 33% cut.
This might seem silly, but for these people, all the incentives were in place for their cooperation. A few people tried to cut me out, and I either blocked them from AFK farming myself, or had other farmers do it. One of my mates referred to this tactic as “pissing in the pot”. If anyone tried to farm without giving me a percentage, I would make sure no one got any isk. There were a few people who tried to keep farming despite my blocking tactics. I started suicide ganking these people with torp ravens and killing their AFK pods with suicide destroyers. It was easy; the farming setups had almost no tank, and Aphi is a 0.5 sec status system. (This was before the insurance change.) Getting into the Labyrinth required a rare and expensive re-usable key. I bought them up. After being ganked, many people found that they could not get back in.
Within a month, I had either driven off or recruited all the competition into my organization. I had farmers in all 9 rooms farming 23/7. Each one paid me a 33% tax rate. For the next year, I collected about 9.6 bil/month and did virtually nothing other than suicide gank a few people and settle occasional disputes between my farmers. Occasionally, haters who knew what I was up to wardec’d my corps, but that was easy to avoid with corp-jumping.
The best part was that this was all done within the scope of what was allowed. It was a goal of mine to not violate the EULA in any way.
Unfortunately for me, eventually a lazy GM mistook my AFK farmers for botters and banned them all. After a lengthy petition process where I was forced to explain all these details, I was able to get the bans reversed, but was informed that what I had done would no longer be allowed, and that the devs would be implementing changes to prevent it from happening in the future.
I got rich and forced CCP to change their bad game design