Past and Present:A firsthand look into the RMT scene and a case for indifference. 1/2
by, 2011-02-24 at 08:53 PM (3002 Views)
The beginning of this semester I started a Sociology class. Getting to talking to my professor about gaming I find out that he is an EVE player. Explaining my involvement in the RMT scene he asked me to write my first paper on the subject. So when I was asked by Mulla to write an article regarding botting, I agreed and chopped my 12 page paper in half and added in some more relevent stuff for you guys. I'm no expert writer so bear with my writing skills, and keep in mind this is a paper cut in half. Also keep in mind I'm not advocating botting just giving a different way to look at it and providing some info. I have never botted, bought or sold isk in EVE.
The Land Before Time: A look into the Chinese Real Money Trading(RMT) scene before bots.
This part can be skipped over if your only interested in botting. This is a story that doesn't have much to do with botting but more of the widespread Chinese rmt scene prior to widespread bot use. More about showing that EVEs belts weren't as empty as remembered before botting came fully into play. It's the story of Deep Space Productions, a corporation I created that ended up turning into, to my knowledge, the largest Chinese isk farming corporation in EVE's history.
From mid 05 thru mid 06 I had largely been out of the game playing World of Warcraft(WoW). During which time I worked on getting my Grand Marshal title and when not in a battleground I was grinding Gold to sell, those 45minute Arathi Basin ques provided ample time. During this time WoW did not have widespread botting, and was primarily done by Chinese players. Spending so much time grinding Gold I became friends and somewhat of a celebrity with the Chinese crew on my server. Learning the tricks of the trade, secrets of solo instance farming, gaining friends, and most importantly from that I learned basic phonetically spelled Chinese to the point of being able to hold conversations with those that didn't speak English.
Fast forward to August 2007. I'm a member of Triumvirate(Tri) mk1 and while flying around Venal I get convo'd by a CEO of a random Venal Chinese farming corporation asking if he can speak to diplomat in Tri. I tell him it's his lucky day and that he's speaking to one, then explains to me that his corporation is looking to rent space from Tri and that he's willing to pay 500m a week to do so. I tell him that I'll sort him the standings and he proceeds to send me the first weeks payment, then letting him know it'll take 24hrs for standings the convo closes. The next day knowing I'm going to get a convo from him I'm trying to think of a way to get more ISK out of him, when it hit me. Deep Space Productions a corporation I created 3 years prior will be what he must merge into. Reluctantly he agrees and I tell him he must wait another day. I get in touch with Darkness leader of Tri and tell him I need my corporation in Tri's alt alliance “Blood Raider Alliance” purpose being it's the logistical corp of the Forsaken Empire wing of Wreckless Abandon. Within the next day and a half I have 15 Chinese npc'n 23hrs a day paying both rent and 9% tax. Within 2 weeks my scheme was discovered by Tri leadership and my corporation was kicked.
Essentially being by chance thrown into a world of EVE that I had never payed much attention to, I went full force into what would be my dream of creating the largest Chinese farming operation in EVE. Armed with the ability to speak their native tongue, a corporation with 9% tax, and 3 accounts I went to work.
War is raging across the South and North, Delve1 is in full force. Meaning Band of Brothers space aside, EVEs largest ever coalition is in full effect. I could join any non-Greater BoB Coalition alliance and be blue in nearly every region of the game. Tyrrax Thorrk leader of Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate(IAC) is bragging on the forums that he sold space in Fountain to a southern Chinese megacorp Wyverns of Catch even though not owning that space. After being turned down by Morsus Mihi on renting from them I contacted Tyrrax as being rented space they don't own is exactly what I needed, all I needed was blue standings in the North. A cool 750m/wk and I was in IAC in early September of 2007.
With a 3 man alt fleet I roamed the North basing out of the npc stations of J-C in Pure Blind, PF- in Venal, and FDZ in Geminate though had offices in every npc station in the North. Finding a corpless farmer and telling them your going to join my corporation and you'll have blue standings with everyone or I'm staying here and killing you the second you uncloak. I'd then leave with 2 characters and find 2 more targets to do the same, when one of them finally gave in I'd use my 3 characters to escort them to the closest office and then back to their system.
It was slow at first as every farmer has been told that same line countless times just to be killed, but my ability to speak Chinese won them over and quickly my reputation within the farming community spread as someone who was a friend of the Chinese. Befriending managers of the different companies I was able to negotiate entire companies to join. My reputation soon spread to the South and Chinese farmers from there started traveling to empire to put in an application at my southernmost office in Yulai. Realizing this I traveled to Stain, Foutain, Curse, and Great Wildlands renting offices in nearly every travel-relevent npc stations. Within weeks of this my corporation had gained 50 additional members that willingly joined.
By Late November 2007 I had nearly every formerly corpless Chinese farmer north of Germinate and Fade in my corporation. As well as at least a couple farmers in nearly every region south of those regions. My corp peaked then at around 160 Raven pilots, around 100 in the North. I never targeted the Chinese already in corporations as they were too hard to recruit, counting those aswell the North had roughly 300 Chinese ravens in it's belts in late 2007 that's not including logistics accounts supporting them. Having conquered the North, I moved my eyes to Stain and within 2 weeks had most of the corpless Chinese flying my flag. I then looked to more southern regions but soon found that the distance was just to much to overcome.
I had been kicked from IAC due to some issues with a botter in Insmother spamming alliance chat and mail with hundreds of spam mails one night, I promptly kicked him as I didn't allow botting in my corporation. I got in touch with Plazmalord Soban leader of Knights of the Southerncross(KoS) and 2 days after being kicked from IAC I joined them in October of 2007 at a price of 650m/wk. Luckily though KoS under Plazmalord was just an elaborate RMT scheme and he was banned 3 weeks after I joined meaning the new leadership had no idea about any rent and the rest of my stay was free. I stayed with them until I got kicked out in late December due to my Insmother crew decimating the blue Ultima Ratio(U-RA) pilots who were trying to take over my guys constellation. A couple weeks of fighting between them eventually ended my KoS membership when my guys killed a 10 man U-RA command ship gang. The leader of U-RA contacted KoS leadership who then told me I had to pay 10bil in damages and kick the members, unwilling to kick the most badass company in my corporation I told them to go fuck themselves and was promptly kicked from KoS.
It's early December 2007 and a problem that I hadn't anticipated started arising when I was on my southern expedition, the different companies within my corporation hated each other and without my presence started using their Morsus Mihi and Razor “enforcer” and logistical toons to kill rival company members within the corporation. The hatred being accelerated by the fact that for the first time they're all in a single chatroom; corp chat, which had become nothing more than 100+ dudes all talking shit to each other. From early December on all I could do in the corporation was sit in UMI-KK in western Tribute to keep the 3 companies that lived in the western Tribute constellations from killing eachother, and keep the southern Deklein farmers from attacking the company in the southernmost Venal constellation. This burned me out quickly and combined with the fact I had gotten kicked from KoS I took a 2 week break from the game during which time the companies listed above all turned on each other resulting in my corporation losing 50ish members.
Coming back to the game, my corporation was in shambles. I got in touch with Fang Alliance based out of Geminate and joined them in early January 2008 as a full member(no rent). 1-2 weeks later my corporation, and those who had left recently during my absence is hit with a banwave, oddly enough the Geminate farmers I had were the only ones to escape bans. From 160 Raven pilots to under 10 in 3-4weeks, those ~10 then leave in the coming weeks. I more or less leave the game at this time for a while. Deep Space Productions nowadays a 97 member corporation with my 1 alt being the only person logged in in 3 years, has been dormant since aside from a few stints at making a legit-player npc'n corp.
Your probably calling for my head for providing a safe haven for one of the largest groups of Chinese farmers ever assembled. I think of it differently, the way I see it is I successfully took 9% of the isk from 160 farmers that would have otherwise been RMT'd. At the peak of my corporation 9% translated to roughly 7-8bil a week in tax, meaning 70-80bil a week was being generated by my guys alone, staggering numbers and even more-so when considering upgraded systems didn't exist at this time. I challenge you to find any player who's done more damage to the RMT community than that.