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New perspective on EVE Online's latest bank embezzlement part two

James Egan

We read about these things happening periodically, an EVE player pulls a runner with some huge amount of ISK and all sorts of drama ensues. It makes me wonder, what has the real life impact of this theft been on those of you involved with EBANK?

If you are to trust the forum trolls, EVE is JUST a game. But having spent 2 years on this project, real-life money and a lot of sweat and tears, it hurts to see EBANK's name being dragged through the mud, and putting up with the drama. It of course causes a huge amount of real-life stress, and makes you wonder about a few things. I even almost managed to miss 2 exams, due to having to deal with this. But it also gave us the opportunity to realize just how many people EBANK have helped.

2% of EVE's playerbase has an EBANK account, and we came to be the biggest investment venture in EVE, peaking at 2.5 TRILLION ISK. That, to me, is a pretty big thing, which I'm proud to take part in. But I can't answer this question on my own, hence here's my new CEO's take on it:

[Athre, CEO of EBANK provided this statement for Massively]: Suddenly I've been catapulted to a position that requires a more dedicated out of game (meta game) presence away from the login screen. So the most immediate effect upon myself is that I have almost no time to play EVE itself. That my normal "recreation" time is now consumed by eBank business goes without saying.

One of the things I enjoy the most is being part of a team and seeing the team working to mutual goals. This current crisis has revitalized the staff of eBank, restoring much of the passion and pride that had been crushed by Ric's callous impulsiveness. My game play sacrifice has been profoundly rewarded by the rebirth of passion, commitment, and unity here at eBank.

After all the effort that I've noted you and others have put into trying to establish the legitimacy of player-run financial ventures in EVE, what does this mean for the concept when one of the bank's principals essentially runs off with billions of ISK? Has this incident affected your outlook on the viability of EVE's player-run financial ventures?

"The "harsh" nature of EVE is a road-bump on its path to maturity, which everybody involved has to pass. If people speed too much, they are going to come flying off the road and crash."

One of the very first considerations which we had, when we still weren't aware of the scope of the theft, was the impact on the player-run financial system. Around the time that EBANK was created, Ionia (who ran "FRPB", a bond which was close to about 80-100bill in investments) went AWOL, effectively pulling one of the biggest scams at the time. That caused a major depression for a long time.

If EBANK was brought to its knees, we would see the exact same effect. That, to me, was the worst case scenario ever. Having spent 2 years establishing 2 of my own investment ventures as well as EBANK, I'd hate to see that go down the drain.

I still think that player-run ventures are extremely viable. However, the "harsh" nature of EVE is a road-bump on its path to maturity, which everybody involved has to pass. If people speed too much, they are going to come flying off the road and crash. It's still a balance which has to be maintained by the community. Lots of really cool people are involved, and I think we are on the right path.

But if I didn't believe in the player-run ventures, I'd probably not be playing anymore. As I wrote in my EVE Directory article for EON, I'm all about the macro-aspect of EVE. I read, observe and study what goes on -- as can be seen on my blog,

The academic aspect of it is what keeps me interested. Ironically, the drama with EBANK allows us to draw even more parallels between EVE and real life, when it comes to banking systems and when they are in trouble. Despite the fact it upsets me that Ricdic broke the trust I had in him, there's nothing that's so bad it's not good for something. In this case, it's extremely interesting to see the banking system which we have in real life, in a miniature model, face the same troubles that they have in real life.

If player-run ventures are to succeed in EVE, does something need to change on the game development side? Do the players have the tools they need at their disposal, or does something new need to be implemented by CCP Games?

"Taking EVE to a place where player-run ventures become more viable, as I see it, is in direct conflict with where the more vocal minority wants to take the game. "

Taking EVE to a place where player-run ventures become more viable, as I see it, is in direct conflict with where the more vocal minority (PvP'ers, griefers, "hardcore") wants to take the game. There are some small issues which will help us. Then there's things like auditing frameworks and the like, which would be nice. But that's a large task. [CCP would help us] by simply providing us with a better API, for instance.

This has been something I have been trying to push while I was on the CSM, by asking for an API-interface to the contract system. Right now, there's a number of large gaps, where the API simply can't gather information. This is a huge down-side to the player-made tools.

But we can build oh-so-many systems. How I like to see EVE, is to compare it to a real-life government. We have 3 branches of government (The Executive, Legislative and Judicial). The CCP and CSM council (total of 18 individuals) have a say in the making of the laws (Legislative). CCP then implements this (Executive) and the GM team enforces them (Judicial). In EVE, we have no judicial system that enforces any kind of "illegal" (it's only so IRL, not in-game) actions in the player-driven market, but what the EULA and TOS enforces.

Unless this is changed, the player-run systems will never be 100% trustworthy. I don't see EVE changing in a way where this is a viable thing to do. And frankly, I'm of the opinion that the fewer regulations there are in a system, the better. So it's paradox to me, and I think that the current way it's being done is the best option. As long as we get more tools for the players to gather information about individuals, they will be able to make informed decisions to invest in a person or not.

Thanks for speaking with Massively, LaVista.

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