Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bottom of the Slippery Slope

Over at Jester's Trek, he has a post called Slippery Slope in which he asks the question if providing out of game services for ISK is the start of a slippery slope:

Let's take it a step further. I don't own a hosting company. But I do have $500. Let's suppose that I'm willing to pay the hosting charges for this massive EVE gambling site. I go to the operators of this gambling website and they're amenable to giving me 50 billion ISK per year for website hosting. I go to a hosting company I know, and I buy a dedicated hosting server. I then advertise it in Sell Orders with a somewhat misleading post title. The operator of this gambling site then replies to my post saying that he wants to buy my services with ISK. We then let the post fall far down into the invisible pit of thousands of other Sell Order posts.
The gambling site gets their hosting. I get 50 billion ISK -- $1500 worth of ISK -- for $500. Is this legal? Or is it RMT?
Not so fast.
When you buy a kill-board from EVSCO (which hundreds, if not thousands of EVE players, corps, and alliances have done), you pay ISK for the in-game service, which is legal. The owners of EVSCO then pay for the website hosting of your kill-board. As their in-game business has expanded, I'm quite sure they've had to pay more RL money to their hosting company to host all those kill-boards and deal with the demand. EVSCO pays RL money and in return receives large amounts of ISK from hundreds of EVE players, corps, and alliances. Same question: is that legal? Or is it RMT?
Don't be alarmed. That sensation you're experiencing is just the slippery slope.
The summary of what I'm going to write can be written as thus: We are at the bottom of the slippery slope already, the issue has been decided. We have been at the bottom for so long some of us don't even recognize it and are taken aback when they look around and see where they are.

OK, now that the conclusion is out of the way, let's write the post.

Real Money Trading, aka RMT, is both legal and illegal in EVE Online. Legal RMT started with the allowed selling of Eve Time Codes on the forums back in the history of time, at least 7 years ago, and continued with the allowed selling of characters in the bazaar and more recently the allowed selling of out of game services. The fact you can get 600 million ISK for about $15 or, as in Ripard's example above, 50 billion ISK for $500 is irrelevant. Its legal in this game and the start of the slippery slope was the eve time codes; everything thereafter was simply applying the same principle.

What is that principle? Quite simply put, CPP is OK with someone giving money for ISK as long as someone else cannot sell ISK for money. As long as the transactions do not make a profit for a person in the 'community', then its a legal transaction.

The reason people are not allowed to sell ISK for real money profit is that it quickly becomes a business more interested in acquiring ISK to sell in greater quantities and thus encourages game damaging behaviours like farming, botting, and account hacking. In Ripard's example above, no one's real money wallet is at a higher balance other than the hosting company who is not part of the community and sold server time and thus has no interest in engaging in game damaging activities.

So RMT is alive and well and legal in EVE in certain scenarios, even if the implications of that bother people as they look at the scope it can take on.

Now the far more interesting question is if the legal RMT, all of it from time codes to hosting-for-ISK deals, is good for the game or not.


  1. Cash for ISK - no problem

    ISK for cash - problem

    The difference is huge.

  2. Great post! I feel like I'm starting to fall behind the subject.