Somewhere along the line, a threshold was passed. Pressure started building, slowly, almost immeasurably day to day, but over time it became apart that the pressure was building to near dangerous levels and something was going to give.
Today CCP decided to alleviate the pressure by puncturing it with a sword: END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT CHANGES COMING WITH EVE ONLINE: ASCENSION
This change is related to the CONDUCT part of the EULA, specifically Section B, which has been updated as follows:
B. Selling Items and Objects
You may not transfer, sell or auction, or buy or accept any offer to transfer, sell or auction (or offer to do any of the foregoing), any content appearing within the Game environment, including without limitation characters, character attributes, items, currency, and objects, other than via a permitted Character Transfer as described in section 3 above. You may not encourage or induce any other person to participate in such a prohibited transaction. You may not use, transfer or assign any game assets for games of chance operated by third parties. The buying, selling or auctioning (or any attempt at doing so) of characters, character attributes, items, currency, or objects, whether through online auctions, newsgroups, postings on message boards or any other means is prohibited by the EULA and a violation of CCP's proprietary rights in the Game.
In short, this addition to the EVE Online EULA means that as of the launch of EVE Online: Ascension, players will be prohibited from using in game assets and currency, as well as the EVE IP, to take part in or promote gambling services or other games of chance that are operated by third parties.
With this in mind, as of this announcement we have taken action against two organizations that are currently offering third party services based around gambling and games of chance:
- The third party service IWANTISK has been shut down in game, and all ISK and assets have been confiscated after extensive and exhaustive investigation has brought forward compelling evidence of large-scale Real Money Trading. Permanent account suspensions have been issued against those involved.EVE's gambling scene has been accumulating ISK and thus power over the past decade slowly but very surely. The height of that power was seen in the recent World War Bee where IWANTISK bankers used fat wallets to finance the effort against the Goons. Make no mistake: the Goons made many enemies over the years and the line to knock them down a peg or ten was miles long, but the ISK from the bankers like Lenny Kravitz2 ensured that people were willing to fleet up and give it a try.
- The third party service EVE Casino has been shut down in game, and all ISK and assets have been confiscated after multiple and sustained breaches of our Developer License Agreement. Permanent account suspensions have been issued against those involved.
And with the power that massive mountains of ISK hold comes the danger of corruption, not only in game with a 1% of players having undue influence over cluster politics and dynamics, but also out of gaming in the form of the lure of Real Money Trading which apparently overcame the mores of IWANTISK and EVE Casino according to CCP's investigations.
CCP tried to treat this pressure in a more targeted way with the SOMER Blink gambling site by forcing PLEX sales to be divorced from ISK gambling but apparently that has not be sufficient deterrent enough. Noizy Gamer has been writing about the problems Valve has been facing with gambling recently and there has been a lot of movement lately from governments starting to wake up to the online game gambling and this move by CCP could be more about getting out of the way of that train with the upcoming unlimited trial accounts rather than wait for potential legislation or lawsuits or fines.
Overall this is going to be a big shock to the system for the game, and one I'm not opposed to. Part of me really feels that the detrimental effects of gambling concentrating more and more ISK to the hands of a few while doing nothing for or with the actual gameplay of EVE is not a good thing in the long run, even though those mega rich players use their ISK in some beneficial ways for the community. It means that sites that depend on one or two big donors to operate will have to crowdsource their funding from the consumers of their content which requires more effort and has more inherent risk. I sympathize with them but adapt or die as the saying goes.