The $6000 Eve Online Kill

Providing more evidence for my “best” thesis, Massively has a fantastic story of loss and heartache in Eve Online. It’s this kind of thing that made the game so thrilling to play, although never before on this scale. Player “stewie Zanjoahir” lost 213,000,000,000 ISK as he piloted an unfitted frigate through dangerous space, making it the biggest recorded loss in the game so far. The cash equivalent calculation can be made by reasoning that 213,000,000,000 ISK could be used to buy 367 PLEX codes with a real-world cash value of $6,422.50. What I would have given to read that chat log.

Here‘s the killboard link. Bizarrely CCP are unable to verify its authenticity for “privacy reasons”. UPDATE: A couple of people have now pointed out that the other reason this might be awry is the blueprint costs, which might actually be a fraction of the killboard estimate. This could mean the real cost would be more like $200. A bit less exciting, but there we have it.


  1. HexagonalBolts says:

    To me, if you’re risking that much money in a game it’s just like a high stakes slot machine, I’d never play eve at anywhere near that sort of level

    • xavdeman says:

      link to
      “One possible explanation for the aberration is that there was an error in the EVE API that supplied the original kill data to third-party killboard websites. It’s also possible that the kill was marked as API Verified without actually being checked, in which case the kill may have never even happened”
      Come on RPS, at least read the “related news” on the same website. Bad journalism in da houuuse!

      • Jim Rossignol says:

        Aw, that would be a shame.

        • kyrieee says:

          Well there’s quite frankly no way someone would move three Hulk BPOs in an unfit Atron. Only a few of those exist in the game (from the T2 BPO lottery) and there’s no reason to ever move them outside highsec anyway.

          • diamondmx says:

            There’s little reason someone would fly around with a hold full of PLEXes either, but that happened.
            There are dumb people in the world.

          • kyrieee says:

            Yes, but any idiot can buy PLEX for real money. A T2 BPO however isn’t something you just stumble upon and if you’re someone who bought all your ISK with PLEXes then such a BPO would be a terrible investment.

          • peschi says:

            prolly somebody from ccp, load some high priced wares into a undefended ship. Takes 10 mins to setup and have maximum spread across the media. No advertising campagne can top that.

      • udat says:

        CCP also posted about it on Facebook, so they also appear to think it’s real…

    • woodsey says:

      Doesn’t mean he bought $6k worth of PLEX, just means he had $6k worth of PLEX.

    • Apocalypse says:

      Kill seems API Verified, and yes, risking so much ISK in a frigate, which can be killed in one shot by about everything in the game, is dumb. Normally I would say, OK lesson learned, one player more educated, but than we have something like this:

      link to
      Apparently there are people who managed not to lose just one titan, but two in a row.

  2. dE says:

    Well, the EVE community manages to be even more emberassing than RPS Comments on a Zynga Headline. It’s an interesting story though, I’m intrigued by the idea of virtual property. If only because most cultural studies definitions still insist on the actual physical existence of items, for them to be emotionally and culturally relevant to people.

    • Fazer says:

      I also thought about this lately, I came to a conclusion humanity valued “nonexistent” things for longer than it thought. Take a look at mathematics, they describe a set of abstract ideas, but would anyone call them worthless? Where would we be now if people didn’t know Pythagorean theorem? The fact that they don’t have a physical form don’t make them any less valuable. I would even say they are worth more, because knowledge can’t be destroyed. Of course you can burn all books, but things will be rediscovered with time.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      It’s about as real as the money in your bank account.
      That is to say, right now it’s just a number in a computer somewhere, although it could be converted into physical objects.

  3. Simon Hawthorne says:

    There was word that his account was hacked, which explained the odd behaviour of him piloting his ship through null-sec with so much cargo, and that his cargo had been restored to his account.

    I have no sources other than Reddit, does anyone have anything more reliable?

  4. GameStunts says:

    Back in 2005 there was a heist that was equivalent to $16,500, I thought RPS might have highlighted this.

    From an article link to
    It is a detailed account of what has to be one of most beautifully executed in-game scams in a MMORPG ever pulled. It breaks all previous world records for ‘virtual crime’.

    The game in question is Eve Online, where corporate espionage and political intrigue have become an integral part of the game.

    The perpetrator of the heist was the Guiding Hand Social Club (GHSC) corporation (a corporation being similar to a clan in Eve); a freelance mercenary outfit that offers their services (which usually involves corp infiltration, theft and assassination) to the highest bidder. Over a year in planning, the GHSC infilitrated their target’s corp with their own members and gained their trust, as well as access to the corp hangers, with time. It all concluded in a perfectly timed climax, with a massive theft in multiple corp hangars synchronized with the in-game killing of the corporation’s CEO, the primary target of the contract.

    What’s most interesting and impressive about this operation is that it was entirely ‘legal’ and within the game’s own rules, and the mastermind and his agents pulled it off together flawlessly, all the while staying in character. The estimated real-life value of the items stolen is, according to PC Gamer, $16,500 US. The in-game value of course is much, much higher as the things stolen would take years and years to acquire.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Heist, not a kill.

    • Spengbab says:

      Actually, what made the GHSC stuff interesting and genuinly fun was all the preparation and story added to it. The “thieves” had to get to know the target, secure access permissions et cetera. Plus, it helped that some members of GHSC enjoyed writing backstories to their actions.

      Stories like the one in the article are just “Hold position at stargate for hours on end, get lucky that a ship passes through, press button, watch shitty ship blow up”. 9 out of 10 times, the ship’s just a shuttle, rookiefrigate or something equally terrible. The other time, you get lucky when it’s a ISK buyer taking his new faction ship out for a spin, unbeknownst to him that <0.5 space will get him killed.

      It's not fun, there's no story, it's just… boring, even to those involved.

    • dsi1 says:

      This may interest some people, an old, from before Eve’s Beta, player posted his experience on /r/eve, from the beginnings to GHSC and afterwards, quite an interesting read. Especially since most of Eve’s history from that period is a sort of dark ages.

  5. Pure says:

    what a terrible game

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s this stuff that makes it a fantastic game.

      • xavdeman says:

        It’s not a terrible game or a fantastic one, its not a game at all, an ungame – as these things are called around these here parts. For all it’s criticism of Zynga’s “games” like Farmville, RPS really ought to show some more reluctance in talking about EVE as if it would constitute a game. I agree with the view that it resembles more a “career” (in the sense that standing behind the assembly line at Foxconn would constitute a “career”) than a game at this point.

        link to
        I could go on, you know.

        • Neut says:

          Do go on, I’m curious.

          • Kapouille says:

            After “playing” Eve for 3 years, I totally understand what he is trying to articulate. It’s true that the “gamey” bits in Eve are rather embryonic and one actually finds oneself enjoying the idea and the potential of the sandbox universe rather than the actual game play. I have to admit that among those 3 years, the first year was spent discovering what could be done and hoping something would emerge from it and the last 2 years I was using it as a glorified (yet mightily expensive) chat client as my best friend was hooked to it (and it would be the place I’ll find him :))

          • gschmidl says:

            It’s been described to me as “Ayn Rand’s Combat Spreadsheet Simulator 3000”

        • EugenS says:

          Eve is absolutely fantastic, I’ve been playing it for two months and I can’t get enough of it. It’s the only mmorpg, other than Ultima Online, that’s gotten me so fired up. There’s no place 100% safe in eve, and that’s what makes it truly awesome.

      • Smarag says:

        Nobody said it wasn’t. It’s a terrible game for terrible people though. That’s why we love to sit in alliance jabber while playing minecraft together.

  6. Jams O'Donnell says:

    (Clearly Jim & John just need to be given bat’leths and told to figure this out.)

    • Nullkigan says:

      But what if Jim loses and John wins?

      • Jenks says:

        We are plunged into a million years of Farmville and SWTOR.

        • Phantoon says:

          If that’s the case, the only thing to do is cheat. By poisoning John beforehand. Preferrably with 24 hours straight of bubblegum pop music.

  7. mentor07825 says:

    Not looking good for their current war at all.

  8. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    This article needs a link to cory doctorows “for the win”!

    link to

  9. Hunchback says:

    I find it really weird that anyone with their right mind and enough resources to buy all those BPs would even consider transporting them in any other way than jumping them in. That’s not even a covert ops frigate or anything, just a random bare-bones ship with nothing on.
    That’s not madness, it’s throwing (hunderds of) thousands of hours of mining and/or farming ‘rats in 0 sec, out the window.

  10. Tei says:

    I wonder if we will see one day a game lost so big to affect real economy in a bad way.
    But I dont think so… Other than a bug or balance change affect gold sellers.
    It will also be interesting if we see the death of the current crop of dikumud/wow clones, and we return again to the idea of virtual worlds, but I dont think so… Videogames sort of come from that and move away from the idea of a virtual world, possibly the final form of mmos will be some fun form of solipsism that kieckengard would love: Full Soloisism.

  11. malphigian says:

    I dunno if Eve is the best example, but I’m with Rossignol in this war. John Walker is an apostate who should be writing about movies instead of video games! Burn down his computer! I’m not overdoing it am I?

    Still, John Walker is a big softy who clearly wants games to cuddle him in cushy escapism.

    Franz Kafka once said: I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? …We need the books that affect us like a disaster… A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us..

    Video games might not be that, but losing your $6k space ship or having your entire elite iron man xcom squad taken out in a blind panic is about as close as you’re going to get these days.

    • Harlander says:

      Still, John Walker is a big softy who clearly wants games to be cuddle him in cushy escapism.

      Sounds fair enough to me. I like that from time to time myself.

    • Faldrath says:

      Actually, it’s much more likely that Kafka meant books that change our viewpoints, shake the foundations of our lives, make us question what we took for granted. And, in gaming, that’s much easier to achieve through a story than through mechanical thrills.

      (I’m not particularly against the latter, but my point is that Kafka’s point reinforces John’s point, not Jim’s point!)

      • malphigian says:

        Yah, I know what Kafka meant, I was just trying to be entertainingly dramatic. What I was trying and failing to cleverly say is the answer currently to the ever-asked “can video games make us cry?” question is yes, yes, they can, but not in the way you think and it involves a six thousand dollar space ship.

        • Faldrath says:

          But now I’m going to reply with the mandatory “To the Moon made me cry”, or the less well-known “Deionarra’s sensory stone made me cry”. I guess what I’m trying to say is that yes, you may cry because you lost a valuable ship, or your XCom squad, or your hardcore Diablo character… but that is not likely to be the sort of crying that makes you reassess a part of your life – your gaming strategy, perhaps, but not something wider than that. While a good book, a good story, a good (gasp) “artistic experience” might.

  12. CobraLad says:

    Article saying “no u” to other article.
    Thats not your average comment wars for insignificant mortals, thats how titans fight.

  13. Pod says:

    Jim, as an ex-Eve player do you really believe he had 3 Hulk BPO in an completely stripped ship?

    I don’t think it’s real.

    • Headwuend says:

      It is much more likely that they weren’t Blue Print Originals, but Copies. The whole “ISK destroyed” value is therefore very debatable and almost certainly inflated by several orders of magnitude.

      A tad more research would’ve debunked the whole thing, but RPS apparently couldn’t miss out on the “zOMG EVE destroys $6000” everyone posted yesterday already. :S

  14. Infinite says:

    It has been decided that on this day two schools of thoughts emerged regarding gaming, one is the Rossignolian school of thought with Jim Rossignols “Games are better when things go wrong” and the other is the Walkerian school of thought with John Walkers “Game aren’t better when things go wrong” and as of right now people are speculating that a third school of thought might emerge, the Meerian school of thought.

    By the way that is one awesome kill :D.

  15. pupsikaso says:

    Way to put all your eggs in one basket. This is the classic story that everyone loves to repeat and exaggerate. Someone loads up a shuttle/frigate with tons of valuable items and goes flying afk.
    Didn’t think anyone would ACTUALLY do this after so many times….

  16. daphne says:

    I don’t see how this provides more evidence for Jim’s thesis (not that I don’t agree with it). I have a hard time picturing the player enjoying himself more as a response to this, or even three months after the fact.

    Perhaps you mean to say that it’s best for onlookers’ Schadenfreude when things go wrong…

  17. trjp says:

    I find it fascinating that people focus on the ‘virtual cost’ of stuff which can be translated (via circuitous routes) into ‘real’ money – BUT – we ignore the cost of our time which, when it comes to MMOs at least, is a far, far bigger commitment.

    I value my free-time more than UK minimum wage – but the time I spent in WoW (over several years) amounts to £36,000 ($50,000) at that rate. At the rate I was being paid at the time it’s more like £150,000!!

    The £250-300 I spent on the game and subscriptions rather pales when compared to that number, doesn’t it?

    I’m no even close to some people’s time commitment either – some people played more when I was playing and continued to play whilst I was on hiatus – a few STILL play (apart from a 1 month ‘holiday on Azeroth’ I’ve not played WoW since early Cataclysm.

    So – anyway – large sums of money but not as exciting I guesss….

  18. Poliphilo says:

    This would have been amazing, had EVE not been a spreadsheet.

    • trjp says:

      A cross between a spreadsheet and a drameh class – thing is tho, I can totally see the appeal, it’s played by people who’ve probably designed at least one game INSIDE a spreadsheet :)

      A smarter man than me (I got it from Ian ‘MagicalTimeBean’ Stocker but I think he said it came from someone else) once said

      “Almost the entirity of people using the Internet are simply waiting for an integer to get larger as a result of something they did.

      • marlin says:


        I’m not sure he was smarter than you, he just said it first.
        You just know you would have thought of it eventually!! ;-)

  19. peschi says:

    thats eve for you, more excited about the kill mail then the actual fight.

  20. spelvin spugg says:

    I scammed someone out of ten billion. Boy was he ever mad.

    What kind of idiot would just give someone he had known a week ten billion? I set up a scheme with an alt where the alt had this unspecified moneymaking scheme related to building POSes and for some reason needed money. The alt could supposedly double any amount of ISK. I doubled several smaller amounts of ISK, in the millions. Then the mark out of the blue put ten billion on the table. I made him fly out to the ass-end of geminate and when he told me he was ready to see the POS I said “Sorry charlie…”

  21. nemryn says:

    I bet Zanjoahir didn’t enjoy it.