Gather round, spacelings: it's time for another EVE Online story that simultaneously leaves us wishing we played the game and comforted that we don't.
(If you already play EVE I'm not looking to exclude you... I'm just fairly confident you'll already be aware of this torrid tale.)
Evenews24.com ran a story earlier this week that a former member of the Vanguard Frontiers (VAF) corporation was the victim of a theft to the tune of around 600 billion ISK. When that sum is priced against the going rate for PLEX - an in-game item that represents 30 days of game time - it works out at about $13,000.
A player under the name Non Erata joined Vanguard Frontiers soon after beginning to play EVE, eager to improve his position and wealth within the game. Unfortunately for VAF, Non Erata had also recently read a Cracked.com article titled Top Seven Dick Moves in Online Gaming, which inspired him to plan his own corporate heist.
To that end he spent six months slowly gaining the trust and friendship of senior figures within VAF, leading and training teams of rookies and later setting up a new area of wormhole operations within the corporation. On the back of the latter he secured a position as a corporate director. This left him in a prime position to execute his plan, using the Non Erata character and five other alts to asset strip the corporation while its leadership was offline.
Evenews24 interviewed the current CEO of Vanguard Frontiers, ladygrey, and an ex-CEO, Tessa Yor. Both seemed understandably disappointed and betrayed by Non Erata's actions, and called for consequences within the game for players like Non Erata. They stressed that not only had he stolen corporate assets, he had stolen assets from a large number of players, and that while the corporation would soldier on a lot of players had been hit hard. It seems unlikely that consequences for heists of this nature will be introduced to EVE, or significant safeguards against them, as the freedom to both co-operate as groups and betray as individuals is a large part of EVE's enduring appeal. Still, one never knows.
600 billion ISK or $13,000 isn't the biggest theft in EVE history. All the way back in 2005 the Guiding Hand Social Club executed an assassination and looted around $16,500 in ISK and original blueprints, and when the Mittani and Goonfleet presided over the destruction of Band of Brothers in 2009 a defector reportedly transferred trillions to the Goons. There was also a Ponzi scheme in which a few players walked away with over a trillion ISK collected from other players. But still, $600bn ISK, $13,000 - that's an awful lot. Not to mention the feeling of betrayal, which you can't put a price on.
For the full story, warts and all, hit up Evenews24.com. They'll use all the right acronyms and everything. I tried to get into EVE a couple of times, but now I prefer to just read stories like this about it.