10 Years On, It's Still Very Possible To Ravage EVE Online's Economy

EVE Online is one of the granddads of the massively-multiplayer genre. Yet, even with a decade's worth of love and attention under its belt, all it takes is one intelligent player to take a feature under its wing and heartlessly break it.

PA Report's Ben Kuchera collected a fascinating anecdote from the game's executive producer, John Lander, during "Fanfest", a real-life event celebrating all things EVE. Simply put, an expansion added the concept of spendable "Loyalty" points for destroying enemy ships, with the amount of points awarded based on the value of the ship. One player, however, came up with a way to, uh, leverage the system.

It started harmlessly enough with the player buying up all supplies of a cheap, "useless" item. From PA Report:

"He put them back on the market for a hundred ISK, or more, and then one on the market for a billion ISK. He then buys the item for a billion ISK. He's now moved the average price of that item from one to around half a billion .. That is now the average price of that item on the market. He then puts that completely worthless item on a ship, and gets his friend to blow him up."

The end result of the gambit being a bunch of Loyalty points to spend on goodies. Unfortunately, it had the negative effect of knocking EVE's economy for six. The issue was eventually fixed, but not without some investigative work from developer CCP -- the details of which you can check out below.

How a clever player with a “useless” item almost took down EVE Online’s entire economy [PA Report]


    I thought the developers encouraged players to 'break the economy'?

      They do, which is why the players all got to keep everything they gained after the loophole was closed.

    Putting that in a real-world perspective:
    Buy a hundred run-down houses for $100K each. Fix them up over a year, then "sell" one for $2 Million... suddenly every other house is now for sale in a suburb where the median price [for the year] has jumped to over $1 Million.
    Sell remaining houses at dramatic mark-up.

      Why would the median price jump to over $1 million? A single outlier value usually will not skew the median dramatically (except in the case where the value set is 1-2)

      Example: A suburb has 2 x $500k house sales for the year. A $2 million sale occurs in the suburb. The suburb still has a median sale value of $500k.

      I don't think median was the word you were looking for.

        Yeah. The mean will have changed significantly, but not the median.

          Well, if you bother to read, you'll note I said "fix up over a year". That means buy-in prices no longer count.
          Since the Median price means: the price that seperates the top half of sales, any area where the overall number of sales is low [you own 100 properties - how many are left?] will be skewed by the price of the few [or one] you DO sell.
          Perhaps you meant mode? The most common price of an item?
          Oh, and PiMan: if the number of sales is an even number, the median IS the mode. See: refs 1 & 2 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median

            OK, if the initial purchase price no longer matters, then the median went up by $1.9 million, since you appear to only be counting the one sale at $2 million. The mean and mode will also be $2 million with only the one sale. However no real estate agent is going to decide a property valuation based on a data set size of only one without good reason, and that clearly isn't going to be a good enough reason.

            As for the definitions of each mean, median and mode; lets look at a list: 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
            The mean is 3.75 (sum of numbers divide number of numbers, so 30/8)
            The median is 3.5 (the mean of the two middle numbers, since there is no single middle number)
            The mode is 2 (the most common number).
            This is early high school stuff last I checked, although it has been more than 10 years since I was at that point in school, so maybe it was late primary school stuff. The specifics of what was taught back then kinda blur together.

            Back to the example you gave.
            If only one house sells, and that is the $2 million house, then the three averages (mean median mode) will be as I stated above.
            If two houses sell, with the second one at $200K, the averages will be $1.1 million (mean and median) and technically both sale values (it is bimodal) respectively.
            If three or more houses sell, with one at $2 million and the rest at $200K, the median and mode will be $200K and the mean will be between $200K and $800K depending on the number of houses (more houses for a mean closer to 200K).
            The median is only significantly skewed if at least half the data is dodgy.

    This was a year ago.

    They didn't get to keep their "rewards".

    Clever indeed; they had all the reapings taken from them in the end though. Didn't this happen midway through last year?

    Last edited 05/05/13 12:55 pm

    EVE online has a buddy program whereby if you use a buddy link you get 21 days instead of just 14. Here's the link:https://secure.eveonline.com/trial/?invc=ffbc0508-fcbd-4019-832e-59b5a848fdef&action=buddy]https://secure.eveonline.com/trial/?invc=ffbc0508-fcbd-4019-832e-59b5a848fdef&action=buddy

    Enjoy and Welcome to EVE! :)

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