Favouritism Charged As Select Few Get A $US700 Spaceship In EVE

" link="lightbox" size="xlarge" align="center" nocrop="true" clear="true"] This is by far my favourite type of story to cover on weekends: The EVE Scandal! They're fun because they tend to involve big-arse space ships or wads of in-game currency that convert to mind-boggling sums in real life. This latest allegation features both.

So, let's introduce the players this time. (Incredibly, Goonswarm is not involved. Yet.) EVE Online, which puts the "massively" into MMO, has its own gambling site — if it has its own real-world parliament, I mean, why not? Anyway, the site, SOMER Blink, is a player-run lottery operation that offers some really nice in-game prizes (usually ships and other assets) for playing.

Well, a leaked email dated August 20 from SOMER Blink to all employees, says everyone is getting "an Ishukone Watch Scorpion of their own, direct from [EVE Publisher] CCP." The email was obtained by TheMittani.com, an EVE-oriented forum and news site.

This is, more or less, a spaceship that says Bad Mofo on it. It is not available to manufacture in the game, and can only be given out by CCP. "The ships tend to sell for 10 to 20 billion ISK," the game's currency, "meaning that the gift was worth 300-600 billion ISK," writes The Mittani.com.

Oh, what the hell, let's convert that to real moolah. This converter says that kind of in-game value is between $US10,000 and $US20,000, and that the ship would sell for $US350 to $US700 individually.

[Note: Dumb error on my part assumed the $US10,000-$20,000 was a per ship figure. The headline has been corrected.]

Value is important here because apparently, everyone getting one of these bad boys had to be reminded not to turn around and flood the market with them. "Please do not immediately run to the forums and [sell] the ship," wrote Autumnries Mahm, an alias of Somerset Mahm, who runs SOMER Blink. "30 of them appearing all at once would be weird. If you want to sell it and don't have a buyer in mind, please use a lower-profile [alias] if you would, and wait a little while.

"This is a really unique thing CCP is doing that doesn't directly map to anything they have done in the past, and we dont want to mess up that future relationship."

TheMittani.com, which has much more on the controversy at the link, notes CCP's past uses of Scorpions Ishukone Watch as swag for friends of the company. TheMittani.com notes that a comment from SOMER Blink "seems to confirm that the leaked email is real."

Kotaku reached out to EVE Online representatives to offer a chance to comment; if they reply, it'll be updated here.

[UPDATE] An EVE Online spokesman responds that "The Ishukone Scorpion was created for exactly this sort of purpose — a promo ship for giveaways and special occasions to be used on multiple levels. It has been given out several times already (including some very analogous to this one) and will be given out again in the future for contests, awards, charity-related efforts, 'thanks' and more."

Additionally, despite this spacecraft's unique skin, it is "actually worse gameplay-wise than the regular Scorpion and refines to only one Tritanium — so it is little more than a hangar ornament." The reason it's in-game price is so high because of the craft's current rarity. "Yet as more are introduced I am pretty sure the market price will lower based on total supply, as we see after the first few days any ship has been added to EVE."

Community concerns over the use of the ship as a thank-you have been "carefully noted," and the game is "looking into creating a fuller program for those celebrating the amazing EVE community."

CCP SECRETLY GIFTED SOMER BLINK ISHUKONE SCORPIONS [TheMittani.com. h/t Dimitrios T.]


Comments

    Thanks for sharing. Might want to clean up the top part though:

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    It's true that the ships are of value mainly to collectors rather than in gameplay (and that giving away more ships will thus decrease the ISK value) but the ISK they can be sold for does confer gameplay advantages.

    The bigger issue though is that it comes off the back of another scandal, involving CCP's plans to provide as prizes for a SOMER Blink lottery a selection of extremely rare and extremely expensive ships (including two more Gold Magnates - only one had previously existed), though they later changed the prizes after community outcry.

    Yeah, Blink is one of the biggest sinkholes with regards to real cash in the game. It became rather addictive for me, winning several billion $ worth of isk - only to put it back in. Damn you Blink!

    I'm not seeing the problem.

      Just from chatting with people in-game/checking the forum threadnaught about it since the story broke, it's kind of a combination of things:

      1) Because when you get your ships & items blown up in Eve they're gone for good, players can get quite upset about others getting unfair advantages over them.
      Given that the ships in question which have been given out are currently worth a pretty substantial amount in-game due to the limited number of them (they were probably worth a bit more when they were given out), it has widely been seen as giving the recipients an unfair in-game advantage due to the potential profits from selling them, giving them a monetary edge over others.

      2) Somer Blink has long been suspected by many players of being up to various shady things on their site, for example: Rigging their expensive lotteries so they don't have to give out the prize but pocket the isk from legitimate entries.
      In fairness none of these allegations have ever been conclusively proven, but nonetheless Somer Blink is viewed with suspicion by many Eve players and the general opinion I've gotten from those with that view is that there are many better community groups/sites that the gifts they received could've gone to.

      3) The accusations of favoritism have been amplified by the fact that several weeks ago CCP was planning to give Somer Blink a bunch of rare, and in one case, a completely 'extinct' ship to give away as Lottery prizes. Given that Eve has a more 'real' history of in-game events than most other MMOs it was seen by many (myself included) as pretty disrespectful to the game's history and CCP later backpedaled on the idea and substituted the prize ships with others. So this revelation was just the latest episode of an on-going saga.

      So really it's become a perfect storm of smaller PR mistakes that have angered a lot of players.

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