The 4 Billion Isk Golem: A Tale of Woe

•April 29, 2013 • 3 Comments

This is actually a caper from last week, but I was a little preoccupied with all the Fanfest-related goodies over the weekend (as were all of you I’m sure) to get to putting on paper. Better with age, like a fine wine or Sean Connery, its now here for your enjoyment.

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Some of my like-minded scallywag peers in this game tend to advocate wanton destruction and chaos with the end goal of sowing fear and paranoia rather than monetary profit. Personally, I couldn’t agree more with the first part of that, and I’m even into the second part to a certain degree. But I can also say without shame that I am very much motivated by a deep-seeded interest in isk; more specifically lining my pockets and filling my Scroog-McDuck-sized swimming pool with it. So, as I’ve gotten more into the AWOXing game as of late, I’ve taken to stalking and going after more targets of wealth and potentially high returns rather than those purely of opportunity; what can I say, I’m space-greedy.

Continuing on from the “Wolf In The Flock” series, after finally getting booted from In Omnia, my guy was off in search of more trouble. Through various sources and tip-offs though, I’d soon come across DarkHamblett and his 4 billion isk deadspace-fitted Golem, and a plan was put into motion.

Of course (as always) this being Eve, the plan grew a bit more complex than originally intended. For one, my primary AWOX/infiltration guy had a tail he couldn’t seem to shake. Its seems someone from my days in In Omnia still had a very, very sore bottom over getting hosed in the 13 bil Ponzi scheme, and was going out of their way to warn recruiters about my nefarious intentions; even getting me booted in under 20 minutes from the first corp that took me in. Critical eyes are not something you want on you when you’re trying to fly under the radar.

For another thing, I ran the target’s Golem fit through Pyfa, and found that in addition to being ridiculously cap stable, he was shield repping more than 1600 hp/s with his Gist B-Type XL booster, or a disturbing 2800 hp/s overheated.  The fit and the butthurt ex hounding my shadow were the obstacles, but the mark’s lackadaisical sharing of his fit and eagerness to run missions with other corp members were two signs that I had a shot; and I do love a good challenge.

The plan was two-fold: I’d need more than just a Talos for this one, and definitely some neuting power alongside it. I also couldn’t just have my primary guy hanging around in the target’s corp or he’d get called out by my stalker and the jig would be up. Instead, I managed to get a second alt into the corp first with no real bad history, and got him training into a neut-Domi as quickly as possible. The way the corp recruitment UI works now, joining a corp is a two-way agreement; you apply, they accept and send you an offer, and then you accept back. The idea was to get the main shooter a hanging invitation to join so that I could set up the kill with the Domi, and then hit accept and immediately undock with the shooter to commence with the murdering in the face.

The last piece of the puzzle here was that my target only logged into Eve twice a week, on an alternating schedule; the timing would have to be good or I’d end up having my shooter logged off with a suspicious hanging invitation for a week or more. I spent Monday chatting up the target in corp, making nice with him, and learning all about the intricacies of mission running that I never cared to know about, until finally we made plans to go run some level 4s together when he logged in on Wednesday.

My buddy Psychotic Monk, aka Pirate King, agreed to help out in the RR department, and on the day of the plan, we got into position and waited.

And waited.

 

…and then we waited some more.

Domi Alt > we had a mission date and everything =(
Psychotic Monk > How dare he stand you up.
Domi Alt > its like prom all over again

After another 2 hours, it looked like we were indeed getting stood up. Monk headed off for a nap, and I decided it was way too nice a day to spend all of it inside and went for a run.

Somehow, I think my pent up aggression and frustration helped, because I ended up running my best 10 mile time yet (1:19:30). I came home, started a shower and checked Eve; hanging there on my screen was a convo request from the target: “hey sorry I’m late, still want to run some missions?”. I turned off the shower: it was game time.

Scrambling, I tried to wake Monk from his nap to no avail, and started hitting all the intel channels I knew of looking for rep assistance; Quality Assurance guys, Suddenly Ninjas, Ninja Dojo, Belligerent Undesirables pub, and any other evil scheming collection of scumbags I could find. Timing-wise, the hour was late for EU and a little too early for most US timezones, so it was a bit tricky. However, I soon had my buddies Kris from QA and Leffy from SN heading my way as fast as possible while I stalled the target.

Eventually, we were all ready to go: the team had the mission BM, my shooter was in corp and out in space, the Domi was on the gate waiting for the target to finish off the rats in the room, and Monk had just woken up in time to see that this was going down and got into position as well.

What happened next was predictable: I pointed the Golem with the Domi, began the heavy neuting, and brought in the Talos and ludicrous amount of RR I had waiting in the wings. Active tanks, even massive, beefy deadspace ones, are about as good as a wet paper-bag when you’ve got 4 heavy neuts and close to 1100 dps on you, and DarkHamblett’s shiny toy went down like a rock. I pulled my patented “it-was-self-defense-he-attacked-me-first” routine in corp chat, which is guaranteed to devolve the entire conversation into an utterly confusing he said/she said mess and Monk and I went hunting for more targets. Sadly, the rest of the corp logged off or went afk, and eventually, we called it off. I pointed my killers in random directions, let Eve run, and went to grab dinner.

=====

I didn’t really bother to set an alarm to log in after downtime, but somehow the next day I was still in corp when I logged in. Oddly, a bunch of guys who had been there yesterday while I murdered their corpmate in cold blood were now chatting me up as if nothing had happened, and I grinned; I smelled a trap. Since I knew a.) I was prepared for this, and b.) they most definitely were not, though I’m sure they thought they were, I put up a fleet advert in corp looking for “mission help”. With the Domi and my bud Jedi in RR on standby, I sat in my safe waiting to see what they all brought.

Sadly, it ended up being 3 Drakes instead of anything fancy, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t get my Talos to half structure before RR landed. Between the Talos and the Domi, I kept all 3 ships pinned and neuted out while I worked my way through them, helped by some tremendous reps by Jedi.

An extortion attempt was made for me to leave corp, but they weren’t biting. This time I did set an alarm for downtime, but in what I must say was a very impressive commitment to his corp, one of the directors, at what had to be something like 4:30 am his time, managed to beat me to it and got me booted before I could log in. Well played sirs, well played.

Content with the 4.3-ish billion isk I inflicted upon DarkHamblett and the Praetorian Cohert though (as well as the none-to-shabby 1.5bil drop), I’m now happily in search of a new home; updates to come.

 

-Aiden

 

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Eleventh Hour Endorsements

•April 18, 2013 • 1 Comment

I have a tendency to be sort of a last-minute-type guy, which makes it fitting that this being the final day of election, I decide to put out an endorsement post.

Now, I HAD the makings of a beautiful, insightful CSM election piece about Psychotic Monk, and why I strongly feel that you should vote for him in this election, but my WordPress iPhone app decided to eat it and banish it to that dark hole of the Internet where half-drunk email drafts, lost term papers, and badly executed meme ripoffs go to die; sorry Monk.

So instead, for your consideration, this is a list of who I feel should fill out your top 5 voting slots in CSM 8, for all you fellow procrastinators out there.

The Top 5
Content-Maker Champion: Psychotic Monk

“By and large, we’re content makers. and we get treated, frankly, rather badly despite that.”

I don’t want to say it but hell, I will anyways: as someone who has seen 75% of his chosen game play consistently nerfed to oblivion and back over the past 4 years, I can say without question that Monk is my first choice for CSM.

Over the years of the CSM, there have been plenty of candidates who ran on a “griefer” platform in order to be elected and leave their mark; remember all of them?

Yeah, me neither.

Monk however took a radically different approach to things this year in terms of election strategy. Rather than run on the griefer platform like Larkonis Trassler or Darius, or those who never made it on like Tchell Dahhn, Logit Probit, or Arden Elenduil, Monk went almost out his way to not classify his campaign as such. Part of this was to distance himself from the “designated” greifer candidate of James315 who (thankfully) bowed out of the race. But even after James’ removal from the running, Monk has continued to wisely shy away from that moniker. Instead, he took a position of content-maker, which is really what griefers, gankers, and scammers ultimately are.

CCP has made roads to talk about giving who they consider “Content makers” the “tools” to make what they do, and what they lend to the game easier. The thing is, we, the grifers, the content makers, don’t NEED new tools; we already have them. Our tools are the very game mechanics themselves and out own creativity at exploiting and using those to our own advantage in ways the typical player hasn’t bothered to think of. What we need is perspective.

We’re the easiest kind of content-making player! We don’t need development time or dev resources at all! All we require is a minutiae of perspective to the way a LOT of people play this game, and to stop unintentionally and yet continuously nerfing with new game changes.

Monk summed it up nicely in the first part of his Crossing Zebras interview where he pointed out that Eve devs and GMs are not allowed to partake in things like scamming, mission runner ganking, AWOXing; in short, no griefing allowed.

…In Eve Online.

Yes, devs and GMs play the game (under different characters and names obviously), and though they aren’t allowed to say who they actually are, theres a good chance you’ve had one for a corpmate at one time or another.

Now obviously, there are restrictions on the way they play to discourage the abuse of power, and I agree with that. However, this is Eve Online; tough, mean, unflinching cruel Eve Online, and the fact that NONE of the people who run it or add to it have any depth of understanding about the dastardly parts of this game that make it what it is is a little disconcerting. Moreover, to then make sweeping changes that effect that style of game play is insane. It would be like going after the anticipated POS changes if none of the Devs or GMs were allowed to have anything to do with POSs.

“I don’t feel that ‘badly’ is a playstyle we should be protecting.”

I love this man. Again, if you haven’t voted yet, get off your ass and go do so, and make sure Monk is as close the top as you can put him.

The Little Newbie That Could: Ali Aras

This woman came out of nowhere, and I literally had no idea who the hell she was until she went on the Crossing Zebras podcast as part of their CSM interviews to discuss her candidacy, and I was totally floored.

I think what I love about Ali’s candidacy is the balance she brings combining gung-ho newbie naivete with a firm and unflinching perspective on keeping Eve hard and unmerciful in a very wise-beyond-her years way. She’s managed to achieve the perfect balance of enough time spent in the game to be knowledgeable, and yet still newbie enough to have that fresh perspective on the game. Through her ideas on changing the new player experience, as well as an emphasis on retaining new players while still maintaining the harsh unforgiving quality of Eve, she has also became the unofficial champion of the Brave Newbies movement.

“I don’t think that there’s one part of the game that needs to be hit with a giant nerf bat, I don’t think you can look at one part of the game and say ‘this one part is broken but all the other parts are fine’.”

It is exactly broad and open mindsets like this that we need in Eve. Psychotic Monk touches on this in his Crossing Zebras interview as well, but Ali does a fantastic job of really hammering home the point that Eve is one ecosystem, and there is no such thing as “one fix” to one area that will effect just that area. I think the perspective on Eve that Ali brings to the table is completely unique out of every single other candidate, and I think she would be an absolute powerhouse on the CSM.

Stand and Deliver: Mike Azariah

For some reason, be it star alignment, Mayan predictions, or just plain luck, this was the year where all those little guys from past elections who I always wanted to vote for but didn’t really feel that I could, finally seemed to get their shit together in a major way. I in no way mean to be insulting in saying that, but there were always a few people running who I knew, and who I really wanted to vote for (and even did sometimes), that had great ideas, a huge drive, and terrible campaigns, if they even campaigned at all. Mike is a shining examples of this.

In past elections, Mike has all but disappeared from the spotlight during the campaign leading up to election, which always saddened me. I’ve always felt that he had a ton of amazing idea, as well as a clearly driving motivation to contribute to the development of Eve, and yet come election time, Mike always had a way of humbly shying away from the spotlight, almost quite purposely, to “let the voters vote how they will”. And they did, usually for the much more visible, albeit less qualified, candidates.

This year, we saw a whole new Mike, and I’m so excited about that. He finally made himself visible and available; he went on almost every podcast out there, and hell, he started co-hosting one. Instead of humbly letting people vote how they wanted to, Mike finally stood up this year and showed people exactly why they should get off their lazy asses and vote for HIM; why he was qualified, what he brought to the table, and how he was going to make this a better CSM. And beyond his interesting ideas for the game and bettering its general experience, Mike’s a teacher, which gives him the gold star for being able to effectively manage and work with people. I voted for Mike, and can’t wait to see what he can do on the CSM.

Roc The Vote: Roc Wieler

Roc falls under a pretty similar category as Mike. In past elections, he’d run with fantastic ideas and plenty of drive, and yet would somehow nose-dive his campaign every single year. It was disheartening to watch, because I’ve believed in his abilities every year, and yet I’ve never been really confident giving him a vote. This year, that changed.

The biggest complaint against Roc has always been his inability to separate Roc the character from Marcus the brilliant information architect and project manager. Make no mistake, we are certainly voting for two parts to a person, character and player, when voting for the CSM, but it was always Marcus’s almost adamant refusal to show people the man behind the gruff, somewhat obnoxious and misogynistic role-playing character of Roc Wieler that sunk his election every damn time. Again, this year that changed, with a stunning breakthrough post he wrote in response to criticism by Rhavas in which he finally detailed how he, Marcus, would work as a member of the CSM, and it was awesome. I worry that this much needed insight into the different shades of Marcus vs Roc came a little late in the election, but I know it helped a lot, and he certainly got my vote.

Marcus is an insanely avid player, a huge champion of the community, a 3rd party contributor and developer, and a major player in out of gaming world media spotlight, and there’s really no reason he shouldn’t be on the CSM this year.

I, Robot: Ripard Teg

Ripard in no way needs my endorsement or hype. But I have this horrible fear that many, many people will feel the same way, stick him in at #12, and in some terribly cruel twist of fate and statistics, he won’t make it onto the CSM at all, which is why he’s in my top 5. I’m of the opinion that Ripard as Chairman of CSM 8 would be the best things to happen to it since Mynxee, and can’t wait to see what he does there.

The Australian Job: A 13 Billion Isk Heist

•April 4, 2013 • 20 Comments

This is a long one, but who doesn’t like a good story? TL;DR: a 500k SP alt of mine joined a corp, set up a Ponzi scheme, absconded with 13 billion isk in cash and assets, and I let a cross-section of the Eve community live-vote the final outcome. This is hardly the greatest, largest theft in the history of Eve Online, and I doubt this makes much of a ripple elsewhere in the game, but great stories are worth sharing. The first parts of this are chronicled in the “Wolf in the Flock” series, found here.  Enjoy.

An avalanche can start with the smallest snowball.

As with mostly everything in Eve, the best laid plans have a way of changing and altering their course and even outcomes right in front of your face; this is the true beauty and genius of a game of this size with so many different and utterly random player interaction and input. Originally, the plan was simple: get a blank alt into a corp, train into some sort of high DPS ship, and take out as many corp members as possible before getting booted; a standard AWOX safari. I had the alt, I had chatted up and been accepted to In Omnia Paratus, a mostly Australian corp in the Fearless Flying Frogs alliance, and I was beginning to settle in nicely.

The idea took shape on its own; unplanned and almost organically after one senior member deposited 40mil into my account as a way of “getting the new guy on his feet”. I’d thanked him in corp chat, but after a few more days had gone by, I dropped him a note, profusely thanking him again for the isk, telling him how great being in corp was, and casually mentioning that through market play, I had magically turned that 40 mil into 200 mil. Moreover (!), the complex markets of Eve were actually totally open books to me, due to my (and had I possibly neglected to mention this to corp leadership yet??) real life job as an investment and trading manager! I mentioned offhand that since I had no real in-game skills, I’d been having a blast playing with the markets and making isk hand over fist; what a great game! Thanking him again, I signed off.

When I logged in the next night, I was immediately invited to a private chat with the CEO, a director, and two officers who were all very impressed with the (completely ludicrous) 400% profit I had managed to achieve in a 9 day turnaround. More importantly however, they were keen to see if I was interested in filling the much needed position of trade officer within the corp. Let it never be said I don’t stand and deliver when asked to serve; of course, I accepted.

When people are uneducated about something, but are afraid to appear so, they will tend to almost overly agree with anything you have to say on the matter wholeheartedly. I do this in real life when talking about Football, a game I enjoy watching yet whose rules and history I know shit all about; God knows how much bullshit I’ve enthusiastically agreed with over the years. The reverse scenario played out like a script in Eve; I would start talking about high finance, stocks, and investments, using power-suit buzzwords I gleaned from an online business school study sheet, and everyone around me would nod up and down and agree. They considered me a sort of wizard, which I suppose taken literally in the sense of a wizard being a made up fantasy caricature, was completely accurate on their part.

I was given access to the “trade” section of the wallet, consisting of a paltry 200 million isk. But I schemed, and I began to plan the first fake paper bricks of what would become my towering house of cards.

****

Borrowing liberally from the book of James315 in the infamous Currin Trading scam of years back, as well following almost to a letter the business practices of Charles Ponzi himself, I began to set things in motion. Though my barely 800,000 skillpoint toon was still training towards large blasters and a Talos, I realized very quickly that the potential was there for quite a large sum of isk; enough to be worth scrapping the plan to simply AWOX some miners. Hell, if all else failed, I decided, I would see how much isk I could scam and then simply AWOX a bunch of miners; everybody wins.

After outlining my “business plan”, the CEO and directors enthusiastically endorsed me. Again, borrowing heavily from the Currin Trading scam, I set up a website for my “investment fund”, complete with weekly trade reports, an investors list masked by “code numbers” (the master list to which only myself and the CEO would have access to – my idea – to create a mix of “transparency and security”) so investors could anonymously track their investments, a back-story, and even a fictionalized account of a fake real life career. I figured I had at most a week or two with this thing before it would crumble under its own weight, and I decided to shoot for a somewhat lofty 2 billion isk goal before that happened.

I crafted and sent out a corp-wide eve-mail, detailing the investment fund, talking about the website, and encouraging people to ask me questions any time. I made a point of doing two things in this mail: First, I very purposely used the phrase “feel free to evemail or convo me anytime with any questions” or “make deposits to…”; I made sure never to introduce doubt or hesitance through negative words like “concerns” or “give isk to”.

Secondly, since I already had the CEO on board with the idea of the fund, I made sure I subtly tied his endorsement into “implied participation”; I managed to attach his name to both me and the scheme, cementing a figure of notoriety, leadership, and most importantly trust to the fund itself in peoples heads. For instance, when talking about the guaranteed weekly 10% returns, I made sure to say things like “we’re guaranteeing”, never “I” or even directly mentioning him by name. By using “we”, I created a false implied pretense that there was a “group” of us involved in this thing, including the CEO. Satisfied with my handiwork, I send the mail and went to bed.

The response was immediate. The very next night, within 5 minutes of logging in, I had my first 100 million isk “investor”; now things were rolling.

Gradually, over the next 2 days as the weekend approached and people started logging in more often and checking their mail, I began to receive more and more convo requests, every single one of which resulted in an investment of some kind, because A.) I’m that good, and B.) no really, I’m that good. First a 50mil deposit, then a string of 100mil drops, and finally a 500mil investor. When the CEO himself as well as an investing corp officer began talking opening in corp chat about the success of my trading and the fund, I had official endorsement, and the money started doubling. When I soon reached 1 billion isk, I was incredulous, and thought for certain that things would crash at any moment and someone would finally call me out on my bullshit. Within an hour however, I was at 1.5 bil and still climbing.

When I hit the 2 billion isk goal in the first 48 hours of announcing my investment fund, I realized I needed to aim higher. I mentally reset my sights on 5 billion instead, figuring that once word got out of my first payout actually going out to people, even the skeptics would start thinking seriously about letting me turn their liquid cash into more money. I decided I’d give myself one more week to see how close I got. Sure enough, after my first round of “returns” went out, my number of investors nearly doubled in numbers.

As a means of solidifying my own possession of the isk handed my way, I pulled a classic and blindingly obvious Ponzi-scheme move: I encouraged investors to “re-cycle” their returns back into their “accounts” in order to keep things rolling for everyone, and of course solidify them a much larger payout later. This way, I didn’t even have to worry about juggling new investments into payouts for old investments. “Make your money work for you!” I told them, and with a few small exceptions, the money flow became a one-way street.

****

Eventually, a few nights later, the CEO (we’ll call him “Jack” from here on in) convoed me privately. So far, despite enthusiastically endorsing my fund, he had not actually invested a single iskie himself, and the paranoid spider-sense in me kept tingling that he was on to my schemes and just waiting to catch me in a lie. That night, I was wary of finally getting a “listen, how can we trust you” talk, and resolutely steeled myself to smooth talk my ass off.

As it turns out, I was couldn’t have been more wrong. Jack told me again how impressed he was with the investing, and then dropped a bomb: he wanted to match the fund’s current holdings, doubling the investment capital; I took a very healthy swig of my beer and stared at the screen. As much as you see or read about the brainless moves and unimaginable naivete of Eve players, sometimes you don’t always believe it. However, Eve always, always delivers in this regard, and here it was staring me in the face telling me to take its money already.

Jack wanted to keep his investment “off the books” (cue: dramatic eye roll from me) and off the website, yet I convinced him to let me split up his number into what would appear to be 3 new investors on the website’s coded investors list; seeing more investors on the page was a sure-fire way to attract more capital I reasoned with him, and he agreed. We also decided that his larger investment warranted higher return rates, and agreed on 15% instead of the standard 10%. I would later use this draw of a higher % return to lure more big money investors willing to invest at least a billion into the fund.  My wallet flashed with Jack’s deposit, and now we were at 4 billion isk.

After our conversation though, I looked at my spreadsheet and grimaced; an investment like this could cripple the whole scheme if investments tapered off. “Paying” Jack back on his investment would be money coming directly from his own corpmates, and could potentially dry up the entire fund. Thinking quickly, I convinced Jack that the fund would, naturally, need time to “absorb” his large investment, and I voiced my concerns about his returns hurting the fund’s ability to generate better returns (don’t worry, that last line shouldn’t make any actual sense at all). Sagely (and thankfully), Jack agreed, and consented that for the good of the fund, he would hold off on getting any physical returns for another two weeks. I decided then and there that I would NEVER be paying Jack a dime back of the money he’d given me; now, I had my deadline.

With Jack’s blessing (encouragement really), I decided to “open the investment up” to the whole alliance, and while we were at it, heck, friends of the alliance as well! Another mail was crafted and sent, all positive buzzwords about the raging success of the investments so far, the funds paid out, and the financially golden future of sunshine and flowers any members of the fund could look forward to just by signing up and making a one-time deposit.

What followed became a non-stop “press butan, receive bacon” routine; I literally couldn’t log in without being barraged by convo requests and a constantly blinking wallet. I hit the 5 billion isk goal the next day, and decided that 10 billion was my new, firm goal; no matter what happened, I was determined to walk away from this thing by my deadline with an 11-figure number.

****

At 5.7 billion, I hit my first roadblock, in the form of massive, almost unavoidable temptation. Jack asked me to dock at our home station, whos corporate hangers I had almost full access to, and told me to “check out the POS hanger”. Uh, we have a POS hanger?

Apparently, now we did, and it was currently filled with a large Amarr tower, a few hundred million isk in POS modules, and about a billion isk in PI materials; I had no idea what to do. This was it; this was my moment to clean out everything I could from the hangers, undock in the Talos, and just go murder people in the face until downtime. My hand trembled as I moved my cursor to the hangers, fingers twitching. My heartbeat raced as I considered my options: I could grab everything now, netting me probably just over 7 bil, but that would be it; game over. The fund would be finished, I’d be kicked from corp immediately, and the isk flow would stop. Breathing deep, I made a decision: I got up and walked away.

It was awful. I commiserated by myself, drinking and just staring at the screen for the longest hour of my Eve career before the director logged on to cart everything away to the WH the tower was destined for. That was a low point, and now I knew I had to make my 10bil goal or I’d be furious with myself for letting this prize slip through my fingers.

It turns out, thankfully, that my instincts were spot on; over the next few days, I added more investors, and more isk to my collection. I grew more bold, asking for new investors outright in alliance chat, and sending out almost solicitation-type evemails. I invented a new “investment project” that “we” needed huge cash backing in order to get into and make us all tons of money on, and every single one of these tactics worked like a charm.

My second round of payouts came and went, and as I’d convinced almost every single investor to “re-invest” their returns rather than take them as cash, my wallet was bursting at the seams. That very night, I learned that we had a “corp” Charon that was sitting in the director’s hanger, and in my new-found boldness, I enquired if I could borrow it soon since I’d “be able to fly it in a few days”; it was sitting in the hangers the next day. Additionally, a corp member asked me if I could do him a solid and sell a bunch of ships for him (around 750mil worth, including a Rattlesnake), and on top of that, word of the investment was starting to leak out to new, not as active people in the alliance who wanted in on things, and I found myself another 1.5bil richer. I was reaching the point of no return, and I began lining things up for my power play.

****

At 2 a.m. eastern standard time on Easter Sunday, I made the first moves. I secured the Charon into my own hanger,  leaving everything else as not to raise the alarms. I noticed that the corpmate who needed help selling his ships (for some reason) was logging on, and as I let him know that I could start getting his ships “into the marketplace”, he immediately opened a trade and started dropping around a billion isk worth of ships into it, including a Raven, Gila, a bunch of faction Frigates and Cruisers, and a Talos alongside the anticipated Rattlesnake. As I was finishing that trade up, a SECOND corpmate asked me to sell some ships for them as well! After finding another trade window popping open for me, I found myself the proud owner of a few more faction frigates, a Hurricane, and a Loki as well.

Grabbing a fresh drink, I sat back and calculated where I was with all this. Adding the 3.2 billion isk in ships I now had secured to the 7.8 billion in the “fund”…I realized suddenly with a grin that I had passed my goal, and was now sitting on just over 11 billion isk, with around another 800 million or so in the corporate hangers ready for the taking when I decided to cut and run. I stood on my chair and did a happy dance.

After that, everything else was just extra. A new member to the alliance needed his things moved to home base, and I selfless offered my shipping services, accepting the contract. I also decided to set up and host a series of “lotteries” celebrating the holiday weekend and the success of our investment fund so far. While this was hardly the highpoint of my whole scheme, it did net another couple hundred million over the last few days of my house of cards’ existence.

Finally, late Wednesday afternoon, I decided to make my final play. I noticed one corp member and his in-corp alt mining away in our home system in a Skiff and an Orca, and barely anyone else was online. I joined in on the mining with my Venture while I set up my logi, and prepared.

CCP has a great tagline they used in an Eve hype-video a while back, referring to a term from chaos theory called the butterfly effect, to describe the open-world sandbox that is Eve Online. Here I was, sitting on 12-13 billion isk in ill-begotten, thieved, dirty money, and at this point I could walk away; no killmails, no trail. However, this is a massive MULTIPLAYER online RPG, and as such, I decided the decision was not mine alone to make. I’d already done my evil deeds, and so I decided to put my next actions into the hands of everyone else; I opened it up to the Eve Online #tweetfleet:

The response was pretty much exactly what you’d expect from your average hyper-plugged-in cross section of the Eve community:

A few objections, but the Roman hordes had spoken (are you not entertained!).

In a twist of horrible irony, I was actually about to kill the Orca pilot with the very Talos he’d given me to sell for him. I docked up, moved my logi into position, emptied everything I had access to in the hangers, and undocked. I warped back to the belt, locked up both ships, and started laying down a heavy dose of sudden but inevitable betrayal. I knocked down the Skiff first, before turning my attentions to the Orca.

At that point, chaos pretty much ensued in corp chat, to which I added to by inventing a dramatic story of revenge, claiming the Orca pilot “owed me” and I was going to get my stolen isk come hell or high water. I stalled and stalled, trying to get either isk or an ejected-from free Orca out of the deal, but to no avail. Finally worried about the possibility of Guristas jamming rats in the system we were in ruining the whole thing, I pulled the trigger and finished it off.

…and here I’d been wondering why that Orca was so tough. Eat a dick Loot Fairy.

After that, it was all over. I warped to a safe, stuck my Talos in an Orca, aimed my pod in a random direction and went to grab dinner and drinks. Oh, and here’s the obligatory “giant pile of loots” screenshot (does not count all the stuff I pulled out of the corp hangers, and I’m not docking yet to get one):

Now on to the critique: yes, I possibly could have stayed and made more, but there was no guarantee of that, and investments were slowing down anyways. Without more and more input, a Ponzi scheme collapses pretty fast, and the trick to cashing out is predicting the peak before the decline. Also, it was only a matter of time before the Director, who never did invest and I’m quite sure never swallowed my bullshit, asked for the freighter back, and there was also only so long I could pretend to have 1.7 bil in ships “on the market” without paying people out for them. But in 3 1/2 weeks, I walked away with 13 billion in isk; I’d set a goal, I’d passed it with flying colors, and I’m content with that.

While I did some pretty underhanded (read: “smart, crafty, and awesome”) things, I did drawn the line a few places: when a noobie wanted to give me 15 mil towards the fund, his entire Eve savings, I turned him down, and when one member completely bought my line about being an investment banker/stock trader in real life and wanted advice on what to drop loads of acutal, real life money on, like the next day, I talked him down into buying a book and playing penny stocks until he got the hang of it; I hope he gets rich off stock in something like American Beef someday and thinks of me.

So thats my story, and at the risk of this turning into a John Irving novel, I’ll end things here. Many thanks go out to Psychotic Monk (for CSM!) for his fantastic guide to Safaris, which convinced me to roll some new AWOX toons and get back out there, and to a certain extent James315, who gets a definite nod for his work in the Currin Trading scam years ago; imitation is the highest form of flattery and all that.

To InOm corp: it was real, it was good; it was real good. Nothing personal, good luck, and welcome to Eve Online.

-Aiden

P.S. Oh, and I still have an alt in your corp 😉

Eve Is Hilarious Pt. 883011452

•March 29, 2013 • 6 Comments

I saw this linked in-game somewhere a few days ago, yet couldn’t find a killmail or even a story about it anywhere else. After some hunting around though, it finally popped up: http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=16965676 .

The story, which I only found by accident while on imgur/r/eve, was that this pilot decided to undock in a 0.5 system in a Rhea carrying a bunch of nitrogen isotopes, and then then go make a sandwich; or possibly 100 sandwiches. Regardless of the actual number of sandwiches made, Sohei allowed his Rhea to drift over 800 km off the undock, which, for a JF, I can only assume takes somewhere between forever and infinity. The drifting money-bag soon caught the attention of a mostly RvB (with a bunch of randoms) gang who decided to suicide gank it, seemingly quite literally in whatever they were flying at the time.

In addition to the 58 Destroyers on that KM, there’s also a total mixed bag of what looks like a pretty standard RvB fun fleet comp: Rifters, T1 Cruisers, some random noob ships, and even a Harby, as well as two totally baller suicide Stealth Bombers. In any case, the absurd plan works, and the 73-man group managed to bring down both the Rhea and the still-AFK Pod. Well played sirs; thanks for being insane enough to produce some comedy gold.

-Aiden

P.S. if anyone has the full story beyond what I’ve got here, let me know.

Edit: I’d originally mentioned the Rhea was carrying 20 billion in isotopes, based off the first km I saw. The km I linked, and apparently the other one once it api verified itself, says 20 million. Honestly, either way I’m still laughing 😉 .

Thursday Matinée: Kate Mosh Solo Frigate

•March 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

In the same way most adult males have at one point in their life decided that Led Zeppelin was the greatest band ever created and listened to nothing else but Houses of the Holy for 2 months straight, most PvPers in Eve have had an extreme love affair with Frigates.

I myself spent months pretty much exclusively flying mostly Rifters and getting into as many fights as I could, winnable or not, just for the thrill of it. Frigate PvP is a fast, dirty, bare-knuckle style fighting; the fights are quick, and the outcome usually relies on split-second gut reactions. Honestly to this day, limping away from frig-vs-frig fights with 10 pts of structure left are some of the most fun fights I’ve ever had in Eve.

I’m linking Kate Mosh’s “Noobs, Doobs, & Man Boobs” for pure frig PvP nostalgia; the video is fun, fast, and actually does a fantastic job at highlighting the hairline margin of error you’ve got flying ships with such little EHP. Give it a watch, and enjoy.

Workplace warning: the opening 40 seconds of this video contain hilariously cartoonish drawn images of dicks. If you feel your boss/coworkers/children may object, maybe watch this one later.

-Aiden

 

Edit: Editing; like woah. Thats the last time I write a post and publish it with zero proofreading before heading out for 10 hours; yikes.

Wolf In the Flock: Day 4

•March 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Day 3: 1,041,528 skillpoints

Plans have been set and machinations have been started that cannot be stopped now. Like a clockmaker adding the last cogs to timepiece, the final motions have been delicately and masterfully put into play, and the countdown to D Day has begun.

Again, these logs must be intentionally clouded in vague half-truths and misdirection for the sake of my crusade and the completion of its mission. The wait is arduous, for I am not a patient person, and delayed gratification is…painful to say the least. Gleaming opportunities have come and gone that I have intentionally let slip through my clutches by sheer willpower alone; my eyes on the bigger goal waiting at the end.

Again, like a clock, everything must be handled with the utmost care and concentration, tweaked to perfection, and fit together perfectly; in tune to the click of a secondhand. In roughly one weeks time however, the clock will run out, the masterpiece will be revealed,  and the prize will be seized.

-Aiden

Way Ahead Of You CCP

•March 24, 2013 • 1 Comment

 

Ok.

 

Man, these targeted banner ads are getting eerily precise…

 

-Aiden