CCP Drops the Hammer With "Unholy Rage"

CCP Drops the Hammer With "Unholy Rage"

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EVE Online developer CCP struck a blow for the good guys when it banned over 6000 accounts in one fell swoop known as "Unholy Rage."

Like many MMOGs, EVE Online is plagued by people who buy and sell in-game currency for the purpose of earning real money profits. It's particularly problematic in EVE, however, because of the game's heavy reliance on a functioning, player-driven economy to keep everything running smoothly.

"RMT operators take up a lot of server power. They use macros to run missions, rat (grind PvE) and mine 23/7," EVE GM Einar Hreiðarsson told Ars Technica. "This adversely affects other players' chances of making a simulated living as all sweet-spots for this sort of activity are totally overrun with RMT (real-money trading)-type users."

Less obvious but possibly even more damaging is the impact of RMT-driven criminal activity; Hreiðarsson said "practically all" instances of credit card fraud suffered by CCP result from money traders who use stolen cards to register throwaway accounts that are then used for things like spamming ads for currency sales. Thus, after several weeks of studying the problem, CCP unleashed "Unholy Rage," banning 6200 accounts at once during a scheduled maintenance run.

The cull went off with "surgical precision," according to Hreiðarsson, . "We are quite confident that false positives are practically non-existent, but we examine all requests for review," he said. "So far less than a dozen have been found to be false positives."

There's been something of an unexpected but pleasant side-effect to the bans as well: The load on game servers has been reduced far out of proportion to the relatively small number of users who were cut. "While the number of accounts banned in the opening phase of the operation constituted around 2 percent of the total active registered accounts, the CPU per user usage was cut by a good 30 percent," Hreiðarsson wrote on the EVE Online dev blog. "That is a whole lot of CPU for the rest of you to play with, people."

It's interesting to see such a strong stand being taken by a studio notorious for its hands-off approach even in the face of some of the most dastardly shenanigans ever seen in an online game. But while back-stabbing, assassinations and epic larceny are perfectly acceptable within the context of the game, bad behavior outside those boundaries most definitely is not. "Real-money trading and most of the activity involved with it is against our published policy, and even international law in the case of credit card fraud," Hreiðarsson said. "That is really where we draw the line - keep it in-game."

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Another game company who knows three vital things

A) Customers are not your enemy.
B) In game reasons are lapped up, out of game reasons are resented.
C) Well written software pays for itself.

One only hopes that every new MMO takes a GOOD look at Eve before it even starts on its Auction House code.

Go CCP i hate it when people spam advertisments to buy gold

Good show.

Nothing like seeing 6000 goldbot accounts banned to make your day.

6000 botting accounts banned and only 12 legitimate accounts caught in the crossfire? That's pretty impressive.

More power to CCP. Hopefully this will encourage other MMO developers to do the same. Yes, looking at you World of Warcraft. I shouldn't need to install SpamMeNot just to get through the day.

You know there was one guy that said "Can we just ban 2801 more? Just for the headlines..."

BLOOD, BLOOD, BLOOD! holy shit these guys have more balls than a whineyard !

Bwahaha, now that's how you swing a banhammer.

I love CCP, it's nice to hear they are actually listening to the people who plead their case and making proper judgements. Certainly beats some other banned account procedures which amount to nothing more than GASTFU even if the mistake is on their part...

Intereseting that killing the spammers would have that big an effect on server loads, the other MMO developers must be watching this with great interest.

Good for them, I love most of their policies, even if I don't play their game.

Other MMOGs should sit up and take notice of this. This shows that getting rid of these accounts can have real effects on your bottom line when you see the amount of CPU saved. So hopefully companies that saw getting rid of the gold farmers and spammers as too daunting a task for too little benefit will re-examine their policies.

whoooooa, and I thought The Escapists banhammer was pretty damn effective... 0_0

I wonder what would happen if Blizzard did a massive ban on questionable WoW accounts.

Echolocating:
I wonder what would happen if Blizzard did a massive ban on questionable WoW accounts.

Every single account would be banned.

You can't help but smile at this. Reading the dev blog on Unholy Rage is enlightening; when they initially banned the accounts, they did a 5 day temporary ban. Then they let them come back for 1 day before doing the permaban. What you don't see above is the graph they provide showing the market fluctuation... basically, the RMT buggers were skewing the market by a good 10% with their activities. When they got back in-game for one day and went right back to what they were doing before it was all the confirmation CCP needed to nail them all. Joy!

Im so happy to hear about this, I mean dropping around 90k a month in accounts is not an easy thing to do for anyone.

Im getting EvE today now that my computer is back, Im so happy!

-Jive

Holy crap,'Unholy Rage' is a freakin' awesome phrase! Just saying it makes me want to go around punching people while shouting "UNHOLY RAGE!"

Malygris:
CCP Drops the Hammer With "Unholy Rage"

Why call it "unholy rage" though? It sounds a bit cheesy to me.

I wonder if in the department they made it sound all official and militaristic. "Gentleman, in 0200 hrs, OPERATION UNHOLY RAGE will launch!!"

I salute Eve Online. I am listening to the metal gear solid theme and the best part just came on, while reading this its awesome. I so want to play Eve again.

*Stands up and salutes*

That's more than a banhammer, it's the Ban-nuke.

Those guys deserve some applause.

Well done, CCP! I hope other companies take lessons from you! Unfortunately I don't think the RMT suppliers will stop until the demand for RMT stops, though...

Fair play to CCP.

hansari:

Malygris:
CCP Drops the Hammer With "Unholy Rage"

Why call it "unholy rage" though? It sounds a bit cheesy to me.

I wonder if in the department they made it sound all official and militaristic. "Gentleman, in 0200 hrs, OPERATION UNHOLY RAGE will launch!!"

I've spent some time in the past attempting to stop RMT activity and clean up the messes they create. As a player you may see a handful of spam messages during your playtime and get annoyed. As the CS rep on the other side you get to see that each player that spends $10 in an RMT buy results in hundreds of thousands more spam messages being sent and all players being annoyed. The day you find out that player had also complained to CS constantly about how the spam was ruining things... "Unholy Rage" seems like a perfectly reasonable name for the operation.

This was awesome news to hear. 30% fewer resources being used is a LOT when you take into account all the servers they have to combine to make it one single world. As a whole, though, the EVE community is pretty good about ignoring the spammers in chat. Even in the rookie channels, everyone just tells you to block the spammers and submit a ticket. Way better than other games i've seen (Blizzard, i'm looking sidelong at you...)

Yeah it sounds pretty great till you realize that they banned the account and not the owners, it makes them money hand over fist and they get to say they killed off so many accounts when you will notice they didn't drop the numbers of subscribers because they let them re-up another group of accounts. Please don't get me wrong it will take the RMT folks about a week to get back into the market again as they were working on hundreds of free accounts at the same time or do you really think they would be botting with only ten accounts when they can make thousands of accounts that pay for them selves in a few days! I watched after the start of this Bantastic voyage and I still see thirty CNRs flowing out for a day of Bot grinding and CCP responses the same way when you petition..."thank you for your concern we will look in this and take action. (The same groups every day never missed an hour...CCP like the other MMOs loves money and numbers too much to hit every RMT just the ones in a hundred ship mining fleet eating an ice belt every hour. Oh and two days later another group popped up with one live person per twenty pilots..they can adapt as easily as the system and tend to be faster each time. RMT users are never going to leave till you make the market such that people can't hand over isk or items without a spotlight always there and no MMO is going to employee the people to over see all transactions.

Yeah it sounds pretty great till you realize that they banned the account and not the owners, it makes them money hand over fist and they get to say they killed off so many accounts when you will notice they didn't drop the numbers of subscribers because they let them re-up another group of accounts.

How would you ban the owners? IP addresses can be either proxied or even moved to a different physical address. You also run the risk of catching legitimate players in the IP ban net which is something no company wants to do. Credit cards can be replaced or different ones can be used and a new e-mail address takes a minute and a half to set up.

Of course the bots will still exist. As long as people use their services and buy 'gold' (or, ISK in the case of EVE) then there will be bots to grind the gold for them. Nothing will change unless the playerbase does. However, castrating the bots - if only temporarily - obviously has a positive effect as displayer by the CPU change reports listed in the article.

You are 100% right there really is no way to stop them without hurting innocent users.

A friend of mine plays WOW maybe one hour a day five days a week as real life takes the rest of his time. Then one day he had everything that took me weeks to get and bragged that he had done it through buying gold! I was disappointed in the end he payed someone to get what he did not have time for and because of him some gold farmer now spams the crud out of everyone!
I did the only thing that a friend could do, I took pitty on him, patted him on the back and told him I understood and then reported him. After his account was banned and he made a new one I worked with him to understand that five hours a week for three years is better than one hour of listening to gold spams while trying to put stuff up on auction. He found out shortly after his restart that if you make a female character (Not even a good looking one) you can make more gold in a hour dancing then three weeks of grinding quests! He now does TS sessions for people for gold...excuse me while I go puke at the thought of a thirty year old male TSing to three people who think he is a 22 year old college student who broke up with her boyfriend and just wants to find romance on line.

Oh and he got me back in spades for those that think reporting him was a crappy thing to do. He got my log in and password from my brother one night and payed a leveling service to level one of my alts while I was on vacation. He then called me the last day of vacation and mentioned that I shouldn't be using leveling services and that I could be banned for it. I get back to find that the service had leveled the character though it was still in level 40 gear and there wasn't a single coin on it..and had to go through hell and a lot of phone conversations with Blizzard over it as I had to report it as a hack or face the Power of lemon fresh BAN! Character was deleted which sucked as I had gotten him up to 40 with a mount but the others are safe from the taint and my brother doesn't play on my account anymore!

 

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