Or, How Paul and Khalia Unintentionally Rode The Coattails of Goonswarm to Almost-Riches
So Khalia and I recently sort of came back to Eve. I wanted to try the ninja baiting thing again, but quickly once more fell into discomfort with the lack of lulz/hour it offered. Khalia came back as well and erected a little tower in NPC nullsec from which we repeatedly shot Angels in the face. That was mildly amusing.
Two weeks ago, Khalia got tipped off to an opportunity. It seemed that CCP had tweaked LP store payouts for Factional Warfare, making it much more profitable than before. Furthermore, one could effectively run small and medium FW complexes with week-old toons in frigates. These frigs didn’t even have to fit guns, since the sites were completed by proximity to the capture point. Go to lowsec, scan FW plexes, orbit with afterburner on, and ignore the NPCs. You had to keep an eye out for fast attack frigates from opposing faction pilots, but for the most part it was press button, receive bacon.
The LP store prices for FW are set depending on how successful your faction has been against the enemy. At Tier 3, it’s meh money. At T4, it’s good money. At T5, it’s stupid amounts of money.
I don’t have any knowledge of the history of FW, nor do I want to have such knowledge. But when we got into it a couple weeks ago, Minmatar was absolutely dominating Amarr, riding at T4 rewards most of the time and sometimes peaking into T5 for a few hours.
Khalia did the math, moved a new alt out to Caldari FW space to test the waters, then told me that I’d be a moron not to get out there. Before long we were running five pilots between the two of us in the early morning hours during the week, when most of the opposition was in bed. We thought that it was just a horrifyingly unbalanced system, and that as word got out about how good the money was, prices on LP store items would either crash or CCP would take action to make the activity less profitable.
To give you some idea, we were making somewhere between 200M and 500M per hour orbiting frigates piloted by 2M SP toons. It couldn’t last, so we kept our mouths shut and made hay while the sun shone.
This morning, Khalia sent me this link: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=124145
The TLDR version is that Goonswarm discovered that the mechanic by which CCP awarded LP for killing enemy pilots was hilariously broken. They took advantage of this by filling the holds of haulers belonging to “enemy” alts and blowing them up. The output of the items blown up in this way was greater than the LP used to create them, thus creating for the Goons an endless stream of Minmatar LP. They used this to buy obscene numbers of faction blueprints, high-end implants, and datacores. Because they had such large amounts of LP to play with, they maximized their payout by using the LP to upgrade Minmatar iHubs, thus leaning against enemy FW pilots with unlimited weight. Any time the Amarr thought they were turning the tide, the Goons simply tossed a bit more of their LP at the problem.
By doing this they gained an immense number of tremendously valuable items in-game, and flooded the market for those items, murdering the worth of LP rewards for every mission-runner in the game.
CCP has now fixed the LP spigot, and is stating clearly that things were not working as intended. What will happen to the Goons involved? If taken at traditional market prices, the LP items they’ve gained are worth… I don’t know how much, and the “hundreds of trillions” numbers that people are throwing around may be pure speculation. I haven’t seen any sort of reliable confirmed numbers from the source, but an image of one of the T5 cash-outs posted in the thread suggests that at the very least, the number is in the tens of trillions.
The good news is that none of that money was printed by the game. It wasn’t that kind of exploit. The only thing created out of thin air was LP points, which were in turn used to create LP store items. This means that if CCP takes no action beyond preventing further abuse (which is certainly a possibility), the market for anything you could have bought at the Minmatar LP store is nuked for the foreseeable future, but the economy as a whole won’t be hit by yet more inflation. The biggest losers in this are holders and LP store creators of implants and datacores.
CCP may move to yoink large stockpiles of such items that have been created this way, but much of the damage has already been done.
What’s next for us? Well, I’m sitting on about 600,000 LP and Khalia has about 800,000. We’re keeping an eye on the Minmatar FW rewards status, which is currently at Tier 3. The question seems to be: How many others were doing what we were doing, and do any of them hold sufficiently large LP stockpiles to be interested in giving Minmatar FW that one last push to cash out at T4?
One thing’s for certain: Whether you were part of the abuse of the game mechanics for obscene amounts of money, or just a freerider taking advantage of what you thought was just an unbalanced FW patch for serious LP, the flow of free ice cream has ceased. But Khalia and I did have fun playing in lowsec for a while. 🙂
(Cue FW apologists saying that the Goons weren’t the reason for Minmatar domination in three, two…)