While CCP are trying to put the magic smoke back in the servers – which apparently are now on a 36-hour downtime instead of a 6-hour downtime – I have been reading the Eve Blog Pack.
Mail Lite over at The Beginnings of Piracy has written about his alliance leader who was permabanned for being associated with another player who was ISK buying:
A few weeks ago Gilgamesh1980 and his other 2 accounts got banned for 14 days for breaking the EULA. When he first started the game he had a RL friend who asked him to put up some hard earned ISK to go towards a POS network in exchange for monthly/quartley payouts down the line.
He missioned, saved and bought a few GTC’s to donate to this friend in return for a stable revenue to help him in his EvE career. So far so good. It lasted a 3 year period.
Then one day a few weeks ago he got a message from GM Nova. His accounts had been banned as his ‘friend’ had been selling and buying ISK for real money out of game. He had also been selling high end items for real life money.
Gilgamesh knew none of this and when he got banned for the 14 days he asked the GM for a full investigation to clear his name. The outcome? Permanent ban of all characters.
So to follow the connections:
- Gilgamesh1980 gets ISK from missioning
- Gilgamesh1980 buys GTCs with ISK
- Gilgamesh1980 donates GTCs to Other Player
- GM Nova contacts Gilgamesh1980 and informs him of ban, due to Other Player buying ISK
I’m going to first assume Gilgamesh1980 is totally innocent (or believes he is innocent – no attempted bad behavior). The question that arises here is the EULA and mechanics of “buying GTC with ISK” and “donate GTC to Other Player”. Was what was done here a) possible and b) EULA allowed?
All the Eve Online forums are currently down, so I’m linking to this cached copy of the “Secure GTC trade 101 – Updated” thread in the Time Code Bazzar.
Q) What do I do?
A) If you are selling a GTC for isk, you open your account management page;
My account >> Account services >> Securely sell GTCs
# Select the character selling the code (receiving the isk)
# Enter the name of the character you are selling to.
# Enter the code.
# Enter the amount of isk you want to sell the code for.
# Confirm the selection
The seller will see an open sell order in the account management page as well as finished orders.
The buyer should receive an EVE mail detailing the offer. (Could be bugged at the moment) In any case, all the buyer needs to do is log into the account management page and accept the trade. It should be listed under, “Common Tasks.” The offer is valid for 48 hours.
This confirms that Gilgamesh1980 could acquire GTCs, by buying them through the Time Code Bazaar – another character sends him the offer and he accepts. So far so good. The next question is about “donate GTC to Other Player”. As far as I can tell, there is only a few ways this can happen:
- Gilgamesh1980 converts GTC into 2 PLEX via the ESC menu “Convert ETC” button, and then trades/contracts the PLEX directly to Other Player
- Gilgamesh1980 “sells” the code to Other Player for 0 ISK, the same way he purchased it
The first method is clearly EULA allowable. Buying a GTC for ISK, reconverting it to PLEX and transferring the ISK does not break any rules of which I can find. I might wonder why Gilgamesh1980 just didn’t buy 2 PLEX and trade, but I guess in 0.0 stations are more of a pain to get into.
The second method also does not appear to me to be any sort of EULA violation. Gilgamesh1980 has a legally acquired GTC that he is legally reselling for 0 ISK. Other Player can then do with the GTC whatever he wants.
This brings us to Gilgamesh1980’s ban. The reasons behind this was that Other Player was buying ISK outside the GTC system (EULA violation) and also selling game items directly for real currency (EULA violation). Nowhere is there any mention of Gilgamesh1980 acquiring any ISK or real-life currency from Other Player as a result of these sales.
We might include Other Player giving ISK back to in return for a stable revenue to help him in his EvE career because of the line “in return for a stable revenue to help him in his EvE career”, so it seems likely ISK was transferred from Other Player to Gilgamesh1980 at some point – but the usual penalty for goods acquired from ISK buyers is that the unfortunate player has the ISK directly removed from their account.
So to conclude, I first of all see no EULA violations by Gilgamesh1980. I also do not see why, if illegally-acquired ISK was transferred to Gilgamesh1980’s account (without his knowledge of the source), it was simply not subtracted from his account as is usually done.
A permanent ban for this is, as we say in the computer world, a chilling effect. If this can happen to him, can I be banned for buying an item (PLEX, ship, anything) that was bought with illegally-acquired ISK? Apparently so.
Every purchase in Eve just became an excuse to ban your accounts. Petition for it to be escalated, and the result is apparently permaban. CCP, you need to make this right – or explain exactly how Gilgamesh1980 was breaking the EULA.
I will be listening really carefully.