CCP Drops the Hammer With "Unholy Rage"

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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CCP Drops the Hammer With "Unholy Rage"


EVE Online [http://www.eveonline.com/] 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 [http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2009/08/eve-online-unleashes-unholy-rage-on-in-game-currency-traders.ars]. "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 [http://www.ccpgames.com/] 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 [http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=687]. "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 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/89219-More-EVE-Online-Shenanigans-GoonSwarm-Ganks-Band-Of-Brothers] 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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Feb 13, 2008
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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.
 

Amnestic

High Priest of Haruhi
Aug 22, 2008
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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.
 

fix-the-spade

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Feb 25, 2008
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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.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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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.
 

Avernus

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Jun 10, 2009
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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!
 

Jiveturkey124

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Jan 13, 2009
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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
 

somekindarobot

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Jul 29, 2009
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Holy crap,'Unholy Rage' is a freakin' awesome phrase! Just saying it makes me want to go around punching people while shouting "UNHOLY RAGE!"
 

hansari

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May 31, 2009
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Malygris said:
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!!"
 

RetiarySword

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Apr 27, 2008
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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*
 

SamuelT

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

Those guys deserve some applause.