Ghost Training: CCP Inquisition has started

Mischa Gau'ss Tesla 2017-06-29

Ghost Farmers: all of New Eden heard of them lately. Like an intangible threat to the game’s economy, the dark shadow of their ISK-making empires was unveiled to all by a variety of players from all across the cluster. Finally, on June 15, 7 months after the Ascension update (which made Ghost Training a thing), CCP declared it as an exploit. At the same time, scripts were run to stop training queues and force players to log in. This put an end to a lot of the Ghost Training activity. War was declared, and CCP would lead the charge and burn the heretic (or at least their in-game wallets). The problem is: Ghost Training is not fixed yet, just illegal.

The Purge Has Begun

The burning seems to have started nicely. Following this Reddit post by Lanyaie, CCP started hitting the exploiters right in the wallet. They started nicely, removing the small amount of 107,055,000,000.000 ISK from a Ghost Trainer. Yes, that is 107 billion isk. Note that it seems that half of it was due to CONCORD ship sales.

It is generally accepted by all that Ghost Training was indeed an extremely negative practice with regard to the game’s economy. It enabled those using the bug to earn large sums of ISK, limited only by their willingness to extract SP, without any risk or content generation occuring. This lead to some very angry comments on the recent fighter nerfs and un-nerfs. Indeed, CCP Quant declared that people were making 260 million ISK ticks. A hurricane of rage and frustration was unleashed following his imprudent post. This storm finally made CCP review their copy and reduce the initial nerf. Well, the above example alone is equivalent to 411 of those ticks… or 137 hours of farming at this rate. That might explain a part of this rage storm.

Some comments were seen about the fact that these sanctions are too low, but remember: Ghost Training was declared an exploit after 7 months, so CCP cannot realistically apply too restrictive measures. You cannot punish people for faults that are not declared—even if it was an obvious exploit—especially EVE players that always try to fuck their neighbors.

The total amount of ISK produced by these Ghost Farms is, and will probably remain, unknown. It might be interesting to look at next month’s economic report, and in particular to the ISK sinks…

Removal of ISK

The individual in the Reddit post took a break from the game for a few months and had some queues still running.  These lapsed, but continued training. He extracted the SP, and sold it, but that only came to around half the value.  The rest of the 107B came from CCP confiscating the ISK he had gained through selling 117 Pacifiers at 400-500m each.

A reddit user called oli0202, who claims he was the one that got a chunk of his wallet removed, also replied on the reddit thread.

Stability and beyond

Now that the concern of Ghost Farmers is being addressed, or at least worked on, let us look to the future. The current state of EVE’s economy is, to say the least, unstable. Fast changes in ISK and resources generation, followed by the change to plex and its successive growth, put us in a new situation. The situation is that of many MMO end-game. Old players start piling currency and resources and prices grow as a result. EVE managed to somewhat avoid that by proposing a very expensive end-game experience, a large global market and sinks in the form of content generators.

The very-expensive end-game is not the solution, as it will still impact the general cost of resources. This is partially due to the global market: there is no such thing as tiered market in EVE, all goods are linked in some way. This also helps on another hand, as the buffer for change is huge. This buffer is now not enough. Production is increasing, minerals are over-produced in some regions. Objectives that would have taken months in terms of productions are now done in weeks. The growth is bigger than what the buffer and sinks could handle. Reducing the production is a way to try and stabilize the market, and it will certainly help. Another option is to create sinks. Removing Ghost Training is a sink, an artificial one that will temporarily reduce the total amount of ISK in game. After that, EVE will need another sink, and the best one is content.

War for economic stability

For years, wars throughout New Eden were the motor of the economy, pushing prices back and forth, forcing players to rebuild what got destroyed. During the last year, though, no real major conflict emerged. The Casino War ended up not yielding any of the expected battles, with the Imperium refusing to play the game of their enemies. Instead, there was a period of transitioning, with small fights, and changes of sovereignty. Everyone then settled down, and started watching each other like dogs through a fence. CCP tried removing the fence, adding citadels, promising exciting fights, but it ended up not working.

For now, the meta seems locked. A key has to be found, probably on CCP’s side. The economy will remain unstable until all the current issues are addressed. It will then return to its growing pace, unless something changes. Will it explode? Will CCP find the key? Will someone try to nuke the Imperium again and get a fight this time? No one knows, but there is no doubt that the end of the year and the start of 2018 will probably see major changes to content generation.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly that Ghost Training generated ISK from nothing.  That is incorrect, and has now been changed in the article.

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Comments

  • Rhivre

    If they get round to everyone who ghost farmed that would be a fair chunk of ISK removed from the game.

    June 29, 2017 at 5:14 am
  • Jump Clone

    Since the problem they seem to have is with the rich players, the easier way for CCP to get rid of the problem is to leave them alone and work for those not even thinking about such optimisations : the herds in High Sec.

    When rich players will die of boredom in their golden citadels networks in the remotest regions of space, the problem will be solved. Most of them don’t even pay a cent to play Eve anyway (why should they ?).

    June 29, 2017 at 5:31 am
  • Pew Pew

    I think there will come a time when it will make sense to start shrinking space. Either by locking off systems or by adding in NPC empires which try to viciously expand.

    Less space will mean you are closer to your neighbours and that will cause more wars and content generally.

    June 29, 2017 at 9:18 am
  • Dirk MacGirk

    “Ghost Training was indeed an extremely negative practice with regard to the game’s economy. It produced ISK from nothing, without real limit on what one could produce.”

    Ghost training did not produce ISK from nothing. It created excess SP. Even the true exploit side, the extraction and selling of injectors, did not create ISK. It just transferred ISK from one player to another. The ISK already existed. The PLEX and extractors had to already exist as well.

    This is not to say that it was not negative for the game. It was negative because it allowed some players to take advantage of a bug for personal gain. In other words, it was an issue of fundamental fairness.

    I would disagree that simply because CCP waited for 7 months, or however long it was they actually knew about it, they are precluded them from coming down harder than simply removing ISK. Without CCP ever uttering a word that this was an exploit, this was a clear violation of rule 23 of the Terms of Service:

    “23. You may not exploit any bug in EVE Online to gain an unfair advantage over other players. You may not communicate the existence of any exploitable bug to others directly or through a public forum. Bugs should be reported through the bug reporting tool on our website.”

    Drop the hammer.

    June 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm
    • WhiteHalo117 Dirk MacGirk

      What if someone didn’t know they where even exploiting a bug?

      June 29, 2017 at 3:15 pm
      • Dirk MacGirk WhiteHalo117

        I’m pretty sure their focus is not on just getting extra SP. That was rather unavoidable for a lot of accounts that unsubbed. Rather, the exploitation of the bug comes when the player cashes in by way of extraction and sale. Moreso if it can be shown that they industrialized it across multiple characters ie a farm. I’m highly doubtful that they are seeking to go after sharecroppers.

        June 29, 2017 at 3:52 pm
    • Rhivre Dirk MacGirk

      The generating ISK from nothing has been corrected 🙂 It got missed in late night editing.

      June 29, 2017 at 3:57 pm
  • Lrrp

    A large number of players run mission, as such CCP should make them more difficult so there is a good chance people will actually loose ships in them. Might help remove some isk. Maybe make missions for Dreads and Carriers in high sec. High sec carriers and Dreads would have certain limitations but no reason any more why they could not be used in high sec.

    June 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm
    • Dirk MacGirk Lrrp

      Because we’ll destroy everything. Burn Jita? Burn Everything

      June 29, 2017 at 4:13 pm
      • Why not? Chribba uses his carrier in hi sec knowing he cannot use it for pvp. As I said they would have certain limitations. It would take a large amount of isk out of circulation as many people would want to own them and use them. I suspect gankers would not like them but so what. Let it be so and see what comes of it.

        June 29, 2017 at 9:47 pm
        • Lekly Lrrp

          I’m pretty sure the rules of having a capital in HS prevents you from using it as a capital. If my memory is correct, that capital ship is used for mining… not running sites…

          June 30, 2017 at 12:00 am
        • Arrendis Lrrp

          Chribba uses his *Revelation*, which is a dreadnaught, for mining. Hence the name ‘the Veldnaught’.

          June 30, 2017 at 5:25 pm
  • František Filandr

    Content isnt ISK sink. Ships are not made of ISK. They are made of minerals. On the contrary, they GENERATE ISK when they blow up due to insurance.

    Wars being ISK sinks is a myth. ISK just went from null-ratters to industrialists and miners.

    I am surprised someone with no clue about economy writes “economic” article …

    June 29, 2017 at 3:43 pm
    • Dirk MacGirk František Filandr

      to be fair, resources in the game are a faucet as well. Just not an ISK faucet. Destruction is a method of removing material from the game that came by way of a material faucet. You’re right, that in the process of ship destruction, we also create some ISK by way of insurance, but net 3-4 trillion per month is not a huge number.

      June 29, 2017 at 3:57 pm
    • Since the value of the ISK received from insurance is less than the amount used to create the ships, it can be called a sink. Your argument is dangerously close to, “Minerals I mine are free”.

      June 29, 2017 at 11:59 pm
      • Axhind Lekly

        No it can’t be. It might be an isk sink for the actual player losing the ship but the economy just got injected with tons of isk due to insurance. War is an isk faucet if anything.

        At best you can claim that amount of new isk generation due to ratting will diminish and maybe hope that drop there will not be offset by insurance payout.

        June 30, 2017 at 1:19 pm
    • pervertparade František Filandr

      If players are out fighting on stratops, and the SRP terms are very generous, and there’s nobody available to rescue a tackled ratter, and there are six angry Russians cloaky-camping each system, then you’re bound to see a drop in krabbing activity.

      Even if war doesn’t vaporize any ISK, it can still slow down the faucets a bit.

      June 30, 2017 at 1:02 am
    • Mischa Gau'ss Tesla František Filandr

      I made the choice here to call it isk sink, as I made the assumption that any object in the game could be reattached to currency. Yes, isk are not blown up in a fight, but the material are, and the value in material blown up is supposed to be higher than the mineral and insurance worth. The isk is really removed due to activities that are related to NPC, which are intensified when the market is more dynamic: the more transactions, the more NPC taxes and other ways of removing isk. By generating content, CCP can make sure that isk is removed by indirect ways. I did not want to develop too much as I already was a bit out of my initial subject, but this was the general idea.

      July 6, 2017 at 7:54 am
  • €¥€©£™»

    I unsubbed my 3 accounts in protest of the fighter nerfs. They are all still training :/

    July 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm
  • Mischa Gau'ss Tesla

    Love your posting name. Yes, it seems that the way CCP tried to impose us to fight for sov actually lead to what they did not want to see… so let’s see what they do now.

    July 6, 2017 at 8:00 am