Header image by Empanada.
“Pay up, or I’ll break the spinners on your Erebus.” That may not be how it actually goes, but in the Member Contracts section of the Goonswarm forum Imperium members engage regularly in loan services. With the next bloc war heating up you might want to fit that new titan quicker than you can muster the ISK. Perhaps a loan from a respected member of the Imperium community is right for you.
Cumulative interest rates, open ended vs term contracts and collateral are all officially posted to the forums as evidence of the agreement. Contracts can have many different variables. For instance, a first time borrower is likely to be limited on how much they can borrow, often times not exceeding 5-10 billion. The interest rate will be higher at twenty percent rather than a comfortable five, and collateral at fifty percent value. Once you have established a rapport with a particular lender you’re likely to get more favorable terms. Should the borrower fail to pay, and make no good faith effort to work out a repayment solution, the threat of banishment from the Imperium looms.
I decided to get a glimpse into this active community of ISK pushers and spoke with individuals on both sides of the transaction. Dylan Hunt Andedare is a member of Sundering and a regular lender. Tequila Mockingbird is a member of Karmafleet and refers to himself as a “serial debtor”, choosing to advance his assets through the use of loans.
INN: Loans in Eve Online. That’s enough to make anyone’s wallet pucker up. How did you come to the decision that giving others money in a game rife with cheats, pirates and thieves was a good way to make yourself more money?
Dylan: I always liked the idea of doing a business in Goonswarm. So I read the guidelines and gave it a try. While it’s true a lot of people try and cheat you, there’s also a harsh punishment to scam a fellow goon. It’s not something one just goes and starts being a lender from day to day, and expects their wallet to survive. Luckily, with Goonswarm being the community it is, the whole process was made a lot easier.
INN: Do you recall your first borrower? Were they a friend or corp member? Were you nervous giving out that initial fistful of ISK?
Dylan: Indeed, It was a corpmate, and still is, who needed around 7b. At the time, not so nervous, but no one likes throwing away ISK, so at the time I was more cautious.
INN: Do you provide different terms for different borrowers based on things like relationship, collateral or loan size?
Dylan: I always have a Premium rate for my repeat customers, but also a series of other perks that’s beneficial. Then it mostly comes down to collateral versus loan amount when calculating the interest. The Terms I use always stays the same unless people request something special which then will be taken into discussing before finalizing the terms.
INN: What sorts of items have you taken as collateral against a loan?
Dylan: Pretty much anything from Minerals/Ore to Titans. An AT ship must be the most unique I’ve taken personally.
INN: How about missed/late payments? Do you assess some sort of penalty or fee for a borrower failing to meet the defined terms?
Dylan: If someone says it’s gonna be a day or two late, It’s not a big deal if you ask me. The interest that’s amounting is already a penalty. There could be more penalties and such, but it should always clearly be stated in the contract that someone signs. Sometimes people just gotta go afk, even if it’s for months. The loans I do remain active until paid out or the player has left the community of Goonswarm.
INN: What’s the largest loan you’ve given out? And did you pee a little hitting the transfer button? Do you have a maximum loan amount?
Dylan: 100b! It was the most exciting loan I’ve done to date. There’s no real maximum loan amount.
INN: Are loans your primary source of income through the interest or is it more of a supplement to more classical Eve income sources?
Dylan: The loan interest that I was collecting was enough to plex my accounts. It wasn’t something to get rich off, so it fell in the supplement category. Much like every other thing in Eve, it does up and down at certain times when it comes to activity and supply and demand, so at times you’ll have hundreds of billions in liquid ISK
, and sometimes, hundreds of billions in assets.
INN: Are there other Lenders out there? Do you have a working relationship with any of them, like sharing names of bad actors or covering large sums in a joint loan?
Dylan: Yes, quite a few. We do talk if something suspicious comes along. At other times I referenced and guided people towards my fellow lenders in times where I wasn’t prepared to do loans and I know that they have done the same.
INN: Is there anything important you feel someone interested in an Eve Online Loan should know before signing on the digital line?
Dylan: Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Someone who isn’t afraid to ask questions or take a loan is Tequila. I asked a few questions of Tequila to get a different perspective on the loan business. Some of the responses have been edited for length where indicated.
INN: So I understand you’ve been the borrower on loans from a couple different sources, including Dylan. Can you describe how your experience with loans has been, and maybe any differences you’ve noticed between lenders?
Tequila: “I spent more of my time playing eve under debt than otherwise. I’ve gone for as low as 500m to as high as 25b. Terms varied from a couple of hours, to the usual month long duration with the longest for four months. I’ve made deals with 8 unique individuals with repeat interactions from several, most notably Dylan and Nolak. Certainly the threat of being blacklisted from the Imperium if you failed to meet the terms of the contract is a good incentive to look for ISK but never have I found them to be wholly unreasonable not to mention no one forced me to enter a loan agreement in the first place…”
INN: Can you paint me a picture of your first loan? Amount? What for? How long it took to pay.
Tequila: “My first loan went for 800m as I purchased fittings for my first ratting carrier. My primary source of income was VNI ratting and I simply cried enough at that point to bite my first debt. I had little to place as collateral, hardly half of the requested loan, and I was relatively new to Karmafleet so hardly anyone knew me back then to vouch for me. Under these conditions, I requested for a loan double the usual rates to grease the deal despite my lack of bonafides. What I had then is the conviction that I can reasonably make more money in a shorter period of time despite the interest cutting in my profits. Terms got agreed upon and I was set to pay 1b at the end of a month…. In less than a week, I had a billion yet I deferred payment then when I went to splurge on skill injectors to improve my ratting capabilities. I managed to pay merely a few days ahead of the deadline.”
INN: Have you primarily used loans to better set yourself up financially by making a purchase such as a Rorqual? Or have they been for big ticket items like a titan you just don’t have the liquid ISK available for purchase?
Tequila: “I’d love to tell myself that I enter loans to improve my fiscal position. I loaned the fitting of my nidhoggur, then the fitting of my hel, then my first rorqual, then my second rorqual, ad infinitum. These investments always require capital which should have been slowly accumulated over time. Time which is one of the most underappreciated assets in eve. I found out that securing an immediate source of income against future deductions maximizes my time and permits me to accumulate wealth at a much faster rate…”
INN: Would you recommend utilizing loans to any fellow Imperium members? Do you have any warnings or comments for those interested?
Tequila: “Loans are extremely addicting. Seeing your wallet blink green is always a euphoric feeling. Securing loans is easy but repayment will always carry a touch of difficulty. Certain investments may not be realized according to your initial plans due to unforeseen circumstances, such as your excavator drones getting bombed. Real life issues may hinder your ability to generate funding to repay the loan. Paying beyond the requested capital due to interest carries a bit of a sour note and that is a perfectly normal response. However, keep in mind that no one has forced you to enter a loan other than your desire to buy that shiny thing or to plex when you forgot that time of the month.
Loaners are people too. Coming as a serial debtor, calling them as a loan-shark is quite derivative and a poor taste to the options and flexibility they offer in the game. Eve is a social game and I find that talking between parties offers compromises beyond the hard and fast rules posted on the boards. If not for immediate economic reasons, I would still recommend securing loans as it provides a semi-professional degree of interaction that mirrors real world experiences minus the lawsuits and real estate forfeitures.”
All told it appears loans can be lucrative for both sides of the deal. Perhaps the loan business is partially responsible for the massive economic explosion in Delve. Available pools of cash seem to give an edge for members to push themselves into larger ISK printing machines.