“Internet spaceships are serious business,” is a phrase that is often tossed around in EVE Online player circles. It’s jokingly used to justify the emotional involvement, dedicated time, and financial resources spent playing a game about pixelated starships and virtual empires. Sometimes though, the saying moves beyond being a joke and takes on a more serious meaning, such as preventing suicide, honoring players who’ve died, or in today’s case, spending $40,000 on a unique spaceship to raise money for those affected by the fires in Australia.
Developer CCP is currently running a “PLEX for Good” event, a program that asks EVE Online players to donate their spare in-game currency to an official CCP-owned character. At the conclusion of the event, CCP will convert all of the donations into an equivalent value of real-world cash and donate it to the Red Cross, to go towards relief efforts for the devastating Australian brushfires. One player, known in-game as Kelon Darklight, has decided to post an ultra-rare ship up for auction and has promised to donate the proceeds to the PLEX for Good drive, assuming his reserve of one trillion ISK—roughly $13,000—is met.
In April of 2016, Darklight competed in a PvP tournament that directly influenced the ongoing EVE Online storyline. He and his team competed for the honor of a house of NPC nobility and fought to ensure their right to challenge the vacant Amarrian throne. Upon claiming victory, he and his team were granted some of the most rare and special ships in the game, the Gold Magnate. Gold Magnates are not the flashiest, largest, or most powerful ship in EVE, but they are by far one of the rarest. According to an EVE University article on the vessel, only five have ever been known to exist at any time, and three of those have been destroyed.
Darklight being willing to part with the ultra-rare ship for charity has caused a lot of activity in EVE Online. The auction received quite a bit of attention on Reddit, where its validity was discussed at length. Eventually, the auction attracted the attention of Scott Manley, a Youtuber with over a million subscribers and a former EVE Online player. Manley posted on his Twitter account that he was considering buying the ship, using the vast wealth he accrued over the years, both from playing EVE and as referral rewards from his days of posting videos about the game to his channel.
Manley opened his bidding at a mind-blowing 1,000,000 PLEX—around 3.5 trillion ISK, the rough equivalent of 160 years of EVE game time—which is something in the neighborhood of $40,000 USD. Sources at CCP Games have confirmed that Manley has the PLEX in his account to complete the transaction. If it were to be completed, it would be the largest single-ship transaction in EVE Online’s history.
CCP Convict, a Community Developer for EVE, told Kotaku, “If successful, this auction would lead to tens of thousands of dollars being added to the PLEX for GOOD campaign wallet and we at CCP hope that both Kelon Darklight and Scott Manley are able to reach an amicable conclusion to this auction.”
Darklight has yet to officially accept the bid and conclude the auction but has stated in the original Reddit thread that this far exceeds his expectations and that he is considering closing the auction early in lieu of the bid. It is also worth noting that while EVE is infamous for scammers and ne’er do wells, any scamming attempts surrounded PLEX for Good are regarded as “highly reprehensible” by CCP and will be met with “the harshest and swiftest action at their disposal,” making the likelihood of this being any type of scam hopefully unlikely. If Darklight accepts Manley’s bid, the transaction could make this one of the most successful PLEX for Good events in the game’s history.
Update 1/30/20—Manley won the auction and made a YouTube video about it.