EVE Online is, for some, a video game they play. For the rest of us it’s a crime beat, an MMO we only ever read about when someone does something nefarious, and today’s coverage of the game is another shining example in the genre.
As PC Gamer report, a pair of players recently planned—and successfully pulled off—an enormous heist, netting them control of one of EVE’s corporations, and as a result possession of some in-game items valued at over $20,000. The thing is it wasn’t really a heist at all, since everything the duo did was entirely by the book.
The operation—spelled out in detail in this Reddit post by one of the bandits, Flam_Hill—began when the players teamed up with the ultimate goal of taking down a corporation, and in their research finding that one (Event Horizon Expeditionaires) had a board consisting of a CEO and directors who were “minimally active”.
The game has rules, like actual corporations, where anyone with shares can trigger a vote for a new CEO. So they bought some shares, called a vote and waited to see if anyone would notice. After a 72-hour waiting period, instituted by developers CCP to prevent this kind of thing from happening, the “minimally active” board hadn’t responded or seemingly even noticed the election, and so—as Ars point out, in scenes similar to the Simpsons episode where Bart loses his class election—with just two votes cast, Flam_Hill and their partner had won control of the entire corporation.
They had no intentions of running it, of course, just fleecing it for everything they could, and at the end of their operation they’d looted 130 billion of the game’s ISK in-game currency, and seized assets worth another 2 trillion. That adds up to, Flam_Hill estimates, around $22,309 in actual US dollars, though it’s difficult to put an exact figure on it since there’s no official way to convert ISK into USD (there are, however, some grey market workarounds).
A heist that’s pulled off by...reading the rules of a corporation might not sound like the most exciting in a game like this, but as this shows, why go to all the trouble of going to war and risking everything when you can just take advantage of the fact a bunch of guys didn’t check their emails for three days.