News Item

EVE Online players lose ship worth $10,000 in real-world cash, the most expensive loss in EVE history

By John Teti • July 8, 2013

I admit it. I got hooked on Candy Crush Saga, just like everyone else (judging by the smartphones I see on the New York subway). And yes, when I’ve been stuck for a while, on occasion I will shell out a dollar to get some help and move on to the next level already. I don’t feel good about it. I know I’m buying into a scheme of manipulative game design and thereby contributing to the degradation of society and culture. However, you must also consider that the candies are colorful, and they make sparkles when I win.

I feel somewhat less guilty after coming across a report on Reddit of EVE Online players who was duped into a battle where their beautiful, massive $10,000 ship was irrevocably torn to shreds by a vengeful rival faction. If you’re not familiar with EVE Online, it is the opposite of Candy Crush Saga. It’s a huge, elaborate simulation of outer-space trading, warfare, and politics. Unlike Candy Crush, EVE has deep respect for its players, to the extent that players are largely allowed to shape the world themselves. Storylines develop, macrofinancial structures take form, and factions rise and fall, all thanks to movements born within the community. The trade-off for this player-driven intricacy is that the game can be quite intimidating to newcomers.

I’ve only played EVE long enough to become confused by it, so I’ll concede that you’re not exactly getting the Sydney Schanberg report here. But from various accounts of the battle, here’s what I can piece together. Players in a powerful alliance known as the Pandemic Legion were throwing their weight around by using their powerful ships to pick off lesser beings. They got a little sloppy, though, and ignored their own formidable intelligence network, which could have told them that rivals were planning to lure the Legion into a trap. So the Pandemic Legion players ended up bringing their ultra-rare Revenant Supercarrier into an area where their foes were ready to warp in with a devastating attack fleet. You can see the results above, although it’s not the most compelling video, and no, I have no idea what that Chaos Dunk thing is all about. It’s more entertaining to hear this Pandemic Legion kingpin lose his shit in the wake of the debacle (while his charges giggle and make fun of him).

Going by the value of the ship as reported in the postmortem breakdown here and the currency converter here, the Revenant Supercarrier was worth about 10,000 bucks, but these numbers are rough. More to the point, your accountant will tell you that pretend spaceships are not the most liquid assets you could hold in your portfolio. At least, I hope your accountant would tell you that. There isn’t anybody who’s going to buy $10,000 worth of EVE Online currency to purchase one of these ships—even if anyone were willing to sell one. But the fact remains that it took a hell of a lot of work in the EVE markets and battlefields to acquire the Revenant ship, and now it’s gone forever, making it the most expensive loss in the decade-long history of the game. Shelling out a couple bucks for that Candy Crush chocolate-bomb pack doesn’t seem so silly now, does it? Okay, yes, it still does.

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63 Responses to “EVE Online players lose ship worth $10,000 in real-world cash, the most expensive loss in EVE history”

  1. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Postmortem breakdowns?  Currency converters?  Googling Sydney Schanberg?  Ugh.  Eve Online makes everything a chore.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Having seen several of these stories over the past two years, it aggravates me when news outlets refer to “real world value” of EVE ships.  If you can’t legally sell the ship for real world money, then it’s not worth any actual dollars.  Since EVE only allows currency flow INTO the in-game economy and not out, then to me it means nothing in the game is worth anything out of it.

      • Chalkdust says:

         That’s where PLEX comes in.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          No, it isn’t.  You can buy PLEX from CCP with real money, but you are forbidden from selling a PLEX to another player for real money, hence the transfer is still only one-way.

        • Chalkdust says:

           @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus It may be a closed system (i.e. no “cash out” option), and I’m not super-familiar with the intricacies of the EVE economy, but it was my understanding that PLEX market rates were what are used to estimate the real-money value of in-game assets, since it straddles the fence between out-of-game and in-game economies.

        • Knarf Black says:

          I believe that the Family Guy joke is annoyed by the fact that journalists tend to gloss over or ignore the fact that PLEX is merely used to calculate an items theoretical real world value, creating the impression that somebody actually lost 10 large in this space battle.

          After playing Dust 514 and dipping my toes into that universe, I have realized that these articles are just gaming soft news slash advertisements for CCP. Your average n00b is not going to be participating in any giant scams or cataclysmic battles (beyond the role of victim) any time soon… or probably ever.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          @knarfblack:disqus  – BINGO.  Thank you, you explained it better than I could.  They’re just advertising how “amazing” their space battles are, with ships worth huge amounts of (TIME, not money), when in reality most of the combat you’ll encounter as a new player is against NPCs and is completely fucking boring, as is mining, transporting goods, and training skills that take days or weeks of real time to finish, but you can only queue up to 24 hours at a time.

          It really is like a bunch of spreadsheets with graphics stuck on.

        • Sarapen says:

          @knarfblack:disqus How’s Dust 514 nowadays? I was in the closed beta a while back and was playing so much I was considering buying a headset just for the game alone. Then the developers tweaked the levelling to be harder which made the grind too apparent so I quit.

          I’m assuming they tweaked it back by now, but how are things in the game in general?

        • Chalkdust says:

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus I’m much more forgiving about reporting on crazy happenings in EVE.  It’s not like it’s a CCP-engineered publicity stunt that’s getting press release-driven coverage on the major game sites.  They’re emergent, player-driven events that are recounted within the community first and then, owing to the fact that even if you don’t play EVE it’s fun to read about the crazy hijinks, the stories bleed out into the mainstream.

      • BrianLowther says:

        Just because you can’t sell something legal doesn’t mean it has no value. That’s a given.

  2. Cloks says:

    A Chaos Dunk is a super baller technique wielded by the legendary Charles Barkley. It is a technique that can kill innocent bystanders and led to basketball being outlawed in 2053. I’m surprised you don’t know this, it’s basic history.

    • PPPfive says:

      I can’t believe someone writes about videogames and doesn’t know about ‘that Chaos Dunk thing’…it made me so angry I put my foot through the monitor and there it shall remain until this indignation has left my being

      • Chum Joely says:

        (12 days later)

        FOOT’S STILL IN THE MONITOR, GUYS!
        …doesn’t know what “that Chaos Dunk thing” is all about… why I oughta…

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Seriously! C’mon Teti, how have you not played Shut up and Jam Gaiden? The sequel is coming out soon(ish)!

      • Girard says:

        I…

        …I…I have not played Shut Up and Jam Gaiden…

        …I feel so ashamed.

        • djsubversive says:

          Get Tales of Game’s Studios Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa here.

          Now you have no excuse.

    • Oh, the Chaos Dunk had an influence, but it was the introduction of All Sport that sowed the seeds of basketball’s ultimate destruction.  Grandpa Shaq told me so.

  3. I can confirm that, for the past couple months, it has seemed as though Candy Crush Saga is, in fact, the official game of the Metro Transit Authority. At one point I witnessed nine different games of Candy Crush Saga being played within easy slapping distance  of myself in the vestibule area of the rush hour F train.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      I’m not sure why, but the few times I’ve played, I have a strong urge to slap the face of the stupid redheaded guy with the cool whip goatee that tells me what to do each level.

      “No, YOU CLEAR ALL THE JELLY YOU SPAZ!  QUIT BOBBLING YOUR HEAD AT ME!”

      • Roger_Ramshit says:

        The best thing is that the Candy Crush mob are blowing so much money marketing this app and all the shameless imitations by the same company. Candy Crush mania will disappear so quickly that by the time Candy Crush realise it all their profits will have been soaked up by all the marketing still in the pipeline.

    • mizerock says:

      I never notice what other people are playing, unless they are playing with the sound on and no headphones. Seriously, who does that? “Some people” do that, that’s who. I’ve seen it twice in the past month.

      It’s probably happened more than twice, I’m just too busy playing Angry Birds. With my headphones on.

      • LeGrandSigh says:

         That and people who listen to music through the phone/mp3 player’s speakers are terrible human beings.  We live in a society people!  They’re are rules to conduct, social contracts and whatnot.

  4. Aw jeez, Ryan Davis from Giantbomb died. :(
    http://www.giantbomb.com/articles/ryan-davis-1979-2013/1100-4685/

    Did any of the GS staff have any contact with those dudes?  Now?  Or while at Gamespot?

    • GaryX says:

      Yeah, I saw that and mentioned it (sans link) on another article. I don’t know if any of them knew him personally, but he was definitely a presence in the game writing community. A true bummer.

  5. George_Liquor says:

    Live by the Revenant Supercarrier, die by the Revenant Supercarrier.

  6. PaganPoet says:

    I felt guilty for buying the Alternate Colors and Glasses DLC for my characters in Persona 4 Arena one night in a drunken fit of impulse. The guilt waned a bit once I saw Chie in a Yukari Takeba from Persona 3 color pattern and Yosuke as Eikichi Mishino from Persona 2.

  7. Excel-2013 says:

    For all of the tedium and byzantine mechanics EVE Online offers, those exact things make for the best player stories of any game today.

    • stakkalee says:

      I wanted to say the same thing.  A friend of mine has gotten into EVE recently and his eyes light up when he starts telling me about some shenanigans in low-security space, or how he got his new battleship, or how he’s set up shop in a mid-security starbase and is selling rigs to players who’s faction rating won’t let them venture into the high-security spaces.  He’s daydreaming about becoming some sort of EVE war correspondent, because he listens to podcasts from other users who’ve made the same “career” choice.  EVE seems to me like everything you want in an MMO – players who take the game seriously, and user-generated content that grows organically from the players’ interactions.

      • Excel-2013 says:

        How “recently” are you talking? That sounds like it would all take no less than a few weeks without help.

        • stakkalee says:

          A couple months is more like it – he got into it in early May after reading an article about it in (I think) Game Informer.  He skipped the “dipping your toe” part and proceeded straight to the “dive in and start drowning” stage.

  8. dmikester says:

    I would just like to acknowledge the first paragraph of this article, which is maybe the best summary of in-app purchases I’ve read yet.  Kudos, John!

  9. caspiancomic says:

    Everything I know about this game I learned from a cab driver I had who was super into it. He spent the whole ride telling me about the game, and when we reached my house he pulled all these EVE magazines out of the back seat and started showing me all the weird space ships he was saving up to buy. He kept trying to get me to promise I’d try the game out. I think he gave me his screen name at one point. God speed, taxi driver.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Also I suspected I had no idea what this game’s deal was, and watching the embedded video has confirmed that suspicion. As near as I can tell this game is about Skittles in space? EVE Online is weird.

    • LeGrandSigh says:

       How did this topic come up?  People tell about weird conversations they’ve have with cab drivers, but all the cab drivers I’ve ever had could either not speak English very well.

  10. Chum Joely says:

    I like the guys in the audio clip who are calm throughout, and then at the end, one guy says, “No need to get super-duper mad about it. Everybody who lost their ship probably feels pretty bad. Let’s just go play Chivalry or something.” A correct attitude towards gaming, even from people who are obviously way, way into this game. There’s really just the one guy freaking out and they are all mocking him. That’s just a fun clip.

    • NakedSnake says:

      Yea, there are many awesome things about that clip, but that was particularly amazing.

    • Roswulf says:

      I’ve been on a read-about-EVE bender the last few days, and this ties into some of the better stuff I’ve read (mostly by Mittani, a very eloquent, very smart, EVE villain).

      Ships are replaceable, so the real resources in high-level, large scale EVE competitive play are players. Therefore having fun is not only an extrinsic good (yay fun!), but the strategy that maximizes maximizes mid-term and long-term results. So many video games render morale essentially irrelevant to combat; EVE’s resource rich game environment coupled with a ludicrously steep entry curve make cultivating player morale the centerpiece of its campaigns. The reason Pandemic Legion can bear the loss of a $10K supercarrier is because they derived some joy from watching it burn.

      Of course this also means that some EVE groups focus- intelligently and diabolically- not on destroying enemy ships, but on destroying enemy joy. And that’s why I doubt I’ll ever go on a playing EVE bender.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Man that’s crazy awesome. Just lost a $10,000 virtual space ship. Really puts some other online videogame rage tantrums into perspective. Oh, we lost a game of Dota? you’d better flip shit and start calling everyone slurs, random internet guy.

    • mizerock says:

      $10,000 divided by how many people that put in time (and real money?) towards its completion? Hundreds? Dozens? Surely not just one person. If one person paid that much (in effort, or credits, or cash), then let them rant, for like a whole year, but that would suck for realz.

      Surely the Awesome Ship took out lots and lots of other ships on its way down, hopefully a total of $10k or more in moneyz? But no one cries for them. They did it willingly.

      • Roswulf says:

         I admittedly understand about 10% of what happened in the battle, but I’m pretty sure the $10K ship and its brothers took essentially nothing with them. Once they fell into the trap, all efforts were focused on getting any salvageable assets out of the line of fire (rather unsuccessfully. This was an ambush, not a battle.

        Of course I’m sure the Revenant had been on the giving end of ambushes in better days.

  11. NakedSnake says:

    So: have we been trolling Drew so bad that comments are closed on the Sawbuck Gamer?

    • GaryX says:

      Yeah, what’s up with that?

    • Merve says:

      To be fair, 50% of the comments on a Drew Toal article are about his mustache or the lack thereof.

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      There’s some sort of bug going on, but I don’t have the technical know-how to fix it, and the only man who could, Mr. Teti, has been trapped in air-travel hell for the last 24 hours. 

      • GaryX says:

        Ah, Irrational Games finally kidnapped him for that Bioshock: Infinite review, huh?

        • Fluka says:

          Maybe he went off to learn about the Chaos Dunk?

          Maybe the Chaos Dunk is what destroyed the comments?!?

          Uh oh.

        • Roswulf says:

          They thought by starting a new life on a new site they could finally escape the righteous vengeance that comes from giving Uncharted 3 a C.

          They thought wrong.

        • Roswulf says:

           They thought they could escape the terrible consequences of giving Uncharted 3 a C by leaving the AVClub.

          They thought they were safe.

          They were wrong.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I can picture him perfectly as the poor schmoe attempting to shave as the plane attempts a landing at the climax of Airplane.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          I see him as Tom Hanks in The Terminal but without the romantic plot involving Catherine Zeta-Jones. 

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Her role will be replaced by a commemorative Bonk the Caveman key chain.

      • Cloks says:

        How can I share my thoughts about Dishonored overstaying its welcome in an appropriate venue now?

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        Come on Gerardi, apply Occam’s razor here, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. And that simple explanation for the ‘bug’ is that Disqus has gained sentience  and will soon destroy us all.

        Hit the kill switch, man, while we still have time!

    • Fluka says:

      I figured the government lab where I’m working right now shut them down.  Just on the off chance I was trying to have fun.

      I mean, I was just saying to

      ERROR

      • Effigy_Power says:

        The black trucks speeding towards your location are brought to you by the NSA… Making life easier for people we deem real Americans.

        • Fluka says:

          I hope they’ve been enjoying my cat photos.

          Now if you excuse me, I should start running.

    • Crusty Old Dean says:

      To think of all the scintillating comments on the “for your consideration”-piece that could have been saving me from office boredom right now! *sniff*

  12. HobbesMkii says:

    Why are the comments closed for the next two threads?

  13. Brandon Perron says:

    got to love the RAAAAGE! of the guy that DIDNT lose the Mom and the guys taking the supers without knowing WHERE they are going hahaha