Sad Necessity

 

Perspective is a good thing. In order to gain some, we are pleased to present this opinion piece from former Goonswarm Director of Recon and veteran Schwa, concerning the recent casino debate. Schwa is well acknowledged in the community, known for his own brand of – sometimes unpopular, but always honest – opinions on matters. Agree or disagree with his viewpoints, let it be known in the comments section.

 

Initially I was simply going to reply to Ashterothi’s reddit post where he announces his departure from Talking In Stations as a result of his displeasure with the tone of the most recent Meta Show. I went back and re-watched the show, as well as listening to TiS episode where the casino issue gets discussed, reading CZ’s editorial comment, and several reddit posts on the matter. I find that I don’t really fully agree with anybody. It seems clear to me that everybody involved is letting their bias and agenda shape their opinion. I suppose the mistake is expecting people to ignore their biases.

Ashterothi’s post explicitly says that The Mittani said that Eve-Bet was tainted by RMT. This is factually incorrect, as he states many times that as Eve-Bet escaped CCP’s ban hammer, there’s no reason to believe that they were involved in RMT. The message I took from the Meta Show was that IWantIsk, their associated bankers, and specifically 1ronbank, Lenny and Bobmon were the “liars and criminals”, and not people who were sponsored by them. (I can hear the reddit screams already. I know Lenny insists that he is not banned, just suspended pending investigation. Place me squarely in the skeptical-as-fuck column.) I also fully agree with The Mittani’s assertion that Bobmon is quite transparent in his operation of EN24 and lobbying efforts in support of IWI. EN24 is effectively the Fox News of New Eden, and he is its Sean Hannity. But maybe that’s just my own bias making me interpret his statements differently than Ashterothi did.

blu_pierce_taking_bets

However, that is not to say I agree with everything The Mittani said on that Meta Show episode. He stated that Crossing Zebras has been funded by IWI. My understanding was that CZ’s only sponsor has been Eve-Bet, and Niden confirmed that to me in a private chat. I also don’t agree that CZ has an inherently anti-Goon/anti-Imperium bias. I find The Mittani’s complaints about CZ very similar to that of a conservative American politician complaining that CNN has a liberal bias. The truth is that CNN of course does not have a liberal bias, they have a ratings bias. They’ll put anything on that will get them more viewers, and as a result more money.

political balance on an Eve news site isn’t necessarily a virtue

I feel that CZ has a very similar self-interest. CZ is willing to publish stories from writers who have pro-Imperium leanings. I know this, because not only are they publishing this story where I am critical of them, but they published a previous story I wrote about the Eve community on reddit. They were also willing to publish two other stories I had begun to write. In the end, I decided to pull the plug on both of those pieces, because I was not happy with my own writing. But they were still willing to run them. CZ was definitely happy to publish many stories that were very critical of The Imperium and its leadership, but I believe it was out of a desire to push content to their site that would attract readers. Despite CZ Founder Xander Phoena’s very public spats with former Imperium Chief of Staff Sion Kumitomo, I honestly feel like CZ does not have a bias against The Imperium. I wouldn’t say they have been balanced, but political balance on an Eve news site isn’t necessarily a virtue. They don’t owe equal column inches to each “side”.

This leads me to CZ Editor-in-Chief Niden. He’s worked very hard to make CZ a quality site, and has done a very admirable job. However, when I read his editorial on the gambling ban, and listened to him on TIS, it’s quite clear to me that his own self interest in managing CZ has blinded him on the gambling issue. I’m not interested in digging into the moral issue of gambling, the legal issues related to CS:GO skins, or IWI’s laughable threats of suing CCP, but rather its effect on Eve Online: The Actual Video Game.

As Elise Randolph said in his reddit post, Eve casinos are as massive source of ISK that is uncounterable by game play. This was also repeated by The Mittani, and is of course objectively true. My understanding is that the amount of liquid ISK removed by CCP’s recent RMT ban was north of 30T. That is a staggering sum of ISK. For comparison, the entirety of the famous B-R5RB battle was 11T.

When you collect that much ISK, you’re really only left with a couple of viable options. Yes, you can sponsor all the fan sites, streamers, and meetups you want. But that isn’t going to come close to using all your ISK. As stated by Nashh Kadavr on TIS, they’ve given away 2T in prizes through Eve NT over the years. So after doing all the sponsorships you want, that still leaves you with a massive sum of ISK.

the damage done to the actual game itself by casinos is far more harmful

You can then either try to RMT it, like IWI and SomerBlink before them, or you can use it to meddle in the sandbox, like was done earlier this year. Given that there is no way to counteract the effects of nearly unlimited casino ISK with in-game strategies, I feel most objective observers would say that it is not healthy for the game. And of course RMT is universally despised. When Niden laments the loss of casino ISK to fund sites like CZ, it seems clear to me that he is ignoring the fact that the damage done to the actual game itself by casinos is far more harmful.

I haven’t really seen anyone running to the defense of IWI or its bankers. Nearly everyone accepts CCP’s ruling that they were guilty of large scale RMT, and is just fine with them being banned. This has even had a run-on effect of tainting the public perception of the Care4Kids alliance in Eve, and its associated charity citadel project. Given Lenny’s heavy involvement in it, and a ratting fit Nyx killmail that paints it as a Russian renter/botter money laundering racket, the comments on social media have turned sour.

But I have seen significant wailing and gnashing of teeth about the loss of Eve-Bet. I myself am a long time customer of Eve-Bet. It’s PR frontman is Eve community legend and all around super-rad dude Bam Stroker. I have every reason to believe they were not at all involved with RMT, and they quite clearly sponsored about every single community activity they could. But still, they are a big and uncounterable source of ISK that can potentially have a dramatic impact on the outcome of the game.

As Eve players, our priority should be making sure that the actual game itself is as good as it can be. Casino ISK has a very detrimental effect on that. And while this has some collateral damage to sites like CZ, those sites will find other sources of funding, and even people willing to contribute content without ISK compensation. In my opinion, the collateral damage is a sad necessity.

 

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Tags: casinos, Schwa

About the author

Schwa

Schwa is a director in Goonswarm Federation, and a notoriously horrible Eve Online player. His accomplishments include losing Ishtars and Rapiers while AFK, watching your move ops, and drunkenly smashing vodka bottles.

  • Apothne

    Nice article!

  • I am still rolling on the floor laughing at being called the Fox News of EVE Online. The lack of self awareness coming from goons, is as always, astounding. Better luck with the re-brand XD

    • schwaboy

      I have never had anything to do with tmc or imperium news. I very intentionally kept my distance.

  • Niden

    While I don’t see everything the way Schwa says, I value this form of civil discourse very highly. Talking about the issues in a cool and sober manner is the right way to do it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what _I_ or anyone else at CZ _thinks_ about an opinion, the most important part is that opinions, when delivered in a respectful manner, are permitted and given space. The day I know we have failed at what we do at CZ is the day I’m surrounded by only yes-men.

    • Fearlesslittletoaster

      Just a hypothetical question based on the comments above: If you are the Eve equivalent of a cable news network, will it count as failure if you find yourself surrounded by yes-beautiful women?

      • Cosmo

        Have no fear, as Executive Editor i will unburden Niden of all yes-beautiful women in order to keep his bias in check in order to continue and provide our readers with the best and most varied articles across New Eden.

        • Fearlesslittletoaster

          Always good to see a man willing to sacrifice for what he believes in!

          • Niden

            Not if I kill him IRL first… ingame.

      • Bam Stroker

        That’s dangerous because Niden is automatically attracted to beautiful – he just starts kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. He doesn’t don’t even wait.

        • Niden

          You know me.

      • Niden

        No, that is always the answer to life itself.

  • CCP shot themselves in the foot by letting it go on for so long with basically zero oversight or legislation outside of any action against RMTers. Yeah, it’s a hard decision (and the right one) but this massive community fallout could have been completely avoided if CCP had the will to step in and deal with this long before it became such a catastrophic issue. Maybe that’s hindsight but it shouldn’t take an engineer to see the road this was going down, even a couple years ago.

    Also I don’t think Fox News is a good analogy for EN24. I see the more as a Huffington Post; mostly fluff, about a week behind the curve and run by someone who, 30 years ago, might have been a beautiful woman.

    • Kamar Raimo

      “run by someone who, 30 years ago, might have been a beautiful woman”

      That one made me laugh.

      • Apothne

        Wasn’t Bobmon inside a beautiful woman 30 years ago?

        • I think we all know he’s never been inside any beautiful woman

        • Kamar Raimo

          I didn’t know that Bobmon’s mum had a gestation period of 10 years o_0

    • Dirk MacGirk

      I’m quasi at TMC/INN. Quasi in that who cares, I don’t make decisions and just say stupid shit. But we’re totally Fox. To even allow anyone else to try and claim that mantle is crazy talk. I’m calling dibs on Greg Gutfeld, but its pretty clear that the Meta Show should have always been The Mittani Factor. Boat can be Hannity. I just wish we’d find a Megyn Kelly or Kimberly Gilfoyle. Twitch needs an occupant in the leg chair.

      • luobote kong

        Thinking more Russia Today tbh. TMC has some standards after all 🙂

    • Free Can

      It has been in no way catastophic for CCP. For years they earned direct profits from degenerates buying PLEX and grinding isk to play + indirect profits from funding wars and content they use to promote the game. Then at the last minute some legal suit sees the lawsuits.happening over skin gambling and gets out just in time, not a single lawsuit and media hysteria is directed against EVE or CCP. The community is too busy sniping at each other, that no one looks upwards to CCP and blames them, despite they benefited most of all or asks simple question like “why were those RMT bans overturned and by who”. It was the perfect crime, they come off as lily white.

  • Kamar Raimo

    Apart from all the dirt-slinging and petty schadenfreude on the Meta Show I really found the analogy with gangsters and criminals terrible. A EULA breach is not a criminal offence!

    • Dirk MacGirk

      It’s our version. God knows we compare everything else in EVE to some RW example. Not to mention the use of hyperbolic terms is fairly common anyway. But over the top is still over the top. People have to learn to tell the difference. Mittani didn’t just turn up recently. There isn’t a veteran player in the game, hell anyone over a year old, who should act like they didn’t know he has a penchant for hyperbolic forms of communication.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Oh, don’t worry, I am completely aware of that. All I’m saying is, I can understand that Niden and Ashterothi got offended by it. On a personal level I don’t even take anything seriously what those guys are saying. I find it mostly amusing in a farcical way, and the more they bash us the more they help us.

  • Ashterothi

    I feel that the situation is (intentionally) muddied, but one thing is clear to me.

    The Mittani, the head of TMC/Imperium claimed that CZ and thus all members were connected to RMT. Whether that is based on the accusation that EVE Bet did RMT (which I have heard claimed) or that CZ took ISK from IWI is both unclear, and irrelevant. Both are equally factually inaccurate.

    At the time I may not have fully understood the accusations levied, I believe this is in part because the accusations evolved as some lies didn’t stick as well as others. Bottom line is I don’t like myself and my friends thrown under the bus for being called criminal, and wont support the institution that espouses that believe.

    • schwaboy

      It’s clear that The Mittani thought CZ was funded by IWI, which would make his claims of tainted isk true. But he’s just wrong about that. And he was very explicit and careful about separating out eve-bet and saying they didn’t rmt. So if he was under the impression that CZ was an IWI site, it makes more sense.

      • Ashterothi

        If he was to retract his position, I could retract mine. However, I am under the understanding that he is not going to, as I assume it supports his narrative better.

        Calling me a “pearl clutcher” or whatever doesn’t seem to indicate he cares about the missinformation he spreads.

        • Rob Kaichin

          That’s a way of playing down what and why you’re doing or saying something.

          That means you’re doing something right :).

          Think of it as the badge of honour for sticking up for normality.

  • Rob Kaichin

    “Schwa is well acknowledged in the community, known for his own brand of – sometimes unpopular, but always honest – opinions on matters.”

    [Citation needed]

    • schwaboy

      I’ve never intentionally lied on social media in regards to Eve. If I was mistaken about something, I accept that. But I’ve never intended to be dishonest.

      • Rob Kaichin

        It’s the “well acknowledged […] known for” bit that I was puzzled by. I remember two or more? articles, but apart from that, not much else.

        How can you be known for something if you hardly ever do it?

        • schwaboy

          I’ve never tried to claim I was space famous or space important. I have been pretty active on #tweetfleet and /r/eve, and I’ve been on a couple of podcasts. So people who follow all that stuff closely likely know who I am. If you don’t, it’s because really I’m not important.

          • Rob Kaichin

            I guess, was just puzzled by the byline, but they seem to all be slightly confused anyway. MainDrain flies with a non-existent alliance, for example :).

  • luobote kong

    ISK. It is about that and solely that. There is a lot of it sloshing about the game looking for a home. Someone using some mechanism will always find a way to aggregate the ISK and repurpose it – either to generate content or RMT for the less inhibited. Currently it is casino’s but in future it will be something else. That is guaranteed so long as there is a glut of stagnant ISK in the game ensuring conflict has no meaningful ISK consequence. It can be fixed easily but it wouldn’t be popular amongst the Everati. So expect a repeat of this drama after the next funded war.

    • Kamar Raimo

      Interesting point (about the stagnant ISK) considering how the main criticism of the gambling sites has been that they create an unassailable ISK pool which can not be affected by any in-game activity. Particularly when it comes to the losing side in this previous conflict, their leaders have time-and-again pointed out how they can not be destroyed in-game because they are in fact an organisation which exists out-of-game. This is especially true today where they have a fully monetized media platform that does not even rely entirely on EVE generated income. Cross-subsidy between that and their in-game organisation is possible and has been conducted in the past. The fact that they have been able to take over and secure another region of the map in a rather short time shows this quite clearly. Despite the alleged trillions that were spent in destroying them, they are still active and wield enough power to control space effectively.

      • luobote kong

        As a non combatant in WWB, both parties looked like two sides of the same metaphorical coin.

    • Shirie shin

      Do you think any amount of isk in the game would have gotten the mbc together if the imperium had come out and crushed them from the start?

      • luobote kong

        Maybe not the MBC. But the writing was on the wall for the Imperium after the Provi attack – and arguably after the Rayonar incident where after the Imperium lost control of the narrative. The Imperium just weren’t pulling the numbers they historically had access to. The IWI loot just lubricated what was always going to happen.

  • theseconddavid

    The thing that doesn’t track for me is how dumping isk into these crazy vanity projects like the eternal citadels of peace and World War Bee are supposed to be proof of RMT. If these guys were doing tons of RMT, they wouldn’t be sitting on tons of isk, they would be sitting on a small amount of cash.