In another major case of corporate espionage, embezzlement, and political deceit, an EVE Online player has stolen $13,110 dollars worth of in-game corporate assets.
For those not in the know, EVE Online is the space-simulating MMO designed entirely around player interaction. Corporations are their terms for guilds, and these corporations’ main interest is to generate player-made items which can be sold and bought within the massive in-game economy. This makes the entire game an microcosm of a real life economy, where players who want to make money have to organize, buy low, sell high, and trade goods in optimal markets.
That cash can then pay for and fund supplies for construction of ridiculously awesome starships, some of the most valuable which can add up to thousands of dollars worth of real-life money. For perspective, the fanciest and most popular capital starship, the Amarri Avatar, is worth a whopping $7,600 USD. Mix that in with vying corporations warring for space territory and resource harvesting in lucrative mining belts, and you get an extremely deep game that stands apart from all other MMOs.
All this necessity on player interaction puts value in every action in the game. Massive space battles become serious business when your battleships take months and dozens of players to build, and can be lost into oblivion in a matter of minutes. EVE Online, made by CCP Games, values this chaotic player element of their game, which has led to a laissez-faire attitude for epic battles where thousands of dollars of ships are lost over the course of a few hours, and high profile corporate embezzlement events where players have been noted to steal thousands worth of in-game items.
This is one of those incidents. A user by the name of Non Erata infiltrated the corporation Vanguard Frontiers (VAF), which has been around since 2005, and had accrued a large amount of supplies in their enterprises over the course of many months. They had fallen victim to people stealing large amounts of supplies for personal profit, but nothing like what Non Erata had in mind. After playing EVE Online for only a few months and trying to fight other players in PVP combat, he ran out of funds and decided to sign up with Vanguard Frontiers. But after reading a Cracked.com article, he became inspired by high-profile embezzlement events in that naturally occur via players in EVE Online, and decided he was capable of making history. In an interview on EN24, Non Erata told his decision to royally screw his own corporation from the inside-out.
In the following six months Non Erata and an alt by the name of Erata Vuld climbed the ranks of leadership within the corporation. First off he started by getting friendly with one of the active directors, Azrael Dawnbring. From there he was able to build his influence within the corp, starting by leading rookie PVP roams to help train new members within the corporation and soon becoming an official FC and then finally a trusted director.
His work with the rookies of the corp meant he had access to a large number of assets designated to help train them. He then worked hard to convince the CEO to open a new area of operation within the corp, that of a group of pilots that wanted to go into wormholes.
TL;DR, Erata made an alternate account using an alias, joined the corporation, built trust up with the higher-ups of VAF, started a successful business venture within the corporation, and when the time was right, robbed Vanguard Frontiers blind for all of their assets which he explicitly had access to.
In the plan, Erata not only used alternate accounts to help him take all the supplies at once rather than making several trips to move all of the assets from one location to a private space for himself, but also used his sway in the corporation to convince rookies to vacate one of their personal territories with a lie that they were essentially moving their base between solar systems, leaving him alone with all the pickings for himself. His entire haul is worth approximately $13,110 of real life money, or 600 billion ISK of in-game money.
Erata has said that not only is he proud of his heist, one which may rank him among the most high-profile corporate embezzlement events in the game’s history, but he’s not done. He says he wants to infiltrate more corporations. Erata has also said that any interested parties who want to buy any valuable items should contact him privately about pricing, as transporting them out of the current system he’s in now that he’s a wanted man will be extremely difficult. Either way, Erata face is likely now permanently inscribed into the annals of EVE Online‘s history of disreputable scoundrels and self-made multi-billionaires.