Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Eve online: Paranoia

"Would anyone like to salvage the loot from my mission? There's a lot of it."

Mission salvaging is a lucrative but tedious pastime. Perhaps this was a genuine helping hand offer to give a newbie a chance to get a look at some ph4t lwt. Then again this was EVE on-line. Every conceivable interaction with other players carries the risk of being scammed, usually resulting in an untimely death along with the loss of your prized possessions. The fact that the offerer had a negative security status close to the lowest limit allowable in the system we were in didn't inspire confidence either.

I thought about it.

My salvaging ship (a destroyer) was worth about 1 million isk including fittings but the insurance would recoup about 750k. Allowing for a new insurance premium and a possible replacement clone if I got podded my maximum exposure was about 500k isk. On the other hand the salvage from a higher level mission was likely to be worth millions. What the hell. I decided to chance it.

To be honest, I couldn't see the angle in it for him if he was trying to scam me. His ship was many times more valuable than mine and any unprovoked attack in this high security system would result in his destruction at the hands of the Concord Police. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

I joined a gang (evespeak for group) with him so that I could fly to his location to find the salvage. We engaged in some small talk in gang chat and I thanked him for his generosity. I kept my guard up though because I knew that joining a gang would allow anyone who was at war with his corporation to have a free go at me. There is a well known scam where you warp to someone's aid in a mission only to find an alt at war with the main character waiting there to blow you to kingdom come. It didn't seem likely. War declarations are an expensive business - far too much trouble just to pop a newbie in a 1 million isk ship. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

There was no ambush waiting for me when I arrived at his location. I found that he was indeed polishing off the last few bandits from a level 2 mission. The skies were full of tempting wreckage. I guess I could have started salvaging then and there but instead I bookmarked the location, made an excuse and returned to base. I reckoned it would be safer to come back and salvage the loot after he had left. I felt a bit petty. He seemed very friendly, giving me advice to keep me safe from the last few npcs. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

I returned about 20 minutes later to get down to the serious business of salvaging. I noticed that my benefactor was still in local. In fact he was hovering around my home base which seemed odd. Anyway we had broken up the gang so there was no safe way for him to get me now. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

Back to the site and all those tempting wrecks. Normal procedure is to loot the wrecks and then salvage the wreckage.

STOP.

It is a curious feature of EVE that while anybody can salvage anybodies wreckage with no fear of consequence looting the contents of someone else's wreck will give them kill rights on you for 15 minutes. If I were to pick up so much as a single piece of his loot I was fair game for him to have a pop at me. Maybe, just maybe, he was hoping to con some dumb noob into doing the tedious work of salvaging all his wrecks just so he could pop them on the way home and pick up the loot. Unlikely - it would take a lot of patience and a bit of luck on his part. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

I salvaged the wrecks but didn't touch a single piece of his loot. It was all still sitting there in space cans when I flew back to home port. He was still in space near my home port but my record was clean. I knew no one could touch me without suffering the consequences. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

The salvage sold for about 4 million but all that loot sitting in cans out in space bugged me. I had a plan. I had a low skill point alt in a throw away frigate docked in the same system. He could shoot that alt and I would lose nothing. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

The trickiest bit was telling the alt where the loot was. It is impossible to find a random spot in space without a bookmark and I know of no way to mail bookmarks between characters. Using a chat channel I knew my benefactor wasn't on I asked for advice and was told that you can store bookmarks in containers! Fair enough. I dropped a can in space and dragged the bookmark to it. I then switched to the alt who picked up the can and was able to capture the bookmark. Heading back to the loot I was pleased to see that there was no one else there. Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

My handy henchman picked up all the illicit loot and headed back to station to flog it. There were no threats and, no incidents. I got an extra 1 million isk from selling the loot which bringing my total earnings from the affair to 5 million isk. My benefactor was still logged in local the whole time and did not appear to have moved from my home station. Curiously he did make one solitary utterance in local around about the time I was flying my alt back, holds filled with illicit loot. He said:

"Craaaaap"

That was it. He gave no further comment or explanation for this utterance. I am inclined to believe this was conicidental. I think he was a genuine benefactor giving an opportuntity to a newbie to salvage some loot he couldn't be bothered collecting himself.

Then again this was EVE, just because I couldn't see an angle doesn't mean there wasn't one.

2 comments:

syncaine said...

Very enjoyable story. Fully expected you to get Podded in some way at the end. Glad it worked out for you!

mbp said...

Thanks Syncaine.

You can actually take some of the credit for my playing EVE Syncaine. You posted a while back about the need for real loss in a pvp game and it struck a chord.

I am a carebear at heart but I really appreciate the sense of danger that pervades everything you do in EVE. Even mundane tasks become exciting when you know you could be brutally podded while doing them.