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Since Eve Online: Inferno was released, the Goonswarm have been busy. They’ve been drawing up graphs, plotting statistics in moving averages and looking at the huge, huge piles of minerals they’ve got and then having a bit of a think. And then they turned the revamped Faction Warfare system into a money factory. They are now five trillion ISK richer than they were before the patch hit.

And they manipulated the entire of Faction Warfare between the Minmatar and the Amarr while they were at it, essentially controlling hundreds of players who thought that they were winning, or losing, just so that they could maximise their profits. Kind of like a mega-corporation would. 

“A small group of market and game mechanics wizards sat in a channel, put their heads together and designed a theoretical exploit to game the system.” says GoonWaffe in a huge forum post intricately detailing exactly what they did. “It succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.”

The mistake on CCPs part was to allow players to swap Loyalty Points earned in the faction warfare system into ISK. Theoretically this should have only occurred at  a dribble, but the GoonSwarm turned the mechanic into a gushing money fountain.

When you kill a ship in Faction Warfare, you get a mix of Loyatly Points and ISK, not only for the kill itself but also for the items that the ship was holding. The GoonSwarm had been hoarding minerals for the past few months, inflating the values of those minerals after the Burn Jita event. They were able to turn a good chunk of them into enough LP and ISK to get the ball rolling. 

The exploit comes requires figuring out which minerals will net you the most LP, and then buying new items that will recoup and exceed the cost of the minerals you destroyed in the first place. It necessitated a bunch of dummy accounts and hovering around in Yunai so that neither side got attacked by Faction NPCs, but it was certainly doable. 

It also meant that it benefited GoonSwarm greatly to keep one side in Tier V faction warfare, so that the rewards they got were the greatest available. Which is why Minmatar has been doing so well, and why FWeddit, despite their best efforts, have been running up against a brick wall in opposing them. 

“On a lark one of us went one morning and fully upgraded all 13 Amarr systems to level 5. The next day this was repeated along with the 2 systems they won from the day before, allowing the Amarr faction to finally hit T2. Of course they immediately lost it.” It’s difficult not to chuckle in a bout of schadenfreude, but then realise that many people dedicated a lot of their time to trying to boost their chosen Faction, only to be thwarted by the Goons exploiting the economy. 

With their chosen Faction boosted by increasingly vast stores of LP, and the money raking in, CCP patched out the mineral rewards. That meant the Goonswarm had to rethink their strategy. At this point they were paying roughly 1500 ISK per LP, which, while profitable, was still slow going. 

They decided to manipulate the economy so that the rewards for items were as beneficial as they could be. They flooded the markets with some terrible boosters, creating artificial supply and demand so that the value of the item would skyrocket over the course of a week or two. When CCP adjusted the LP gain for that item, they could do a comparison of the value, extrapolate how CCP were calculating the values, and project increases according to market rates. 

And so they got back to work, blowing up anything with a high gain for relatively little ISK, and turning it into copious amounts of LP.

At this point they’d increased their margin to paying just 81 ISK for an LP. Which is an increase of over 1400% on their previous (profitable) rate. At this point they were earning LP faster than they could spend it, and actually had to limit the amount of LP that any one account was holding for fear that they might hit the upper end of the counter and reset back to 0. That amounted to two billion LP per account. 

It also means that they’ve been screwing with any system that’s on the periphery of Faction Warfare, or has anything to do with the items they’ve been jinking this whole time. As GoonWaffe puts it: “Of course, one minor side effect of this whole thing is that anyone doing missions in June, 2012 was basically doing it at our sufferance, since we could nuke the value of their LP at will. Consider this our demonstration of how benevolent we are towards the rest of Eve Online; we could have annihilated the rewards received by every mission runner in the game. Instead, we’ve chosen to merely leave them with some light bruising and a walk of shame.”

Now that they’ve cashed out, it’s rumoured that they’re sitting on somewhere in the region of five trillion ISK, and have given each GoonSwarm member a cool hundred billion in the process. Not only is this the biggest windfall in the history of EVE, but it also has grave ramifications for EVE as a whole. Not only are GoonSwarm one of the most powerful Corporations in the game, they’re  way and beyond the richest. 

So they can now bankroll wars, fund armies, and buy whatever they want, whenever they want. They can manipulate markets, create false economies, hire anyone to do anything, and general screw with as many people as is possible to screw with, as is their wont. EVE just got a hell of a lot more dangerous for anyone not flying under a GoonSwarm banner.

The only upside for those people is that Faction Warfare should get back to how its supposed to be now, with the Amarr actually having a fighting chance against the Minmatar, who have been falsely boosted this entire time, thinking that it was their own achievements that got them where they are. They’re in for a rude awakening, I’d imagine. 

“Occasionally you will see the odd forum poster that throws out wild conspiracy theories about shadowy figures controlling parts of the game, or in the case of the especially insane, Goons controlling the game. This has never been true...until now.”

You should be scared to undock right about now.

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