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CCP brings gambling back to EVE Online with Hypernet Relay

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CCP has just made an announcement that has both shocked and outraged many within the EVE Online community. CCP brings gambling back to EVE Online with Hypernet Relay, a specialized raffle system built into the game client.

Those of you who were involved in EVE Online back in the SomerBlink days, or after that during the growth of IWantISK, you will see exactly what many predicted was coming. Around the time IWISK went bust due to RMT and CCP banning in-game gambling, a lot of people predicted that CCP would eventually implement their own version of the mechanic in the game. Turns out that banning wasn’t CCP eliminating a legal concern, rather the removal of competition. CCP has literally just lifted the raffle mechanics from those 3rd party gambling sites and integrated it with their own monetization scheme.

Here’s how it works:

  1. A player wishes to sell an item, they list it on the Hypernet Relay for a certain number of HyperCores.
  2. The price set by the seller is divided across the number of HyperCores.
  3. Players who wish to take part in the raffle pay for a number of HyperCores with ISK.
  4. The winner is chosen at random once all HyperCores have been sold.

Of course, the fans are not very thrilled about this. The reaction on Reddit in particular has been very critical. The fact is, gamers are turning very sour against aggressive monetization and gambling mechanics like loot boxes. HyperCores have a direct monetary value, as they can be purchased with either ISK, which can itself be bought through RMT, or directly through the New Eden Store. This could lead to legal headaches for the company, and I expect the fanbase will be rather vocal with their feelings on this.

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Also, given the breadth of botting in EVE, expect there to be some attempts to game the system using automation. Cheating could be fake auctions staffed entirely by bots that attempt to recycle valuable items by trading them between bots. Unscrupulous players could also attempt to spam HyperNet Offers with overprices raffles, massively inflating the profit margin on some valuable items with no real use. I suspect that some marketeers are currently buying up low-volume and high-margin rare drops like Pirate/Faction modules to do just this. Whether or not the latter happens though is dependent on whether it’s more cost-effective to buy PLEX and turn it into HyperCores or ISK. I suspect that the conversion from RMT to ISK is just about to be more lucrative for those willing to wait.

I also have to wonder if we will see the rise of third-party services for this system. Unless CCP expressly forbids it, we could see forum threads and services advertising HyperNet Offers for high-value items.

HyperNet Relay is available on the Singularity test server today and will be officially launched on 10 December with the Free Market Release.

In other EVE Online news, CCP has just kicked off the return of daily login bonuses and the Skilling Spree.

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