PLEX for Good: EVE Players Donate In-game Funds to Real-world Disaster Relief

Your EVE character: tough, uncompromising, brutal... big into charities.

The economy of EVE Online is a strange one -- possibly unique, in that the value of the game's currency (ISK) has a verifiable, equivalent real-world value. This is due to the fact that CCP allows players to buy gametime codes outside the game (perfectly normal), and then use those codes to create in-game items: PLEX, or Pilot License EXtensions, which can be used by the original player or sold on the in-game market for ISK (something not seen in any other game of which we are aware).

This setup creates a couple of interesting effects. For instance, a player with a sufficiently profitable character can basically turn EVE into a free-to-play game, simply buying PLEX off the in-game market with their character's wealth, rather than paying a subscription fee. It also allows people to report fairly accurately on the real-world monetary equivalent of the damages incurred by the latest hulkaggedon.

Most importantly, with the help of CCP, it provides EVE players with a unique opportunity to help those in need in disaster-stricken areas of the world by donating their character's wealth to the cause.


Eve Online: The Mystery and Allure of the Alt

I experienced a bit of serendipity last night on the EVE Online website. I had reset my settings for Aura (a fantastic app for the Droid that helps me monitor my skill queue and look up gear and ships while offline) and needed reenter my character's API key into the App to get things synced back up. I knew I could retrieve the key from the main EVE website but, as with most things on the internet, I wasn't sure exactly where the page was located, so I did what I usually do: poke around and explore.

At one point, I was asked for my login and password and without really thinking about it I tapped out a familiar userid, hit submit, and was met with the following message.

This was an odd enough error to pull my attention fully back to the screen, and I realized that good old muscle memory had taken over -- I'd entered in a different userid than the one I actually used in EVE, but one which I had used quite often in the past.

Like, for instance, four years ago.

My curiosity piqued, I told the site I'd forgotten my password, gave it a likely old-school email address, and a few minutes later I had a reset password for the defunct account sitting in my inbox. A few more clicks, a quick chin nod toward Paypal, and I had reactivated the long-abandoned account.

My mild curiosity had gone rabid -- updating Aura was a distant memory -- I logged into EVE with the new/old account information and was greeted by a dust-covered slightly resentful-looking capsuleer (who still had an insurance company's condolence EVEmail in her inbox for her training ship getting blown up). More importantly, I was greeted by a character who predated the fairly recent changes to EVE's skill system, and who had, as a result, accrued a double-handful of maxed-out starting skills and a significant pile of instantly-redeemable skill points to do with as I saw fit! I could...

I could...

I... didn't know what to do with them.

I had found that strangest of all EVE-creatures: an Alt.