Once upon a time, there was insurance...
And for a while it was good. Citizens were happy because they could ease their pain after that evil, evil pirate made them go up in flames while they were peacefully digging the ground - a common event on our beloved Nia. But then came along two monsters, Greed and Hax. And the DEVs of the kingdom saw the gathering of dark clouds.
Insurance frauds? In my MMO?
Robot insurance payouts are based on the global moving average market prices of two weeks. This only means completed transactions so it does not take active orders into account. A system where we take the global average of all markets means that it's much more difficult to manipulate market averages. This, however, is also it's biggest flaw - when certain types of robots are only traded at a few terminals, the local prices go down due to the market wars, up to a point when they can be bought cheaper than the global market average. Due to some additional flaws in the mechanism, with good skills and good facilities it became very profitable to manufacture robots with the sole purpose of insuring them and blowing them up as soon as they roll out of the factory. The insurance fraud is born.
Healing the wounds of economy
We considered many options on how we should go about this, but in the end we opted for counting the robots that were used in these operations, checked the actual insurance payouts they received for blowing them up, and then calculated the real average market prices that the payouts should have been in the first place. The difference of these two values is the falsely gained money, their "profit". This is what we had to take away.
We have systematically inspected the transaction logs of all accounts that we could connect to the frauds. The vast majority of these frauds originate from the corporations Menace to Society, X-23, Mahtisoturit, BattleAxe, Not Amused and E=Mk2 but there are many more (the frauds were not necessarily executed by the corporations but by their members without the corps' general knowledge). During the server downtime today we have removed a sum of close to 1 billion NIC from numerous private and corporate wallets.
Now, this isn’t such a large amount considering the whole economy, but it’s certainly large enough to have an unnatural and unwanted impact on it, especially so early after the launch of the game. One of the most important factors in this game, the even playing field has been jeopardized. Counteraction needed to be done.
And they ganked forth happily ever after?
We certainly hope so. I know this is something that a company doesn’t do too often to its clients (which is sad), but I’ll try to be honest with you: Doing this hurts us just as much as it hurts those who just lost millions of NIC. But you all have to understand we’re in the same boat here. We could have started swinging the banhammer around but we feel it would have done more harm than good, so we didn't take disciplinary actions this time. Both you, the players, and us developers have the same goal - to have an ever-improving and expanding game, which stands the test of time. And if this goal becomes endangered, we have to act, whether we like it or not. I hope everyone agrees and this won’t have an impact on our good relationship with you.
Meanwhile, we are of course working hard to be able to activate the modified insurance feature again, and we hope to roll it out in a patch some time in the next few days.
ps. The next blogpost will really talk about the incoming updates and new features. Promised.