I think it's quite amusing the way they detail how to go about farmer-hunting. A guy from Enuma Elish apparently - according to the corp rep who showed up an hour later to ask why we'd popped his corpmate's mega - mistook me for an isk farmer when Atrocitas first moved into Arzi. Considering I was already on my way to Outlaw and had just acquired a 25mil bounty, we were all a bit sceptical about his motives.
*gets giggles from reading back through the chatlogs of the incident*
Arzi was crazy with farmers when we moved in. There were literally hundreds of them. A few were definitely macros and they disappeared quickly after we started shooting them, but most were real people being paid to run hauler missions back and forth 23/7. I honestly don't know if the alliance that was in residence when we moved in was letting them run in exchange for protection fees the way they were doing for all the other carebears in there, or if they were just crappy at shooting them. But we settled in and got busy, and the farmers were anything but silent.
[15:21:53] be ture > shit
[15:22:37] erentukas > genocid:)
[15:23:03] Shae Tiann > ... what the hell are you guys doing out there?
[15:23:20] Creesch > smartbombing
[15:23:20] Phelaen > smartbombing
[15:29:16] erentukas > killer still outside?
[15:29:53] be ture > yes
[15:30:28] be ture > Oh, God
[15:36:20] erentukas > mada....
And they weren't all in haulers, either. I lost a myrm when we went after a raven in a mission and he called in a neuting scorpion for backup. They were ballsy, bumping us with shuttles and noobships if we were sitting outside; if someone was flashy, they would shoot, too. Well, they learned to only shoot the red ones after the first few errors...
[22:35:28] Shae Tiann > evening, c
[22:36:58 ] (notify) C stone: You have foolishly engaged in criminal activity within sight of sentry guns and must suffer the consequences.
[22:36:58 ] (combat) C stone [0T66](Impairor) lightly hits you, doing 2.4 damage.
[22:37:15] Shae Tiann > ...well, that was silly of you
A lot of our sec went because we were killing them before they could loot wrecks - theirs or someone else's, they didn't seem to care which. Some, like 'be ture', 'Bwotau Zhao' and a few others, were fun targets and fought back well. Others were just meat on a hook and would return the most outlandish insults in exchange for their popped haulers. We got to know them and could identify one worker's set from another's based on the way they were named, the race of the characters, 'birth' times, and how often we scanned out 'AHYAMAHA' flying SHASENG's Bestower. Some were Japanese, some were Korean, a couple were from Singapore; most were Chinese. Every so often, one of us managed to get them talking and they were quite happy to describe the production-grind-style life they were used to. They were interested in knowing where we were from, what we did when we weren't playing Eve, if we would give their mission loot back or take money to leave them alone.
And we were costing them. Every time you steal a farmer's ore, pop his wrecks and cut his missions short with the aid of a well-placed missile, you are interfering in their job. You are costing them a lot of real-world money and making them a workforce liability by taking their stuff and hurting their agent standings. I'm not saying this to make people feel badly for griefing them; I'm telling it like it is. I could say something about how the gameplaying industry fits into East Asian society, but I don't know enough about it to make suppositions like that; if you start making generalisations, you end up on the edge of prejudicial stereotyping, which is something I have a raging aversion to :p It's an industry that may well stem back to the first days of online gaming - earning and selling ingame money for real-world cash. Supplying the demand, because nobody likes being skint; and while you can't do much about that in Real Life when you're stuck in a rut, it's a much smaller felony to remedy the situation in a virtual world. There isn't much that can be done to stop the practice, either - it's not considered a crime in the Real World, the perpetrators live on the other side of the planet, and the only measures that could possibly bring a halt to it would also ruin gameplay for the people who continue to play legitimately. All they can do is enforce measures to discourage player endorsement of farming, relying on the word of players to point out the farmers and banning accounts which receive inordinately large amounts of ingame currency for no apparent ingame reason. It does nothing at all about the source of the issue, since they just make new accounts, get new ISPs, rinse and repeat.
There's nothing that can be done about the hundreds of workers who rely upon the game currency industry for food and housing without applying far more severe consequences than any police force would see as reasonable. If we were to make OOG currecy trading a criminal offense, it would raise all sorts of issues about international trade, the limits of the world market, and who, exactly has jurisdiction over what happens on the internet. There are places in the world where certain actions which may be wholly legal in a game would be considered vastly more heinous; do they have the right to prosecute a member of their nation for doing something in a virtual environment? Or to enforce their own laws into a game which is published and run from another country and culture where virtual actions aren't taken as seriously?
Do we really want to go there just now, when the games industry is still considered a niche market, despite being bigger than Hollywood by now? I'm not going to outline the potential consequences of that; chances are, I'd only hit the less severe ones. We all know how members of the government can fuss over games content and propriety; what do YOU think would happen if they suddenly realised they could have a LOT more control over that than they thought they did? Or worse, that they could be making money from it?
As much as we might not like to admit it, ISK farmers are people, and they're not going anywhere.
... So shoot away! >=3