ike many MMOs, EVE Online has a problem with players buying ISK from shady websites to short-cut the ISK-making process. On the other end of the spectrum, many players are great at making ISK but unable to afford the monthly subscription. To kill two birds with one stone, CCP created PLEX. Sixty-day game time codes purchased for cash can be converted into two 30-day Pilots License Extensions, which become items in the game. The PLEX can then be traded to other EVE players for ISK, creating a legitimate way to buy ISK without fear of being hit by the ban-hammer. Players with some ISK to spare can buy PLEX from the market and redeem them for game time, essentially playing for free. It’s an innovative system, and until recently it was a completely safe market to deal in.
To verify that the kill wasn’t a hoax, one of the pilots provided the killboard website with his EVE API key. This gives direct access to parts of the player’s private data, including their recent kills, straight from CCP’s own database servers. At current prices, the 74 PLEX destroyed would have sold for a total of over 22 billion ISK, or they could have fueled an EVE subscription for six years and two months. The huge cache of licenses represented approximately $1,295 US worth of game time that someone purchased. Perhaps the real winner here is CCP, who was paid for $1,295 worth of game time that can never be redeemed. Some players have suggested that CCP should donate the value of all destroyed PLEX each year to a charity, in a similar manner to the PLEX for Haiti campaign earlier this year.