-1 * -1: How I didn’t find an exploit

Sometimes you just have a crazy idea, and embark on a rollercoaster that usually end with it consternation, because it doesn't actually work. This ride was however worth it anyway.

Warning: This is a shameless repost from Reddit, and I didn’t really add much to it. It just has to be here because it became part of my eve history. This happened almost a year ago and CCP got informed, It shouldn’t be possible now if it ever was *fingers crossed*.

So as any newer aspiring Eve Pilot I was looking for a method to get a lot of ISK quickly, and stumbled across the Forum Post Goons 4x4ing trough the Sandbox. Now obviously this is old news and no longer works, but specifically this statement

[…] that we had to limit ourselves to keeping the total amount on any one character under two billion LP for fears of the number wrapping around to a negative value!


got me thinking. Further research leads to the assumption that EVE uses an integer to store ISK-Cents, and therefore 1.00 ISK would relate to a saved value of 100. Given that the python maximum integer is 9’223’372’036’854’775’807 anyone that had more than 92’233’720b to his name would see his account go negative. This is clearly hypothetical, as there is only around 1’750’000b in the game according to the MER. So who cares?

I did. But I knew acquiring this amount of funds would be totally impossible. But why not go the other way around, lose so much money that your wallet goes positive again? That’s what I was thinking about. There are two methods to reach a negative wallet

  • Getting CCP to not like you
  • Contraband

CCP is obviously not a predictable thing and as such only contraband is useful for a further inspection. There are only 8 different contraband Items (there used to be more), each with different legality in different regions. For anyone not up to date with this mechanic, when you get caught with contraband in your cargo, the following happens:

  1. You get a fine and/or standing Hit
  2. You are asked to hand over the Items or you will be shot at.
    • If you jump a gate you usually escape
    • If you get shot at and eject the contraband you will be spared

My goal was to get as many hefty fines as possible without getting shot at, as such I would also have to keep my standings in check so I am never kill-on-sight. I did a spreadsheet with all the options and found out that my best bet was hauling slaves in between Amarr and concord systems as I could easily obtain a freighter full of slaves in Amarr space which is adjacent to concord space (in Genesis) and concord gives you an 800% of estimate fine but no standings hit. The last part of the coup was to manipulate slave prices high enough so it wouldn’t take years to make the necessary amount of trips. Given that a freighter can transport around 169’000 slaves and with their estimated price manipulated to around 100m I would get a fine of around 135’200b and as such it would need around 680 trips back and forth on the gate. That is around 60 hours, the ISK/h would however be worth it.

I would have to make a throwaway character and skill it into a freighter, buy a freighter full of slaves and then control the slave market for 3 months. Before doing so I would however have to test a few things.

  • Contraband mechanics
  • Contraband fines (Do they work as it says in game?)
  • Underflow (Does it actually work?)

I realized that after some time you get shot at anyway, even if you do not accept/decline. This would be a problem as the NPCs use 100% webs, so you can’t even get back to the gate anymore. As it is only faction police shooting you the damage was definitely repable with a few logis, and you could still get bumped towards the gate. So I would need to not sit around on the concord side, and have Guardians and bumpers ready.

All tested contraband fines did loosely match up with the expected values. But the problem was that I couldn’t calculate them exactly from the estimated value. This meant that either I was just bad at calculating, or the contraband values could have been fixed in the past and any attempt to tamper with the estimates wouldn’t affect the fines.

And finally only ccp knows about the feasibility of an underflow.

The prospect of either losing a lot of ISK and time or destroying the EVE economy didn’t really seem enticing (Just donate so much ISK to your enemies’ wallets that it overflows and they can’t do anything – next level market PvP) so I finally decided to write a bug report.
Maybe CCP would at least say that it was or wasn’t possible?
I got the following answer:

I’ve looked into this and it does not appear possible to underflow the wallet in the manner you are describing, which means this exploit is not possible.

ISD BH Pyribex

So that’s it. I guess I would write the same thing if it was possible… but idk. Thanks for reading!

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