For a Chinese translation of this article, please go to this page.
To view the raw logs for the interview featured in this article, go here.
A key issue many players on Tranquility have raised with the considerable influx of players leaving the Chinese-isolated Serenity server is the widespread use of real-money trading (RMT) and botting to generate ISK. Because this was legal for Serenity players, even conservative estimates would put the majority of long-term active players on that server as being complicit in botting and RMT. As a result, Chinese players have been under close scrutiny for these bannable activities on the Tranquility server. In Fraternity, for instance, executor Noraus was banned for RMT last year.
So, when a Reddit post went up claiming that the Chinese-speaking The Army of Mango Alliance (AOM) had RMTed 2000 billion ISK, it added weight to many players’ suspicions. It comes complete with a screenshot from a Chinese RMT messaging group alleging that the alliance had directly been responsible for the RMT.
Unfortunately, due to Chinese internet restrictions, AOM’s response was limited to one Reddit post from a Test Alliance Please Ignore (AOM’s allies) user. It quoted a propaganda message from AOM denying everything, asking that CCP prove AOM’s innocence, and linking screenshots of ISK being legally purchased via PLEX.
Much of the discussion surrounding these RMT allegations is conjecture. It’s impossible for any side in this propaganda war to have a smoking gun over this issue as all screenshots can be photoshopped or entirely fabricated. That is unless CCP were to actually ban someone over this contentious issue, as it’s unlikely that they would interject into the conversation to vindicate any one particular side.
In an effort to get a more direct response from the Chinese community, I aimed to meet with Military Mantou, leader of The Army of Mango Alliance, for an interview. With enormous help from Hopper Timberny, who not only translated between Mantou and myself (including finding a messaging service we could all use) but also help set up the interview and provided a full translation of this article.
Curt: Can you shed any light on AOM’s previous group on Serenity? How long have you been playing together? What history do you have?
Mantou: Before Tranquility, we were an alliance called Pan-Intergalactic Business Community. We formed at the very beginning of Serenity, which is 14 years by now. After so many years of struggle and effort, we experienced weakness, splitting, and the challenge of extinction, we became the largest alliance in Serenity. The most important story in our history is the secession and the civil war in our alliance, and the war between us and the formerly strongest alliance back in Serenity.
After becoming the largest alliance in China, we went into a peak of missing goals and aims. And due to our nation’s policy, the server stopped updating and it shut down. So, we started again in Tranquility to continue the spirit and feeling we once treasured.
Though AOM was mainly formed by old players from PIBC, lots of Serenity players joined us too, many of which were old enemies back on the Chinese server. Now AOM is a much broader Chinese-speaking alliance.
Formerly strongest alliance? Who were they?
We called them FBP. They used to occupy Cobalt Edge, Cache, Detorid, Omist, Insmother and the whole East part of the star map.
What are the biggest differences and changes that you and your alliance have had to adapt to after moving to Tranquility?
The most severe challenge we face is that we came into a server which has been developing for more than ten years, filled with powerful players and factions. Now we are rookies with no skill points, and no money. It is like a child standing among titans. We are facing great pressure.
Can you provide any context, or a statement, on allegations of AOM using RMT to buy ISK? For instance, the recent Reddit post of players claiming you bought 2000b.
After the allegation, or rumor, showed up on Reddit, we gave our official reply immediately and posted screenshots of evidence.
We do have two players who donated a large amount of money and ISK to AOM, but their ISK came from CCP official trading by buying PLEX and sell them in Jita and Perimeter.
We would be happy if CCP can check through our alliance account and eliminate this false accusation.
AOM hold a clear attitude against RMT and bots. We do not allow any kind of bots or non-official ISK income. Once we find out any one of our members is trying to do so, we will report to CCP and punish the member at the alliance level.
Do you have a process for reporting RMTers or botters to the alliance?
After one of our members finds or suspects others to be a botter, he can report to corp management and provide evidence such as screenshots. The corp management will then report to alliance management, and alliance will then put an observe period on the suspect.
In this period, the alliance will send people in charge to record the behavior and collect evidence. After we make sure that his behavior matches with the features of bots, we will report directly to CCP and order him to stop botting. Anyone who ignores the warning will be removed from the alliance.
As for RMT, we don’t allow any kind of RMT trading information to be sent through the alliance channel, community, voice chat, or in-game mail. Anyone who is found breaking the rules will be punished.
Do you have to remove many for RMTing from alliance? Did many who were RMTing on Serenity move to Tranquility?
I have kicked members who sent RMT information in QQ. We consider RMT to be a harmful behavior not only for players but also for the alliance. This is because the resources they collect in game will not be used in helping the alliance to produce or to fight, but in exchange for real money, so I’m happy to remove such players out of our alliance.
If RMTers from Serenity move to Tranquility and joined us, we will kick them out as soon as possible.
What differentiates the major Chinese groups in Tranquility right now? Do they simply represent different alliances moving over, or is there something else to each of them?
Three years ago, in the immigration, most of them were our major enemies who lose in a great total war. They see no hope in the rising of PIBC, so they move to Tranquility such as some players in Ranger Regiment or Fraternity.
And the recent immigration is because the server in China was shut down and game stopped updating. Many of which were the winners back in that war. Such as many players in AOM and Veni Vidi Vici.
I think the major factor which divided us is the history back in Serenity, but this boundary is also becoming vague.
Are there any additional comments you’d like to make?
I want to speak to players from all factions. There used to be opinions that Chinese players are bad at the game especially due to botting and RMTing, some of which are true, but others are just rumor. An old Chinese saying goes: You judge a person only after you see his behavior.
We in AOM decided to shape our new image through effort. Though we’ve been here for only a few months, we have decided to integrate into the player community of Tranquility. We are happy that we can continue the greatness of this fantastic game with players from all over the world. Thank you.