New player, negative ISK balance. Why no notifcations?

I was first encouraged to open a ticket by the rookie community ingame regarding the issue and then advised by the GM who received my ticket to share it here, so here goes:

I traded for the past few days as a completely new player. A couple days in I took a shiny omega deal to see if I could get a better ship with a larger cargo hold to do some trading. I do NPC missions for a bit, then move on to hauling on the free market. Eventually I find a station looking for “slaves” at a pretty nice mark up, so I load up and head out. I fly a few systems and then BOOM -21mil ISK…“wtf?” The NPCs tell me to give up contraband. How the hell was I supposed to know A. what I was hauling was contraband B. It was contraband in the specific system I flew through?

Risking my ship and cargo is fine, but WHY do I lose my ISK? I’m sitting at -38mil ISK and as a new player its a hole that demands I either open up my wallet or invest an ungodly amount of time to earn back some other way. I’m a trader, I trade things, and to do that I NEED ISK.

Please if you can put some type of notification on contraband bought from market with details involving the full financial penalty of being caught with said items. As a new player it saddens me that the feedback I got when I shared these details was “this game doesn’t hold your hand” and “what did you think would happen?” To the latter I would say I’ve transported things not even knowing full well what they were purposed for let alone if they could get me fined. I understand the game rules regarding this and have no qualms with them, however the game design should at least give you some credible information pertaining to the risk involved when purchasing items.

That’s all. Just another stupid player crying about how they lost the game. Losing a ship was always a calculated loss and something that made the game enjoyable, but this…this is a blindside that I hope nobody else will have to deal with in the future.

The game is really fun and learning 10 new things everyday made it feel like you are always improving, same with your ISK balance going up. But that negative deficit just makes it feel beyond demoralizing. Again I just wish there was some notificiation warning of how much ISK could be siphoned from my account. I didn’t even know you could have ISK stolen, let alone go below a 0 balance.

I seem to recall the 9th mission “Cash Flow for Capsuleers” of the career missions tell you about contraband to some degree. The one about destroying a drug warehouse warns you not to pick up any drugs as they will get you into trouble with the authorities.

I do realize that can go unnoticed, especially if you skip the missions. Also 21 million ISK might seem like a lot to a new player. I am an alpha miner, I can make that in about 4 hours very easy. I strongly recommend watching some YouTube video tutorials long before you attempt to even get serious about playing Eve Online.

I agree there is a lot to learn and this last summer, I told my friend to give Eve Online a try. He is still playing and has exceeded me, as his 3 alpha characters have made about 2 billion ISK barely trying. He thinks the game is far too simple to play, while I am now mining gas in wormholes.

I stated something last year about there needs to be more information on the item descriptions. All I was asking for is listing the counter measure that defends against offensive weapons. Many of the items descriptive information blurbs are just copy/paste. Many software companies have their priorities askew and this is just another prime example.

Fly safe o7


Theres only a few niche items that are contraband these days. It’s a very old mechanic and one of the few ways to go negative wallet balance. It sucks but congratulations finding niche gameplay!

For A you can right click and show info on items. For things like slaves and khumaaks it will say it is contraband and who considers it contraband at a faction level. So you’re supposed to know all about what you’re hauling.

For B you’re supposed to plan your route and know which systems belong to which factions, and since you’re likely hauling through high security space there’ll be Customs Officer ships there which are the NPCs who detect you.

It is an immersive game. There is no hand holding. If you take on cargo like „slaves“ and don’t check their details and like to play ignorant to the authorities under the assumption „it’s just a game move X items from point A to B“ then you’re quite literally roleplaying a slave trader who is ignorant and callous to the fact that he’s trading in slaves and bad at checking his cargo manifest and where he’s going with them, doesn’t even check his map and who owns the space along their trade route.

You’re supposed to know what goods you are buying and selling, their contraband status, and know enough about the in game world of which systems are owned by who, to avoid this situation. That’s immersion. There’s a lot to learn. Sorry you had to learn the hard way. You may need to spin up a new account to earn some ISK to dig yourself out of your hole, or beg someone for some ISK, or scam someone out of their ISK. These are all legitimate choices of bailing you out, it’s your adventure and your story to make. Good luck.


Easy way to make isk back is to either:
A. Do some hauling missions
B. Do your career agents for free ships and isk as well.

Io, hit the nail on the head. Contraband is an old mechanic that even I didnt think was still in. Drugs used to be but arent now.


I realize 21 mil ISK isn’t that much in the grand scheme, but a negative balance to a new player doesn’t allow for quick and easy ISK generation. You’re encouraged to open your wallet or put a ridiculous amount of time into the game just to get back to 0.

Nobody seems to have an issue with adding such a notification to the item as I mentioned(and most notifications can be manually toggled off anyway), so why not put it into the game? This part of the game is purely predatory whether intended or not. If intended, shame. If not, just fix it.

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The game has copious amounts of poip ups, people routinely ignore them, then lose a ship due to the suppressed warning, and have come to the forums complaining about “if only” there were a warning they would not have done it. When they already skipped the notification entirely.

The game is not going to hand hold you every time. You can choose to view this as either a fundamental flaw with the game, or the point of freedom in a sandbox.

You’ll go far with “right click and show info” on everything you find. You don’t need notifications. They would not have saved you anyway.

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I’m not talking about losing a ship and I have already expressed that part of the game is fine and to be expected. Enjoyable even. If I were to leave a station and get popped immediately I’d have no qualms about it, because its expected. I’m in full agreement the game is enjoyable without holding your hand on a majority of its experiences, but in this case I disagree.

I asked questions in corp and rookie chats routinely when I was starting to haul and not once did someone mention anything about being careful with contraband or its consequences. I watched numerous videos on how to fit different haulers, how to use eve trade, why not to autopilot. (I was putting in the work and effort to play my role). I read my tutorials, even started out doing NPC missions after the tutorials to get more experience. But all that is for naught when the game has a reset mechanic that blindsides you. I didn’t see a single tooltip mentioning 21 mil ISK would be drained if I had a contraband item in your inventory, or that contraband was even purchasable in different regions and subject to other regions laws. You’re not wrong in that the game has numerous pop-ups, some of which I found less and more useful than others, but one that I might have found less useful may have saved someone else. I’m not here because I ignored one, I’m here because there wasn’t one to begin with. If you can’t make that distinction I don’t know what to tell you. Adding this warning would not make the game any less of a sandbox, let’s be real.

A notification would have saved me. I don’t even know why that would need to be debated. It’s sounds like you’re a bit jaded to the new player experience of the game, so I’d recommend restarting a new game buying some contraband and going into an illegal system to see first hand what I’m talking about and how it can be pretty easily remedied. If you think this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back or its a slippery slope to losing your full immersive sandbox experience I’m just going to have to disagree as well.

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As io mentioned and i have as well, its a very low totem pole mechanic that i thought was gone. But i dont make it a habit of moving slaves across the borders etc.

I had no idea this even existed.

Good on OP for finding a niche gameplay mechanic.


There is a notification for undocking with contraband Items in cargo.


You have clicked that away at some point, because it is enabled by default for all characters.


I find it funny how people think that they are absolved of any consequences when they actively ignore a warning.

“I don’t read that stuff… So it doesn’t apply to me!”

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As Syzgium said up thread: you were absolutely given a notification and it is clear by this thread it did not save you.

Please stop letting your ego get in the way of learning and growing from this incident.

I’m not jaded, just enriched with years of experience. I’d accept an apology but I’m not holding my breath.


It is good to call people out on their bs but realistically speaking we all know it was just some random excuse anyway.




@ [Syzygium]

Thank you. This is the first helpful thing posted. The warning as posted here tells you something, but the underlying meaning is lost without additional context, specifically the penalty of losing ISK. That’s all I’d like to have amended for future recruits. “If you are caught a penalty of Insert amount here will be leveraged”.

True, that would be a better solution, but as others have pointed out, this content is like 20 years old and barely having any effect because barely anyone is trying to trade these goods. Chances are high that the devs simply have forgotten that when overhauling the new player experience. And you could have found the hint in the description of the item if you just had clicked “show info” about what you are actually transporting in your ship (after that warning message appeared it would have been benefitial to first inform yourself what “contraband” means in EVE).

I can only suggest to click “no” every time you get a warning message in EVE and first learn about the content the game is warning you about before continuing this way. There are many ways to just die without any chance if you do such a click. This can happen when entering LowSecurity Space and jumping into a Gatecamp. Or jumping into a Wormhole and finding yourself bubbled, scrammed and triplewebbed instantly on decloak. This can even happen in HighSec when entering Incursion or Triglavian Minor Victory Systems. Even if you think you have a very strong and very expensive ships. All it needs is that one click without knowing what you are doing and you will lose it in a few seconds.

Find a capsuleer corporation, one with active members online during your timezone and then just ask them if such things happen. There are plenty of “flight schools” around that take new players by the hand and teach them.

I appreciate the response. There’s not a single thing in this game that cannot be avoided by putting the game on hold and watching videos, reading guides, reaching out to a channel, or making a post. The implicit danger in EVE is 99.9999% of the time you’ll lose your ship/cargo or both. Even as a new player I understood that to be the danger in pretty much every exchange and activity. But this obviously was not that case.

I’m not sure what the age of the content has to do with updating it and making the game a better experience. There’s very minimal effort to change a line of in-game text.

I was asked to give my experience by a GM and I agreed to do so because I agreed with them that this issue could use a little attention for an easy QOL change. Since the issue is properly identified and the solution presented, any mod can feel free to lock this thread.

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If not many people are affected or it’s been in the game for a long time, chances are that it has been either overlooked or simply too low on the priority list of need to fix pile of bugs/QoL fixes. It might seem like something is easy to fix, but they won’t know that until the bug fixer actually gets to it and they will have thousands of other bugs to get to first that affect more of the game.


My dude, there’s far more profitable things an Alpha can do.


Did you read the wording? I said “4 hours very easy” meaning it isn’t that hard to make more. I just love how people never seem to read before they reply.

To further explain; most days on the weekends, I play for about 4 hours at most. If I find a gas site inside my wormhole, I might expand it to 6 hours but most of that is AFK mining. I really don’t care should another player blunder into my venture and it gets destroyed. The 30 million ISK per load is more than enough to buy more. I just cleared out 120 million last week, but I wouldn’t tell a new player to start up an alpha mining operation such as mine without working capital. Mining in high sec can easily net about 5 million ISK per hour.

As already indicated by your behavior, the text could say anything and it still would not help. People will undock anyway, skip the warning, and then start a forum thread blaming the precise wording of the text.

The solution has been properly identified and it is not adjusting the text on a warning box. It could make any negative claims: ISK loss, ship destruction, known to cause cancer to the state, doesn’t matter, people will still click through it and ignore it. The proper solution is the player taking responsibility for their learning — yes even when learning the hard way — instead of becoming the person begging for „WARNING: Contents Hot“ on coffee cups and lashing out at players in the community as being „jaded“.

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