If you're running an MMO, you need to know what's going in your MMO. That's the lesson that came from Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, Eve-Online's lead Economist who demonstrated the level of detail available to developers to survey the inner workings of their galactic community.
Eve, which is run as a single universe to which all of its 360,000 subscribers connect to, has a database of over 10 terabytes, which requires 24 hours for developers to submit and return survey queries. The data they gather is used to evaluate design decisions, track exploits and explain the state of Eve's financial market in a quarterly economic report.
Eyjolfur also revealed that CCP monitor their own employee's actions in game. "We have a secret unit called Internal Affairs that only monitors employees. Because Eve Online is a single shard with a player driven economy, any single dishonest employee could destroy the universe. We think of it as protection for our employees, and a way to ensure no cheating is ongoing.
The data gathered by Eyjolfur's team has been used to crack down on Real Money Trade and exploiters. In one instance, CCP discovered one player had run a single glitched mission over 100,000 times, producing vast quantities of ISK. Meanwhile, they spotted a significant reduction in player activity in one mission hub over Chinese new year - raising suspicions that the players based there were professional gold farmers.
Banning gold farmers is good for Eve, explained Eyjolfur. "Removing gold farmers improves [server] hardware performance. After we banned these farmers, the server load dropped by 30% per player."