Lotteries have a long history in New Eden. Tens of thousands of capsuleers, hoping to score some easy riches, have bought tickets over the years. Many lotteries have come and gone over the years, but the first of them still remains: The BIG Lottery.


Early History

The very first round of The BIG Lottery was held in the closing weeks of beta from April 14th, 2003 to April 28th, 2003. TornSoul, the founder of the BIG Lottery, refers to this as the “pilot” round – or round #0. Originally intended as a way to make a little ISK, he quickly discovered that the amount he could make was so insignificant compared to BIG’s other activities that he decided to simply give it all away.

Of course, many people were skeptical about the lottery. Many people assumed it would be a scam, but there were a few circumstances which mitigated those concerns. One was the fact that round #0 was held before beta, so few people cared if their ISK was stolen. The second was that back in the young days of EVE Online, trust was much freer. While many people these days assume any lotteries (including ones which have been as persistent as BIG!) are scams, back then it probably came at 4th or 5th on the list of concerns.

One of the more practical concerns that was raised by the community was the ability of one person to handle 6000 people buying tickets. One must remember, this was before the API, so everything was done manually, making it a particularly difficult potential challenge to overcome!

Of the many early challenges TornSoul faces was the ability to devise a system that couldn’t be rigged and which was transparent, so that everyone could see it wasn’t rigged. TornSoul also put a self-imposed restraint that the drawing had to be done by in-game means as well. In order to do this, he came up with the system of having participants attending the draw and being the random number generator, which led to some interesting side effects. Sometimes, people aren’t quite paying attention to the countdown. And there eventually arose an interesting “side game” of who could be the fasted in the ingame channel to produce numbers, which led to some fun and games when the drawings are done.



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