|Arbalester Goblin Squad Member|
As far as I understand it, Decius, that's not the part of EvE Online that Xeen was talking about. Suicide ganking is a separate issue. What Xeen is talking about is the ability for entire corps in EvE to corner the market in specific geographic (cosmographic?) sectors by buying every single unit of a specific good on the market and reselling them for up to five times what they are worth. It is possible to maintain this price gouging if the corp has enough members in different time zones to keep an eye on the market 24/7.
Even in games with more controlled pricing, exploitation is more than possible. The MMO Runescape had this problem for years after their global market, the Grand Exchange (abbreviated to the GE), came out. A quick summary: On the GE, the price of an item was determined by the daily average price of that item. (Maybe it was the weekly value, I can't remember.)Players could not post a price for that item more or less than 5% of the GE price. Over time, if enough players put higher or lower prices for an item, the daily value would change, as would the GE base value.
This had huge exploitation possibilities, arguably even more than the free-for-all PvP area this system replaced (that's a long story), albeit far more subtle. Entire player clans formed for the sole purpose of buying and selling a given item for 5% above daily for several weeks, driving the price up to double or triple what the item itself was worth, then cashing in on the inflated value, repeating with some other item. (These clans were known as "merching" clans or "merchers".) What made the system so effective was that success bred success; the extra money made from the price gouging could be used to make the next price gouging more effective, since you could buy and sell more of a given item at once. Granted, this tactic didn't work very well with extremely high-traffic items or staples used by many players, but that didn't stop some merching clans from trying. Even with a global market, where players didn't have to worry about transporting goods from one market to another, and a quasi-socialist pricing scheme, players STILL found ways to artificially game the market!
Long story short: Yes, merchants absolutely can do some dirty deeds.
Mind you, in both EvE and Runescape, price gouging didn't require the goods to really be transported anywhere to work, meaning that banditry and SAD wouldn't effectively counter them. But that's a discussion for another thread.