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Yet Another EVE Online Scandal? 259

Posted by Zonk
from the oi-vey dept.
Ariastis writes "An open letter, posted by former EVE Players, levels some new and serious accusations against CCP, the makers of the EVE Online MMOG. In the letter, chat logs & event timelines, along with description of in-game events from CCP-Approved reporting users, describe how most of the big role-playing events are rigged to favor specific alliances & players by CCP. More disturbingly, these users also appear to have CCP employees 'on call', ready to step in on behalf of the favoured players and alliances within the game. CCP reaction is member-only, but a forum thread has been left open to discuss about it." It should be pointed out at the moment all of the evidence put forward is circumstantial; take with a grain of salt. The issue of corruption in EVE was addressed in our interview with Magnus Bergsson at GDC.
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Yet Another EVE Online Scandal?

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  • Re:Thread (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nyphur (514992) <nyphur@gmail.com> on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:19PM (#19278669) Homepage
    Oops, that didn't post correctly: As a point of fact, the forum thread linked in the article is being heavily moderated. An unmoderated version can be found here: http://www.eve-search.com/index.dxd?thread=526462 [eve-search.com].
  • by Mark19960 (539856) <Mark@freequest . n et> on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:19PM (#19278673) Homepage Journal
    I knew it was a matter of time before this happened again.

    Grain of salt?? there are SCREENSHOTS to prove it.

    So, why did a dev join a player corp, and when the CEO of the player corp petitions it
    to find out WHY they did it, the petitions vanish?

    Then, when they have no recourse, and no avenue of contacting CCP and they make it a PUBLIC question
    they just start MASS BANNING players?

    This is just inappropriate behavior from a company.
    Every time these boneheads cheat/lie/and rush to ban players they lose money.

    Another cover-up will take the place of this.
    They will say 'nothing inappropriate occurred and ignore/ban anyone that questions it.

  • by ncoll (1107465) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:27PM (#19278737)
    It's actually not so strange, or so rare, that this happens. Say your POS(Player Owned Station(or Structure), deployable thing at a moon in space) got bugged(Not uncommon) doing whatever, such as super-capitalship construction, it might need a DEV/GM to join the corporation itself, try to see exactly what the bug is from the corporations point of view, then fix it. But the CEO not knowing about it is indeed strange, maybe one of his directors petitioned, logged off, and the CCP employee had to join to figure it out.

    As for the petition being deleted, my guess would be as good as anyone's.

  • by Breakyismyname (1107453) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:55PM (#19278903)
    EVE's head of Internal Affairs, GM Arkanon has posted: Dear players. Forgive us for being brief, but there has not been much time to prepare this statement. Our forums have now been taken down due to the load generated by player response to allegations of developer misconduct. We urge people to wait until the facts are out, rather than taking sensationalist statements at face value. Our preliminary findings indicate that what happened what simply a developer doing his job ingame. He joined the corporation in order to access their POS, which was bugged. We humbly ask our players to trust that the internal monitoring of our employers is being taken seriously. The current allegations will be fully investigated and we will publish our findings at the first opportunity. Please understand that this may not be today or tomorrow, but this issue will not be ignored. The forums will be brought up again as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Arkanon CCP Internal Affairs Now this was was removed within an hour or two. Their initial response has been to comment on one of 3 specific allegations of misconduct and ignore the other two entirely. Somewhat surprising.
  • by Colin Winters (24529) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:39PM (#19279161)
    EvE is a well established game. In EvE, characters advance by in game time, thus the older a character is, the more powerful it is. So how is it surprising that developers grow close ties with the older, established players? Those are the ones who have been around since the start. On the eve-o forums, one of the high-ups in the best alliance in the game, Band of Brothers, is repeatedly stating that the developers are friends with BoB members.

    Here's an example: http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u162/grover2828 /510.jpg [photobucket.com]

    This is simply to be expected in a game where developers play the game along with players, and further, where the company recruits its GMs from the playerbase.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:07PM (#19279325)
    Damn, I hope an educated comment won't do anything to hurt my karma. Anyway... been playing EVE for almost a year now. I'm a huge fan of Elite-style space exploration/trading/combat games and that's basically what EVE is going for with influences from all of the Elite-inspired games that came before it. The basic idea is very solid.

    What's the advantage of a multiplayer vs. single-player game? For starters, you think you have a continued universe to explore. Once you beat the storyline in games like Escape Velocity: Nova or Privateer, there seems to be little left to do in the galaxy. The attraction of an MMO is that the players are creating the storylines and you can keep playing for as long as it interests you.

    The problem with that idea in general for MMO's is the grind. The gameplay elements that were once the interesting parts of the game become drudgery since you are obligated to keep grinding out those missions to get anywhere. When does sitting on a boat fishing become drudgery? When it ceases to become a passtime but a means to an end.

    With EVE in particular death comes at a high price, you lose your ship and whatever was in it. That can represent a month or more of playtime. If you want to PVP against other players, you are putting your ship at risk. It's precisely like gambling and people praise and curse it for precisely those reasons. You'll never have the OMFG feel of barely making it out alive from a single player game unless you disable saving. Conversely, you'll never have the "I think I want to vomit" special feeling when you can reload from a save.

    So what this means is that an EVE player has to have an occupation so as to collect his chips. The biggies are mining, ratting (hunting NPC's down in public areas), and missioning (where you have what is like an instanced dungeon except other players can still stumble across it.) These missions are quite fun at first, who doesn't enjoy blowing crap up on the computer? But there is little randomization within the missions so you know precisely what to expect. More difficult missions have the potential of destroying your ship. So, that kind of risk will make things interesting right? Yes and no. You can always try to warp out of a mission when you see you are in over your head. But at greater difficulties, the enemy will have scrambler frigates that zoom in and disable your warp drive. In other words, by the time you find out you're in over your head, there's nothing you can do about it.

    So, how does this cause problems? You need to make your isk (in-game currency) to be a playah but it takes ages to earn it. The most lucrative areas of the game (lowsec and nosec) are heavily patrolled by player factions who have claimed ownership. NPC complexes in those areas can be regularly raided for massive isk payouts. Tribute collected from people travelling through the area can create a sizable passive income stream, not to mention the mining of rare minerals and such there. The wealthy factions can also buy blueprints for important equipment and ships in the game and make a fortune manufacturing them. The early scandals involved the CCP admins giving preferential treatment to the largest in-game faction, basically handing them the keys to an isk-printing factory. And even without that being the case, their concentration of capital would have allowed them to buy into the manufacturing racket anyways and thus further consolidate their financial position. Because warfare in EVE is a matter of attrition, he who has the most to attrit wins.

    EVE has removed the leveling problem inherent in most MMORPG's, your skills train whether you are in the game or not. But because of the expense of your ships and how much you stand to lose when you are killed, you are left grinding for isk instead of xp.

    When you get right down to it, the difference between a singleplayer Elite-clone and an MMORPG like EVE is that you have the gameplay process greatly extended. How long does it take you to get an uber ship in Privateer with all the fitti
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:24PM (#19279431)
    That some key events are rigged is a given. Sorry, but it can't be any other way. Storylines are developed months in advance, the developers need time to implement them. You can't develop two or more stories and possible outcomes just in case it turns out this or that way. That's even quite understandable. What's less understandable is that this is used as a lever to give a certain corp the upper hand.

    The question remains, what do you plan to do against it?
  • by AugstWest (79042) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @01:34AM (#19280339)
    If anyone in my Alliance in Eve has a problem, we have to file a petition. This is often akin to calling Dell customer support in India. I've known people with clear-cut issues who have had to wait over a month for a petitions response.

    Then you have guys like the CEO whose corp was "infiltrated" by a CCP dev. He filed a petition to find out why a developer was a Director of his corporation. His petition was deleted. He filed another. It was also deleted.

    BoB, on the other hand, can completely circumvent this whole system by simply chatting on MSN.

    That shows with 100% clarity that we're not on a level playing field, and that this one alliance, which happens to be steamrolling over every other alliance in the game, has an unfair advantage.

    It doesn't help that this Alliance has benefited from developer cheating before. It has been proven, and only after over 6 months of research and intense complaints from customers, did CCP finally admit to 1/10th of the allegations before they basically did absolutely nothing about it.

    Yes, people are automatically looking for this kind of trouble. It doesn't help that CCP and BoB keep providing them with more fodder.

  • Don't generalise (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:39AM (#19282059)
    It makes me quite sad to see so many break down this game, because of this scandal.
    Wether or not it is true is beyond me, I've been out of the game for about a year and not up to date anymore.
    But even it is was to be true, don't make one bad thing turn this game into a horrible game. No matter what happened, Eve is still beautiful. It's player base is amazing, the developers works incredibly hard to improve and provide new content on a extremely regular basis, and the dynamics of the game (economy, PvP, etc) are just pure genuis.

    I had to quit the game because I couldn't get anything done at college anymore, but even now I have sworn to begin again after my studies. Not because it's just a 'good game' like what you can call Starcraft or CS, but because it's a beautiful world in there, driven by magnificent people, either players or dev's. No matter what happened in this current affair.

    Just wanted to notice that for the record, between all this bad karma :)
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:41AM (#19282069)
    The reason is more likely that in WoW, PvP doesn't play the same crucial role as in EvE (and my spellchecker complains that I capitalize every other character...).

    In EvE, PvP is pretty much a necessity if you want to play the "big boys" game. Furthermore, the economy is nearly 100% player driven, i.e. if you want good gear, there is no way in hell you will get it from slaughtering an NPC. A player who can build it has to build it for you. This is exactly the opposite of WoW, where every player can hunt down the NPC holding the precious item he wants (provided he finds a group of players to aid him. But he just needs people, not a certain person).

    Monopolization actually can and does happen in EvE. New gear is trickled into the game through players, not through NPCs. Someone gets the blueprint for a new and powerful tool, and he can charge whatever he wants for it. When those prints now go exclusively to a certain group, this group has a monopoly position and can abuse it at will.

    Being a Dev at Blizzard does not grant you nearly those options.

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