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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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  • As a member of ISD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:24PM (#19278713)
    Sharkbait story has no merit.

    Other one really happened on irc:

    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: ok anyone know an ISD named rekan?
    Macayle: why?
    [IC]Raekhan: I'm right here.
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: you need to leave that system
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: you are making an ass of yourself
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: and of ccp
    [IC]Raekhan: ?
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: enticing the player base is not actions that you want to do
    [IC]Raekhan: What..are...you....
    [IC]Raekhan: ?
    Cortes feels a facepalm coming on
    [EA]Aristaqis: enticing? Was he putting on a strip show or something?
    [IC]Tsuki facepalms
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: the local player base asked him to politly stop pushing dreads
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: that were undergoing a siege operation
    [IC]Raekhan: I was not pushing a dread.
    [IC]Raekhan: I'm 70KM away.
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: it does not matter.. posting in local "no"
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: and that "your not going away"
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: and that all you hear is "static"
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: and to complain to eris discordia
    Admiral_Chamrajnagar: is not helpfull at all
    Cortes: which wouldn't do much good given I'm the IC VA
    That was the last I've seen of Raekhan.

    Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.
  • by Charcharodon (611187) on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:33PM (#19278771)
    Paranoid yes, but that doesn't mean "they" are not out to get us.

    It's hard not to be, you work your guts out and can barely keep a corporation with 20 members moving in the same direction, while there are corps that have thousands of memebers and seem to be able to print money and ships and can gather fleets big enough to lag out your connection when they move through your system.

    Of course that's the whole point of the game, it's not supposed to be fair. Eve is pure and simply a no holds bared economic simulator. The rules are few, and the strongest eat the weakest. People come in from other MMO's to play Eve with the expection that it is WOW in space. After a month or three they come to the realization that there are portions of the game they will never have access to, no matter how long they play and how much they grind, and that death can come for them at any time reguardless of how high they climb and how big of a ship they can field. Many never come to grips with it, so they start crying foul over just about everything.

    A player steals your ore or rips you off in a comercial transaction, it's griefing. A big ship has enough fire power to wipe out a little ship, they scream nerf. The little ship can out manuever the guns of the big ship, too much nerfing. A corportion that number in the thousands systematically wipes out corps with members numbering in the hundreds...

    ...it's CCP favoratism.

  • by brennz (715237) on Friday May 25, 2007 @08:53PM (#19278895)
    Game developer stands up MMO game. Game developer gets in bed with a group of players "A" and develops an incestuous relationship with them. Group of players infiltrate the Game developer corporation as both game masters and developers and start providing extra services to their own friends.

    Enter rival group of players "B" that threatens the hegemony of "A". Game developer supports "A" by developing items in their favor and scripts outcomes to favor "A" in RP events that dispense virtual cash and equipment.

    Rival group of players "B" uses kickbacks from and paraphernalia sales, earning the ire of the IRS in the process. [shatteredcrystal.com]

    Although most of the purchases ingame are completely virtual (money, ships, etc), if "B" is being taxed for finances relating to virtual acquisitions, shouldn't they likewise be able to sue under US law for breach of services by the game developer that is clearly favoring "A" in the ongoing war?

  • by vikstar (615372) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:09PM (#19278979) Journal
    Corruption in goverment, law enforcement, and the justice system...all these elements make for an even more realistic game.
    It is already one of the most realistic and die hard games around, including an awesome economy (where, by the way, I hope corruption also occurs). Unlike WoW where the economy is balanced by a magical "binding" system which doesn't allow cool stuff to be handed off to other players, and dieing to another player doesn't mean squat.
  • Re:WHO CARES?! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:17PM (#19279031)
    I do. I was directly affected by the last round of CCP interference.

    In the time between loosing nearly everything I had in EVE and discovering what was really going on I had worked hard to rebuild my EVE holdings back to where they had been before BoB showed up. Since I discovered what had happened I've stopped playing but I still keep the account ticking over and a passing interest.

    Sure BoB kicked ass during the entire war, but EVE is hard game and a little advantage on such a big scale makes a difference.

    Now I think its time to stop paying CCP
  • by jfp51 (64421) <jfp51@hoBOYSENtmail.com minus berry> on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:17PM (#19279033) Homepage
    As someone who knows CEO Pyrex in game, that POS bug storyu is lies. DS1 has 3 POS' and all of them are functionning perfectly. yet another lie from CCP to help Band of Developers. I have cancelled my account it is the only thing CCP will listen too.
  • Like a broken record (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:11PM (#19279345)
    The last dev misconduct item resulted in no action being taken against the dev. With the head honcho of game development saying "If you don't like it, leave"

    I wonder if we will get such an arrogant response this time.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:47PM (#19279589)
    You can't get it back after you lose it. People in general can be trusting but they'll remember getting burned. "No, really, it's not how it looks! I can explain why my hand is in the cookie jar!" Now you'll get to see an interesting dynamic. Few people in the playerbase are uber enough to be taking part in all this epic gaming and metagaming. Some may shrug their shoulders and keep playing, feeling this has no bearing on their little world. Some will get mad enough to quit and go do something else. Some will feel justifiably burned, such as the ones who were banned, but instead of going away they get all Alanis Morissette and stalkerish, trying to dig up dirt to expose the corruption to the game world at large. Some people are getting their bread buttered by this sort of thing so of course they aren't going to object.

    Now some slashdot readers are going to make the comments about "Pshaw, what if these people had lives?", immune to the irony of posting such a thing on slashdot. But I think it's actually an instructive lesson in human behaviors. People are the same the world over from the lowest shitkicker to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company: we're all just hairless apes dressing up our motives and actions in funny outfits, the same way we dress ourselves. We're all still hairless apes and our motives and actions are about who has the most banans and who's getting to fuck the pretty females. The difference between corruption and scandal in CCP and in, say, the Bush administration is that us gamers have a closer vantage point. Want to have a laugh? Read up on some of the inside histories of the Third Reich. (That laugh will by cynical.) You read about the interpersonal conflicts, dick-measuring, kool-aid drinking and self-delusion and it's no different.

    To that other poster who commented that Hitler might not have come out of the basement if he had RPG's to play with, you could just as easily say "if only that fucking art school would have let him in!" Every boy needs a hobby and anti-semitism was Hitler's fallback career.
  • The answer: yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_mighty_$ (726261) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:00PM (#19279659)

    Or better yet, imagine if Ghengis Khan, Hitler, etc. had imaginary wargames like this to play with. Would they leave their basements either?

    Apparently, yes, they would have eventually emerged from their basements. And they would have emerged mightier than before! From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    "The stunning Prussian victory over the Second French Empire in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) is sometimes partly credited to the training of Prussian officers with the game Kriegspiel, which was invented around 1811 and gained popularity with many officers in the Prussian army.

    Useful Historical Fact of the Day: If Hitler had played C&C, we would all by typing in German by now.

  • by tukkayoot (528280) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:15PM (#19279753) Homepage
    The game is real. I know. I've played it, and it wasn't all in my imagination. I recently canceled my subscription though I must admit it had little to do with these scandals.

    What I assume you mean to say is that what goes on in the game is not very important in the grand scheme of things, and to an extent, you're right ... but then, people get pissed off about all sorts of stupid, minor things all the time. People get pissed off when their order at a fast food joint was screwed up. They get pissed off when a stranger on the street gives them a nasty look. They get pissed off when someone cuts them off while driving. It's human nature.

    It's only natural that someone gets "pissed off," enough to go off on a strongly-worded, lengthy rant about a game they've invested hundreds of hours in when the people whose profession it is to keep the game running smoothly and on the level, they find out, have been actively assisting your in game rival's opponents in their cheating, actively thwarting your efforts to try to enjoy yourself by achieving the goals you've set for yourself in the game.

    Sure, you can just stop playing, but if you've spent a lot of time playing the game, and if you generally enjoy it, why should that be your first option before expressing an apparently well-founded concern and complaint, hoping to see that concern escalated to the point where something is actually done to remedy it? No, things will never be perfect, but what could happen is that the game management decides to make the integrity of the game a priority and takes a zero tolerance approach to staff misconduct, with a high degree of transparency and openness in terms of letting customers know what is and has been done to thwart and punish corrupt staff members.

    People will continue to complain, and yes, some of them will quit playing (as much as they might not want to) as long as these stories keep coming out, brought the the player base by other players who have been running their own investigations, or who have been failed by the official systems and policies of the company. In other words, until the staff gets so subtle and smart about their cheating that no strong evidence can be never be offered that it occurs, or until the company gets good enough about keeping its own house that it can catch the sloppier of offenders and come clean before it explodes into a PR spin/damage control fiasco (like the last scandal) then people will, justifiably, continue to complain.

    Also, one thing to understand about EVE is that the stakes are a bit higher than they are in your typical FPS session or even MMO. In EVE, you can go from rags to riches and back to rags again in a virtual eye-blink. You can grind for months to afford a new, decked out battleship and then lose it 25 minutes into its maiden voyage if you're not careful (this is why there is a common adage to never fly anything you can't afford to lose). EVE is also a highly PvP oriented game, not just in terms of combat and territoriality but also in terms of economy. It's all about acquiring and controlling resources, and the best resources require thousands of man-hours of effort and painstaking coordination to obtain and secure. These resources are fiercely fought over and negotiated for by large corporations (much like real life). If your enemies are able to find a chink in your armor, or have a critical advantage at a critical moment, you can lose the fruits of all of those many hours of effort with relatively little to show for it, which magnifies dramatically the importance of good strategy and smart play, but also the consequences of cheating, mechanics abuse and staff favoritism.

    If someone uses an aimbot in a FPS, the solution is pretty simple, you find another server or play with people you know are a bit more trustworthy. You don't really lose anything besides a few minutes of your time if you get fragged by a cheater. In a game like Word of Warcraft, a cheater might deny you your rightful fruits of victory (wh
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:15PM (#19279757)
    Money can buy va... Noooo, not gonna go there.

    The problem with PvP-heavy MMORPGS, such as EvE, is, that whoever has the biggest balls can also get the biggest share of the cake. In EvE this means you get access to newer blueprints for new equipment before others get it (if they ever get it, that is). Of course, playing a game is more fun when you have all the goodies.

    Now, you can't simply hack into the DB. First of all, someone at the company will notice it sooner or later, and it could well cost you your job. You can't even simply pump yourself a few billions of credits, because that would CERTAINLY start to surface, since the EvE economy is heavily player driven, and the influx of a lot of cash is even more noticable than in other MMORPGs. Not to mention that the the overall money available is quite closely monitored, you notice that even as a player without any access to any kind of logs.

    So the only thing you can do, if you have the power to run events and want to cheat, is to rig said events.
  • by sopwath (95515) <justins at visi dot com> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @12:18AM (#19280225) Journal
    In the past, neither GMs or Devs have needed corporate access to fix POS issues. The DS1 CEO said he never petitioned the stations for support in any way.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @12:41AM (#19280373)
    It's still kinda odd when you consider the way events ran.

    1. A player (not a dev, not a GM, not a superior. A PLAYER) tells the reporter, who is sorta-kinda "working" for CCP to "get lost".
    2. Reporter rejects.
    3. Someone who has appearantly never been in the channel before logs into IRC and tells the reporter in no uncertain terms to get lost DAMN RIGHT NOW OR ELSE.
    4. Reporter asks who the heck this person may be.
    5. Reporter gets banned.

    No appeal, no explanation. According to him, he wasn't pushing anyone, according to the player, he was. Now, I dunno about you, but I find it highly ... interesting (don't want to use the worse word) that CCP (or maybe just some guy working there...) appearantly gives the request of a "simple" player more consideration and gives him and his side of the story appearantly also more credit than someone they "hired" as a reporter.
  • by ShortSpecialBus (236232) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @01:45AM (#19280787) Homepage
    I'm going to have to disagree a bit there, with the whole "isk is hard" thing. I've been playing for less than two months. If you are more creative than mining veld in empire, you can make amazing amounts of isk. 50 million a day from ratting alone isn't that difficult at all, just takes a few hours a day. Seeing as a battleship costs 110 million (usually less, down to about 55 million depending on type) unfitted, 3 days can pay for a battleship with t1 fittings without much effort. t2 fittings will bring the price up a lot, but still within reason. Especially because unless you are a fool, you are insuring your ship with platinum, which will pay out basically the entire cost of the ship. So, pretty much if you lose your ship (BS or less in value, I'm not talking cap ships) you're only losing 50 million at most with named t1 fittings.

    Also, new players can make a difference on their first day if they choose. Granted, it helps to be in a 0.0 corp on your first day, but you can still be useful in lowsec ganking no matter what, as a frigate tackler. It's not like if you aren't a 20 million SP player, nobody will want you in a gang with them. Even the 900k SP player on his first day is useful and can turn the tide of a small fight.

    One of the best things about EVE is that you make a difference and can feel part of the game right away as supposed to needing to grind forever to do anything worthwhile. That, and you die a lot, and you do actually lose something, even if its minimal as far as time goes. Never being safe anywhere is fun, and keeps it from becoming monotonous.

    The whole mess now is pretty bad. I'm in one of the corps involved on the non-CCP side, and we've been battling BoB for a while now. The problem isn't so much that we think BoB is cheating, because we knew the developers were doing that for a while now, the problem is that CCP will cover it up and BoB doesn't even bother to hide the fact anymore. And the cheating (or if not cheating, curious indescretions) is/are getting more blatant and obvious. The t2 BPO rigging wasn't out in the open, but the GM joining DS1 and making himself a director for no apparent reason, and deleting all the questions as to why is offputting to say the least. The guy getting fired because BoB wanted to show off how connected they were is awful.

    Possibly the worst one of all is the RP rigging. Lots and lots of people don't play in 0.0, they play in empire. I don't think I could handle spending any time in empire besides occasionally buying stuff on the cheap or ganking something, but for the large number of players that do, I think RP is pretty important to them. A lot of people don't care what happens in 0.0, but they've now crapped on everyone.

    The whole thing is depressing.
  • The problem is (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:16AM (#19281509)
    That developers are to their game world as deities are to the real world. They don't obey any of the normal bounds. Even though the government plays by a difference set of legal rules than citizens in the real world, they are still bound by the same basic physical laws. There is no such limit to developers in games. If they want something changed, they can change it. They aren't the government, law enforcement or anything else, they are gods.

    As an example I used to be an Immortal on a MUD. That's a developer, CSR, GM, whatever you want to call it in today's terms, on this MUD, Immortal was the name. In my case, I was essentially a senior GM in current terms. We logged in to the game same as players did, and had the same basic text interface. However where a player might have 50 or so commands we had like 200. They ran the full gamut of godlike abilities. I had a kill command that would kill whatever I specified, NPC, player, whatever. No checks for any kind of resistance, you just died. When in an area, you'd see a description (that an Immortal had written). I'd see that too, but prefixed with a number, which was the actual area number. I could go to any area simply by issuing a command with the right number, no matter where it was. I had a whole host of player editing commands, I could change anything on any player account. Any stat, any item, etc. They didn't even have to be logged in. Heck if I wanted I could tell the MUD to stop and entire section for debugging, all the MOBs would stop doing things, all scripts would cease.

    Now that would mean that corruption on my scale was rather different than on a player scale. A player might work hard to infiltrate a rival guild to spy on them, I could just order the MUD to give me their chat logs. A player might steal money from their allies for their own gain, I could create as much money as I wanted, presuming I had anything to spend it on. A player might hatch an elaborate plot to sabotage rivals as they killed a powerful MOB, stealing the loot for themselves, I could simply create the item in my inventory.

    That's the problem here. There is no real world analogue because such power can't be wielded in reality.

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