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Reader Comments (42)

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 6:21PM Schwinghammer said

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"accusations of corruption, collusion and favouritism"

I don't play Eve but I see that phrase a lot... O_o

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 6:31PM Controlled Chaos said

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What the developers say, goes. No game is a democracy, no matter how much they attempt to claim that the word of the mob can say otherwise. No one is perfect (not even GMs) and, obviously, it's just been subtle enough to slip under the radar as it was. They depend on the players to actually figure out that there are problems. Exploits that don't cause mass panic and problems are not things that go noticed and nobody is going to report it when lots of people are doing the same thing. A good example is that bug not too long ago with that group that exploited the unlimited range of short range weapons. That went secret for how long? Test Pilots got greedy, they paid for it and now the mods are going to end up watching for similar abuse of the system.

Time to get over it and move on.

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 6:31PM Psychotic Storm said

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It is an exploit any way you look at it.

I am saddened by the accusations, they should remember that GMs are not players, they are people who work and they and their family depend on the money they get, throwing accusations that could make somebody fired that lightly shows the ethics and maturity level of those that done it.

Frankly they should have followed the first advice CCP gave in their old "tutorial" if it sounds too good to be true then it isn't.

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 8:16PM (Unverified) said

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Ethics and maturity have nothing to do with it. CCP GM's have shown on more then one occasion that they cannot be trusted. I'm not saying that I personally think there is corruption here, but I will never speak out against an eve players decision to challenge a GM on their action.

The demonstrations of conduct past have given each and every eve player the right to make that challenge. If the GM team did not want that sort of pressure, they should have kept their noses clean to begin with.

Eve is probably one of the harder games to be a GM in, because unlike some games, which take hard, by-the-book stances against scamming, exploits and basically any other form of creativity, eve allows a certain amount of metagaming and flexibility, provided that leeway is not abused. Really, thats part of its charm.

But that does not mean the GM's should be above inspection from the playerbase, and if any GM cannot handle that pressure, they should be looking for another job, not whining about being held accountable for their actions.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 6:33PM Ashen Spiral said

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"IT Alliance could not have done anything to prevent the 14 claim units activating as they were anchored at the last moment and the server was not up during their deployment. According to all the criteria by which exploits are judged, this most certainly is one."

This isn't completely accurate. IT Alliance could have easily payed the sov costs for those systems to keep them claimed. They had months of time to do so. This would have prevented any sort of ninja TCU shenanigans.

Also the example where SBUs are deployed en masse against TEST sov systems is not really a good comparison. If this really had happened then TEST would never have filed a petition. They know taking claimed systems (as opposed to unclaimed systems like the 14 they took) is not a simple matter. The attackers would have to work across days to complete the process, and would certainly have to hit lots of ihubs and stations in addition to TCUs.

The bottom line is this. Taking advantage of downtime cannot possibly be considered a way for anyone to exploit their way into stealing sov. It will allow you to take unclaimed sov totally uncontested, but as it stands now it's possible for someone to ninja place a TCU while the game is up and running and have it finish its 7 hour timer without the enemy even noticing. Also if the majority of your nearest enemy happens to be mostly asleep at a certain time, a TCU could be placed and they'd never be able to get enough force to take it out within 7 hours. Maybe now we'll see players making petitions over TCUs whenever anyone tries to be clever with the timing.

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 8:14PM (Unverified) said

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The claim isn't that they "stole" sovereignty. It's that they took sovereignty without having to defend their TCUs while they onlined. They onlined TCUs in 14 systems without having anyone have any opportunity to attack those TCUs, so when the extended downtime ended, they automatically had sov in 14 new systems.

Your arguments in the last paragraph are complete strawmen. EVE is a persistent world with people playing in every time zone. Taking advantage of timezones when your opponent is least active and you are most active is one of the primary strategies in the game, and nothing prevents your opponent from usurping that advantage (aka "alarm clock op") if it has the will and coordination to do so. That's wholly different from being unable to respond, as was the case here.

Likewise, having a good intelligence network is a strategic decision. If "no one notices" you can online anything anywhere. Any alliance who cares about its territory or its borders will have an intelligence network that WILL notice and if they don't, they don't deserve to be holding sov anyway. IT would get zero sympathy if the TCUs had gone up during normal server uptime and they'd petitioned after the fact because they "didn't see them get anchored."

Maybe IT wouldn't have cared about those TCUs. Maybe all of them would've onlined without a peep. Maybe they would've attacked two and ignored the rest. Maybe they really are complete morons who wouldn't notice new TCUs in 14 border systems. During extended downtime, they were unable to make any of those decisions, because the downtime mechanics eliminated all possibility of there being a decision. EVE prides itself on being a world where player choice makes a difference, so a strategy that takes advantage of game mechanics to eliminate player choice was rightly declared an exploit. So long as they consistently apply this rule in the future, I fully believe it was the right decision, and I think Brendan explains it quite well.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 6:40PM (Unverified) said

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Hi, SirMolle

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 9:05PM (Unverified) said

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haha, love it
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 6:50PM GaaaaaH said

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The outbursts in public forums (such as massively) also make the EV general community look terrible through the actions of a minority.

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 7:08PM Henthor said

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since when the world is a true democracy?! ahh .... never mind, they will never understand. Great article Brendan, as always:)

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 7:52PM (Unverified) said

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Every time I read an article about Eve it''s always about the community getting mad at someones crazy tactics or whatever and every time I feel now this is an mmo! I just wish they made it a bit easier to get into

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 9:19PM Hummuluis said

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You might check out pkhq.net/eve - if you decide you might want to give EVE a run, we can send you an invite and if you decide to subscribe, we'll send you a 100 Million ISK as a token of our appreciation and to get started in the EVE Universe with some extra spending cash.

There's a lot happening in EVE, and with a new expansion on the horizon this month, it's the best time to join!
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 8:59PM JoolaPrime said

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This issue the EVE community is currently having has surprisingly drawn me to the game. Sounds like on a normal day there's quite a bit going in the game..

..pity I find it harder to get into than I do say FFXIV.

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 9:23PM DrewIW said

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You call this a "full blown invasion", and that "IT had no chance to defend".

This plainly ignores the fact that the TCUs were deployed in space that has gone unclaimed for a very long time. If IT wanted legitimate control and influence in those systems, they could have deployed their own TCUs.

Rather than use the actual mechanics that exist within the game to control territory, IT fell back on GM and developer favouritism, essentially exerting control over systems in which they had no legitimate influence.

I guess it's time to start petitioning every time someone anchors TCUs in unclaimed space. Someone's imaginary empire might be in danger.

Posted: Nov 7th 2010 10:25PM (Unverified) said

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Brendan may have used some particularly flowery language to make his post read better, but there's no reason to miss the forest for the trees. Neither IT nor anyone else is arguing that they had influence or control over those territories to the exclusion of other alliances, just that, if they chose, they should have had the opportunity to contest TEST's claim to them.

By onlining the TCUs during downtime, TEST prevented anyone (!) from attacking their TCUs for any reason. They used the downtime to avoid a game mechanic-having to defend your TCUs while they online. Obviously it has a disproportionate strategic impact on IT since it happened next to them, which is why they cared enough to petition it, but that makes their point no less valid.

Look at the mechanics involved and stop looking for silly conspiracy theories based on a years old example.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 10:51PM DrewIW said

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Kaseth,

When BoB used this to deploy structures during Delve II, Goons petitioned it and nothing happened. When it's used against BoB, GMs intervene. This exact same pattern occured with POS bowling.

It's not a "conspiracy theory" when there is an observable pattern of GMs and Devs intervening ONLY when these tactics are used against BoB.

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Posted: Nov 8th 2010 12:09AM (Unverified) said

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Look ahead instead of behind. Delve II was over a year and a half ago. The game is allowed to make new policy. Lots of things that weren't considered exploits have been changed or policies adjusted to make them exploits now. The only thing that will prove your assertion true is if IT does it to someone else and nothing is done. Personally, I'm going to guess that won't happen and, so long as it's petitioned, anyone trying to online sov mods during extended downtime will have the mods destroyed and the ISK refunded.

This change was about creating new precedent for how the game WILL work, for the better, in my opinion. It's obviously impracticable to attempt to retroactively enforce the policy against everyone who ever abused it in the past.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2010 8:10AM Brendan Drain said

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As Kaesth mentioned, and I pointed out in the original article, the problem here was that Test Alliance used downtime to avoid the game mechanic wherein an alliance MUST defend their TCUs for 8 hours while they online. It doesn't matter whether the systems are unclaimed, bypassing that mechanic is a clear exploit by any definition.

The claim is that it was dealt with because it was used against IT alliance, and in one sense that's true; The heads of IT alliance have been around for a long time and know how to use the petition system. When Test petitioned and were told it was normal game mechanics, they had the right to ask for an escalation and insist a senior GM get involved. Once that happens, the issue could be dealt with and a new policy made going forward. Unless you can show that a SENIOR GM turned Test down for petitioning TCU placement during an extended downtime, the favouritism argument holds absolutely no water. At best, it shows that the standard GMs weren't very up on game mechanics. If you deploy 14 TCUs, you're meant to have to defend those 14 TCUs for 8 hours while they online. It doesn't matter whether the systems are unclaimed, bypassing that mechanic is a clear exploit by any definition.

The claim is that it was dealt with because it was used against IT alliance, and in one sense that's true; The heads of IT alliance have been around for a long time and know how to use the petition system. When Test petitioned and were told it was normal game mechanics, they had the right to ask for an escalation and insist a senior GM get involved. Once that happens, the issue could be dealt with and a new policy made going forward. Unless you can show that a SENIOR GM turned Test down for petitioning TCU placement during an extended downtime, the favouritism argument holds absolutely no water. At best, it shows that the standard GMs weren't very up while they online. It doesn't matter whether the systems are unclaimed, bypassing that mechanic is a clear exploit by any definition.

The claim is that it was dealt with because it was used against IT alliance, and in one sense that's true; The heads of IT alliance have been around for a long time and know how to use the petition system. When Test petitioned and were told it was normal game mechanics, they had the right to ask for an escalation and insist a senior GM get involved. Once that happens, the issue could be dealt with and a new policy made going forward. Unless you can show that a SENIOR GM turned Test down for petitioning TCU placement during an extended downtime, the favouritism argument holds absolutely no water. At best, it shows that the standard GMs weren't very up on game mechanics back then, which was a genuine complaint that they've begun to address.

And if evidence of a senior GM ruling against this in the recent past existed, it should be sent it to Internal Affairs for investigation instead of spamming the forum and petition queue. The reason people used to spam the forum and petition queue when potential corruption appeared was that they had no legitimate way to ensure their message would get through to anyone that could make a difference. The Internal Affairs department was created for just that, and let me tell you after talking to some of the people at CCP I can assure you IA is serious. As in cheating-gets-you-fired serious.
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Posted: Nov 7th 2010 10:03PM Icemasta said

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I am a long time Eve players, and the downtime has always been a source of exploit, people breaking through blockades by logging in right after the down time, anchoring anything right before downtime or timing it with downtime.

The main problem the community has is that it has always been a problem ever since they started the daily maintenance. It was nothing new, and some people simply pulled too much on the "exploit" and it snapped in someone's face. I personally don't believe the whole BoB favoritism thing, but I do believe in hypocrisy; if you're gonna apply bandage an "exploit" because someone went too far, make it retro-active and permanent on all accounts of things that encroach on the downtime timer.

Further more, and this is also another cause of the issue, IT wasn't the only one to do it, and there is an API tool that you can easily access to tells you what system has recently had a TCU dropped in, and GMs mostlikely have that. What happened is that if you simply looked at the chart, you can see about a dozen other TCUs being dropped, and none of those were removed. That's one source of the issue, you don't suddenly make a new rule and apply it to half the trouble-makers.

What sparked even more problem is that the GMs only penalized 3 of the other 12 that were dropped, because "they weren't completely in the down time", those were generally dropped 3 hours before the downtime, so roughly 5 hours in the downtime.

So this brings us to the next issue: Did the GM simply didn't do his job right or was biased? By this I mean, if you are suddenly told about a new rule, and your job is in part to enforce the game rules, shouldn't you make sure no one else tried this shenanigan, especially if you have access to a tool to easily grab the information you need?

Finally, the problem seems to be something akin to the Jaywalking law. It's illegal to jaywalk, but cops very rarely this law, and in most cases they apply it when they're pissed off/really wanna give a ticket OR they've been called to give a ticket to someone who has been jaywalking (a scenario often seen near schools when kids will jaywalk). This basically puts in a biased rules where not everyone is punished and it's up to the GM to make the call, and when it becomes a GM's call, bias will always be called by the community

CCP can only do 2 things to fix the problem: Explain, clearly, how the new rule works. The second one, make sure rules are applied pro-actively instead of re-actively.

Captain Hindsight out.

Posted: Nov 8th 2010 7:38AM Icemasta said

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@Tempest
First, to clarify pro-actively, I meant that they should be looking for rule breakers instead of waiting on reports for them.

Second, end of first post/your second post is basically one of the reason there is so much rage about the issue, if you're gonna punish someone for something, punish everyone that did the same thing for the same crime. Scale shouldn't matter, otherwise you're sending the message "Yeah, you can break the rules, just don't do it in a flashy manner".

Furthermore, we don't really know, but it has probably happened in the past, maybe on an even bigger scale, IT didn't pull that out of their collective asses you know, this exploit has been around for ages! The main issue here is that they reacted to a report and finally decided "Well, that's not right!" except they didn't think what that would cause.

Finally, yes, policies change on reality, but they can also be changed wrongly. I need to go no further than a week ago in Quebec's law, some judged basically ruled in favor in a case where an ex-girlfriend (not wife, but they lived 2 years together) sued her ex for money for HER (not the kids, they were already getting a pension, 50k a month) . This put in the antecedent in justice that if a couple lives together for 2+ years, even if they aren't married, they become financially responsible of each other. Meaning whoever is poorer can decided to sue his/her ex for cash. This judgment is most likely going to go to the Supreme court and get over turned, but it's the perfect example of something thinking something isn't right without thinking of how it would affect the world around it.
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