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Internet Spaceships Super Drama

In what is probably the biggest backstab in Eve Online’s rather stabby history, a director of one of the key corporations in key PvP alliance Band Of Brothers has turned out to be an agent of their biggest enemies, the Something Awful spawned GoonSwarm. The consequence of this is some huge in-game material losses, but also the disbanding of the alliance itself. This means that the sovereignty game mechanic which holds Band Of Brother’s galactic empire together has gone offline, leaving them horrendously exposed to attack. Worse, Goonswarm have stolen the name and ticker of an alliance that has been running for almost five years.

GoonSwarm director The Mittani has had the pleasure of disbanding his enemies, reportedly thanks to access granted via a disillusioned BoB player turncoating to the Goon side. After deciding to backstab his former chums the BoB director was able to get to the controls and kick out the member corporations, and a steal a huge stack of capital ships and cash. Spying like this does not involve illegal activities such as hacking accounts, it’s purely down to players lying, and is therefore a valid tactic within the game.

This event is now the most significant coup in Eve history, not because of the money lost, but because the disbanding of an alliance means that all its defensive infrastructure lies exposed. Without alliance ownership various system-access jammers, jumpbridges between systems and other vital machinery of Eve’s alliance mega-game are put offline. It’s a titanic victory for the Goons, who had often quoted griefing Band Of Brothers as one of their core goals. The catastrophic effect this has means that BoB’s empire is now totally exposed to attack from its enemies, and Goon fleets are reportedly already at the heart of the former BoB stronghold.

While this is indeed an impressive work of infiltration and an amazing betrayal of trust, and wholly in the spirit of Eve, I can’t help feeling sad for the thousands of players who put so much into that alliance, only to have it taken away by a single person. Theft of the name itself is, indeed, a painful thing. In some ways it proves what an astonishingly clever space of possibilities Eve provides for this kind of meta-gaming, and in others: what a total bastard.

(Thanks to the two dozen people who mailed me this morning.)

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Jim Rossignol

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