Last week the theoretical link between DUST mercs and Faction Warfare seems to have been fully realized. Both Amarr and Minmatar militia “hired” DUST mercs to assist in corporation contracts to fight for districts within Kamela while EVE pilots plexed, counter plexed, and fought for superiority in space.
Reportedly, it was the DUST players who pushed the system into vulnerable (able to be flipped). However, that seemed to not go as well as expected. The system became vulnerable because Minmatar victories lowered the number of victory points (VP) required to win the system. This apparently caused a problem in the back end of how the system control is run. Although the system appeared vulnerable and plexing seemed to do nothing, as if it were vulnerable, the IHub was not able to be attacked. This caused the fight over Kamela to last longer than expected with the Amarr forces able to rally because the Minmatar were confused about how to make the mechanics work for them.
Eventually the Amarrian-hired mercs turned the tide on the ground and pushed the VPs back up above the threshold. However, this had the unexpected consequence of allowing the Minmatar to plex the system back up and eventually flip the system after several hours of fighting. Either way you look at it, the DUST mercs did have an impact, but it was the inverse of what was expected.
It is interesting to note that, at the time of these events, there was no way of actually contracting the DUST mercs. All negotiations were done through in-game channels with TeamSpeak intermediaries. There was also no way for the EVE players to compensate DUST mercs. One Amarr merc reports that the Amarr promised them ISK when that is possible. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a lasting arrangement, or if this ends up going about how any of us can expect (welcome to EVE, indeed).
There has been no word yet from CCP as to whether the problem was a one-off error, something that might re-occur, or how soon a fix can be expected. However, it was noted that a CCP member came into system while these events unfolded, so we can assume they are aware.
Susan Black, a cornerstone member of the Minmatar, wrote up her own take of the events. While a proper battle report is difficult, as this took place over hours, here is a sample: http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_id=16178892