EVE players love a conspiracy theory. They especially love a conspiracy theory that discredits their enemies. Accusations of botting and RMT are a time-honored tradition, easy to make and impossible to disprove. Occasionally they’re even true!
Lately, though - this past year in particular - there’s been a more disturbing trend. If a change to EVE seems to benefit those you hate, it's not just bad design, it's corruption. The Titan tracking nerf, Inferno 1.1 wardecs, the destroyers buff, you name it: it's all because CCP is in cahoots with [insert hated group here]. Examples are rife: the -A- guy who thinks CCP Fozzie is a PL spy and Jade Constantine’s wardec meltdown, just to name a couple.
Two days ago, I may have helped to spawn a new one. Kesper North, GENTS alliance leader, submitted an article for proofreading about the issues the CFC was having with the wardec system. You may have read it, but in short, an inescapable war is breaking the usual system of sovereignty transfer corps. The issue had been previously publicized by Dec Shield alliance and their effort to draw thousands of players into the "war trap."
Now, I proofread that article. There's a sentence in there: "Coalition members hope that a sovereignty transfer mechanic of some kind could be added in a future patch, or at the very least a fix be engineered for the wardec system." I thought about cutting it. Mentioning that a particular player organization wants anything in terms of game mechanics is a great way to feed the paranoia machine. Still, what harm could it do? I finished proofing, submitted it, and an editor queued it for one of our timeslots the next day.
That timeslot happened to be within an hour of CCP Tallest posting that the issue would be fixed in Retribution. Uh oh. Predictably, the thread became a haven for the "correlation is actually causation, no really" brigade:
They are NOW getting fixed because goons are in a permanent war. Seems ccp responds everytime the goons have a problem -.-it takes them now to actually do say something
More piled on:
Anything to make sure goons stays free of war decs right? This is a good thing though. Now the rest of the play base knows that if we want immediate fast action on an issue, we just have to have whatever it is affect goons.
Even with a few players giggling or making "tin foil hat" jokes, it continued:
Seems that if Goons say jump. CCP do say how high please Mr. Goon CEO...
...Not a peep out of CCP about the current state of the war dec mechanics and it was not until goons were griefed hard by it interfering with people transferring sov to them and only 45 minutes after they posted a QQ article on mittins website, magically CCP is on the case.
Bitching about the content or tenor of EVE-O posts is utterly pointless, and making fun of crackpots is far too easy. The changes had been coded days before and won't be live until Retribution. For what it's worth, CCP Punkturis quickly refuted the charge, saying that "as the person who implemented this fix I must admit I had no idea the goons were war decced or had any problems with it", and CSM member Alekseyev Karrde noted that he had discussed the issue with CCP weeks or months in advance of the GSF wardec.
So: a baseless accusation of corruption. Such is fairly typical these days, especially against larger alliances. The most interesting aspect of this one is how incoherent it is. The idea that a large sov-holding 0.0 alliance would care much about highsec wardecs is a little strange. Nullsec empires, as a rule, are supplied by out-of-alliance hauling corporations, and Goonswarm is no exception. CFC pilots are actively encouraged to get out of highsec as quickly as possible, and large concentrations of Goons are usually only found in Empire as part of Miniluv operations or Burn Jita-style sackings.
Accusing CCP of impropriety on behalf of GSF is somewhat ironic, actually. Goonswarm was forged in the fire of righteous indignation at developer collusion with player organizations. Older players will remember the T20 scandal, when a CCP employee kept an alt in Band of Brothers and actively worked to provide them with things like T2 BPOs and information on potential exploits. This ‘conspiracy theory’ actually turned out to be true and players decried the corruption. Under serious pressure, CCP instituted effective ethics reforms and created an internal affairs department.
I went to Warr Akini, leader of the Ministry of Love, Goonswarm’s highsec organization, for a quote. He provided me with this gem:
Taking away the foreverwars removes what was for the Ministry the mildest of inconveniences; our war targets barely ever undock, and almost never get anywhere near our operations. Only a couple of months ago, we sat in plain sight of a horde of ~elitepvp~ highsec mercs with a membership count not even a quarter of what we have now and we still managed to kill many more idiots than we lost. So as far as I'm concerned, the null guys benefit from getting around some silly mechanics while we keep doing our thing in Empire.
As for the dummies who get caught hauling on an alliance character? They deserve it.
I’d end this with a request for sanity, but that seems silly. Folks aren't going to give up their conspiracy theories. Fine. Can we at least avoid attacking CCP employees without evidence? Failing that, can we stop being jerks to Punkturis and Fozzie? They’re the only devs I can think of (apart from dearly-departed CCP Diagoras) that are universally beloved. If you must spin a paranoid fantasy, at least pick a hateable target.