×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Should MMOG 'Play' Be Confined?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the wild-and-crazy-mmogs dept.

Role Playing (Games) 62

Arti writes "Eve Online is famous for hosting the world's first virtual IPO, and also for its Byzantine 'meta game', in which players create fake characters and accounts to infiltrate each other's organisations for intelligence, theft or sabotage. More recently the game has seen the rise of Kugutsumen an intel blog whose creator has been accused of using real-world hacks to obtain secret information from other player forums and private messages. Some players are up in arms at the use of such out-of-game tactics. On the other hand, Kugutsumen claims these techniques have uncovered evidence of corruption. Quite aside from the legal ramifications of attacking other people's web forums, should game companies tolerate forms of 'play' that involve out of game illegality? Should they attempt to monitor and punish these kinds of activity using sanctions in-game, where the company writes the rules? This ties right back in to the discussion of Real Money Transfer we've been having over the past week. Where does the line between 'play' and 'cheating' lie?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

62 comments

Nothing to see here, move along... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831334)

This is nothing new. Such "investigation services" have existed in Eve and Second Life (and, I suspect, other online worlds) for years. For a fee they'll "investigate" other players (spying on them in-game and in forums). In Second Life you can also hire design thieves and the like, if you know where to look for them, to steal from other players. And in Eve, which has always been notoriously cut-throat [slashdot.org] you can even hire assassins in-game to "pod" other players (destroy their ships and "kill" them). So, this sort of thing is hardly anything new.

-Eric

Re:Nothing to see here, move along... (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831440)

And that is why I am all for things like that in games like EVE, and why I would never play EVE (far to cut throat for my idea of fun). So long as you don't break any laws, go wild! Heck, a number of social engineering scams in EVE have involved contact outside of the game (down to actual phone calls), so why not use legal methods to find out about these conversations?

Ofcourse, if you do break any laws, then, well you are breaking a law, nuff said.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17831660)

Gee, sounds like loads of fun. I'm looking forward to seeing a game based on surviving a concentration camp next.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17834684)

The issue raised currently isn't so much that you are hiring spies to infiltrate an opposing faction. There are actually 2 problems being mentioned:

1)People finding flaws in the message board code and compromising a website in order to gain information. While its information on a video game, its still causing damage to real world items (the server and applications on it).

2)The main issue brought up is the idea that a developer in a MMO has sided with a particular faction, and using his inside knowledge of upcoming events and changes he has been able to help his faction out. In a recent patch the price of a certain item was drastically decreased. Just prior to that we saw a large amount of that item being put up for sale. We also saw an item whose value was about to increase being bought in large number prior to the patch.

This isn't the first time either. Another faction managed to win a very expensive and powerful ship because they just happened to have thousands of minerals and random items waiting in the exact place the ship would be offered. It seems rather clear that they had inside knowledge of what they need and where they need it. None of this can be proven just yet, but leaked information seem to substantiate the rumors.

Arent... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831346)

There already laws on the real world?

Just like looking to solve a specific problem, somebody else has solved it.. Same goes for crime.

If you just thought of it, somebody else has already done it, and went to prison for it.

This story as as pointless as anything else "E". E-Mail, E-Voting, E-Chair.

Developers aren't the police (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831350)

Don't treat them as such. Their influence begins and ends with the game. They can punish cheating in the game but not breaking into someone's computer outside the game.

Re:Developers aren't the police (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831512)

Indeed, let the RL police do their job. While there are some laws concerning what kinds of lawbreaking must be reported by covered entities, beyond that, the game developers/publishers have no other responsibility. Some players might appreciate a more proactive publisher, but that can cut the other way too and chase potential customers away.

Our corporation's greatest enemy (4, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831358)


My Eve Corporation's greatest enemy is a player named "Achomemnon".

Currently he's in the trunk of my car.

What? Its all just part of the game people!

Re:Our corporation's greatest enemy (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17832452)

(Quickly hides the chains and the empty bags of cement)

      Yeah, I mean, everyone is doing it. How the hell do you think I got the ISK to buy that Nyx? When some corporations' members start disappearing all of a sudden after a special invite to my lake, word gets around, and they're quite willing to "lend" me anything I could ask for... Great game, this!

      Now I just have to "ask" BoB to "lend" me a few 0.0 systems. Gotta hit the hardware store first...brb!

i don't see the dilemma (3, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831402)

Quite aside from the legal ramifications of attacking other people's web forums, should game companies tolerate forms of 'play' that involve out of game illegality?

Is it not so simple as just saying that violation of state or federal law is also a violation of the TOS?

Re:i don't see the dilemma (1)

Apache (14188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17832432)

Correct, it is not so simple. Part of the problem is the company is not based in the US. The other part is much of the player base is also not based in the US. It would be like punishing the Boy Scouts of America for breaking French laws.

Re:i don't see the dilemma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17833344)

Is it not so simple as just saying that violation of state or federal law is also a violation of the TOS?

The laws of the host company, the offending player, the victimized player, or of the location where the game servers are stored? How many regional laws do I need to be familiar with just to play a game?
Besides, if I am able to obtain a criminal conviction against another player for their behavior do you think an in-game punishment is really relevant? Conversely without a reasonable standard of proof for a player's extra-game actions how can you expect the game's administrators to respond to an accusation?

Game developers try to make sure their game environments are fun and that's all they can be responsible for. Anything that happens outside the game, even on the same computer while you are playing, really isn't their responsibility. Now stop asking them to babysit every aspect of your life simply because you happen to be playing their game at the time.

Real World Illegality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17831442)

No - the company running the MMO should not try to punish people for using REAL WORLD illegal means to advance in the game. Punishing people for REAL WORLD illegal activity is the job of the police. The only reason for CCP (owners of EVE) to take legal action against someone for breaking real world laws is if the crime was against CCP itself.

Re:Real World Illegality... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17832368)

The only reason for CCP (owners of EVE) to take legal action against someone for breaking real world laws is if the crime was against CCP itself.


      In a lot of countries, if you witness a crime and fail to report it, you can be considered as an accomplice in the crime. So if CCP had evidence of one player commiting a crime against another player (and not necessarily CCP itself, as you said) - they probably should inform the authorities. Dunno what the exact laws are in Iceland though.

Re:Real World Illegality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17834454)

> In a lot of countries, if you witness a crime and fail to report it, you can be considered as an accomplice in the crime.

Thankfully such "Good Samaritan Laws" are not in effect in this country. In jurisdictions where they were, they tended to lead to people refusing to talk to the authorities at all lest they be prosecuted for coming forward too late.

Re:Real World Illegality... (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 7 years ago | (#17833686)

So if there's a log on the company's server of someone brute force hacking my account password, they shouldn't do anything about it? What if someone announces specifics of an illegal action they plan to perform during a large online event and then the next day you read about such an action in the paper, should someone report the character who announced the action?

Anyway, the initial question is stupid. It is entirely too broad for something so complicated. It's like asking "if someone kills someone else, should the person be punished?" You can't say "yes" because then what do you do with soldiers or the guy who flips the switch at a death sentence. There is no simple answer without knowing specifics. In the majority of circumstances, I agree that the company should stay out of things, but besides the circumstances of the action, the company's policies come into play as well. If a company (like Blizzard) claims that they own everything the game, then certain actions would require them to take legal action outside of the game. Games like Second Life have other problems because they actually pay people for material created in the. Old school Ultima Online shouldn't have any problems because they have never seemed to care whether people sold gold or accounts online, so as far as they are concerned, nothing outside of the game has anything to do with them at all. The point is, there is no simple answer, and (at least IMO) slashdot shouldn't be posting such thoughtless, naive, simple questions.

Of course (2, Insightful)

haddieman (1033476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831444)

...should game companies tolerate forms of 'play' that involve out of game illegality?

Of course they should. The entire point of games is to have fun, not break the law. Games should, IMHO, allow you to do things that you can't do in real life, not reward you for doing them in real life. If someone can't seperate a game from reality they shouldn't be allowed to play it. To put it another way, if you are so involved in a game that you are willing to break the law to gain an advantage then you are not responsible enough to be allowed to play that game.

Re:Of course (1)

haddieman (1033476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831488)

...should game companies tolerate forms of 'play' that involve out of game illegality?

Of course they should...

Of couse they shouldn't I mean.

Re:Of course (1)

nule.org (591224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17832988)

If only the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL (and others, I'm sure) would agree with you.

Re:Of course (1)

haddieman (1033476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17833214)

Agreed, but that's not to say that the leagues don't enforce any penalties at all for players that break the law. Of course fining someone who makes millions of dollars a year a couple grand can hardly be called a penalty

Re:Of course (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17833352)

"The entire point of games is to have fun, not break the law"
But breaking the law is so much fun!

Besides, its the internets, there is no "law". This is doubbley true of eve.

Impossible (3, Interesting)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831642)

Devs will never, ever win against such spies. There's simply no way they can monitor all out-of-game communications.

An MMO is left with three options: promote this sort of activity because it further "involves" players in the game's happenings (this option is probably best for hardcore MMOs); take a neutral stance on the issue; design the game in such a way that out-of-game spying and intel-sharing is ineffective at changing the course of the game. This last option is the most difficult, of course, but it's the only way I can see of combating spies and saboteurs. Examples might include instanced gameplay elements that are impossible to predict or, in the case of a military game, an emphasis on small battles so that spies could never uncover a single masterstroke battle plan and spoil the fun.

One of the reasons that a warfare MMO/FPS/strategy game would be difficult to implement is because there's no way to secure all forms of communication. The game would not be fun if the enemy knew operational details because of a mole in command. This might very well be realistic, but try explaining that to all the players who just got owned upon launching their attack.

In PlanetSide, players would IM commanders in the opposing Empires and give them a heads up before we launched a huge raid. Even so, we would still have an advantage because it takes several minutes - if not an hour - for the other team to trickle to the battle.

RL as extension to VW / MMORPG (1)

UCSCTek (806902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831832)

It is generally impossible to keep out-of-game (OOG) activities from affecting the in-game play. Instead of despairing, I would say that most of what happens OOG can be explained in terms of the VW, and thus work it into the game. Example: developers could try to code the ability to hack into other player's virtual, in-game web sites into the game, and it maybe work well, maybe not. Or, they could just let RL spying take care of that aspect, and it would obviously "be done right". The main drawback here is that only those players who actually have the RL know-how can participate. Also, OOG physical interaction still crosses the line, obviously. So, as long as players are keeping their activities online, I say we don't need to make a distinction between activities explicitly in-game and those OOG but involving the game. It may as well be your avatar doing both.

In related news... (2, Informative)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831954)

A player of the popular on-line game "EVE Online" was recently convicted of hacking several servers for information on his opponents. He was sentenced to 30 in jail and finded $50,000. Oh, and his EVE Online account was deleted, too.

Re:In related news... (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17832546)

Troll???

Some people wouldn't know a joke if it killed them.

Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! ... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17832612)

Any links?

That would interest me quite a lot since many player Alliances in EVE recieved DOS attacks against their forums and Teamspeak/Ventrilo servers.

Re:In related news... (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17837912)

sentenced to 30 in jail

:(

finded $50,000.

:(

Oh, and his EVE Online account was deleted, too.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

-

The real solution (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17831962)

Instead of confining MMOG play, we should probably focus on confining MMOG players. * Note: I play WoW.

Re:The real solution (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17833870)

Wow, I can just imagine the pain and suffering 5 months of home confinement [cnn.com] with an electronic ankle bracelet will cause to MMOG players. Oh the humanity!

Instead of confining MMOG play, we should probably focus on confining MMOG players. * Note: I play WoW.

What dumb questions (2, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17832328)

Seriously, how does a game company monitor sites external to themsleves? They can't, they won't, they don't. If people are getting their sites hacked, then you bring in law enforcement. Ultimately, it is just a game (and it is a pretty boring one...I know, I play it). Should Blizzard take my Epics if I am caught shoplifting the expansion pack?

The story may be interesting...but the questions being asked are not the right ones.

You're missing the whole story... (5, Insightful)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17833156)

I've been a regular EvE player for over a year now, and I've been following these discussions in the EvE-Online forums with some interest.
The character Kugutsumen is the head of an in-game intelligence-gathering organization that has been doing these types of things for some time now, involving multiple corporations and alliances, usually under contract from their enemies, other times for his own personal gain.
His methods (which include bribing, forum infiltration, TS/Vent spying, etc) have been used in the past by some of the largest alliances, specifically the (arguably) most powerful one in game, named Band of Brothers (BoB), yet no one has made as big a deal out of these events in the past as now, because of one major issue: developer involvement to tip the scales in the favor of specific in-game alliances.
To sum it up, Kugutsumen has posted a number of logs obtained from 'private' BoB forums which point to one or more developers being members of BoB, and providing intel regarding future game event locations, war target information, and most of all, giving Tech2 blueprints to corporations in BoB.

This is a big problem, because normally Tech2 blueprints are used to build 'rare/epic'-type weapons/ships/equipment, and can be highly profitable and provide a distinct advantage not only to those that possess them, but also to those who use said items.

These blueprints are handed out in a lottery fashion, where everyone can have a chance at owning one, but in this case, someone from CCP (the company that created EvE), possibly a developer or GM, has apparently given multiple blueprints to BoB, which is a enourmous slap in the face to the rest of the community which is constantly asking for the Tech2 blueprint distribution system to be balanced.

Some of the other logs also seem to point to high-ranking members of BoB giving access to special areas of their space to Ebay currency sellers in exchange for a cut of the profits, character accounts being traded or sold between members, and other things which are strictly forbidden by EvE's EULA.

This is why there is such a large reaction on the forums. BoB is trying very hard to throw off the focus of the discussion to the methods in which this information was obtained, because their very existence as an alliance is being put in jeopardy by the allegations that CCP's development or GM team members have engaged in actions that benefited them. This is not the first time that CCP staff have abused their status; last summer, a 'rookie' GM spawned a rare ship completely fitted with high-end rare items, which was blown up by 'accident' by a BoB-allied corporation member and some of its items looted. The GM was fired for this, but the story was never completely explained to the general community (CCP reserves the right to control how much information is disclosed about investigations such as these).

So there you have it. The most powerful alliance in EvE is accused of cheating with the help of CCP employees, and now the rest of the player-base wants to know what is going on. Only because Kugutsumen and a number of the SomethingAwful Goons made a number of posts in the EvE-Online forums did this become such a huge issue, forcing CCP to address it publicly (http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=top ic&threadID=468189) and now we're hoping that something will be done.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17834028)

I don't have mod points, but I think your post was very interesting. It's amazing how there's this type of "mafia" behavior in these MMOGs. Especially because when you think about it, this powerful organization BoB and others like it are probably full of zit-faced nerds with little else going on in their lives, as opposed to the recreational player in it for fun. See that South Park episode on WoW? That was hilarious... It's crazy to think that people can go on power trips in a virtual world in a manner totally incompatible with what their personality would allow them to achieve in the real world.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17839026)

My Everquest days are well into the past but my view from the bottom to middle level of the raiding guilds showed routine behavior that would normally only be associated with the worst that one could expect of humanity. To be fair, the server I was on was particularly bad but were I to personally suffer from the behaviors I saw in game in the real world, I would face the serious temptation to retaliate in ways best left to the imagination. I suspected and later verified that each server developed a unique culture over time and I suspect there is much to be gained by utilizing the differences to create an entirely new dimension for online play. The only thing that surprises me is that the in game betrayals never escalated to a deadly level in the real world but my own vindictive nature no doubt colors my perspective.

What I hear of Eve actually seems tame compared to what I experienced in Everquest but besides the differences in game design there are specific differences between the policies of SOE and CCP Games that probably explain this. I suspect future game designers could put a cultural anthropologist and psychologist to good use.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17854892)

The advantage in EVE is that it's wide-open PVP. (I've played both EQ, EQ2 and Eve.) So, if someone ticks you off, you can go hunting for them, or wardec their corporation, or hire mercenaries to hunt them down or make life difficult for them. There are ways to retaliate against griefers and idiots.

The other half of it is that Tech 2 isn't "all that". On average, I'd say tech 2 items are maybe 20% more powerful then Tech 1. It's not an "I Win" level of difference. So flying them isn't a super advantage, but being able to produce them using a BPO can make you rich (players will pay for even a small advantage). Yeah, Tech 2 items are nice to have... but they won't make you unkillable.

Best part about Eve is the fairly level playing field (a 2 week old rookie can still be useful in a fleet op) and the training system that doesn't require grinding. The only thing I have to grind is if I want to make ISK quickly. The skills I can just login for 5 minutes, set my next skill to start training, then logoff again.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17855310)

The advantage in EVE is that it's wide-open PVP. (I've played both EQ, EQ2 and Eve.) So, if someone ticks you off, you can go hunting for them, or wardec their corporation, or hire mercenaries to hunt them down or make life difficult for them. There are ways to retaliate against griefers and idiots.

I did not post about it but as you have identified one of SOE's problems in EQ was that their "Play Nice" policies were enforced in such a way that they really only applied to those who followed them and became disadvantaged as a result. Some of this was caused by the nature of the policies themselves and some by inconsistent SOE enforcement. The PvE servers really were PvP in all but name. The current solution to these problems seems to be to remove the Massively Multiplayer aspects of the games by limiting player interaction to something not much more engaging then real time chat.

One odd thing I have found in modern MMORPGs is that none of the ones I am aware of, Eve possibly excepted, learned the lessons of their antecedents. Lucasfilm's Habitat specifically comes to mind since a lot has been published on the culture that developed within it and how various issues were handled. George Santayana's statement, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," takes on real meaning when one observes it so plainly over such a short time scale.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17858904)

I did not post about it but as you have identified one of SOE's problems in EQ was that their "Play Nice" policies were enforced in such a way that they really only applied to those who followed them and became disadvantaged as a result.

That's one of the reasons I stopped playing the original EQ.

Back in the day, if you wanted to travel long distances, you had 3 or 4 options:

1) Hoof it - Basically you spend time on travel.

2) Pay for a port - Spend plat/gold to reduce the time needed.

3) Befriend a porter - Get your travel for free, but you pay for it with other responsibilities.

4) Become self-sufficient - Level up a druid/wizard. Your travel is now free, but you put time into getting to that point.

When travel was more difficult, EQ was a nicer place. Folks didn't move around willy-nilly to the latest "hot" XP place. You tended to simply adventure wherever you happened to be instead of flocking to the uber-zone-of-the-week. This meant that you tended to meet and know most of the locals. Folks who were new in the zone tended to stand out. Troublemakers were quickly outed and they had trouble getting ahead of their reputations. Real troublemakers would even have difficulty getting ports (the community was able to punish troublemakers by denying them access to a player-provided service).

So you could cause trouble. But it would cause trouble for you and make life difficult for you.

Fast forward until after SoL and PoP were released. Travel has now become absolutely trivial. Because everyone is moving around willy-nilly, nobody knows who the regulars are. The community can no longer punish troublemakers by denying them easy transportation. Everyone flocks to the uber-zones, making 80-90% of the other zones ghost towns. And the perceived uber-zones are overcrowded hot spots of conflict. Troublemakers can more easily outrun their reputation.

Dunno if all that makes sense or not.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17834442)

Copy/pasted from http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?th readid=2280238&perpage=40&pagenumber=11#post322155 112 [somethingawful.com] because it was deleted from the Eve-O forums when someone reposted it there,

____

I no longer play Eve Online but I think some of you may find this interesting. In response to the BoB+Dev drama on the forums: I have been telling people there are high-up Polaris members, probably GMs, and possible Devs in the leadership of BoB for several years.
"Well yeah," you say, "so have tons of other people. What makes you so special?"

I was a forum moderator. Yep. I probably shouldn't say which one but I was. I also have many megabytes of IRC chatlogs from the private Polaris channels and thousands of emails sent to the moderator alias. Why am I mentioning this? There's something really really specific I want to address:

_______
quote:
Posted by: Eponine Astarte
Industrial Holdings Unlimited

I'm not bothered by there being devs in BoB. There should be devs involved in 0.0 politics, just as there should be devs who are high sec mission runners, low-sec pirates, and Jita industrialsits.

But here is what REALLY bothers me:

How did Dianbolic know that the person who petitioned Inos was an alt? The person who petitioned Inos did so anonymously because he feared that BoB would find out the identity of his main. The fact that a BoB director was able to identify who the alt was is pretty disturbing.

That, more than the mere existence of a BoB GM, shows how they are abusing their positions within CCP and using their jobs to gain an in-game advantage. Dianbolic should never have had any clue whatsoever as to who the petitioner was, yet lo and behold he did.
---------

I'll tell you exactly how he did this, because I did it once.

Petitions are tied to your account name. Normal forum moderators (like I was) can see your account name when we give you a warning on the forums. We cannot see what other characters are tied to that account name, but obviously it's pretty easy to identify an alt if you check the warning history on two different characters: not only will the warnings all be there (even though the names are blanked out for different characters) but their account name will be there if you try to send them an email.

There was once someone we suspected strongly as a traitor in an allied corporation. The enemy we'd been fighting was pretty well-informed as to our movements, and there was a certain character that always seemed to show up at the right time. So what did I do?

I looked up both characters on the forum. They were on a different account, sure, but the person behind them hadn't been real smart: one of the accounts simply had a "1" appended to the end of it. Nailed him.

We ended up luring his main character out and podding him in Yulai before booting him from the corp.

What I did was certainly an abuse of power, but trust me, it happens ALL the time. I had a friend in Aurora (the events program) who would feed me intel about where events would be and what they'd be like. I could just show up at the right time in the correct type of ship, participate, and snag the reward. I got a +4 implant that way before level 4 agents existed, much less loyalty points and rewards.

Everyone did this, and they've been doing it since the game came out. About 6 months into the game we were told not to use our Polaris character's /tr commands to scout the game for good mining spots. We still did it because nobody bothered to track us (even if they could--their tools were rudimentary at best back then).

In my IRC chat logs there is a good amount of circumstancial evidence of high-up Polaris members (people with more authority and rights than me) were in BoB (and others. I don't remember perfectly but I believe one of the major players in MC is a Polaris Captain.) A friend and I were able to identify over the course of several months the other Polaris members that were in our alliance and in other alliances--a fun little game.

Anyway, it's pretty gratifying to finally see this all exposed. There's a lot more of it happening in lesser degrees, and there always will be, but the CCP I know is only going to take care of stuff that's exposed. Just remember it's all subtle--the people that do this stuff have to be smart and cautious, which is why it took so long to get caught. The stuff I did was incredibly minor, which is why I was never caught.

Have fun.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (1)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17846202)

Ah, thank you for posting this here, it *really* pisses me off that CCP is censoring this shit. I was hoping some of the censored threads would turn up here.

The potential for abuse is staggering, as are the allegations. But what pisses me off most is that we'll see nothing from CCP about it. There will be no punishment except perhaps a firing or two, and the in-game damage will never be repaired.

Like when RA was farming an exploit in which complex bosses were spawning every 50 seconds instead of every 500 seconds and generating 6billion isk a day from it. It completely screwed the entire south, and nothing was done other than eventually fixing the exploit when enough of us bitched about it.

CCP really needs a solid reality check. BoB is an unstoppable juggernaut as it is, they don't need help via these underhanded and frankly disheartening methods.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (1)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17834988)

I don't play Eve, but I read through the little expose. At one point Kugutsumen said he got the information from SQL logs and implied that they were given not hacked.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17835154)

There is no indication of misconduct about the T2 BPOs. I'd say that this write-up is actually pretty inaccurate as far as the actual information Kugutsumen posted was.

Basically, here is a summary of Kug's information on the topic:

-> An employee of CCP games was playing the character Lord Stone, a member of Band of Brothers alliance.
-> While he lied about his job on the public BoB forums, BoB directors knew he was a CCP employee
-> He was promoted to Capital Ship Commander (or whatever) of RKK, an important military (but non-director) role
-> He provided a reference for another BoB director (Gunstar Zero) to apply to CCP
-> The knowledge that he was a CCP employee got slightly leaked, and Lord Stone was quietly retired. He left his assets (including T2 BPOs) in the hands of his corp, RKK (a member of BoB)

This is far from the first time that a CCP employee's player character has been retired when their identity was leaked. Most characters leave their assets in the hands of their corp when they leave Eve. Neither of these events are uncommon, nor are they corrupt.

The allegations of misconduct stem from two misconceptions:
1) He gave BoB inside CCP information or help
2) He achieved those (mediocre) T2 BPOs through any other means than legitimate game distribution systems

There is no evidence for either of these claims.

The idea that CCP employees shouldn't play Eve is ridiculous: they can't really design a game they don't play. CCP have stated on many occaisions that there are CCP employees in most major alliances, as well as many minor ones and many corps of all sizes.

I believe it is a bit dodgy that his corp managers knew he was a CCP employee, though it isn't really surprising. The fact that he was Icelandic and most likely began working lots of overtime coming up to patch deployments probably gave out a bit of a hint. I don't think there has been serious favouritism or misconduct.

I know I'm an Anonymous Coward, I don't have a slashdot account. In Eve, I'm HippoKing, and I'm completely unrelated to BoB or their enemies.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17836124)

Hippo, you're hardly unrelated :P

The crux of the matter there is that they knew the guy's job, they knew the EULA terms attached, they knew he only quietly retired (as quite a few others have done exactly today, for instance ragnarh) when the information got out to the general public, and were happy to keep the assets. Bypassing both the terms applied to the staff member in question, as well as a code of conduct, and willingly taking the risk of exposure over time with the rather logical reactions from the rest of the subscriber base to such a case ...

Still, even on a base level, it comes down to a concept very similar to the conflict between lying straight up, and lying by omission. Both are perceived unethical, and within terms are not allowed. Simple case, even without opening the tin foil box of sploit/haxx/crap messes.

The in game community in eve online known as BOB is fully correct in their defence btw. They have never used any out of game methods to obtain unfair advantages. It is exactly as they describe it themselves, a case of social engineering. No amount of investigation can bring human relationships and friendships to the light. And that is why the current investigation is doomed to fail. The simple concept of a test servr with volunteers, a team of bughunters who are also humans and can use a lot of help in testing from dedicated tight teams of players, all those things are recipeers for gaining insights which others have not mastered to get in advance of feature deployments. People can analyse trends and feature development lines in order to prepare, but many things are obviously not in plain sight, and many things remain undocumented or slip through the mazes of the tedious processes of hunting bugs. A dedicated assisting team can gain an advantage by working in such ways. Is that an unfair advantage? The real question is about the interaction level. As it is CCP are exposed to social engineering.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17838712)

The real question it would be is seemingly not about legalitys. Its unlikely a cop would take kugutsmens alleged crimes seriously , and its unlikely the CCP devs have broken any law either. Or bob.

Now a few points. First off, social engineering hacking IS illegal. Eve seems to have alot of it, and it gets a blind eye turned to it, for instance with teamspeak spys and whatnot, but its just as illegal as using a sploit. Folks say "Well its in CCP's eula", and they ought remember that the eula covers in-game activities alone.

As for CCP, regardless of legality, and its almost certainly legal whats happened unless real money values are involved in which its arguably verry verry soft fraud, its more an ethics question.

If kugutsmans allegations are true, then the blueprint issue is massive. Mindboggling even. The goonfleet, according to a friend, has but one T2 blueprint, for a 'vagabond'. They have hundreds of players who have been playing since beta, and thousands of players who have been playing for nearly a year. And via research agents have obtained one lousy T2 bpo between them.

And this guy, a dev, strolls up with an entire inventry of them. Wow. How can you get such an inventry of personally researched bp's without.. well, the mind boggles.

So its worrying folks, to put it mildly. Or how about event leaks? Clearly some dodgy shit is up there. Remember the tertimon arc? Whilst the roleplayimg stuff tends to be seen as irrelivent to the alliance types, for many of us non 0.0 alliance guys, its a fascinating , oft overlooked, and essential part of the universe. Well someone leaked it ruining it for everyone. Turns out its happened twice , also in serpentis world fountain. This is shit guys, and its not on.

I know people who are talking about leaving the game, because of this shit. The skullduggery , deception and spying is all great. its part of the game. The hacking not so great. A comprimised CCP colluding with the largest and most hated team in the game to rig it in that teams favor? Utterly unnaceptable.

I hope we are all wrong about this.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (2, Interesting)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17836536)

Hippo, glad to see you post here.

I'd say that a Malediction BPO and a Sabre BPO (in addition to several T2 Ammo BPOs) are anything but mediocre. Also, he had (according to the information obtained by Kugutsumen) at least 8 Tech2 BPOS. You and I both know that the chances of getting 1 BPO are very slim, but one single character presumably played by a dev having 8 of them is a little ridiculous. See it for yourself here:

http://www.kugutsumen.com/showthread.php?t=68 [kugutsumen.com]

It's nice to see you try to downplay it, though. Old habits die hard, uh?

You also forget the other allegations of improper behavior by BoB members with some or full knowledge by CCP staff brought up by Kugutsumen, such as:

a) the sharing of player accounts capable of deploying cyno fields to allow 23/7 movement of BoB's capital fleet at a moment's notice;

b) 'renting out' one or more complexes in BoB's space to a known Ebay currency seller and his crew;

c) the purchase of character accounts from other players (namely DB Preacher).

This is all in Kugutsumen's posts in the forum linked above, with forum posts and PM logs (which in all honesty can be faked, but it'd require quite a bit of work).

Note that I never said that CCP employees should not play like anyone else; quite the contrary, I think that we absolutely need devs to be as active as possible to enable CCP to fix all the existing problems with EvE.
However, this particular situation (if ultimately proven truthful) illustrates an apparent lack of ethics by some of CCP's staff, and CCP's inability to control its own employees.

This is a very poor example for the regular EvE player, that spends his time grinding away missions or doing any number of tasks to try to achieve something, when ultimately he has no chance of accomplishing his goal because a character played by a CCP employee wanted to 'get in with the cool kids'.
What's the point of playing if you're gimped from the start?

Do you understand why so many are upset at these developments and how the possibility of this being true can be a major blow to CCP's credibility?

Re:You're missing the whole story... (1)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17942562)

Not so rediculous if you have a lot of ISK, and trust me, BoB makes ISK by the boatloads through legitimate means that I know of. When I say boatloads, I mean at least 50 bil a month. That's just from corporations/alliances paying them to let them live in BoB controlled regions. Then they have VAST POS networks mining very expensive moon minerals and I would be surprised if they didn't make at least 100 bil a month from those. Then they have several complexes in thier control, and you can easily pull 30 bil a month off a single 10/10. Depending on the faction, you could probably make to 50 bil a month. And that's just 1 complex. Taking these things into consideration, I'd be extreamly surprised if they didn't have a huge collection of T2 BPOs.

A footnote (1)

athmanb (100367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17838286)

The virtual items this current issue revolves about were worth at least $10,000 USD at the time when the GM awarded them to his guild. They've since dropped in value because of game balance changes but are still easily worth $5,000. On top of that is the interest gained from their possession which in Eve Online can reach several percent _a month_.

The accusation now thrown around is of course that the GM created those items with his administrative powers.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17852180)

Where in the post stuff posted on the hacker's forum did it say that the dev rigged the t2 lottery. Oh noes he has 8 t2 blueprints. 6 of them are ammo which are 1 billion to 4 billion. For people who don't play eve, a 6 months old mining alt can mine 1 billion isk in a weekend. There's one guy who's calls his himself the king of tech 2 bpos, he has 10+ ship bpos, 20+ module bpos. I guess he hacks.

Btw, all the devs play eve. I wonder how many are in LV, D2 or ISS. There were a couple in ascn. EveTv they talked about it, its no secret that the devs play eve.

Re:You're missing the whole story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17853674)

Proof or GTFO

I play Eve-online (4, Interesting)

jaylen (59655) | more than 7 years ago | (#17833410)

...and I've been following the thread on the Eve-online forum avidly.

I've played Eve-online for over a year now, and as stated it is indeed the most brutal, darwinistic multi player game on the net that I know of; utterly unforgiving of mistakes and weakness ... which is why I like it; only the strong survive, and the 'weaker' (ie less dedicated/less interested or no interest in unconsentual PvP combat) are quickly winnowed out, or forced to remain within 'Empire space' bascially a sandbox which while a little safer is by no means 100% safe.

In a way, I'm glad the accusations have come to light - firstly, it took repeated forum spamming by 'Goon fleet' (an alliance/guild within the Eve universe) before the Devs within CCP (owners of Eve-online) finally made a statement regarding the issues; I gather the impression that had they had not repeatedly spammed the forums, the current investigation that is being carried out would not have been initiated.

Secondly, there have indeed been several instances as of late where certain players have known of information that could only have come from CCP employees.

The biggest issue at the end of the day is that CCP employees are also allowed to actually play the game itself, and as players are expected to give their loyalty to their corp/alliance, while simultaneously remaining true to CCP's doctrine and not give out any internal information that would aid player alliances/corps.

And that in a nutshell is what started this current uproar. The players are stating that each and every time a CCP employee logs on as a player, he or she has a clear conflict of loyalties, and they are asking for clarification from CCP regarding this.

In my opinion, the vast majority of CCP employees who play the Eve online game are honest and genuine. However, it only takes on single misguided Dev to leak information, and much is ruined, which seems to be the case here.

Having read Kugutsumen's blog, I cannot of course say that it is genuine. I can however say it is believable.

Hopefully in the future CCP Developers will no longer be allowed to maintain positions within PvP alliances, and the clear conflict of interest will be avoided; as to if that will actually happen however, remains to be seen.

Evidence of corruption? (1)

Acy James Stapp (1005) | more than 7 years ago | (#17833668)

Huh, it looks like CCP is interested in having one of the people who plays the game 15 hours a day working as a GM. Crazy idea, having people who enjoy playing your game working for your company.

I'm sure almost everyone at CCP plays the game. They have put the same or more hours into their characters than any of the other players. Sure, there are CCP alts in all of the big alliances. If you've been playing Eve for years and years there's really nothing else challenging or interesting besides alliance politics and operations. These guys are just as attached to their characters as you would be after years of play. They have reputations that they don't want to risk by unfairly intervening in the game world.

I understand that the devs are only allowed to play on the live server using a release client and that the GM tools will only work if the connection is coming from inside CCP. CCP has fired GMs in the past for cheating as well, so don't think that it goes unnoticed or silently tolerated.

Acy Stapp

Re:Evidence of corruption? (2, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#17834376)

Dev cheating can take forms that cannot be tracked by the game, and can mostly take place outside of the game itself. Having advanced knowledge of upcoming changes (new ship abilities, upcoming nerf of an expensive item, change in significant play mechanic) can allow one group to prepare ahead of time, and purposely benefit from these changes in a way that no one else could outside of luck.

In the EVE universe, there's a whole lot of alliance politics, it's as much a part of the game as blowing up spaceships is. Knowledge is more valuable than in-game currency, and there are lots of ways for knowledge to be shared without leaving any sort of trace within the game itself. The advantages might be subtle, but in a game as cut-throat as EVE, it's a big deal.

Conflict of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17833698)

There seems like there could be a privacy issue arising here as well.

It seems to be insinuated that the dev allegedly helped them identify someone's alt that reported to CCP that he was playing in the alliance and forced to remove his character. It was then mentioned that the easiest way to have done this is look at the account information of the person reporting and match it to any other accounts.

Theoretically how much of the account information could this guy have had access to? Just characters on the account? Or more back end stuff? Could he see billing or contact information?

I'm not sure I like the idea that someone with an axe to grind about me in a game could have access to my personal information. Would be interesting to hear from CCP about this.

Planetarion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17833734)

this reminds of Planetarion and the tactics of some of the big alliances (this was 5-6 years ago) spying, bot usage, forum hacking, etc were all tools of the trade miss those days :(

phhst, you didn't know?? (1)

Thirdsin (1046626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17833848)

I'm suprised no one else has mentioned this. WORLD OF WARCRAFT~@~#$%

Blizzard has routinely banned accounts due to "real-money for in-game gold transfers" and many other things. There are articles that put the number in the tens of thousands of accounts banned for activity out of game such as this.
Do I agree with what they do... well I no longer care, I recently freed myself from the game... for a second time, this time is for good I swear, I even uninstalled :-) .
I finally realized that MMOs will always be "Just a game", and my time is much better spent elsewhere, with people, in RL.

If this guy has gone to the point where he hacks outside of game for ingame intelligence... perhaps he too should uninstall..

Meh -so what. (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17835670)

I've played EVE for about two years now and while it's true that such things invariably happen, it's also great as a game.

Anything in-game goes. If you can find a way to do it in-game, the devs take a pretty blind eye to it. Selling ISK(EVE currency) for real money, hacking computers, and so on are of course, all wrong and illegal, and CCP rigorously tries to stop it as much as they can. But, in-game, if you can scam someone, such is life. There are good factions who hunt down pirates, pirates, and everything inbetween. It's the ultimate "sandbox". It's dangerous but incredibly mepowering as a player at the same time.

Most problems like this are minor at best. So someone gets intel or a nice gift or gimmie due to GM favoritism. It's been that way since MUDs and BBBs'. With 30,000 players online at times now, and a total player base of several hundred thousand - all on one server - it's a very minor blip. The thing's so huge almost nothing really makes a difference anymore. Not even a blip in most cases.

Compare EVE to WoW or other games where player cheating nearly took the game's economic system down with it. EVE is remarkably robust - nearly indestructable. So the same things that affect most games and are a huge problem aren't a big deal - and in some cases are encouraged.(evil grin)

And it costs a lot less than WoW and most other games. The App is free to download and they give you a nice discount - like 1 year for $99 last I checked.

CCP can be damaged for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17842104)

CCP better resolve this issue the hardest way possible for the corrupted developers, the game is already losing credibility

An unbiased summary... (1)

Nek0jin (1057772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17865036)

(inasmuch as anything can be TRULY unbiased, anyway)


I read the EVE forum thread about the matter. It was very interesting, and what was said takes on dramatically different meanings if you have a particular bias one way or the other on the matter. I'm a once and future EVE player. That is to say, I played EVE, I enjoyed it, and I'll probably play again in the not-too-distant future, but I'm not currently playing, and haven't for several months.

I'm not a member of BoB or Goonfleet, and have never been. I've never been part of any corporation larger than 10 people, for that matter. I do have a vague bias against Goonfleet, because I hate what SomethingAwful stands for, and have been attacked and harrassed on other game sites (for things that had nothing to do with the game) over matters that are popular SA targets.

So, that's my disclosure on my lack of bias on this matter.

-----

A known hacker (Kugutsumen, aka AnthonyZ, among other aliases) hacked BoB's off-game forums, and made off with documents, including forum posts and private messages from said forum. He then posted what he claims is complete and unedited information, claiming that it's proof that a Dev (developer) has been directly aiding BoB with knowledge and/or abilities that the average EVE player does not have access to. One of Goonfleet's higher-ups, The Mittani, corroborated the claims that Kugutsumen does indeed hack sites in order to gain information and advantages (http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=top ic&threadID=468189&page=3 [eve-online.com] -> Page 3 of the thread in question), and has done so to Goonfleet in the past. He didn't confirm whether Kugutsumen posted the information whole and complete, or altered it in any way.

Now, that said, it's clear from Kugutsumen's blog that he profits from strife - he directly hires himself out for hacking, and asks for donations for the public posting of the information gathering that he does. His methods are generally considered illegal (although they aren't where he is supposedly from).

Kugutsumen posted several private mails that supposedly prove that Lord Stone is a CCP employee, and that he revealed to at least one other player that he is a CCP employee. He posted more private mails that implied that Ishos Rerajan was a CCP employee who donated several T2 Blueprints to RKK before being suspended. Lastly, he has inferred that Al Haquis is also a CCP employee. There are also other claims of wrongdoing - feel free to browse his forum for details.

The question that everyone should be asking is, "Is any of this credible?" Is this genuine information, or is it a carefully-crafted web of half-truths? I doubt that anyone outside of the involved parties could ever say for sure.

CCP's Community Manager, Kieron, explained in brief the previous incident where a CCP employee (a GM) was caught spawning items for himself. He was fired, and the entire incident was publicized by CCP, not hidden or swept under the rug. I think this fact alone shows where CCP stands on the matter. Kieron has stated that this matter will be investigated, and that the results of the investigation will be announced. Enough said about that.

-----

All of this hoo-ha on the public forums has had a number of people proclaiming loudly that CCP employees should either not ever play the game, or should have their play characters exposed to the public. Both of these are absurdly bad ideas.

In the first matter, I'd like to post a rhetorical question. Have any of you ever had to call customer service for anything and ended up talking to a representative who was clearly reading from a checklist, and didn't actually have the first idea of what they were doing? Think about that for a moment...

In order for CCP staff to be able to experience the play environment properly (and for ISD:STAR volunteers to be able to give advice to newbies accurately), they need to play the game. The full game, that is, not a test server or Dev Environment. They need to know how it actually works, not how a scripted piece of paper says it's supposed to work. And you can only do that by playing the game. In addition to that, you also have to factor in morale issues - people who work on a game, but who aren't allowed to play it, aren't going to have the same kind of drive to make the game as fun and enjoyable as possible.

On to the second part - demanding transparency in employees' game accounts. Blowing the whistle on every employee account would do one thing: shine a great big spotlight on them, and make it impossible for them to practically play and enjoy the game. They would be routed out of honest, honorable corporations, hounded with invites from unscrupulous corporations, and viewed with suspicion by nearly everyone. Any corporation they associated with would be treated as though they had inside information all along - even if the employees had been very carefully keeping their player knowledge separate from their employee knowledge.

I expect CCP to get to the bottom of this fairly quickly. If there has been wrongdoing, there will be firings. If there hasn't been any wrongdoing, there will likely be a house-cleaning of some sort, perhaps of the accusing parties. And in any case, CCP's reputation as a whole is being tarnished for the alleged misconduct of a few.

This is a very sorry state of affairs for an MMO to get to be in, and the trash-diggers who are causing this should be ashamed... but of course, they're not, because they're reveling in the drama that they've caused, for better or worse.

Two issues here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17887834)

The story really has two relatively separate issues.

1. Spying by players on players

2. Misconduct by the developers

1. The issue of spying is not new in EvE-Online. It has always been pretty common for some alliances to infiltrate enemy alliances and read their forums, listen in on Teamspeak and offline enemy fortifications ingame. The alliance (Band of Brothers or 'BoB') who is now a victim of what seems to have been a brute force hack (and thus something illegal in RL terms) is actually very well known for doing the other types of spying and not apologizing for them either. This means that to many, what happened to them is a taste of their own medicine, albeit going a few steps further.

2. Secondly the hacking uncovered direct involvement of the Developers of EvE-Online with the strongest, most aggressive and most arrogant alliance in the game. This is of course causing much discomfort for other players. Were they beaten fairly or did the other side just cheat with their Dev-powers or give inside information to their own alliance. And is it fun to play a game where you can never beat the strongest, because the game is being rigged in favor of them. The developers are now saying they are conducting an investigation into the allegations, but few people have faith in that. They're investigating themselves for potential misconduct? Right. I'm afraid that this whole affair has tainted Eve to a serious extent and could very well lead to its demise. How attractive is a game where the developers are conspiring against newer players while they hang out in 1 uber-alliance with a lot of the most veteran players and divide all the goodies amongst themselves. Very unprofessional.

Apparently CCP says yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17914402)

Apparently CCP think so, they just banned all of his gaming accounts.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...