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EVE Online Dev Responds to Accusations, Admits Fault

This week, we reported on a situation stirring up controvery among the EVE Online community, dealing with allegations that employees of developer CCP had leveraged their position to achieve significant in-game advantages. Despite the company's official response, many community members claimed that the real issue, dealing with a developer providing rare "Tech 2" blueprints to his in-game corporation, something that typically requires a great deal of resources.

Today, community manager kieron, who made the original CCP post on the matter, posted a followup on the official forums, linking to two blog posts from CCP developers. The first, from the accused developer, admits to having provided blueprints illicitly, going so far as to list them by name. The developer, whose handle is t20, expresses his regret over the incident and notes that none of his co-workers or in-game colleagues should bear any part of the responsibility.

All allegations mentioned above are untrue, except one. Sadly enough, the allegation regarding unlawfully obtained blueprints are, in my case, true. IÂ’m here, laying out the facts of what happened in June 2006 so this whole issue -- which jeopardized my colleagues, my company and our community -- can be put behind us, I hope for the better.

The second linked blog post is from CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson, who speaks on the company's policies towards developer meddling in the game, the importance of self-policing in an economically driven and single-world game such as EVE, the necessity for MMO developers to play the games they develop, and this case in particular. Apparently, ordinarily such transgressions simply result in the employee being terminated from CCP; for this case, however, due to apparent complexities that made it difficult to pin down responsibility early on, CCP instituted what is essentially an "Internal Affairs" division at the company that is tasked with monitoring potentially harmful employee power abuse within EVE.

It is no trivial thing when corruption takes place. In our case it's no different than the injustice of public servants in the real world feathering their own nests rather than ensuring the prosperity of the many. Living in a country of a comparable population as the world of EVE (Iceland only has 300,000 inhabitants), I sure know how it can feel when governance is not balanced and feeling powerless to stop it. I am certain that members of the EVE community are now going through similar emotions.
When the recent allegations came to light, our Internal Affairs department immediately went to work, reexamining logs for all the developers involved in great detail over the course of several days. They have concluded that none of the other developers abused their positions to gain any advantage for themselves or others. In accordance with our rules however, those characters must be removed from the game. Developers have had, and continue to have, characters in many alliances in the game, and it is wrong to assume that the presence of several characters in any one particular alliance is either uncommon, or automatically indicative of cheating.

It does not appear that t20 has been fired from CCP, though the developer characters involved in the situation have been deleted.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 9, 2007 2:02 PM

    I'm surprised they haven't just fired the dev and issued a statement of zero policy.

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      February 9, 2007 2:02 PM

      I left out the word tolerance.

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      February 9, 2007 2:10 PM

      well hopefully the person in question is still a good employee, and works hard to improve the game they work on.

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        February 9, 2007 2:21 PM

        they should be fired unconditionally, what they did was so not cool.
        if they arnt fired whats to stop other DEV's doing the same thing without consequences?

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          February 9, 2007 2:53 PM

          yeah lets ruin someone's life over a game! He shouldn't have given out anything in game but still, firing him for it? That's a bit much to me

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            February 9, 2007 2:56 PM

            game? it was his job. don't know where you work but there are a shitload of policies where I do, and this guy couldn't follow the rules at his work. can him.

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            February 9, 2007 2:59 PM


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            February 9, 2007 3:05 PM

            It's not "just" a game. The EVE universe, unlike most MMOs, does not have its economy isolated from the real-world economy. Items and money in EVE have real-world value, so what he did didn't just give his corp an advantage in the game.

            Additionally, people pay to play these games with the implicit understanding that they are fair on some level, in that the rules work the same for everyone and everyone has to go through pretty much the same hoops to get something as anyone else does. This dev deliberately violated that trust to give his buddies an advantage over everyone else.

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              February 9, 2007 3:32 PM

              lol@real world value

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                February 9, 2007 3:37 PM

                Do you find it hard to believe? Or just refuse to accept the fact that digital assets are sold for real money all the time?

                The in-game assets currently owned by BoB (the alliance this guy is said to have helped) are valued somwhere around $800,000 US.

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                  February 9, 2007 4:17 PM

                  I played wow for 2 years, I know stuff is sold outside of the game. I think it's just stupid

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                    February 9, 2007 9:23 PM

                    WOW is nothing like EVE. Picture you are playing WOW, and you run MC. Except now Ragnaros is actually controlled by another player. And instead of him just wiping you, he deletes your character so you basically have to start from scratch. It took you a year to get that far. Now you find out that you should have been able to beat him, but a dev was in his clan and gave him The Sword of Asskickery. In effect, the dev has just hosed a year of your hard work. There really is just no comparable deed that can be done in WOW. It is a carebear game compared to EVE. Nearly every time there is a winner in EVE there is a loser on a computer somewhere else. This is huge and the dev should be fired.

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                February 9, 2007 3:40 PM

                It might be a bad phrase to use but regardless of how you'll define it, you CAN easily convert in-game currency (isk) to, for example, US dollars by using eBay. Go and check the current isk prices there.

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            February 10, 2007 6:40 PM

            He seriously tarnished the reputation and trust of his company among a large base of customers. He abused his authority to enrich his friends, which can be measured in real world dollars. A Saber BP can be sold for a lot of real life money. CCP still hasn't owned up to half of what they've done yet.

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          February 9, 2007 3:29 PM

          Internally it may have involved more people than one developer. Publicly he may be taking the fall for it. If it involved more people internally you can't just fire him you have to fire all the developers that were involved, but they might not want to do that since I think it is a small team?

          Of course he may have acted on his own and no one knew until now. I have no idea.

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            February 9, 2007 3:30 PM

            If he is smart he simply resigns.

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              February 9, 2007 3:38 PM

              If he is smart he can keep his job!

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                February 9, 2007 5:18 PM

                The fact that he knowingly cheated means he doesn't deserve a job.

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                  February 9, 2007 6:57 PM

                  If he does his primary job (completing the coding projects in time with as little bugs as possible) well, I see no reason why he should be fired. Very often it's much easier to let a few whiny retards ("customers") cancel their subscription (which undoubtedly will be instantly filled by newcomers if the game is really well-made) than to fire a good (in terms of his primary function - writing code) programmer/developer :-P That is not to say that I actually agree with what he did, but like I said, if he did/does lots of "good" for a company and customers (in terms of his primary function), just a single small "bad" thing (which was pretty insignificant judging by a list of "junk" BPOs) should not cancel all that "good" out.

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            February 9, 2007 9:28 PM

            hit the nail on the head imo

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      February 9, 2007 3:35 PM

      They did issue a zero tolerance policy:

      In Closing

      As we look to the future, we will endeavor to improve our handling of these matters by acting in a manner that is both swift and consistent with company policy. It is regrettable that such instances reveal flaws in our governance, but by the same token, addressing them decisively is what makes our company stronger. We now have resources dedicated to performing audits of dev activity on Tranquility with much more frequency than before. This, combined with additional layers of security, and the non-negotiable penalty of employment termination upon conviction of such acts, represents the full extent that we will go to deter dev misconduct.

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