EVE Online always does things a bit differently than most games, and it would seem that this trend extends to i’s Game Masters, the CCP employees who run the game’s day-to-day support, administration, and rules enforcement. Over the last week, EVE Online has been celebrating that GM Team, including letting them not just turn in in-game criminals, but publicly execute them, too.
Like any major MMORPG of sufficient popularity, EVE has a long and storied history with botters—players who run their accounts around the clock using automated scripts to generate in-game currency. This practice can destabilize in-game economies, cause normal players to feel like they can’t compete, and can cause additional strain on game servers. Because of this, they are heavily policed and dealt with as quickly as possible by EVE’s security team.
Publisher CCP’s policy is that on the first strike a botter is given a small ‘slap on the wrist’ ban of only a few days. If that player gives up their life of crime, they are allowed to continue to play the game. Repeat offenders find their accounts permanently closed and are banned from playing the game again. Normally, all of this is dealt with behind the scenes, in-game assets are impounded and destroyed, and from an outsider’s perspective, that player simply never logs in again.
Last week, however, the EVE Online GM team staged a public display to reinforce to the community that they are hard at work removing these players from the game. On two separate occasions during the recent GM Week celebrations, spaceships owned by bot-using players who have been caught using bots to play the game for them were teleported by CCP into neutral space to experience some good old-fashioned mob justice.
In the solar system of Yulai, home to the in-game security organization CONCORD, players were told to travel to a certain spot at a certain time for an unknown “special event.” CCP’s official Twitch stream came online with a live feed from one of the space stations inside of Yulai, and there were many GMs and CCP employees in chat channels, both in-game and on Twitch. As players gathered, they saw something very strange appear: a Thanatos-class carrier.
Carriers and other capital class vessels are not normally allowed in “high security” space like the Yulai system. After the ship’s sudden and as-yet-unexplained appearance, players noticed something else: The carrier was displaying the “suspect” flag, meaning that the in-game police and peacekeeping organization would not attempt to protect it, should a player try and engage it. EVE being EVE, it didn’t take long until the Thanatos was destroyed by the roughly 50 players that surrounded it. Over the next hour, 8 more carrier and super carrier vessels appeared and were destroyed in Yulai. The bloodthirsty mob grew to nearly one hundred and fifty players towards the end of the event. During the staged executions, CCP employees joined the Twitch chat to explain what was happening, and informed players that they had been deputized to help eliminate botter vessels.
This event marked the kick-off of GM Week, where the EVE Online GM team took the opportunity to get to know and interact with the people that play EVE. In addition to public executions, the week featured GM convoys attempting to navigate their way through hostile space, interviews and AMAs on the game’s subreddit, art contests, and even the chance to change one of the GM’s names.
As GM Week drew to a close, the players were once again invited back to to Yulai. After a repeat of the previous event, with several botter-owned carriers and supercarriers being sacrificed to the mob, out rolled the pièce de résistance: a Titan. Titans are the largest and most powerful vessels in the game, but this one stood no chance. Nearly 700 players immediately opened fire, closing out GM Week with an enormous bang.