Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scams, Lies, Betrayals

I remember the first time I was scammed.  I had joined my first corp after about 6 months of playing EVE without enjoying the MM in MMO.  We were deploying to Stain and one of the members volunteered his services to transport our things.  I don’t know exactly how many of us he duped, but I know that I was one of them.  In hindsight, he only got a Rokh and a few mods out of me, but at the time it was the bulk of my assets.  Now, 2 years later, I am worth tens of billions in cumulative assets, and a Rokh, worth about 130mil isk at the time, seems like a paltry loss.  Hell, I’ve lost several times that amount in last few weeks of duking it out with IT.  Nevertheless, it’s important to realize how significant the loss was at the time, and how much it affects newer players when they realize that that EVE is not a friendly place, even within your own corp/alliance.

TEST is full of newer players who are still in the process of learning the ins and outs of the game.  What’s special about TEST, though, is that it’s very newb friendly.  There are mentor programs, in-game channels, and even a special fund dedicated to getting newbies airborne.  However, despite the friendly atmosphere, danger lurks behind every corner, because after all is said and done, this is still EVE.

Recently, a member of the corp OMFG within TEST Alliance scammed several billion from various TEST members in the same manner that I was scammed two years ago.  It’s not clear (to me anyway) whether this person originally intended to scam or not.  He was an old friend of OMFG CEO TooDucky, an honest and trusted member of the TEST community, and he was reportedly having real-life issues.  It is possible that when he was finally able to login, he saw the drama centered on his lack of activity and decided to abandon EVE for good.  I don’t think this is the case, but it is possible.  Regardless of what his original intentions were, the end result was still the same: lots of scammed newbies.  This, along previous issues with both OMFG and TooDucky, resulted in massive flaming of OMFG in the TEST forums.  This, in turn, led to OMFG deciding to leave the alliance.

I’d like to start by stating that OMFG leaving probably has more to do with the constant aggravation towards them and less to do with their recruitment standards.  First, this is EVE, and scams happen in EVE.  Betrayals happen in EVE.  It’s an unfortunate part of the game that no one can control, regardless of how strict their recruiting standards are.  There are methods that recruiters can employ to mitigate risk on new recruits, but those methods are limited.  Second, TooDucky is a bad forum poster (lol TEST and their posting standards).  While the incident was unfolding, he made several posts that were intended to be funny and/or calm people down, and they came off a bit insulting.  Having spoken to Ducky and people that have known Ducky for years, I don’t think he meant to insult anyone.  This only worsened the ill-feelings that a few high ranking members had towards him and his corporation.  In true TEST fashion, the trolling started, and some of it was fairly vicious.  It caused OMFG to leave the alliance.  I don’t think that this is what (most of) the trolls intended to happen, but it happened nevertheless.

The timing was impeccable, as we just defeated IT, which dissolved largely due to internal drama.  Irony isn’t without a sense of humor.  The effects of OMFG’s departure are yet to be seen, as they haven’t yet departed.  A few people aren’t concerned, as it puts only a small dent in the number of pilots that TEST can field.  But, I’m more concerned about the long-term implications.  Ignoring OMFG’s sizeable cap fleet, they also had an asset that we really need at this stage in our development: TooDucky… that is to say, TooDucky’s skill as an FC.  While we have many FCs with talent, other than Ducky, none have been truly tested as far as I know.  The Catch campaign was very significant for TEST alliance.  We were on our own against the IT/INIT bloc in Catch, and we proved our worth… with Ducky FCing all of our major engagements, including a huge victory where we eliminated an enemy CSAA and several carriers.  When we moved on to the Fountain campaign, the Goons led most of the strategic ops and FC’d all of the combat ops.
Regardless of what some think, what we lost in OMFG will be difficult to replace.  They’re assets that we need if we’re to project our power.  In addition, if TEST members (especially members in positions of authority) continue to fan the flames on internal situations, it won’t be long before we rip at the seams… just… like… IT… did.  Don’t get me wrong, I like that TEST trolls.  It’s a very effective weapon.  But just like nuclear arms, trolling needs to be handled with care, or it will blow up in your face.

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