EVE’s at it again as the Goons (claim to) have taken over

Ah, EVE Online. The game I have no intention of actually playing again, but that I love to read about.

Today, it’s all about the democracy in the Icelandic HQ of the Elite-on-steroids space trading game, as the Goonswarm, one of the biggest Corporations (read guilds) in the game, and also scions of the infamous website Something Awful, claim to have infiltrated and controlled the game’s developers. Stabbed Up reports :

CCP has a policy to recruit from its player base where possible. There’s a lot of sense to this as it assures a supply of knowledgeable committed staff. Notably they recently recruited former Goon CEO Darius Johnson to be in charge of their security.

…So there are senior Goons in very powerful positions inside CCP. The Goons have adopted the same policy of infiltration and subversion towards the actual real world games company and the player council as they famously adopted in-game towards their play opponents.”

Stabs’ piece is a really interesting overview of the situation. Apparently the Goons are treating the metagame of EVE as just an extension of the actual game – they’re infiltrating, subverting and dominating in just the same way that they do in-game, with the intention of dominating and – so they say – destroying the game.

It’s all very interesting stuff. For starters, is what The Mittani (the Goonswarm’s representative) saying actually true? They’re engaged in a complex and very real-world equivalent game of disinformation and spying – it’s entirely likely that the reason they’re saying these things is not simply to gloat.

Is it perhaps an attempt to punish a Goon within the structure who hasn’t done as he was supposed to? Now that The Mittani’s outed the ex-Goon CCP employees, it’s hard to see how CCP won’t have to act against them in some way.

Is it an attempt to make the playerbase, or some subset of it, think that the Goons have more control than they do?

Is it a double-bluff?

One thing’s certain, though – antics like this are going to make other companies a lot less likely to invite players to directly influence their games. Tobold writes that it’s the failure of MMO democracy :

“Any other company thinking about player representatives will see this, and decide that the effort isn’t worth the bother. Anybody elected will only ever represent the most powerful alliance of players, never the silent majority. And if anything, companies have learned by now that they need to listen less to their most hardcore players, not more, to be successful and drive revenue.”

What do you think? Any ideas what’s going on?

All quotes taken directly from the relevant articles.