Suicide ganking has been a part of Eve Online for a long time. Many will tell you there’s no real safe place, in space. I get that. Like many, I never fly anything that I can’t easily replace. I avoid low and null sec unless I’m prepared to lose something. I prefer high-sec space in general. I’m a long-time player, with three accounts, the oldest being 11 years old. I recently canceled my subscriptions to all three accounts.
GMs reading this can reference this support ticket for specific details.
Support ticket: 2134632
The current suicide ganking mechanic is unbalanced and unfair, and I would argue against the EULA. I would also argue that there was an oversight with changes that occurred this time last year to mitigate these exact types of large-scale ganks.
Release Notes 2022-11-08
“Alpha clone state characters can no longer change their safety setting to Red.”
The release notes from November of 2022 show a change that stopped Alpha clone state characters from changing their safety to red in the High-Security space. My understanding is that this was done to squelch the high volume of ganks committed using large fleets of alpha clones piloting catalysts.
This was a much-welcome change for those of us who intentionally avoid PVP. These types of ganks are unstoppable and very difficult to defend against if you get caught up in one. Currently, no game mechanic in place balances out the impact of a large fleet of alts in catalysts used to gank a freighter.
Anyone who multi-boxes like me will know how difficult it can be to manage more than a couple of characters at once. I’ve stayed with three accounts, mostly for mining operations for that reason. In other fleet activities, I play with a single character and only use an alt in a support role that doesn’t require a lot of attention.
So, how do these suicide gankers control so many alts in catalysts? I’m told by GMs and other players these gankers use a tool called EVE-O. I hadn’t heard of this before so I looked it up.
It’s a tool that provides an overview of thumbnails for multiple EVE clients. The program allows for fast switching between active clients.
On the EVE-O page, the author states that you should NOT use EVE-O for any actions that might break the EULA or ToS.
“Under any conditions you should NOT use EVE-O Preview for any actions that might break EULA or ToS of EVE Online.”
That brings me to section 6, item 3 of the EVE Online End User License Agreement (EULA).
EULA section 6, item 3:
"You may not use your own or any third-party software, macros or other stored rapid keystrokes or other patterns of play that facilitate acquisition of items, currency, objects, character attributes, rank or status at an accelerated rate when compared with ordinary Game play. You may not rewrite or modify the user interface or otherwise manipulate data in any way to acquire items, currency, objects, character attributes or beneficial actions not actually acquired or achieved in the Game.”
While EVE-O doesn’t broadcast keyboard or mouse events to the clients, it is, by definition, third-party software that allows for a specific pattern of play, that does “…facilitate the acquisition of items, currency, objects … at an accelerated rate when compared with ordinary Game play.”
Try and kill a freighter with a fleet of catalysts without the help of something like this running to help you manage all of the clients. I bet it doesn’t happen as fast if at all.
The ambiguity of the statement “ordinary Game play” also lends to the interpretation that “ordinary Game play” would be a single client, or the use of the default Windows shortcut of alt+tab to switch between open clients. Since the definition of “ordinary Game play” isn’t stated in the EULA the GMs have no grounds to argue against my interpretation. I challenge them to speak to their legal team if they disagree.
Regarding the oversight, I mentioned previously. While the developers managed to take care of the scenario of free Alpha clone clients being used for massive, catalyst gank fleets, they missed the occasional situation of free Omega clone clients.
When CCP gives us “8 free days of Omega” it’s a great way to check out what you’re missing with an Alpha clone. Plus, it’s free game time which is always appreciated.
The downside is now all of those bad actors that were blocked from ganking using Alpha accounts before being granted 8 free days to wreak havoc on those of us trying to enjoy our chosen method of gameplay in EVE Online.
Full disclosure, I was recently a victim of a catalyst fleet gank. A handful of real pilots in a fleet of 25+ catalysts were used to destroy my freighter in Uedama. It isn’t the cost that bothers me. Like I said I don’t fly anything I can’t replace. It’s the principle of the situation.
The gank was done in a manner that goes against the EULA. These bad actors are exploiting what I deem to be an oversight by the developers. This behavior should not be encouraged.
When I reached out to support the reply I got was that this is expected gameplay. Plus long definitions of ganking, suicide ganking, and an encouragement to share my concerns in the forums and with the CSM.
I asked to have my stuff restored in the support ticket, I pleaded my case with some of the details I have shared here, and they told me they have a strict policy against doing so.
So I canceled the subscriptions on my accounts. CCP will lose the subscription money from a long-time player, with good standing, in favor of folks that go against the EULA and ToS that we all agreed to.
I’m writing this forum post in hopes that something changes to help prevent the same thing from happening to other players. I would resubscribe if I was given my items back. It doesn’t seem like that idea will even be entertained.