The only thing more frustrating than losing a ship to a bug is losing a ship to another player that is exploiting a broken game mechanics.
In these circumstances, you have no alternative other than to present your case to CCP's gamemasters, beseeching them to reimburse your lost ship or ISK. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn't. Let's take a look at why.
5. Why won't the gamemasters give me back my ship?
Whether you lost your ship to lag, an unusually powerful NPC, or to a trick played by another player preying on a lack of understanding regarding the intricacies of CONCORD game mechanics, it is incredibly unlikely that CCP will reimburse your ship.
The core reason for this is very simple: in the interests of minimizing lag, CCP's log files only keep track of a very limited number of game mechanics. Things like damage dealt, time of destruction, and so forth are all tracked in their system.
Remain polite at all times to get the best response possible from CCP's gamemasters.
Another thing that will absolutely never be reimbursed is when a player tricks another player into parting with goods or ISK. Social engineering is more than fair game in EVE Online, it's practically encouraged.
4. Under what circumstances will CCP reimburse me?
There has been a general trend over time of CCP giving out less and less reimbursements. Things that continue to be reimbursed are mostly the really bad bugs: incidences of ship losses being sent out with them dying in different systems than they were actually in, buggy NPC spawns tied to new features like Incursions, other players using genuine exploits, and so on. Fortunately, these events are pretty rare these days.
Unfortunately, a lot of stuff that seems like a bug or an exploit does not qualify. This is particularly true of some tricks players pull that walk the thin line between exploit and game mechanic. Tricking a player into giving up CONCORD's protection by remote repairing or taking something out of a wreck is a good example of this.
3. Lag clearly isn't supposed to be there, so why won't CCP give me back my ship that I lost under really laggy conditions?
Lag is probably the number one reason people file petitions. Unfortunately, CCP also views it as a fact of life, especially in alliance warfare. In the big fleet battles, people routinely die without firing a single shot, without seeing their enemies lock on, or even without loading the system they jump into.
It stinks, but everybody involved with that play style knows that lag can happen, or quickly figures it out. Because it's a fact of life and theoretically affects everybody equally, ships lost in deep lag are generally not reimbursed.
2. What is the best way to get my petition answered?
Use all the general rules of internet etiquette: be polite, use good spelling, explain your problem as clearly as possible, convey disappointment without sounding angry, and don't be too surprised if you get a form response in reply. Promptly follow up on any questions or requests that a GM has, and if the initial reply seems insufficient or unfair, ask for the petition to be escalated.
Escalating a petition is particularly effective if the matter at hand is very complicated or uses a less popular area of the game. Lower-level GMs are sometimes only familiar with the more common problems, and will need to kick more esoteric problems upstairs. Don't be afraid to ask for that.
If all that fails, don't be too disheartened. If you hang in there, you will eventually bounce back from whatever it was that happened.
1. Why can't I post my petition on the official EVE forums?
Whatever you do, don't post a GM's response to your petition on the official EVE forums, no matter how much you disagree with it.
Another good reason not to allow players to post GM correspondence is that mistakes from low-level GMs can be blown way out of proportion and quickly become drama fests, even if a higher-level GM would have eventually fixed the problem.
Finally, the best reason not to allow it is that posts along those lines generally take the form of whining, and nobody wants to read that.
That said, feel free to pop over to our forums and tell us about your issues with petitions. We can offer advice or sympathy, as appropriate.