the bleeding edge of the metagame, in the whispered realms of
myth, supposition and paranoia, exist the wizards of EVE: the hackers.
Not a day passes in New Eden without some foul event being credited to
their misdeeds. Depending on who you listen to, hackers are
simultaneously responsible for corp thefts, account seizure, alliances
being disbanded, random items being misplaced, and the Icelandic
banking crisis. Who are these people, and how much influence on EVE do
they really have?
When I got into the spy business around March of 2006, one of the first
things the nascent GIA did was attempt to gauge exactly how prevalent
hacking was in alliance politics. This was a drive primarily fueled by
my own ignorance; knowing nearly as much about code as I do home
decorating, I assumed that surely hackers were a dime a dozen. It
seemed that every other forum drama thread referred to them. But I
swiftly found that while EVE is a magnet for coders of all kinds, the
"0.0 EVE Hacker" may as well be a Yeti. Yet belief in hackers meddling
in 0.0, much like belief in elves in certain island nations with a
penchant for geothermal power who shall remain nameless, is persistent.
Like a communist conspiracy, discovering no evidence of their existence
is simply a sign of the subtlety of the quarry.
They certainly do exist, but the vast majority appear to focus on
hacking the game client, running bots or devising ways to steal isk.
Simply botters, macroers, and exploiters - not glamorous meddlers in
grand politics. Where were the hackers who pulled the strings in 0.0?
Where were the hackers who played the spy game? In my entire time in
EVE, I have confirmed the existence of only one (though there are
rampant rumors of another, who remains anonymous). Six months passed
before I encountered him.
It began innocuously enough. A "rival" spymaster appeared, offering a
variety of espionage services to the highest bidder on the main
alliance forum. Kugutsumen, as he called himself, was almost
immediately made into a laughingstock. Espionage in EVE is primarily a
nationalistic enterprise (at least, in that forum) and outright offers
of intelligence for isk were one of the oldest and most effortless
scams in the book.
Perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut and refrained from trolling
Kugutsumen, because he swiftly made himself my nemesis. At first he
contacted me via AIM, offering his services - but since I never pay for
intel (and Goonswarm was chronically out of isk, regardless of
inconvenient principles) that went nowhere. Then he began to turn the
In September 2006, Goonswarm was in Insmother, living out of Red
Alliance stations and warring with the Southern Coalition. The primary
force behind the Southern Coalition was Lotka Volterra, an alliance
formed by Shinra, M. Corp and UK Corp. Mirroring our later cultural
successes in swaying defectors such as Haargoth
, one of Lotka Volterra's
directors, Osmodious, had 'flipped' and become a GIA sleeper agent.
Using his access, we began to monitor Lotka.org's director forums. This
gave GS and RA an incredible strategic advantage in the war, as we knew
in advance how much support LV was willing to provide its allied
partners (Slim to none, as Veritas Immortalis and Knights of the
Southerncross belatedly discovered), where they intended to build
future outposts, and how willing their leadership was to 'go to the
mat' with GS and RA.