Struggle between player alliances in EVE Online is very much at the heart of the game. While most conflicts play out in sweeping alliance warfare, with its requisite fleet battles involving hundreds of players, some alliances also choose to face one another in arena combat with the rapt attention of many thousands of their fellow pilots: the Alliance PvP Tournament.
The Alliance Tournament in EVE Online provides a way for players to demonstrate what they're capable of under controlled conditions, and offers a shot at fame or notoriety among the playerbase. In some cases, alliances may face off in the PvP tournament to settle a score in a very public way. The rules of engagement in place ensure that all alliance teams are on equal ground with one another. EVE players can be devious though, if nothing else... as one match this past weekend proved: one alliance competitor assassinated his team's captain once the match had begun, and then self-destructed his own ship. The would-be saboteur, ironically named "Happy Joymaker", later announced he had infiltrated the alliance for the express purpose of a public execution of his target.
Happy Joymaker was acting on behalf of the player corporation "The Dead Parrot Shoppe, Inc." and took to the forums to explain the motivation to do this. Following the act itself, Happy Joymaker announced during the match, "Never forget who you insult. Our list is long, our memory is longer, and our patience endless... I am a spy sent to kill Issler in a nice and public way. That is the reason I hit self destruct and tuned [sic] off my hardeners once Denze (aka Issler) was dead. Have a nice day."
The motivation here was vendetta against an individual, not "The Honda Accord" alliance team that both the victim and assassin flew with, and ostensibly not about the ISK betting that goes hand in hand with the tournament. Regardless of why he was targeted, Issler Dainze -- the victim in this case (aka "Denze Ezzle") -- doesn't appear overly concerned about the incident, particularly as The Honda Accord team still emerged victorious despite the sabotage. Also some argue that the assassination itself was only partially successful -- Dainze lost his ship, but was not podkilled.
Referring to the corporation who arranged the hit, Dainze says, "Thanks Dead Bruce Shop for making our first attempt at the EVE PvP tournament something that will stand out in the history of EVE! This is one CEO that is all smiles!"
We should mention, however, that this incident goes a bit beyond what some players would consider 'acceptable' in this situation, judging from the fact that this is the first time (I am aware of) that someone betrayed their own team in the PvP tournament. CCP Games, the developers of EVE Online who preside over the Alliance Tournament, may feel the same way given that they obliterated Happy Joymaker for his infractions during the match.
The EVE Online players we spoke to about the incident have some opposing views about what happened. Some think it was Machiavellian to assassinate another player in so public a venue. Others feel it was bad form to do something like this during the Alliance Tournament.
What's your own view on turning a live in-game event into a chance at retribution -- was it a clever play or poor sportsmanship?
This video footage of the match can also be seen in fullscreen HD, on the CCP Games YouTube page.