It soon became apparent that Test Alliance had placed territorial control units in the systems just before the extended downtime began. Under normal circumstances, territorial claim units must be protected by a fleet for the six hours they need to start up. During that time, enemy fleets have a chance to engage the hostile force and destroy their claim unit. If the six hours pass without event, ownership of the system is then awarded to the alliance that placed the structure. By placing the structures immediately prior to the extended downtime, enemies of Test Alliance were unable to contest the claim, which meant it automatically succeeded. What happened next has been the cause of a great deal of controversy on the EVE forums and Reddit.
Skip past the cut for a run-down of what happened next.
Since normal game mechanics had been bypassed to render the claims incontestable, the issue was petitioned as an exploit. GMs stepped in to resolve the situation, destroying the newly placed Test Alliance claim units and issuing replacements to cover the loss. The alliance then began flooding the EVE forum and in-game petition system with complaints of unfair treatment by GMs. Examples were cited of several other territorial claim units that had also been switched online under the protective screen of the extended downtime, none of which had been removed. Complaints were also made that other actions, like anchoring starbases or reinforcing a station, had never been reversed in the past when they occurred during a server downtime.
Accusations of corruption
Corruption of GMs or developers is a serious claim, made all the more severe by the fact that it has happened before. Several years ago, CCP developer T20's misconduct was famously exposed when it was found that he spawned several original tech 2 blueprints and left them in the care of the Band of Brothers alliance. Since then, CCP has made a very visible effort to crack down on rogue behaviour and restore public opinion.
Through initiatives like the Council of Stellar Management and CCP's independent internal affairs department, as well as the replacement of volunteers who have access to sensitive information with paid employees, CCP has been shaking that black mark from the company's record. This latest drama has uncomfortably forced the T20 story to the forefront again, as the defending alliance in Delve is composed of many of the old Band of Brothers corporations that benefitted from the previous incident.
The latest reports indicate that after reviewing other territorial claim units, GMs have destroyed all those for which a significant portion of their onlining timer ticked over during the server downtime. While this has satisfied a lot of players worried about potential favouritism, others still complain that there is no set official rule for what happens to claim units in these situations. The determination of which claim units get destroyed and which don't is ultimately down to the GM team, who make a judgment call on a case-by-case basis. Arguments are sure to keep raging on this topic for several days, and we'll be sure to keep you updated on any further developments on this story or official statements from CCP.