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EVE's spies and metagamers

James Egan
James Egan|October 12, 2008 12:00 PM

EVE Online is one of the few MMOs where players in guilds (corporations and alliances) have some valid concerns about spies from rival groups infiltrating their ranks. The concept of being a spy or saboteur is a profession of sorts that arose in the game. There aren't any game mechanics that necessarily enable spying or make it into a viable profession, nor are there any rules that prohibit most of these activities.

Wes from EVE Tribune recently wrote a piece called "Metagaming", dealing with how espionage can impact rival corporations and alliances in EVE. Wes asks, "Why is everyone so paranoid about spies and metagaming?" then goes on to explain how espionage in EVE works, categorizing spies by their modus operandi:

  • TeamSpeak spies either pop into the enemy TS channel and assess their strength based off of the number of players logged in (or having someone else on the inside do it), or outright pipe the enemy TS into their own corp's channel, listening in.
  • Forum spies use logins shared with someone in that corp or alliance, and in many cases making this information public. "No one likes to have their dirty laundry exposed to the masses, but we love reading it!" Wes says.
  • Moles join alliances with the intent to cause damage and dischord. These are the deep cover agents that often spend a great deal of time and effort getting to where they have access to information and perhaps even some modicum of authority within the target organization. Their actions can be insidious enough to cause serious harm to an alliance and its morale.
Given that spying -- while hated by many -- is a valid activity in the game, Wes discusses at what point the game blurs with real life, highlighting how important it is for alliances to find ways of dealing with metagaming of this nature. Check out his piece on spies and metagaming for some insight into the paranoia that espionage can foster among corporations and alliances in EVE.