Major EVE Online alliance CVA disbanded: espionage or hack?

Major EVE Online roleplaying alliance Curatores Veritatis Alliance (CVA) disbanded today, possibly the result of a traitor within their ranks, leaving a power vacuum in the Providence region they once held. It's possible for high-level directors of an alliance to disband the organization, and this is exactly what happened today to Curatores Veritatis Alliance. CVA was an alliance loyal to the game's NPC faction the Amarr Empire and had a long history of enforcing rule in lawless space and resisting rival player organizations of Minmatar freedom fighters -- notably Ushra'Khan -- who they branded as terrorists. In short, CVA has played a significant role in the player-driven setting of EVE Online.

At this point, speculation as to how CVA was disbanded is rampant. The concept of a mole using high-level access to destroy an alliance from within is not unprecedented in the game, although some players are asserting an account hack took place. EVE pilot "BULLETPROOF 50CENT" of the corporation Traceless Representatives of Anonymous Players (TRAP) has claimed credit for the disintegration of CVA. He stated: "I am known as bullet, just a small, relatively unknown member of a covert organization, created by and dedicated to the taking down of what we saw as the single largest evil in EVE -- CVA."

Speaking from behind the guise of the anonymous persona, BULLETPROOF explained that his industrial corporation was wronged in the past by CVA and has spent the last two years orchestrating the downfall of Curatores Veritatis Alliance as retribution.

He also claims that the real individuals behind Traceless Representatives of Anonymous Players will not face reprisal in-game for their actions. "You will never be able to get back at us, as we have no corporate or alliance affiliation. You do not know who we are, or where we are," he said.

The description of the 31-member 'Traceless' corporation reads: "We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us..."

The other side of the story, that of CVA itself, presents a contrary account of how the alliance was disbanded. CVA founder Hardin issued a statement in response: "I can confirm that CVA has folded and yes we are almost 100% sure it is an account hack for a variety of reasons." He enumerated details that point to a hack over an act of betrayal, specifically that the incident occurred at a time the player account used to disband CVA is generally not active, and access was gained from a different game client than the player would typically use.

Hardin added, "We are of the firm belief that this has to be a hack and we have asked CCP to investigate. No doubt all will be revealed in due course [...] and there is no doubt that this is going to cause disruption. However CVA is nothing if not resilient and we will prevail despite the obstacles that will probably be thrown in our way... Amarr Victor."

One of the defining traits of EVE Online and the player politicking that happens in the sandbox is that all manner of espionage and underhanded tactics are permitted. The setting of the New Eden galaxy is by design a harsh place and provided that CVA was dissolved using in-game methods and not via an account hack, a significant player organization ceased to exist today.

What's interesting is the amount of support being voiced for CVA from even their longstanding enemies, many of whom have expressed the hope that it wasn't a hack which finally brought their rivals down.

Without definitive proof from the Traceless Representatives of Anonymous Players to support their claims, and in light of the CVA spokesperson's allegations that hacking was a factor in the alliance's downfall, we're awaiting final confirmation on what exactly went down in Providence today.

Massively will continue to follow the story and update our readers on the situation.

Update: CCP Games restored Curatores Veritates Alliance this morning as well as its sovereignty in Providence. Although CCP Games did not comment on the matter, their actions imply that CVA disbanding was not a legitimate act within normal game mechanics. This supports Hardin's view that an account hack took place. Hardin announced both on the EVE Online forums and in the comments on this article at Massively that a more detailed statement from CVA on this matter is forthcoming.

"Amarr Victor", indeed.