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What's in a name? EVE alliance name change causes player unrest

James Egan

The sci-fi game EVE Online is different from most other massively multiplayer titles on the market due to its nature as a 'sandbox' game. The developers provide the setting while much of the content of the game is what the players choose to do, typically struggling against one another for power collectively through player alliances. Given the efforts these alliances put forth to gain supremacy over their rivals, the EVE Online subscribers are acutely sensitive to any form of developer involvement in the outcomes of conflicts and struggles in EVE's setting of New Eden.

CCP Games seems to have distanced themselves from the powerhouse alliance (formerly known as) Band of Brothers since the t20 incident in the past that eroded confidence in the developers, at least from some of the playerbase. The incident involved a CCP developer, at the time a member of Band of Brothers, who abused his powers to spawn blueprints which were put to use by the player alliance. The dev eventually came clean and safeguards were put into effect to prevent such an issue from occurring again, but animosity from groups of players remains to this day. Ever since that time, even the slightest hint of favoritism from CCP Games toward this particular alliance has drawn fire from some players.

We received a number of tips from Massively's readers about a recent action CCP Games took with regards to the former Band of Brothers alliance. Band of Brothers was eliminated as an entity -- in name -- through an act of betrayal, or espionage, depending upon your perspective. Following this act, the alliance reformed last month under a new name: KenZoku. However, as of this week they successfully petitioned CCP Games to change their name to Band of Brothers Reloaded, despite the fact that such name changes are not allowed for other alliances in the game. (Note: If the alliance reformed under a new name via in-game methods, it would cause KenZoku to lose control of their territory, while having the name changed by a GM wouldn't present this problem.) Predictably, this sparked forum drama, with a number of players calling out CCP Games for favoritism.

Massively was supposed to hear back from CCP on the issue when we came across an announcement from the GM team on Wednesday that seems to resolve the matter. GM Grimmi's follow-up announcement states that CCP Games has reversed the name change. Grimmi describes CCP's reasons for their about-face on the issue:

"We appreciate the feedback from everyone. After reviewing all of these very valid concerns, we were compelled to go back over the information we'd collected in this case and carefully weighed it against the precedents set in the past. Ultimately, we felt we had no other recourse than to reverse the name change, the key factor being that during this re-investigation we learned the KenZoku alliance was created several months before the BoB alliance leadership switched hands. That being the case, the name change request was not submitted within a timely manner, as it had been in the legacy cases we were holding up as examples."

While this case of an alliance being granted a name change when (all) others have been denied isn't exactly a *grave* issue, it has struck a nerve with some members of the playerbase who are more concerned with the principles here than the actual benefit KenZoku received of a changed name. There seem to be two camps of EVE players on this matter -- those who think it's a tempest in a teacup, and others who feel that there's been too much favoritism shown to this particular alliance.

Where do you stand on the issue? Is it even an issue at all?

[Thanks to the Massively readers who sent in tips.]

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