Header art by Cryo Huren
GM Week has recently hit and with it comes a slew of EVE events to celebrate. Such events include fan cosplay competitions, new in-game event-themed sites, and a GM roam with guest FC Bjorn Bee. This roam seems to have garnered the most attention, not only due to Bjorn’s popularity within the community, but also the numerous alliances, such as Horde stating their intention to intervene.
The Event Itself
The stream itself, which was hosted on CCP TV, started with the GMs, in Vargurs, filamenting out to the Oasa region to rob ESS. They decided to rob the system they landed in and unlocked the bank with a 45 minute regional key. For the majority of the hour it was quite uneventful, with the Vargurs occasionally sniping the odd ship or two that decided to come into ESS. The Vargurs were positioned about 300km off the gate and remained around max range for the duration of their stay in ESS.
After approximately 30 minutes, a Horde Baltec fleet, a PL Ferox fleet, and a No Value Tempest fleet entered the ESS (after some fighting at the gate). Due to the Vargurs’ distance from the warp in point, these hostile fleets began the slow process of burning closer while CCP took pot shots at them, especially targeting the logi keeping the other ships alive. Although progress seemed to be going well, with one of the GMs reduced to half shield and only a few losses sustained, the attacking fleets decided to pull the plug and warp out. The Vargurs then stayed in ESS for a short while before warping to a gate and dying there.
The second run was much shorter than the first, due to the Vargur fleet staying out of ESS. Instead they headed towards IDQ, hoping for a fight. About seven systems away, they made the decision to go to ESS to avoid a Falcon that had spooked Bjorn and there they found an INIT Raven fleet. Due to the Vargurs only being 70km off the ESS gate, the fight was much quicker with the two fleets trading battleships, whilst tackle kept the Vargurs from moving off. This was the final run for the Vargurs and the stream ended shortly after.
Although the roam was a well-intentioned, good hearted idea, the circumstances surrounding the event and the current game situation paint the roam in a less forgiving light. Recently one GM’s actions came under scrutiny when his titan was tackled in lowsec. Rather than accept the loss, the GM decided to teleport the titan out, denying the tackling players a killmail.
Undoubtably this titan could have been respawned if destroyed. Considering the way CCP has drastically altered industry, creating rarity in destroying, or acquiring, titans, it can come across as insulting for the GM to pull a stunt like this. CCP has not commented on this issue, leading some to draw connections to the T20 scandal, when CCP first attempted to cover up the issue.
Another example of controversy is the inclusion of Wack a Bot in this year’s GM Week. Last year players also took issue with this event, due to the way CCP handled the situation. Many players say that CCP does not do a good enough job moderating bots. Having an event like Wack a Bot is just a token effort, some say, to make players think that CCP is on top of the botting problem. Therefore, a lot of “cred” was riding on the shoulders of this year’s GM week, as players saw it as a chance for CCP to redeem themselves – or at least show they still cared.
For a lot of people CCP’s use of Vargurs in ESS rang hollow. Marauders are known to be the most OP ship when it comes to ESS, with Vargurs in particular holding a special place as the king of ESS. For a lot of people, the use of marauders in ESS is “content denying” and unfair.
However when your hard-earned ESS payout is under threat, why wouldn’t you drop an OP ship? The problem many found with the GM’s specific use of the Vargur is that the developers seem to have abused one of the game’s most broken features, and that comes across as insulting. Rather than fix the issue and make it fun, CCP seems like they couldn’t care less whether a 20 man fleet can hold off a 200 man fleet, just by pushing F1.
All these controversies, and how they are handled, seem to communicate a sort of nonchalant attitude coming from CCP which can really be frustrating for players seeking some sort of remedy.
I personally enjoyed this year’s GM week, or at least the first part of it. Rather than be some obtuse celebration of unknown EVE lore, it aimed to include a large proportion of EVE’s player base. I am not complaining about Bjorn’s inclusion, as I think he is fantastic streamer, but hoped for a GM Week with all the good bits that aren’t tainted by a feeling of disappointment or anger. I hope CCP will get some feedback, including this article, and improve GM Week for the benefit of all.
Hey, next time you get tackled, just take the loss!