So apparently the CODE. team caused a bit of a stir at the Alliance Tournament this weekend.
I don't know what it is, but whenever the New Order gets involved with something, the result is always the maximum possible drama. CODEdot's first match in Alliance Tournament XII was no exception. There are a lot of wild rumors and conspiracy theories circulating about what took place during that match. As a disclaimer, I wasn't involved in the tournament this year. However, I have pieced together the story from the most reliable sources available.
The short version is that CODEdot was scheduled to compete against the team from "Red vs Blue", didn't appear, and absolute pandemonium ensued. Not since Hydra Reloaded threw the final match against Outbreak in Alliance Tournament IX has a single match garnered more attention or elicited a greater emotional outpouring from the EVE public. Hence all of the wild rumors and conspiracy theories.
The full story of the illustrious CODEdot tournament team is a bit more complicated than that. It all started in June of this year, when some CODEdot gankers first floated the idea of participating in the tournament. The deadline for applying had already passed in May, but apparently the deadline was pushed back. CODEdot's tournament fee was fronted by Clockwork Pineapple, the alliance of The Greater Goon (aka "Groon", a group that broke away from GoonSwarm many years ago). Some view the connection between the New Order and the Goons as evidence of some wider conspiracy, but actually the Goons are just generous people.
As you're probably aware, the New Order is home to some of the most elite PvP'ers in all EVE. And that's not just ganking, either: The pages of MinerBumping are filled with reports from wardeccers and awoxers who use more conventional ships and tactics to overpower their opponents, even when heavily outnumbered. Many such elite PvP'ers would be happy to fly under the CODEdot banner in the alliance tournament--if they were allowed. Alas, the tournament rules only permitted players who were members of CODEdot as of April, months before the decision to field a team.
CODEdot itself, of course, is primarily filled with ganker alts who operate at permanent -10 security status and perform the important work of killing highsec carebears. However, the possibility remained open that among the ganker alts might be found 12 individuals interested in playing in the Alliance Tournament. That might seem like an easy task. It's actually more difficult than you'd think. For example, GoonSwarm Federation, which has over 11,000 members, was not able to find enough willing participants and declined to field a team.
For some, the tournament is serious business. Last summer, TEST was fighting for its life against the CFC in the Fountain War. TEST's most powerful ally, Pandemic Legion, withdrew from the war, explaining that they needed the summer to practice for the alliance tournament. Abandoned to their doom, TEST lost all of its space and never recovered.
CODEdot faced a similar dilemma this summer. With just weeks to scrape together a team--preferably consisting of pilots who could fly more than a Catalyst--CODEdot was also engaged in a war. It was the war against bot-aspirant freighters who were menacing highsec. Again and again, Agent loyalanon led ganker fleets to victory. When he asked the pilots whether they would prefer to practice tournament-related stuff instead, the answer came loud and clear: Kill more freighters. CODEdot could have abandoned highsec the way Pandemic Legion abandoned TEST. It was never really a choice, though. The New Order doesn't leave its friends behind.
Then came an incident which is now infamous. Clockwork Pineapple, which had fronted CODEdot's tournament fee, was rigorously training its own tournament team. They finished all their theorycrafting and purchased all of their tournament ships. The ships, more than 60 of them, and their fittings, were packed up into a series of containers and loaded onto a freighter. However, the freighter did not belong to a member of Clockwork Pineapple, but instead belonged to Narwhals., evidently an industrial alliance. The freighter pilot was named Psi StarPsi, and he was a very wicked man.
Psi StarPsi triple-anti-tanked the freighter, activated his autopilot, and went AFK. The freighter's path was to take it through the Uedama system, the very location where CODEdot had been ganking hundreds of billions of isk worth of freighters. Tragedy seemed inevitable. There was good news, however. Due to the New Order's friendship with Clockwork Pineapple, CODEdot had arranged to set certain alliances blue, including Narwhals. When Psi StarPsi appeared in Uedama, loyalanon ordered his troops to hold their fire.
The freighter was kept in place by New Order bumpers. loyalanon spent 20 minutes frantically attempting to convo the freighter pilot. It was no use. Psi StarPsi was well and truly AFK. The CODEdot gankers felt betrayed. Despite having blue standings, the freighter pilot had no concern for the Code whatsoever. He didn't have a permit, he was anti-tanked, he was autopiloting through Uedama, and he was AFK.
Psi StarPsi decided to use highsec like a cheap prostitute instead of treating her like a lady. There was only one thing to do.
The containers were immediately recovered by our Agents, who were amazed by what they saw:
Clockwork Pineapple quickly discovered that all of their tournament stuff--over 20 billion isk worth--had been destroyed by CODEdot gankers. This sparked a diplomatic kerfuffle. CODEdot was blue to the freighter pilot's alliance, after all.
In nullsec, everybody likes to make big coalitions and set perfectly good targets blue. It's all about tangled, interlocking networks of alliances, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", all of that jazz. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I don't see the world in shades of blue and red. It's black and white. Right and wrong. What Psi StarPsi did was wrong.
Since our Agents still had possession of the intact tournament ships, a representative from Clockwork demanded that they be returned. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and loyalanon decided to sell everything in Jita and keep all the money to fund future gank fleets. Justice was done, and eventually everyone agreed that Psi StarPsi was the guilty party.
When the fog of crisis lifted, our Agents realized that they had won an incredible victory in the alliance tournament. Technically speaking, they had defeated Clockwork Pineapple. Not just once, but multiple times, since there were multiple sets of ships. CODEdot was off to an early lead, though it was doubtful whether CCP's official scorekeepers would concur. Events appeared to vindicate the idea that it was better to gank freighters than to recruit/practice for the tournament.
Then the first weekend of the tournament arrived. Though there were dozens of matches, only one match attracted the interest of the EVE public: CODEdot vs. RvB. To begin with, each team was permitted to "ban" two different ships. RvB, well aware of CODEdot's skill with gank ships, banned Catalysts and Taloses. It is still unclear how many CODEdot pilots were present and ready to participate in the tournament, and of these how many could fly ships other than Catalysts or Taloses. I'm told that tournament pilots are not permitted to bring rookie ships.
What is known is what happened next: CODEdot graciously ceded its allocated tournament time for the day. Retiring with a level of sportsmanship unknown in previous tournaments, CODEdot permitted RvB to advance to the next bracket and allowed CCP to use the unexpected bounty of additional airtime as they saw fit.
Much moved by the display, CCP was at first unsure of how to proceed, and the transition, being unscripted, was not as smooth. To be clear, I don't blame CCP for this. Nor do I even blame RvB. Sometimes no one is to blame. Life can be a bumpy road. That's why persistence and determination are so important. No one knows this better than the New Order.
As I mentioned before, when CCP announced that CODEdot had "forfeited" the match, all hell broke loose. There was much angst on the Twitch chat, on multiple subforums of EVE-O, on Reddit, and in many other places. The rest of the tournament matches faded into obscurity. Roughly 99% of the discussion about the tournament centered on the CODEdot match, and that's a conservative estimate rounded down. Many insults and accusations were leveled against the CODEdot tournament team--yet they met the hostility with nothing but quiet dignity.
As with the thrown Hydra/Outbreak match from three years ago, EVE players insisted that they were not shedding tears. Players were not angry or upset, only "disappointed". Many of the carebears who spend their days drafting death threats and Hitler comparisons turned against the New Order with a new fury. They passionately argued that they weren't mad--but their behavior wasn't dissimilar to that which is displayed when they lose a Retriever. I make no judgments as to the character of these reactions. I will only say that EVE players were emotionally invested in the tournament proceedings as never before, and that the fruit of the investment filled many buckets.
Cynics will argue that the CODEdot team was only out to get attention. It's true that the New Order benefits from increased publicity; anything that gets more players reading the Code is considered a Good Thing. However, CODEdot is not a bunch of attention-seekers. The alliance is comprised of warriors and scholars, not trolls.
All in all, the match was a memorable one. At times like these, it's a good idea to take a step back and gain some perspective. When all is said and done, no one will remember Alliance Tournament XII for whether one droneboat setup beat another droneboat setup. They won't care whether Pandemic Legion spent a bunch of money and won the tournament for a fourth time or a fifth time, or whatever. They won't remember whether RvB finished in 20th place or 10th place or 5th place. But they will always remember the CODEdot team. They have achieved immortality.
Victory is a fine thing. Even finer: victory with honour.
I believe I speak for all fair-minded EVE players when I say that the CODEdot team is the pride of highsec, and I wish them the very best of luck for their future contests.