Gaming’s most memorable epidemics

The internet is a game. MMOs are just meta-games within that game. When Something Awful, for example, infests an MMO, it isn’t playing the MMO, it’s playing the internet. And when playing the internet, if there’s something to be exploited, you exploit it. That makes you cooler and more internet-ey than everyone else. Hence the existence of the GoonFleet, an EVE Online corporation which was founded by and originally composed of Something Awful members.

Above: The GoonFleet logo

While the Goons have to abide by the hard coded rules of the worlds they infiltrate, any lenience at all will be exploited. While everyone else is running around like twats trying to abide by “the spirit of the game,” they’re doing anything as long as it won’t get them banned. For example, this is one of the several suggestions that EVE’s GoonFleet has for pending “GoonSwarm” members:

“Since you are not in GoonSwarm yet, feel free to solicit your cyberchat services, beg for isk [money], sell crappy items in the contract system as super expensive "unique" items, or tell pubbies that they can double their money by sending you isk. You can get away with almost anything and not get banned. But, you will be banned if you try to scam using timecodes or characters.”

Above: EVE Online, the first choice for statistician gamers

The Goons targeted one of the largest alliances in the game: The Band of Brothers. In an impressive feat, they attacked and destroyed a Titan class BoB ship. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if you’ve ever played EVE you know what a bitch it is, and how difficult it is to advance. Titans are the biggest, most powerful, most deadly, and least-likely-to-be-destroyed ships in the game. They’re also the most expensive, equivalent to thousands of US dollars. The Band of Brothers guild was ill prepared for the Goon epidemic.

Above: The first Titan ever destroyed in combat

But that’s not the end of it – GoonFleet didn’t just destroy one ship, they destroyed the Band of Brothers itself. A Goon spy dissolved their clan internally in possibly the biggest upset in the history of online gaming. The Goon virus owned EVE.

So what’s the vaccination? How do you avoid destruction by aggressive internet cooperatives who seem to have far too many resources and members? The best host bodies are the ones who actually care about what they’re doing, because they’re the most likely to react. If you want to avoid being infected, don’t give shit about shit, and whenever you see someone else who actually cares about the game they’re playing, tell them that “the internet is serious business” and blow up their stuff.

Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer