Since January 13, a group of Elite: Dangerous players has been journeying across the galaxy to reach Dove Enigma station, named for a member of the expedition, Brandon "DoveEnigma13" Keith. Keith is fighting terminal cancer.
The trip, a relatively leisurely sightseeing tour and charity drive assembled for the benefit of both Keith and his five-year-old daughter, seemed to be going smoothly enough until this week, when griefers struck. Still a ways out from Dove Enigma, members of the expedition discovered that the station had been taken offline by some enigmatic arseholes.
— CMDR Allcrowsareblack (@CmdrACB) January 30, 2018
At the time, players weren't entirely sure what happened, but they suspected that griefers employed an exploit that makes it possible to shut down stations by overloading them with items called Unknown Artefacts. The net effect is akin to what would happen if a Thargoid alien attacked that station. The next day, Elite developer Frontier said in a forum post that it, too, suspects that to be the case. Frontier also apologised for adding the feature that made this exploit possible, a black market, to Dove Enigma in particular.
"We also understand that this event was a finish line for the Enigma Expedition and in hindsight we should have manually removed the black market for a limited time while the expedition took place," Frontier wrote. "We would like to apologise to Commanders for the upset we've caused. As with all our in-game memorials and tributes, they are added with the very best intentions."
The developer added, however, that there's no need for major changes now, because players have already rallied to reverse the station shutdown. Hearing of the Enigma expedition's plight, another group of players banded together to collect and deliver mass amounts of Meta Alloys, an item that can counteract the effects of Unknown Artefacts on stations.
"With this staggering outpouring of support, we are confident that the shutdown will be averted as Commanders arrive," said Frontier.
Canonn Research issue the following statement: the Canonn Council request that all available Canonn pilots divert to Darnielle's Progress asap with an empty cargo hold, fill up with Meta-Alloys, and deliver them to the Dove Enigma Megaship located in Colonia. This must be averted pic.twitter.com/DDrnBr7Kib
— Canonn Research (@CanonnResearch) January 30, 2018
Unfortunately I wont be able to haul Meta-Alloys for the #DoveEnigma but I have outfitted my ship to assist with remote repairs and refueling for any CMDR who may need it. So please dont hesitate to contact me if you need assistance. #EliteDangerous #EnigmaExpedition #FortheDove pic.twitter.com/Js82QwX8ry
— CMDR Chuggins (@CMDR_Chuggins) January 31, 2018
#EnigmaExpedition Day 18, WP14. Wow, what a day! The #MetaArmada dominated the day and all those fabulous CMDRs brought a new light to the galaxy. Some have also stayed true to the Expedition and lightened the mood with some SRV foolishness #EliteDangerous
Journey well CMDRs o7 pic.twitter.com/Zf5ONqycUq
— CMDR Allcrowsareblack (@CmdrACB) January 31, 2018
For now, Dove Enigma is saved. Of course, griefers might just try to take the station offline again, but it sure doesn't seem as though numbers - not to mention concepts such as morality, human decency, love, karma and meteors, by which they will inevitably be crushed one day - are on their side.