Real-Life Politician Removed From In-Game Office In EVE Online

Yesterday, EVE Online player Brisc Rubal was permanently banned from the game and removed from the Council of Stellar Management, the game’s player-elected representative body. Outside of EVE, Rubal’s real name is Brian Schoeneman, and he’s a lawyer and a career politician, working as a lobbyist in the state of Virginia.

A developer blog released by CCP Games on Monday claims that Rubal was “found to be sharing confidential information with a member of his alliance that was later used by another alliance member to conduct illicit in-game transactions.” The Council of Stellar Management, or CSM, participates in closed door discussions with EVE’s developers that operate under a non-disclosure agreement.

The blog states that a member of the CSM approached CCP with evidence of the prohibited communications, which, after reviewing, forced them to take action. These actions included not only banning all of Rubal’s accounts, but the accounts of two other players who allegedly received confidential information from him and used it to further their own in-game goals.

Brisc Rubal’s in-game persona as a CSM (Image: Brisc Rubal)

Following his ban, Rubal released a statement via Reddit denying that he had broken the NDA in any way, writing, “I am innocent of these allegations. I have not, and would not, violate the NDA I signed after being elected to the CSM. I have not provided any proprietary information furnished by CCP to me as a CSM member to anyone.”

During his campaign for CSM, Rubal shared that he was a politician by day and an EVE player by night. In an interview with Kotaku as well as a YouTube video, Rubal referenced his political past as part of his qualifications for CSM. In his Reddit statement, Rubal wrote,

As an attorney and a public figure in the United States, my ethics and reputation are regulated by a code of professional responsibility and statutory law, unlike CCP’s opaque community team. As a licensed attorney for nearly a decade, I have never had a complaint filed against me. I have served in positions of public trust in the United States Government and have never had a complaint filed against me. The claims that I would risk my reputation by providing proprietary or otherwise confidential information to members of my own alliance for personal gain are false.

These baseless charges have had an immediate and negative impact on not only my in-game reputation but my out of game reputation.

According to Rubal’s statement, “I contacted CCP Dopamine and CCP Falcon to request information about the ban. As of the time of this writing, I have received no response from any one at CCP in response to my repeated inquiries...I will fight these false allegations, restore my reputation and seek all avenues for recourse available to me for these reckless actions.”

Rubal asked CCP to reconsider the punishments handed down to his two in-game associates, writing, “Their bans are wrong, and a travesty. [...] They do not deserve to be banned from the game, even for a year, and I strongly urge CCP to reverse these bans - not only for the sake of those two players but for all of the players who rely upon them.”

The players in question, Pandoralica and Dark Shines, were banned for one year for allegedly acting upon the confidential information said to be given to them by Rubal, as well as having assets and currency on their accounts repossessed or destroyed.

Pandoralica and Dark Shines are high-level members of the Initiative alliance, serving in leadership roles and leading Initiative fleets in the game. Recently, Pandoralica famously led the effort to assault and destroy what was considered to be a nearly invulnerable fortress belonging to another player alliance. The loss of these two players will inevitably cause harm to the Initiative’s in-game plans, and potentially the alliance’s future.

Due to the nature of the accusations and the confidential material at their heart, players may never hear the full story. How Rubal will fight the ban and how CCP will respond remains to be seen. In the developer blog, CCP stated that it will be focusing on more education for players elected to the CSM, and take extra time to ensure that all participants are fully aware of the “do’s and don’ts” when operating under an NDA.

For the duration of the current iteration of the CSM, the council will remain a member short. Elections for next year’s council are looming and are expected to begin soon, with details beginning to be released next week, according to the developer blog.


Comments

    This is... just wow. How is it that a game is better with politics than politics is with politics

      The politicians don't have ultimate authority in the game, they're subject to rules written and enforced by others.

    So what exactly did he do wrong if it's true, couldn't he be playing a corrupt politician taking?

      It sounds like it is essentially insider trading. And while the devs seem fine with players doing things to each other that would be crimes in the real world, this is using confidential information from the developers.

      If you know that an upcoming change to the game will change the value of a commodity (e.g. an expansion making some resource easier to acquire), then you could make an easy profit by buying or shorting the commodity just before the change.

        I guess if he was under a NDA then fair enough, but why even share that information in the first place if it can be abused for personal gain in a game that encourages it to a degree, reminds me of a quote

        "Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead."

        I think it makes the game more interesting, insider trading corruption an whatnot.

          There are lots of games where the top players are better at playing the game that the developers. The developers might have created the rule set, but may not have considered all the ways those rules could interact.

          If the devs are planning on evolving the rule set of a game, then it might make sense to get the input of those top players. They might catch an unintended consequence of a rule change that the devs miss. This is essentially what CCP is doing by letting the player base elect a council who can be consulted on things like this. The expectation is that the council members won't use that information to gain an advantage prior to the changes going live, hence the NDA.

    This has been a very, very silly decade indeed.

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