The New Order of High Sec has always had a penchant for causing drama. After all, you can't ruthlessly murder thousands of unsuspecting players and not expect to make a few enemies along the way. In more typical MMORPGs, the act of killing another player, especially one who cannot properly defend themselves, is often considered a pretty vile act. But nothing highlights the unique nature of EVE's sandbox in the way that The New Order, or CODE as they are commonly known, has turned this hated activity into a full-time career.
Members of CODE spend their evenings hunting. They crawl through the various systems of high-sec space looking for players who, lulled into a false sense of security over the misinterpretation of how EVE Online works, fly expensive ships in a flagrantly lackadaisical manner. Sometimes these are miners who spend an evening sitting at an asteroid belt, shooting rocks while they do something else on their computer. Other times they are haulers, moving billions of ISK worth of goods from system to system using autopilot, carelessly ferrying around fortunes because they think that they are safe. CODE exists to remind them that they're wrong.
Their brutal approach to enforcing the inherent danger of EVE Online has certainly stirred up controversy, but perhaps that was never more apparent than last September, when CODE, looking to enhance their notoriety, registered for EVE Online's Alliance Tournament—a prestigious battle where the best pilots in EVE Online vie for glory and riches.
"We didn't care if we won or lost," Loyalanon told me during our interview. He explained that, in preparation for the tournament, CODE was far more concerned with pursuing their endless ganking vision that practicing any sort of strategy.
"When Alliance Tournament came, I was out with my family. I didn't really care about it."
CODE's first match was against another alliance, Red Vs Blue. Prior to the match, CODE discovered that RvB had banned Destroyers and the Talos, both ships CODE flew almost exclusively (thanks to their suitability as ganking ships). CODE, in their words, "graciously" forfeited the match. However, their forfeit was certainly not seen as gracious. Without further warning that they had no intention to compete, CCP, tournament organizers, and those producing the livestreamed broadcast were suddenly left to awkwardly move on to the next fight when CODE was a no show—a minor disruption that upset the entire day's schedule.
Failing to show up for the battle might not seem like a big deal, but when your alliance is one of the more hated members of the EVE community, players jumped on the opportunity to spin the forfeit in all manner of nasty directions. In response to the forfeit, CCP banned CODE from participating in all future Alliance Tournaments—an action that many members of the community saw as overly harsh.
"I think from there is when CCP got a hard-on for us," Loyalanon said. "We had actually annoyed the developers of the game quite a bit."
But while no one will ever be able to know the true intentions and motives at play, Loyalanon is positive that from that moment CODE was beginning to become a thorn in the developer's side.
A little time after that, EVE Online suffered one of its more controversial wave of bans when a character named Erotica 1 was banned from the game when his elaborate scam, where players gave Erotica their in-game money and worked through a series of trials, like singing pop songs, to win a much larger sum back, was declared harassment.
CCP itself has a pretty interesting history of injecting their own politics into the culture of the EVE universe. When the game was still early in its infancy, a band of pirates camped a system for so long that CCP directly intervened with invincible ships. And that's only one of half a dozen or so notable attempts where CCP felt forced to directly intervene. For players in CODE and Loyalanon, many think that while CCP has certainly become more subtle with their approach, they are still very much asserting their control over the sandbox.
When Loyalanon was sitting in a system with his friend, D400, doing their usual ganking, D400 suddenly disappeared from the game. Shortly after, Loyalanon and the remaining members of CODE realized that a large portion of their corp mates had been banned in one fell swoop. Though CCP has no obligation to, CODE was extremely agitated by the lack of information or clarification regarding why so many of their number had been removed from the game. Loyalanon personally believes that the bans weren't justified, as, over time, the only ambiguous reason that surfaced was that those in question had been linked with "harassment."
"I was gutted," Loyalanon said..
He explained how he and other members of CODE filed petition after petition to get more information on why so many members were suddenly banned, but CCP, in keeping with their protocol to not discuss the specifics of a ban, allegedly refused to respond. For Loyalanon, it was apparent that he and his alliance, considered by many to be little more than trolls, gankers, and professional harassers, were on thin ice.
"I didn't know what to do," Loyalanon said. "I was seriously considering quitting the game. CCP was just catering to all these people that just whine and cry and get what they want because they don't like the way that other people play the game."
After talking with James 315, the self-proclaimed Savior of High-sec and creator of The New Order and CODE, Loyalanon came away with a new purpose: CODE would gank like they had never ganked before. Joining forces with Goonswarm's Miniluv, an alliance also dedicated to ganking in high security space, the two forces set up in the system of Uedama with the express purpose of burning it to the ground.
Loyalanon told me that, day after day, he was running ganking fleets to tackle freighters and haulers passing through the system on their way to market. CODE, paired with Miniluv, were relentless. That month, October of 2014, CODE broke their record for the highest amount of damage incurred when they destroyed over a trillion ISK worth of ships. For reference, the largest battle in EVE Online's history totalled at 11 trillion ISK. If people were going to hate CODE, then Loyalanon was determined to give them a good reason too. The event spawned hundreds of pages of forums posts as players flocked to the official EVE forums to complain and petition CCP to make mechanical changes to the game.
Since then, CODE is still continuing their fight to remind careless players that EVE is not a safe game. Loyalanon and his remaining members of CODE haven't been banned yet, but they have shaped up to ensure that they are always strictly operating within the rules of the game. Though players might fly into fits of rage when they're destroyed by them, Loyalanon asserts that he remains nothing if not polite.
Though many will dismiss CODE as nothing but a small, easily avoidable gang of thugs, there is no denying how effective they are at what they do. If anything, Loyalanon is merely acting to defend the freedom to play EVE how he chooses. And despite the demonizing he suffers, the time I've spent with him has shown me nothing more than a father and a pilot who just wants to play his game his way.