Today the name of the station in CR-AQH -- owned by my old alliance, Get Off My Lawn -- is "Fujimo asks Who stole our Gnome".
Early on December 1, @montolioEVE tweeted the following:
Alliance Maintenance was somehow unchecked on TEST/DAWWW today, I wonder if this is why LAWN disbanded?It quickly spread from there to the #tweetfleet:
#tweetfleet Guess what? The update unticked the auto-pay for Alliance bills. A couple sov holders fell over so far. Check your alliances!montolio then confirmed that the bug was rather wide-spread.
So far TEST, DAWWW, c0ven, nulli secunda, ewoks, gents, spacemonkeys and other alliances have found alliance maintenance unchecked.
In short, what seems to have happened is during one of the Crucible patches, the check box that virtually every alliance has ticked indicating that all alliance bills should be auto-paid was unchecked for a number of alliances. While a number of alliances noticed it, my old friends in LAWN apparently did not. When downtime ticked over on 1 December, the LAWN alliance was disbanded and closed, all of the corps that were part of it were kicked out, and all LAWN sovereignty in Pure Blind was dropped.
What seems to have happened next is a bit unclear, but a corp called "Special Projects Corporation" reincorporated the alliance under the same name and the same ticker. Sov has been reestablished in all of LAWN's previous systems (over a period of a couple of hours the same day), though things seem to be restarting at the lowest level of sov again, indicating that structures like Cyno Jammers and the like are almost certainly off-line. I'll have to chat with some of my old LAWN friends and see if CCP is going to do anything about this, but if past experience is any guide, the answer is likely to be "no".
I have no doubt LAWN was told that paying sov bills is their responsibility and they should not rely on any sort of auto-pay feature. CCP isn't the greatest about fixing their own mistakes, and are quite good at blaming the victim when their mistakes cause people problems.
So why is the CR- station called "Who stole our Gnome"? Well, periodically, CCP will update the game's internal database with the graphical logos of alliances that submit those logos in a particular format. This isn't something that happens very often -- maybe two or three times a year -- so it's important to get your logo to the right people before these updates happen. The alliance logo appears in game when you do a Show Info on the alliance, on Territorial Claim Units, and may someday even adorn ships. The trick is, the logo has to be unique, original, and approved by the appropriate parties in CCP before it gets put into the game. And as I said, once it's approved, it can be months before the logo actually appears in-game during the next such logo update. When these updates happen, dozens of new alliance logos are put into the game at the same time.
The third opportunity for it to appear in game was a month or so ago, and finally, it was approved, was slated to appear in game. I even specifically asked if the LAWN logo had made the cut and was told that yes, it had. Except as far as I could tell, it didn't.(1) ;-)
Anyway, sometime between then and now, when I wasn't paying attention, the gnome logo finally made it into the game. Just in time to be lost again when sov was dropped and the alliance had to be reconstituted... without its logo.
So that's why the CR- station has the name it does. ;-) Guess we'll have to see how long it is before the gnome makes a triumphant return...
(1) A funny thing about all this is that apparently everyone in the appropriate department in CCP loved the gnome logo, and told a LAWN alliance director so. "WE LOVE THE GNOME!" he was told. Why -- despite this -- there were such delays in getting the logo into game was always a source of much amusement and curiosity within LAWN.