Garmon puts out a series of PvP videos capturing his exploits called "Garmonation" (look it up on Google). There's now nine of these videos, documenting solo and ultra-small-gang PvP in a number of ridiculously expensive ships and fittings. The most recent, Garmonation 9, includes PvP exploits in an Adrestia (a unique Gallente cruiser of which only a handful exist) and a Machariel. This most recent video concludes with an announcement: Garmon and a couple of friends are getting ready to launch a new website to teach EVE advanced PvP techniques. The website, http://www.eveiseasy.com/, includes a box to put in your e-mail address. Once you do, you're given access to several initial videos.
One can only assume that further videos will follow, but that those videos won't be so freely available.
Of course, though, right when you're launching a new business venture is the perfect time to be involved in a scandal.
First word of the potential scandal broke a couple of days ago, not long after this Rhea died. From what I understand, the pilot bug-reported it, indicating that he was caught and aggressed by Garmon's Vindicator outside a safe undock station, but not scrammed or pointed. The Rhea pilot attempted to warp, but found himself unable to do so. He was further unable to cancel warp in order to simply redock. Assuming he was bugged, he apparently logged out, logged back in, was still unable to dock, and was killed shortly thereafter.
Garmon then apparently bragged that he had found a new way to kill jump freighters, and indicated that it would soon be a video on the eveiseasy website.
Suspecting something unusual was going on, about 90 minutes later, Pandemic Legion baited him into another attack, then hot-dropped him with super-carriers and killed the offending Vindi.(1) And on the Vindi fit, PL confirmed there were no points and no scrams... just three very expensive Federation Navy webs.
It wasn't long until people started playing with the mechanic on Sisi and determining how it worked. Pandemic Legion immediately took the information gained and put it to use... not by telling CCP about it... oh no... by killing another jump freighter themselves with the exploit about six hours later. Garmon, undaunted, fitted up another Vindi and got another JF a couple of hours after that. And the race was on.
EVE News 24 first published an article asking for information, then put together how the mechanic works on Sisi and published it for all to see (text is courtesy of Zeroniss, and edited slightly for clarity):
It works on the principle that when you undock a ship, it is moving much faster than your maximum speed (especially in a freighter) if you hit warp, your ship tries to align while slowing down too (it is ESSENTIAL that your ship has to change alignment, instaundock will always work) this is when you slap it with triple webs.
Once the triple webs hit, under normal conditions your top speed is reduced to 1.1m/s. But your speed is still like 100/200ms as in the kickout from the undock, you won’t be able to stop the warp, you cannot dock either.
You never reach warp because your speed never [drops to 1m/s]. You can’t eject, you can't DC because you are trying to initiate warp, you are ALWAYS going to die.
Needless to say, the fact that Garmon of all people was using a cheap exploit to score jump freighter kills soured people's view of him pretty quickly. As we know in the United States, it only takes one good solid scandal to burn away any goodwill you've built up over several years. Michael Vick, John Edwards, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Martha Stewart, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Examples abound. The jokes have already started: Garmonationexploitation and hackingeveiseasy.com being my two favorites so far.
Anyway, CCP caught wind of the scandal remarkably quickly and today, GM Grimmi issued this statement:
It has come to our attention that some players are making use of a broken game mechanic involving web modules preventing people from warping, for the purpose of killing them. This is a clear exploit and anyone found abusing this will be dealt with accordingly. Exploiting may result in a permanent suspension from the game. Our Game Design team will be working to deploy a fix for this issue in the near future.That statement was then modified and clarified to:
We've become aware of an exploit that is being abused by players to catch jump freighters in low-sec in order to kill them. By webbing a ship that has initiated warp, the victim will be rendered unable to cancel the warp in order to dock. This is a clear exploit and anyone found abusing this will be dealt with accordingly. Exploiting may result in a permanent suspension from the game. A fix will be deployed for this issue in the near future....presumably so that every person who lost a webbed ship wouldn't petition their losses. ;-) The initial badly-worded statement shows how rapidly CCP wanted to get on top of this issue, so bravo to them for that. It really speaks to both CCP's sense of urgency to respond and the ability of the EVE media and fora to highlight an issue quickly.
So now the next question is how this will impact Garmon and his new business venture. Will people forgive him his sins? What if he apologizes? American scandals tend to die down because Americans by their nature are a forgiving, generous people. Hard-core EVE PvPers? Not so much. ;-)
(1) This quite possibly represents the one and only positive use of a super-carrier hot-drop on a sub-cap in EVE history. ;-) Best joke about this loss-mail, from several wags in various fora: "Think we'll see this hot-drop in Garmonation 10?"