Last weekend, with a simple misclick from one player, an all out war broke out in EVE Online, the popular MMORPG space title. The resulting battle has been labelled the EVE Online Battle of Asakai and could lead to even larger conflicts.
With 717,033,768,274 ISK (the game’s currency) worth of ships destroyed in the battle, the damage done is around $20,000 according to estimates of conversion between in-game currency ISK and real world USD (550 million ISK = $15 USD).
Goonswarm, part of the ClusterFuck Coalition (CFC) were looking to reinforce allies at a battle taking place near a mining operation. Instead of sending in an entire fleet by ‘bridging’ a jump, the Titan pilot DaBigRedBoat accidentally jumped his ship alone. With the big Titan ship vulnerable to attack without immediate fleet support, rival alliances Pandemic Legion and Test Alliance Please Ignore, part of the HoneyBadger Coalition (HBC) flooded in forcing CFC to evacuate while taking heavy losses.
A Coalition is a grouping of Alliances, an Alliance being an organisation with one or more corporations as a member; it is a collection of corporations, just as a corporation is a collection of players. Final estimates peg damages at 650 billion done to the CFC and 67 billion to the HBC.
Local area populations swelled to 3,000 or so people as escalation calls brought people out of bed and in front of their computer/cockpit. With a huge influx on the server, developers had to use TimeDilation (TiDi) to “slow down time” on the server itself, throwing time as low as 10% normal speed at some stages.
“If we didn’t do that, the sheer amount of data traveling back and forth (people, modules, positions etc gathered and rebroadcast out to each of them) might mean one side’s modules and commands wouldn’t go through and all of a sudden it is just a game of flip-the-coin.” said PR and Marketing Associate Manifest. “It’s slow, but it still allows for gameplay—a sort of managed lag. Since the system itself slows down but others around the server do not, it actually also helped reinforcements arrive from non-dilated nodes quicker.”
In this kind of battle, some players even enforce military tactics and jargon when battling the enemy.
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While this is not the biggest battle to have taken place in EVE Online, it does highlight the time and money players are putting into Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs).
Players are also speculating this may spark the greatest war on EVE Online between CFC and HBC. Each Corporation has deep pockets thanks to their ongoing mining operations (approx: 14 billion ISK or $381 a month per Technetium moon) and could sustain a prolonged war for some time.
One thing is for sure though, EVE Online developers CCP are going to be loving the attention.