The media is all a-quiver at the news about a titanic battle which has taken place entirely within the virtual, but which has an estimated real-world financial impact (so far) of around £181,000 ($300,000).
The battle has taken place in EVE Online, the massively multiplayer online game set in space and encompassing hundreds of star systems, peoples and alliances, with players taking-on a range of roles including mining, piracy, manufacturing, trading, exploration, and combat (both player versus environment and player versus player).
It is with the latter that EVE Online has hit the headlines, following an epic struggle between several thousand Eve Online players from around the world which has witnessed the destruction of 75 of the game’s Titans. Those familiar with Titans know they are the biggest spacecraft in the game, each ten kilometres (6.25 miles) or more in length. They take weeks to construct and can cost around an average of £2,400 ($4,000) a pop in real money, depending upon exchange rates between real-world currencies and ISKs, Eve Online’s internal currency. To give some idea of the scale of the conflict, the previous record for destroyed Titans was 12.
Conflicts are not new to EVE Online and its 10-year history. They can be of varying sizes and triggered by a range of events. This particular one has its roots in a series of skirmishes and exchanges between rival alliances stretching back to October 2013, and which have been dubbed Halloween War. Just last week it saw the RUS Alliance gain something of a bloody nose from opposing forces in a further confrontation between forces.
But on January 27th, 2014, when the Nulli Secunda Alliance forgot a payment on a strategic space station in the otherwise unassuming B-R5RB system, things escalated rapidly as opposing sides sought to gain control of the system. In all, four major alliances werre involved, pairing off against one another: the Nulli Secunda and Pandemic Legion on one side and the CFC and RUS on the other, with neither side willing to back down, committing more and more forces into the battle in the space of some 12 hours. In the end, the outcome was only decided as America awoke as dawn broke across the Atlantic, and the CFC was able to secure reinforcements from its American members.
According to EVE Online developer, CCP, the overall cost is still being counted, and is expected to rise much higher than $300,000 – not in terms of actual costs from the battle, but in terms of the overall investment players have made in the game and in building things like the ships. The battle was so massive that EVE’s servers struggled with the load – but while they “sweated”, with a few tweaks to the system – they stood up.
A portion of the battle filmed by a neutral observer
This is an incredible advert for a massively multiplayer online game; a scenario wherein several thousand players from across the globe have been able to come together and join-in, in real-time, an event of enormous proportions. As Harvey Crabsticks points out, you have to admire the dept of participation on the part of the players. It’s a remarkable feat – and by no means the first; just the biggest so far. One which has ignited (or possibly re-ignited?) media interest in a platform as old as Second Life.
Makes you wonder what it would take for the media to respond to SL in the same way…
- The Bloodbath of B-R5RB, Gaming’s Most Destructive Battle Ever – CCP
- Eve Online virtual war ‘costs $300,000’ in damage – BBC News Online
- Spaceships worth more than $200,000 destroyed in biggest virtual space battle ever – The Verge
- Massive ‘EVE Online’ Battle Could Cost $500,000 In Real Money – Forbes
- An unpaid bill leads to costly video game battle – AP
- EVE Online