So… The Biggest Battle In EVE History Just Happened

By Nathan Grayson on July 30th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

I wonder if they ever even conceived this as a possibility when they were creating Spacewar.

War. War never changes. It just gets bigger and more convoluted and adds space ships and looks kind of like a giant, twinkling star map spreadsheet. And so, in a year that’s already seen some truly colossal EVE Online battles, the biggest ever just sort of… happened. Admittedly, it was the result of months of conniving and cunning space mischief – as almost everything in the EVE universe is – but it still came as quite a surprise to dirty, non-playing Earth peasants like myself. Numbers so big you can see them from space after the break.

The battle – which was so rife with multi-hued laser fire that it looked like some kind of infinity-spanning disco maelstrom – sucked more than 4,000 players into its blender-like maw. The five-hour outer space Alamo claimed over 2,900 ships, largely from one of EVE’s biggest factions, the TEST Alliance. While the total damages aren’t known yet, the carnage could well be worth tens of thousands of real world dollars.

It all came about because of a multi-month campaign by the Goonswarm-led CFC faction to invade TEST’s favored home region. When it became apparent that all hope was lost, TEST decided to go down swinging in a last-stand that’s destined for the EVE history books, picking the 6VDT-H station in the Fountain region as the place where they’d draw the lines.

Which is a bit of a strange move, by EVE standards. Poetic in a blaze-of-glory sort of way, but not entirely, er, practical in EVE’s star sea of cold, clinical numbers. But then, I suppose it’s a bit different when the enemy’s banging down the doors of your home and you’ve decided that this is the moment of truth.

In an excellent post on The Mittani, CFC Megathron fleet commander Vily gave an in-depth account of the battle and eulogized the fallen TEST forces with this surprisingly poignant bit:

“As we continued to clear the battlefield, killing everything but the most difficult to track frigates, word came in of something odd. It seemed that TEST Alliance planned to make a charge – a last stand – to come back in against overwhelming force and make a statement. In EVE, this is never done; you do not fight when there is no hope. You retreat and save your ships for another day, another chance. But in they came, and while I can safely say I was surprised, I was also a little sad that so much bravery would have to be killed so quickly.”

, .

68 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Crainey says:

    I think this is cool and all, it is certainly one of the reasons EVE is a game I’ll never quite get over despite barely playing it. But, what is the mainstream media’s fascination with this game? I’ve not seen another game that is able to hit the BBC and other US sites every time without fail. Why do they care?

    To look at this picture, I can comprehend it because I’ve watched those live streams and played the game, it’s nothing new to me, but if you aren’t a gamer I would think it just looks like an expensive light show with some shadows hanging out in space, no?

    • Smion says:

      “The battle – which was so rife with multi-hued laser fire that it looked like some kind of infinity-spanning disco maelstrom – sucked more than 4,000 players into its blender-like maw. The five-hour outer space Alamo claimed over 2,900 ships, largely from one of EVE’s biggest factions, the TEST Alliance. While the total damages aren’t known yet, the carnage could well be worth tens of thousands of real world dollars.”

      Stuff like this doesn’t really happen in any other game, especially the worth tens of thousands of real world dollars part.

      • Themadcow says:

        I’m more impressed that the game servers held together. I remember massive pvp action and events in MMO’s like WoW just used to end up with a massive lag-fest and server restarts.

        • meloncrab says:

          To allow such a high number in the same system, the devs installed a system they refer to as time dilation, which basically slows down time.
          You can also announce your largefleet battles to CCP, who will then “reinforce” the appointed star system. Which sounds silly.

          • Premium User Badge

            phuzz says:

            In this case (as it was known for several days where and when this battle would happen), CCP moved 6VDT-H onto their spangliest server, which is usually used to run Jita (aka the system usually used as the main trade hub).
            Didn’t stop it from hitting 10% time dilatation, although as one person noted, that’s more players in one system than most MMOs can manage in an entire shard.

          • running fungus says:

            Time dilation makes sense from an admin perspective but as a result, everybody and their Minmatar have a chance to reach the fighting (and add to the lag).

      • Pharos says:

        Surely you can do a bit better than that?

        • MasterDex says:

          Do you know what pay to win is? It doesn’t seem like you do.

          How, pray tell, are you suggesting these corps pay to win?

        • GamerOS says:

          @Caustic: The CFC mostly makes money from their Moon mining for the alliance/coalition level stuff with most people ratting/mining/scamming for their own personal incomes. Very few buy their ISK with real money…. Al tough accusations that the CFC sells their isk from moon mining are thrown around a lot.

          TEST also had some of these valuable moons but were much worse in managing said income and had to actually rely on donations near the end of the war to keep functioning.

          Most other big coalitions/alliances rely on the renter model, were they basically give swats of space they own to smaller corporations/alliances who in turn pay the rent and pay protection money.

          Very few people but the most lazy in 0.0 use real money to get ISK.

          And even then when you call this pay to win, even if you buy as much ISK as you want and get expensive shit, you still have to train the skills to learn how to fly and use said gear, heck, you have to learn how to properly fit your shit in the first place.

          Even the most expensive gear in the end only gives a small boost over the cheaper T1 versions, and if someone really wants to kill they can do so in plenty of ways even if you fly a pimped out battleship with officer loot.

        • SwENSkE says:

          @ caustic
          Calling the CFC (Clusterfuck Coalition – a coalition of several alliances) a corp(oration) just shows how much you ‘know’ about EVE.
          And you abviously do not have the slightest idea about what ‘pay to win’ means either.

        • running fungus says:

          In PvP? If you don’t know how to fly it, you’re going to lose it, regardless of what it’s “worth”.

      • RedNick says:

        You can sell game time for in game currency to other players.
        And then you can bling out your ship with ridiculously expensive items that you’d have to be suicidal to fly on anything smaller than a capital. And then lose it.

        • nearly says:

          buying bling your ship doesn’t need just so you can permanently lose it is pay to win? I’ve been doing something wrong.

      • Hurion says:

        Do you even play the game? They fund their alliances with moon goo, PI, manufacturing and the best way: scamming people like you.

        The whole reason this current war is going on is because CCP changed moon mining, changing TEST’s region from crap to super valuable overnight.

    • meloncrab says:

      I guess the main reason is the simulated free market, supported by their own economist and the currency system which allows you to value the in-game currency in real-life dollars. Both of these combined allow impressive sentences like ” […] the carnage could well be worth tens of thousands of real world dollars.”

      • Gryz says:

        Another way to say something similar:

        “Players all over the world decided to take on Ragnaros, the fearsome Firelord. 3 Million players world-wide spend 5-10 hours per week, for half a year on average. The time invested (compared to a real-life minumum wage of $7.25 per hour) was worth over 4 billion dollars”.

        Yep. Four *BILLION* dollars wasted on the Molten Core. Probably more because WoW was played by people with real (non-minimum wage) jobs too. And then came Black Wing Lair.

        • Reefpirate says:

          Except when you’re raiding in WoW there’s no threat of losing anything… It’s not like those months you spent prepping for the boss battle can all of a sudden vaporize when he kills you. WoW is a game about value being constantly added to your character. In EVE, particularly in large battles like this, there’s a lot of value that gets destroyed.

          • zal says:

            You’ve got that backwards!
            when you’re funneling money into some MMO there’s no way of GAINING anything. The loss is upfront, unavoidable and unrecoverable.

            EVE is the real care-bear game; It gives you a chance to accumulate a fraction of whats put in, by allowing an currency earned through gameplay to be converted into additional game time (AKA in-store credit).

            So really it should be read as potentially THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF EVE FREQUENT FLYER MILES WERE DESTROYED. and yes just like a Best Buy Gift Card, you can often times get someone to pay you real money for it, but its a much more nebulous and less concrete amount.

            If CCP had made the game free to play right before the battle, or multiplied the cost of PLEX by 360,000 … would more or less money have been “destroyed” in this space battle?

            To clarify, CCP is keeping a small percentage of your money seperate as a sort of Ante in the form of letting you play for free, to give the game more of an illusion of value. Any other subscription based MMO could do the exact same thing by rasing their subscription cost by 10% but then working an internal currency that distributes that 10% back into the system as free play time based on gameplay somehow.

            Heck F2P games do a sort of variant of that but where you get to keep ALL your subscription money, and only lose value when you buy something from the cash shop… they just don’t tie it to success and failure in the same way as EVE does.

        • Phendron says:

          EVE ships have intrinsic value. MMO junkies don’t value their time the same way.

        • Mark says:

          You’ve missed the point and don’t really understand Eve I think. Nothing is at risk in WoW. Your character dies? Almost instant respawn with all your items still in your inventory – zero risk or punishment beyond something trivial and temporary. Imagine playing Wow but every single time you died you lost every single item on your character and half of it was then taken by the people that killed you. It would change the dynamic of the game a bit no?

          I know it’s really hard for players of themepark MMO’s to understand but the point of Eve is that your actions actually matter, if you fuck up will be punished, it sounds harsh but whatit actually does is make play actually meaningful. Ever played a game back in the day with all the cheats turned on? They quickly become boring right? – That’s the equivalent of 98% most modern MMOs.

          Wow is like playing poker for matchsticks, fun for a bit but ultimately meaningless and there’s nothing of real value to be gained at the end. In Eve wars are fought over resources and genuine sources of power in the game, deaths actually matter and hurt the players involved. Once you understand and appreciate Eve, other mmos just seem like scripted instanced playgrounds where nothing really matters, the world is implacable and cannot be affected in the slightest by the players.

          • Gryz says:

            Both EVE and WoW are games. You play make-believe. Nothing is real. At the end of the day, you still have empty hands in the real world.

        • DigitalParadox says:

          Just think of all the time you’ve spent reading RPS that you could have spent working at a fast food join for minimum wage. Clearly you’ve essentially wasted thousands of dollars here.

          • Gryz says:

            Exactly, that is my point.
            When playing games, you waste time. Time = money (in many different ways). Whether you destroy spaceships, or just waste away time, it boils down to the same thing.

          • running fungus says:

            I think you’re being deliberately obtuse, gryz. Nobody is going to pay me to surf RPS. Somebody would pay me for the ISK I spent on a ship an hour before that battle, and lost. Where PLEX comes in is as an endorsed, dependable $-ISK transfer point, which other games lack. It’s not just about “all time is worth something so all activity is worth something”. If it weren’t for PLEX, the media would not be engaging in these kinds of “real worth” valuations.

  2. sub-program 32 says:

    I guess TEST rolled a double 1 for their Break test.

  3. Sulaco says:

    I can appreciate EVE in every way, especially when things like this happen. It’s ground breaking, really. But I can never get over how the ships all just ball up like that. Looks like an enormous cluster fuck of confusion. I’ve played EVE a decent amount but I’ve never actually been involved in something like this, so I don’t doubt at all that it must have been awesome to be a part of.

  4. wearedevo says:

    Cue someone saying they love reading about EVE but would never play it in 3… 2… 1….

  5. BooleanBob says:

    “Which is a bit of a strange move, by EVE standards. Poetic in a blaze-of-glory sort of way, but not entirely, er, practical in EVE’s star sea of cold, clinical numbers.”

    It does kind of seem as though one faction basically committed faction-wide suicide, in order that something might happen.. despite knowing that the thing that would happen would be their faction-wide suicide.

  6. PatrickSwayze says:

    I’m just gonna say… those EVE battles look truly shit.

    What a dreadful mess.

    All that fucking space to play in and its all lumped together like that.

    DIsgusting.

    • Premium User Badge

      princec says:

      That’s the problem with sci-fi space battles – if it were realistic it’d be even more dull to look at, with ships hundreds of thousands of kilometres apart traveling at some fractions of lightspeed attempting to guess where the enemy will be in 0.1s time and lighting them up with lasers. Which you couldn’t see.

      • PatrickSwayze says:

        Even as far as WW2 in space goes, pretty much every other space game has battles more spread out than that.

        That’s just… horrendous.

        If Eve ever gets proper controls I’d be all over it, but as its stands its an economics game and not a space battle game.

        Hopefully Star Citizen will be the one.

        • RedNick says:

          Eve battles are very spread out (although for reasons of easing the commander’s job, fleets themselves often fight bunched up, all following the commander). A lot of the time, this just makes it so you can hardly see anything. But with 4000 ships there, what was once spread out becomes rather dense. Especially with the capital ships in the lower right of the picture, which take up quite a bit of space.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Whilst you don’t pilot Eve ships in the “traditional” sense, it’s flat out wrong to suggest it doesn’t have proper space battles. Playing FPS in space isn’t the only way to have a battle.

          • Premium User Badge

            FriendlyFire says:

            He’s never said FPS, and the way you make it sound I think you don’t really grasp what puts people off EVE.

            The way the game manoeuvers ships shows how the underlying game is really just dice rolls and such. Moving faster means your hit % is lower, not that the actual shots are simulated. Turning, same thing. Anything you do is just a modifier to dice rolls. You can still hit stuff through other stuff on occasion.

            You don’t have to go full on FPS to correct this. Have a look at Nexus: The Jupiter Incident for how capital ship controls can feel without being “FPS in space”. Star Citizen also very likely won’t be using just direct controls for capital ships because that’d be too limiting. You’ll probably be able to do multi-targeting and such, but there’s already a much more… tangible feel to the battles than EVE.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            Pretty much this. Once they have orders the ships tend to largely fly themselves.

            I wanted to love Eve, but it’s combat mechanics put me to sleep. Literally, in one case.

      • gunny1993 says:

        I think “Realistic” may be the wrong word to use.

      • Premium User Badge

        Malibu Stacey says:

        Indeed, if only they were more like the spaceship battles we see every day in real life.

  7. bstard says:

    I love these articles about whats happening in-game, somewhere, in some game! Eve(n) when this is not my thing, it’s a great read.

  8. staberas says:

    Great this means some people got REALLY BORED and now they are willing to blow up their 10K $ spaceship just for the lolz and our amusement…

  9. MeestaNob says:

    This is an EVE post but it’s not by Jim, what the fuck is going on here Nathan?

    After this and the horseshit Not-Journey post, you need to explain yourself.

  10. Deano2099 says:

    Doesn’t this just boil down again to “Goonswarm have more players than every other alliance so win everything” ?

    • RedNick says:

      Actually, TEST have more members, but the goons’ coalition, the CFC, is way bigger than TEST

    • Skabooga says:

      It does seem to take away from the dynamism of the game that it has this monolithic organization that for years has been able to easily accomplish whatever it wants by dint of its overwhelming size/power. It is what turns me off most about the game, perhaps because it is art imitating life a little too closely.

      • zeekthegeek says:

        TEST actually allied themselves with several of the other largest PvP alliances, so that their combined numbers were 36000 for TEST, 30000 for Goons. And yet they stilllost a defensive war.

  11. Jenks says:

    It’s a shame that sandbox pvp games always devolve into server crushing blob guilds.

    • CutieKnucklePie says:

      It’s a shame that sandbox space games have to devolve into being all about PVP.

  12. Wonderboy2402 says:

    I think the overall actions by the alliances is interesting… But the game. It looks boring along with spreadsheet antics and time involvement.

    My question is will stat citizen finally put the player directly in the action. And will we see similar events in that universe? Will the game be able to handle a fraction of the space battles like eve? I haven’t pledged yet because I remain skeptical but hopeful.

    • Reefpirate says:

      I think people often forget the advantages of EVE’s combat system… It handles scale a lot better than a more ‘sexy’ combat system would. Star Citizen will get a fraction of the scale, but it will be a pretty small fraction. That’s the price you pay for having more bells and whistles.

    • zeekthegeek says:

      It’ll have a fraction, but a very tiny one. Like 1/80th.

  13. ostrich160 says:

    Im so glad I was there, I was fighting alongside TEST, a battle we knew for a fact we couldnt win, yet we sent in everything, just to make a statement over who we are. We dont surrender to bigger alliances, we’d rather die fighting than bow to the CFC! It was the funnest event in gaming for me ever, I know too a lot of people the spreadsheet format is boring, but I guess its something you either like or you dont.

    I’ve been trying to avoid looking at other peoples comments because a lot of uninformed arguments to why eve is awful blah blah blah comes in, but it did catch my eye that apparently EVE is p2w. Well clearly not, yes ISK can be converted into PLEX and sold for real money, and money into plex ect… But this is to make the losses higher. In total, TEST lost around $10,000 of real money, thats a lot. And sure, they could just go buy more isk, but its much easier and much quicker to not do that, since its so expensive to run an alliance, and not even £1000 of real money could cover all the isk needed to keep it going.

    • zeekthegeek says:

      ‘We don’t surrender’

      And then after the battle, TEST CEO announced a surrender.

      • Apocalypse says:

        “And then after the battle, TEST CEO announced a surrender.”

        Was this before or after they blew up that 150 billion titan?

  14. piecewise says:

    Whats always amazed me is that people don’t just sell everything in this game. You always hear about “Oh 10K was lost in this battle and 15K was lost in this one” and all I can think is “You have 10K worth of meaningless polygons and you decided to keep the meaningless polygons rather then trade it in for something with actual worth?”

    I fear for the future of mankind.

    • KevinLew says:

      It’s because it’s not real money. There is a way to convert from in-game currency to real-world currency but it’s a complicated process that hinges on finding a buyer–or, more sarcastically, a sucker–that wants to pay for in-game loot for real cash.

      These articles talk about real-world money when in reality there’s no money being exchanged. It’s like taking Curiosity: What’s In The Cube as an example: You calculate how many tools were ever used (e.g., diamond chisels, etc.) and then multiply them by the cost from the in-game store. Finally you write a report that states that the *equivalent* of 100 million dollars’ worth of loot has been spent in the game, even though those 100 million dollars weren’t actually spent.

  15. engion3 says:

    Thrall wouldn’t stand for this…

  16. zeekthegeek says:

    There’s a guy from The New Statesman who just started doing this in the Goonwaffe, writing about his experiences over there.

  17. Apocalypse says:

    The most important thing is missing, when CFC thought the battle was over they did bring in a titan. It was used as a jump bride out of the system for friends and allies . This is what than followed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eFF9LRvZF0
    After all bravery and having the right spy at the right place did pay out for test. ;)

    That titan alone was worth about $5500 if you want to buy it with real cash and seems to make up nearly 40% of destroyed value in that system for the whole month.

    https://killboard.ncdot.co.uk/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=301960

  18. KirbyEvan says:

    Does this story happen every few months or so?

    I swear it does.

    • gschmidl says:

      It’s kind of like the world’s oldest person dying over and over.