$300,000 Lost In EVE’s Biggest Battle… Due To Unpaid Bill

The Battle of the Bill, they’re calling it. OK, actually it’s just me calling it that. But still, history will forever remember that EVE Online‘s most colossal (not to mention colossally expensive) virtual star war began because one alliance missed a bill payment – at least until another biggest battle in EVE history happens in, like, three months. But still, this one kicked off because the N3 coalition failed to make a hugely important system, allowing other alliances to attempt complete takeover. Madness ensued. Nearly $300,000 worth of madness.

CCP explained the situation in an email:

“An alliance in the N3 coalition missed a bill payment for the system where Pandemic Legion is staging and storing their fleets. This missed bill caused sovereignty to drop across the system leaving the station vulnerable to capture. Seizing the opportunity, the CFC (Goonswarm Federation, Razor Alliance, Black Legion and the Initiative) and Russian Coalition (Solar Fleet, Darkness of Despair and Against ALL Authorities) captured the station.”

So then N3 and Pandemic struck back with more firepower. And then CFC and Rus struck back with more firepower. And so on and so forth until things escalated to a point of no return. In the process, the various factions involved lost a total of around 70 titans. Given that titans are massive god ships – the blue whales to everyone else’s guppies – and cost somewhere in the area of $3,000 a pop, losses were truly tremendous. With another 4,000-some-odd ships tossed into space’s deadliest rave, it all adds up to approximately $284,500, and numbers are still rising.

In the end, N3 and Pandemic lost roughly 40-50 titans while CFC, Rus, and co managed a slightly less catastrophic 20-25. CFC won, but obviously not without some serious wounds to nurse.

As ever, The Mittani has an excellent write-up of the positively gargantuan conflict. Among other things, it’s worth noting that this battle fell on the one-year anniversary of the nearly as insane Battle of Asakai, but it’s apparently been angrily burbling in the background since Halloween.

There are some almost unsettlingly gorgeous images of the wanton destruction here. It makes a man wonder, you know? Why must we solve all of our space conflicts with violence? Why can’t we take the example set by the wiser diplomats of our time and settle our intergalactic disagreements… with basketball?


  1. Monkeh says:

    I just love reading stories like these about EVE (well this one is a bit on the negative side, but it still sounds really epic, as usual), though whenever I actually watch one of these battles on YouTube, it bores the hell out of me. Might just be that I’ve been watching the wrong videos, since those screenshots look quite amazing!

    • Gnoupi says:

      I have quite the same feeling. Looks great from those stories, but the watching it, or actually playing it seems so long and flat to me.

      • DarkFenix says:

        Having played EVE for 4 years, I can most certainly attest that it’s a far more interesting game to read about afterwards than to play. For anyone actually involved in that fight all they did was sit there for hours on end occasionally pressing a button or two. Doubly so since time dilation was slowing everything down ten times over (literally).

        • FireStorm1010 says:

          Well i disagree .Even in ahuge battles you got to listen to fc, focus fire, repair, watch out whats happening.Tough it is slow sometomes.

          And smaller ones are very dunamic: my own experiece of eve at its best , around 20 us 20 players battle (total 40 players battle total) link to youtube.com

          Biggest problem for me wasnt taht battle were boiring cause they were imho great, but waiting to actually start a battle, which could take hours and end in nothing, if opposing fleet retreats.

          I played Eve for 7 years , stopped playing around 2 years ago, couldnt find enough time.

          • lorez says:

            That video was boring as hell dude. And I played the game for a while so I know what it looks like.

            The only video I ever saw of an Eve battle that was cool was during the kill all purples thing and it was only good because the guy making it wasn’t fighting, he was just flying in close with a rifter getting good angles on the action.

            Never see anything remotely like that playing the game because everything happens while orbiting 200km away.

          • Hahaha says:

            link to youtube.com – I think having the target ts just makes the vid. Also look at the rest of the account has some amazing vids on it, well worth checking out.

          • FireStorm1010 says:

            We about boredom each to his won , but the part about 200km only is tottal rubbish , sounds like you never fought any pvp or even watched my video, as most ships on the video are point blank to each other (im furthest out and im also around 30-50 km max) .OFC there are alot of long range ships in big battles, but interceptors and the like are usually also needed and you go very close with them.

            But honestly Eve fihgts are cool beacuse of tactics and cooperation , if what you need to enjoy is fast action and mighty graphics, well maybe you should play call of duty or something.

    • Cinek says:

      Descriptions are epic. Shame that battles themselves got nothing of this epicness, and the game is basically run by few people with enormous egos.

      • JanusForbeare says:

        Sounds like like a perfect geo-political (spatial-political?) simulator to me.

    • DarkLiberator says:

      I do agree in general most of these battles are boring to watch, but this is easily the best video of the battle. The sheer scale is insane.

      • Cartras says:

        I agree, excellent video and I had to look up the music after I watched it. RnK always make good videos.

    • Brinx says:

      Same here. They really built an amazing system, but I never could get into the actual gameplay.
      A shame, since this sounds like the only MMO I’d be interested to play.

    • Emeraude says:

      When you think about it, that’s about the same as with real war: it reads much better that it happens.

    • S Jay says:

      Yeah, it’s really impressive to hear about it (also impressive how so many 100% player driven things become news). I wish I had more time to play it, sounds fun, but you know, life and work…

    • Jac says:

      Absolutely. Eve is oddly one of my favourite games purely because of the stories it generates.. and it is odd given I don’t actually play it and only tried to play it for one evening many years ago.

    • FireStorm1010 says:

      Try this : link to youtube.com :)

      My own experiece, one of most fun battles i took part in , around 40 players total.
      Imho most videos cut TS fleet talk , and without them you cant really appreaciate whats going on , how much tactic and cooperation is happening.

    • CMvan46 says:

      These battles are definitely boring to watch and even to play but they make for great stories. For the servers to be able to handle the load everything is slowed down so your actions aren’t seen in game for a very long time after you do it. It’s not even real time at that point anymore.

      It’s a great game and afterwards makes for some great stories but this game really shines in small to mid size battles of 2 on 2, 10 on 10 or even 100 on 100 but these huge ones just aren’t a lot of fun to play in. Smaller battles take much more skill to do well in and feel like you can make a difference. In these large ones it’s all about who has more firepower there wins.

      In this case CFC had more Titans there earlier and PL/N3 didn’t, also PL apparently made a crucial error in their first round of doomsdays (Titans huge damage source on very long cooldowns) and used them on dreadnaughts (highest dps ships in the game, basically anti-structure/titan ships) instead of the opposing titans. The cost of a titan is 80-100 billion in game where as a dreadnaught is probably closer to 4 billion.

  2. Shadowcat says:

    Wait, EVE charges players extra to ‘own’ a system? What else do they charge people for?

    Every time I read these stories, I can never decide what I’d rather do — purchase an account and join in, or break own my fingers one by one to see if I pass out.

    I’m glad people enjoy it, but I’ll never quite understand it.

    • Koozer says:

      They pay upkeep fees with in-game money. You can also buy game time with in-game money or real money, so people tend to use the equivalent real-money value for in-game money when reporting this stuff.

      • Cinek says:

        “so people tend to use the equivalent real-money value for in-game money when reporting this stuff.” – which is complete BS.
        By that account – EVE is worth probably several billion dollars. Which is also a pure BS.

        • Hendrick Tallardar says:

          Except it helps explain the real world cost of these items to people rather than saying “its trillions of imaginary money” its not BS. It’s a point of reference for people to understand how “big” the fight was.

        • Brinx says:

          Well they can buy real things for that money. (Or as real as playtime in a game gets.) So a conversion system is not totally stupid.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            It is pretty stupid. The amount of ISK a PLEX sells for is very variable since it’s driven by supply & demand in the game like everything else. Next week that figure of $300k could quite easily be $150k or $600k depending on all sorts of factors.
            For example, someone in one of these alliances could go buy a load of PLEX today with real world cash & put them up for sale in game for ISK. This will depress the price of PLEX in game as he’ll sell them slightly below the current market average because he wants to get his ISK sooner rather than later to replace his lost ship(s) & the increase in supply will likely push the price down further as other people in similar situations follow suit.

          • Kelron says:

            The price of game time is actually very stable, CCP keep it under control. So no, it isn’t a totally stupid metric. It certainly gets more attention than a meaningless amount of in-game currency, though it may be misleading non-players with the implication that players are losing those sums of money in a literal sense.

            You can’t legally or easily convert in game property back into real money.

          • Brinx says:

            So, Malibu Stacey, you’re saying it’s like the economy and in- and deflation in real life?

      • kalirion says:

        Doesn’t that seem against the nature of the game for some untouchable overlord to be renting out systems to the factions?

        • oxykottin says:

          That is exactly what EVE is about. If you have the power and the resources to control an area, you rent the space out.

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      Sort of, it charges an alliance/corp a certain amount of ISK for the sov status. Just like war decs, office rent, etc.

      ISK is the ingame currency. Players can buy a PLEX (prepay time card) with real money (I believe $15 for 30 days?), and sell that PLEX ingame for ISKs. This way any person could buy said PLEX with ISKs and play the game (thus not having to pay actual money for his playtime). The ingame price of PLEX is depenant on availability and demand and can fluctuate.

      This way, if one know the price of an ingame PLEX (~300 million ISK when I last played), one knows the theoretical exchange rate from ISK to real $.

    • meepmeep says:

      My understanding is that this is being misreported – there is only one item which has an in-game value and can be bought externally (the PLEX, used to pay for subscription extensions) and it is the value of this which is used to determine the theoretical exchange rate between in-game items and real-world money.

      No-one has paid actual money for these things, but they have been created by the economy of the game using player-hours, which is essentially what money is (economists discuss).

    • frightlever says:

      Naw, don’t panic, it’s just more fallacious hyperbole to make a headline. If all the ISK involved in buying those virtual spaceships had been paid for, or indeed had been sold for real money, then it would be, roughly $300k worth. Except it wasn’t. All the ISK is generated in-game so although some people will have paid for ISK, the chances are most of it wasn’t. But… you know, ISK has a value, the ships have a value. It’s not really heinous, it’s just that nobody actually paid $300k for the “goods” that were lost.

      • oxykottin says:

        If you want to know what is really insane.. The Russian faction actually farms isk and sells it for real money (illegally) and the Russians protect their space fiercely because they have so much real money involved.

  3. TechnicalBen says:

    This is why I stick to game managed like chess or monopoly. If I loose, I can start again. But starting again in Eve online? Or loosing the content… wow.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      It’s my impression that the people involved in this sort of space politics rather see themselves as content creators and having your ship blown up is indeed part of that content.

      It’s really all about the mind set. And the EVE mindset is… different.

    • Danny252 says:

      To be honest, it’s not the end of the world for these players – sure, maybe their alliance breaks up, but new ones will rise in its place, and they’ll work with both old and new friends to have another go. They’ll become part of a new coalition, carve out a new bit of space, or decide to do something completely new in the game. I’d say that building up to the position where you can loose it all is most of the fun in EVE; it’s very difficult to completely and utterly bugger yourself. Hell, I lost so much stuff when I played EVE – but I always got it back in the end.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      Ingame “stuff” is worthless. It’s the experience of playing the game that is important.

  4. RanDomino says:

    Huh. I was just listening to Space Jam mashups yesterday. Slamtris, Slambusters, and Slam of the North Star were the highlights.

    • Hendrick Tallardar says:

      Nick Fuzzeh streams Pandemic Legion related stuff a fair amount. Whether it’s a big fight or the in-house Dota 2 tournament.

  5. Stupoider says:

    It was terrific seeing things unfold live, especially on Twitch, there were people streaming from inside the battle and people streaming from outside. Seeing the Titan’s firing their Doomsdays at each other was pretty spectacular, despite the server’s time dilation slowing the battle to a crawl. Amazing watching the Titan “Wrath of Achilles” take several hits before exploding and blinding everything.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I like the idea that people come to watch these battles from a distance like people did at Manassas.

  6. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Earl Grey was suspiciously quiet when this was going on. I wonder how many Eve players are secretly cats?

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Considering the penchant for other peoples tears that EVE players have? All of them.

  7. grimdanfango says:

    I don’t play EVE.
    I don’t comment about how I love to read stories of the epic battles that take place either.

    I love reading about people who don’t play EVE but love to read stories of the epic battles that take place though.

  8. Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

    I’m really fascinated with the…I suppose, seriousness…that Eve players take their game. I read about Eve stories with something close to schadenfreude. I respect their dedication but I can’t help but wonder how many players sit back at some point in their Eve career and think, ‘wait…what am I doing?’

    • Lone Gunman says:

      I think that applies to much more of life than just playing a video game.

  9. Artist says:

    Somehow amazingly pathetic to follow Eve’s “offer” to express gameplay items in real world money. And completly misplaced in a topic like this. Wake up – its a game and there was never any dollar of real money involed.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Well, real money does flow into the game in the form of buying currency from the developers, which I assume is where they get the figure from, but you’re right that they don’t really like exchanges selling ISK for real dollars. On the other hand, I assume the real-world value of the man hours put into this are much higher, although valuing leisure time as work time is always an iffy proposition. I’d be interested to know more about how EVE values its currency and what happens to the markets when huge battles happen or new players come in and out.

      This is part of the problem with bitcoin, as I understand it – nominally the value of a bitcoin has shot up with speculation and the fact that even if it did represent actual value it’d be massively deflationary – but actually getting bitcoins out in bulk is, I assume, not easy. I wonder at what point speculators will all panic and try to sell, only to realise they can’t because the only way to get out is to sell to other bitcoin investors.

    • Dave says:

      I think you are missing the point slightly… The in game currency is directly translatable to real life cash (minus man hours yada yada). Plus it sounds cool…

      • Artist says:

        Sorry, but you must be one of the parrots that forgets to ask the important question about statistics: How?
        Also you miss the point that CCP creates false significance by translating something into real-life cash that has no root in real economies. Any translation can only be a virtual translation as long as ISK is generated inside the gameworld.
        Stating that ISK is bought from real money and labor is paid just proves that you dont understand much about this topic besides “sounds cool”.

        • Damien Stark says:

          No, you’re missing a piece or two here. Yes, the translation is one way (cash to PLEX, not PLEX back to cash) but it is actual not virtual. EVE gurus feel free to correct me here, but my understanding is:

          Each player has to pay (either cash or PLEX) to continue playing, so (number of players) x (monthly cost) = regular subscription income, just like WoW (let’s call this S.I.). HOWEVER, anytime you see someone purchasing PLEX from another person, that represents additional real world cash being spent towards the game economy.

          AFAIK, PLEX can’t be “consumed” in the game in any way other than play time (you can’t spend PLEX directly to build a ship, for example), so any cash paid to EVE in excess of S.I. would increase the “money supply” of PLEX in the game. If that becomes over-supplied (meaning people stop buying up PLEX from CCP and instead start buying and consuming them from the in-game supply), CCP would see S.I. (real life cash flow) actually decline below baseline.

          TL;DR – No it’s not two-way tradeable like stocks and bonds, but we’re not talking about monopoly money here either. People spent extra real life cash to get these virtual resources which were destroyed.

          • Cinek says:

            I just did some maths on Dragon story – that’s iOS game.
            My account currently – using EVE maths – is worth… beware: over 250 000 $. I’ve been playing this game for ~5 months, not much more than 15 minutes each day. That means that on average I’ve been earning 111$ PER MINUTE.

            “Yes, the translation is one way (cash to PLEX, not PLEX back to cash) but it is actual not virtual” – you see now how stupid such way of doing maths is?

          • cautet says:

            Cinek – your Dragon story example is irrelevant. In eve you can earn around 60m isk per hour max. Usual earnings are slightly less, This is when grinding missions or mining. You can run more than one account but and it’s usual to have a grinding account running and a normal account. This is not risk-fee. Lower risk sem-afk earnings are around 10m isk per hour. The isk generating grind is not the most fun part of the game for most alliance pilots and so is on top of their enjoyable play time.

            60m isk equates to around £1. So £1 per hour on grinding within eve. These are the types of figures that are relevant to the money lost in that battle not your piddling around on Dragon Story.

            I is true that money to isk transactions are one-way only, at least legally, though there have been and probably still are illegal sales of isk for money, just like in every other MMO.

            It is true however that for large scale alliance battles, especially involving super-capitals that the isk does not come from the same income sources so more isk is available. Powerfull alliances control valuable space that makes much more isk per hour than is otherwise available. These titans are purchased with that isk, though an investment in a single titan is still consierable and involves a very large investment from the alliance over a large large period of time. Smaller alliances may never get the funds to purchase a single Titan. But on the flip side the money for titans and super-caps does not normally come from $, but instead from territorial control.

            Depending on the ship replacement progam in place individual players may suffer large losses and it is not unusual for pilots in alliances to purchase isk during large disputes.

            What is important here is that a not insignifant amount of the total assets of the total 0.0 population have now vanished, and that attributes to around the income earned by 300,000 eve man-hours. You can choose to not see that as valuable, but then you don’t play the game so your opinion on value within a game you don’t play will be different to someone who has invested considerable resources into the game.

            My perspective is that Eve is a very good game, the only MMO that has actualy succeded in creating an enjoyable and dynamic world but that the reality of playing involves too much time and too little gain.

  10. Hendrick Tallardar says:

    As a writer for TheMittani.com and someone who was fighting on the side that messed up the Sov Bill, it was a lot of fun despite the TiDi making it take hours.

    Also the author of the linked article to TheMittani.com isn’t The Mittani himself, it was written by Ali Aras one of the editors. Might want to correct that.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Someone just asked me this, and I have no idea – how well can you manage a battle like that tactically, such as arranging target selection, ship placement, etc? The videos and pictures make it look like a big blob of ships firing lasers at each other, which seems hard to read from an admiral’s point of view.

      • Dave says:

        It eventually boils down to calling the right “primary targets”. There can be a lot of positional play and counterplay but when you are using Titans (the big fuckers you can see with the massive lasers) and other capital ships you invariably get bogged down in bubbles (warp drive disabling spheres. hence all those pretty looking bubble effects in the various screenshots/videos) and it ends up in a standing still shootfest. The tricky part is making sure you call the right target for everyone to focus on. Loads of factors are involved in this including, but not limited to range, hitpoints, how much “space healing” is being done to the target and whether or not the bloke flying said spaceship is a well known fleet commander.

        • Gap Gen says:

          OK, so basically it comes down to Titans nuking each other and the smaller classes basically stand around and try to support as best they can without being able to play a genuine role in the outcome?

          • Dave says:

            Not really, this fight is the exception not the rule. Generally speaking “support fleets” have a major role but this is the biggest Titan battle evah! I recommend having a look at link to themittani.com and reading some of the other big engagements. It will give you a good feel of the various roles played by the different ships. (also obligatory cap ships ruined Eve C/D)

          • Hendrick Tallardar says:

            Sort of. You see the “bubbles” of energy surrounding a bunch of the fighting? Those are from a specific class of ship, the reason those are going off is those bubbles prevent any ship (except for the small interceptor class) from warping away. Effectively, they’re trapping them on the fight. This is common to keep people from escaping and both sides were throwing them up to trap the Super Capitals on grid to have them destroyed.

            Sub Capitals won’t just attack Sub Capitals. You’ll have the attacking the super capitals too if need be.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Reading the post on themittani.com reminds me of WWI starting – two small players gradually leading to the whole world piling in because the stakes of a defeat from not taking part would be too high.

          • Blinky343 says:

            This situation was a bit unusual due to the number of titans, but in nearby systems there was a lot of small-gang fighting going on as the different sides tried to stop each other’s reinforcements from coming in

      • Hendrick Tallardar says:

        Well since that sort of battle is full of Time Dialation (just google it its easier than me explaining and messing it up) its not hard. Targeting isn’t a big issue in that sort of fight, non-TiDi fights are a little more tricky due to focusing on the weak points of the enemies “on grid” (in range to be targeted).

        Ship Replacement Programs (SRP) tend to be able to cover most ships if they’re for Strategic Ops. This is really dependant on the Alliance’s income levels. Pandemic Legion and N3 Coalition members have a really robust rental empire (players who pay a monthly fee of in-game ISK to live in certain space and receive “protetction” from the landlord). Rumor is PL is fine financially, not sure about N3. The real issue is a Super Capital ship or a Titan take months to build and manufacture in-game. There aren’t many, if any, that are available for sale via player traders. Even then, that’s a tricky situation as it’s very hard to broker a deal at times. There’s a player who is used as a middle man named Chribba, he also is known as the most “trustworthy player in EVE” because of this and he hasn’t even robbed someone during a deal etc.

        During the fight you’ll have lots of “fleets” which are commanded by different people. Mostly you have your Sub Capital FC’s running fleets, and your Super Capitals running fleets completely separate due to security concerns etc. Each fleet is doing their own thing while communicating with their allies fleets via Mumble or IRC/Jabber. It’s not hard once you get into it, but from the outside it looks really complicated.

        • Gap Gen says:

          OK, so rather than two sides lining up there are multiple alliances and so on shooting it out in the same space. Interesting, thanks guys!

      • kyrieee says:

        If you’re interested, here’s an interview with head fleet commanders from both sides of the fight:
        link to crossingzebras.com

  11. PopeRatzo says:

    If the amount of time you spent playing a game is worth real money, does that make me a Skyrim millionaire?

    • Gap Gen says:

      Just because you spend money doesn’t mean you can trade it out afterwards. Or, if not, I’m going back to the supermarket and persuading them to swap back all the food I’ve eaten and toilet paper I’ve used.

  12. Laurentius says:

    Factual synopsis:
    „Two farmers spend a day fighting over piece of pottery that has bean found on the border of their fields and a passerby archaeology student claimed to be worth 500k $, during the brutal confrontation “artifact” was “destroyed”, experts that have done the checking on the debris stated it was completely worthless garbage in the first place”

    Gaming news headline:
    “500k $ real money property destroyed in brutal fight”

    • Blinky343 says:

      Even if we take the “Internet spaceships have no value” stance that’s still not even close to accurate

  13. Freud says:

    Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

  14. Darth Gangrel says:

    Space jam? I’m more of an interstellar marmelade kind of guy.

    • guygodbois00 says:

      “Raspberry? There is only one man who would dare give me the raspberry – LONE STARR!”

  15. RPSRSVP says:

    They say CFC won. Not really, EVE won. EVE always win.

    What EVE (and every other MMO out there) needs is. once or twice per year, to be (falsely) informed that their entire player userbase migrated to a different game. Respect the cash cow.

  16. strangeloup says:

    A friend remarked on twitter that it seems like only a matter of time before someone gets killed in real life because of internet space battles, and it will all be part of our weird stupid future.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Oddly, outside of the game Eve players seem to get on quite well.
      As an example, here’s a conversation between the two opposing FC’s (fleet commanders) whilst the battle was going on:

      [1/27/2014 8:30:37 AM] Manny / Mike .: commin in hot lets do this
      [1/27/2014 10:15:31 AM] Manny / Mike .: THIS SHIT OWNS
      [1/27/2014 12:16:28 PM] Manny / Mike .: My god bro this is the fight of our career
      [1/27/2014 12:16:31 PM] Manny / Mike .: this owns
      [1/27/2014 12:19:25 PM] Lazarus: lol
      [1/27/2014 12:19:30 PM] Lazarus: we dumped 6 dds into space
      [1/27/2014 12:19:34 PM] Lazarus: and the damage isnt applying
      [1/27/2014 12:20:34 PM] Manny / Mike .: hi five bro
      [1/27/2014 12:20:41 PM] Manny / Mike .: even though I hope I win
      [1/27/2014 12:20:53 PM] Manny / Mike .: we are having the biggest fight in eve history
      [1/27/2014 1:39:37 PM] Manny / Mike .: you killed my carrier you heartless bastard
      [1/27/2014 1:42:55 PM] Lazarus: took 3 dds :)

      (dds == Doomsday weapons)

  17. Bo Steed says:

    So the biggest battle of EVE was because of missing payment on a bill.

    Before that, the biggest was started because someone pushed the wrong warp button.

    I imagine the next one will be because someone forgot to buy milk.

  18. DXN says:

    “Are all the stars in the sky… our enemies?!”