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Eve Online's 10,000 player deathmatch returns this month

Free space

Want to know the dark truth behind Eve: Online's infamous mass battles? They're bloody awful spectator sports. CCP's space epic might be equipped to handle six-thousand players, but it's gotta make some serious compromises. At the end of the day, you're watching thousand of blips fire lasers in severe slow-motion.

Aether Wars, a cloud-powered spin-off centred solely on these big brutal bashes, has proven twice already that Eve can do better. Now, CCP are gearing up for another showdown. This time, the battlefield will be Steam, with sign-ups for spaceborne slaughter opening today.

Created in partnership with cloud-service providers Hadean, Aether Wars is an experiment in nailing galactic-scale fights without relying on tricks like time dilation to keep the servers from catching fire. This is Phase Three of Aether Wars, following two explosive phases during GDC and Gamescom earlier this year.

Before the main event, CCP and cloud-providers Hadean need to make sure the servers are up to snuff. There are two stress tests to take part in before the record attempt at the end of the month. The first takes place tomorrow at 7pm UK time, with another taking place same time next week.

The main event takes place a week after that. Aether Wars wants in the record books with the most players in a single fight in an online game, a title currently held by the 6,142 players who fought in Eve: Online's Siege of 9-4 back in January 2018.

Aether Wars Phase 1 managed to cram 4,369 players into the arena during GDC earlier this year. Phase 2 didn't quite top that, peaking at just over three thousand. CCP reckon a convoluted log-in process stopped the second phase from accruing the critical mass needed for a world record.

"Our login process was also a little complex, involving getting an email with a code to people who then had to download a client and then copy paste that code into the client in a particular time window to join us all in our simulation. Unfortunately, because of those issues, we still didn’t break the record."

Perhaps third time's the charm? Phase three will take place on November 23rd, and you can pre-register by downloading the new Steam client released today. By taking the fight to Steam, CCP reckon they can put together a truly staggering armada.

There's no guarantee you'll get in the final fight. But for free, why not shoot for the stars?

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