My relationship with EVE is like that of a cowardly romantic, too many cats on their tongue and butterflies in their stomach to approach the object of their affections. So instead, I gaze upon it from afar, hungrily lapping up whatever tales of its exploits happen to fall my way by total and complete happenstance - for instance, when I'm rooting through its garbage. So it is with the Battle of Asakai, which took place over the weekend. Nearly 3,000 players converged in the Asakai VI region of the Kurala constellation and proceeded to blast each other into glorious storms of space confetti for hours. And the cause? One silly, completely unplanned accident. Witness the madness in video form after the break.
Now, it should be noted that EVE battles can get quite a bit larger than this in terms of sheer numbers, but generally, smaller ships and - more importantly - some degree of planning are involved. This one, however, came out of nowhere - literally. In short, a Titan pilot of the ClusterFuck Coalition (a splinter of SomethingAwful's notorious GoonSwarm) was attempting a "bridge" - which essentially allows other ships to warp to one ship's point - but instead warped himself. Right into extremely hostile Pandemic Legion (a splinter of HoneyBadger/Test, aka, Reddit) territory. And when ships as valuable as Titans are involved, well, the stakes tend to get quite high.
Naturally, everyone panicked. Reinforcements were hastily phoned-in, and then those reinforcements cried for reinforcements. One especially apt Reddit post put it this way, comparing Reddit's alliance to North America and Something Awful to Europe:
"These two superpowers have been somewhat friends for three years, but relationships are getting strained. They've been arguing with each other for a few days now, and the guy controlling Paris (a single EVE ship, but one of the most powerful ones) last night hit the wrong button. He teleported the city of Paris into Canada (Pandemic in my example) but forgot to teleport all the suburbs (ships) around the city, stranding it. Canada ganged up on Paris instantly and called in the US to help. So basically the US and Canada obliterated Paris. Europe sent in reinforcements but without a good strategy against an already prepared North America they were also crushed."
"Europe is now without three major cities and ten or so minor ones. They still have plenty of resources left, but it was a great first strike. Especially since North America pretty much lost nothing."
So basically, GoonSwarm/Something Awful ended up having a very, very bad day. Many of the ships they lost can - between amassing capital and actual construction - take months to build. Plus, some are valued at more than a thousand dollars in real world money. The killcount for both sides, meanwhile, topped off at 222 ships, for a total estimated cost that lands somewhere between 400 and 700 billion ISK in worth.
It's quite a complicated situation, but I think the lesson here is actually quite simple. In short, friends and countrymen, look before you leap.