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."