Here’s something you don’t hear about every day: an Eve Online space battle large and expensive enough, as a result of a missed payment, to land on the top category of Google News. Well that’s exactly what happened, and as a former Eve player, I can’t say as I’m surprised. I even wince in sympathy, considering the details of the battle.
First, let me lay a ground fact about playing Eve Online. Doing anything in Eve takes time—real world time. One redeeming quality about that feature is that the in-game clock doesn’t shut off when you log out. You can train a skill that takes several hours of real world time to complete, log, go take a nap, come back, log in, and get the flashing notice and female computer voice that says, “Skill training complete.” That’s always a happy sound especially if you’ve been training a skill that takes almost a month to complete. Ouch.
Now getting back to that massive space battle that had other players not related to the events leading to it joining in.
Eve player James Carl’s virtual fleet came under fire while he was still asleep in Costa Mesa. He had the day off, but any plans he had for it was immediately squelched when he received a message from an app on his phone used by alliance members. It warned him that his coalition’s system was being attack due to a missed protection payment.
In Eve, a corporation can be formed solely for the purpose of hiring out its members as mercenaries for protection—or raiding. The corporation I was once in were principled mercenaries. We helped out other corps in exchange for alliances and protection pacts that allowed our miners to work in relative safety.
My role, incidentally, was a scout/skirmisher flying an Aris (an advanced interceptor/destroyer) that took painstaking months to train for to actually be effective in that role. It was also mad expensive in terms of both in-game and real world currency. I’ve also been in a couple of large scale space battles and have been on the receiving end of corp losses. Expensive losses, but nothing compared to Carl’s battle that has resulted in the destruction of over 100 Titans, the largest ship in the game, in a battle involving thousands of players, and said to be the most expensive and massive in the history of Eve Online. All of this as the result of a missed payment. Go figure.
Titans are to Eve what the Death Star was to Star Wars. They are worth $3000 in real world currency and take months to build and train for. Destruction resulting from the battle that put the Reykjavik based CCP Corporation, the makers of Eve Online, servers through its paces is estimated to be over $200,000. To combat the technical difficulties of running a half a million players on a single shard, CCP institutes “time dilation,” slowing down the server so players in massive engagements are not dropped.
Carl hopes that the US player base of his alliance eventually get on to help turn the tide of battle against their Russian opposition, but says if he loses he will simply rebuild and come back to start a war to take back lost territory.
Good luck on that being an easy or quick thing to do. Eve Online’s most expensive space battle over a missed payment will reverberate throughout the game for some time to come.
Satire by Lee Birdine