EVE Online is a game that some people take very seriously—almost like a second job. That means that when a ship is destroyed in the space MMO it hurts, because it may have taken months or even years of coordinated efforts for the players to be able to build it. But China’s EVE server—which is separate from the rest of the world—has just been rocked by a massive battle that resulted in destruction on a previously-unseen scale.
The scale of the damage
The battle raged from the early morning on Tuesday (the 25th) until the servers shut down on Wednesday, and included many of the game’s most massive ships, including 237 titans and 510 supercarriers. Manufacturing a single titan takes three months and billions of ISK (EVE‘s in-game currency), but early reports suggest that at least 84 titans were destroyed in the battle, along with thousands of other large ships.
In terms of the loss of titans alone, that makes this battle far and away the biggest in Chinese EVE‘s history. At least 84 titans were destroyed in the past 24 hours; prior to that only 30 titans had been destroyed in the entirety of the game’s nearly eight years in operation in China. In fact, the destruction on the Chinese server is on par with, and may even have surpassed, the most massive battle that has ever happened on the game’s global servers.
In real-world terms, it’s hard to estimate the damage, but if you factor in the amount of real-world time it will take to replace everything lost in the battle and average Chinese salaries, the cost is easily in the hundreds of thousands, and probably millions, of dollars. Of course, it’s very difficult to be precise with this sort of estimate, but it would be hard to overstate just how massive this battle was and how much time it will take players to recover from.
What the hell happened?
China’s EVE servers had been heading towards a battle like this since the beginning of the year, as a series of increasingly large and powerful alliances were formed between in-game groups. One united the PIBC and 3V pirates, while the North-South Alliance brought together the merchants union PDK as well as a number of the southern communities, including RAC, COA, FOF, and others.
It’s not entirely clear yet what sparked the fight, but both sides had been looking for a battle for some time, and one finally kicked off on the morning of the 25th. By 8:30 A.M., 10 titans had been destroyed and the PIBC was trashing the North-South Alliance’s infrastructure. The servers shut down for an hour in protection mode, but when they came back up at 10 A.M., thousands more had joined the game and both sides were pouring all of their military resources into the battle.
In the evening as more players came home from work and school, the number of players in a single star system swelled beyond 3,000, breaking records for the Chinese server.
At the end of the day, the PIBC Alliance seems to have come away the victor, having destroyed enemy titans at a rate of about three for every one they lost themselves. The reason is that the PIBC was apparently more effective at focusing their titans’ powerful weapons on other titans, whereas the North-South Alliance used its titans to destroy smaller PIBC ships. The PIBC ships were also more heavily armed.
Given how long it takes and how difficult it can be to produce titans, the defeat was pretty disastrous for the North-South Alliance. EVE developer CCP has reportedly already created a memorial at the battle site to commemorate the devastation.