An EVE Online space battle destroyed 1000's of ships and it all happened because someone forgot to pay their in-game rent. The result of this missed payment was the largest and most destructive battle in Eve's 10 year history. Over 7,500 players participated in the destruction with 2,670 engaged in the primary battlefield. After the space dust settled, estimates are placing the total damage at 11 Trillion ISK, the game currency for EVE Online, or $330,000 USD in actual money.
EVE Online is unique among MMOs when compared to more mainstream games like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV. The user base of EVE is built upon a very functional industrial, diplomatic and economic system that rivals the GDP and politics of real world countries. In the game, players form corporations for mining, managing and renting space stations, piracy or mercenary companies. EVE has a cold-war like environment where one spark can result in a major battle leaving its mark for months afterwards.
The spark in this conflagration happened early on January 27th when CONCORD visited a dead-end region of space designated B-R5RB. CONCORD is the computer controlled police force that came to collect the rent, or sovereignty bill, for the system.
The system is comprised of 9 planets, 66 moons and 12 asteroid belts. It is also the staging ground for the fleet of one of the largest player alliances in EVE, Pandemic Legion. When CONCORD came to collect the bill, someone either did not have the funds available for withdrawal or simply forgot, and suddenly, the system was up for grabs leading to the most expensive battle in EVE history.
The largest player alliance in EVE is known as the CFC Alliance and they wasted no time in rallying the troops. Within minutes, the call to arms had been messaged, emailed and texted to people in the CFC Alliance as well as their allies in Russia. Thousands of users logged in with the goal of gaining control of the system and trapping the Pandemic fleet inside the station.
The fighting broke out in earnest on a Monday, a work day, and Pandemic and their allies logged in, called in from work, and began a 12 hour battle for the system.
Among the casualties were 75 Titan ships, the largest ship in the game which can take thousands of man hours to create. To get an idea of the size of these Titans, you can view a comparison chart here. No more than 12 Titans have ever been destroyed in a single engagement before this battle. Titans are estimated to run from $2,500 to $5,500 USD.
CCP, the developer behind EVE Online, is creating a permanent in-game memorial for the battle.
The Official EVEOnline Blog post stated:
"Something of this scale, where the players had left an indelible mark on the universe through their extraordinary actions, needed to have something more permanent in game to commemorate it and we are proud to highlight the bravery and commitment of our players to their craft of blowing up spaceships."
As a fascinating side note, according to Reuters, economists have credited EVE for being the most important factor preventing a complete collapse of the Icelandic economy. The company's business model has been lauded as an example that more of Iceland's corporations need to follow.
Returning to the matter at hand, after 21 hours of fighting between 717 player Corporations and 55 unique Alliances, the economic impact of the Bloodbath of B-R5RB will still be felt for weeks to come as CFC and Panedemic Legion restructure and rebuild their fleets. An amazing highlight reel of the battle can be viewed below: