Shares Image credit: CCP EVE Online, for those who don't know, is a mammoth MMO with thousands of players contained to a single server, all caught up in their own fights between factions run by other players, building stations in space over months at a time, and is full of some of the most dastardly examples of cutthroat espionage you'll see in cyberspace. On Wednesday afternoon, something unprecedented happened: hordes of a hitherto unremarkable NPC faction named Drifters suddenly attacked players' bases en-masse, causing widespread panic and confusion.
All told, 3, players duked it out in the Asakai system; ships were killed, resulting in a loss of billion ISK the in-game currency , according to EVE-Kill.
Reports from Reddit and EVE bloggers indicate the fray was sparked when the pilot of a titan ship the most expensive class in the game prematurely jumped into enemy space, rather than warp allies to his location a technique known as "bridging".
A lone titan in "low security" space is like blood in the water, and players from multiple factions rushed in, with reinforcements piling on to attack and defend. Essentially, one pilot's accidental click ignited one of the largest impromptu capital ship battles in EVE history.
Besides the far-reaching in-game political implications of this battle which are a bit too "inside baseball" for this publication , the spat has intrigued the Internet for a few reasons. For one, capital and super capital ships like the titan class can take months for players to build.
Amassing wealth in EVE's hyper-capitalist, living economy is a full-time job, and it can be traded legitimately for the game's real-life subscription fees.
Image courtesy of kanodonn.
Asakai was by no means the largest battle EVE has seen by player count, according to Ned Coker, who handles media relations for CCP, the company that runs the massive online universe.
Because all players inhabit the same persistent universe, CCP will often divert server resources to hot spots where the action is.
In this case, the game kicked into "time dilation" mode. Time dilation kicked in, lots of ships were killed, and it was awesome.
Online discussion around the battle has led to lengthy explanations of what EVE is, and how new players can get started. CCP also provided Mashable with this chart, showing the loss of in-game revenue by ship class.
Image courtesy of Itsatrapski.