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Eve Online is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) set in the colonial space in the distant future where each player takes command of one of the four major races and a customizable fleet through a galaxy of over 7,500 star systems. Since its release in May 2003, the game has attracted more than 400,000 subscribers and received several awards.
Eve Online was developed by CCP Games and released in North America and Europe in May 2003. According to the developers, the game concept was influenced by key gameplay elements featured in its MMORPG predecessors, namely Elite, Traveller and Ultima Online, such as mining, purchasing and destroying special items, networking trade routes and combat with random hostile non-playable characters (NPCs) and other human players. EVE Online has also garnered notoriety for its horrifying difficulty curve, massive-scale battles involving hundreds of players and the ruthlessness of its in-game scammers and griefers, who are virtually allowed free-reign when it comes to in-game items.
Unlike many other MMOs, in which there are numerous copies of the game universe intended to run at once (i.e., servers), Eve Online is functionally a single-universe game that consists of more than 5,000 star systems and 2,500 randomly accessible wormhole systems.
In the game, the player assumes the role of a starship pilot or “capsuleer,” an immortal god among men backed by the power of cloning technology and mighty spaceships. Players can control everything from fighter-like frigates to massive capital warships spanning several kilometers in length. Capsuleers may band together to form corporations (similar to guilds in other MMOs), which can be further amalgamated into alliances consisting of hundreds to thousands of players. Unofficially, these alliances may form bigger groups that are known as “coalitions.”
EVE is divided into three distinct zones based on their level of security status; in high security zones, provoking or attacking another player will likely result in the appearance of Concord, the law enforcement within the game, whereas in low security zones, Concord’s presence is significantly less visible and thusly dominated by players and NPC pirates. However, the majority of high-profile battles and skirmishes take place within Nullsecs, or no security zones, where the law-enfrocement is completely absent.
There are four main NPC factions in EVE: the Amarr Empire, religious zealots; the Gallente Federation, a democratic republic; the Caldari State, a corporatist society; and the Minmatar Republic, a tribal conglomeration. These four empires control most of the territory in EVE, including all of hisec and lowsec. They also have different weapons systems and ships. The Amarr specialize in heavily armored golden warships and use lasers as their main weapons. The Caldari use missiles, long-range railguns, and shields, and have an affinity for electronic jamming. The Gallente use blasters, drones, and armored vessels. Finally, the Minmatar use autocannons and artillery, and have lightly armored, speedy ships. All four races can be trained into, so a player’s starting race ultimately becomes irrelevant.
In its beginning, EVE Online started out as a fairly niche game with approximately 50,000 subscribers one year after the launch, but over the course of the next decade, the game grew into one of the most devoted and widely-subscribed MMORPGs with more than 500,000 players, as of late 2013. EVE has been well received by critics for its sandbox gameplay, well-defined lore, and the scope of its battles, as well as the continuous gameplay and graphical updates by CCP.
EVE receives some controversy over CCP’s acceptance of in-game piracy, scamming, and griefing, activities which could get a player banned in other MMOs. In addition, there hae been numerous scandals inside alliances. The first Goonswarm alliance, created by players from the SomethingAwful forums, was closed and its assets were stolen by an alliance director. Before that, a leader of Band of Brothers, one of the most powerful alliances in EVE at the time, defected to the Goonswarm and gave up information that a CCP employee was delivering high-grade blueprints, used to construct ships, to BoB. Despite the constant threat of betrayal, most EVE players tend to accept and enjoy these aspects of the game.
The Great Wars
In 2007 and 2008, the Red Swarm Federation (composed of the Goonswarm, Tau Ceti Federation, and Red Alliances) faced off against Band of Brothers, the largest alliance in EVE at the time. The First Great War ended in a Goonswarm victory, pushing BoB back to their bases in the Delve and Querious regions of nullsec. However, BoB soon allied with another alliance, Against All Authorities (-A-), and proceeded with an invasion of Goonswarm space. BoB and RSF were soon joined by the Greater BoB Community and the Northern Coalition, respectively. Three months of sovereignty grinding followed, with neither side gaining the upper hand. However, a director of BoB, Haargoth Agamar, angered by the internal politics of his alliance, defected to Goonswarm and proceeded to kick every member of Band of Brothers out, essentially ending the alliance. BoB scrambled to reform in an alternate alliance, known as KenZoku, but the damage was done. Band of Brothers collapsed.
The Jita Riots
In 2011, CCP released the Incarna expansion. The central part of this expansion was walking in stations (WIS) and avatar creation, with hopes that players would be able to interact with each other in the numerous space stations in the EVE universe. However, upon release, the WIS system was incomplete, with only one station backdrop available, and worked poorly on lower grade computers. In addition, the release of the Aurum currency, which must be purchased with real money, and items associated with it, provoked a massive outcry from the fanbase, especially once callous messages between CCP employees seemed to brush off complaints. Fans feared that their spaceship game was turning away from spaceships, and that EVE would be turned into a pay-to-win system. To protest, hundreds of players bombarded a monument in the Jita star system, one of the major trade hubs, forcing CCP to apologize for their actions. The following Crucible expansion was better received, and addressed many of the players’ complaints.
The “Burn Jita” Campaign
A common grievance among players is the disparity between nullsec and hisec. Nullsec, to hisec players, is filled with ruthless pirates and violent alliances, where death waits around every corner. Hisec, to nullsec players, is a waste of space filled with carebears (a derogatory term towards capsuleers who focus on player-versus-environment [PVE] combat). Goonswarm, already known for its chaotic reputation, decided to bring a little bit of nullsec to hisec in April of 2012, raiding the market hub of Jita in Caldari space. For a weekend, Jita was turned into a bloodbath, and the EVE economy went into chaos as trading ground to a halt. Though the Goonswarm leader “The Mittani” warned beforehand of the assault, he has stated that a repeat of the Burn Jita event is inevitable, and, next time, there will be no warning. The second Burn Jita occurred on April 19, 2013.
The Battle of Asakai
Goonswarm enjoys being one of the most powerful alliances in the game, to say the least. A starbase on a valuable moon is an excellent target for their brand of mischief. On one weekend in January 2013, this was the case. Titans, the largest and arguably most powerful ships in EVE, have a special ability to send friendly ships across vast distances, known as bridging. However, the button for bridging and the button to jump the Titan to the same location are on the same control panel. Instead of sending a fleet of several dozen smaller warships to Asakai, fleet commander DaBigRedBoat (DBRB) sent his Titan there. What resulted was one of the largest battles in EVE history. Hundreds of ships rushed in from all over the galaxy. Fleets of capital warships flooded into Asakai, overloading the server the system sits on. When the dust cleared, dozens of carriers, dreadnoughts, supercarriers, and Titans lay in ruins, mostly on the Goonswarm side.
The Battle of B-R5RB
In late January 2014, an epic-scale battle between the N3 Coalition and the Clusterfuck Coalition (CFC) erupted in the B-R5RB system after one of the members of N3 failed to submit a payment for the fortification of an area that had been designated as a central staging ground. Upon taking notice of the unprotected parameter, the rivalry factions immediately launched a surprise attack on the morning of January 27th and the battle raged on throughout the next day, during which it quickly snowballed into a record-breaking event with at least 7,548 participating players and casualties of 370 Dreadnaughts, 13 Supercarriers and 75 Titans--the largest class of all ships that are available in the game.
Based on the conversion rate of the EVE currency at the time of the event, the event cost around 11 trillion ISK in damage and losses, or somewhere between $300,000 and $330,000 in U.S. dollars. Shortly after the cease-fire, EVE Online unveiled “Titanomachy,” a permanent memorial site built out of a Titan wreck model on the seventh planet of the local system, in commemoration of the Battle of B-R5RB and the loss of 75 Titans (shown below).
The majority of EVE Online players come from the US, Europe, and Russia. Its popularity with the Russians has earned them a reputation as some of the most ruthless players in the game.
External References and Links
EVE Online Official Site
EVE Online Wiki
Test Alliance Please Ignore – A player alliance formed by members of the Reddit community.
Goonswarm Federation – A player alliance formed by members of the Something Awful forums.
The Great War – A more complete documentation of the First Great War.
The Second Great War – A more complete documentation of the Second Great War.