Games like Eve Online have been around for so long that they’ve taken on a life of their own. Wars have been fought, plagues battled, and thousands of dollars spent. All of it completely worthwhile to those who participate in, and build, the lore of the game. Eve Online’s lore got a significant addition last week, as the biggest PvP battle in gaming history took place on the game’s servers.
The story starts with two of the game’s biggest factions—the Goonswarm and PAPI. Goonswarm has been the big dog in the game for nearly a decade. Meanwhile, the PAPI coalition is seeking to expand its influence and obliterate the Goonswarm. The war for dominance had been simmering for months before last week’s epic battle.
World War Bee 2, as the conflict has been dubbed, began in July, with members of the two factions representing nearly 200,000 players—the PAPI coalition boasts 150,000 of those players. This particular battle in the ongoing war was confirmed by CCP Games to have lasted 14 hours; involved 8,825 players; 11,258 accounts; and peaked with 6,557 concurrent players on the battlefield.
The battle is somewhat analogous to the legend of the 300 Spartans. The Goonswarm needed to prevent the PAPI coalition from establishing a “beachhead” in a star system under their control. PAPI, on the other hand, needed that beachhead to launch more effective attacks on Goonswarm territory. To establish that beachhead, PAPI needed to secure at least one Keepstar—which is described as being equivalent to the Death Star—in the system.
The first Keepstar was quickly destroyed by scouts before a second Keepstar showed up on a weak flank. The leader of the Goonswarm was quick to organize and plan complex bombing runs to prevent the second Keepstar from being established. The ensuing fight over the Keepstar slowed servers down by a factor of 10 as thousands of ships fought at various ranges on the battlefield. Dreadnaughts were even flying in every three seconds—in the lore of the game, 30 seconds in real-time—to join the fray.
When the dust settled, 3,765 ships had been destroyed, including over 300 capital ships—representing thousands of real-world dollars spent during the fight. However, the war is far from over. PAPI still has ships positioned in neighboring star systems, ready for an attack. Time will tell if there will be an even bigger engagement but for now, this battle will go down in Eve Online history as the largest ever fought.
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