Largest Ever EVE Online Battle Destroys More Than $200,000 Of Real-World Currency

War. War never changes.

Once, humans waged war for domination of a single planet. In EVE Online, players and guilds battle for control of entire star systems. They scheme over resource-rich worlds, they vie for areas of strategic importance. And sometimes -- despite all the advances of modern technology -- somebody does something stupid, and everybody else thinks it's a great idea.

Last night, due to the equivalent of a clerk error, one side of EVE Online's eternal war lost control of a key staging system. Recovering control of a system takes eight hours -- with one hour left to go, the online equivalent of the Red Army dropped in and took the system. The response from the N3PL? An all-in, total war-level response to smash the Reds and drive the invaders out of the Nulli Secunda system.

The CFC/RUS forces, unsurprisingly, weren't having it -- and everything went to hell from there. Dozens of top-end, capital starships (Titans) were deployed on both sides. Warp disruption bubbles formed, locking combatants into a kill-or-be-killed scenario. Every hour, Titans destroyed each other with doomsday weapons, while smaller capital engagements raged across the system. To avoid crashing the server, other forces actually deployed on different nodes to slug it out by proxy.

To put this in perspective, the last time everyone in Eve collectively went nuts, 14 Titans were destroyed. This time, the disaster claimed 70, with a final price tag of between $200,000 and $500,000. Both guilds maintained huge repositories of ships and materiel designed for just this kind of occurrence, so going to war with everything all at once created an enormous conflagration.

What'll be particularly interesting is to see the impact on the overall playerbase. The Russians won this fight, by virtue of fighting from a superior time zone -- but will the Eve economy and player base respond by doubling down on military preparedness, or will we see a quiet period as respective forces retreat to lick their wounds? The winning alliance still lost enormous numbers of ships and equipment.

For the sake of one important (but probably not that important) star system, some $500,000 worth of starships representing the accumulated work of years from the players in question were destroyed over less than 24 hours. Sometimes the most amazing thing about MMOs is how they create scenarios strikingly similar to the kinds of battles armies have fought in real life.