Eve Online, a naval space simulator with over half a million players, had it's largest ever battle on Monday. James Carl, a member of the faction known as Pandemic Legion, had an automatic payout to hold an area of space used for a staging area in a specific quadrant where Legion and allied N3 coalition forces were being parked - that payment however, did not arrive. A system payment in EvE grants the factions sovereignty, which prevents an enemy from effectively staging an attack. When the payment was missed, CFC and Russian (opposing factions of Pandemic and their allies, N3) saw a moment of weakness and initiated a full-scale battle that tested the very limits of the EvE servers. Reportedly the servers were throttled down to ten-percent, creating a time dilation that allowed the hardware to calculate each player's attack in the exact order that it was initiated.
The battle destroyed whole fleets of ships, including over one-hundred titan class vessels which are valued over $3,000 dollars in US currency. EvE Online features an economy that is tied to actual monetary transactions. The titans that were destroyed represent months of work and resources, making them worth an exorbitant amount of cash to the more wealthy factions of the game.
A total of 2,000 - 4,000 players arrived to take part in the battle, which was then being waged for total control of the space that was previously occupied. Carl noted, "It looks like CFC is winning, but we're hoping now that all of our U.S. players are online, we'll turn the tide,". He added, “Whatever happens, we’ll keep going. EVE is a universe full of grudges and constantly changing politics. If we were to lose, we’ll rebuild. Then, we’ll go back and start another war.”
It's hard to say what the final outcome will be, but we're guessing that this will remain the largest and most noteworthy MMO battle in history - for some time.
UPDATE: The battle ended after nearly twenty-four hours with Pandemic Legion and N3 pulling out of the system after heavy casualties. Accounts now say that there were an estimated 8,000 players who came to fight, from several different alliances. A detailed description of the battle, and the losses incurred can be found on the EvE Online Devblog. The event, now known as "The Bloodbath of b-r5rb", sparked a call throughout Reddit and forums - asking for a monument to be built to commemorate the fateful day. The developers at EvE were quick to answer, and are erecting a memorial featuring destroyed Titan models that will float amidst the system. Players can expect to see this monument (named Titanomachy) after the January 31st downtime, if they dare to travel there.