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You liked Asakai? Wait'll you hear about B-R5RB.
January 31, 2014 11:23 AM   Subscribe

“Supposedly, it was set up for auto-pay, just like any other bill in real life, but either that didn’t happen or the money wasn’t in the wallet, and then everything just escalated..." EVE Online battles can be epic. Let's see how accidentally not paying the rent led to what is coming to be known as the largest battle in New Eden, and some would say gaming as a whole, to date.

There are as many ways to play EVE Online as there are players in New Eden. In this game with a learning curve that some folks call challenging, or akin to 'being drowned in sea water and then resuscitated', circumstances recently coalesced that brought two coalitions into a battle of unprecedented magnitude. A group of players holding space as their own is one of those ways. But in a universe of constant turmoil, not paying the bills to keep a certain part of that space under your thumb can have consequences.

As this comprehensive writeup explains, that's basically what happened here. And the pilots did blot out the sun with their ships as two coalitions made a stand for B-R5RB. About 7,548 characters were involved in a battle that was slowed down by CCP's engineered solution to extreme loads, known as Time Dilation or TiDi). It was also broadcast live by various parties and, despite TiDi, became one of the most watched items on Twitch.tv while it was ongoing.

So while not the battle that brought the most people into a given system, the batle for B-R5RB stands out due to the fact that more and larger ships were put on the line by the fleet commanders in charge. Various numbers are being tossed about for how costly a battle this was, with the conversion of in-game ISK to real world currency being a sticking point for many, but the loss of 75 Titans, 13 Supercarriers, 370 Dreadnoughts, and 123 Carriers is unprecedented.

Implications are still being felt on the socio-political front as coalitions withdraw. As expected, in the economic markets prices for the materials that will be used to recoup the losses of have surged.

Within a few days CCP responded to player urging that the system be renamed or a memorial be built for the fallen with Titanomachy, a permanent tangible addition to the game with wrecks floating in space where each ship was destroyed. Players brought their own content to the table with videos with TiDi removed, paintings, propaganda, and even a new song/recording from Sindel Pellion, best known for her take on EVE's Dumbest Ways To Die and as leader of newbie-centric EVE charity The Angel Project.

As is to be expected, various gaming media sites like PCGamer have written articles on the battle. But, perhaps having something to do with 'EVE being fun to read about', mainstream media in the US, Sweden, New Zealand,and Germany have picked up on the story as well (you might even hear about it on NPR sometime soon!)

EVE Online previously and previously-er.
posted by RolandOfEld (96 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
Full disclosure: I am the current CEO of Mefightclub's EVE Online corporation Plate of Beans Incorporated [PINTO]. I was not involved nor anywhere near the battle nor, to my knowledge, was any PINTO-nian.

Eve is a big pond and, compared to this, we're small fish. But we have fun. If you want to join us, get in touch on MFC and we'll mitigate that learning curve a bit.

posted by RolandOfEld at 11:24 AM on January 31 [7 favorites]


Every time I read one of these stories, I have to restrain myself from buying another PLEX and re-upping. EVE contains some of the highest highs and lowest lows in gaming.

75 titans. Holy cats. I remember when there were only 5 in the entire game.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:37 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


75 Titans
What. The. Fuck.

Aren't Titans the biggest ships?
posted by fullerine at 11:38 AM on January 31


I've been following this and and have seen some but not all of these links so look forward to reading the new ones.

Two numbers which are present in the first link but deserve emphasis: 75 titans (the monster ships) were destroyed in this fight. The previous record was 12. So that's massive. And, secondly, the dollar value of the destroyed ships is somewhat controversial but generally estimated to be in the range of $300,000.
posted by Justinian at 11:39 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Stupid question: What's a sovereignty bill?
posted by this is a thing at 11:40 AM on January 31


So 75 titans then. Guess we all thought that was worth a second WOW!
posted by Justinian at 11:40 AM on January 31


Aren't Titans the biggest ships?

Yes, they are.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:41 AM on January 31 [5 favorites]


Eve battles always sound great but when you watch the videos its lots of apparently stationary ships flicking lines at each other (even with TiDi removed). Apparently this is fairly realistic in terms of velocities vs the distances between the ships. Still, I guess you have to be there to really get the excitement.
posted by memebake at 11:46 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


What's a sovereignty bill?

PINTO doesn't *do* sovereignty (aka 'sov') so forgive me for potentially getting this wrong... but I think of the bill as a farmer paying his mortgage to an overarching entity. But with the entity being instantly responsive to any late payments such that the farmland is made available to the first squatters/freeholders/homesteader that shows up to claim it if it's available.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:46 AM on January 31


Aren't Titans the biggest ships?

Here's a large graphic comparing various SF starships to scale; the most obvious EVE titan is the brown mushroomy looking thing in the middle of the image.

Yay! EVE thread! I never have any idea what happened, but I'm SO EXCITED!
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:53 AM on January 31 [10 favorites]


Someone posted a graphic a while back in an EVE thread wherein a Titan was shown to be roughly the size of the island of Manhattan, in case you were not feeling the OMG WOW enough.
posted by elizardbits at 11:59 AM on January 31




That learning curve appears to suggest that EVE is mastered very quickly indeed. Must not have much depth!

I'm a former EVE player and have a long grudge against that comic, no worries Annika.
posted by gilrain at 12:03 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


Sadly, it's interesting in the abstract, but when it comes down to it a Titan (no matter how large its model is compared to the other ships) is just a bundle of numbers. Just like everything else. :(
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:05 PM on January 31


I remember in a comments thread on an EVE site for the previously biggest battle there were players suggesting that CCP intentionally sparked that battle in order to generate a massive battle and get media attention. I wonder if there are EVE conspiracy theorists out there who are questioning the mysterious auto-payment failure, and the incredibly coincidental timing of this battle compared to that previous one...
posted by Apocryphon at 12:06 PM on January 31


When it's mentioned how much these ships are estimated to be worth in $$, do they mean actual real money money or some sort of ingame currency? How are they figuring it? Hours worked on them or do people purchase the parts to make them with real money?

I have to admit that I'm happy I missed the boat for these kinds of games because I can see myself getting way too sucked in. I used to lose hours and days to the Rogue-like dungeon crawlers long ago. It's like I laboriously kicked a relatively tiny but pernicious diet coke addiction and now there's this bottomless pit of supercharged methamphetamine there, just calling meeeeeee.

No. I am a nurse now, not a sysadmin. I shall keep repeating this until the urge subsides. I shall go pet my cat and gather eggs from my chickens and this shall pass.
posted by eggkeeper at 12:08 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


I've always loved the idea of EVE, however I know I will never have the time to play until I retire and have nothing productive to fill my days with.

I am curious, though, as to some of the in-world tech. I just read up on the weapon systems and shields in the game, and I've often wondered how they would handle adding new tech to the game mechanics.

My main thought would be having a Titan with a forward facing energy lance (a very high powered radiation/plasma beam focused on the front of the ship) and what you would have to do to make it strong enough to use as a ramming weapon.

I also wish they'd include space marine units for ship to ship boarding attacks. Though that would probably add a need for a lot of NPC attributes and automated command structures that take a lot of the "fun" out of piloting a huge battle cruiser into a fight and having direct control over targeting and firing.

But then again, I've read way to much of the Vorkossigan books, which is where all of these ideas come from. That and Homeworld 2.
posted by daq at 12:09 PM on January 31


I've never been into video games that lasted longer than, say, 15 minutes or so. When I was younger I was into RPGs in a fairly big way, so I thought something like Ultima IV would be right up my alley, but after a couple of hours I'd get bored and go try to kill Lord British.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:12 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


So given that EVE is getting larger, this record well probably be broken spinner or later.

I'm also wondering, given how relatively numerous Titans are becoming, and given how many were lost, whether EVE will eventually introduce a "Super Titan" class, or some other response to military evolution in universe.
posted by happyroach at 12:13 PM on January 31


The Rooks and Kings time lapse video is my favorite, thus far.

I guess my team -- Proviblock -- was loosely involved in the early stages of this, but quickly backed out.

Titan nerf is 3. . . . 2. . . . .

And in answer to the money question, I think it's a translation as to man hours needed to build the ship, as well as the costs in ISK, graphed against what a PLEX (1 month of game time, about 550-600mil ISK, $15US) costs in US$.
posted by gsh at 12:14 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


I let my subscription lapse on the 24th so I could afford to apply to grad school. And I hadn't played in a month or so. Things like this taunt me to play again.

I've got the EVE Jones.
posted by GrapeApiary at 12:14 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


when it comes down to it a Titan (no matter how large its model is compared to the other ships) is just a bundle of numbers

silence, ruiner!
posted by elizardbits at 12:14 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


Re: monetary value, you can buy 30-days subscription extensions (a "PLEX") and trade it for in-game currency ("ISK"). So the in-game value of a ship in ISK allows you to get a rough estimate of its "real-world" value.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:15 PM on January 31


sorry... ;__;
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:15 PM on January 31


daq: I also wish they'd include space marine units for ship to ship boarding attacks.

They did make a separate FPS game called Dust 514 that involves on-planet ground troops but which 'hooks' in to the larger Eve universe, e.g. troops can call in 'orbital bombardments' from the Eve ships.
posted by memebake at 12:17 PM on January 31


They did make a separate FPS game called Dust 514

Not to mention an upcoming game using Oculus Rift called Valkyrie that looks amazing. No news as to how it's going to integrate, if at all, into the EVE universe though.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:20 PM on January 31


... and someone just posted higher res, fresh pictures of Titanomachy. Wish I'd seen them before posting as they are pretty stunning.

And thanks gsh for the Rooks and Kings videos, they are always outstanding.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:24 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


I find these battle recaps endless interesting.

For the life of me, however, I can't actually tell how to play EVE. I've pulled up gameplay videos, and it just sort of seems like players are changing their views of their ships and clicking something, but nothing seems to happen. And then these huge battles take place and everything slows down to a standstill, and I just don't get it.

Other than Halo and GTA V, I've never played online games--and my only knowledge of these space games is, like, Wing Commander--but I am just totally, totally lost when it comes to EVE.

Like this--I have no idea what this is about. It hardly even looks like what I'd think of as a game, i.e., it doesn't look like very much fun.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:27 PM on January 31


Re: Eve money question

Yes, it is both real-world money (you need to buy PLEX, $15/month of game time) and real-world time to build the ship, and apparently, train to be able to fly the damn thing. PLEX can be traded and earned in-game, so this makes it even harder to track the real-world sums that went into it.

However, this image gives you an idea of what it costs in terms of time and money for the ships in question: $7,600 US + 3,000 man-hours for a single Titan ship.

So with 75 Titan's lost, that's $570,000 right there.

What is also being lost-in-the-noise about this is that EVE has been online since 2003, which I believe pre-dates WoW.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:27 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


I was wondering when this would make it to metafilter. I flew a titan in this fight and didn't die, yay me! Also I shot 40 other titans which was pretty cool.

The fight was slow enough that bathroom breaks were not an issue. Cooking dinner, however, took a bit of planning.

Not only was this the most expensive fight I've ever been in, but it is also likely to be the most expensive I ever will be in. I'm giving serious thought to just retiring from EVE now and being permanently smug forever.
posted by ryanrs at 12:32 PM on January 31 [43 favorites]


I flew a titan in this fight and didn't die, yay me!

F. Yea.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:33 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


I was wondering when this would make it to metafilter. I flew a titan in this fight and didn't die, yay me! Also I shot 40 other titans which was pretty cool.


That's so awesome. TELL MORE US WHAT IT LIKE TO FIGHT BIG BATTLE.
posted by kbanas at 12:43 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


You are stuck in front of your computer for 16 hours straight, watching the game client run at 3 fps and hoping it doesn't crash. There is no way to extract your US$3,000 imaginary spaceship without losing it, so you are basically stuck until one of three things happens:
1) You die.
2) Your side wins.
3) The server goes down for daily maintenance at 1100 UTC / 3 AM Pacific.

Titans have a massive Superweapon that you use to shoot the enemy titans. There is a 10 minute cool down between shots, but in 10% time dilation (i.e. any large fight) that stretches to two hours. So you are shooting once every two hours.

Some titans joined the fight without filling up their fuel tanks first, so they quickly ran out of fuel for their Superweapon. They didn't even get to shoot every two hours. Instead they sat in-game for 16 hours, at 3 fps, while everybody laughed at them and told them they were shit for not fueling their ship. Like the rest of us, they could not log out or leave.

The game was lagging so badly, that all the shooting and healing was communicated by spies, not by watching what was happening on the screen. So when the enemy focused their fire on one of our titans, our spies told us which one so our support ships could start repairing him. But the server was lagging so badly that repairs weren't doing much. It ended up being a damage race to see who could destroy the other side fastest.

My side, the CFC, had an initial numbers advantage which was compounded by some mistakes the enemy made. Our lead increased over the first several hours of the fight. After 8-ish hours, it was clear that the enemy was going to lose every titan they had brought. It was all very exciting but at the same time really boring and repetitive. Like most EVE gameplay, heh.


TLDR: The most amazing fight in the history of EVE was all about shooting your guns once every two hours and hoping the game didn't crash.
posted by ryanrs at 1:00 PM on January 31 [58 favorites]


That's so awesome. TELL MORE US WHAT IT LIKE TO FIGHT BIG BATTLE.

Aren't you glad you asked?
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:05 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Slow enough that bathroom breaks aren't an issue. Cooking dinner, however, takes a bit of planning.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:05 PM on January 31 [6 favorites]


I'm going to go eat a burrito. When I get back I'll write a little about the politcal implications of thie fight, which are pretty neat.
posted by ryanrs at 1:06 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Would also love to hear some strategic breakdowns. Like, was there the equivalent of things like Pickett's charge in Gettysburg?
posted by shen1138 at 1:08 PM on January 31


Can only a titan destroy another titan? Was there any point in having other spaceships around other than support ships? (Did support ships do anything but heal?) What happened if you couldn't stay for the entire war, could someone else shoot every 2 hours for you?
posted by jeather at 1:20 PM on January 31


Man I gave up EVE when I was grinding hours on end to level up and just complete the basic quests. I don't have available the serious time commitment to really get anywhere, but I still love to gawk.
posted by msbutah at 1:21 PM on January 31


"Can only a titan destroy another titan?"

Like real life, a moderately sized group of little ships can kill a very big ship.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 1:27 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


I would love to know what the specs would be server-side to run a battle like this (7500+ players, including the multiple side-battles in nearby systems) at even 50% of real time speed.
posted by chambers at 1:28 PM on January 31


Can only a titan destroy another titan?

The Titan has a uber-powerful doomsday weapon that would take a large chunk out of another Titan. That's what was doing most of the damage in this battle, as I understand it anyway. One side's FC would say, as ryanrs mentioned, "SpaceshipSteve and StarshipSally are our next targets, Titans 1-6 doomsday Steve when your guns are ready, 6-13 same deal for Sally." And Steve and Sally are basically gone. Both sides would be doing that back and forth. That's not to say that smaller ships can't/don't kill Titans, they do, just google for plenty of videos of said losses.

Was there any point in having other spaceships around other than support ships?

Tackle ships are the obvious addition. Basically ships that keep the other ships from extracting themselves from the battle. All those round shimmery things you see in pics/videos, those are warp disruption bubbles (not shields) that prevent anything caught in them from leaving until they move away from them (Titans are very slow) or destroy the source (be it a special ship generating it, an anchored generator, or a temporary deployed bubble from another special ship).

Did support ships do anything but heal?

There could be electronic warfare ships there but I think Titans are immune to EWAR. ryanrs would know far more than me.

What happened if you couldn't stay for the entire war, could someone else shoot every 2 hours for you?

Sharing accounts is a ban-able offense if I recall correctly. So, no, someone logging into your machine, risk of crashing it aside, and manning your guns is not legal according to the EULA/rules. Piloting more than one ship yourself, if you own multiple accounts, is fair game however.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:31 PM on January 31


I would love to know what the specs would be server-side to run a battle like this (7500+ players, including the multiple side-battles in nearby systems) at even 50% of real time speed.

Yea, people complain about EVE's servers but they really are (or at least were) world class.

Interesting stuff from what I've read.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:32 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


Man I gave up EVE when I was grinding hours on end to level up and just complete the basic quests.

I have never done any serious grinding of NPC missions in my time in EVE. Missions are orthogonal to the real end-game content, which is all player driven. Plenty of the most experienced, wealthiest, and most famous EVE players do zero mining or mission grinding.
posted by ryanrs at 1:32 PM on January 31


I would love to know what the specs would be server-side to run a battle like this

A GODDAMN POTATO MADE OF CRASHING AND FAIL.

(Actually it's their server software that is fail. 4,000 players in a real-time simulation running on single threaded python code, jesus christ it makes me want to kill myself.)
posted by ryanrs at 1:35 PM on January 31


Could you tell me what the battle was like again but this time lie and make it not seem awful?
posted by kbanas at 1:38 PM on January 31 [14 favorites]


You know the Executor at the Battle of Endor? Imagine there were like a hundred of those suckers in a battle.

...where they could only shoot once every two hours while the Battle of Endor happens at 3 FPS.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:45 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


No. As any serious player will tell you, EVE is a terrible game.
posted by ryanrs at 1:46 PM on January 31 [9 favorites]


I had to keep the game debug window open during the entire fight because the lag was so bad. The UI was useless, so I watched the queued RPC calls and tracked the game state in my head.

You think I'm kidding? The command for the debug window is Ctrl-Alt-Shift-M, then select the Outstanding Calls tab. When the server slows down you can track the function calls by hand.
posted by ryanrs at 1:51 PM on January 31 [15 favorites]


I guess my team -- Proviblock

Slaver!

(The years-retired Ushra'Khan pilot in me can't resist even though I understand the universe has changed... )
posted by Slothrup at 1:54 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Could you tell me what the battle was like again but this time lie and make it not seem awful?

Try listening to this, I've only heard a few mins of it but it has potential to fill in that void in your soul left by ryanrs's [accurate, I'm sure] writeup. Not fill it full, but maybe put some warmth there. A tiny bit.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:57 PM on January 31


To be fair, it's not standard Python, it's Stackless Python.
posted by bouvin at 1:59 PM on January 31


An accurate depiction of the very first titan kill in EVE Online.

Multiply that by 75x and stretch it to 16 hours and you have a pretty good feel for the fight of B-R.
posted by ryanrs at 2:01 PM on January 31 [4 favorites]


Historical note: That first titan to die in EVE was Shrike. He was back in the B-R fight in a new titan and we killed him again. Heh.
posted by ryanrs at 2:09 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


~~~ What Is This War and Why Do 75 Dead Titans Even Matter? ~~~

EVE Power Blocs
Alliance Sovereignty Map (live)

The Sides
CFC+RUS - Starting at 2 o'clock on the sov map with Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere, continuing counter-clockwise to around 5 o'clock with Against All Authorities.

N3+PL - Most of the stuff in the lower right quadrant, up along the right side to Brothers of Tangra.

The black area in the center is the NPC-controlled Empire space where 90% of the playerbase lives. Most EVE players are not involved in the sovereignty wars fought in the perimeter regions of the game.


Causus Belli
Ha ha I don't even know for sure. I think N3 attacked the Russians and took their space, then the CFC came in to fight N3, in part because of old ties to the Russians, but mostly because we don't like N3. Then PL joined N3 because PL likes shooting things. Or maybe PL was involved earlier, I dunno. In any case, whatever started the war isn't terribly important.


State of Play Before the Battle of B-R
Neither side was clearly winning. CFC+RUS had subcapital ship dominance, but N3+PL had superior capital and supercapital numbers. Only a few systems had traded hands. It was more dynamic than a true stalemate, but things were pretty evenly matched.


Why the Fight Started in B-R
Nulli Secunda, an alliance in N3, gave the B-R station to PL to use as a staging point in the Immensea region, near the front lines of the war. PL members moved the majority of their combat assets to this new B-R station. For some members, this was everything they owned. More established players may have kept the bulk of their assets in safe stations in Empire, but their B-R assets would still have been very significant.

On January 27, the PL corp HAVOC failed to pay the sovereignty bill to CCP for the B-R system, and promptly dropped sov. HAVOC had expected the bill to be paid automatically from their corporate wallet, as most bills are. It is possible HAVOC had mistakenly turned off automatic bill pay, or it may have been a game bug that caused the payment to be missed. HAVOC strenuously claims auto payments were on and the game failed. I believe them.

Whatever the cause of the non-payment, sov immediately dropped and there was a rush by both sides to reclaim it. RAZOR, a CFC alliance, got planted a TCU (sov claiming device) in system and attacked the competing PL TCUs. In response, PL escalated to supercarriers and titans. Then the CFC dropped their own titans and the fight was on.


The fight
16 hours of terrible lag, crashing game clients, and stressing out over imaginary spaceships. The CFC won and kept the station.


The Implications
PL and N3 lost an unprecedented 59 titans, worth approximately 7 trillion isk, or about US$200,000. But equally important, the war assets of most of PL's members were still trapped in B-R station. When RAZOR took the station, they immediately revoked PL's docking rights, cutting them off from their ships and weapons.

Sensing a key opportunity, The Mittani opened diplomatic talks with PL. The CFC agreed to grant PL docking rights in B-R so they could evacuate their assets. In return, PL would quit the war and leave N3 to fight the CFC alone.


Today
The CFC opened a new staging station in AF0, in the heart of Immensea. All CFC members have moved their ships and supplies to AF0. Starting this weekend, we begin the hellpurge of N3. It is expected the remainder of the war will be a good old-fashioned steamroll.
posted by ryanrs at 2:30 PM on January 31 [16 favorites]


I saw the call to arms for this fight while I was eating breakfast. I went to work instead, came home, had dinner, went for a bike ride, and the fight was still going on. I logged into the game, clone jumped to the staging system, purchased a ship, spent an hour trying to figure out how to get to the fight, and finally joined a anti-interceptor fleet, and still managed to shoot a bunch of enemies before the fight finished.

Some of the people in with me had been playing the entire time.
posted by xiw at 2:34 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


I hope one day somebody compiles a narrative history of EVE Online, full of stories like this.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:40 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


Yes, xiw. Subcapitals were sent to interdict enemy reinforcements and specifically kept out of the B-R system itself. We needed to keep numbers down in B-R so the server would not crash. If the server crashed due to high numbers of subcap pilots joining the fight, then the remaining N3+PL fleet would have escaped (since they would simply not log in after the server rebooted). By keeping numbers down we guaranteed we could keep shooting PL titans until downtime.
posted by ryanrs at 2:43 PM on January 31


This is the most entertaining foray into a world that I never knew existed I've had in a long time.
posted by Chuffy at 2:54 PM on January 31


Yea, people complain about EVE's servers but they really are (or at least were) world class.

Interesting stuff from what I've read.


That is indeed some interesting stuff. I have been on a hiatus from EVE for several years now, but even back then, seeing the enormity of what needed to be done to track the activity and interactions tens of thousands of players, ships, AI drones and pirates, and not to mention every laser, torpedo, asteroid, or rail gun slug in real time boggled my mind. The time-scaling strategy is the best thing CCP could do under the circumstances, considering there is no MMO server system in the world that could handle that load better, AFIK.

I wonder though, how much of the rest of the EVE universe you would have to 'turn off' to divert enough processing power to bring that battle up to real-time speed, or if that still would not be enough to do it.
posted by chambers at 2:57 PM on January 31


Was there any point in having other spaceships around other than support ships? (Did support ships do anything but heal?)

Broadly speaking, there were five categories of ships in the fight.

Titans the main damage ship, these were tasked with shooting other titans. Since their superweapon only cycles once every two hours, they were relatively unaffected by the lag that was ruining every other ship in the system. It was not a big deal that it took 15 minutes to fire, since the rate of fire was so low anyway.

Dreadnoughts a pure damage capital ship, these shot at titans and other dreads. They were fairly ineffective because of lag, although they did contribute some.

Supercarriers and carriers are the "healing" ships. Like the dreads, they were heavily impacted by server lag. Therefore they were unable to heal enough to save the titans from destruction. although in several cases they made a titan survive for much longer than it normally would have. This was important because letting titans live longer let them them apply their superweapon longer and kill more enemy titans.

Dictors, hictors, and anchored bubbles deployed warp-interference bubbles all around the enemy ships, preventing them from warping away or jumping out of system. These were the "tacklers" that held down the enemy so our titans could kill them.

Anti-dictor ships are subcapital damage ships that tried to clear the field of dictors so their friendly titans and supercarriers could escape. I think this was pretty much impossible in the high lag. Besides, we had a continuous stream of reinforcement dictors joining us during the entire fight.
posted by ryanrs at 2:59 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


I wonder though, how much of the rest of the EVE universe you would have to 'turn off' to divert enough processing power to bring that battle up to real-time speed.

You can't because all the processing for one battle runs in a single thread. Someone doing missions in a different solar system will be running on a separate server node and should be unaffected by a big fight somewhere else. But there is no way to spread the load of a big fight itself.
posted by ryanrs at 3:04 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


What happened if you couldn't stay for the entire war, could someone else shoot every 2 hours for you?

Yeah you could give a friend your account info, logoff, and have them quickly log on. Or you could slowboat your titan away from the battle and hopefully make it outside the warp-interference bubbles, then warp away. Both options have risks. A lot of people just called in sick to work and stayed up all night.
posted by ryanrs at 3:14 PM on January 31



You can't because all the processing for one battle runs in a single thread. Someone doing missions in a different solar system will be running on a separate server node and should be unaffected by a big fight somewhere else. But there is no way to spread the load of a big fight itself.


That's bonkers
posted by stoneweaver at 3:17 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and CCP has been biasing the game mechanics to favor these huge epic fights because large-scale battles are one of the things that makes EVE different from other MMOs. But the fights have grown so large that their servers often crash during key strategic battles. So they will have to do something to reduce player numbers in single engagements. I'm not sure how they will manage to do that.

One thing is clear though. Microprocessor technology will provide only very small gains in the future. Furthermore, nobody expects CCP will ever rewrite the server code for fix the single thread problem. It seems unlikely they would be able to justify the engineering cost for such an old game (even if it does provide the bulk of their revenue).
posted by ryanrs at 3:25 PM on January 31


I don't like MMOs in general, and I don't think I could ever get into the learning curve that is EVE because it would suck my whole life away.

But I'm oddly glad it exists. This whole thing seems so William Gibson to me.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:28 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


The single thread thing makes sense in some ways - it guarantees that all events will be handled in a strict order, which is useful for maintaining a shared 'space'. There are ways to parallelise it a bit, but ultimately you'll still have the bottleneck of a shared information-state, and the locking etc that has to come with that. If they manage to parallelise it, look forward to a lot of new bugs with people flying through inpenetrable barriers etc.
posted by memebake at 3:37 PM on January 31


I play EVE. I'm a member of Metafilter's PINTO corp, and a fine corp it is (big shout out to Roland, the corp wouldn't be what it is without him). I played for about 8 months, got a bit of burn out, came back yesterday after four months off and spent four hours away from the game working out some accounting stuff. And you know what? I hate accounting shit, but it was cool to do it and know I was helping out the team a bit. And PINTO has some of the best corp mates in that crazy universe.

Massive things like this battle happen in EVE, the politics are insane, the market is insane, things I will probably never be involved in are insane. But tiny small seemingly boring things happen too. And boring can turn to adrenaline filled mayhem in seconds. And, that's kind of cool as well. Also, I can fly a blockade runner so now you see me now you don'...
posted by Elmore at 4:06 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


Yeah, and CCP has been biasing the game mechanics to favor these huge epic fights because large-scale battles are one of the things that makes EVE different from other MMOs.

So couldn't this battle have been instigated by an intentional "bug" made by CCP developers in order to provoke a huge spectacle so the media would snap it up? Or Asakai for that matter?
posted by Apocryphon at 4:06 PM on January 31


Eve is better viewed as a hobby than a game.

It has a brutal learning curve, and it's not particularly fun when compared to the carefully crafted entertainment of modern games. But it's satisfying in a way that very few games are.

It's easy to be intimidated, but Eve is approachable if you keep a few things in mind:
- Eve isn't only about giant space battles or NPC missions. Our corp mostly does small skirmish warfare. No 12 hour battles.
- The best part of Eve is the meta-game. Join a corporation, whether it's Mefi's PINTO or one of the many corps focusing on new players. You can play solo, and some people enjoy it, but a good corp makes a huge difference.
- Almost everything in Eve is PvP. Even if you never leave a station and just daytrade on the markets, that's playing against other people.
- You will lose ships! Never fly what you can't afford to lose. More than anything this rule prevents the frustration and ragequitting.
- You can put as much time or as little time into it as you want. Skills train even if you're not actively playing.
- A lot of the activities (like mining) can be done while doing something else, like watching a movie, so it's a game very suited to people sitting at a computer anyway.
- In something like WoW, if you don't play at the same pace your friends will advance beyond you and it's hard to keep up. In Eve, you can take a 6 month break (like I did), return, and get right back into the swing of things.

So, if you're curious, give it a try. The trial is free, it'll run on almost anything. What's there to lose?
posted by bitterpants at 4:32 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


PINTO member checking in. I've played off and on for years and still have no desire to ever fly a capital ship. That looks like responsibility. Like responsibility that can be blown up.
posted by polywomp at 4:33 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


- You can put as much time or as little time into it as you want. Skills train even if you're not actively playing

I haven't played since late 2010, but this is especially true. You can train the trade skills and stay in hi-sec forever if that's your goal.
posted by Benway at 5:42 PM on January 31


So, where is B-R on the big map ryanrs linked to?
posted by spaltavian at 5:53 PM on January 31


- Almost everything in Eve is PvP. Even if you never leave a station and just daytrade on the markets, that's playing against other people.

Can one automate daytrading? Asking for a friend.
posted by PMdixon at 6:33 PM on January 31


Can one automate daytrading? Asking for a friend.

Yes, but it's considered an exploit and can get you banned. CCP came down pretty hard on bot usage a while back (though it's still pretty common).

One of the cool things about Eve is it has an extensive API that third-party tools can use -- but the API is read only.
posted by bitterpants at 6:38 PM on January 31


So, where is B-R on the big map ryanrs linked to?

There's a whitish area labelled "Nulli Secunda"? B-R5RB is the system that's right above the "i" in that label.

Here's an album* showing where it is: Where is B-R5RB?

*Of some screenshots I took
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:55 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


It's funny that these thousand-dollar ships still only got one pilot at the helm. Shouldn't be that hard to design a system where another pilot can take over the control of the ship temporarily or in shifts.
posted by ymgve at 7:41 PM on January 31


Like real life, a moderately sized group of little ships can kill a very big ship.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 1:27 PM on January 31


I believe we have achieved Peak Eponysteria.
posted by mhoye at 7:46 PM on January 31 [13 favorites]


So couldn't this battle have been instigated by an intentional "bug" made by CCP developers in order to provoke a huge spectacle so the media would snap it up?

I don't think they would dare chance it. Player-run intel organizations have uncovered CCP developer malfeasance before, and the fallout for catching officially sanctioned sabotage would be immense. The large player alliances have better PR machines and more media connections than CCP itself. We would fucking roast them alive.
posted by ryanrs at 7:54 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


The fascinating thing about Eve, to me, is that I've never played -- and I think N3 must be hellpurged.
posted by aramaic at 8:13 PM on January 31 [2 favorites]


The CFC has fought N3 and PL on several occasions, both individually and jointly. A key difference in our dealings is that PL will entertain diplomatic discussions with the CFC and uphold the treaties that occasionally result. For example, the CFC and PL have recently agreed on a treaty to not harass each other's rental regions (where access is granted to unaffiliated EVE corporations for a price).

N3, on the other hand, cannot seem to resist going back their promises. As a result, the CFC prefers to engage N3 with guns rather than treaties.

Reputation matters in EVE. Grudges matter. When you make an enemy, the animosity often lasts for many years.
posted by ryanrs at 9:27 PM on January 31


So no EVE flash crash anytime soon, presumably. Bummer.
posted by PMdixon at 9:40 PM on January 31


So I just listened to Sindel Pellion's new song. I'm guessing she recorded it before PL announced they were pulling out.

So now go.
Be smug some more.
You've won a battle.
Not like we haven't lost before...

And Grath just handed you the war.

*smug*smug*smug*

Fans of airhorns see also: Nick Fuzzeh's Wrecking Ball
posted by ryanrs at 10:14 PM on January 31


I really do love reading about these things. I actually played for a free trial period. I enjoyed myself, but I decided that if I wanted to get crushed by a cruel, unfeeling, avaricious world, I certainly didn't need to pay $15 a month for the privilege.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:29 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


I run seven accounts right now. I guess that would be over $100 per month if I paid with real life money, but I don't. At the highest levels of the game, subscription costs are not that big of a deal. For comparison, a fully equipped titan is worth the same as 15 years of subscription tokens on the in-game market.

New players shouldn't expect to be able to pay with in-game money right off the bat. But after a year or so, you should be able to run a couple accounts for free if you are regularly active in-game.
posted by ryanrs at 10:44 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


I have never played the game, but I appreciate the reference to Invincible.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 9:30 AM on February 1


I'm curious as to future expansion of the game. Is there no substantial playerbase in East Asia, unlike with other MMO's? It would be amazing if there could suddenly be an influx of, say, Chinese players, to create more empires and political blocks and fodder for war drama.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:54 AM on February 1


Is there no substantial playerbase in East Asia, unlike with other MMO's?

I'm pretty sure there's a separate server (otherwise EVE is one universe without any shards) somewhere in China, perhaps it's called Serenity (whereas all the rest of the world plays on Tranquility).

I think it's due to some legal requirements in China that the game be hosted there or some such, I"m not sure. There is a player base and I've read about it in the past. It's odd though, because from what I hear, and maybe this is only the case with larger ships like capitals, they don't fight, even in large engagements like this one, to the death.

They, and again this is what I heard/saw in screencaps, fight until all the shields and armor are gone and only the hull is left and the person who is now without hull/shields withdraws with ship intact.

Read more about it here.

Ah, there's the quote I was looking for:

A few background facts: the Chinese Ministry of Culture requires every foreign MMO to establish a contract with a domestic company to host and maintain the game. In addition, the creation of a game account on Chinese realms requires a Chinese government-issued ID and service to non-Chinese servers for some MMO’s are blocked.

Luckily, EVE Online is not one of the blocked MMOs; if you find yourself in China for some reason or another, you can happily log on to Tranquility to set skills, manage markets and PI, and even fight; the latency from China (in my experience) averaged 500ms or so: not optimal for most games, but enough for EVE.

posted by RolandOfEld at 11:16 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Yeah, China has its own server and a totally different Sov map.

My corp, Gendry's Leech, lives in Providence and is NRDS. Our sister corp, The Sky People, lives in a C2 wormhole and is NBSI. We all enjoy some quality PvP in Amarr/Minny FW, and we are actively recruiting. In game chat channel: GL Recruit
posted by gsh at 12:37 PM on February 1


Oooh! Fly through video from Brave Newbies!
posted by gsh at 12:45 PM on February 1


The lack of shards is one of the great things about EVE. I cannot take seriously and MMO with a bunch of different universes all running in parallel. It makes impossible and nearly meaningless any serious player or creator driven story content of the type that I always found the most interesting in the early days of MMORPGs. Early days being early 90s.
posted by Justinian at 12:56 PM on February 1


sonic meat machine: "Sadly, it's interesting in the abstract, but when it comes down to it a Titan (no matter how large its model is compared to the other ships) is just a bundle of numbers. Just like everything else. :("

In space, nobody can hear your spreadsheet functions.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:03 AM on February 2


The CFC has gone into full helicopter dick mode. Our supercapital fleets are roaming Immensea unopposed, shitting all over the enemy's infrastructure. Fun times!
posted by ryanrs at 5:22 PM on February 2


I hope one day somebody compiles a narrative history of EVE Online, full of stories like this.

This sort of exists in the archives of sites like Kugutsumen.com and Failheap Challenge, as well as the official EVE forums, old EVE forums, and mirrors of those forums.

BUT sites like Kugutsumen are 99% chestbeating, trolling, and shitposting. There's a lot of history and politics there, but it is buried under many layers of bullshit. It's really hard to exaggerate how bad it is.

The very best way to learn about EVE history is to join a big alliance that has real continuity in the EVE universe. Then, sometime when you're on a boring fleet and everyone is just sitting around waiting for something to happen, ask the FC for story time. It helps to know a little about the history so you can ask the right leading questions. But as a newbie, asking for story time is a great way to learn about the allies, enemies, conflicts and wars that shaped the EVE universe.

I've been playing EVE for over two years. In that time I've become one of the most important people in my alliance. But I still ask for story time whenever I get the chance. It's really fun to hear an oral history of EVE from someone who's been here since the beginning.

If you like the idea of a game with a purely player-driven history that stretches back for more than a decade, you should start playing EVE. Try to join a major nullsec power quickly, perhaps in the first 30-60 days. Most CFC alliances will recruit newbies. Then once you're in, don't get into a boring rut of just ratting or mining. Make an effort to ascend the alliance hierarchy. Take on responsibilities and really contribute to your alliance. It's not hard to gain rank by doing the work that others don't want to do. And as you gain trust and responsibilities, you'll get more involved in the politics too. Soon you'll be creating that shared history, not just hearing stories about it.
posted by ryanrs at 2:36 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Giant Bomb's Patrick Klepek finally finished his writeup on B-R. Audio interviews coming tomorrow. Though according to it CFC isn't going to completely crush N3 but instead just take a few regions.
posted by kmz at 11:29 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Finally saw the post on this here at MeFi.

Another Eve Player checking in. I've played on an off over the years but got back in last year with the battle of Asakai and joined Brave Newbies in their first week.

Been playing since and just celebrated a year in corp.

My alliance stayed out of it, mainly since we can't field that level of ship in any serious numbers.

Drop Dunk Dinkle a line in-game if you want to chat.
posted by Argyle at 7:17 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


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