EVE Online turned 12 on May 6th, and in celebration of that monumental number, we're going to be dedicating this weeks Final Frontier to looking back at some of our favorite moments in EVE's history.
If you're an MMO, 12 years is a very long time to be alive. EVE Online is certainly up there with some of the grandfathers of the genre, like EverQuest, Ultima Online, and much more. What's incredible, is that while many of these much older MMOs tend to dwindle in time, EVE Online has only grown. Each year the game manages to draw more and more players into it with its unique sandbox world and ongoing narrative that has become one of the most seminal pieces of science fiction of our time. You might not ever become The Mittani, but you can still understand that every day you play, you are a part of a living story—and that is something special.
With 12 years under its belt, there are simply too many stories to count, too many battles fought, too many changes to the game. And I'll be honest, I wasn't around for a lot of them. I was just a wee lad when EVE first launched, and though I've spent the last 5 years playing, I still have much to learn and understand about New Eden. Regardless, let's take a look back at some of EVE Online's greatest stories.
The Bloodbath of B-R5RB
The greatest battle EVE Online has ever seen—any game has ever seen. Over 7500 characters, 717 corporations, and 55 alliances participated in the battle. It sent shockwaves through the EVE community, as the 20 hour conflict raged on, drawing the attention of major news outlets the world over. The reason? Unpaid rent.
Some of the biggest battles in EVE Online have been the result of human error. The Battle of Asakai, which took place a year before and was one of the largest at the time, was started because a single Titan pilot warped himself into enemy territory instead of his fleet. That one misclick became the catalyst that saw 700 billion ISK go up in flames (around $15,000 USD).
B-R5RB resulted in the loss of 11 trillion ISK ($300,000 USD). An unprecedented 75 Titans were destroyed, along hundreds of Capitals, and tens of thousands of sub-capital ships.
On January 27th, 2014, one year after the Battle of Asakai, H A V O C, a corporation within Nulli Secunda who belonged to the N3 Coalition, missed a payment in order maintain sovereignty over their station in B-R5RB. Enemy scouts noticed this when they witnessed H A V O C quietly trying to recapture their own station.
The Clusterfuck Coalition (CFC) and a coalition of Russian alliances decided to capitalize on the mistake, using the timezone to their advantage to field a Capital fleet and get it into B-R before N3 and Pandemic Legion could amount an effective defense. But as both coalitions began amassing their fleets, sending out call-to-arms across the expanse of New Eden, it became obvious this would be no minor conflict.
CFC decided to field their entire Capital fleet, while N3 and Pandemic Legion arrived on scene in their infamous Wrecking Ball, a formation that they had used to soundly defeat the CFC in an earlier conflict.
Within hours the battle had been joined in earnest, as thousands of players flooded into B-R to reinforce their respective allies. Meanwhile, thousands of smaller skirmishes were erupting across New Eden as both forces attempted to control the conflict in and around B-R.
Though N3 initially showed they had the upper hand, destroying several Titans and forcing a few more to flee, they made a crucial error when deciding to focus all firepower on the Russian fleet commander Sort Dragon. Sort Dragon's Titan was equipped with incredibly high damage resist, and with his entire fleet working to keep him adequately repaired, the long grind to bringing him down allowed CFC to kill several of N3's Titans in response.
As North America approached its primetime, N3 was simply not getting the numbers they'd need to maintain the conflict. Before long, the retreat was sounded. Spies within N3 alerted CFC of the retreat and preparations were made to prevent escape.
Well before the dust settled and wreckage counted, it was obvious that New Eden had just seen its biggest World War. The event sent ripples through news outlets both gaming and traditional, and CCP honored the battle with a monument to the Titans sacrificed in the name of unpaid rent.
The Guiding Hand Social Club Heist
Mirial, head of Ubiqua Seraph corporation, was not about to have a great morning. Flying her most prized vessel, a Navy Apocalypse that at the time made the wallets of just about every player in New Eden quiver, Mirial was coaxed into taking her shiny prize on a tour alongside her most trusted Lieutenant, Arenis Xemdal. The two flew through space, her in her Navy Apocalypse, and Arenis flying the even more breathtaking Imperial Issue Apocalypse.
Within minutes, it was over. MIrial was waking up in a fresh clone, hundreds of lightyears away from the smoking wreckage of her prized vessel. Ubiqua Seraph found itself destitute as every single asset it possessed was immediately taken from their hangars, and the Guiding Hand Social Club had just pulled off the biggest heist in EVE history. The whole ordeal was a year in the making and took minutes to execute.
When Istvaan Shogaatsu was approached by Mirial's nemesis, the initial contract was to bring them Mirial's frozen corpse in exchange for a billion ISK. But by the time Istvaan and his bandits made out, they had accumulated 30 billion ISK in stolen assets—keeping in mind that ISK back then was much more valuable.
For a whole year, Istvaan and his Guiding Hand Social Club planted spies within Ubiqua Seraph, and both he and Arenis climbed the corporate ladder to become some of the corporation's most trusted members. When Arenis, in his shiny Apocalypse, unleashed his betrayal, Mirial never saw it coming. Upon uttering the code word "Nicole", Arenis, Istvaan, and their spies robbed the corporation of everything, while Arenis finished off the helpless Mirial.
It went on to become one of the greatest stories in EVE history, with coverage spanning a horde of publications and news outlets. Istvaan himself was subject to no less than 9 death threats. It shattered one of the most influential corporations at the time, and caused every CEO in every corporation to think twice about who they trusted.
Band of Brothers Disbands
Speaking of spies, defecting has always been a common trope in spy fiction, but in 2009, that fiction became a reality when Band of Brothers, one of the largest alliances in EVE Online, was suddenly and violently dismantled.
At the end of one of the bloodiest wars in EVE Online, known as the Great War, the stage was set for Band of Brothers to vanish into oblivion. Haargoth Agamar, a senior director within Band of Brothers had placed an alternative character inside of Goonswarm, BoB's sworn enemy and nemesis during the Great War. During the time he spent with Goonswarm, Haargoth realized that he was having a better time flying alongside the enemy than against them, and decided to defect.
Revealing who he truly was, Goonswarm's leader, The Mittani, decided to put Haargoth to good use. What was initially intended as a smash and grab on assets within Band of Brothers became a full scale evaporation of one of the most powerful alliances in the game's history. Haargoth, using his director powers, kicked every single corporation out of Band of Brothers, and initiated a series of heists stealing billions worth of assets across several stations in Brothers' space. At every station he robbed, Haargoth left a visible beacon (called a bookmark) labelled "The Mittani sends his regards".
To add further insult to injury, the name Band of Brothers, now vacant without an alliance to claim it, was stolen by Goonswarm so that the name could never be reclaimed by its former members. Scattered and defenseless, without the protective shield of sovereignty, the alliance was quickly crushed in the following months when Goonswarm invaded their space and swept them into the abyss. The Mittani sends his regards.
Goonswarm has dominated the culture of EVE Online for almost as long as it has been around. Engaging in some of the largest conflicts, dismantling entire alliances in one fell swoop, and in 2012, burning the game's largest player based trade hub to the ground.
Jita 4-4, the station in the heart of Caldari space, has long since been the capital of New Eden, at least in the minds of the players. It is their self-identified trade hub, a centralized place that sees thousands of players visiting it every day to sell and buy their materials, ships, modules, and more.
But in 2012, Jita was a pile of ash. The Goonswarm, coordinating with several other alliances, started an initiative aimed to bring the economy of New Eden to its knees. Piloting ships equipped for maximum firepower, thousands of pilots camped the gates of Jita, blowing up anything and everything that tried to approach them. It was carnage. It was suicide.
For every ship that aggressed a non-hostile vessel, CONCORD, New Eden's invincible police force, would arrive to promptly destroy the hostile ship. The trick was to blow up the victim before CONCORD blew you up, an art perfected by years of suicide ganking. The image below shows a heat map of all of the ship kills within a 24 hour period during Burn Jita.
Burn Jita was a massive success, and a player-made event that CCP had no choice but to applaud and champion, seeing it as an opportunity to tout the game's emergent storytelling. Billions of ISK was lost, thousands of ships were destroyed, and all because Goonswarm wanted to.
The Mara Gate Camp
Gate camping has become second nature to many of EVE's more combat-minded pilots. Acting as the funnels that ferry pilots from one system to another, they are a choke point in the otherwise open expanse of a solar system. Back in 2003, only months after EVE Online had launched, a corporation known as m0o began camping a gate leading to the Mara system, a bottleneck and popular travel route through New Eden. Destroying any ship that attempted to fly through Mara, these ex-Counterstrike pilots blockaded an entire section of space. Nowadays, gate camps will last for hours, sometimes days, but after weeks of diligent camping, M0o showed no signs of stopping. Players attempted to run the blockade and failed, they formed fleets and attempted to engage but were killed, and the EVE forums were filling with complaints hourly.
FInally, CCP decided to take action. Piloting their own fleet, something now regarded as a very poor decision and a rare infringement on their policy of not getting involved within the game, CCP engaged m0o. Recognizing that CCP was invincible, m0o ordered a hasty retreat. The moment that CCP left, they were back.
At one point, CCP even warped every member to distant and random sectors of space, another curious move by the development team to dissuade the pirates, but in the end all efforts were futile.
Mara was eventually liberated, not by players or by CCP, but by boredom. m0o moved on to greener pastures and CCP had the brilliant idea to install guns on the stargates.
The Yulai Incident
Just like the guns that attack hostile forces on stargates, many of EVE Online's mechanics weren't built proactively by the developers, but as a response to events that happened within the game and abuses found by the players. The Yulai Incident is one such case, and notable for the extreme consequences it carried.
In 2004, Zombies, Inc. decided they wanted to have some fun. Their mission: infiltrate Yulai, one of New Eden's biggest trade hubs at the time, and go on a rampage before escaping intact.
It might sound like a pretty understandable goal, until you realize that CONCORD, the forces I mentioned above, are unbeatable and will respond to any threat with extreme force. But Zombies, Inc. had a plan.
While CONCORD would exterminate any pilot who attacked another pilot, a major flaw in their logic prevented them from seeing pilots repairing a hostile pilot as any threat at all. Zombies, Inc. used this to their advantage when one of their members fit their Apocalypse with smart bombs, one of the only weapons capable of dealing area of effect damage. Taking this bomber Apocalypse into Yulai supported by a fleet of logistics ships ready to repair him, our anarchist began unleashing hell upon the unsuspecting pilots. CONCORD promptly arrived, but the damage they dealt was too little to break the tank of the Apocalypse and the fleet that repaired it.
The chaos reached a crescendo when the pilot turned his sights on CONCORD themselves, bombing the police force in an unprecedented act of aggression. CCP intervened, instructing Zombies, Inc. to immediately halt all attacks. Zombies didn't listen.
When the attack was over, the forums exploded with players condemning or praising the alliance's actions, but CCP, angered by the disobedience of their players, handed out bans to every member who participated in the incident and replaced every ship that was lost during the altercation.
The Yulai Incident was also the cause of sweeping changes to the way CONCORD worked. Pilots who repaired hostile pilots would be targeted, CONCORD ships were made to be invincible and dealt damage that was untankable. Another excellent example of CCP learning to create the game around the actions of the players.
So there it is, five of some of the most interesting and awesome stories that have spawned from EVE Online these last twelve years. Things have changed in dramatic ways, and everyday, stories just like these are being told by hundreds of thousands of pilots. EVE Online is only continuing to grow, and CCP has their sights set on reaching the next decade in better shape than ever! Happy Birthday EVE, and thanks for all the stories.