If you are a video gamer, you’ve probably heard of Eve Online.
Eve is a game for a very specific type of player. It’s often referred to as a Microsoft Excel simulator, and its players are often called “Accountants in Space.”
It’s a game about interstellar business and warfare, where mega corporations rule the star systems. Approximately 500,000 players share a single server that has been evolving over nearly 12 years and the landscape today is quite different from where it was in 2003 and that’s almost entirely due to players crafting the world. Over those years, players have loved and lost (money that is), alliances have been forged, wars have been waged, and amazing stories have been told.
You think you’re hardcore? Here are six things you don’t know about Eve Online:
1. Every ship has a very real value
Everything in Eve Online has its own cost mixed between a flurry of variables: skillbook costs to fly the ships, manufacture time, ship modules, pilot implants, and of course the in game currency “Interstellar Kredit” or ISK. Eve Online’s relatively unique system allows players to buy “Pilot License Extensions” otherwise known as PLEX, which can be used to either renew their monthly subscription or be sold through the in game marketplace for ISK.
PLEX costs $19.99 for one, with the costliest purchase being 28 Plex for $489.86. Each ship has its own value, with the smallest of ships being worth a paltry amount, no more than one or two dollars, with the largest of ships, titans, which are said to be worth up to several thousand dollars. That’s all before man hours come into the equation. To give you an idea of how much money can be at stake in Eve, one of the largest battles which occurred last year is predicted to have brought in 11 Trillion ISK or roughly $300,000-$330,000 worth of real-money losses for two warring coalitions in the span of 21 hours.
2. “Bad Bobby” and the scam of the century
It’s astounding that the player’s username “Bad Bobby” didn’t raise any red flags in a game where the policy is Buyer Beware. Scamming is a perfectly legitimate way for players to help part unwitting players from their wallets. Bad Bobby began with a legitimate business model and a corporation to match. Bad Bobby, working alongside a group of directors ran an investment scheme that had a good reputation for always returning on player investments. This went on for years, the number of trustees increasing as the company that sold blueprints for Titans, the most valuable and powerful ship available, Titans4U developed a trustworthy reputation. In order to prevent any of the directors from simply grabbing the blueprints and running, the blueprints were only available by vote of the directors which ensured the safety of their trustees and their reputation. Bobby had plans to change this.
This entire plan hinged on the fact that Bobby did not have over 50 percent of the company’s shares and as a result he could not vote to unlock the blueprints without the consent of the other directors. Bobby initiated a vote to create more shares under the guise that they would be adding more trustees, which the other directors voted to pass, creating new shares. Bobby then picked up all of the new shares for himself, gaining over 50 percent of the total shares and kicked all of the other directors out of Titans4U before making off with all of the corporate assets.
Years of patience and a now irreparable reputation and we can only wonder, was it all worth it? Bobby has claimed to have sold all of the stolen assets for upwards of 850 billion ISK valued at roughly $45,000 USD.
3. The $24,000 miss click
Jan. 27, 2013 two of the largest alliances in Eve Online went to battle for hours, constantly resupplying their forces in what amounted to a 3,000-player brawl. The cause of this sudden battle? A miss click.
A titan pilot flying under the banner of the Clusterfuck Coalition (yes, one of the biggest alliances in the game) was looking to act as a bridge for other members of his alliance, which would allow them to warp to his ship’s location. The problem: He accidentally warped straight into a fleet of the HoneyBadger Coalition, heated rivals of CFC. The HBC immediately jumped on his Titan, bombarding it while both sides began to call in reinforcements. CFC, while grossly outnumbered should have cut their losses, but instead panicked and called in everything the CFC had to get him out of there.
As a result, HBC lost six Dreadnoughts, 11 Carriers, and one supercarrier, and things were far worse for the CFC. The Clusterfuck Coalition lost 44 dreadnoughts, 29 carriers, five super carriers, and three titans in the devastating defeat. The damages for this short battle wound up culminating to approximately 700 billion ISK or $24,000 when converted to the PLEX exchange rate. (The price of ISK to PLEX jumped greatly in the three years between Bad Bobby and the $24,000 missclick, hence the difference in real-world money.)
4. Always pay your bills on time
Imagine if the cost of not paying your rent in time was not getting an angry call from your landlord but a group of armed soldiers ready to forcibly remove you from your apartment and break everything you hold dear. That’s essentially what happened in the Bloodbath of B-R5RB, also known as one of the single most destructive battles in the history of gaming.
On the morning on Jan. 24, 2014, the NPC police force “CONCORD” went to B-R5RB to collect the rent that the corporation H A V O C owed, only to find that the person in charge of paying the bill had left his automatic payment unchecked. No payment meant no sovereignty for the system, and immediately the system was up for grabs. The opened up a hole in the territory owned by the coalition of N3 and Pandemic Legion which H A V O C was a member of, prompting an attack by rival coalition of CFC Alliance and Russian.
The two coalitions met head-on in B-R5RB and for a while the battle was looking favorable for N3/PL. In the midst of the battle, the initial Fleet Commander for the N3/PL coalition handed command over to another commander. N3/PL began to overestimate their success and shifted focus to the player coordinating the remaining Russian forces. That player was also known as Sort Dragon and happened to be one of the current members of the Council of Stellar Management, an elected council to represent the whole of the Eve Community to CCP, the makers of EVE Online. His ship, along with the assistance of the remaining Russian forces was able to weather the assault of the N3/PL coalition and take down a whopping five titans in exchange for Sort Dragon’s. CFC/RUS continued to press their new advantage and hammer away at N3/PL over the course of 12 hours before N3/PL called for a retreat, losing even more ships trapped in warp disruption bubbles that covered the battlefield preventing ships from warping to safety.
This battle became the single longest and most destructive battle in the history of the game and one of the most if not the most destructive battles in gaming history. In more than 21 hours, 7,548 players participated in the battle, which ranged from the B-R5RB system across the known game universe. A whopping 2,670 players fought at B-R5RB alone.
Prior to this battle the most titans lost in a single battle came in at 24 in a battle between O2O and Uemon. In the Bloodbath of B-R5RB there was a whopping 75 titans that were destroyed, 59 of which belonged to N3/PL. The total economic impact came in to 11 trillion ISK, which is equated to somewhere between $300,000 and $330,000 in real money.
To commemorate the battle, CCP has placed a memorial where the battle took place called Titanomachy. Now husks of titans float through space with a beacon that sits among the wreckage imploring players to stop for a moment and ponder their own impending deaths.
5. The player-base is older than other competitive online games
Unlike many other online games, Eve Online is a game that requires patience, plotting, and a good bit of elbow grease just to get started. Often referred to as graphical upgrade to Microsoft Excel, it’s no understatement that there is a lot of data being thrown at you at any given moment and you have to meaningfully interpret it and understand what that data means to yourself and those around you. It should be no surprise then that Eve Online is, on average, more appealing to an older demographic than many other major online games.
According to a video posted to the official Eve Online YouTube page, the average age of players is around 32 years old, which is stunning when compared to its competition. World of Warcraft comes in at around 28 years old, Guild Wars 2’s player base primarily being between the ages of 18-25, League of Legends players primarily being between 17 and 18 years old, and CS: GO players being on average 19 years old.
6. You have to make your own fun
One of the most divisive aspects of Eve is that the game is a three dimensional sandbox. In Eve you are responsible for your own fun, something most games don’t trust players with. This is a game oriented around player interaction in a single universe where every player has an equal chance to interact with one another. It’s your job to forge your fate and decide what type of player you want to be. You could spend your time hunting defenseless miners and run from bounty hunters, join a corporation and become part of a well-oiled (or rusty) machine, explore the cosmos in a smaller speedy ship, create your own corporation, or try and make the next Ponzi scheme. The universe is your oyster.
Or if you’re feeling particularly sociopathic, you can collect the corpses of your enemies and create a Borg Cube out of them.
Enjoying EVE Online as a spectator sport is always an option and if you want to learn about the history, there is always A History of the Great Empires of Eve Online, a history book written about the players of Eve Online which was funded for $95,000 USD, coming in at 765 percent of its goal. The book will be released in May.