CCP Games has given its blessing to a player-driven attempt to destroy the Eve Online economy.
Controversial former Council of Stellar Management boss Alexander "The Mittani" Gianturco - who CCP recently banned for encouraging the community to grief a suicidal player during the recent FanFest event - tomorrow leads an assault on the centre of the in-game economy, called the Jita trade hub.
The "Burn Jita" action, which has been in the works for months, was scheduled to begin tomorrow - the day The Mittani's 30 day Eve Online ban ends. But reports indicate it has already begun, with some 14,000 Thrasher ships preparing all out war on the region.
Some players are worried the game will be ruined by The Mittani's Goonswarm alliance, but CCP promised not to interfere.
"I tell you what, it's going to be f***ing brilliant," Jon Lander, senior producer of Eve Online, told Eurogamer this morning. "Absolutely brilliant.
"There was one bug [the 'bookmark escaping agro bug'] in the game that meant that if they do the things they're going to do, they could have escaped the in-game consequences. So we fixed that bug about three weeks ago. And they went, okay.
"They're going to do exactly what you're able to do in the game, and people will have to roll with it. It'll be great.
"Last night I got an email - Jita was at 2100. Time dilation kicked in at 15 per cent. And there were people just watching the sh*t that was going down. It was brilliant. It was absolutely great."
Lead game designer Kristoffer Touborg insisted that player-driven events such as Burn Jita are what make Eve Online stand out from other games, and that it's CCP's duty to sit back and watch.
Do you want to play a 15 minute match of Call of Duty that you won't remember the next day, or do you want to spend four months manufacturing 14,000 Thrashers to do this? It's just so big and awesome - lead game designer Kristoffer Touborg.
"It's what makes Eve a really good game," he said. "Do you want to play a 15 minute match of Call of Duty that you won't remember the next day, or do you want to spend four months manufacturing 14,000 Thrashers to do this? It's just so big and awesome."
Lander added: "We want people to be able to do this. If Goonswarm want to do it, we want them to do it and we want them to have a great time doing it.
"The worst thing we could do is to stop it happening. It would be appalling for the game. It would be against everything we stand for."
According to Touborg, the attempt to destroy the game's economy may even prove beneficial in the long run. "The people they're going to hurt now are people who have quite a lot of security," he said. "There's not a lot of turnaround on ships and goods in Empire. I think it might be healthy if we lose a lot of this industrial power, if they have to go back and save up for their ships again and be a part of the cycle of life everyone else is a part of.
"I don't like complete security, and I do like when a large group of players who live in complete security have that pulled away temporarily. It's going to be healthy."
Whatever happens, increased activity in the Jita area is guaranteed - and CCP has prepared for it by switching servers around. "The great thing was we had some fair warning," Lander said. "We've got some seriously grown up server kit. Where we know there's going to be some really big, epic stuff happening, we can put it on this kit.
"We've said, okay, stick Jita on the big, scary server, and put all the surrounding systems on these other servers."