UPDATE 30/1 12PM: Eve Online maker CCP is going to build an in-game monument to remember the record-breaking battle of B-R5RB, which happened earlier this week.
"So moved were we that we simply had to start work on an in-game monument," CCP said in a statement.
CCP calculated that more than 7500 people participated in the battle, with more than 2670 players in the same solar system at the same time. The damage bill totalled 11tn ISK, equating to around $300k-$330k in real money.
There's a full and in-depth analysis by CCP on the Eve Online website. But, more importantly, there's also a video recorded by a neutral third party during the battle, and it blows my mind.
ORIGINAL STORY 28/1 4PM: Roughly this time yesterday afternoon, someone in Eve Online missed a rent payment and triggered the biggest battle the game has ever seen.
Ownership of a key strategical solar system lapsed, old enemies noticed, and all hell broke loose.
It was the old guard, the big players, who fought, and did so in their colossal titan spaceships - the biggest and best Eve offers. To build one takes several weeks and costs billions of ISK - the equivalent of $3000 or more in real money.
In yesterday's battle, more than 75 titans were destroyed. One ship was worth 222bn ISK, or $5500.
More than 2200 players were involved.
In a statement given to Eurogamer, Eve Online spokesperson Ned Coker said:
"This sort of conflict is what science fiction warned us about"
"This sort of conflict is what science fiction warned us about*: a massive space conflict made of thousands of people around the globe fighting in pitched battle for hours in desperate attempts to destroy each other while tens of thousands of people watch on from afar because the outcome truly means something to them.
"It dwarfs any other online PVP fight in terms of scale and sheer destruction. And while it was only one battle of a month's long war that's raged across the universe, it was as bloody as can be and oh so satisfying, even to some degree to the losing side.
"These 'butterfly effect' moments are why we make the game the way we do - where actions of players drive the experience from a humble, initial unpaid sovereignty bill through the frenzied first assault, upon waves of propaganda, beneath the burning touch of doomsday weapons, under marathon fleet commanding and back out again to a starfield littered with wrecks.
"It's a good day to be an Eve player, or to take that first step from peeking in from the outside to undocking your first ship."
This is what yesterday's battle looked like:
The battle just so happened to erupt on the one year anniversary of the Battle of Asakai. It had been brewing ever since a war broke out at Halloween.
When major player Pandemic Legion fudged the aforementioned rent payment, it stood to lose the system it had been fighting much of the war from. A combined force of Clusterf*** Coalition (CFC) and Russian players tried to take it, and Pandemic Legion - and the rest of the N3 coalition - responded by force.
Once the dust and particles had settled, however, it was Clusterf*** Coalition that had won, taking control of the B-R5RB system and inflicting heavy losses on its enemy.
The final tally is 59 dead titans for PL/N3, and 16 dead titans for CFC/RUS.
The knock-on effect will be fluctuations to the economy as both sides attempt to rebuild after the battle.
Despite there being heavy losses, apparently both sides were gracious either in victory or defeat. It had something of the aftermath of a big party, someone involved in the game told me.