The era of mega-battles in Eve Online - the B-R5RBs - may be over. They were great press but they were also ultimately bad for the game.

That's according to developer CCP, whose upcoming game-release Phoebe, due 4th November, will make the likelihood of them reoccurring almost non-existent.

Phoebe is being hailed by CCP as the bringer of a new era for nullsec (no security - no police) space - the place the most interesting Eve Online gameplay happens. (You can read about the full Phoebe changes here.)

The mega-battles happened because players could get from one end of the Eve Online universe to the other in a matter of minutes. When a mistake was made, an entire coalition (a group of alliances which in turn are groups of corporations - guilds) could pounce.

The game's biggest spaceships - capitals - could jump multiple light years to different star systems across the galaxy, hopping their way to the fray.

So it was that back-up was never far away.

But this led to a kind of Cold War between the game's player super-powers, as The Mittani, a leader of one of those super-powers, observed earlier this year. (He also published a new piece, moments ago, likening the pre-Phoebe galactic reshuffle to musical chairs.) A conflict or battle was never about who was in the immediate vicinity, it would be about which super-power the people in the vicinity belonged to.

The iconic battle of B-R5RB.

As CCP noted in a post announcing Phoebe's changes, "Nullsec is stagnant and needs a change. Big fights are cool, but they're crowding out more accessible and more frequent smaller ones."

CCP Greyscale added (in a video): "We want to make it more viable for more smaller sub-capital and even capital engagements to happen without the threat of the entire universe showing up."

Cue Phoebe and its various restrictions to jumping, which makes getting from one end of Eve Online's universe to the other a more time-consuming business now. Suddenly jumping your army to a distant battle isn't possible.

That means super-powers won't be able to police the whole of space any more. They'll have to pick territory that they can realistically manage within the new rules. This means smaller battles can happen, and that smaller groups can carve out pieces of space for themselves.

In other words, it could lead to the decentralisation of player (PVP) power in Eve Online, and the break-up of the huge power-blocs that control it now.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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