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Eve Online: when 3000 players collide

How one player's mistake sparked all-out war.

"Ooh we've got multiplayer battles for 64 people versus 64." Shut up. In Eve Online, one does it by the thousands.

The latest mega-battle, The Battle of Asakai, involved more than 3000 players. Try deciphering some of the screenshots; the battle resembled some great universe-spanning spider web with, um, metal flies.

The Battle of Asakai also involved multiple Titan and Supercarrier kills, which, I'm informed, is almost unheard of in Eve.

The reason for the battle? Two of the game's biggest Coalitions (groups of Eve Alliances, themselves groups of Eve Corporations) - the ClusterF*** Coalition and the HoneyBadger Coalition - finally came to blows.

Time for a bit of history. The ClusterF*** Coalition is led by the Goonswarm Federation Alliance and its leader The Mittani - and you've heard his name before. The Goons, as they're affectionately known, originated from the Something Awful forums.

The HoneyBadger Coalition is led by Test Alliance and their leader Montolio. Test was born out of Reddit.

Test was once a part of the ClusterF*** Coalition; they were friends. But in 2012, Test wanted out of the shadows and into its own limelight, and so the HoneyBadger Coalition was formed in a different part of Eve's universe.

The HoneyBadger Coalition was very successful and soon joined the ClusterF*** Coalition as one of the biggest entities in Eve. Both apparently count roughly 20,000 players.

Perhaps inevitably, tension between the game's two superpowers began to rise. Montolio and The Mittani fell out personally, and Montlio responded by wanting all out war, but was talked down by Shadoo, leader of Pandemic - the main PVP Alliance within the HoneyBadger Coalition (do keep up). Montolio then stood down/went on holiday.

"I concede," wrote Montolio at the time.

"Shadoo has talked me off of the ledge, I have released the hostage and dropped my knife. After discussing this with other HBC leaders a reset and expanded NIP / OTEC agreement is the best path forward. It isn't what I want, but it is what you want.

"I want war. I want gigantic f***ing battles. I want to crash nodes because people are so f***ing interested in this sh**ty game."

The two main Alliances - Test and Goonswarm - within the two hulking Coalitions - ClusterF*** and HoneyBadger - reset their standings with each other, making them neutral rather than friendly and effectively putting them on the precipice of war.

What triggered the war was a mistake, a human error. A man in charge of a Titan, Eve's biggest class of ship and rarely ever used in direct combat, accidentally jumped/warped to a system it was supposed to be bridging - warping other ships - to.

The eyes of the locals in that system popped at the sight of an undefended Titan. They bat-phoned Pandemic Legion, a major PVP Alliance within the HoneyBadger Coalition, to destroy the Titan.

The Titan was owned by Goonswarm Fleet Commander Dabigredboat. He called in backup from Goonswarm and the Clusterf*** Coalition. Then Test and the rest of the HoneyBadger Coalition got involved.

Then the bat phone rang off the hook, with both Coalitions calling all members to log in to the game and bloody well help.

When the anti-matter settled, ClusterF*** Coalition had lost 44 Dreadnoughts, 29 Carriers, five Supercarriers and three Titans. The HoneyBadger Coalition lost six Dreadnoughts, 11 Carriers and one Supercarrier.

In ISK terms - the game's currency - Clusterf*** Coalition lost 650 billion ISK, and HoneyBadger Coalition 67 billion ISK.

It was, in HoneyBadger Coalition's favour - and as The Mittani himself admitted - "a complete rout".

There were 262 Alliances involved, 715 Corporations and 3161 players, according to Eve-Kill.

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Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Associate Editor

Bertie is a synonym for Eurogamer. Writes, podcasts, looks after the Supporter Programme. Talks a lot.