The largest online battle in the history of the internet, designated B-R5B, has cost players of the popular EVE Online series more than US$200,000 in real money.
The game, developed by Icelandic games company CCP Games, has for the last 10 years been developing the massive multiplayer online (MMO) game into something that has arguably become a free-standing society where trade, economics, politics and, of course war, are conducted on a daily basis.
EVE Online players can then pay real-world currency to buy and trade in in-game currency called InterStellar Kredit (ISK). The game even has its own dedicated economist to maintain a fully functional economy, as well as a news site with the latest goings-on in the universe.
Since its establishment, the game has amassed the numbers of a small nation, having reached the milestone of 500,000 unique subscribers to the game last year.
Now, however, just like in real life, nations and factions within the game challenge each other for dominance, which in many cases leads to war.
The war to end all wars
B-R5B, however, was less like a Call of Duty battle and more like World War II.
According to IGN, the in-game factions were thrown into battle stations after one faction, the N3 Alliance, failed to meet payments on a territory they were leasing following an event known as ‘The Halloween War’, which sent other factions into something akin to ‘the scramble for Africa’ during colonial times, all competing for rights to the territory with the CFC and Russian Coalition currently in possession.
The scale of EVE Online battles are like nowhere else on the internet
Involving more than 2,200 players and the destruction of at least 70 ships, some US$200,000 has been lost with the destruction of ships that people have put thousands of dollars and hours of gameplay into.
The full extent of the damage is still to be calculated as CCP struggles to cope with one of the busiest and server-intensive events in its history.
Speaking about the battle, EVE Online’s spokesperson Ned Coker said: “I’d be lying if I said our servers weren’t sweating a bit. Allowing players free movement wherever they want in a game with over half a million players means for some pretty tricky technological requirements.”