The Great Eve War

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MMOStories

12 October 2010

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Since its original incarnation EVE Online has had two very different sides to it.  Firstly there are the core systems - safe zones policed by the game and designed to be a nice cuddly place for new and meek minded players alike. The remaining regions – called 0.0 space – are a wild frontier, completely unregulated but also containing the most valuable resources on offer.

In the early days of the game 0.0 space was controlled by a few large alliances. Over time however these alliances fragmented in to smaller and smaller groups. Random assortments of marauders, miners, pirates mercenaries patrolled around, fighting tit-for-tat battles and scrabbling over small parts of the overall game map.

But then as the player base matured a sea change occurred.  Corporations got more organised and formed more structured alliances, and these alliances then pushed out in to 0.0 and started claiming vast sectors of it permanently for themselves.  As more and more Alliances did this all the available room was eventually taken up, friction started to build as rival factions tussled over the last remaining unclaimed territories. Something had to give, and eventually it did… the result was all out war!

The kindling for the war was one particular alliance – Band of Brothers.  Widely accepted as the most successful and formidable force in the game at the time, BoB were a highly organised military machine.  Their ethos was one of aggressive conquest, constantly expanding their space by destroying neighbouring alliances and then renting it out to client alliances or exploiting it themselves. 

In a way they were a victim of their own success – for a time no one was strong enough to oppose them but with each new conquest they were gaining more enemies and at the same time stretching themselves thinner.  Eventually enough dissenters were out there to provide BoB with some serious opposition.

On BoB’s southern borders a turf war was playing out in a region of space called catch.  Several alliances were involved and it was a long, drawn out fight.  But a side effect from this campaign was the formation of a mega alliance – the Red Swarm Federation.  They were originally formed purely with victory in catch in mind, but in achieving this they found themselves stacked up against BoB’s southern frontier with a huge fleet of battle hardened units. 

The two principle alliances in the federation (Red Alliance and Goonswarm) had both had their asses kicked by BoB on previous occasions, so I guess it’s not surprising that they went on the offensive.

Initially BoB was able to repulse these attacks and a stalemate developed, elsewhere though another front had opened.  Another mega-alliance had formed along their northern frontiers with the same aim of gobbling up all BoB’s territory and give them a kicking at the same time. BoB swiftly dispatched a fleet of mercenaries to meet the threat, and indeed they managed to destroy and seize most of their enemy’s positions but the pattern had been set.

Eventually BoB’s northern foes regrouped and pressed the attack again.  This time their foes were not the mercenaries of the previous campaign, but instead much weaker client alliances who had been installed to exploit the region’s resources. 

In the meantime the cold war in the south had hotted up.  BoB’s forces were fighting a bitter struggle against RSF and its allies and losing ground. Thanks to a series of betrayals and the general attrition of battle they ended up losing several sectors to other alliances.

This combined with the northern front meant that BoB no longer had the resources to defend its remaining empire.  So it abandoned the lot and retreated to its core systems.  In its own back yard it had formidable defences – enough to repulse any further attacks, but to all intents and purposes its empire was effectively finished for ever. This effectively signalled the end of the war.  Whilst BOB is still fighting for its life to this day, the factions that had united against it have largely drifted off to fight other battles.

However a seismic shift in EVE had occurred:  During those months of all out fighting the landscape of eve was redrawn in a way that has not happened before or since.  

Also the sheer scale of events is unrivalled.  Thousands of players had fought countless battles in an all-out conflict with all the complexity of a real war.  And it was all completely unscripted! All of the alliances, factions, campaigns and strategies in this war were entirely created by EVE’s player community; the developers had merely provided the backdrop and then stood back and watched it all happen. It’s a testament to EVE and MMOs in general, where else could something as vast, complex and awesome as an entire war break out in a game?

As a final note this is just a quick summary: describing the events of the war in any detail here is practically impossible.  It’s like trying to sum up the entire Second World War in 1000 words or less.  If you’re interested in finding out more there’s an excellent account of events here: http://www.totalpcgaming.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=86

Also, a picture tells a thousand words - so here's an effing great big one charting BOB's  rise and fall over the years: http://dl.eve-files.com/media/0802/RiseFallBoB.JPG

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