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Largest-Yet EVE Online Battle Destroys $200,000 Worth of Starships 463

Posted by Soulskill
from the most-interesting-game-you-don't-want-to-play dept.
Space MMO EVE Online has been providing stories of corporate espionage and massive space battles for years. A battle began yesterday that's the biggest one in the game's 10-year history. The main battle itself involved over 2,200 players in a single star system (screenshot, animated picture). The groups on each side of the fight tried to restrict the numbers somewhat in order to maintain server stability, so the battle ended up sprawling across multiple other systems as well. Now, EVE allows players to buy a month of subscription time as an in-game item, which players can then use or trade. This allows a direct conversion from in-game currency to real money, and provides a benchmark for estimating the real-world value of in-game losses. Over 70 of the game's biggest and most expensive ships, the Titans, were destroyed. Individual Titans can be worth upwards of 200 billion ISK, which is worth around $5,000. Losses for the Titans alone for this massive battle are estimated at $200,000 - $300,000. Hundreds upon hundreds of other ships were destroyed as well. How did the battle start? Somebody didn't pay rent and lost control of their system.
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Largest-Yet EVE Online Battle Destroys $200,000 Worth of Starships

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  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:07PM (#46095023)

    The economy just deflated 300k.

    EVE online has slightly re-valued the dollar.

    Do it more!

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gr4nf (1348501) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:16PM (#46095101)
      While it's obvious that no actual money was lost (just transferred into EVE Online corporate pockets), I can't help but wonder whether or not wealth, in the economic sense, was destroyed. There was time put in to the construction of these ships and mining of the requisite minerals and such (real human capital). Of course, it's not a very concrete representation of that work since it is under the control of the sysadmins, but as long as they're consistent with the laws of their little universe, how different is it from the real destruction of real, valuable things?
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EvanED (569694) <evaned@nOspAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:18PM (#46095127)

        how different is it from the real destruction of real, valuable things?

        I'd argue it isn't, but I'd also point out that people destroy real, valuable things all the time for entertainment value. And participation in these EVE battles is pretty much that -- it's at least largely voluntary participation for entertainment value.

        • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

          by alexander_686 (957440) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:43PM (#46095387)

          Mod parent up.

          It is no more destructive to the economy then drinking a good bottle of wine. While things are destroyed, they are not economically productive assets. EVE is about consumer consumption of entertainment. People pay to play – it just that the recognition of payment is delayed until the destruction of your ship.

          Now, if they were an inflated asset that underpinned the credit market – that would be something different.

          • by Znork (31774)

            The difference being that wine bottles are scarce, while EVE assets are artificially scarce and could be replaced instantly without any labour or resources being consumed. If any 'real' economic damage is inflicted it's through artificial scarcity.

            Of course, as that scarcity is a significant factor in the entertainment value of EVE, and the 'labour' required actually being considered entertainment by some as well it's not as simple as saying it's 'damage' and arguments in favour of the function can't be rel

        • by unimacs (597299)
          I don't know enough about the game to say, but does the destruction of these ships slow down further economic activity either inside the game or in terms of real dollars spent?
          • No, quite the opposite in fact. The owners need to earn more to afford to buy or build replacements, and the producers of the replacement ships need to make more, which requires the production of more raw materials and components, on down the line.

            The destruction of ships is one of the major drivers of demand in the Eve economy.

            • by idontgno (624372)

              The destruction of ships is one of the major drivers of demand in the Eve economy.

              Wow. Someplace where the Glazier's Fallacy [wikipedia.org] isn't a fallacy. It figures it would be in the economy of an MMO.

              • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

                by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @07:45PM (#46095867) Homepage

                The destruction of ships is one of the major drivers of demand in the Eve economy.

                Wow. Someplace where the Glazier's Fallacy [wikipedia.org] isn't a fallacy. It figures it would be in the economy of an MMO.

                No, it's still a fallacy. However, the fallacy isn't in the idea that destruction drives demand for replacements. That's generally true. The fallacy is in the idea that the economic activity which results from the destruction will leave you better off than you were before. In fact, after all that activity you've only managed to get back what you lost, and in the process you've consumed resources which could have been used to better your position if you hadn't been forced to start over instead.

                In this case the $200,000 worth of virtual ships weren't destroyed in hope if improving the in-game economy, so the fallacy doesn't apply. They were consumed in the course of providing hours of entertainment for some 2,200 players. That's a bit pricey at $90 or more per player—and that's assuming every player was involved for the duration of the entire battle—but it's certainly not the most expensive way you could choose to entertain yourself for an entire day. Some people pay that much just to sit in a stadium and watch others play professional sports for a fraction of the time.

              • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

                by thaylin (555395) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @07:46PM (#46095871)
                The fallacy still exists. They could have used the money/time in game for other things, or to expand their holdings instead of rebuilding, they could have been larger. The only person who has a net benefit in this is the company that owns eve. In terms of the games economy there is a loss.
                • The fallacy still exists. They could have used the money/time in game for other things, or to expand their holdings instead of rebuilding, they could have been larger.

                  Not true. All of the space in Eve is claimed. Either by NPCs or player organizations. You can not "grow bigger" without taking something from someone else.

                  In short, the battle was about control of territory. The loss of ships on the winning side granted control of that territory. It is therefore, not a loss but a gain. The price was only the price of the lost ships. Granted, the people who lost, lost big, but even then the fallacy is not valid. They "spent" those ships in the hopes of having control of the

            • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

              by seanvaandering (604658) <sean.vaanderingNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @07:19PM (#46095699)
              Currently, as I am a miner, i've been watching this with interest - mineral prices are spiking in anticipation of the amount of minerals required to rebuild those ships. As of this writing, Tritanium is already worth 25% more in Jita IV (one of the major ports) from yesterdays ask prices.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pitchpipe (708843)

        how different is it from the real destruction of real, valuable things?

        Why are things valuable? Because humans value them. So if things were destroyed that humans value, wealth was destroyed.

        If humans didn't exist would anything have value?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Food, shelter, safety, and better mating rights have value to all living things. Humans have simply developed a system that doesn't require violence or a zero-sum predator-prey relationship to operate.

        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gnick (1211984) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:26PM (#46095233) Homepage

          Anything that people assign value to has value (e.g. it can be traded). The question is whether any actual wealth was destroyed or merely transferred.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            The act of destroying doesn't transfer wealth. If you buy a box of 100 rounds, did you destroy anything? No? Just transferred wealth? Yes. The same happened in Eve. The building of the ships and work to get the ISK to buy/build them was the transfer of wealth. Firing off 100 rounds at the range "destroys" the wealth. If you didn't fire them, you could sell them. After you fire them, they are worth less. If we call the brass worthless, then you have nothing left after use, and that would be the Eve
        • by geekoid (135745)

          You make the classic mistake of equating wealth and value.
          These are different things.

      • by erroneus (253617)

        What certainly happened is money went to EVE Online pockets. The wealth? Well, let's just say those microtransactions could have stayed where they were a bit longer. People are trading money for recreation. It begs the question, for me, as to how good or bad this actually is. I want to say it's bad, but I don't actually know how much time and other resources were wasted in any of this. There are all sorts of costs here for the users. It's not just their money. It's their time and their mental energi

      • by fatphil (181876)
        Is $200000 "lost" (using the same definition as the article) when 100000 people's mario characters get hit over the head by a barrel thrown by a giant kidnapping gorilla for the 20th time that evening?

        And that happened *every night* back in the 80s.

        You put money in, you play, then eventually, almost certainly, you lose. For some the losing is lots of small successive losses, for others it's the occasional big one. The nett result in the end is the same.
      • by buswolley (591500)
        hOW WILL THIS EFFECT PRICES.
      • by mysidia (191772)

        While it's obvious that no actual money was lost (just transferred into EVE Online corporate pockets)

        That already happened, when players paid for game time; which some of them may have traded for ISKs. They just hadn't realized the loss, until the destruction of the apparent in game thing they got; which is not a real-world thing.

        Some lost money today..... as for others..... welll... . I think you can imagine, that Eve the game might not necessarily last forever.

        Every ounce of time and energy spen

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Someone call the NFL and tell them they are soon to be history, when this is the sort of thing people get excited about, you know a bunch of sweaty, overpaid mugs ain't got a chance.

  • by lxs (131946) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:11PM (#46095051)

    Similar results without the distraction of all those tedious fake space battles.

    • by Thud457 (234763) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:24PM (#46095199) Homepage Journal
      and the spreadsheets involved are less complicated...
      • Spreadsheets. In a game. Man, sounds like it must be loads of fun.

        Is there any actual animation, or does this game boil down to a battle of mad Excel skillz?

        • by vux984 (928602)

          I quit playing in large part not because the game involved spreadsheets and analysis... but because the in game implementation of spreadsheets was horrifically unpleasant to use.

          If I'm going "play spreadsheet optimization problem" I'd like to use a modern version of Excel, not Visicalc with tiny white text on a blue background.

          A lot of stuff you can then turn around and export and actually use in excel... but then you are rapidly using stale data.

          That and idiotic ganking in 0.0 wasn't much fun to be on the

    • by Reapman (740286) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:25PM (#46095205)

      I dunno, for me if the stock market involved space battles I'd be a lot more interested.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Similar results without the distraction of all those tedious fake space battles.

      Exactly. It was the result of a behind the scenes battle to see who could get the closest to insolvency without flinching, which brought about the end of Lehman Brothers.

      And since the government just printed stacks and stacks of money to bail out the whole mess and put a splint on the economy, it's all pretty much the same virtual game.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:15PM (#46096761)

        And since the government just printed stacks and stacks of money to bail out the whole mess and put a splint on the economy, it's all pretty much the same virtual game.

        There's a small difference: When you fuck up in a game, nobody trusts you anymore. This guy has a lot to answer for, and chances are good he won't be in a leadership position much longer. Those losses are just gone, and only the people who followed him pay for it, nobody else.

        In real life, you can fuck up a lot and everyone else but you pays for it. Nobody's gonna pay this guy billions as a bonus for screwing up.

      • by onepoint (301486)

        you just might be right. if you read carefully about the server loads you will note that they prevented certain sides from entering into the system because of overload. interesting that EVE might have chosen a side.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:12PM (#46095071)

    This just in, vitually NOTHING was lost.

    yet another virtual FAIT currency, just like the dollar was lost. Nothing of real value was lost. News just in.

    • by Carewolf (581105)

      Nothing of real value was lost. News just in.

      That is not true, a lot of time was killed, or perhaps even brutally slaughtered.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170)

      This just in, vitually NOTHING was lost.

      yet another virtual FAIT currency, just like the dollar was lost. Nothing of real value was lost. News just in.

      People's time to build this fleets up was expended. I don't think of that as nothing, particularly after I took a long hard look at how much of my life I spent glued to MMO play, which only gave me a lot of stress and very little to hold onto (nothing, actually, aside some memories) when I left the game.

  • The rent... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:13PM (#46095073)

    was to damn high?

  • by Wulfrunner (1213776) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:14PM (#46095083)

    To manage the number of users involved in that battle, the system went into "Time Dilation". What that means in practice is that you queue an action, go make coffee, drink the coffee, then queue another action. Very cool in concept, but when a 30 "minutes" take 6 hours of real time to process, it looses its novelty fairly quickly.

    Let's say you own a Capital Ship and want to play EVE, so you commit to the fight. An hour later you have to go get groceries / make dinner for the family / go to the toilet. You are unlikely to be able to disengage, and so you can just log off and your ship gets destroyed instead. Not much fun.

    To me, the battle doesn't even look cool. The ships are all mashed on top of one another, pointing in random directions, and it's almost impossible for an observer to see what's actually going on. If I wanted to interest someone in EVE, I wouldn't show them a video of this battle, nor The Battle of Asakai. I would show them the Alliance Tournament XI (if anything).

    • by gr4nf (1348501) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:21PM (#46095165)

      To me, the battle doesn't even look cool. The ships are all mashed on top of one another, pointing in random directions, and it's almost impossible for an observer to see what's actually going on.

      As beings raised in a mostly 2 dimensional plane, it's natural for a truly 3-dimensional no-gravity-bias large-scale interaction to bewilder us. I think this might be one of the things EVE got right.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Wulfrunner (1213776)

        As beings raised in a mostly 2 dimensional plane,

        I have stairs in my house, don't know about you. :)

      • As beings raised in a mostly 2 dimensional plane,

        Uh... come again?

        • by DarkOx (621550)

          Now now, don't judge we don't know anything about his childhood.

      • by fatphil (181876)
        Close one eye.
        Look at the nearest wall you are close to the middle of.
        Now look at the corner of the ceiling at the left of that wall.
        Then follow the ceiling/wall interface to the right until you get to the top right corner of the wall.
        Now defocus and just try and take the whole into view. Move your head left and right if need be.

        What you will have seen is
        - the ceiling dips down to the left
        - the ceiling bulges up to the middle
        - the ceiling dips down to the right
        - yet the ceiling is straight, a contradiction
  • Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:16PM (#46095099)
    News about nerds.
  • by ausekilis (1513635) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:18PM (#46095129)
    5 girlfriends went to bed alone.
  • EVE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BobSwi (607571) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:20PM (#46095141)
    Always more fun to read about EVE than it was to play it.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Always more fun to read about EVE than it was to play it.

      Disney does this with movies. Did you see the Lone Ranger?

    • SO true! I signed up after that big battle headline from a year ago and quit 3 months later. EVE is an epicly huge and complex world that recreated all of the tedious boredom of real life. They should change the tagline to "Space: where more is less."

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:20PM (#46095143) Homepage
    I've never played Eve Online and have no intention of doing so. But I'm continually fascinated by how cool the space battles look. Essentially we have a computer game today where the unchoreographed battles look better than the space battles made using special effects from the late 1980s. That's an amazing testament to how far the technology has come.
    • by nemo (2417)

      So with the right setup, all the Babylon5 CGI could be re-done by mechanimation?

      (Google for "Babylon5 cgi lost" as to why redoing the Babylon5 CGI is in serious need)

  • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:20PM (#46095147) Homepage
    Yes, yes, but more importantly: how good of news is this for Bitcoin?
  • Looking at the picture [gfycat.com], it seems like there are two sides with their ships lined up shooting at each other. Is there any use of strategy in this battle, or is it all about who has the biggest army?
    • by notea42 (926633)
      There is a lot of strategy. However, since the battle happens in 3D and there's no real way to maintain formations, you tend to end up with these blobs of friendly ships and enemy ships. The strategy is in maintaining the proper range to friends and enemies. Weapons have different ranges and tracking speeds. Similarl, the repair ships (think healers) have limited range as well (roughly 50 km for the largest). In these big fights, a lot of the work is in choosing targets, trying to do enough damage to d
      • Re:Strategy? (Score:5, Informative)

        by joelleo (900926) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:50PM (#46095443)

        There is a LOT going on that isn't encompassed by just the grid where the main battle is being fought. There were swarms of interceptors in surrounding systems preventing reinforcements, there were blockade fleets at our staging systems for much the same reason, there were strategic positions set up all around the grid to enable friendlies to get in and out avoiding bubbles. Things happen in waves - when the CFC jumped in 12 carriers and EACH ONE lit a cyno I knew we were in for a ride...

        I was in the fight in a supercarrier and the sheer complexity and coordination necessary to make something like this happen is pretty astounding. We had 3 different alliances (NC., Pandemic Legion and Nulli + friends) in a "Wreckingball" fit for the main battle on our side - we had to be orbiting a certain way, aligned a certain way and within very certain ranges for all of it to work. Supers' Fighter Bombers had their own orders, dreads had separate orders, titans had their coordinated doomsdays + guns, archons and triage carriers all had their own parts to play as well as they could in the extreme tidi and this is before we even begin to talk about the support fleets for tackle, strategic warp-ins etc.

        Beyond the in-game coordination, the out of game coordination is incredibly complex as well. I was on two different voice comms, different chat systems and we were all receiving pings via Jabber. Gameplay on this level is hard to comprehend, but I wouldn't trade it even with the tidi lagfest. Eve Online 2014 - Children and the ADHD-afflicted need not apply =)

        • by vux984 (928602)

          All true.

          What kills it for me is that being realtime, events start to happen when they happen, not when I wish to play, and they do not stop when I wish to stop playing.

          As much as I LOVE the idea of planning and managing battles on that scale, EVE doesn't work for me because I won't live around playing EVE.

  • Destroyed as in vaporized, or destroyed as in lots of wreckage and parts and metal floating about, with armadas of salvage ships waiting on the outskirts to hoover it all up?

    .
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:36PM (#46095315)

    Everything in that story just about is wrong. Firstly, "Over 70 of the game's biggest and most expensive ships, the Titans, were destroyed. Individual Titans can be worth upwards of 200 billion ISK, which is worth around $5,000." ... They aren't actually worth that. Because the game offers the ability to exchange realworld money for a "plex" -- this valuation is almost twice what you'd pay for game time if you bought it straight up. In other words, it's the highest valuation possible. Realistically, it'd be worth less than half that.

    Secondly, the guy responsible, a 29 year old banker who was literally asleep when it all went down, insists that the virtual money was in the account and it was set to autopay. People close to this suggest the word for this is "bullshit", but it has been "petitioned" -- a claim by a player that the server screwed up. This isn't without precident, as the game is currently limping about with it standings system broken. Standings is basically Eve's IFF system. Right now, nobody in the game can tell friend from foe. Needless to say, it's a massive issue. So it's possible they farked up, but unlikely.

    There are allegations as well that CCP intentionally did this to drive up the price of PLEX (and in fact, just about every resource in the game)... which has happened. And CCP has colluded with players before to give valuable assets out -- and admitted to this.

    In short, while the cover story smells of stupidity, greed could also be in play.

    • by X.25 (255792) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @07:45PM (#46095865)

      Secondly, the guy responsible, a 29 year old banker who was literally asleep when it all went down, insists that the virtual money was in the account and it was set to autopay. People close to this suggest the word for this is "bullshit", but it has been "petitioned" -- a claim by a player that the server screwed up. This isn't without precident, as the game is currently limping about with it standings system broken. Standings is basically Eve's IFF system. Right now, nobody in the game can tell friend from foe. Needless to say, it's a massive issue. So it's possible they farked up, but unlikely.

      Standings issue is the screwup that occured after deployment of new update, yesterday,

      A day after the 'autopay' thing you are talking about.

      Stop talking nonsense and trying to rationalize, please. I understand that losing hurts, but don't be a silly liar.

    • by bug1 (96678)

      There are allegations as well that CCP intentionally did this to drive up the price of PLEX (and in fact, just about every resource in the game)... which has happened. And CCP has colluded with players before to give valuable assets out -- and admitted to this.

      Thats an almost slanderous claim, there was one case (5 years ago?) where one employee went "Rogue" and consipered with players for personal benefit, that event caused the company to create an internal investigation unit to make sure it doesnt happen again.

      The company involved goes to great lengths to ensure they dont interfere with the games economy without good cause. They have an economist to monitor the health of the economy, and a reserve bank for the rare occasion that the ingame value of PLEX varies

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@NosPaM.cornell.edu> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:36PM (#46095321) Homepage

    "Largest-Yet EVE Online Battle Destroys $200,000 in game time Worth of Starships"

    You can't purchase real life money for ISK. You can only purchase game time cards for ISK (or other ingame items).

    When someone buys PLEX for real life money and sells it for ISK ingame, they forget that intermediary step where CCP got the money, not the person who gave you the ISK.

  • by PPH (736903)

    Lets host all of the world's conflicts on EVE Online. In the real world, we can't even dent an M2 Bradley without running up a bigger bill than that.

  • by Patch86 (1465427) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @07:27AM (#46098613)

    I can't help but feel that this thread misses the interesting point of all this.

    EVE Online has just managed (just about) to have a multiplayer game with 2200 players all playing against each other in the same in-game instance. That is, 2200 players in the same arena, being run by a single interoperating server. That is an absolutely absurd technical feat. Has any other multiplayer game ever come ever remotely close to this?

    CCP have always been a fascinating one to watch in terms of their technical abilities. Arguably they've built one of the most advanced (in novel complexity terms) supercomputers in the world, certainly the most advanced in the entertainment industry. Both the hardware and the software of it, the load balancing and instance management, the ability to maintain uptime under unexpected loads, and the ability to maintain a playable state rather than submit to downtime in some of the worst conditions, is all extremely impressive.

    I haven't looked into the technical details of CCP's set up in many years- does anyone have any details they'd care to share?

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