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Largest Ever EVE Online MMO Battle Breaks out Over Unpaid Virtual Space-Rent

Space is dangerous. On Earth, I just get angry phone calls when I forget my rent.


Man, outer space is dangerous—even in video games. A giant, record breaking player vs. player war broke out in the MMO game EVE Online yesterday, because someone basically forgot to pay rent on their space station. Yeah, well, some of us can’t even afford a space station to fight over, especially when it reportedly costs the equivalent of $300,000 in battle damage.

The whole thing started over someone in the game’s Pandemic and N3 coalitions missed a payment for protection of an area of space they use for their fleets. Apparently, when you miss a protection payment to EVE‘s virtual space-mafia (or a space-banker. I’m admittedly fuzzy on the details), your opposing forces, the in-game coalition CFC in this case, will swoop in to blow up all your stuff.

That’s just what happened yesterday morning, and as a result, the largest battle in the game’s ten year history broke out. Reports have varied on exact numbers, but at least 2,200 and possibly as many as 4,000 players showed up to battle for control of the star system where the fight originated. In-game currency losses racked up into the trillions as massive starships were destroyed, which reportedly totals about $300,000 in real-world currency.

I’m unclear on the how the conversion rate between online multiplayer space-money (ISK in EVE) and real money works, but players surely lost a lot of time and effort as the virtual fleets they spent so much time building were destroyed. I just hope no one spent any actual money on the in-game assets, but if players used services to buy game items with real money, that unpaid virtual rent could have real world consequences.

Of course, what’s the point in building a giant virtual fleet if you’re not going to use it in battle? As Pandemic and N3 member James Carl put it when talking to, “Whatever happens, we’ll keep going. EVE is a universe full of grudges and constantly changing politics. If we were to lose, we’ll rebuild. Then, we’ll go back and start another war.”

(via Polygon, image via EVE Online)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.