In the ten years since the release of EVE Online, the game has developed a reputation as the MMO where anything is possible. The incredible freedom EVE gives its players has allowed an incredible metagame to emerge, heralding previously unheard-of levels of player interaction. Everybody who plays EVE has that one story--the incident that got them hooked--but some of the events over the past 10 years have proved so incredible in scope and ambition that it’s hard to imagine them occurring in another MMO. There are too many amazing moments to highlight them all, but here are some of our favorites to inspire you as EVE Online enters its second decade.
The Fall of BoB
By 2009, the Great War had been raging across New Eden for more than two years. It began with Band of Brothers (hereafter known as BoB) battering a GoonSwarm still fresh out of Something Awful, but the Goons scrabbled their way into the ranks of New Eden’s elite. BoB, meanwhile, had built up powerful defenses around their home systems in the Delve Region, from which they could impose their military might on EVE’s player base. Neither side was able to decisively defeat the other on the battlefield, and it seemed as though the Great War would last forever. It didn’t.
Early in 2009, a high-ranking officer of BoB contacted GoonSwarm members suggesting he wanted to defect. In spying on the Goons, the officer--Haargoth Agamar--had realized that he actually preferred GoonSwarm’s ribald ways, so he opened a communications line to the head of Goon intelligence: The_Mittani. Naturally suspicious of Agamar--a full director defecting seemed too good to be believed--The_Mittani demanded Agamar give him access to BoBs forums. When Agamar complied without hesitation, The_Mittani quickly grasped the implications of Agamar’s defection, and set about the destruction of GoonSwarm’s nemesis.
Though The_Mittani was able to steal an entire BoB capital fleet, hundreds of smaller ships, and trillions of ISK (EVE Online’s in-game currency) for GoonSwarm, The_Mittani had still greater plans for BoB. Under The_Mittani’s instructions, Agamar disbanded the Band of Brothers alliance then destroyed its territory holding division Tin Foil. With the dissolution of Tin Foil, all the territory that BoB had possessed became unclaimed, undefended space free for the taking. And take the Goons did, but not before adding insult to injury: GoonSwarm even stole the name “Band of Brothers,” meaning that even if BoB were to reform it would have to change names. Robbed of its treasury, many of its ships, its home systems, and even its name, BoB was unable to mount any significant resistance. The Great War was over.
The Mara Gatecamp
The first weeks after EVE Online’s release might be seen as a “Belle Epoque” for players uninterested in Player vs. Player combat. Pirates existed, but they lacked the organization and ISK to operate on any large scale. Protected by CONCORD, miners and traders could eke out their living in relative peace. Then m0o began camping the entry portals--known as “jumpgates”--in the central Mara system, and nothing was ever the same again.
M0o was created by a group of Counterstrike-hardened power-gamers. As you might expect from players with such a background m0o’s members were experts at analyzing EVE’s complicated ship fitting systems for potential imbalances and then exploiting those imbalances to the limit. Piloting large, powerful cruisers at a time when most players were still flying small frigates, m0o began camping jumpgates in Mara in early June 2003, claiming more than 200 kills on the first day alone. Players holed up and waited for the camp to end--except m0o never left. Hours turned into days, and days turned into weeks--but the camp continued.
At first players tried to run the blockade. They failed. Then they tried organizing into large fleets to force m0o out of Mara. They failed. As players flooded to EVE’s forums to complain, the camp became such an incredible strain on EVE’s economy that the developers intervened. CCP employees shooed m0o away with a powerful fleet of CONCORD battleships, even destroying their leader. Once the CCP battleships left, the camp resumed as though nothing had happened. In another instance of developer intervention, the Mara Gatecamp was temporarily broken when m0o ships were instantly teleported by CCP to far-flung corners of New Eden.
In the end, the Mara Gatecamp was never broken--m0o simply decided to do move on. CCP quickly took steps to ensure that such a critical system could never camped again. Jumpgates are now protected by powerful sentry guns. Ship components were rebalanced, and CCP changed jumpgates so that players are immune to damage upon arriving in a new system. What m0o did in 2003 is almost--but not quite--impossible in the modern game. M0o’s epic gatecamp changed the game.
The Great Betrayal
Early in the evening of July 8, 2013, pilots in the mercenary corporation Pandemic Legion (PL) began organizing a fleet for what they thought would be a routine operation. Their targets: a pair of carriers--large, expensive capital ships. The plan was essentially a drive-by shooting: jump in, destroy the carriers, and jump out before any reinforcements could arrive. To quickly destroy the carriers, PL planned on bringing overwhelming force force to bear in the form of 13 supercarriers. While most of the Pandemic Legion pilots chose to fly standard Aeons and Nyxes, TSID decided to take his incredibly rare Revenant--one of only three in all of New Eden--out of mothballs for the occasion.
What neither TSID nor any of the other Pandemic Legion pilots knew was that the targeted carriers were not as vulnerable as they appeared. They were bait. Unhappy with how PL treated its members, a player named BandWidthh, unhappy with his time in PL, had helped arrange a massive trap--a trap the PL fleet walked straight into.
As soon as the PL supercarriers arrived, nearly 100 hostiles dropped on them. Hailing mainly from Black Legion--PL’s rival at top of the mercenary food chain--the enemy fleet quickly trapped PL in place and destroyed their supercarriers. Of the 13 ships to enter the trap, only 3 made it out. TSID’s Revenant was not one of the lucky few.
The destruction of the valuable Revenant resounded through New Eden, and even made its way onto general-interest news sites like yahoo.com, just a week after the immense Battle of 6VDT-H smashed the record for most players in a player vs. player battle (over 4,000 ships engaged, with over 2,900 ultimately destroyed).
The Great Heist
Over the past decade, EVE Online has developed a reputation as a playground for clever gamers--but not always honest ones. Scamming is a regular pastime in EVE, and if you don’t keep your wits about you you may find your ISK in someone else’s wallet. Don’t feel too bad, though-- even seasoned “bittervets” fall prey from time to time. Most scams are simple smash and grab affairs, but every so often we get to hear about a scam so intricate, so perfectly executed, that it reverberates through EVE for years afterwards. Of this select few, the Guiding Hand Social Club’s (GHSC) destruction of the Ubiqua Seraph corporation stands alone.
The objective was simple: An anonymous client wanted the frozen corpse of Ubiqua Seraph’s CEO Mirial. The prize was one billion ISK--a hefty sum in 2005. Nobody knows who the client was, or why they put so dear a price on Mirial’s head--not that GHSC cared about reasons. They cared about results. And so began GHSC’s eight-month infiltration of Ubiqua Seraph’s every level.
The key was Arenis Xemdal. He was the player who made the heist possible by working his way into the Ubiqua Seraph’s upper echelons. It was Xemdal who proposed Mirial bring her valuable Navy Issue Apocalypse (much less common in 2005) out of its hangar. And it was Xemdal who destroyed both Mirial’s Apocalypse and her pod, gathering her frozen corpse for GHSC’s client.
Xemdal was the key, but he was not the only GHSC operative. GHSC had, in fact, infiltrated Ubiqua Seraph at nearly every level. Even as Xemdal was collecting Mirial’s corpse, virtually every Ubiqua Seraph station was simultaneously robbed in a ballet of choreographed theft. In a press release following the heist, GHSC crowed about stealing more than 30 billion ISK in assets and cash. GHSC’s leader described the operation as “staring at Fort Knox with the key in our hands.”
Guiding Hand Social Club’s incredible heist remains one of the most impressive scams in the history of New Eden. There have been bigger scams--Phaser Inc.’s simple Ponzi scheme reaped more than 1 trillion ISK from feckless capsuleers--but nothing like this had been attempted in 2005. When PC Gamer’s UK edition publicized the incident in September 2005, new players flocked to EVE to see what mischief they could wreak.
The Battle of Asakai
EVE Online is renowned for the scale of it’s PvP battles. Tensions between huge nullsec alliances organically generate massive battles like Asakai. Members of the ClusterFuck Coalition (CFC) remember it as a black day.. Everybody else remembers it as the best chance to kill CFC’s enormous capital fleet. More than 2,700 pilots found their way into Asakai. What’s most incredible is that Asakai--one of the largest battles in EVE’s history--was sparked off by a simple misclick!
Though it would eventually grow to a showdown between galaxy-spanning coalitions, the Battle of Asakai began as little more than a regional skirmish. A small pirate alliance named Drunk ‘n Disorderly attacked the Liandri Covenant. Knowing the Liandri had contacts within the CFC, Drunk ‘n Disorderly put out diplomatic feelers to a powerful mercenary faction: Pandemic Legion. PL agreed to wait on standby in case CFC capital ships dropped on to the fight.
Shortly after Drunk ‘n Disorderly began the engagement, CFC ships began appearing in Asakai, as expected. The sudden appearance of a Titan-class ship on the battlefield, however, was completely unexpected. Immense and heavily armed, Titans are the biggest ships in EVE: effective force projectors but they’re vulnerable in lowsec systems like Asakai. The only reason DaBigRedBoat (universally shortened to DBRB) appeared was because of pilot error: While intending to “bridge” or transport a fleet of smaller ships into the battle, DBRB accidentally clicked “jump” instead, sending his Titan into the Asakai system and the EVE history books.
Quickly realizing the error, Pandemic Legion set to work destroying DBRB’s stranded Titan. What they didn’t know--what no non-CFC pilot knew--was that DBRB had backup. Lots of it. A few moments after landing in Asakai, DBRB had called in a huge force of CFC capital ships. With that, the battle was on. Every major alliance in New Eden flocked to Asakai for the chance to get a piece of the action.
The Battle did not go the CFC’s way. By the time the CFC managed to extract itself from the fight, it had lost billions of ISK in ships. The CFC suffered almost 90% of all losses at Asakai. Notable among the CFC’s casualties were 44 Dreadnoughts and 3 Titans. With pitched capital-ship battles becoming increasingly rare in EVE, it was incredible to see so many capital ships destroyed in a single afternoon.
Topping out just north of 2,700 pilots, Asakai was only the third largest battle in the history of EVE Online. Asakai was originally second to the Battle of LXQ2-T, but that record has since been smashed by 6VDT-H. Yet despite being smaller, Asakai is perhaps the most interesting. Unlike the other two large conflicts, Asakai was not part of a major war. It was not a pitched battle, with plans laid out ahead of time. Rather, it was the sudden result of simple human error, and predatory glee.
In early 2004, members of the PvP-focused alliance Zombies, Inc. decided they wanted to have a bit of a rampage. Their goal: Besiege Yulai--New Eden’s central trade hub at the time--and escape with their ships intact.
This might not seem like so ambitious until you realize that all high-security (hisec) systems--Yulai included--are protected by the ever-watchful eyes of CONCORD. EVE lore describes CONCORD as a sort of galactic police force, but you can think of CONCORD as a game mechanic for discouraging ganking. The idea is simple--if you attack any player, NPC, station or installation, CONCORD will warp in and destroy your ship. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.
In planning their assault on Yulai, Zombies, Inc. had discovered a key flaw in the way CONCORD was designed: Players healing a criminal were not attacked by CONCORD themselves. So with enough healers and a solid HP buffer, a single player could maintain CONCORD aggro without any damage going to his support fleet. Zombies, Inc. were not the first to discover the bug--it was actually fairly well known--but they were the first to exploit it on a large scale.
So on March 3, 2004, Zombies, Inc. went into action. The “Killer” piloted a smartbomb-equipped Apocalypse, supported and healed by several other battleships. The plan was, for all intents and purposes, a simple gatecamp. Ships jumping into Yulai were bombed on arrival. Smart bombs--one of the few area-of-effect weapons in EVE online--deal enough damage to instantly destroy most frigates, so smaller ships were often destroyed before their owner’s game client had even loaded the system. When attacked by CONCORD, the Killer simply turned his bombs on the police ships while his wingmates healed any damage he received. Realizing what was happening, CCP officially ordered the Zombie pilots to stop, or face the consequences, but Zombies, Inc. ignored CCP’s warnings, destroying several more player and CONCORD ships before the dust settled.
In the aftermath of what quickly became known as the “Yulai Incident” or the “Yulai Massacre,” players flocked to the forums to applaud or condemn Zombies, Inc. As a consequence of their actions--and of ignoring CCPs direct warning--the Killer and all his support pilots were banned from EVE Online. While the exact number of destroyed ships is impossible to say, an official statement by CCP describes the destruction of “over 100 people.” Because CCP considered the tactics Zombies, Inc. used to be an exploit, every victim had their ship restored to them.
To prevent another Yulai Incident, CCP introduced a raft of changes to CONCORD. First, pilots healing or supporting a ship under attack by CONCORD will themselves be flagged as criminals. Second, CONCORD ships got such a massive buff that most players consider CONCORD ships unkillable. Third, CONCORD ships now have the ability to instantly destroy criminal ships, regardless of their current health--tanking CONCORD is impossible. Lastly, CCP clarified and reiterated its stance that any attempt to evade or escape CONCORD would be seen as an exploit and the responsible player would receive a ban.
The Yulai Incident is still brought up whenever a fresh-faced noob asks older players why players don’t attack CONCORD more often. What’s even more amazing? This is one of the few older major incidents of which we have video. In the nine years since, the Yulai Incident has entered the canon of player lore--one of the key incidents that helped shape EVE into the game it is today.
Over the course of the past decade, EVE Online’s players have accomplished more amazing feats than could ever be contained in one article--the past decade has seen massive battles and incredible scams. The only question remaining, then, is this: how will you change New Eden?
The article you just read was sponsored and paid for by CCP Games.