EVE Online is well-known for some of the incredibly large-scale and costly battles waged over its 14-year history. From the destruction of a single ship worth $1,500 USD by pirates (as reported by PCGamesN) to a battle, known as The Bloodbath Of B-R5RB that claimed 576 Capital-class ships worth a combined total of over $300,000 (as reported by Wired) so significant that it has its own Wikipedia page.
But never before in EVE Online's history has a "fully operational and armed Keepstar" been destroyed.
As Polygon reports, the Keepstar - known to some, justifiably, as EVE Online's Death Star, was under siege for hours with over 5,700 players in-system at once, a statistic that EVE developer CCP Games has confirmed was the largest battle in EVE Online history. That also makes it, in all probability, the largest massively-multiplayer battle in world history, a milestone EVE Online has consistently set.
Yes, that's to scale. The Keepstar is massive enough to easily dock Titans, the largest Supercapital-class ships in EVE. At over 160 kilometers tall, 800,000 meters squared, it's bigger than 100 Empire State Buildings put together.
It's not just empty space, either. The Keepstar has teeth and then some, mounting eight heavy anti-Capital batteries alongside a devastating Doomsday cannon capable of destroying entire fleets in one blast.
The citadel's destruction marks the culmination of a months-long campaign against its owners, the Circle of Two (CO2) alliance. A coalition of mercenaries, corporations, and alliances headed by Pandemic Legion struck the final blow. Among the more notable members of the coalition forces were Northern Coalition, Mercenary Coalition, Darkness, Pandemic Horde, Waffles, ChaosTheory, inPanic, and more - including a special appearance by the Bombers Bar covert ops group, who dropped in under cloak and took out over 140 attacking ships simply because the opportunity presented itself.
The battle for the Keepstar, in M-OEE8, Tribute region, actually began a week earlier. The coalition forces faced off with CO2 and their allies, Test Alliance Please Ignore, in a ground-laying siege which stripped the armor from the Keepstar and left its hull vulnerable to attack. CO2 and TAPI ultimately failed to achieve their defensive goals, but they took a vicious toll on their opponents; all told, over 250 billion ISK (about $5,000 USD) was destroyed in the first battle for M-OEE8.
Keepstar citadels are only vulnerable to attack for 21 hours per week, and the allies were forced to withdraw - but the essential damage was already done. CO2 fleet commander "progodlegend" had already given the citadel up as lost, and CO2 did not show up to defend, which Pandemic Legion's "Killah Bee" said was disappointing.
"The Keepstar was dead the moment we lost our defensive posture over a month ago. The material cost is negligible, since both sides well outspent the cost of the Keepstar in the execution of this war."The citadel still inflicted a massive toll on its attackers, however, the cost of which is estimated at an additional 151 billion ISK. CO2 was able to get some of their own back by attacking ships attempting to enter the system.
According to CCP, 4,655 killmails were generated during the battle. 4,078 pilots were flagged on the killmail for the citadel, with the final shot credited to pilot Vlulvik Hrapruk just before midnight UTC. Highest damage was awarded to pilot Fiona Erinies.
Meanwhile, CCP's executive producer Andie Nordgren said that EVE Online has been seeing a resurgence since going conditionally free-to-play in November.
"We are really seeing sustained, hugely increased activity on all fronts in EVE. New players are finding their way to all of this action — because there is nothing stopping them from getting into whichever part of the universe they want. We are super, super excited for the future of EVE and all the epic things players will come up with."According to CCP, almost 300 of the players who participated in the citadel's destruction were "Alpha" free-to-play pilots.
"We're also hard at work both strengthening our backend systems and the current game features to sustain all this new activity, and of course also in full planning mode for the new stuff we'll add next year."
In the meantime, the Tribute War continues - and there are more Keepstars out there.
[Featured Image by CCP Games]