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This weekend in EVE Band of Brothers (BoB) - probably EVE's premiere PvP alliance - teamed up with two other alliances to take control of a strategic star system linking Empire (secure space) to lawless 0.0...
This star system was home to a major manufacturing/industrial alliance known as TRUST.
BoB alleged TRUST alliance is merely a neutral manufacturing facade for the G & IRON alliances (both enemies of BoB) and therefore a legitimate war target.
To establish their control of the system TRUST had fortified it. All 29 moons in the system were heavily defended by large POS (Player Owned Structures) and with their soverignty established TRUST also constructed an Outpost - a player constructed space station costing approximately 30 billion isk - basically one of the biggest investments you can make in EVE and requiring gigantic cooperation between individuals, cooperations and alliances to construct.
To capture the Outpost and destroy TRUST's manufacturing capablities BoB needed to remove the defences at all the moons and replace them with their own POS. This is a MAJOR job. Removing even one large POS can be tricky when faced by determined defenders as the attacking ships (particualarly Capital Ships) can be vulnerable to counterattacks while taking the POS shields down.
In what has become one of the most debated issues in EVE history (following on from the famous Istavaan Shogaatsu heist) BoB teamed up with two other alliances - both of who were also enemies of G & IRON and in a massive show of force deployed over 600 pilots in the initial assault on the system.
At least 35 of these were in Capital ships - EVE's current largest (and most expensive) ship type - with over 500 other pilots providing support which basically meant preventing any reinforcements jumping into the system and attacking the Capital Ships while they destroyed the POS one by one.
The operation took an entire weekend and is still ongoing.
Thanks to the new server upgrades the system did not crash and it was playable if a little laggy - which is to be expected when over 600 people are all in one star system (out of + 5,000 systems in the game)
The effort and logistics required to coordinate and gather 600 people to mount an operation of this size is immense and I am not sure if there is any other MMORPG out there at the moment in which such an event is feasible.
While some could see this attack as a major 'grief' it is actually a way life is in EVE. Competing in industry and commerce is simply another form of PvP. Individuals, corporations and alliances compete for space and resources and it is becoming more intense all the time - which in turn makes politics and diplomacy as important (if not more important) than having a big stick (although having a big stick is always handy )
Anyway the culmination of this is that BoB has severely crippled TRUST's industrial capacity and theoretically its ability to keep supplying G & IRON with the weaponry they need in EVE's ongong arms race...
The only dissappointing thing about this was that the the huge force deployed by BoB and friends actually prevented any serious retaliation (which was their aim after all) and despite forming huge fleets of their own (+200 ships) G/IRON simply couldn't hope to retake the system and therefore (wisely) decided to fight another day...
I am sure that titanic clashes are only just around the corner...
So why I have shared this with you the MMORPG community? Well I am interested to know what you think. Do you think player interactions on this scale is something that will continue to grow as our technology (computers/connections) improve or is this just a flash in the pan?