1. The Rise and Fall of Steve

steve eve

For some, most of EVE Online seems as rousing as multiplayer Microsoft Excel, but the star-faring MMO's in-game hardware is still quite impressive to behold. Nothing in the game is so awe-inspiring as the mighty, mighty Titans. And while people do want to know everywhere they go, it's usually to better cower in fear of the gargantuan starships' literal Doomsday Weapons and massive support fleets. That, or to make like Dallas and cowboy up to bring down the monsters in glorious, suicidal battle. That's the kind of respect these big fish get now, in the very, very big pond that is EVE Online's single-server world. Now imagine what it must have been like when just one Titan existed in the entire game.

The Titan in question was dubbed Steve (what a great name) by its builder CYVOK, then-leader of then-powerhouse alliance Ascendant Frontier. Steve was an Avatar-class monster, with shape and girth enough to make Darth Vader's Super Star Destroyer blush. It took six real-world months to build, and even then was completed before EVE developer CCP Games thought to implement its undocking process into the game. When construction was finished, some Icelandic intern must have spat coffee onto their CRT monitor while desperately trying to launch the ship manually (after verifying that Steve's conception was legit).

Being so expensive, Steve was mostly relegated to "deterrent" status in Ascendant Frontier's long-running conflict with the equally powerful Band of Brothers alliance. That is, until 60 unlucky seconds made sci-fi spreadsheet history. For reasons unknown, CYVOK logged out-of-game just minutes after taking young Steven out on a failed skirmish. No big deal, right? If he wasn't logged on, nobody could touch him or his 180-day bender boat. Except, that's not how it works in EVE Online. Stir up trouble, or wind up on the receiving end, and it's 15 minutes before you can exit safely; log off anyway, and the timer resets, except you're not there to protect your stuff. Yet that's exactly what CYVOK did, with only about a minute left on his original 15-minute window. Steve paid the price.

Some posit CYVOK was having computer troubles. Others theorize he might have been ignorant of the aggression timer. CYVOK himself blames Band of Brothers, claiming they counted CCP employees among the ranks of those that kicked him out at the worst possible time. Like all the great conspiracy theories, there's no evidence backing any of this up. What we know for sure is that Band of Brothers found Steve almost immediately, and thus the first Titan in the game's history was also the first to die. To this day, the handsomely-named phallus lives on as drifting space trash -- a virtual monument to exactly what spending six months in a video game gets you.


2. The Bloodbath of B-R5RB

via rooksandkings

Writing about "The Bloodbath of B-R5RB" is like talking about how you cried when Aeris died; it was very important to a lot of people. Everyone who's played the game knows what you're talking about, and nobody will shut their tear-streaked traps about it. As tired a topic as it may be, it would be insane not to include it on this list. This one battle, in this one region, in this one game has its own Wikipedia page half as long as Jesus'. And there are some solid reasons why.

Remember the Alamo? Now imagine that the whole thing could have been averted if Davy Crockett had just remembered to lock the front door. That's basically the battle at B-R5RB (the star system where the fight was centered), in which "Davy Crockett" was the asshole who forgot to run routine maintenance on the starbase protecting a vital staging area from the combined forces of the Russian alliances and (I shit you not) the Clusterfuck Coalition. Upon seeing their enemies with their old-timey pajama butt flaps down, CFC and the Russians seized the opportunity by throwing literally thousands of ships and pilots at the offending hole in the defensive wall.

eve battle
via drew_qt by way of The Verge

Pandemic Legion and N3, the alliances who owned that particular patch of polygons, responded with the same, presumably in panic. And so, the bloodbath began: 7,548 total players, 11 trillion ISK (in-game currency) worth of damage, or something over $300,000 USD when you run it through EVE's arcane real-money conversion rate. Those Titans we mentioned earlier? Seventy-five were destroyed over the course of the 21-hour battle, which ended in a clear victory for the attacking side.

The numbers themselves are probably why the battle has gained so much attention. It's generally accepted to be the largest multiplayer conflict in video game history. It also allows the players involved to say they caused enough damage to buy a decent house in Idaho, or a thirty-square foot bathroom studio in San Francisco.