Servers struggle as more than 5,700 EVE Online players invade single system to destroy massive superweapon worth thousands of dollars in real-world money.

EVE Online this weekend saw a record-breaking amount of players in a single system come together to blow up the game’s biggest space station. The Keepstar citadel was comparable to the Death Star from Star Wars and cost the alliance that built it over $5000 in cold, hard cash.

Wars are common in EVE Online, and the one that has been raging the last few weeks between The Northern Coalition & Pandemic Legion on one side and TEST & Circle-of-Two on the other isn’t even a big one by the 13-year-old game’s standards. That particular honor goes to the battle of Delve, which even has a ballad devoted to it. The current war was covered extensively by PCGamer, but the main prize for the attacking Northern Coalition and its ally was Circle-of-Two’s Keepstar, a space station that housed a superweapon with the power to destroy entire fleets.

The attacking coalition entered the Keepstar’s system at a time when the space station had supposedly been sabotaged by one of their spies. This turned out to be a ruse by the defenders, who surprised their opponents in a Return of the Jedi-style turn of events and proceeded to wipe out wave after wave of their fleet. Though this bit of high drama was most likely very entertaining for all involved, it proved to be futile in the end as through sheer force of will, not to mention the loss of entire fleets, the attackers managed to destroy the Keepstar during an attack that lasted seven hours and cost trillions of ISK, the in-game currency.

At the high point of the battle the system was swarmed by 5,700 players, both combatants and spectators, which caused massive slowdowns and had developer CCP scrambling to divert computing power to the server node the system was on. CCP has since confirmed that this number breaks records for players in a system at any one time, a real victory for a company that recently saw itself forced to open up their game for free-to-play customers in a bid to stay competitive.

All these new players may be in for a nasty surprise: the cloak-and-dagger antics exhibited by the two sides in the war are fairly common in EVE Online, a game that regularly makes headlines when yet another immoral player steals the equivalent of $13,000 or a conspiracy gets together to burn down the game’s entire economy. New players typically suffer the consequences of these shenanigans more than most and should always beware in a game that brings Machiavelli to the space-exploration genre.

EVE Online is currently available on PC.

tags: EVE Online