On Rift Launch Day, A Vast Battle Involving Thousands of Players Unfolded in a Complex Virtual World

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While the first high end consumer virtual reality headsets are just beginning to launch, virtual worlds have been around for years. Although they may not be immersive in the sense of VR, they are undeniably complex and engaging, as illustrated in the record-breaking Battle of M-OEE8 which took place in EVE: Online on the same day the Oculus Rift launched.

What are already incredibly complex and intricate virtual worlds are only going to become richer and more potent with the advent of consumer VR headsets.

Some of these virtual worlds—like EVE: Online and Second Life—have real economies, with exchange rates tied to real currencies. For many, that means their property and assets in the virtual world are equally ‘real’ (in the sense that they have real value) to their real world belongings; so too are their relationships and social structures. This leads to many complex behaviors that we see in the real world, including war.

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Photo courtesy Lord Maldoror

On March 28th, the same day the Oculus Rift launched, a record-breaking battle involving more than five thousands players resulted in more casualties in one day than any other like it. It was the Battle of M-OEE8 and it took place in the constellation 1P-VL2 in the Tribute Region of EVE: Online. 

battle-of-eve-virtual-world

Nothing about EVE: Online requires that players fight one another; the engagement, which was just one battle among a broader war currently unfolding in the game, was entirely player-driven. Thousands of players belonging to vast opposing alliances were compelled to put their own ships and assets on the line (remember, this stuff has real world worth) to ensure victory for their side.

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Reddit user ShadowPhynix gives a summary of the broader conflict happening inside EVE: Online:

The largest coalition in the game decided to take a poke at the numerically inferior Low Sec alliances. Instead of crumbling as expected to the superpower, they banded together and pushed them back out of their area of space, taking all of the big coalition’s income in the area as they did.

Once people saw it was possible to beat this super-coalition, most of the player groups in the game decided to band together, with encouragement from the enormously rich ‘I Want Isk’ (IWI) gambling organisation who have grievances with the super-coalition’s component alliances.

Today marked a major victory in taking the strategically important staging system of one of the super-coalition’s player groups which caused that group to flip sides to the attackers.

The full account is even more fascinating, you can read it here. EVE: Online developer CCP Games has a dev blog further exploring the battle.

Photo courtesy Vizition
Photo courtesy Vizition

Whether or not you’re interested in EVE: Online, or even VR in general, the behaviors seen in these sorts of virtual worlds are of anthropological importance. As VR opens the door to virtual worlds for a huge number of new users, these forerunners give us the first glimpse into how many of us are likely to view virtual worlds in the future: as equally complex and important as the real world.

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  • Kat
  • realtrisk

    Must be a slow news day at Road to VR. The links to this and VR are non-existent at best. “MMO playars didz PVP! NEWZ = VR!”

    How about reporting on Oculus’ failure to deliver on their estimations, then refusal to give any updates, leaving thousands of “first ten minutes” purchasers in the lurch with no clue what’s going on and when they’re going to receive their product?

    • Raphael

      It’s all very bizarre. Palmer jets off to Alaska for an awkward meeting and cv1 delivery to a nerd, meanwhile no scheduled dispatches to customers and no communication?

      I’ve become really annoyed about the lack of touch controllers and I’ve now places an order for vive. I actually still have cv1 on pre-order and quoted ship date of June. Meanwhile the vive ordered 2 nights ago and scheduled for May.

      • realtrisk

        Yeah, it’s a situation filled with incredibly bad business practice and lack of caring for your customers. As has been said elsewhere, I don’t care if they are late so much as I care that they aren’t keeping us posted and just leaving in the dark while they bungle the launch. It is severely tempting to cancel Rift pre-order, I know… They’ve had six months of production in their factory and three months since the pre-order went live, and this is the best they can do? Preparation? What’s that?

  • Devlin Darkside

    I’ve been in battles similar to this, when you are in a blob under an FC its nothing like you see in the video, you are fighting tidi (time dilation is an excuse for the servers not coping with the data) and just following orders of what to shoot at and jumping from gate to gate. The only people who know what’s going on are the FCs everyone else is just a gun that obeys…

    • Cl

      Sounds realistic.

  • Trailmix

    Reminds me of that giant virtual battle in Ready Player One

  • Horror Vacui

    Clickbait title are for losers.

    As soon as I saw the image and understood it was Eve:Online is skipped to the comment to say this, and now will quit this tab.