Earlier, we'd reported that noted "bastard simulator" EVE Online was starting its war to end all wars. With an overwhelming force of tens of thousands of pilots across multiple alliances going after The Imperium, a coalition of 40,000 pilots, it was shaping up to be the biggest war the game's ever seen. And players are flooding back in.
For a long stretch of time the wild west of EVE, known as "nullsec" — where you can capture and control territory — was stagnant. The largest coalitions in the game were not engaging in large scale warfare. Players started to bail. But when The Imperium was revealed to be weaker and less organized than they appeared to be, the rest of EVE smelled blood, thousands of players came out of retirement and the result is, well, take a look at the maps below. Left is a map of EVE space (known as "New Eden") before the war. Right is a map of today. (See a huge version of the map here.)
Essentially, The Imperium has lost all of its holdings and its largest and founding alliance, Goonswarm Federation, has moved into "lowsec," slightly more secure regions where players do not own territory. But the damage has been done, as many of Goonswarm's partners within The Imperium have left to seek life elsewhere.
The result is a completely revitalized game. Thousands of pilots are engaging in combat. In its most recent era, EVE was a game of eternal cold war, of minor proxy fights, and plenty of top-level propaganda, but largely using their underlings as sabers to be rattled. What's different now? The big dogs are breaking apart, the map's turning over to smaller, more aggressive entities, the result is more and more spaceships are exploding every single day. (For a full look at the war and a highly condensed play-by-play, check out this post on the EVE subreddit.)
And that's something that the major alliances of EVE Online forgot: People want spaceships to explode. They only care about your space empire as long as it allows them to explode lots and lots of spaceships. They're also down to help with science, because science is cool, but aside from the players who like mining (it's relaxing) or industry (they're good at it), most of the playerbase want to blow ships up.
This trailer is all they really want:
And what happened, as many believe in the EVE Online subreddit, is that The Imperium forgot this very basic rule: The game has to actually be fun. And now that they're paying the price, prime real estate is about to be up for grabs for bloodthirsty, combat-heavy entities that are more interested in conquest and less interested in speeches.
That's a far better EVE Online than what we've had for a while.