In its 17th year, EVE Online continues to be a unique source of excitement in the gaming world. Most recently, it was certified by Guinness as breaking not one, but two world records. In what has become known as “The Fury of FWST-8,” the pilots of New Eden smashed two records (both of which were also previously held by EVE Online), “Largest multiplayer video game PvP battle” (8,825 players), and “Most concurrent participants in a multiplayer video game PvP battle” (6,557 players).
Nothing else in gaming comes close to the world-spanning, geo-political terrarium of EVE Online. Battles such as “The Fury of FWST-8” do not occur in a vacuum, and the events leading up to it are both interesting and complex. Months and weeks of planning and troop movement led the participants from 114 alliances to that battlefield on October 6 and 7, 2020.
Even more incredibly, the fighting in FWST-8 was but one part of a much larger campaign in southern New Eden, which is still ongoing. The record breaking firestorm was not the climax of a movie, but only a small part of the opening scene.
The story of the battle revolves around two player alliances – the Imperium and Test Alliance Please Ignore (TEST). The history these two groups have with each other spans years, fluctuating between allies, enemies, frenemies, and uneasy neighbors. Prior to the latest conflict, Imperium and TEST maintained a non-invasion pact (NIP) between them whereby each side could send small fleets into each other’s territory to fight small skirmishes, with the understanding that certain levels of activity (such as seizing territory or attacking infrastructure) were off limits.
As these things often do, what began as something like “friendly sparring” began to slowly escalate.
Small incidents began to stack up. People pushed the boundaries and occasionally took things too far. A titan would be killed here, a Rorqual there. People talked smack. Spin Masters spun on Reddit. A popular fleet commander was forced to resign. Perhaps most importantly, though, the game had been at peace for too long. Eventually, TEST had enough and voluntarily withdrew from the NIP with the Imperium.
These events all culminated in the formation of a super-coalition known as Pandafam Alliance Please Ignore (PAPI). The alliance shared a stated purpose: to attempt a repeat of The Casino War and forcibly remove the Imperium from its home territory in Delve. Consisting of many of the most powerful alliances and coalitions in the game, PAPI includes Pandemic Legion, Northern Coalition, Pandemic Horde, Test, Fraternity, and a large number of smaller groups.
PAPI has the Imperium heavily outnumbered. Despite this, “The Fury of FWST-8”, and the two Guinness World Records it achieved, was only the second of what would end up being five attempts to establish a beachhead within striking distance of the Imperium’s home systems.
As the fighting now moves into the Imperium’s home turf, the conflict that is being termed World War Bee 2, or World War Bee to Imperium members, enters a new phase. Whether history will repeat itself as with The Casino War, or PAPI forces become bogged down, remains to be seen. All of this is happening now. No one knows what the future holds.
We do know that CCP and the players of EVE Online have made history this month and if history is any indicator, they will continue to do so, even as EVE Online approaches its 20th anniversary. For the players who contributed to this epic battle, they can proudly say “I was there.”