The largest space battle in history has claimed millions of lives, and resulted in the destruction of 2,900 battleships in a few short hours.
And yes, it took place in a video game.
But as The Verge notes, while the combat might not be real, the fury, honour and despair of the warriors fighting it - let alone the real-world cost in terms of lost equipment - was far from fake.
Above: what the battle looked like in the game's 3D environment
The ridiculously huge battle occurred inside the massively-multiplayer online game Eve after months of tension, arms build-up and threats.
The two sides - the Test Alliance and the CFC - joined battle in a star system known as 6VDT.
More than 4,000 players took part in what has been confirmed as the largest online battle in video games history. A similarly-sized battle which took place earlier this year cost the losers around $20,000 in real-world terms, after its ships and equipment were wrecked after months of preparation. Another incident earlier this year saw a single ship worth $9,000 destroyed.
The fleet fight in 6VDT-H tonight is the largest ever in EVE, topping at 4070 pilots (so far). Previous was P-2TTL at 3615. #tweetfleet
— Erlendur (@erlendur) July 28, 2013
Above: what the battle actually looked like for the players
Before the battle various generals and high-up commanders of both sides issued speeches to rally their troops. According to The Verge - who live-blogged the entire battle - 'BoodaBooda', a TEST Alliance CEO said:
"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of other alliances. A day will come again when the courage of Test fails, when we forsake our allies and break all nips and agreements. But it is not this day. An hour of prophecies and AHAC wrecks when the age of Test comes crashing down. But it is not this day. This day we fight. By all that you hold dear in Nullsec, I bid you, stand. Pilots of Test!"
While the CFC's 'the_mittani' and leader of the Goonswarm Federation said:
"The foe is doing morale pings with LOTR quotes. We're not going to bother with a morale ping because we're in the system first, we have seven Baltecfleets, one AHAC fleet, two Bomber wings, one FuckYouFleet, and yeah.
GSOL are heroes: after the work of our capfleet in destroying every single hostile tower in 6VDT, GSOL threw up 26 towers in 6VDT last night , blocking every single moon. The enemy has no safe towers: nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and must bridge into our force."
After four hours of combat, it was confirmed that the CFC had prevailed, though not without its own losses.
According to one account of the battle - from the perspective of the victors, naturally - the key was the capture and execution of the TEST leaders. Once this was achieved the CFC slowly pounded the TEST forces to pieces, and even a brief (and, in Eve Online, rare) last stand failed to halt the destruction. In all about 2,900 ships were lost, along with untold millions of (computer-controlled) gunners, canteen staff and maintenance teams killed... theoretically.
Writing on the victory, 'the_mittani' said:
"As we continued to clear the battlefield, killing everything but the most difficult to track frigates, word came in of something odd. It seemed that TEST Alliance planned to make a charge - a last stand - to come back in against overwhelming force and make a statement. In EVE, this is never done; you do not fight when there is no hope. You retreat and save your ships for another day, another chance. But in they came, and while I can safely say I was surprised, I was also a little sad that so much bravery would have to be killed so quickly.
Their suicide run killed a single Naglfar-class dreadnaught. Over two hundred pilots paid the price for it. On a good day, 10 capitals might be worth that price, but not today."
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