Over fourteen hours running from 6 to 7 October, the Fury at FWST-8 unfolded which would see nearly 9,000 players from 114 different alliances participate in the largest multiplayer PvP battle in the history of not just EVE Online but in the entire history of gaming.
The Fury at FWST-8 has now officially been certified by Guinness World Records as claiming not one but two titles:
– Largest multiplayer videogame PvP battle (8,825 players)
– Most concurrent participants in a multiplayer videogame PvP battle (6,557 participants)
The battle eclipses EVE Online’s previous records from both the Bloodbath of B-R5RB in 2014 and the Siege of 9-4RP2 in 2018.
Once again EVE Online players have written themselves into the history books, engineering another epic battle of a scale and intensity that is not found anywhere else in gaming.
How did we get here?
At the beginning of 2016 the Imperium coalition, consisting of numerous alliances led by the Goonswarm Federation, was at the height of their power, asserting control over virtually the entire north of conquerable null-security space in New Eden.
However, at the end of March that year, the outer reaches of space would once again be plunged into total war when many of New Eden’s other powerful nullsec entities united into a superpower of unprecedented strength which would become known as the Money Badger Coalition. Their objective: execute a mercenary contract issued by one of the wealthiest players the game has ever seen with the purpose of evicting the Imperium from their home.
As you would expect when it comes to EVE Online, the causes and machinations surrounding that war are much murkier and complex than explained above and still hotly debated to this day. For those interested however they have been widely reported on elsewhere.
When the fighting eventually subsided two months later, the Imperium had been driven out of their space in the north of New Eden, their old territories divided up amongst the constituents of the victorious Money Badger Coalition. The Money Badger Coalition would later dissolve as the allies of convenience went their separate ways, their goal of displacing the Imperium having been achieved.
This wasn’t the first time the Imperium had been driven from their space, but the coalition is home to some incredibly resilient players with a particularly strong esprit de corps, and they would rise up yet again, as they had in the past.
And Your Enemies Closer
After spending several months in the wilderness the Imperium eventually re-established themselves in the south-western regions of the map, making the region of Delve their new home but eventually also incorporating Querious, Period Basis and Fountain.
Then in 2017, TEST Alliance Please Ignore relocated to the regions adjacent to Delve in the south, right next door to The Imperium.
TEST and the Goonswarm Federation have a long and complicated history. Once staunch allies, relations would break down between the groups culminating in what is now known as The Fountain War of 2013. Significantly, TEST was also an integral part of the Money Badger Coalition which had recently ousted the The Imperium from the north.
Despite the simmering tensions, rather than immediately resume all-out hostilities the two groups settled on a formal non-invasion pact: incursions into each other’s territory was permitted in the interests of fun and content but attempts to seize territory from one or the other would be considered a violation of the agreement. Things calmed down and although they would remain uneasy neighbors the non-invasion pact held up.
In the ensuing years the Imperium would consolidate its hold on Delve and neighboring regions, rebuilding their fleets and developing regional and inter-regional infrastructure in the space they controlled ultimately returning to or even exceeding their previous strength.
Meanwhile, TEST would also settle into their new space and create a power bloc which would become known as Legacy Coalition with several other strong alliances in the vicinity, including Brave Collective.
War Never Changes
As 2020 moved along rumours began circulating that a major conflict may once again be brewing. Those rumours were borne out in June when the leadership of the Legacy Coalition made a public declaration that they were withdrawing from the non-invasion pact and it was revealed that they had been building another superpower made up of alliances from across all of nullsec, not unlike the one from years before. This time the group would become known as “PAPI” and would include many of the same actors as the previous Money Badger Coalition.
Perhaps inevitably, the fragile peace between these two sides was shattered, and at the beginning of July this year all-out war once again exploded to life in New Eden. After several weeks of fighting PAPI had encroached right up to the very borders of “Fortress” Delve; the Imperium’s home region.
In order for PAPI to fulfil their strategic objectives it would be crucial to establish a Keepstar-class Citadel in one of the Blood Raider NPC controlled constellations in Delve to use as an anchorage for their supercapital fleet and a forward operating base for their forces to strike Imperium infrastructure throughout the region.
The first attempt to do so took place on 5 October in the system of FWST-8. Imperium forces responded quickly, however, and after a battle involving nearly 5,000 players that lasted for 3 hours the Keepstar lay in ruins.
While this was a huge battle in itself it would pale in comparison to the carnage that would be unleashed in the same system the very next day.
No sooner had the dust cleared from the destruction of the first Keepstar and the butcher’s bill was being added up, a second Keepstar was deployed by PAPI in FWST-8 and began anchoring. It would become vulnerable 24 hours later and once again the Imperium would be determined to prevent PAPI from establishing a beachhead in their home region.
The battle that ensued over this strategically critical Keepstar was nothing short of record breaking.
We at CCP Games continue to be amazed and profoundly humbled by the world-beating accomplishments of our players. The dedication and passion the EVE Online community demonstrates is unmatched in any other game and it is a constant source of pride for us to see what stories you create and spaceships you destroy in the incredible science fiction sandbox of New Eden. It is our privilege to be the curators of this virtual world you bring to life.
However the book on this war is not yet closed. After the Fury of FWST-8, the Imperium would go on to destroy another two Keepstars which PAPI attempted to deploy. Finally, on 18 October at their 5th attempt, a Keepstar was brought online successfully in the system of YZ9-F6 and now the war has entered a new phase.
We will all be watching closely to see what history may still be created during this conflict.
Some EVE pilots who participated in Fury at FWST-8 shared their impressions of the battle:
“Fights like FWST-8 don’t happen very often but they are what makes EVE, EVE. I was impressed that the servers held up as well as they did. It’s the second time I’ve been involved in setting the record for most concurrent players. Hopefully all good things come in threes?” – Killah Bee (Germany) – Northern Coalition, PAPI
“The FWST battle was the latest example of the iconic EVE Online battles that everyone reads about, and being able to say ‘I was there’ is a great feather in the cap for everyone involved. Even more impressive to me was the camaraderie and teamwork leading up to the kill. When we’re still around playing this game in the years to come we may not remember all the minutiae of the battle, but we’ll absolutely remember that we were there fighting side by side and having fun with our space tribe.” – Klavas (USA) – Goonswarm Federation, Imperium
“The scale of the fighting, the numbers of players involved on both sides, and the extent of the losses in FWST-8 and the weeks that followed has been incredible. I have fought in nullsec for nearly 15 years, nothing I have done before even comes close. Every player involved has been tested to the limits of endurance, it’s the stuff nullsec players have dreamt of for years.” – Hedliner (UK) – Pandemic Legion, PAPI
“The battle in FWST is undoubtedly an historic event, not only for EVE Online and the MMORPG genre, but for video games themselves. Our alliance and coalition campaign commanders undertook a colossal amount of work and planning to make this happen, not only for this specific battle, but throughout the past two weeks.” – strbrr (Russia) – Northern Coalition, PAPI
“The battle of FWST-8 is among the few, incredible moments of EVE Online, those we hear of in the media, those we tell about to the new players with a proud ‘I was there’. Participating in the biggest battle of the history of video games along with thousands of players all across the world, and the feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself as everyone gave their best in the face of impossible odds is a memory I’ll never forget.” – Naice Rucima (France) – Goonswarm Federation, Imperium