Online casino bankrolls largest-ever, ruinously expensive war in Eve Online

Eve Online ("spreadsheets in space") is the infamously intricate massively multiplayer space trade/conquest game where real cash can be exchanged for in-game currency , making the battles fought there consequential in a way that sets it apart from other games.

Eve has seen many massive wars before, as well as daring acts of corporate espionage and a $50,000 Ponzi scheme, all of which are perfectly legit in the game's context.

But now the game has been brought to the brink of a battle that beggars belief, as the notorious Clusterfuck Coalition (formerly the Goonswarm) has used a tribute system based on ancient Persian tithing to create a galactic empire they call "The Imperium," whose leaders have waxed fat and arrogant (and have attempted to cash in on in the real world).

It's got to be too much for the other players. Working with a war-chest supplied by one of the bankers behind I Want ISK, a virtual casino that allows players to gamble with in-game currency (which, remember, can be bought with real-world money). The looming battle looks to be the biggest in the game's history.

"At its most basic level I believe that the Coalition wants this big, monolithic structure of The Imperium — of the CFC — gone," Heard said, "Like any empire that lasts too long, hubris starts to bite you in the ass. You start to make mistakes. You start to not appreciate the people that keep you in power.

"There's one or two people in charge of each front line," Heard said, "so there's no single person who's in charge. … You could say that the I Want ISK guys … got the ball rolling. But this thing has started to take on a life of its own because there's blood in the water."

Killah Bee is taking a more detached point of view, as befits a mercenary for hire.

"For me, the personal goal is just to have as much fun as possible and provide my alliance with as much fun as possible," he said. "I want to have the people that join my fleets to have as much fun as possible."

Players in Eve Online are at war, here's what we know
[Charlie Hall/Polygon]

(via Super Punch)

(Image: Andrew Green)