Space War Is Hell (A Laggy, Complex Hell)


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Today the spaceship MMO EVE Online, colloquially known as Spreadsheets in Space, experienced its largest battle to date, with more than four thousand individual players duking it out to the bitter end. The players of EVE Online, each controlling their own spaceship loaded with weapons or utility modules, are no strangers to fights or fleet actions, but battles on this scale are rare and usually turn into historical events that separate the newbies from the veterans. A space rumble this big isn’t all action, explosions, and heroic bravery as many sci-fi films would lead you to believe, and the fighting here looks more like a swarm of insects or a jam-packed disco dance floor (complete with lasers) than a World War II dogfight or naval engagement.

What makes this fight special and EVE Online distinct from other MMOs is the scale of these completely player-driven engagements. World of Warcraft is the largest MMO to date, with some 11 million subscribers at its height, but even then those players were divided over a bunch of different servers; parallel but completely separate versions of the same world, each with around 3-4 thousand players. EVE has the entirety of its subscriber base, about five hundred thousand people, on a single server, with everyone playing in the same world. This allows for larger groupings of players and greater bouts of tension between them, resulting in massive battles like what we’ve seen today.

This clash between two massive groupings of players is neat to read and look at without context, but understanding why this battle is occurring and the factors at play can tell us a lot about the game itself. It’s safe to say that while EVE has a steep learning curve and requires a massive time investment to really get going, it is one of the deepest and certainly the most dynamic MMOs out there now.

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If the internet is hell, complete with gleeful tormentors and the cacophony of a billion crying screams, then Reddit is a whole circle unto itself. A hollow place, now boiling over with karma coveters, bandwagoners, Enlightened Atheists, MRAs, and people who love niche community drama. A place where productivity and post-2000 web design has all but been forgotten. From among the seventy million unique visitors last month, the pulsating hivemind of some twenty million registered users (really more like two and a half k) picked out the most hated individual cells among them, and internet megaphone site Daily Dot assembled it into a top ten list for the rest of us to enjoy. What became obvious after a read through wasn’t the list of offenses in particular, but what the offenses revealed about the sinners they embodied. By being elevated to status of The Worst and enshrined in a Top 10 list, each redditor metamorphosed into avatars of sorts, proverbial Saints to their particular Deadly Sin. With ancient theologian texts on hand, I carefully parsed their offenses and have been able to deduce exactly which realm of sin they now personify deep within belly of the hellmouth.

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