The Battle for Caldari Prime
Setting the scene
Decades of cold war began to heat up in the build-up to 2008's Empyrean Age expansion, with the four empires officially going to war through player-run militias in disputed faction warfare zones. As part of the military buildup, the Caldari State launched an offensive in Luminaire and recaptured their ancient homeworld of Caldari Prime. A Leviathan class titan named the Shiigeru was installed in orbit as a measure of mutually assured destruction; should Gallente forces ever try to retake the planet, the Shiigeru would be charged with bombarding Gallente cities on the planet below and killing millions of citizens.
The Caldari Prime stalemate has lasted for four years despite several attempts by capsuleers to destroy the orbiting titan. Players just couldn't dish out enough damage to break through the titan's immense shield tank without capital ships, and CONCORD
blocks capital ships from jumping into any high-security system. This week's event saw a surprise attack on the titan by Gallente Navy forces and capsuleer loyalists, including a fleet of 25 dreadnought class capital ships.
CONCORD representative Odo Koachi intervened in an attempt to keep the peace but was destroyed by the Shiigeru's doomsday weapon
. In response, the DED essentially instituted marshal law by globally flagging everyone in the system as a suspect for the duration of the attack. With the added firepower of 25 sieged dreadnoughts and the Shiigeru's doomsday device cooling down, it was only a matter of time before the titan was destroyed and Caldari Prime once again fell under Gallente rule.
Except this time that's not where the story ended. A new tactical element has emerged with the addition of DUST
marines to the empires' arsenals. Caldari and Gallente ground troops and mercenaries are fighting ongoing battles right now
for control of the planet's surface in DUST 514
. It was even reported last night that debris from the Shiigeru appeared to be raining down on the battlefields
, and the ship's wreck could be seen smoking on the planet's surface.
Was the event staged?
While it's pretty awesome to see more live events n EVE
, this one has actually left a bitter taste
in the mouths of some EVE
players. It's great to see storyline played out in-game rather than being confined to fictional news articles and forums, but players complained that the event was completely scripted and the outcome decided long before the fight started. Some DUST
players reported seeing the burning titan on the planet's surface
last week, an error that was quickly corrected but hinted at the upcoming story.
The main point of contention people have is that the event was advertised as something players could influence, but ultimately they couldn't. The odds were firmly stacked in the Gallente's favour, destroyed titan graphics had already been prepared, and large coordinated fleets were unable to get into the system to intervene. During the livestream, the announcers also revealed that the main players in the event were NPC factions and selected EVE
alliances who had been pre-arranged to attend. There's definitely a valid argument for saying this event was staged.
What comes next for live events?
The system peaked at 2100 EVE
players during the event, with an additional 1700 DUST
marines fighting it out on the ground at the same time. CCP
was actually forced to lock the stargates and limit event participation just to keep the servers happy. Over a thousand additional people were piled up on the stargates outside the system, annoyed that they couldn't take part in the event. Those who did manage to get through were given the suspect flag immediately, many being killed on sight by gatecamps.
This event probably shouldn't have been advertised as letting players shape EVE
's history, but I'd cut the events team some slack as there should be more events on the way and this story really had to work out the way it did. The first Sansha events were equally controlled and experimental, and players quickly took that storyline out of CCP's hands and ran with it. Personally, I'm just happy to see more storylines played out in-game as live events
rather than being restricted to news posts nobody reads.
Livestreams for the win!
CCP has been running live events for the past few weeks as part of its Uprising storyline tying EVE
into DUST 514
, but so far the story has remained fairly invisible to most EVE
players. Putting an event inside the game and televising it through a livestream made a huge difference
to visibility, and I hope the devs keep that up. My only gripes with the stream were that the commentators weren't briefed on the full backstory behind the event and that the action was viewed from afar rather than up close.
There were also no official DUST
cameras showing action on the ground, but developers said they'll have those for future events once they figure out how to make it look good. If these events are to showcase EVE
linking together, CCP really should show realtime bombardments side-by-side
. On the livestream, CCP Falcon confirmed that more events will be streamed in future and suggested that live events might even be used to introduce new gameplay elements. Rather than logging in one day to find new ships and modules have been added to the game, the empires might finally have a realistic arms race, or there could be some discovery that prompts the new technology introduction.
Huge events in EVE
like the recent 3000-man Battle of Akasai
are probably the best marketing for the game you'll ever see, but there's no way to know when or how they'll happen. The Battle for Caldari Prime felt like an attempt to bottle lightning and artificially recreate the stage of a huge battle. Nevertheless, it was great to see events like these played out in-game
where some players could attend, and the addition of a livestream was a great idea. Hopefully future events will be able to bring the NPC story to life in the same way but without taking the control out of the hands of players.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to
EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.