Eve Online devs CCP invite players to a 10,000+ player space-brawl

Six thousand, one hundred and forty – two – the current Guinness world record attributed to sandbox space – sim Eve Online for most players involved in a single fight in an online game. CCP developers won’t just sit back and let somebody else take a shot at their record. Rather, they partner with Hadean (cloud-based networking specialists) to bring us Aether Wars. It’s going to be a one-off event an online-themed tech demo from Eve and they’re hoping to have more than ten thousand players thumping away at each other in a gigantic, messy space deathmatch. Intrigued players can sign up here for the March 20th brawl.

The demo of the Aether Wars is not just for show. CCP describe their previous Guinness record as “the final nail in the coffin” for Eve’s present network architecture, a system which they’ve been updating incrementally since 2002. Using their current system, 6,142 players may technically be possible, but it slowed down to a crawl. Aether Wars is part of their joint R&D project with Hadean. There is no time frame for when it could bear fruit, but it sounds like they eventually plan to adopt a radically different server structure in the future at some point.

Judging by the screenshots above, Aether Wars seems unlikely to be anywhere near as gritty or simulation-oriented as Eve Online proper, or even VR dogfighter spinoff Valkyrie. Just speculation on my part, but I’d expect a fairly lightweight, arcade bit of dogfighting, but on an enormous scale. If all goes to plan and the servers don’t catch fire, it should be spectacular to behold. A potential proof of concept for a bigger, messier future for online games, although cramming more than a few hundred players into a single instance is difficult these days for all but the best-populated battle royales.

The Aether Wars tech demo is due to run on March 20th, and can be seen at CCP’s stand at the Games Developers Conference. Those wanting to join in on the lasery, explodey festivities can sign up here.

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