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Eve Online update could mean bigger booms in the next ‘million dollar battle’

But massive, setpiece engagements will still remain problematic for the time being

Ships race out of a purple nebula in Eve Online. CCP Games
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Less than one month ago players in Eve Online gathered for what was billed as that game’s first “million dollar battle.” But while the community succeeded in bringing together the most players ever for a single engagement in the game’s nearly 15-year history, they also put a historic strain on the game’s infrastructure.

When more than 6,000 players showed up to fight, both sides said that the game did not perform as anticipated. In the aftermath, developer CCP Games said it was committed to making improvements and, this week, some improvements began to roll out.

Eve Online operates on a timer system. Certain structures within the game world are only vulnerable to attack during a certain window of opportunity. That allows players to mass their forces — other people with jobs and families and real-world commitments — in a timely fashion for the climactic engagement. One of the issues encountered during the so-called million-dollar battle, also known as the Siege of 9-4R, was that at least one of those timers did not behave as anticipated.

CCP said it has now adjusted that element of the game.

“In response to CSM [Council of Stellar Management, Eve’s player-elected advisory council] and community feedback, we’ve made sizable quality-of-life improvements to Upwell structures in New Eden,” said Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy, community manager of Eve Online. “With these changes, capsuleers across the cluster will benefit from more balanced reinforcement timers, improved structure takedown and combat mechanics, as well as more evenly scaled reinforcement and destruction mechanics.”

However, CCP told Polygon that this adjustment is not in direct response to the troubles encountered by players during the massive battle. It will help, but even more work must be done to ensure that the game can sustain so many players logging in at the same point in space.

“While then-current mechanics at the time of the Siege of 9-4R played into the issues that were experienced during the engagement (for instance, the inability to reload launch tubes for fighters and deploy them), the main issue was sheer weight of player numbers rather than any specific game mechanic being the key source of any problems,” said Elsy. “We’ve gathered a substantial amount of community feedback and data from the Siege of 9-4R, and we’ll be looking to put this to good use as we work on further optimizations in future.”

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