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Eve Online’s world war, explained

Gaming’s best stories are written by the people who play, and World War Bee is no exception

Over the last several months tens of thousands of players in Eve Online banded together to wage war against the largest ruling faction in the game. The result was the single most deadly engagement in the game's history, and a massive shift in the balance of power.

To find out exactly what was going on, Polygon interviewed key figures on both sides of World War Bee. We've collected all those stories here, in one place, along with several feature stories from our archives and around the internet.

March: Players in Eve Online are at war, here’s what we know

Rumors began bubbling up about a massive fleet mobilization and the ensuing battle in the north of Eve Online months ago. Sources told us that this was just the opening round of what could be the largest conflict in that game's history. Digging deeper into the subject, we were introduced to key figures in a new in-game faction, called the Moneybadger Coalition, a group of thousands of players being funded by an online casino.

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April: Meet the gambling kingpin funding Eve Online’s world war

Eventually, we were able to reach the man pouring trillions of in-game currency behind the war effort. His name is Joe, and he lives in Georgia. But in the world of Eve Online he's known as Lenny Kravitz2 — yes, like the musician. Here’s why he decided to personally bankroll the biggest interstellar war in gaming history.

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June: Eve’s massive war is nearly over, but The Imperium says it will fight on

But even as the fleets moved into position, World War Bee as it came to be known didn’t go how anyone thought it would. The Imperium, the core of which is an infamous group known as the Goonswarm, would not stand and fight. Alex "The Mittani" Gianturco finally agreed to speak with us, explaining his strategy. While World War Bee appears to be over, and with elements of the Moneybadger Coalition claiming victory, The Mittani’s war fleet remains largely intact.

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From the archives: The most thrilling boring game in the universe

So what exactly is Eve Online? In 2014, Polygon sought out key figures in the game, including The Mittani, to learn more about the grand space opera that takes place on a single server cluster. Our feature delves into the history of the game's developer, Iceland-based CCP, and helps uncover what makes this game so enduring and its community so fascinating.

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From the archives: The true history of Eve Online

Polygon wasn’t the first outlet to dive deep into the game. Journalist and author Andrew Groen spent two years researching the early history of Eve Online, peeling back the layers of its nearly 14-year history. Titled Empires of Eve: A History of the Great Wars of Eve Online, it is the true story of how political ideas first began to take hold in Eve, how that led to the creation of its first governments — including the hated Imperium — and how it eventually collapsed into a state of total war from 2007-2009. Groen was kind enough to share an excerpt, which you can read here.

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For more first-hand reporting, be sure to check out this fabulous feature from our friends at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Author Brendon Caldwell goes inside the game itself to interview the players on the front lines.

Polygon will continue to report on World War Bee and its aftermath in the months and years to come. Babykayak