Watch as over 5,000 EVE Online pilots destroy a fully operational Death Star (updated)

Update: Pandemic Legion, Northern Coalition, and their allies successfully destroyed Circle-of-Two's Keepstar citadel, bringing an end to the seven hour fight and a weeks-long campaign. You can watch CCP Games livestream of the final explosion in the video above. The kill report can be found here, just keep in mind this only shows the base cost of the Keepstar and doesn't include the price of all the fitted modules. CCP has also confirmed that battle has now broken the all-time record for players gathered in one system, at one point rising over 5,700 pilots. 

Original story: History is being made in EVE Online today as some of the biggest alliances have gathered to bring death to EVE's most indomitable starbase, the Keepstar citadel. Introduced in EVE's April expansion, these citadels are the most expensive structures in the virtual universe, costing billions of ISK (the in-game currency) and taking months of planning and preparation to build. Equipped with a doomsday weapon capable of obliterating entire fleets, Keepstars are the EVE equivalent of the Death Star. But if Return of the Jedi has taught us anything, the bigger the weapon, the more everyone wants to see it go boom.

Not every war fought in EVE Online is for territory or to settle long-standing vendettas. Sometimes the drums of war signal battle because, well, it'd be damn good fun. That's the case with the recent campaign against Circle-of-Two and TEST by the combined might of Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition. For two months, the four juggernauts and their allies have clashed across the region of Tribute. But against the overwhelming numbers of the latter, Circle-of-Two was forced to abandon much of their territory and retreat. In doing so, they left behind their prized Keepstar in the solar system of M-OEE8. Seizing the opportunity, over 5000 pilots have gathered to make history as this will be the first time a fully operational Keepstar has ever been destroyed.

Developers CCP Games are livestreaming the event on Twitch along with a host of community streams. The EVE Online subreddit has a megathread for players to discuss the event, and Imperium News, an EVE community news site, has a live thread with more details on what's happening. 

If you do decide to tune in, be prepared for the reality of what happens when thousands of players flood into a single area in a 13-year-old MMO. Across the entire galaxy, the stress on the servers can be felt, but it's even worse in M-OEE8. To keep the game from crashing, EVE Online uses 'TiDi' (time dilation) to slow down time, allowing the servers to process the overwhelming amount of information happening on screen. Right now TiDi is at 10 percent, meaning actions that would normally take one minute now take ten. If you plan to watch, I'd recommend keeping the stream open in the background while you find something else to do until we get down to the final minutes.

For those on the front lines, the action is moving at a snail's pace, and estimates suggest it will be another hour before the Keepstar finally explodes. Pandemic Legion, Northern Coalition, and dozens of allied alliances have swarmed the system so heavily that no one can get in or out and Circle-of-Two and TEST have abandoned hope of defending the citadel. A few skirmishes have taken place throughout the day, but the attacking force is simply too overwhelming.

How to build a death star

Keepstars are the most expensive, ridiculous structures in EVE Online. Read about the incredible journey that one alliance underwent just to become the first in all of New Eden to own one.

Making matters worse, hundreds of tourists are also flocking to M-O to get in on the action. Despite that, the Keepstar's guns and doomsday weapon have already racked up 200 billion ISK worth of kills, and the total battle could likely reach the 1 trillion mark—still a far cry from EVE's biggest fight which tallied up to over 11 trillion ISK. This is mostly due to the fact that neither side has committed their extremely powerful and expensive supercapital fleets to the engagement. Instead, most attackers have opted for cheaper battleships which can still dish out a beating but cost considerably less.

With an hour to go before the Keepstar erupts into a ball of fire, players have already made history as CCP has confirmed that this is the highest population ever to gather in a null-sec system at one time.

This event will mark the end of a campaign to bring down the Keepstar which started earlier this week. Major structures like the Keepstar have 'invulnerability timers,' which prevents them from being destroyed outright and allows the defenders time to formulate a plan. When the initial battle happened, Circle-of-Two and TEST mustered their full might but were unable to defend the Keepstar from entering its final invulnerability timer which ended late this morning. 

That battle is summarized by the video above, which was a spectacular fight on both sides. Keeping with the Star Wars theme, Pandemic Legion had believed that one of their spies had infiltrated the Keepstar citadel and disabled its weapon systems, but that wasn't the case. As their fleets engaged the Keepstar, Circle-of-Two revealed the whole plan was a ruse in a post on the EVE subreddit titled "We lied. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed AND operational battlestation."

One of the highlights of that battle was when Bomber's Bar, a group specializing in mass destruction using bombs, wiped out 142 Hurricane battlecruisers in five seconds. They've documented their side of the engagement, which you can see below. 

While watching the livestreams might not be that exciting, players have already posted dozens of images of the fight as it unfolds. I've collected a few into a gallery below for your enjoyment. All images are thanks to howdoi_shoteve on Reddit. High resolution versions can be found here.

I've reached out to the party's involved and will update this thread in the coming hours once the Keepstar finally goes boom. This is EVE history, in all it's time dilated glory. 

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.