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EVE Online: 15 Best Ships to Explore and Conquer New Eden

Image credit: On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of players across the lawless regions of null-sec space, where EVE Online’s fabled player-created empires battle for supremacy, were ambushed by fleets belonging to a mysterious non-player faction known as Drifters. Until now. What we do know is that almost all of EVE Online’s biggest factions, like The Imperium and TEST Alliance, have had their home stations sieged by Drifter fleets, each numbering in the hundreds, while smaller Drifter squads are ambushing anyone travelling through nearby systems.

It’s chaos, and EVE Online pilots are scrambling to respond. His name is Dran, and he was logged in when the invasion first begun.

As he explains, some of the automated warnings that began pouring in were “undocumented garbage” that couldn’t be deciphered because TEST’s player-programmed tools weren’t designed to respond to attacks from computer-controlled forces.

But one thing was clear: One of TEST’s massive starbases was under attack. But from who? As they warped to the besieged citadel starbase, a fleet of nearly Drifter battleships unleashed volley after volley against its shields.

Dran’s first suspicion was sabotage. Chinese alliance Fraternity had at least one of their own starbases sieged, while The Imperium had to prematurely end a war campaign against a rival empire so it could quickly retreat home and mount a defense of its own stations.

Meanwhile, Pandemic Horde had a special structure known as a jump bridge outright destroyed. More and more reports are coming in by the hour, leading to an unprecedented ceasefire between all of EVE Online’s warring alliances as they focus on defense.

Until yesterday, Drifters behaved like most of EVE Online’s non-player factions—but with a few improvements that make them significantly more deadly. For one, Drifters will follow you through a star system if you provoke them and try to run away. As Dran explains, players quickly learned to exploit this behavior by attacking a group of Drifters and running for the safety of a nearby starbase.

The Drifters would give chase and effectively walk into an ambush as the player could then use the starbase’s defenses to easily tear them to shreds. It was possible to “farm” the Drifters this way, but that also came at a risk. If you drew the Drifters to a starbase and left them there, they’d slowly chew through its shields—though it would theoretically take hours given how small Drifter fleets typically are. We didn’t set anything up knowing that at any point with no warning NPCs would materialize and blow everything up.

Dran So when Dran saw a fleet of a hundred Drifters obliterating their citadel starbase in BY-MSY, he immediately suspected someone was trying to sabotage TEST from the inside using some kind of unknown strategy to gather such an enormous Drifter fleet. As more and more red alerts came in from TEST starbases throughout the region, it quickly became clear that this was beyond the scope of a saboteur exploiting a game mechanic.

Dran tells me that within a period of 12 hours, over 38 TEST starbases were hit by Drifter fleets, though none were outright destroyed because EVE Online’s complex siege systems are broken into separate phases. Large player-created structures effectively have three health bars, and each time one is depleted there is an invulnerability window to give each side a chance to regroup and plan for the next battle.

Even though TEST’s fleet commanders were eventually able to marshall defensive fleets capable of destroying the Drifters, Dran says there were simply too many battles happening at once to defend everything.

We got ours a minute after it started, and then did that for 12 hours straight. But the Drifters are striking so hard and fast, starbases are frequently being put into their invulnerability windows far more quickly than thought possible.

Normally, sieges in EVE Online can take up to 12 hours or more, but these Drifters are so powerful they’re tearing through defenses in a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, players travelling through null-sec space are frequently being waylaid by smaller gangs of Drifters who quickly obliterate their ships and everything in its cargo bay.

The Drifters are even attacking pilots’ escape pods, which are automatically jettisoned from a destroyed ship so that players can retreat to safety. Losing your pod means respawning at a medical bay that could be on the other side of the galaxy. Until yesterday, Drifters would only target and destroy your pod if provoked, but now they’re destroying them regardless—breaking all of EVE Online’s rules.

Apocalypse now While writing this, all of null-sec space in New Eden is still under constant assault. He’s only managed to get a bit of sleep in between helping coordinate defenses and his regular diplomatic duties—not to mention juggling a full-time job. The Greybill. The Greybill But at the same time, years of effort by tens of thousands of players is collectively at risk.

We set up full well knowing the risks, and are prepared to fight anyone for our right to be here. NPCs don’t sleep, they don’t get tired, they don’t have to wake people up or take off work to show up for a timer.

They just exist one second, shoot, and then despawn. EVE is supposed to be a sandbox driven by human interaction and intrigue. This just feels contrived.

That initially led many to believe this was all some kind of horrific accident or bug, but now the consensus is that this invasion was planned. But because major shifts in EVE Online’s delicate ecosystem have always been communicated months or years in advance, no one expected this. I reached out to CCP Games personally, and a spokesperson said they “reached out to the Drifters for comment, but they rejected our hailing frequencies.

If that’s the case, EVE Online could be headed for its most dramatic upheaval in the 16 years since it was first launched. It’s nearly been a full day since the invasion started, and Dran and the other players I’ve spoken to are confused, frustrated, and shaken. They’ve spent years building and protecting their empires, and now CCP seems poised to burn everything down. What will happen next is anyone’s guess.

15. Kestrel

Image credit: On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of players across the lawless regions of null-sec space, where EVE Online’s fabled player-created empires battle for supremacy, were ambushed by fleets belonging to a mysterious non-player faction known as Drifters. Until now. What we do know is that almost all of EVE Online’s biggest factions, like The Imperium and TEST Alliance, have had their home stations sieged by Drifter fleets, each numbering in the hundreds, while smaller Drifter squads are ambushing anyone travelling through nearby systems.

VIDEO: EVE Online – GameSpot

EVE Online and the EVE logo are the registered trademarks of CCP hf. All rights are reserved worldwide. All other trademarks are the property of their respective. For a game seemingly about immortal pilots waging interstellar wars, EVE Online has a surprising amount of ties to reality. Stories from EVE. EVE ONLINE PORTAL, the official companion app to EVE Online, will allow both new and experienced players to stay connected to the EVE universe at all times.

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