Posted in: Tattle, Technology

Welcome to EVE Online: the spaceship game where high-flyers live out their imperial fantasies

This seductive sandbox attracts Washington lawyers and real-life rocket scientists to a safe space for virtual villainy

As the roar of revellers reverberates around a rowdy Reykjavik, you would be forgiven for thinking this was an average Friday night. Yet among the bearded Icelanders quietly sipping their Einstök is a different kind of drinker: multiplayer spaceship game EVE Online’s intergalactic elite. On one May weekend each year, this island becomes the playground of the world’s most devoted gaming community.

For those who don’t know their Minmatar from their Caldari, EVE Online is a hugely complex player-led video game, a virtual spaceship sandbox where – in the right hands – spreadsheets are as powerful as space fleets. Its complex history has been written by its players, with numerous fascinating tales of wars, betrayals and heists. Because the developers of the game rarely interfere, EVE is an experience that often feels less like a video game and more like a libertarian social experiment. As such, it attracts an intellectual – and extremely driven – player base.

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