Lately, the EVE community is buzzing about a potentially galaxy-shattering invasion. It’s not one designed by the game’s creators or by one of the current power blocs looking to start a new great war. Rather, players from EVE’s dedicated Chinese server, called Serenity, are planning to join the rest of EVE’s single shard environment.
While most players in China play on Serenity, non-Chinese countries play on an international server called Tranquility. The reason for the separation of the two communities is long and tedious, built on licensing agreements between EVE publisher CCP Games and various Chinese partner organisations. These agreements, combined with rules from the Chinese government, have kept the two game servers separate since Serenity’s creation in 2006.
A few times the two player groups have come together to compete on international tournament servers, such as during the “Worlds Collide” tournament that pitted teams from each server against each other. There are some Chinese players on international servers, some members of the Fraternity alliance, for instance, use VPN connections and other methods to connect to Tranquility and currently hold large areas of its conquerable space.
Recently, players have been suspecting at least some of the separation might be coming to a close. Some users on the EVE subreddit have shared communications purported to be from the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community, or PIBC, the largest player-run coalition on the Chinese Serenity server. These communications detail the PIBC’s plans to invade Tranquillity and establish a foothold. Screenshots posted to reddit by user FRT-panda, a member of one of the Chinese language groups already playing on Tranquility, show a gathering of nearly two thousand players attending the announcement on YY, a Chinese social media and voice chat software.
The screenshot and others like it have been circulating on the EVE subreddit. As they are not in English, players have been relying on translators to provide context on what is being said. Reddit user JHXSMatthew provided a brief translation for one of FRT-Panda’s screenshots, showcasing the meeting minutes from PIBC’s announcement.
According to the translation, PIBC will attempt to make a foothold in Tranquility. Their goal in coming to Tranquility, leaving their assets and territories on Serenity behind, is to seek new challenges and find more players to fight. They aren’t immediately looking for a strong ally to protect them, which many players hope will cause them to fight for their territory, rather than acquiring it via diplomacy. According to the translation, the PIBC will welcome Chinese and non-Chinese players and won’t force their players still on Serenity to join them.
Another reason for the migration is that for all intents and purposes, PIBC seems to have achieved as close to total victory as a group can expect to in EVE Online. They and their allies have almost complete control over the vast majority of capturable space on Serenity. Several groups of their enemies have already made the transition to playing on Tranquility with the rest of the world. According to the translations of the meetings, the PIBC players are willing to leave old vendettas and allegiances behind them to create a united Chinese front and begin building a new empire.
There are many reasons that players might want to cross the digital divide between worlds. Some make the transition looking for new challenges, to research tactics in a completely foreign metagame, or because they feel like they are being forced into the transition by their enemies. One of the few groups to make the transition in reverse, going from Tranquility to Serenity, is Rooks and Kings, who created a video documenting some of the struggles happening on Serenity over the last few years. The video covers the history of several major factions native to Serenity, including the group rumoured to be staging the current switchover.
So far, the invasion is off to an impressive start. Already PIBC has formed into a group of over 900 pilots, calling themselves The Army of the Mango Alliance, and are already playing on Tranquility. The alliance was founded around ten days ago, and though they have yet to begin conquering any space for themselves, they are rapidly expanding. The alliance is growing by the day, and as those players begin to establish themselves, more will surely follow.
If PIBC follow through with their plans, the entire face of EVE Online could change. A new group of players fighting for limited territory could ignite wars that last for years, as players are displaced and attempt to find new areas to call their own.
As for the players who are native to Tranquility, their opinions on the move are varied. Some players fear that rumours of Serenity being filled with thousands of automated bot accounts are true and worry that the trend will carry over to Tranquility. Botting accounts generate income 24 hours a day, causing massive inflation, and though against the rules, can be difficult to track down and ban. For the most part, though, players seem receptive to fresh blood being injected into the game, and hope that the influx of what could be thousands of players will make a large impact on day to day operations in game.
Players largely seem to view the so-called invasion in a positive light: EVE is a game that thrives on content created by its players. Adding a few thousand more to the mix should be a positive change overall.