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Video game starship worth $9,000 destroyed in ambush

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Fake ship, real money (Credit: CCP Games)

Imagine spending years devoting your time and your finances to acquiring an impressive video game spaceship, one of the biggest and most valuable the gaming world has ever seen.

Now imagine all of that work being destroyed in minutes.

One player of the long-running online game EVE Online experienced that horror Sunday, when an ambush destroyed his supercarrier valued at a whopping $9,000.

The massive world of EVE Online is all about buying, piloting and blowing up spaceships. It’s not for the faint at heart, in part because its in-game currency, called ISK (Interstellar Kredits), carries a real-world value. The Revenant -- one of only three ships that big in existence -- carries a value of 309 billion ISK, making it among the priciest bits of code in the game.

That also made it quite the target.

The ambush played out with plenty of intrigue. Players in the Pandemic Legion received an SOS and assumed it was a player in distress. It turns out the player they had put in charge of leading their fleet was actually a spy for an opposing group, who led them directly into a bunch of dreadnaughts and supercarriers. The owner of the Revenant, a player named TSID, could do little to stop the virtual bloodbath, and the rest is EVE Online history.

The economy in EVE Online is a living thing. CCP, the game's developer, actually has an economist in-house who monitors the virtual world, working to curb inflation or introducing new types of technology to absorb currency. It’s like a virtual Federal Reserve, selling bonds to shrink the money supply.

Technically, players cannot exchange ISK for real-world cash, but CCP does let them use that in-game currency to buy real-world objects (such as graphics cards) and 30-day game time codes.

This isn't the first time the game has seen major losses. Eight months ago, a ship carrying valuable blueprints worth $6,000 in real-world money was destroyed by other players. And while losing a $9,000 spaceship is a serious bummer, the Revenant is still a far cry from the most expensive video game object, an honor held by a $350,000 space station in fellow online world Project Entropia.

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