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Eve Online players rocked by unprecedented NPC attack

The mysterious Drifter faction has come screaming out of the void, and players are bearing the brunt of the attack

EVE Online players are under attack, and it turns out that this time, the game’s constantly waging rivalries aren’t to blame. Last night, players began reporting that Drifters – an NPC faction, which for the most part is a largely passive entity – are ganging up to take on players.

Drifter battleships are, according to Kotaku, more powerful than basically anything that players can actually pilot themselves. Their ships outrange and outdamage player craft, and feature almost impenetrable armour. Traditionally, individual ships can be found either protecting treasure troves in PvE areas, but sometimes pick on isolated player ships. Now, however, they’re swarming in fleets of several dozen ships.

As a result, players are scrambling, as ships, battle stations, and reportedly even escape pods – which most NPCs aren’t even capable of targeting – are being wiped out by Drifters. The NPCs are proving pretty resilient, returning to stations after their initial attacks to ensure they finish off their targets, potentially burning an enormous hole in Eve Online’s complex economies.

According to a post on Reddit, Eve developer CCP offered no warning ahead of the attacks. That’s against normal protocol, which sees players warned about major changes in advance, and given time to prepare. This time around, the Drifters have simply come screaming out of the void, and CCP is yet to confirm whether their actions are intentional.

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It seems likely that this is all part of the game’s recent Invasion expansion, although that definitely hasn’t been confirmed. To add salt to the wound, many players are still reeling from a PvP conflict, meaning the NPC attack has hit them at their weakest. It remains to be seen what action will be taken, but I like the idea of the different clans putting their differences aside to fight against a common enemy, Game of Thrones-style.