This article is sponsored by CCP. Start playing the game now by signing up here.
EVE Online may be turning 16, but it’s never looked better. In fact, there are few current-gen sci-fi games that can match EVE’s amazing visuals. Across the fictional galaxy of New Eden, there are plenty of mind-blowing sights to see, whether they be massive planets and stars, strange nebulae, or the remains of bloody battles still floating in the vacuum of space.
Out of the countless points of interest in EVE, the following 15 examples stand out, not just for their beauty but for what they mean to the game and its community. Join us on a tour of New Eden, in celebration of the game’s anniversary on May 6!
15) The Scars of Caldari Prime
The Luminaire system holds the ancestral home planets of two of EVE’s major NPC Empires, the Caldari State and the Gallente Federation. Hundreds of years prior to the start of the game’s story, the Caldari were a sub-faction of the Gallente, and the future rivals co-existed on the same worlds until the discovery of interstellar travel. With a whole galaxy now ready to explore, the Caldari began to colonize other planets in secret, attempting to break away from the Gallente Federation, which led to hostilities between the two factions. These hostilities led to a war that raged for over a hundred years.
The two factions were forced into a tense peace by the beginning of EVE Online‘s story, but relations rapidly degraded. In an attempt to secure their homeworld, Caldari forces, in a massive show of force, moved a Leviathan-class titan, the Shiigeru, into low orbit around Gallente Prime, claiming that any further aggression against them would result in the Gallente being bombed into nothingness by the massive spaceship.
On March 23rd, 2013, the conflict over Caldari Prime came to a stunning conclusion. In the skies above the planet, NPC Dreadnaughts, capital ships designed to inflict as much damage as possible, arrived to assault the Shiigeru. Players in both EVE Online and the FPS tie-in game, Dust 514, were invited to fight for the fate of the planet in real time. They could join any side of the conflict, fighting for the Caldari, the Gallente, or even free fire on one another in the massive 2,100 player brawl. As the battle dragged on, the NPC-controlled dreadnoughts ripped the Shiigeru to pieces with overwhelming firepower, turning the titan into a fiery wreck, which marked the conclusion of the event.
Those playing on Dust 514 witnessed something else entirely: the horrifying sight of the Shiigeru breaking apart in low orbit and plummeting towards the planet. Part of the Shiigeru’s superstructure made impact with Caldari Prime and the destruction was apocalyptic. In the days that followed, Dust 514 players fought to capture objectives in the shadow of the stricken Leviathan, while EVE players looked on at the terrible scarring left on planet’s surface.
The surface of the planet was forever changed, now covered in massive impact craters that continue to burn to this day. Caldari Prime remains a painful reminder of an epic battle as well as a sight to behold for those players interested in learning more about the game’s history.
14) Space Oddity
One of the major “career paths” for players in EVE Online is that of the explorer. Players who choose this path seek to unearth lost relics or to re-discover ancient knowledge from times long forgotten. During your quest, you might even uncover something unexpected and truly unique.
In this case, a one-of-a-kind shuttle born of a bygone era and drifting forever across the stars. Little is known about this ship, and the only clue as to the identity of the pilot is that his name is Tom.
As this enigmatic ship flies by, your scans reveal the following: this mysterious shuttle is slowly traveling through the galaxy, following a predetermined course from some unknown origin. Although similarities between its design and some current starships can be discerned, this vessel appears to predate those ships by many centuries. Scans indicate that the shuttle once had room for a single occupant but now lies empty, sailing onward in silent memory of the visionary pilot it once ferried.
The vessel is identified on the screen as “Tom’s Shuttle,” and to find it, you have to successfully calibrate your sensors to identify a spatial anomaly named “Space Oddity.” The location and vessel are an obvious tribute to singer/songwriter David Bowie and his song about a fictional Major Tom, drifting in space thousands of miles from Earth.
The “Space Oddity” is neutral to all players and completely immune to all forms of damage, and there is no in-game advantage to be gained from finding it. On top of that, discovering it is insanely difficult, as Tom’s Shuttle only appears in one system a day, out of the thousands that exist within New Eden. Occasionally though, an explorer will manage to track Tom down and share his location with people interested in visiting the shuttle for some quiet meditation with a fellow traveler of the stars.
13) Cloud Ring Nebula
The galaxy of New Eden is broken down into about 70 star clusters known as regions. The look and feel of these regions vary based on the area of the galaxy they’re in, the empires that control them, and their astronomical features.
When traveling through New Eden, the stars seen in the background actually represent the systems that you are able to travel to. Your ship’s navigation computer will overlay these stars with the path that you are taking, allowing you to watch the progress of your journey as stars and nebulae recede or grow depending on where you are in relation to them.
One of the most breathtaking of these nebulae is the Cloud Ring. Upon approaching the Cloud Ring region in the Western Rim of the galaxy, the roughly circular nebula that the region gets its name from appears and begins to grow larger as your ship travels across dozens of light-years of space. Once a ship enters the region, the pale green sea of gas suddenly dominates the sky. The ring-shaped nebula can be seen cradling star systems in almost every direction, providing one of the best examples of EVE’s dynamic space scenery.
12) The Remains of Steve
Titans are the largest ships that exist in EVE Online. They are massively expensive and require years of traditional skill training for a player to be fully prepared to pilot one. In the game’s current state, massive super-alliances with tens of thousands of players under their banner are able to field hundreds of these incredible vessels. When they were first introduced, however, a single titan could mean the difference between total victory and a crushing defeat.
Steve is generally considered to be the first of his kind in New Eden, born in 2006 to the industrial superpower of the time, Ascendant Frontiers. Steve was an Avatar-class titan, with more hit points than any other ship in the game and equipped with a “Doomsday” superweapon capable of destroying entire fleets of enemy ships. Steve was also the first of his kind to die. He was turned into a loose collection of burning wreckage by a hostile alliance after only 77 days of life.
At the time, the idea of a vessel like Steve existing, much less getting destroyed in battle, was almost unthinkable to the player base of EVE Online. After this momentous act of violence occurred during the Battle of C9N-CC, the community began asking CCP to erect a permanent memorial to Steve to mark this important moment in the game’s history. CCP obliged, creating a monument in the form of the wrecked hull of the ship, located in the star system where Steve saw its last moments. The wreck has floated in space ever since, serving as a reminder to all EVE players that no ship is invincible.
11.) Stars of New Eden
At the center of every accessible system in EVE Online lies a star. Similar to their real-life counterparts, these stars are massive infernos providing light to the planets orbiting around them. Stars are also a major factor in the game’s dynamic lighting system, which takes a player’s relative location into account when rendering ships in space. This enables objects like space stations, planets, and large asteroids to cast vast shadows over areas, and adds to the immersion of piloting ships in different parts of the galaxy.
Up close, these celestial infernos are incredibly detailed. Their surfaces are covered in fiery tornadoes, solar flares, and massive solar weather patterns — all of the things you would see if you were able to get up close to the Sun.
There are twelve different varieties of stars shedding light on the galaxy of New Eden, from relatively diminutive white dwarfs to massive red giants, and each type has its own patterns and unique characteristics.
Above, you can see the star that illuminates the Thera system, shining incredibly bright next to a wormhole.
10.) Jita 4-4 Undock
The Jita system is the center of commerce in EVE Online. It’s the largest market hub in the game and players from all areas of the galaxy haul their goods to and from this singular point. And there is no place in Jita more heavily trafficked by ships than the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant, a space station orbiting around the fourth moon of the fourth planet from Jita’s star.
The Jita system was once also a major hub for the game’s PvE focused mission runners. Jita provided access to some of the most accessible and lucrative NPC missions, very favorable connections to nearby systems that made traveling to objectives quick and easy, and plenty of asteroid belts for players to extract resources from. Over time, market-focused players began stocking the system with goods to sell to these mission runners and setting up industrial installations to consume the resources produced by miners inside of the system.
In an attempt to prevent Jita from becoming the one and only trade hub in the game, CCP removed the asteroid belts from the system and reduced the quality of the PvE missions. The damage was already done though, as the supply and demand from traders and players kept Jita cemented as the number one place to get your shopping done in New Eden. Rather than continue to try to force players away from the system, CCP eventually embraced Jita, going so far as to place it on a dedicated server node due to the massive traffic in and out of the system.
New players looking to start their adventure in EVE are often shepherded towards Jita to find their footing in the game. When they arrive, they are treated to the sight of a game alive with commerce and examples of almost every ship in the game, from behemoth freighters to nimble fighters. The undock of the Jita trade hub is one of the busiest and awe-inspiring places in the game, any time of day or night.
9.) Molea Cemetery
In a game famed for destruction, treachery, and murder, a monument to peaceful reflection always stands out. The player-created cemetery in the Molea system is one such place.
This mausoleum drifting in orbit above the second planet in Molea is run by user Azia Burgi and offers a place for other players of all creeds to come and erect a monument to someone they’ve lost. Originally intended to as a final resting place for the macabre in-game corpse items leftover after destroying a pilot’s escape pod, the cemetery’s role began to change as players ventured from all parts of New Eden to lay friends and loved ones to rest. Hundreds of canisters hang in space around the control tower anchored by Azia bearing the names of the fallen.
It is theorized that this area of space has been officially made “sacred” by CCP, as the anchored storage containers which act as coffins seem unaffected by the normal rules of the game. Normally, items left abandoned in space disappear after 30 days, purged from the game’s database in an attempt to reduce clutter. The containers within the Molea cemetery do not seem to follow those rules.
8.) Amarr Royal Honor Guard
In high anchor around the capital of the Amarrian Empire, Amarr Prime, the Honor Guard of Empress Catiz I provides a symbol of strength and security. The Amarr are one of the four main NPC empires in EVE Online lore and they boast the largest standing navy in the game.
The Honor Guard is a stark display of Amarrian naval superiority. It consists of multiple 13-kilometer-long Avatar-class titans — 12 of them, in fact. Titans, or most types of capital ships, are not normally found in high-security space, as players are expressly prohibited from bringing these massive vessels into secure space by the game’s in-universe police force, CONCORD.
This makes Amarr Prime one of the few places where a player can safely catch a glimpse of a titan without being blown up by it. The combination of the vessels flying in perfect formation and the highly detailed surface of Amarr Prime make for a beautiful picture of the pride and majesty of the Imperial Fleet.
7.) Titanomachy in the B-R5RB System
The Bloodbath of B-R5RB is one of the most influential battles in all of EVE Online’s history. It was a grueling conflict, played out in real time over 20 consecutive hours, and at the end of the day, over 6,000 people were involved in the main battle or in skirmishes in nearby systems.
Once the guns ceased fire, the death toll was absolutely staggering. 75 titans had been reduced to burning slag alongside hundreds of smaller capital-class vessels, a record that has only recently, years after the legendary brawl, been challenged. Almost immediately, the EVE community began asking for a monument to commemorate the wanton destruction.
Fortuitously, the ability to deliver an appropriate memorial was added to the game in the Rubicon expansion, which launched a mere three days after the fight’s conclusion. One of the features added in Rubicon was unique wrecks designed to resemble the smoldering hull of a destroyed titan.
The game’s developers painstakingly assembled a diorama of discarded and lifeless ship hulls, anchoring them permanently in space around the site of the battle. Alongside the wrecks, a structure bearing the names of all of the players whose titan’s had been destroyed in the fateful battle was erected, ensuring that they would forever be remembered in EVE history.
6.) Katia Sae Monument
EVE player Katia Sae recently celebrated the completion of a 10-year mission to explore and document every single star system in New Eden. Yes, all 7,806 of them. Even more impressive than the task itself was the fact that Katia remained dedicated to her mission of peace the entire time, never attacking another soul and never losing a single ship throughout the entire process.
Players were quick to congratulate Katia on being the first to accomplish such an impressive and unique milestone. Her corporation, Signal Cartel, went as far as to throw a massive in-game party with thousands of fireworks to show its admiration. As it would turn out, players were not the only ones to take notice of Katia’s achievement. A few days after Katia completed her journey, CCP Falcon, EVE’s senior community developer, reached out on Twitter to offer Katia a rare and unique reward.
Courtesy of Falcon, Katia was spirited away to the mysterious Polaris system, a developer-only star system used by CCP when something has to be tested or logged inside the game engine. Katia was given a guided tour of the system by Falcon, cementing her reign as one of EVE’s all-time greatest explorers. Unbeknownst to Katia, there would be yet another token of appreciation and recognition presented to her.
During the first stop in the EVE Fanfest 2019 World Tour, a series of real-life events around the globe to celebrate EVE Online and its community, a one of a kind monument was unveiled. The monument is an exact replica of Katia’s character model, rendered in gold and over 10 kilometers in height. It was placed next to the stargate which began Katia’s journey in her home system of Saisio and is a permanent testament to both the lengths an EVE player will go to make their mark on the game world and the deep appreciation CCP has for its community.
5.) Drifter Hive Wormhole
Even years after their introduction to the game, the Drifter Wormholes remain one of the most mysterious areas of EVE Online. This is due to a combination of the incredible danger posed by the Drifter NPCs as well as the enigmatic items harvested from these areas.
There are five different Drifter Wormhole systems in the known galaxy and each of them contains a variety of combat anomalies for players to investigate and explore. At the center of each of the five are the massive Drifter Hive sites. These are guarded by powerful patrols of Drifter vessels, who aggressively seek and destroy intruders.
If you manage to defeat the Drifter battleships and discover the correct sequence of items needed to open the puzzle-like gate structures inside the Hive, you’ll be able to access the Nexus at the center of the hive. The Nexus contains hundreds of mysterious metal shards drifting through space in ever-changing patterns, sparking with energy.
The purpose of the Nexus structures remains a mystery, but players have noted that over time the general shape of the structures has changed, first appearing in a ring-like shape, reminiscent of a stargate, before breaking apart over the course of weeks and forming a loose, S-shaped chain.
4.) Abyssal Deadspace
The vast majority of EVE Online’s “space” has remained the same since the games’ launch almost two decades ago. The quality of EVE’s visuals improved over time — new background skybox art and higher quality textures and models for celestial objects have been added — but for the most part, the environments didn’t change. EVE’s 2018 expansion, Into the Abyss, changed all that, though, by adding the Abyssal Deadspace: small, radically different pockets of space unlike anything else in New Eden. Inside of the Abyssal pockets, players will find unique visuals and challenges.
Waiting in these pockets are dangerous asteroids the size of space stations, corrosive nebulae, and devastating weather effects that threaten to tear unprepared vessels to shreds. These areas are cast in pale shadows from ancient, weakening stars, lending the Deadspace a spooky quality. While inside of these instanced pockets of space, the game’s camera controls are more restricted in a bid to help portray the inherent danger and scale of the new areas.
Also lurking within Abyssal Deadspace are the mysterious Triglavian NPCs, who fly sleek ships designed with smooth edges and sweeping wings arranged to resemble gaping maws, seemingly to imitate spaceborne predators hunting through the gloom.
3.) Triglavian Construction Site
Deep inside Abyssal Deadspace lay other wonders and horrors. Only in the last few months have players begun to stumble onto massive shipyards that lay deep in the most dangerous reaches of the Abyss.
The specifics of what is being built inside these shipyards is not clear, but judging from player-led exploration missions in the area, the scale is absolutely immense. Whatever the Triglavians are building dwarfs anything that players are able to assemble themselves, with the exception of Keepstar-class citadels.
This particular attraction is the current centerpiece of EVE’s ongoing storyline, with more and more data being released through in-game communications with pilots who manage to reach the area and survive to tell the tale. (Surviving these recon mission is a feat in itself.)
It is possible that this impressive construction yard is a temporary addition to the game and will evolve into something new over the coming months. For now, exploration missions continue…
2.) Nullsec Empire Staging Keepstar
First introduced in the trailer for the 2016 Citadel expansion, the Keepstar-class Citadel is one of the most impressive points of interest in EVE Online and there are hundreds of them. Keepstars are the largest structures found in New Eden. Hundreds of kilometers across in any direction, they dwarf every other ship, station, or structure in the game.
Because of their incredible size, they are the only space stations in the game capable of providing a safe place to dock and store titans or supercarriers, making them invaluable assets to the large Null Security alliances. The vast majority of these alliances own at least one Keepstar battle station and generally use it as the focal point of their empires, staging thousands of ships inside of the superstructure.
When these alliances go to war, these ships all come streaming out of the various egress points of the Keepstar, giving them the appearance of angry wasps swarming out of their hive. During times of peace, the stations are generally surrounded by fleets of ships ready and waiting to jump into immediate action, displaying the wealth and power of the alliance that calls the Keepstar home. Most impressive is that Keepstars aren’t seeded into the game and require teams of players to gather insane amounts of resources to assemble one.
Having that kind of strategic and financial value also makes Keepstars tempting targets between warring factions. Since their introduction, almost all of the largest battles have been fought near these space stations, with one side desperately defending, while the other does its best to destroy the stronghold.
1.) EVE Gate
The EVE Gate is the source of everything in EVE Online. Thousands of years ago, before the rise of the four NPC empires, before the advent of the player-controlled capsuleers, ancient spacefarers left Earth and traveled through this massive, seemingly stable wormhole. The wormhole led them to an uninhabited paradise, with thousands of star systems and tens of thousands of planets capable of hosting human life. Millions of travelers left Earth to make their home in the newly discovered galaxy dubbed “New Eden.”
Years after the colonization effort began, the EVE Gate wormhole’s stability faltered and it suffered a catastrophic collapse. Shockwaves from the collapse ripped through every system in New Eden, destroying almost all of the technological wonders brought from Earth and leaving the inhabitants of New Eden scattered, isolated, and incapable of space travel. Over thousands of years, the stranded humans would yearn to reach the stars again, and eventually, they would emerge from their planets to begin colonizing the galaxy.
The collapse of the EVE Gate left a scar in space where the wormhole once existed. The pulsating chaotic energy coming off of the site which once connected New Eden and Earth is hypnotic to behold and serves as a pilgrimage site for a great many EVE players. When entering the system containing the EVE Gate, it’s not uncommon to find notes to lost friends cast into the void or temporary structures detailing the end of a players’ pilgrimage to the gate.
The EVE Gate is not currently approachable by players, as its chaotic nature does not allow navigation systems to lock onto it, but as long as it has existed in-game, players have dreamed of one day being able to travel through it to find Earth. But others fear that the Earthlings themselves may one day come through the Gate to find their wayward children and reconquer New Eden.
Lee Yancy is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here.