In 2014, an Eve Online player by the name of Vily was a fleet commander for one of the most powerful groups in the game. After helping to lead thousands of other players on successful campaigns across the virtual galaxy, he informed his in-game boss that he needed to step away for a real-world military deployment. When he returned just a few months later, Vily learned that he had effectively been laid off.
“When I came back,” Vily told Sports Grind Entertainment during an interview last week, “they were like, ‘No, we don’t really need you anymore.’ So I said, ‘All right. If you’re going to ignore the contributions I’ve made over these four or five years, I’ll go do something else somewhere else. And I’ll enjoy tearing you down, if that’s the game you want to play.’”
Five years later, Vily is a fleet commander once more. This time he’s in charge of one of the most massive fleets in gaming history. Tens of thousands of player-owned accounts have rallied to his flag. The target of his virtual conquest? None other than his former employer, the notorious Alex “The Mittani” Gianturco.
Multiple sources inside and outside the conflict tell Sports Grind Entertainment that the pieces are in place for an epic confrontation, one that could spell the end of Goonswarm — one of the most powerful factions in Eve Online.
The Casino War
Eve Online is a complex, massively multiplayer spacefaring game that first launched in 2003. Developed by Iceland-based CCP Games, it’s unusual for a number of reasons. Virtually everything in the game world — every bullet, every starship, and every industrial outpost — is created and owned by players. So when player-led factions go to war against each other, the destruction they cause has tangible consequences. Eve is also unique in that the entire world comes together on the same server (excluding some players in China). Eve regularly makes headlines for the size and scope of its battles.
New Eden, as the galaxy of Eve Online is known, has enjoyed a period of relative peace and prosperity since 2016. That’s when World War Bee, also referred to as The Casino War, came to a close. That conflict was fueled artificially by external gambling websites, which funneled massive amounts of in-game currency into a galaxy-spanning war. Once those websites — and many of the players who owned them — were banished from the game, things more or less calmed down.
As David “Matterall” Mora, host of the Talking in Stations podcast, puts it, the world of Eve fell into an uneasy peace. The Imperium, led by Gianturco’s Goonswarm, and two other powerful coalitions — Test Alliance Please Ignore and Pandemic Horde — sidelined their battle fleets and began to acquire wealth.
“It’s called ‘empire building,’” Mora said. “That means you build roads, you build industry, you accumulate resources… and you build war machines.”
But the time for building powerful new starships has come to a close. In late June, Vily — now a leader in Test Alliance — gave notice to his former employer, Gianturco, that their non-invasion pact had come to an end.
Two weeks later, on July 5, he attacked. And he brought Pandemic, as well as a third faction called Fraternity, along with him for the ride.
“He’s essentially Darth Vader looking at the Emperor,” Mora said. “Vily turned on him in order to, in his mind, save the game.”
World War Bee 2
The conflict that has been raging for more than two months is now known as World War Bee 2. On one side is The Imperium, with some 29,000 player accounts all in. On the other side is Vily’s Test Alliance, with his allies at Pandemic Horde and Fraternity, in a massive new coalition named PAPI. Theirs is a formidable force, with a reported 1,000 super capital starships and 52,000 player-owned accounts involved in the fight.
Vily tells Sports Grind Entertainment that PAPI’s goal is nothing less than the complete destruction of The Imperium, and the potent group known as Goonswarm that sits at its core.
“When we started this war, we knew that we were fighting this to the end,” Vily told Sports Grind Entertainment. “For us, this is a war of extermination. This is a war to the death. We are aiming for the removal of Mittani and The Imperium from Eve Online. […] We are here to purge them.”
Of course, Vily knows he won’t be able to remove The Mittani from the game unless Gianturco literally deletes his account. But Vily says he is committed to permanently damaging Gianturco and his faction — potentially enough to cause its members to splinter and break apart into smaller groups.
Gianturco tells Sports Grind Entertainment he’s taking the threat seriously.
“These guys have no excuse but to actually attack our real home region,” Gianturco said during an interview last week. Even as he cast aspersions on the attackers, calling them ill-prepared and slow to act, he admitted they represent a danger to The Imperium.
Geographically, Gianturco is being pressed up against the southwestern edge of the Eve galaxy. His fleets hold just a handful of sectors, including some that are hard to defend but which serve as a moat slowing down his enemies. On the other side of the moat is Delve, a region of space that his Goonswarm has held for roughly a decade. There are only a few narrow choke points available to enter the sector, and PAPI is slowly tightening its grip on all of them.
With a powerful enemy at the gates, Gianturco made the decision to call for reinforcements. On Sept. 8 he sent out an email to every player who has ever been a part of Goonswarm since its inception in the early 2000s.
“You knew this day would come; you knew that you would be called,” the email reads. “Only as a last resort; only when it matters most, when the fate of our tribe and the galaxy itself hangs in the balance. The Horn of Goondor, only to be sounded in our darkest hour, when the enemy is at the gates of Fortress Delve and it is time to win or die. […] There has never been a bigger defensive war in the history of Eve Online, and we’re going win this thing — or lose every last Titan we own in the process.”
To hear Gianturco tell it, the missive is working. Hundreds of players are answering the call, reactivating their accounts and streaming in to bolster his lines. The plan is to hold firm, and force his enemies to commit their forces. The way he describes it, PAPI may as well be sailing into a trap.
“What we are looking to do here, as the defenders,” Gianturco said, “is specifically to force these guys to try to live up to what they told the galaxy they were doing.” The Mittani has been attacked before and lived to tell the tale, and he’s confident that he can do it again.
In fact, when we told him that Vily’s plan was extermination, he just laughed.
If you’re interested in joining the fray, both Vily and Gianturco tell Sports Grind Entertainment that now is a great time to jump into Eve Online. If you want to join on with PAPI as an attacker, the best place to get started is by heading to the Pandemic Horde’s official website or their Reddit page. If you’d rather join the defenders in The Imperium, head to the recruitment page for an allied organization known as Karmafleet.
Bose announces Sleepbuds II with improved design and (hopefully) no more battery issues
When Bose announced almost a year ago that it was discontinuing the Sleepbuds due to battery problems, I got several emails from disappointed readers who came to appreciate how well the earbuds had helped them get peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. Unlike regular earbuds, the Sleepbuds didn’t play your own music; they were designed to sit comfortably in your ears overnight and progress through a library of specially composed tracks that masked the kind of noises that can disrupt bedtime.
Now, Bose is ready to try again — and the company seems confident that it got things right this time. The Sleepbuds II are coming on October 6th for $249.95. Preorders begin today. They’ve got an ultra-lightweight design, new proprietary ear tips for a snug all-night fit, and an expanded list of 35 tracks meant to “cover and replace” noise from neighbors, street traffic, dogs, and other late-night nuisances you might be dealing with.
Like the first time around, $250 feels rather expensive for a product this niche, but Bose says it has put a painstaking amount of research and engineering into the Sleepbuds II.
“Bose Sleepbuds II use advancements in our proprietary noise masking technology because covering sound — not canceling it — is better for sleeping,” Steve Romine, head of Bose’s health division, said in today’s press release. Bose says it has conducted a study to help back up claims that the Sleepbuds II genuinely lead to better sleep for most people who try them.
The updated Bose Sleep app has 14 tracks meant for noise-masking that mirror the frequencies of evening disruptions like footsteps, snoring partners, and idling engines outside your bedroom window. But there are also 15 “Naturescapes” that have been composed to help calm your mind and lower stress levels before bed.
Each Sleepbuds II earbud is a quarter-inch deep so that side-sleepers can comfortably wear them with their head against a pillow. There’s now an “anti-friction” coating that Bose says will prevent squeaking if the enclosure happens to rub against fabric. And the Sleepbuds II use a new antenna for an improved, more stable connection with your phone.
The battery was the downfall for the first-generation Sleepbuds, and Bose says it’s using a new NiMH battery that’s good for 10 hours of playback. (The aluminum charging case is good for an additional 30 hours.) You can store up to 10 tracks from the Sleep App directly on the earbuds, and they’re rated IPX4 for water and sweat resistance.
It’s been a busy September for Bose: the company has already announced the QuietComfort Earbuds, Sport Earbuds, and three new pairs of Frames audio sunglasses.
Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S: pricing, release date, and pre-orders
The next generation of Xbox is arriving in time for the 2020 holiday season. Microsoft is releasing two models: the flagship, more powerful Xbox Series X and a smaller, cheaper Xbox Series S.
Microsoft has revealed plenty of details about its new consoles, including the design, specs, and pricing. According to the company, the Xbox Series X is more than twice as powerful as the Xbox One X, with up to 8K resolution, 120 fps frame rates, and real-time ray tracing. The Xbox Series S is a less powerful model without a disc drive, which Microsoft says is the smallest Xbox ever.
Pre-orders for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will be available starting at 8 a.m. PDT on Sept. 22. Below, we break down everything we know about how, when, and where to buy a new Xbox, and we’ll update this story if and when we get more information.
When will Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S be released?
At The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft announced the Xbox Series X and gave a “holiday 2020” timeframe. On Sept. 9, the company confirmed that its new consoles will be released on Nov. 10, with pre-orders starting Sept. 22.
Where can I pre-order Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S?
Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will be available at most major retailers, listed below. We’ll update this post periodically as consoles are restocked throughout the pre-order window.
How much does Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S cost?
Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox Series X will cost $499.99 and the Xbox Series S will cost $299.99. Payment plans are available through Microsoft’s Xbox All Access program.
What’s Xbox All Access?
Microsoft offers a two-year, interest-free payment plan called Xbox All Access. Xbox All Access plans include the console of your choice and two years of Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s combined games subscription and online service. Under an Xbox All Access payment plan, Xbox Series X costs $34.99 per month for 24 months and the Xbox Series S costs $24.99 per month for 24 months.
The next US particle accelerator will be built on Long Island by 2031
Funding for the project will primarily come from the DOE, which expects to hand over anything up to $2.6 billion, with New York State adding an additional $100 million. That will pay for a 2.4-mile long ring to be built parallel to the collider that’s already in place at Brookhaven. It’s hoped that investment will pay off if researchers can understand the nature of how gluons bind these structures together.
For all the attention that CERN’s Large Hadron Collider gets, you may be forgiven for not knowing that Brookhaven already hosts one of its own. The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider is designed to fire heavy ions at each other in the hope of causing a collision which can be studied. According to one report, the RHIC will be retired in 2025 to make way for its replacement, which is expected to begin operations around 2031.
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