Set to rival the legendary Battle of Asakai, months of preparation between two of the game's largest player-run alliances has led to them duking it out in one of the largest pitched space battles the hardcore Space MMO has ever seen.

The conflict between the TEST Alliance and the... well, the Clusterfuck Coalition (more commonly known as the CFC) is currently taking place in a small sector of space known as the 6VDT system, with over 4000 ships taking part in battle. The Battle of Asakai, which was fought at a similar size, ended with over $20000 in damages and losses for the CFC - that's not equivalent to in game currency or something, that's twenty thousand actual US dollars.

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Due to the immense size of the battle, CCP, Eve Online's developers, have isolated every player taking part down to a single server, and slowed down in-game time by 90% in an attempt to ensure that network issues don't get in the way of thousands of ships attempting to blow the living bejeezus out of each other.

There's no telling as to who's currently winning in this early stage of the conflict, but if you're interested in taking a peek into the world of one of gaming's most complex and interesting MMOs, you can follow the battle live on one of the participant's Twitch TV Channel. Be warned though: it looks incredibly confusing if you've not seen EVE in action before.

UPDATE: The Battle for 6VDT is, essentially, over! The CFC, after over 4 hours of combat, has begun to chase down the remaining TEST Alliance ships, who,without reinforcements and without a safe harbour in the sector, will most likely be destroyed. TEST gave the order for Star Burst - for pilots to break formation and scatter - at around 7pm EST. There was a total of roughly 650 ships destroyed in the engagement at the time the order was given.

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Erlendur Þorsteinsson, Software Director for CCP, confirmed on twitter that with 4070 combatants, 6VDT was home to the largest ever battle in EVE's history:

UPDATE 2: CFC have successfully routed the TEST Alliance stragglers after 5 hours of combat. The final total of destroyed ships was over 2,900 - just over 70% of the participating fleets.

[All pictures via The Verge]