Over 2,000 spaceships, including dozens over a kilometer long, with powerful weapons that can annihilate smaller ships in a single shot, are raining fire down on the few remaining defenders of the Ticonderoga, a space station that orbits a barren planet called ZXB-VC II.

This all takes place in EVE Online, the popular space themed online roleplaying game, which captured attention last year with a battle lasted 22 hours, cost 20 million virtual soldiers, and $300,000 in real world dollars.

EVE Online is known for its truly massive games — all players play in a single galaxy, New Eden — and for its player-driven, laissez-faire approach to galactic economics, politics and warfare. The interactions in this player-owned space are so complicated and vital, that CCP, the developers of EVE, had to hire an economist. Greeceā€™s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has blogged extensively about it.

And this is a chance to see a battle happening in real time. See the strange beauty of a virtual battle, attack ships a kilometer long firing off the shoulder of Delve, laser beams glitter in the ash around the Ticonderoga battlestation, all these moments, like the $4,200 in destroyed spaceships, will be lost in time.

(Image: EVE Online)