Michael Bonnet is better known as Siaka Stevens in Eve Online. He's part of the corporation 'I'm Fine And You' in the Goonswarm Federation alliance, and regularly writes for Eve news site themittani.com. He offered to catch us up on a major battle that occurred in Eve's Insmother region this week.
Earlier this week, Eve Online was host to another of its famously massive battles, this time destroying 1165 ships (over $13K) and involving over 1600 players. It all started because of a moon. In Eve, the majority of an alliance's income comes from mining moons, and as moons go this one wasn't very worthwhile. Composed of hafnium, it produces enough money per month to cover one to three advanced ships. This moon orbits a planet in system within a region currently at war, where the Triumvirate alliance and friends are fighting the Red Menace Coalition (RMC) over the Insmother region.
In the last war in that area of New Eden, Triumvirate was allied with RMC while fighting another group of Russians called the Geminate Coalition. Despite being allied, RMC never helped Triumvirate in their efforts. Once the war ended and Triumvirate became allied with the Geminate Coalition, Triumvirate wanted revenge. And so they went to war for Insmother.
The RMC has its reasons to fight, too. The original Red Alliance’s ancestral homeland was Insmother for years, and since then they've either wanted, held, or been fighting for it. When the alliance previously holding Insmother fell apart last year, Red Alliance and friends swooped in to reclaim their property. To RMC, Insmother is not just a place for fights but a place of history and emotion.
Now we come to the meat of the matter, the Battle of YPW-M4. To mine a moon you must erect a starbase in orbit around it. When this starbase is initially attacked it goes into a ‘reinforcement’ state, a condition of invulnerability for a set amount of time. Triumvirate set their timer to spark a fight with its opponents, and RMC delivered. Initially RMC deployed a fleet of dreadnaughts, huge damage output capital ships, alongside its subcapital Machariel-class battleship fleet. The dreadnaughts quickly destroyed the starbase and exited, RMC extracting them in favor of deploying Archon-class carriers, capital-sized repair platforms designed to keep the battleships alive.
Above: Part of the battle as seen from the perspective of an Interdictor.
In response, Triumvirate and its friends the Geminate Coalition deployed its own fleets of Machariel-class battleships and strategic cruisers along with dreadnoughts. The superior numbers quickly decimated the RMC Machariels and destroyed all of its carriers.
In Eve Online, when the enemy has superior subcapital and capital numbers you are in a precarious position. You have two options: concede and leave, or use your supercapital fleets, consisting of massive and expensive supercarriers and Titans, of which so many died in the storied Bloodbath of B-R5RB. RMC consists of many very old and experienced alliances with equally old and experienced players who are equipped with many supercapitals. So, rather than give up here, they chose to use them.
Triumvirate and the Geminate Coalition had been expecting this, as RMC has a history of flippantly using supercapitals. The pair deployed mass amounts of interdictors, ships that can generate energy fields preventing warp within them, thereby holding the supercapitals in place, or ‘tackling’ them. They also deployed their own supercapitals and ‘batphoned,’ or requested assistance from, the Northern Coalition alliance, another supercapital power. They then began moving their supercapital fleet (a long and arduous process) and also began moving a subcapital fleet of Proteus-, Legion-, and Loki-class strategic cruisers roughly 100 strong.
In response, RMC deployed another twenty or so dreadnaughts to try and defeat the Triumvirate/Geminate Coalition supercapitals with superior damage output. However, Triumvirate and friends were using unified armor supercapitals and dreadnoughts that easily held up against the onslaught through remote repairs (think of every ship as a priest from other games while still putting out damage—there are shield and armor 'priests'). In contrast, the RMC supercapitals were both armor and shield, making remote repairs much less effective, and their supercapitals began dying. Throughout all this RMC had been constantly returning in new ships only to be destroyed yet again, roughly three times in all. Another group of Russians known as the Stainwagon Coalition arrived in Cerberus-class heavy assault cruisers and attempted to help its friends in RMC but deployed with bad positioning, soon succumbing to Triumvirate/Geminate Coalition subcapitals.
Remember the Northern Coalition alliance supercapital fleet that began moving towards the fight? As it approached, it was tackled in the system of U-QVWD in Catch region by the Providence coalition and another group of players from Stainwagon Coalition. Its commander kept his cool, but one player did not. He warped his Aeon-class supercarrier away from everyone else and was a sitting duck. He died soon afterwards, as Northern Coalition alliance, Stainwagon Coalition, and the Providence Coalition all fought it out around the trapped supercapitals, no more of which perished. Rumor has it that Stainwagon supercapitals were on their way to kill the Northern Coalition capitals but bailed due to the possibility of the arrival of Northern Coalition-allied Pandemic Legion alliance supercapitals.
Above: A lengthier video of the battle from within Triumvirate-allied Russian comms.
Around this same time, a Pandemic Legion Ishtar-class heavy assault cruiser fleet arrived to help Triumvirate and friends. However, due to a miscommunication, Pandemic Legion began shooting Triumvirate. In response Triumvirate killed the Pandemic Legion commander, an action known as ‘headshotting.’ In response, Pandemic Legion headshoted the Triumvirate commander. After this mishap cooperation was achieved and they worked together to kill RMC supercapitals. This happened as the fighting in Insmother was winding down and RMC had nearly extracted its remaining supercapitals, having lost two titans and eight supercarriers.
Final extraction, however, does not mean the final shots. As the fighting ended in Insmother, Triumvirate and friends rushed to the aid of the trapped Northern Coalition. They arrived just as the last Titan made it out and fought the players still there, resulting in a good but not nearly as big brawl that spilled over into the adjacent system of 0SHT-A (yes, o sht) in the Curse region that ended fairly quickly.
All in all, the fighting involved 1694 players and resulted in 729.38 billion Interstellar Kredits destroyed, or $13,250 if converted to real money. 1165 ships were destroyed in three regions. All of this happened in just four and a half hours, long enough to fit into just one evening. While this battle was bloody, the war is far from over.
The author would like to thank Cpt. Patrick Archer of Triumvirate for his help in giving information for this article.