One of my favorite moments in film is the famous jump-scare in “Jaws:” Brodi chums the waters to attract the eponymous man-eating shark, but when the beast peeps its head out the water, the tables are turned – the hunter becomes the hunted. Stunned, Brodi backs up speechless and tells the captain “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” That’s what it felt like when the Imperium showed up to 9-4 a few days ago with more supers and titans than all of the north combined.
Months ago, the Imperium deployed a fleet of dreadnoughts to attack the northern regions of Northern Coalition (Vale) and Pandemic Legion (Tribute). The Hakonen campaign’s public goals were to make NCPL choose between helping GoTG with TEST, or keeping the Initiative’s moons in Syndicate.
The secret aim for most of the Imperium’s campaigns is to see what works. Fighting under the supercapital umbrella of NC and PL (the range in which supercapital ships can be used to strike) is a limiting scenario. The Imperium learned the cheap alternative to Macharials, Typhoons, are not as useful on fleets as they are on structures. The missile-based ships work better on stationary objects. The Imperium also tried long-range dreadnoughts and carriers.
The Imperium fleets were repeatedly destroyed as they tried to fortify forward positions, and decided better of it. They returned to Delve, leaving behind the only structure they could anchor – an Azbel shipyard to produce dreadnoughts for the campaign.
NCPL, with the added support of Mercenary Coalition (MC) and GotG (led by Darkness.), form a massive supercapital umbrella that can be relied upon to out-escalate invaders. NC. titan counts rival most other coalitions, but it is hard to prove since supercapital numbers are closely guarded secrets.
Fountain Sold to Imperium
Fountain is an awkward region, especially for capital ships. You can’t jump between KVN-36 to C-N40D in caps. This leaves only two heavily patrolled routes through, but if they are allowed to pass, supercapital fleets could move from Delve to Cloud Ring in 30-60 minutes through 13 gate jumps.
Fountain was mostly owned by a bored ‘The Culture’ alliance (formerly of Black Legion). They decided to sell the region, along with a Keepstar in J5A-IX, to the Imperium for 370 billion ISK. This purchase connected Delve to Cloud Ring.
Rise of AU tz
In December, Imperium’s Reavers (yes, they do exist) set up in ROIR-Y system (NPC Sisters of EVE space) and menaced Horde sov in Pure Blind. Imperium’s AUTZ, now enhanced by the infusion of migrating Chinese players, created a significant force that repeatedly roamed from their base 1DQ1-A, Delve. They targeted another AUTZ alliance, Rebel Alliance of New Eden (RANE), lowered ADMs in the area and attacked a few R64 moon mining operations. Pandemic Horde moved in to support RANE while defending their home in Pure Blind.
Horde set its defensive timers to AUTZ and called in the AUTZ-heavy GoTG Coalition, which had just returned from their campaign against DRF in the east. The fighting intensified, and Horde dropped a Keepstar as its forward operating base in 9-4RP2. From there, GotG and Horde dropped Nyx’s on raiding parties. Northern Coalition (NC) joined in the major fights, although most of NC was deployed in the south.
By early January, the Imperium’s AUTZ players appealed to leadership to allow them to take more expensive ships, based on their successes. The following weeks saw fights grow in size. Ultimately, Horde decided to shift from structure timers from AUTZ to EUTZ. This was a critical decision. It would allow NCPL to help out when they at their strongest, but the Imperium would also be able to bring higher numbers in that timezone – and faster since they can jump through Fountain.
Take Down that Tower!
GSF Skyteam member Asher Elias decides to take out the 9-4 Keepstar. Imperium’s supercapital fleet deploys North, sending NCPL intel buzzing. NC put their Providence campaign on hold and return north to assemble the NC “Hammer” (super capital fleet). Along with GotG, Horde, and PL, forming the Northern Forces.
The 9-4RP2 Keepstar was attacked Monday, January 15, setting up a massive fight 24 hours later. These are approximate numbers:
2,400 Imperium total pilots
– 240-250 Titans (mixed shields and armor)
– 340 supers
3,000 Northern Forces total pilots
– 230 titans
– 280 supers
In a fight like this, the supers and titans are staged within jump range, where they wait until needed.
The Imperium jumped in armor supers and a fleet of carriers. NC jumped in three NC suicide titans that tried to Boson-doomsday the balled-up carrier fleet, but the titans jumped in too close and only grazed the carriers. Two of the three titans were destroyed quickly, but one escaped. The Imperium’s decision to switch fire to the titans allowed the Keepstar to repair its’ shield and become safe.
Mission accomplished. The Northern Forces stood down.
The Imperium stayed and reinforced the Keepstar again, setting up another armor timer the following day. That time the North stayed home, allowing the Imperium to reinforce the Keepstar into a final structure timer. That time is up on Tuesday.
Both sides have vowed to bring their armadas again, and the expected fight could be cataclysmic (especially for the CCP servers). Thousands of pilots and hundreds of supercapital ships.
What’s Next: Cataclysmic Doomsday Brawl
Tuesday’s fight might be the largest capital fight that EVE has ever seen, bar none. Bigger than B-R, bigger than Casino War. Both sides are determined to achieve their objective, against their traditional enemies, using all their strength.
From my perspective, seeing the Imperium bring 15 more titans and 60 more supers than all of North was a shocking moment. It was not only a surprise to see them move north so fast, but at a scale more substantial than the whole north combined that day. We knew there was a beast coming; we didn’t realize it was that big. The production capability of the Delve has finally shown itself in military form. The question is, does it have teeth? If it does we northerners are going to need a bigger boat.