The system of X-M2LR in Syndicate became a Machariel graveyard on the evening of April 6 as Sister Bliss and the battle-hardened fighters of The Initiative. (INIT) defended their staging system against an attack by Northern Coalition. (NC) and their allies and hirelings.
The Story So Far
Although the butchers bill for this fight is not overly impressive it is still worth a mention due to the value it adds to our Eve Online story. INIT have a storied history of being a very independent arm of The Imperium, choosing to do their own thing but always aligned in intent to the greater goals of the Imperium itself. This ethos has often meant that they place themselves in some quite hostile environments, so as to hone their skills and provide their members with the content that they seek. All seem to be in agreement that INIT are a very capable organisation, agreement that seems so rare.
Of late INIT have been defending their home in Syndicate which is NPC space owned by the creatively named The Syndicate. The numbers against INIT have been rising over the months. They have seen invasion of their space by Brave with support from Pandemic Horde (PH), Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) and others. Things did not go well for Brave after they drew the attention of Pandemic Legion (PL). As a result Brave decided to head to Catch for some respite from the attention that they have been given.
For a long time NC have been accused of being incapable of doing anything on their own without the support of PL. This was last very evident during the Backstabber Brawl where PL had to come in yet again to save NC from their hostile actions towards Co2 in Tribute. As soon as PL arrived better progress was made against Co2 to the point where they retreated not once, but twice. Finally Co2 jumped onto the coat tails of TEST and headed for the south in order to build a capital escalation fleet.
So in order to possibly prove their ability to stand on their own to Eve, and more importantly to PL, NC have taken it upon themselves to join in hostilities against INIT. INIT were already facing superior numbers and having a great deal of success. But with the arrival of NC as well as additional hangers on such as Mercenary Coalition (MC) things have looked more bleak for the battle hardened members of INIT. In fact with INIT having less than 3k members they were now facing hostiles at 10:1 odds against them. As truly valued members of the Imperium INIT do not stand alone. Although INIT live quite some way from the main home of the Imperium in Delve support is always forthcoming when practical. The leader of INIT, Sister Bliss, is far more pragmatic than former Imperium members and it is reported that working with INIT is always a joy.
Despite the valiant efforts of INIT, progress against them has been made as is only to be expected given the forces that they face.
The Scene is Set
The Fortizar owned by INIT in the system of X-M2LR in Syndicate had already been attacked and was due for the second timer on the evening of April 6 2017. The vulnerability window coincided almost exactly with the keynote presentation from CCP at their annual Fanfest.
With an hour or so to go before it would be possible to shoot the INIT Fortizar again fleets were forming and on the move throughout New Eden. It soon became apparent that there was a lot of interest in this fight. For the attackers there were the likes of NC, MC, GotG, PH and more besides. In the main the defenders were INIT and the other members and friends of The Imperium. For many on both sides there was a fair distance to travel.
X-M2LR had around 400 pilots present in local who were in the main the defenders. The total number of pilots was steadily rising with more hostiles showing. NC also have a Astrahus citadel on the same grid as the INIT Fortizar. There are also a number of other INIT structures present on the same grid as the Fortizar.
And We Are Off!
Combat started in ernest with the NC Machariel fleet cynoing into the system. The repair phase of the Fortizar had already started but was soon to be paused. The NC artillery Macharials had wisely come in at range from the Fortizar. This would mean that the NC pilots would be able to shoot the Fortizar while keeping out of the range of the defending force on grid. Bombs were being thrown from the citadels defenses at the NC fleet but all to no effective with their passive armour tanked battleships. PH and GotG also had Machariels present. The range and number of these ships would make it difficult for the defenders to get a good position on them.
INIT carriers undocked and the defending fleets had been given instructions as to how they would try to reduce the damage being made to the Fortizar to all it to resume its repair cycle. There was still a great deal of caution as the defenders knew that there were still a lot of hostiles not present. 300 pilots alone in the staging system of NC in Barleguet for instance.
Further cynos went up, this time from the defenders. It seems that a surprise of sorts had been planned. In fact there had been more than one surprise planned. As the defenders cyno went up and a carrier fleet jumped in, the NC Machariel fleet suddenly found themselves to be a lot closer to the Fortizar than they had wanted to be. This is all down to the wonderful efforts of INIT with a T3 Destroyer ‘SnatchFleet’ under Pandoralica. These ships are able to fit the Micro Jump Field Generator. This module, when activated, will propel anything within the range of the field generator 100km in the direction the activating ship was facing. As such the NC Machariels were now no longer at their preferred range but now sat at almost 0 on the incoming defending carrier fleet. Bubbles went up and now the NC Macharial fleet was being torn apart.
The Imperium T3 cruiser fleet was holding tackle on other Machariels. This in conjunction with the hostile ships pinned against the Fortizar seemed to send the hostiles into disarray. It would be easy for me to spend the next 1000 words talking about how the hostiles were systematically being picked apart but it does not make for a terribly interesting read in my opinion. So if you want that then you can always check the time line for losses on one of the kill board sites.
There was a brief presence of some capital ships from the attackers but this was short lived. Soon after they had jumped out from Barleguet they re-appeared with their capital ships still intact. There are reports that there were additional pilots still in transit or waiting to jump into the X-M2LR system should it be required. So the following numbers should not be considered as a complete list of all those involved.
The X-M2LR system had around 2400 pilots in local as can be seen here during the peak of the battle. You can also see the fleet compositions by looking at the d-scan results from the Fortizar combat grid here.
For the Love of Lag
Time dialation (TiDi) is a common event for the larger fights within Eve Online. This is where time perception is slowed for the player clients so as to allow the CCP server to respond to all the client requests in an orderly fashion. Although there are still many complaints with this system there are many who remember how bad it was prior to TiDi being introduced. TiDi was present and there were a number of reports that modules were not activating or deactivating as players would have expected and liked.
In order to help those unfamiliar with how to deal with the issue of TiDi here is a nice little tip to help you. When in game you can press Shift + Ctrl + Alt + M to open the “Engine Tools” dialog box. Yes, that 4 key shortcut really does work. If you then click on the “Outstanding Calls” button a window will be presented with, you guessed it, outstanding calls to the server. If this window is full of lines of text then you really need to just calm down a bit and stop pressing buttons. Try it for yourself next time you find yourself in TiDi and see how it works out for you.
Another interesting dimension to TiDi is that it does not effect everything. So in this instance the attackers found that they had to move their DPS onto the ships of the defenders. With the reduced DPS on the Fortizar it was able to resume its repair cycle. It is important to note that the repair cycle is not affected by TiDi so will move at normal speed. In far quicker time than was being experienced by the players the Fortizar finished its repair cycle without further pause. Once completed it was all too evident to the attackers that the strategic objective had been lost. All that remained was the kill board ISK efficiency battle that apparently some people care about.
Cleaning Up House
With the Fortizar safe and the hostiles in disarray it was now only necessary for the defenders to clean up the grid and to send the attackers packing. This was done in short order and to great effect. NC Machariels took the brunt of the losses on the attackers’ side while The Imperium’s Proteus fleet lost the most among the defenders. The aggressors had already started to exit the grid once it became all too apparent that things were not going to go their way today. They either left the system completely or sat on the NC Astrahus and watched on as their friends were torn asunder. In what one can only assume was an homage to Co2, the NC Machariels even started their self destruct sequences. It is not clear whether this was pilot initiative, pun intended, or through commands given. The fight had lasted around the 2 hour mark with the final main action happening around 20:00 Eve time.
There are also reports that not everyone was even able to get into position for the fight. For instance there is a loss mail or two for GotG pilots that had some trouble even getting near to the fight. As with any major fight you can always expect losses to and from the place of engagement. Normally if the aggressor should lose then they will have to try and sneak out under the potentially watchful eye of those who were attacked. With expensive ships as Machariels are, it is likely that a few more billion may be lost on the way back home.
This may be hard to believe but some people do not like talking to me. As such I was only able to get comments from the defenders which are as follows:
Sister Bliss (INIT) – “Just thank you to you guys who came all the way for what I thought was a lost cause :heart:”
Thomas Lear (GSF) – “was a solid fight, I wish NC. actually brought their carriers in but oh well. I am glad the Init. Fort is safe and look forward to the next time.”
Asher Elias was flying overwatch for the Goon fleet. When contacted for details he opined upon his sexual orientation. These were so ungodly and perverse that I dare not repeat them here. If you were involved in this fight and would like to comment then please feel free to do so in the comments section below.
The final losses are around 20 billion for the defenders and 60 billion for the attackers. You can find a battle report here although it is still probably updating. Also the sides are likely to be a little off given with how battle reports so often are.