One of EVE’s landmarks was destroyed early Tuesday morning when the ‘Prometheus’ Faction Fortizar in B-R5RB fell unopposed to a fleet from Dreadbomb alliance. The citadel (which was owned by FedUp) was placed into the game by CCP on June 5, 2018, as the direct replacement for the B-R5RB outpost, ground zero for one of the most significant battles in EVE history.
To understand the significance of this loss, a brief review of the history of both the B-R5RB battle and also of CCP’s conversion of certain old structures into Faction Fortizars is in order.
A Storied Battle Site
The Bloodbath of B-R5RB is one of the most storied battles in the history of EVE Online. At the time (Jan 2014) it was by far the costliest battle the game had ever seen; in fact, the 75 titans lost were considered so significant that CCP installed a permanent memorial to the carnage in the B-R5RB system, a monument called the Titanomachy that can be seen to this day by anyone who cares to visit. The battle began as a sovereignty skirmish over what was then a major staging system for the N3PL coalition (a predecessor of the current PanFam that included NCdot and Pandemic Legion).
Because of how sov mechanics worked at that time, the lack of established sov in the system meant that the player-built station (a Minmatar Service Outpost) was up for grabs. Early in the battle N3PL’s opponents (the predecessors of the current Imperium along with Russian allies) captured the outpost and in the hours that followed a full-blown titan brawl developed in the space around it. In many pictures of the battle, the outpost can be clearly seen. Because of the part it played as both an instigating feature of and also the location of the B-R5RB battle, that outpost earned a spot as one of the most significant outposts in the annals of EVE history.
In the years after the battle, the outpost changed hands with the B-R5RB system as sovereignty was gained and lost, its string of owners including RAZOR Alliance, the Northern Coalition, the Initiative, and – finally – Evictus.
It was while Evictus was owner that the next moment in the outpost’s history took place – when it was converted from a Minmatar Service Outpost to a ‘Prometheus’ Service Fortizar as part of the replacement of outposts and conquerable stations with Upwell citadels that took place in the Summer of 2018.
A Legacy of Early Nullsec
Prior to the release of Upwell citadels in April of 2016, the only player-built dockable structures in New Eden were outposts. Released in 2005, outposts had racial types – just like ships – and were upgradeable. Outposts could only be deployed in nullsec; they had to be deployed near a planet; there could only be one per system; and the deploying faction had to have sovereignty over that system. They had no defenses, and once deployed an outpost could never be destroyed; it could only change hands (as happened to the B-R5RB outpost during the Battle of B-R5RB).
The conversion was mostly mechanical. The outpost replacement was still a player-built station, but instead of being managed by the old outpost mechanics, each one became a Fortizar managed under the new Upwell citadel mechanics, which included anchoring and unanchoring, defenses, destruction, and (as of Jan of this year) core mechanics. To preserve and commemorate the unique place of the old outposts in the history of EVE, they were not converted to normal Fortizars; they were converted to unique “Faction” Fortizars with enhanced stats and updated versions of the unique racial models of the original outposts. Like all Upwell structures, Faction Fortizars can be moved and bought and sold on the market; however when initially placed by CCP each Faction Fortizar also had a special rig installed that gives additional bonuses based on how much the original outpost had been upgraded. These rigs are not replaceable and are permanently lost if the Faction Fortizar is ever unanchored or destroyed. (The B-R5BRB Faction Fortizar’s special rig is present in the killmail, proof that the citadel had never been unanchored.)
Because they were placed into the game as part of a one-time conversion event, all Faction Fortizars are rare and irreplaceable. On the day of the conversion, there were 441 player-owned Minmatar Service Outposts in the game (the most common type of the racial outposts by a good margin), and so only 441 ‘Prometheus’ Faction Fortizars have ever existed. As of this week, 48 of those 441 have been destroyed. As their rarity continues to increase, their market value will increase as well. (Faction Fortizars are already worth many tens of billions of ISK more than a regular Fortizar).
A Mark of Status and Stability
Militarily, Faction Fortizars despite their enhanced stats are no more significant than any other normal medium citadel (although because of their rarity they have always been expensive, consistently costing more than 50 billion ISK on the open market). But many of them – like the one in B-R5RB – carry a unique historical character that can add to their perceived value and desirability. Collecting, maintaining, and defending such treasures can become a significant sign of status and strength for coalitions able to do so. This is most clearly seen in the role Faction Fortizars played in the negotiations that ended Imperial Legacy’s burning of the North the summer of 2018. In that case, the Imperium forced their opponents to concede a payment of 40 Faction Fortizars from the Imperium’s former homelands as the price to end hostilities. The Imperium brought those Faction Fortizars home to Delve, and dozens of them now adorn the Imperium capital system of 1DQ1-A.
Sadly, the current war has seen the death of many Faction Fortizars, particularly in systems conceded by the Imperium as the war has progressed. However, even as it has given ground, the Imperium has continued to preserve the most significant of these tokens from the past, particularly the Faction Fortizar from NOL-M9, (the former capital of the Band of Brothers, EVE’s most dominant early force in nullsec and a determined enemy of the Goonswarm Federation) which the Imperium unanchored and removed to save from destruction.
The failure of FedUp, by contrast, to preserve the legacy it held in B-R5RB by either protecting or removing that Faction Fortizar before its destruction demonstrates either a lack of strength or a lack of historical awareness on the part of alliance leadership. Either way, the result is the permanent loss of an irreplaceable part of EVE’s history.