In what was likely the biggest wormhole fight in recent memory, long-time wormhole corporation POS Party has been evicted from its home following ten days of relentless attack by Interhole Revenue Service, Hole Control, and Holesale Operations. The conflict first began on Wednesday, March 8. when the -IRS-led forces attacked and reinforced several of the structures in POS Party’s main headquarters, located in J132532. By Saturday, March 10, the conflict had escalated, resulting in a hotly contested fight over two Fortizars’ structure timers. A week later on Saturday, as the nine remaining citadels entered their own reinforcement timers, POS Party suffered heavy losses, including its capital fleet and, ultimately, its home. The fighting throughout the week has resulted in a combined losses in excess of 700 billion ISK.
Best Laid Plans
The initial conflict began when an opportunity presented itself for distracting attacks on a farm holes belonging to POS Party and Scary Wormhole People (WHBOO). “We’d hoped to pull their resources away in the response” said Steel Roamer, CEO of Shekel Squad. Brave Newbies was hired to attack the WHBOO farm. “By weird luck, though, the [WHBOO] farm hole we hired Brave to hit was connected to ours, so they responded by attacking our hole.” Despite this, the first two days were moderately successful, with -IRS- able to reinforce several POSPY structures.
As for the reason, two factors encouraged the small coalition to carry out the attack. For -IRS-, revenge was a motivating factor. According to Steel Roamer, POS Party had wronged them by breaking a sort of unspoken code among wormhole corporations. Finding their two holes connected, Shekel Squad offered up a fight, but when they arrived in the POS Party hole, they found themselves facing not a good fight but a massacre, as Ember Sands dreadnoughts waited on the other side to easily dispatch the entire -IRS- fleet. This was not a one-time event, and so was enough to motivate the attack for -IRS-.
For Hole Control, the main motivation may have also been revenge, though in this case it was not about POS Party but about one of its members, Prometheus Starfire. When he was the CEO of Tempest Legion, he had attempted to evict Vision, Inc., now part of Hole Control. The eviction failed in part because of interference from Hard Knocks. When Tempest Legion collapsed, Prometheus had in search of a new home, and found it with POS Party. Evicting his new home could be seen as a just dessert for someone who had previously tried to evict them.
The other attackers, Holesale Operations and highsec mercenary corps Vendetta Mercenary Group and P I R A T, came together. Holesale Operations funds itself through evictions, attacks, and so on. As such, it has cultivated a close relationship with high sec mercenary groups, who can help them prevent evicted players from returning to holes easily to defend them. When Holesale Operations committed to the eviction of POSPY, they invited mercenary groups along rather than hiring them. Seeking content not available in highsec, these PVP corps came together to experience something they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.
Heat of Battle
While some of POSPY’s capital fleet was destroyed in the first days of the eviction, the conflict on the 17th represented a fairly even conflict. Though POSPY was unable to save its structures, it managed to deal significant damage to the Interhole Revenue Service Machariel fleet. Including the two Fortizars, POSPY lost 172 billion ISK in material, while the attacking fleet consisting of -IRS- and its allies and mercenaries also suffered losses of 170 billion ISK. Both sides were well formed for the initial conflict, and the POSPY capital fleet was able to withdraw safely to the remaining Fortizars. “We were discouraged,” Steel Roamer told INN, “but because of a lot of the talk on Reddit about how we had lost, how we weren’t going to be able to pull it off, we decided we had to go all the way.” Following this battle, -IRS- quickly moved to bolster its numbers in the hole, simultaneously preventing POSPY from getting its own reinforcements into the hole.
This constant pressure may have prevented POSPY from fielding strong defensive numbers in the second conflict on March 17. Throughout the week, -IRS- had put all of the remaining citadels onto their structure timers, which all fell within 2 hours of March 17, 1900 EVE. The first citadel to enter reinforcement was a Fortizar where the first skirmish of the day was to take place. As POSPY’s fleet entered the field it very quickly lost momentum. -IRS- quickly cut down the defender’s battleships, followed shortly by defender’s capsules. Unable to clone into the wormhole, these pilots would be removed for the duration. The first real losses began shortly after the subcapital fleet was destroyed, however, as the -IRS- fleet turned its guns onto POS Party’s capital fleet. At 1951, the first Astrahus fell, and at 1952 POSPY lost its first dreadnought. The first defensive capital fleet quickly fell after this.
A second fight occurred on the doorstep of an Astrahus, with a wave of POSPY Nagas supporting a small fleet consisting of one or two dreadnoughts, a carrier, and two force auxilaries. Though the defenders made a concerted effort to break applied DPS, the Astrahus was not saved, destroyed with only 11 seconds remaining on its repair timer. Finally, on the second Fortizar, POS Party sent its last capital ships out to defend, but it was not enough. The final few hours were spent with an -IRS- led coalition finishing off citadel after citadel.
This second weekend was different in many ways from the first, not least of all in how few losses the attackers suffered. Having had the week to reinforce and bring a large number of Machariels in went a long way. Additionally, Steel Roamer believes that having proper logistics in the form of Guardians to defend against citadel launched bombs helped keep those battleships alive.
Most fights in wormhole space are either very one-sided, or agreed upon beforehand not to be. Because of the nature of holes and the way they can shift and move, it’s impossible to bring huge fleets of battleships in through a single hole. Most fights are quick and small, fought between small numbers of ships. Additionally, because of the vast power differentials and the understandings between wormholing corporations, it is considered poor form to escalate to capital ships on defense unless the threat is truly existential. A casually attacking fleet which rolls its way into a hole isn’t going to be able to bring the firepower it takes to destroy a capital ship without careful planning and significant effort. For these reasons, it’s uncommon to see big numbers in battles in wormhole space. Though the need for every bit of performance means the ISK value of many wormholing ships tends to be higher than those in known space, the smaller numbers involved and the higher stakes tends to keep conflicts small.
With this eviction, though, it had to be all or nothing. On the 17th, POS Party lost two Fortizars, five Astrahus, two Raitaru, a Tatara, and an Athanor – nearly 75 billion in structures alone, not including the contents, which drop without asset safety in wormholes. Additionally, POS Party lost seven dreadnoughts, five carriers, and five force auxiliaries. Including structures, capitals, and sub-capital ships, on the last day of the battle, POS Party lost a total of 294 billion ISK, not including material that dropped from the structures. The evicting forces lost a mere 42 billion ISK.
Worse than the structures and ships, however, POS Party has lost its home. A large wormholing corporation has to make its own home in the ever-shifting world of wormhole space. Without a central hole to call home, it’s yet to be seen if POS Party will continue on and rebuild as a stronger corp, or join a long list of once-powerful alliances relegated to the history books.