Few PVP activities in EVE online come close to reaching the intensity and high-stakes combat of a wormhole or j-space eviction. And yet, for something so influential within its own area of the game very few people know many of the details that go into these battles.
So today I intend to cover some ground, discussing what makes up a wormhole eviction and also try to spread appreciation for the number of efforts that go into them.
For this article, I will be specifically talking about evictions where the target is the home system of an active PVP group, not a random farm hole with minimal activity or defensive equipment.
Ok, But Who Is This Guy?
My name is Inursion Dragon, and I have played EVE Online since 2018 across Highsec, Nullsec, Pochven, and J-space (Not in that order). I have been dabbling in and out of Jspace throughout my time playing but my longest stint so far was when I dived back in full-time at the end of 2021 with the corporation I remain with, Orbital Tactics. Since joining I have involved myself extensively with alliance and corporation-level administration particularly during offensive ops and evictions, often organizing the target selection, initial planning, making mid-op calls, and of course, managing the loot split.
Whilst I certainly don’t dare to claim I have reached an expert level on eviction content I reckon I have come to grips with the basics and that is what I intend to share today.
-And in the beginning, the Oplead said “Let there be a beachhead POS”
-And so there was
-Except the defenders had anchored dead sticks on every moon prior and the attackers suffered 40 years of aimless stick bashing for their sins
The initial entry into an active j-space eviction by an attacking force is rarely a subtle matter (unless you are embarking on a truly large undertaking that involves the slow trickling in of dozens of caps over weeks). You can expect to see a plethora of ships in the first push and no wonder, as the attackers need to bring in all they need to fulfill 3-4 days of operations.
Rollers of different sizes (HICs, dispensable sigils, battleships, and maybe even a carrier) a few DSTs are a must to carry surplus ammunition, beachhead setup items, extra modules for refit, and in some cases, whole doctrines can be carried in exclusively via mass DSTs in an order to conserve mass (such as in the deployment of large paladin doctrines where the oplead wishes to bring the whole fleet in one go).
As earlier referenced the first step an attacking fleet elects to take is to establish a beachhead within the system (whilst simultaneously taking hole control, the specifics of which will be discussed later). Initial beachheads can take many forms with the most common being the humble POS tower which is chosen for its quick anchor time (only 15 minutes for a small size).
The defenders may attempt to counter this by anchoring offline sticks on every moon as a preliminary measure in their system to force the attackers to spend a non-insignificant amount of time removing at least one stick from a moon grid to anchor their own. This gives more time for the defenders to react in the early stages where the evictors have nowhere to dock nor password password-protected shield to float in.
In the event that an evictor successfully anchors and onlines a POS stick they sometimes opt to also begin the anchoring of an Upwell beachhead as well (usually an astrahus) to be ready 24 hours after beginning.
Once the basic housework of taking hole control and the setup of the fleet and its beachhead is done the attackers can go to town on all structures. Stripping shields and setting armor timers usually for the next day. This usually goes uncontested after which the attackers—should everything have gone to plan so far—settle down for the ugliest and most grinding part of the eviction, holding doorstops on the statics.
Hole Control—What Does It Even Mean?
It is impossible to read any eviction story without hearing the term “Hole Control” being thrown around but not many take the time to properly explain.
In very short terms Hole Control is the act of denying the opposing side viable entry into or out of a system In Jspace. This can be executed by either the attackers to keep loot in and reinforcements out or by the defenders to similarly keep reinforcements out and existing ships trapped in if the tables turn and the evictors find themselves on the back foot.
In most active evictions hole control is almost always held by one of the two sides leaving the other feeling very trapped and claustrophobic with all their gameplay suddenly confined to only one system which they cannot safely leave.
Hole control is usually achieved by rolling all roaming connections to a system and then “doorstopping” any statics. Doorstopping a static connection involves keeping a doorstop rolling ship on the other side of the connection whilst simultaneously ensuring the mass on the connection is low enough that it can be shut at a moment’s notice by the doorstop jumping back into the active system.
Doorstopping is an incredibly boring role and requires someone with an incredible amount of willpower and persistence to pull through for long periods of time. The doorstopper must be confident enough in their ability to maintain their attention on their task for sometimes hours on end, ready to react to any event be it a splash from inside, random scanners roaming from the outside, or sometimes even direct combat situations where the opposing side attempts to remove them. Many an eviction had been foiled by a doorstop who would fall asleep at the wheel during sudden critical events that were preceded by hours of crippling mundaneness.
Whilst doorstopping is usually executed by a pilot in a regular rolling battleship it can also (in larger scale operations) be done simply by a capital ship, reducing the number of pilots needed to achieve hole control from 4-5 to simply 1 rolling toon and scanner support ships. The use of a capital ship as a doorstop also gives way to the benefit of leaving a large amount of mass on the connection left before it collapses meaning that a not insignificant amount of logistics can be done by the group that holds current hole control.
Contesting A J-Space Eviction—What Can Be Done?
A j-space eviction situation may often seem hopeless from a defending position especially when it is sprung on you out of the blue and instantly escalates to a position where you are put at a horrific numbers disadvantage. Defenders have many tricks up their sleeves to ensure that they maximize their odds of surviving and driving the cost for the attacker up as high as possible.
Firstly one of the most psychologically straining activities for any group in a j-space eviction to undertake is to attempt to continue holding hole control whilst under direct contest. Defenders can utilize cheap alpha suicide rollers to mass a doorstopped hole and force the doorstop to repeatedly close the hole every time they finish preparing or risk the hole collapsing on them and leaving them stranded outside.
Moreover, defenders can attempt to bring reinforcements in from the outside, circumventing hole control via a process called “rage rolling” in which a fleet of reinforcing ships stage from a wormhole system that holds a static that matches the class of the target contested system. The reinforcement forces then repeatedly roll the static until they obtain a direct connection to the target system. This process can take anywhere from hours to days and as such must be started as early as is feasible. These staging systems are preferably ones that support XL-sized statics whenever possible (as in the case of the target system being a C5) allowing for capital-sized rollers to be used which gives a considerable speed advantage over traditional battleship roller squads.
Defenders also can give themselves the obvious advantage prior to a potential j-space eviction of large swathes of defense stockpiles, allowing them to potentially continuously reship indefinitely and field heavier doctrine without bringing around the logistical nightmare that the attackers would be subject to should they choose to field the same doctrines themselves.
In a similar vein, lowclass wormhole organizations can have the option to build defensive capitals which although can’t leave the system, they give the defenders a potential monopoly on capital assets which can give an incredibly strong advantage if utilized correctly
The Aftermath—What Happens next?
In the event of a successful j-space eviction what happens next is entirely dependent on the target evicted. For some of the members of the attacking forces, the work has only just begun with the behemoth task of packaging, moving, and selling the item and ship hangars of dozens of players now presenting themselves to them. Players are often rewarded based on “shares” earned throughout the eviction by their time commitment to hole control and the completion of objectives such as fleeting up on timers.
As for the defenders, they now are left potentially homeless and with great damages caused to the individual members. In most cases a lot of defenders utilize log-off freighters to attempt to save some or all their assets, of course, This does not apply to members who have gone afk for extended periods, letting the entirety of their assets stored within the system drop into the hands of the attackers. What could follow is an extended game that continues for months with some very committed attackers camping the system for very long periods of time, patiently waiting for the log-off freighter pilots to log back on, laden with whatever loot the defenders deemed important or high-value.
Certainly, in the event of very demoralizing and damaging evictions, the defenders could be left considering the option to disband. This has given groups who frequently evict with no reasonable cause a bad reputation as they may end up removing content from the wormhole space environment by forcing large swathes of players to quit overnight.
Nonetheless, no matter where you stand on the matter of evictions it cannot be denied that they present one of the most interesting gameplay types and truly can show just how far a group of Eve online players can go in the pursuit of achieving an objective.