The Siege

2021-04-03

Header art by AnuranonthecoucH

Siege tactics were once a critical part of warfare, especially starting around the 11th Century AD. In EVE Online, set 21,000 years in the future, siege warfare would still seem to be relevant. As castles once became more widespread in Europe, this proliferation in Medieval Europe resulted in the effect that sieges began to outnumber pitched battles. Similarly, recent years have seen the proliferation of Citadel structures in New Eden.  With Imperium and PAPI forces concentrating around the Imperium Capital System of 1DQ, we are witnessing for the first time how such a siege battle may play out in the virtual world. Let’s see what we might learn about the impending space siege by seeing how sieges have been conducted in the historical past.

Controlling the Surrounding Territory

Castles and fortified cities controlled the local countryside and so were usually the permanent home of a force of knights who served the local Lord. Likewise, Keepstars and Fortizars dominate occupied solar systems in constellations held by EVE Online’s various corporations and alliances, allowing them to store and deploy capital ships to the surrounding area.

Safe behind the walls of medieval castles, archers and crossbowmen could fire missiles through narrow window slits. The Byzantine Empire also had Greek Fire, a mixture of light petroleum and limestone which ignited on contact with water. Defenders, within the walls, often had entrenched catapults and siege engines, to hurl large projectiles at attackers. Likewise, an army attacking a castle would bring siege weapons of their own – the ballista, the battering ram, the siege tower, the catapult and the trebuchet.

The Virtual World’s Weapons

In the universe of EVE Online, Keepstars are armed with destructive weapons. Capital ships and defenders can be deployed from it, like heavily armored cavaliers riding out to fight attacking forces. A fleet assaulting a Keepstar often needs heavy-weapon platforms to do so, such as titans and dreadnaughts. Attackers must carefully consider how to best go about assaulting a Keepstar. We’ve seen how costly it can be to attack a fully defended Keepstar and the dangers involved. Also, in EVE, sieges are not as simple as encircling the target to cut off its food and water supply. This is a virtual world. Defenders can sit in fixed defences or a surrounded star system and live quite comfortably for some time without serious consequences.

Harassment and Re-Supply Techniques

In medieval Europe, defenders sometimes had secret tunnels which allowed them to circumvent a surrounding army, bringing in supplies, or deploying skirmishing forces to harass the enemy. In EVE, alliances can construct their own gate networks within their territory and use capital ships to bridge into other systems. Imperium forces deployed outside of 1DQ have been more than happy to destroy as many structures and industrial structures in PAPI home territories as they can. The toll of destruction has been considerable. Six trillion isk worth of PAPI structures have gone down so far, while the majority of PAPI forces are deployed near the front lines.

Timetables

The best outcome for an attacking medieval army was to have the defenders surrender immediately and leave. Sieges were expensive and defense troops might be on a contract for their service, like two months. Campaign seasons were also limited by weather, as having an army deployed in the dead of winter was a recipe for disaster. EVE Online does not yet have a fully implemented weather system that would affect battles, though space weather – tidi- must be factored into all siege plans. Alliances sometimes have to pick and choose which citadels are the most important to defend. Sometimes Keepstars are destroyed uncontested, while sometimes you get a 25 trillion ISK battle followed by a 9-week hellcamp.

The Cost of Attacking 1DQ

One hundred sixty trillion ISK in destruction. That is what EVE Online could be looking at with a PAPI assault on the Imperium capital system of 1DQ. Countless player hours and an inconceivable amount of resources gone in a day or two. To finishing pushing the Imperium out of null space, to achieve their war aims, PAPI will have to do it. It is a huge risk. Victory would mean diminishing Imperium power and influence for years. Defeat could see the further diminishment of their capital fleet, and the possibility of the Imperium using its surviving capital fleet to retake Delve. Will we see a replay of The Siege of Carthage? The Battle Of Megiddo? Only time will tell.

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Comments

  • Eve_Osir1s

    I admire our optimism, but reality is PAPI goals will be to take the 1DQ1 IHUB, online a jammer. keep it on, and wait forever to minimize risk.

    April 3, 2021 at 8:12 AM
    • Moomin Amatin Eve_Osir1s

      Not sure how you can clearly state the war goal of PAPI when none of the PAPI leadership seem able to.

      Also, if all The Imperium supers are in 1DQ then what advantage do PAPI have in controlling a jammer?

      April 3, 2021 at 1:12 PM
      • Mr Augur Moomin Amatin

        If PAPI could Cyno jamm 1dq1 it would be useful for them but first they would have to control this system for 30 something days and kill goon Cyno jammers to place own. So when PAPI kill last structure maybe even including structures in other system of 1dq1 constelation then they Pass and just try to block and starw 1dq1 and build blue pacman coalition before siege.

        April 3, 2021 at 1:54 PM
      • Dripple Moomin Amatin

        I don’t see a reason why PAPI should even determine their war goal, when result of the war is nowhere to be seen.
        Long as goons keep feeding their structures and avoid any kind of confrontation, why there should be any line where the war ends?
        War goals can and should be adjusted if other side is weaker and unable to defend itself, faction which has the upper hand is one deciding when continuation of the war has higher toll than benefits which can be achieved.
        Casus bellis where used to justify wars back in the old days, but in this conflict (mainly because it’s still just a video game) there is no need for “justification or claim” for acts of aggression, war is good for EvE and nobody is entitled for anything, you can keep only things which your are strong enough to hold.

        April 3, 2021 at 10:45 PM
    • Vertigoe Eve_Osir1s

      Good luck jamming a system where our caps are already staged.

      April 3, 2021 at 1:26 PM
    • Michael Porter Eve_Osir1s

      I think with the amount of pilots we have in and around 1DQ it would be very difficult for them to keep that Jammer online for long.

      April 3, 2021 at 2:18 PM
    • Jam 1DQ so that… they can’t bring in their own reinforcements? 😛

      April 4, 2021 at 7:55 PM
  • Artur Burzynski

    No mater how PAPI decide to siege 1dq1 there will be high loses. Unless Imperium capital Fleet fall in to a trap outside of that system like M2 happen to PAPI. So untill that happen there will only be skirmishes. Or even PAPI decide to go for an another full circle and burn fountain. They may also decide to chase Imperium and other forces in Legacy Space.

    April 3, 2021 at 9:28 AM
    • William Doe Artur Burzynski

      Seems like this may be the course of action they’d want to do the most if they absolutely are afraid of attacking 1DQ1 head on. Resistance at Fountain and the East will be less than 1DQ1 obviously, but if they focus on that then it allows the Imperium to harass them while the bulk of PAPI is shuffling about retaking Fountain and the ‘eastern’ front.

      I doubt PAPI have the numbers to split into two for one staring down a bunch of angry but hunkered down bees at 1DQ1 and another group attempting to retake Catch, Immensea, and others. Fountain itself is slowly turning away as the SOV map indicates but seems like it’s to be expected and whenever this war eventually ends the Imperium will get it back.

      April 3, 2021 at 9:53 AM
  • Moomin Amatin

    So when will the siege begin? The Imperium is able to manufacture as evidenced by the most recent MER. Imperium members are able to come and go from 1DQ. Most goons continue to make ISK through the war or through events just like everyone else is. This seems to put us in a position where there is no way to starve out the residents of 1DQ.

    The closest thing to a siege in New Eden in my opinion is a “hellcamp”. If PAPI intend to siege then at some point they may have to invest in a hellcamp. Until then there is no siege.

    April 3, 2021 at 1:22 PM
    • Michael Porter Moomin Amatin

      People are throwing out “A month or two.”

      April 3, 2021 at 2:19 PM
      • Rammel Kas Michael Porter

        Someone else calculated at the present rate the best-case optimistic estimate would be 2-3 years and conservative estimates assuming the push is made at 5-7 years.

        April 3, 2021 at 2:53 PM
  • kwnyupstate .

    The huge win of getting a chance to decimate PAPI’s supers and titans upon an attack on 1DQ, especially considering how capitals are much more valuable now is what will keep Imperium strong and keep PAPI away.
    The Imperium will risk their huge super/titan fleet whereas PAPI won’t since PAPI are worried about becoming weak and being destroyed by their enemies who are just conveniently their allies for this war.
    PAPI can’t even yet SRP the titans lost in M-2 months later (how do they explain it to those pilots lol???) so there is no way they want to rebuild a whole fleet of them just because someone hates the Imperium.

    April 3, 2021 at 2:18 PM
    • Michael Porter kwnyupstate .

      Hellcamp part 2?

      April 3, 2021 at 2:18 PM
  • Voynich

    Great article / post. I love the historical comparatives to our beloved game. I can’t wait to stand on our high walls and dump boiling oil down upon the attackers. Shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Goons in the Imperium.

    April 4, 2021 at 1:22 AM
  • Deni'z von Meanace

    It’s an obvious that Horde will push as far as they could and test is no longer a core threat factor for Imp. Looking at continued destruction of goons assests it’s a question of time till them done.

    April 7, 2021 at 10:17 AM
  • Elithiel en Gravonere

    From what I can tell, they’re having a ‘rest’ at present in order for members to get some more gold to buy more ships in which to begin the attack on the constellation. My bet is they’ll attempt to set up camps to choke off 1DQ and surround it on all sides with keepstars/fortizars. They’ve stated they’ll clean up the rest of Delve first and this is playing out in more structure bashes. Horde are strangely absent, having mostly returned back to their homelands to rat and mine leaving legacy in Delve mainly.

    April 19, 2021 at 8:18 AM