EVE Online revenge war update: The war machine stalls

Last week we brought you the news of a massive new war brewing in the north of EVE Online, and The Imperium’s threat of revenge to the alliances that live there. The Imperium has been farming hard in the southern Delve region for months and has built up a massive war chest since it was kicked out of its northern territory during the colossal World War Bee conflict last year. Meanwhile, military alliance Pandemic Legion has been throwing its weight around all over nullsec, interfering in TEST Alliance’s war with Guardians of the Galaxy in the north and dropping supercapital fleets on The Imperium in the south.

The revenge war kicked off as The Imperium formed a pact with TEST Alliance and then moved over 1,000 capital ships to a staging system in the low-security system of Hakonen in the north of EVE. This war seems to be mostly about creating engaging PvP content, but for The Imperium it’s also an opportunity to get revenge on those who sided against them during World War Bee. For TEST Alliance, it’s a continuation of its conflict with the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition and perhaps a way to give Pandemic Legion the bloody nose it deserves.

This week has seen some interesting developments in the war, with several failed attempts to anchor citadels and possible strategic blunders and supply issues. Read on for a breakdown of the latest in EVE Online‘s latest revenge war.

Establishing a beachhead

An important first step in wars this far from home is always to establish a beachhead in enemy territory, a relatively safe place from which to launch attacks. The Imperium has set up in the low-security system of Hakonen and initially operated out of an NPC station that can’t be captured, but NPC stations don’t have the citadel tethering feature that protects undocked ships near the structure from attack. As a result, NPC stations can be more easily camped and forming up a large fleet near one or using jump drives near one is more dangerous.

The Imperium attempted to anchor a Fortizar citadel in Hakonen not long after arriving in the system, but it was destroyed in a massive battle before finishing deployment. A second attempt to deploy a Fortizar in the same location met with the same fate just days later in another 2000-player slugfest, though several smaller structures have been built nearby and in enemy territory in the Tribute region.

Supply lines

If this war is ostensibly about generating entertaining PvP content rather than specific military objectives, then it’s off to a great start! We’ve seen several major battles already, with around 2,500 pilots clashing and hundreds of billions of ISK in ships going up in smoke. Pandemic Legion and friends have really been breaking out the supercapital fleet too, brazenly deploying 37 titans and 170 supercarriers in the second Fortizar battle. The Imperium and TEST haven’t thrown their full weight into battle yet, fielding a mix of mostly battleships, standard capital ships, Jackdaw tactical destroyers, Claw interceptors, and tech 1 frigates.

EVE player Gobbins criticised The Imperium for using fleets of missile-based Typhoon battleships, which he suggests are unsuitable for fleet-on-fleet slugfests. Time Dilation gives the enemy fleet around 90 seconds to react to an incoming missile barrage, and missiles are highly susceptible to firewalling, a strategy that involves placing a small group of smartbomb ships between the two fleets to destroy incoming missiles. Others have called this propaganda and pointed out that Typhoons are extremely cheap and can be manufactured in the hundreds as long as enough minerals are available.

The defenders in this war have been losing large numbers of expensive Machariels that rely on a limited supply in Jita and could potentially run out mid way through the war if this pace of combat keeps up. We’ve already seen the effect that Jita market supply can have on the war with the prices of Jackdaws and Claws now spiking across the game. It turns out that over 90% of the market supply of tech 3 destroyers comes from one player who runs 120 industry characters but is currently not playing due to mental health concerns, and The Imperium has been losing a lot of them daily.

Strategic objectives

The strategic objectives in this war aren’t all that clear yet, except that it gives rich nullsec players something entertaining to do. The Imperium seems to consider a war with Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion to be its own reward, and has been perfectly happy to trade hundreds of easily replaceable tech 1 battleship losses for a smaller number of pirate battleship kills and some capital ships.

TEST appears to be fighting largely for the fun of massive territorial conflict too, but I suspect they would be highly motivated to give Pandemic Legion’s supercapital fleet a bloody nose if the opportunity arose. The Imperium has vowed to continue deploying Fortizar citadels in Hakonen until one is successfully deployed, so recent battles in the system may be replayed multiple times over the coming weeks. This may turn out to be a blessing for the Goonswarm line members who have been out of coalition warfare in a long time and have been gaining valuable combat experience with each encounter.

For the defenders, the only goal seems to be to cause as much financial damage as possible until the war is over. The Imperium’s involvement in the war essentially has a built-in time limit as the Activity Defense Multipliers in its home territory in Delve are slowly decaying over time while pilots are away at the front lines. Those remaining behind to mine and farm NPCs may be unable to keep the Delve ADMs from sliding, as they are continuing to lose capital ships to Pandemic Legion and third parties.

More alliances may join this conflict as third parties as further key battles emerge, and there are worries that the tense political alliance between TEST and The Imperium could break down at any time. With The Imperium beginning to feel the sting of repeated strategic losses and both sides facing mounting ship replacement bills, the outcome of this war looks far from certain. The monolithic war machine that ground into gear last week and lurched across half the map in a single night may have stalled in Hakonen, but it’s still early days in this ongoing war for revenge in EVE Online.

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