This weekend saw the largest EVE Online battle ever, fought as part of the Fountain war over the station in Fountain system 6VDT-H. The result was a crushing CFC victory and effectively the end of the war.
The battle saw over 5,000 players engaged and has been covered by mainstream media including the BBC. CFC and allies had approximately 2600 engaged pilots and arrived first, deploying no less than 6 full fleets of doctrine railgun Megathrons around the station with numerous support formations and a huge capital ship fleet on standby. N3 and TEST brought several mixed fleets with an emphasis on Prophesy battlecruisers, Zealots, Blackbirds, and Tech 3 cruisers with a huge amount of support as well. Both sides also brought large contingents of stealth bombers which have featured prominently throughout the war.
The battle narrative has been described in several other websites which I will link shortly. From what I can tell, in the lead-up to the fighting the N3/TEST forces were kept off balance by the CFC stealth bombers and ended up engaging earlier than they would have liked and in a somewhat uncoordinated fashion. From looking at the balance of the forces it appears to me that the N3/TEST forces were both outnumbered and outgunned so I’m not sure the outcome was ever really in doubt, but the results were even more lop-sided than the balance of forces would indicate. N3/TEST lost over 1200 ships and took down fewer than 300 CFC in return; in terms of ISK lost it looks like the ratio was similar with a CFC efficiency above 80%. Towards the end of the battle the CFC brought in their huge capital fleet and the remaining N3/TEST ships briefly disengaged, then, realizing the war was over, went ahead and threw their remaining ships into the teeth of the CFC fleet in one last suicidal charge.
EVE News 24 Article
Dog-net.org battle report
(keep in mind that for a battle this size its always difficult for the automated kill tracking software and generated battle reports to be fully accurate)
While the battle was record-breaking in terms of pilots involved, it certainly wasn’t in terms of ISK lost. Total ISK lost will probably weigh in at under 200 billion which, while a huge number, is dwarfed by plenty of battles involving supercapital losses. What really happened was that TEST/N3 morale finally broke. Ironically shortly after the battle a CFC Titan was destroyed in a small separate engagement and that one Titan swung the loss ratio back to around even. But this wasn’t about ISK being lost, this was about the CFC demonstrating the futility of TEST continuing to defend the Fountain region. The 6VDT-H station was TEST’s most important station in the entire Fountain region and the inability to protect it means the inability to protect Fountain on the whole. The CFC has proven once again to be an unstoppable war machine with their organization, superb logistics, centralized leadership, sound doctrines, and most importantly their reliably large fleet numbers winning the war.
I don’t think anyone is shocked to see TEST lose Fountain. There was a glimmer of hope early on when N3 and PL both rallied to support TEST while Black Legion opened up a destructive campaign on the CFC’s northern holdings. However, Black Legion was paid off by the CFC to effectively switch sides while PL gradually lost interest. N3 proved to be a faithful ally for TEST despite distractions in dealing with Solar Fleet back home, but the N3/TEST forces just couldn’t win the major battles that they needed to maintain morale. I looked at a LOT of EVE-Kill battle reports, I mean dozens and dozens of fleet engagement reports. Using DOTLAN and EVE Kill it was possible to track numerous engagements that were occurring without being reported and it was very clear to me that the CFC were simply outfighting their opponents on a regular basis. CFC tactical defeats were few and far between, and the war of attrition was clearly favoring the CFC as TEST and N3 suffered continual losses of capitals and sub-capital fleets with signs of low morale and financial problems becoming more and more glaring.
I won’t lie, I’m disappointed at the result. There is no doubt this was the best chance yet of any coalition standing up to the CFC directly, and with the war winding down the odds of anyone being able to oppose a CFC drive into Delve is pretty much nil. The CFC will continue to be the dominant coalition in the game and, with Fountain and soon possibly Delve and Querious moons in hand, will continue to enjoy complete financial security. There are no signs of any wear and tear on the coalition itself due to the war and the CFC appears to be perfectly capable of launching another invasion once this one is wrapped up, with fatigue being the only limiting factor.
Despite having rooted for the “other team”, I applaud the CFC for launching the invasion right when they did, giving TEST no time to recover from the political instability in the south following the dissolution of the HBC and no time to reap the profits of the R64s they controlled when the moon minerals change went live. CFC had the brilliance to launch a well-timed invasion against an off-balance foe and then the discipline and patience to carry it out with very few mistakes and losses, breaking the defenses even more quickly than most expected. The 6VDT-H battle may have been the final nail in the coffin but I think this is the trajectory the war has been on all along.
What’s next? TEST has retreated to Delve, notorious as a very defensible region, and appears to be preparing to resist another invasion. The CFC will take time cleaning up the rest of Fountain, probably a couple weeks at least; conquering a large region even unopposed is not an easy task. Whether they continue into Delve or eye Querious, time will tell.
UPDATE: Seraph IX Basarab, another unsubscribed blogger who nonetheless can’t stay away from EVE, has posted his own thoughts on the conclusion of the Fountain war and they are well worth reading.
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