Oijanen system, The Forge region. On the 11th of March at 21:07 EVE Standard Time, the system erupted in violence as a Spectre Fleet event drew 2,200 capsuleers, resulting in a major conflagration.
The battle resulted from an event hosted by Spectre Fleet. Artemis Pachet, a long time member of the community, decided to quit the game following his wish to open a new chapter in his life. Wanting to give something back to Spectre Fleet after all the years of enjoying the content its fleets provided, he approached Spectre Fleet’s command with the idea of using his titan to spark a major fight.
Spectre Fleet command agreed to the idea and started contacting groups across New Eden while making other necessary arrangements for the fight ahead. An “Escort Fleet” event was posted, calling for a mixed armor battleship doctrine and a system chosen near Spectre Fleet’s assembly point – Akora. The location would guarantee turnout from many major New Eden organizations. Spectre Fleet itself contacted a few alliances to guarantee their appearance, with agreement on bringing fun rather than serious doctrines. CCP Games itself was petitioned to reinforce the node in order to minimize disruption caused by time dilation as Spectre Fleet expected a major turnout due to a guaranteed titan kill.
Artemis Pachet for his part bought an Erebus titan and staged it in range of the system, keeping it in the Malia Keepstar and spending the rest of his ISK on fitting. The pilot invested every penny he had in order to go out with a bang, using some of the most expensive modules on the market.
On the night of the event across New Eden fleets formed in order to participate in the upcoming brawl. Many alliances sent scouts to probe wormhole chains in order to reach the system as their pilots assembled. Spectre Fleet managed to form a 240 pilot battleship fleet of its own, light on logistics but heavy in terms of firepower. Other alliances formed as well, with scouts reporting on different doctrines. It was revealed early on that Drone Regions Federation (DRF) had no interest in a fun fight, forming a full (256 pilot) Machariel battleship fleet and moving first to intercept the still gathering Spectre Fleet forces.
This made many alliances reconsider their choice of doctrine, most choosing instead to field heavy hitting ones rather than serve as fodder for the DRF force. Other alliances were forced to bring skirmish doctrines due to the distance they needed to travel or knowing what kind of opposition they would probably encounter in the event. Regardless, a dozen fleets made their way towards Akora while the DRF set up in Oijanen on the Airaken gate, blocking Spectre Fleet’s path.
The Event Begins
Realizing the DRF was set on stopping them from arriving at their destination, Spectre Fleet decided to fight in Oijanen rather than Akora. As the system started to fill slowly with other fleets, Spectre Fleet remained on the Oijanen gate, waiting for the DRF to clear out. The DRF did in the end warp off the gate as new arrivals made it in, including a Mercenary Coalition [MC] 120 pilot Proteus strategic cruiser fleet. Spectre Fleet used this opportunity, jumping into the system and warping to one of the asteroid belts.
Once the fleet made it in and set up in the first asteroid belt of the eleventh planet in the system, it lit a cynosural beacon to allow its titan to jump in and officially start the event. The titan quickly materialized in the system, landing close to a large asteroid and as a result bumping away from its escort fleet which scrambled to catch up to it.
The cynosural beacon was aptly named as its light drew fleets toward the belt. Mercenary Coalition was the first to land, opening fire on the Spectre Fleet battleships which returned the favor. The two fleets exchange volleys only to see the DRF Machariel fleet quickly warp in as well and engage both fleets. Soon the Mercenary Coalition fleet was pushed out of the maelstrom as the two battleship fleets met head on over the titan.
Smaller gangs filtered into the system and started warping to the grid, snagging unwary pilots or contributing to the general mayhem which was unleashed on the field. Snuffed Out [B B C]\Project.Mayhem. [16-13] were the next to appear in the system, fielding a 150 pilot Tengu strategic cruiser fleet. The fleet itself decided against joining the unfolding melee over the titan, choosing instead to blockade the Akora gate and stop a joint Shadow Cartel [SHDWC]\Did he say Jump [JMP-N] 120 pilot Proteus fleet which was making its way to join the event.
This resulted in the Proteus fleet jumping into the Tengu fleet which was already in position. The Proteus fleet anchored up and the two rivals commenced their own separate battle over the gate, maintaining medium range while hurling munitions at each other.
In the meantime the Spectre Fleet battleship force was losing ships fast. Its small logistics wing was unable to compete with the damage output of the DRF Machariels who had autocannons fitted. The two fleets tangled in a close range fight, the auto cannons shredding Apocalypse and Megathron battleships who returned fire, managing to inflict some losses on the DRF. The DRF itself quickly zeroed in on the Spectre Fleet command personal, removing the vast majority of them from the field while bringing in several Apostle force auxiliaries in order to tank the significant damage output of the mixed armor fleet.
Spectre Fleet switched its focus to the force auxiliaries, concentrating its entire firepower on the capital ships. The titan took the opportunity and fired its doomsday device, bringing down one of the Apostles while committing its capital blaster batteries to shooting another. The battleships added their multitude of turrets to the mix but were having a hard time breaking through its armor repair cycles. This led the fleet to re-focus its energy on the DRF Machariel fleet.
More and more fleets started gathering on the grid. Northern Coalition. [NC] bridged into the system its 200 pilot Machariel fleet. These Machariels were equipped with artillery cannons and warped at range from the maelstrom of battle, targeting the DRF Machariel fleet and volleying mainline ships. Northern Coalition. had been in constant communication with Spectre Fleet, using its own significant super capital fleet as a deterrent to stop other alliances and coalitions from escalating matters further. Thus the alliance prioritized the DRF fleet as it was seen as detrimental to the spirit of the event.
It was soon joined by other fleets, most of whom hovered at the edges of the battle like a 120 pilot Circle-Of-Two [CO2] Rupture cruiser fleet, a 50 pilot Vanguard (VG) coalition Cerberus heavy assault cruiser fleet and a 100 pilot Phoenix Federation (PF) coalition Svipul tactical destroyer fleet. Mercenary Coalition engaged the Svipul fleet and the grid was soon engulfed in minor skirmishes.
On the gate, the battle between Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem. and Shadow Cartel\Did he say Jump still raged. The two sides kept trading blows, the Tengu fleet managing to shrug off the damage while the Proteus fleet was slowly losing ships. The Tengu strategic cruisers hammered the Proteus fleet’s logistics wing, decimating it. After slowly eroding the Shadow Cartel\Did he say Jump logistics wing, came the turn of the mainline ships. Proteus and Legion strategic cruisers started caving in under the railgun fire of the Tengu fleet, forcing the entire fleet to retreat and regroup.
More participants arrived in the system. WAFFLES. [N0MAD] decided to field a 60 pilot Tornado battlecruiser fleet. The ships made it into the system and attempted a series of hit and run attacks on various groups around the asteroid belt only to find several gangs chasing it. The fleet bled members as the fragile battlecruisers were caught and destroyed. Pandemic Legion [-10.0] also arrived by this point, bringing a 110 pilot Proteus fleet. The fleet had suffered a series of setbacks which resulted in it arriving late to the event. The fleet joined the fray, warping near the DRF Machariel fleet.
The DRF and Northern Coalition. had exchanged blows for quite a while. The Spectre Fleet battleship force was mostly in tatters, nearly three quarters of it destroyed in the exchange and its remnants hung around the grid, engaging whatever they could find outside the brewing maelstrom. This left Northern Coalition. and the DRF to duke it out as the rest of the smaller, lighter fleets engaged in their own ever changing skirmishes around the titan itself, only taking time to fire a shot at the behemoth who remained in the belt. This led the titan itself to slowly bleed armor as more and more pilots fired at the beast in order to get on its eventual loss mail. The titan itself was also languishing under the DRF’s energy neutralizers which were sapping its capacitor. Fearing it may have no chance to fire its re-charged doomsday device, the titan unleashed a second attack, taking down a second Apostle.
With Pandemic Legion entering the fray, a makeshift coalition was formed in the system. Mercenary Coalition, Northern Coalition., Pandemic Legion and Shadow Cartel\Did he say Jump agreed on a temporary ceasefire in order to defeat the other fleets in the system and claim the titan itself. The different fleets started going aggressively after other groups on the battlefield, the first priority being the DRF Machariel fleet which was still inflicting losses on other fleets. Pandemic Legion had landed near the DRF Machariels and added its firepower to mix, supporting Northern Coalition. It soon found the Machariels too tough to crack and resorted to thinning its logistics wing. However with more Apostles on the field, the DRF fleet managed more often than not to tank the incoming damage. Even the Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem. Tengu fleet joined in the effort of dismantling the DRF fleet.
Being the nearest fleet to the DRF came at a heavy price, as the Machariels started focusing on the Pandemic Legion Proteus fleet. One after another a few Guardian logistics cruisers it possessed were destroyed. Before long the strategic cruisers themselves came under fire, a couple of them caving and exploding. Taking losses, Pandemic Legion decided to regroup away from the fight and warped to a ping on the field. Once there, it decided against rejoining the brawl, choosing instead to hunt down the different fleets which still lingered around.
First to notice it was the Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem. Tengu fleet which quickly withdrew rather than engage the Proteus fleet head on and risk getting piled on. Afterwards the Circle-Of-Two and Vanguard coalition fleets served as targets to the prowling Proteus fleets. Vanguard coalition itself suffered a painful loss as the Proteus fleet managed to land near it and snatch its command ship. Losing its links ship, the Vanguard coalition Cerberus fleet which was already quite small decided to withdraw. Circle-Of-Two was also pushed away, several of the Proteus fleets, including Pandemic Legion, attempted time and again to land on top of the Ruptures and each time inflicted several losses.
Beginning of the End
Small gangs continued to roam the outskirts of the asteroid field, mostly ignored by the larger fleets. The DRF fleet was slowly but surely ground down. With more and more fleets focusing their fire on the Machariels and its own Apostles being brought down by the combined sub capital firepower of the allied fleets, it was time to cut its losses. Whats more the titan itself had managed to warp out of the belt. The titan had remained mostly tackled by a lone heavy interdictor during the fight. This allowed the remaining Spectre Fleet forces to put pressure on the ship, forcing it to drop its point. This in turn gave the ship the opportunity to warp out, though having used its doomsday device twice and subjected to heavy energy neutralizers had little energy left in its capacitor. This resulted in its warp tunnel towards the Akora gate getting cut short.
With the titan slipping away, the DRF Machariel fleet saw no point in remaining on the grid as more hostile fleets focused on it. The DRF fleet simply warped out to a friendly citadel, extracting what Apostles it could though one was snagged by the Proteus fleets who proceeded to destroy it. The titan and the remainder of its escort fleet took the opportunity and warped to the Akora gate, finally landing there. Though able to escape to the next system, the titan and the remaining battleships decided to make a final stand on the gate. This was partly due to the fact so many pilots shot the titan and if he had jumped through the gate the session change would have erase all those pilots from the eventual loss mail. Not wishing to let down the pilots who came in and fought in the event, the titan pilot opted for one dramatic final act.
Wishing to send the titan out in style and given Spectre Fleet command’s approval, Northern Coalition. Machariel fleet and its temporary allies piled on the Akora gate, removing the last defenders of the titan and lighting cynosural beacon to signal the titan’s end. Through the beacon jumped the entire Northern Coalition. super capital fleet which had remained on standby for the entire fight. More than 50 titans piled up on the gate and with their super carrier escorts opened fire on the titan. Doomsday beam after doomsday beam hit its hull, granting it a glorious fiery death.
With the titan destroyed and the last Spectre Fleet defenders removed, the event came to a close. Though a few more engagement were fought between the many exhausted fleets and other scavengers, the larger fleets all departed the system one by one, extracting what remained of their tired forces. Not one fleet escaped the event unscathed.
The Entire Battle from the Spectre Fleet Perspective
The Battle from the Perspective of the Snuffed Out\Project.Mayhem. Tengu Fleet
Happy to leave the game on such a high note, Artemis Pachet biomass-ed his character. Spectre Fleet members were happy as well to send off their friend in such a fashion.
Battle report for the Oijanen system can be found here.
All told the event had approximately 1,800 capsuleers at one point in the system drawn from more than 20 prominent alliances and coalitions in the game and lasted a solid 2 hours. Time Dilation was a constant throughout the fight, remaining at 10% for most of the fight though subsiding at times, reaching as low as 50% at some points.
An individual tally of the destruction is made impossible by the huge number of participants, alliances and separate engagements which raged across the system. Instead a combined estimate was made of all ships lost in the battle: 936 ships were destroyed during the fighting including 1 titan, 4 force auxiliaries, 175 battleships, 56 battlecruisers, 30 strategic cruisers 5 heavy assault cruisers, 108 cruisers, 57 tactical destroyers to name a few. This resulted in 323.56 billion ISK in damages.
*Most images used in this article were supplied by Razorien and used with his explicit permission.
Salivan Harddin is a member of Hoover Inc., Pandemic Legion, and covers battle across New Eden