Delve Thunderdome

In 2011, a Reconstruction period began in the aftermath of the war between the Northern Coalition (NC) and the Drone Russian Federation (DRF). With the NC disbanded, a great power vacuum formed in the technetium-laden regions of the north. These lands would now be ruled by the victors: White Noise., Raiden., and NCdot, made up by many of NC’s old enemies from past campaigns. It was the largest political shift in the north in the last four years.

Introduction

A Brave New World

The Drone Russian Federation was now the reigning superpower of New Eden. Its supercapital armada struck fear into the hearts of its enemies and could project to any major fight on the map with the guidance of Pandemic Legion. The EVE community could not fathom an event in which the “supercapital blob” could ever be contested in its current state. DRF and allies gained control of technetium moons and secured space to mass-produce even more Titans and motherships. A growing war chest strengthened their abilities to build and replace these ships.

The rise of the DRF over the years. Data does not include Pandemic legion and Raiden. Credit: K162Space

In the summer of 2011, a new series of conflicts in the south would coalesce into a phenomenon that would be called the Delve Thunderdome. It was a free-for-all as new alliances struggled to gain influence. It also posed the question of whether defeated alliances like Morsus Mihi and Gypsy Band (formerly Rebellion Alliance) would survive.

In a separate western campaign, Goonswarm Federation and its allies (CFC) found their home space threatened by some of the same powers that took down the NC. 

Winter is coming. Ned Stark

In the south, the outcome of the Delve Thunderdome would heavily shape the game’s history and its key players. The community knew major changes were coming, a shift in the meta-game. As a relatively new pilot who had just seen his first coalition burned to ashes, I only thought of revenge despite the impossible odds arrayed against us. I realized I was not alone.

The lines in the sand were beginning to be drawn.

The Map of New Eden as of June 12th, 2011. A massive SOV grind was undertaken by the DRF in the North.

The surviving alliances that made up the Northern Coalition honorably reset standings, with the exception of long-time allies Morsus Mihi and RAZOR Alliance. Morsus Mihi (RAWR), while nowhere near its prime, completed a massive evacuation of assets and moved to the south to the system of 1DH-SX. It was Imperian‘s final order as military leader – he would later join Pandemic Legion at the end of June. 

Delve (an NPC nullsec region) became a new chance to rebuild. As an NPC region, most of its systems cannot be conquered and its stations would be open to any alliance – friend or foe. On one hand, this meant a great loss in infrastructure otherwise enjoyed with traditional nullsec space, such as jump-bridges and being able to bar enemy players from stations. On the other hand, the lack of stress of having to defend space and no SOV bills or CTA ops was a relief.

Enter the South

The South was a different world – chaotic and having less unity among the major powers. Its politics were often characterized as a loose feudal system, with territories marred in constant conflict. Technetium moons were scarce. Veterans considered the South to have the more experienced PvPers in the game, in contrast to the North’s reputation of having the most carebears. Very old groups resided here such as the Russian-based Stain Empire, role-playing alliance Curatores Veritatis Alliance (CVA), Against ALL Authorities (-A-) and others.

The Blood Raiders ruled the region of Delve. Source: CCP

Despite the exodus of many players, Morsus Mihi sought to adapt to the South and take advantage of the lifestyle, shedding dead-weight players and becoming leaner and more PvP-oriented. It was still a large alliance, capable of fielding many supercapitals and reimbursing all ships lost in tactical ops. Its member corps were rich, though tired after nearly a year of constant war. Owning a vast technetium reserve and many original BPOs meant they had still some level of capital despite the loss of a technetium moon empire they had once controlled for years. 

2011

The biggest alliances in the neighborhood, such as -A- , Nulli Secunda and Cascade Imminent (part of the “A-Team”), saw Morsus Mihi as an imminent threat. BricK SQuAD, FCed primarily by SCOOTER1Lucian James and alphastarpilot, bolstered Morsus Mihi’s US timezone. Nulli Secunda, a relatively young alliance, had prospered in Delve but now an old juggernaut of the north (combined with BricK sQuAD’s numbers) had moved in nearby. 

The A-Team, sometimes referred to as the Southern Coalition, was a loose coalition of alliances that banded together to face common threats. Against ALL Authorities (-A-) was the largest and resided in the region of Catch. Engaged in a forever-war against Red Alliance and elements of DRF themselves, they feared that RAWR and BricK sQuAD would soon grow tired of NPC space and seek to expand.

BricK sQuAD.

June

June 12th, 2011 – 1DH-SX (Delve)

Morsus Mihi (RAWR) had its first major action against a combined Cascade Imminent (FAIL)/Atlas armor HAC and battlecruiser fleet, destroying over 100 ships. It wasn’t a serious engagement but RAWR dropped seven motherships and a couple of carriers.

Cascade Imminent (FAIL)

The southern alliances did not have the ability to drop supercapitals at a moment’s notice and this was merely a chance to show who can escalate to win; a change of pace for RAWR. DRF was too busy grinding Tribute SOV in the north to attempt a gank because there were too many midpoints to travel for its supercapital fleet. At this stage in the game, enemy supers could still be watch-listed as contacts to detect mass log-ins.

June 19th, 2011 – F-NXLQ (Querious)

Cascade Imminent (FAIL) frequented these parts. One day, a FAIL ratting Nyx was caught by Isben Yamas’s Broadsword. A battlecruiser fleet (with some neuting battleships) flash-formed and traveled deep into enemy territory to gank the helpless supercarrier. My character received second top damage (in a Tempest), a memorable kill for our side. The NPC rats took top damage, having done most of the work. It was simply natural selection in the grand scheme but the larger entities in the area began to take notice.

Slowly, I adjusted to the region, including its natural calamities such as the Delvegoons, a group of Goon pilots who terrorized nearly everyone unfortunate enough to encounter them. It was a notorious gang actually run by only a few players, such as the wealthy Zungen (aka Stain Protector), who ran entire gate camps (DPS, webs, dictor, ECM) by himself. Known for flying Dominixes and escalating to Thanatos (or multiple) in the event of an escalation, he is considered one of the greatest multi-boxer PvP pilots in the game and never had to use ISBoxer software.

I had my first encounter with the Delvegoons and it would not be my last. After many run ins with his camps in other regions, including partial victories of my own, we became friends and often discussed PvP tactics over the years.

June 22nd, 2011 – 1DH-SX (Delve)

Traderjohn was director of Macabre Votum, the largest corp in Morsus Mihi.

An -A- Maelstrom fleet moving through Delve clashed with a RAWR battlecruiser fleet in the system of 1DH-SX. The leadership in RAWR (including Traderjohn) knew the fleet commanders of -A-. As a friendly gesture of welcome, RAWR dropped 3 Titans and and 6 motherships as support. -A- FC Perseus Kallistratos was instantly DDed off the field by Traderjohn’s Leviathan alt. Titans still had the ability to doomsday subcapital ships. Other secondary FCs were headshotted in short order, then they wrecked nearly 30 battleships.

This was one of the very first encounters between Morsus Mihi and -A- in Delve.

July

July 10th, 2011 – J-LPX7 (Delve)

Nulli Secunda (S2N) began to take the combined forces of RAWR and BricK sQuAD as a serious threat and battleships began to be used, without any particular objective. RAWR used the Mega Pulse Laser Abaddon (aka the Hellcat, originally developed by Pandemic Legion), fully abandoning the Arty Abaddon concept used in the NC vs DRF war. Nulli Secunda used a mix of Armageddons (termed ‘Panic Geddons’) and Abaddons supported by triage carriers.

BORG alliance, created by The Collective, one of the oldest and wealthiest corporations in EVE, became another ally of RAWR and fought alongside its fleets. The pilots that made up BORG had just broken off from -A- and founded the alliance a few weeks prior.

Nulli Secunda, along with other elements of the -A- team (such as HUN Reloaded and Red.Overlord), were outnumbered in this fight and lost over 30 battleships and 4 carriers.

Nulli Secunda vs RAWR in the system of J-P

 

July 11th, 2011 – RCI-VL (Delve)

Nulli Secunda and allies struck back with a powerful Panic Geddon fleet FCed by Canaris Roshaak in the system of RCI-VL, destroying about 60 MM/Brick battleships and forcing the remaining battlecruiser support wing to flee – enjoying a 76% efficiency. It was a clear example of the Armageddon’s superiority when used strategically despite being cheaper and having a much weaker tank than the Abaddon. Its high rate of laser fire cut down even the strongest battleships if a critical mass was met.

July 12th, 2011 – RAWR Invades CONVICTED Space

A couple of weeks into July, RAWR decided to officially invade CONVICTED space, a ballsy maneuver considering that the alliance was a member of the Clusterfuck Coalition (headed by Goonswarm Federation). It was a polarizing act of war by Vlade Randal, who became the acting military leader of RAWR. Goonswarm Federation and allies were busy defending their home territories against the supercapital-heavy northern elements of the DRF – Pandemic Legion, Northern Coalition., Raiden, and White Noise..

Vlade Randal was acting Military Commander of RAWR.

CONVICTED (led by Wusti), a disproportionately smaller AUS-based alliance, was defenseless. The system of M2-XFE in Delve was one of the first systems to get hit under the command of Vlade, who held a grudge. It was less than a year ago when CONVICTED, then under the deceased R.A.G.E (a major NC member), performed a treasonous war-time coup by using spy characters in the DEMON HUNTERS alliance to drop allied station systems for the DRF to seize.

July 13th, 2011 – Siege of VFK-IV (Deklein)

The CFC, consisting of Goonswarm Federation, RAZOR Alliance, Tactical Narcotics Team (TNT), Fatal Ascension (FA), TEST Alliance Please Ignore (TEST), FCON and others, took part in a historical defense against the DRF, which consisted of Pandemic Legion, Northern Coalition. (NCdot), Raiden., and Ev0ke (the “Leet Forces”). The Russian-based elements of the DRF from the east did not take part in this campaign.

The mighty 1400mm Howitzer Artillery II was the key to the alpha-strike. Used by the Maelstrom fleet by the Clusterfuck Coalition, it rendered enemy logistics repairs useless. Under a skilled pilot, a single Maelstrom could produce a volley over 10,000 points of damage in a single strike.

The Siege of VFK-IV (aka the VFK- Headshot Attempt) was a major event in the game and is beyond the scope of this section. Many thought the Goons would succumb to the Leet Forces’ momentum after the fall of Tribute. The VFK-IV headshot failed after the Goons and their allies banded together with careful coordination, logistical teamwork and protection of cynosural jammers. This prevented enemy supercapitals from jumping into systems under siege. Lessons were learned from the NC’s demise.  A coalition-wide Alpha Maelstrom doctrine (with squads of Scorpions) was utilized by the CFC. The alliances also shared a common Jabber. In many ways, the Clusterfuck Coalition (CFC) took root through this struggle.

Mister Vee, a coalition level FC, spearheaded many of Goonswarm’s campaigns during this era.

New strategies were developed to counter the Thundercat fleet originally used during the NC vs DRF war, a fleet concept that was now imitated by NCdot and Raiden. The Huginn recon-ship became the main strategy to take down the Tengus, along with smartbombs to repel their missile damage. By vigorously protecting the Huginns with Scimitars, their large Maelstrom fleets were able to alpha 10MN AB Tengus. One of Goonswarm Federation’s most exalted FCs, Mister Vee, led the coalition to great victories during this era. CFC’s strategy of countering the Thundercat fleet paved the way for others to do the same.

July 15th, 2011 – We Want SOV, We Don’t Want SOV

Away from the turmoil in the North, RAWR successfully began to take over CONVICTED space, using the distraction as an opportunity.

A RAWR/BricK sQuAD battlecruiser fleet faced off against Nulli Secunda and allied battleship/HAC fleet in the system of 1DH-SX, evenly matched with ~150 pilots each. This time, RAWR/Brick emerged victorious and took down a battleship fleet with the assistance of a bomber gang commanded by Traderjohn.

July 17th, 2011 – The RCI-VL Blitzkrieg (Delve)

The RCI-VL Blitzkrieg began with a 130 man RAWR/Brick Drake fleet (with sniper Tempests) lying in wait off a gate in the system of RCI-VL. A Southern Coalition fleet (headed by S2N) over 200 strong were known to be approaching via spies, consisting of armor battleships and HACs (Zealots). A head-on fight was impossible so a 60-man RAWR bomber wing FCed by Traderjohn planned an ambush.

The Manticore-class covert ops ship.

Perched in different positions above the in-gate to the system, the bomber squads unleashed an array of bombs towards the coalition fleet as soon as they began to decloak. They had no idea bombers were hidden and watching. The lag complicated matters for the slow-moving S2N/FAIL battleships, which began taking concurrent missile salvos from the large Drake fleet orbiting at the far edge of their optimal range. Brick’s Tempests fired volleys from a safe distance.

The RCI-VL Blitzkrieg of July 27th, 2011.

A decision was made to open fire on the RAWR/Brick fleet, rendering them unable to escape by jumping the gate to the other side due to aggro timers (while trapped in interdictor bubbles). It was a true massacre, leading to one of the hardest one-sided dunks in modern EVE history.

The Southern Coalition lost nearly 300 ships, including two carriers . Atleast 125 of their pilots were pod-killed and sent directly back to their home stations.  Some of them never left the loading screen. The victors destroyed about 40 billion ISK with a 97.8% efficiency.

The RCI-VL Blitzkrieg was caught on Fraps by M.V. FC Nashau (from the perspective of a Bomber) and uploaded to Youtube. It remains one of Traderjohn’s defining moments as a bomber FC.  He was taught bombing tactics early in his career by Vlade Randal.

July 18th, 2011 –  S-6HHN (Delve) – Meet the Panic Geddon 

The Armageddon, a relatively cheap ship, cut down expensive and well-tanked battleships with ease when critical mass was met. Many years later, a battleship re-design would do away with its laser turrets and it would play a role as a long-range energy neutralizer.

A large brawl took place in the system of S-6HHN between a 160 man RAWR/Brick fleet and a 200 man S2N/FAIL battleship and AHAC fleet. RAWR/Brick was forced to retreat, losing nearly 40 Drakes and a handful of Tempests.

The S-6HHN TCU that was owned by CONVICTED was eventually taken down by RAWR, followed by the HM-XR2 SBU. Nulli Secunda was politically neutral to Goonswarm Alliance but -A- was considered a long-time enemy of Deklein. The fate of CONVICTED’s space did not matter to Nulli Secunda.

progodlegend was the leading fleet commander of Nulli Secunda and a master tactician.

-A-, Nulli Secunda, Cascade Imminent, Atlas and other elements of the southern coalition banded together to fight off NCdot and White Noise., who outnumbered the defenders with massive supercapital numbers and state of the art fleets (backed with technetium wealth). The DRF did not stop its incursions into the south, focusing mainly on -A- and even striking at CVA-owned Providence.

Nulli Secunda’s lead FC, progodlegend, became a vanguard for the resistance against the DRF. He developed the Panic Geddon fleet and fought while outnumbered and outgunned by Abaddon fleets backed by triage carriers. One notable engagement that took place in Providence on July 24th demonstrated the power of the Armageddon’s ability to chew through brick-tanked Abaddons before triage reps can land.

Often the field could not be held but DRF was given a bloody nose each time at the heavy expense of ISK. One such video showcases a battle FCed by progodlegend that took place in Providence in the system of T-RPFU versus WN/NCdot on July 24th.

The Mega Pulse Laser II. The Armageddon excelled at close range where it can load the devastating Conflagration ammo. It also had a bonus to energy turret capacitor use. All lasers consume cap and that remains a great weakness for the Abaddon.

July 26th, 2011 – VFK-IV: Leet Forces Breakout (Deklein)

Credit: Goonswarm

A great escape was organized by the northern DRF members, aka the Leet Forces (PL, Raiden, NCdot and Ev0ke), on July 26th in the system of VFK-IV. Nearly 50 supercapitals, which had logged off in the system, were able to be rescued through a secret operation. Pandemic Legion took the brunt of the damage with most of its Hellcat fleet devastated, allowing the supercapitals to get free. Ironically, a GSF Aeon was taken down in the process by the Leet Forces. An elaborate battle report was written on EVENews24 with personal accounts from several pilots “who were there.” There were, however, rumors of The Mittani allowing the escape to be “the bigger man.”

Former CSM member White Tree wrote a poetic piece on MMORPG.com about the initial conditions of the VFK-IV Invasion and the heroic defense concocted by the CFC.

While the terrifying roar of 1400mm Tech II Howitzer Artillery might be lost in the deafening silence of space, the sheer unprecedented power that several thousand of them represent unleashing their payloads onto an unsuspecting Carrier class vessel is certainly not. And while this singular act may in and of itself seem uniquely beautiful and powerful as the hull of Thanatos is torn asunder before their wielders very eyes – It is but an infinitely small moment of destruction in the endless roaring maelstrom of chaos and beauty.

This is the final stage for many a brave soul, this is the place where the most skill-full of individuals may carve their names into gaming’s hall of glory. This is the Sandbox, where empires worth hundreds of thousands of dollars can rise in days and fall in brief moments of human error. This is EVE Online.

-White Tree, Columns: At Gunpoint

August

August 5th, 2011 – The Defense of HED-GP (Catch)

Perseus Kallistrotos was one of -A-‘s main fleet commanders and was well known for his spy network and metagaming.

In the first week of August, a confrontation took place in the storied system of HED-GP, the gateway to the South. NCdot and White Noise fought to take over this key system, which would establish a foothold for capitals and supercapitals for DRF. The defense, organized by Perseus Kallistratos of -A-, led to a ferocious battle between two massive armor battleship fleets. Nulli Secunda contributed a great deal with multiple support FCs coordinating different aspects of the coalition fleet.

DRF was overcome and forced to jump to SV5-BN, where survivors, including several slow-moving triage carriers, were trapped in a heavy interdiction bubble and blasted to shreds by lasers.

August 11th, 2011 – Ev0ke Homecoming Brawl in 1DH-SX (Delve)

While Nulli Secunda and others were kept busy by the increasing hostilities, Morsus Mihi and BricK sQuAD had a newcomer to deal with: Ev0ke. Often compared to Pandemic Legion due to their tendency to use metagaming and questionable tactics (such as spies), its pilots were seen as a threat.

Ev0ke was a German-speaking mercenary alliance loosely affiliated with DRF. It completely abandoned its holdings in the north and moved down to the NPC system of KFIE-Z in Delve – for the sake of “good fights.” The alliance was rumored to have been called down to keep RAWR in check to ensure there was no momentum gained. The DRF’s leadership was experienced – they knew RAWR could not be allowed to gain enough strength for a counter-invasion or take over any SOV in the south.

The great battleship brawl of 1DH-SX as Ev0ke arrives to the South.

On August 11th, a homecoming battleship brawl occurred in 1DH-SX between RAWR/Brick and Ev0ke. Ev0ke, heavily outnumbered, had the testicular fortitude to fight on the 1DH-SX station with a close-range armor battleship fleet consisting of Hellcat Abaddons, heavy neuting Tempests, Lokis for web support and a few triage carriers. The defending side fielded over 260 pilots with bomber support. RAWR also dropped a Nyx during the fight to help take out Ev0ke’s triage carriers with its fighter bombers.

About 700 ships were destroyed in total, amounting to about 109 billion ISK between the two fleets. Ev0ke had about 47% efficiency and downed 93 battleships, 50 logistics ships and a good portion of the support Hurricane wing. 112 of their own battleships met their demise.

This would simply be one of many battleships brawls, again, for no particular SOV objective. It was much needed aggression for both sides after the NC vs DRF war, in which the rampant use of supercapitals made subcapital ships obsolete. Everyone had grown tired of shooting structures instead of people.

This battle exemplified Ev0ke’s skill at using battleship doctrines. Pound for pound, the alliance was considered one of the best in the game at the time, if not in the EU timezone.

August 12th, 2011 – 3-Way Brawl in 1DH-SX (Delve)

A 3-way brawl erupted in 1DH-SX between a RAWR/Brick armor battleship fleet (with some assistance from BORG) and an Ev0ke Hellcat fleet. NCdot, which had been engaged with the A-Team in the area, decided to assist Ev0ke with a large Hellcat Abaddon fleet of its own. In a surprising turn of events, a Cascade Imminent (FAIL) armor HAC fleet rallied with RAWR/Brick to take up arms against its common enemy.

Ev0ke and NCdot, about 240 pilots strong, were outnumbered by over 500 pilots from the opposing side; but they had far more experience. Despite losing 40 battleships, Ev0ke unleashed 2 Titans and nearly a dozen supercarriers to counter RAWR’s 3 Titans and 3 supercarriers. It was the first sighting of Ev0ke’s supercapital fleet in the south thus far.

RAWR/Brick and FAIL ate most of the losses with nearly 70 battleships, 20 logistics, 30 armor HACs and 3 carriers blown up. Over 400 ships were destroyed between the three groups totaling ~70 billion ISK.

With this battle, Ev0ke was no longer to be underestimated. If a fight escalated to supers, they would receive the full backing of the rest of the DRF supercapital fleet.

An accurate representation of the feud between Morsus Mihi and Goonswarm Federation originally circulated in 2011. Credit: Unknown

August 14th, 2011 – Sacrilege Brawl of Y-2ANO, Ev0ke Assists RAWR (Delve)

Goonswarm Federation was wrapping up its clean-up of Deklein and its pilots returned to the south to deal with Morsus Mihi’s encroachment into Delve space.

Yaay (aka I’m Down), RAWR’s lead supercapital FC, assembled an experimental fleet of Sacrileges, specialized tech 2 Amarr heavy assault cruisers sporting heavy missile launchers and powerful tanks. A joint Goonswarm/TEST Alliance Hurricane fleet of nearly 400 pilots clashed with RAWR in the heart of Fountain.

Ev0ke joined the fray with a Thundercat fleet, this time fighting alongside RAWR. Goons were one of their oldest enemies and the greater evil. Mister Vee FCed the Goon/TEST fleet to victory, massacring over 50 Sacrileges and wiping out nearly the entire RAWR Guardian wing. Both Yaay and Mister Vee were eliminated in the fight.

The Welpfleet (autocannon Hurricanes), costing about 60-75 million ISK each and insurable, was designed to be a super cheap and effective way to combat well-tanked t2 ships such as Sacrileges, using overwhelming numbers to zerg down ships of superior class. Even afterburner Tengus were countered, run down by the MWDing Hurricanes and neuted out. In the time a Tengu fleet takes out 10 Hurricanes, 3 Tengus could be lost, each costing over 500 million ISK and skill training time lost.

The Welpfleet was integral to Goonswarm’s campaign to counter the elite Hellcat fleets that the DRF (primarily the Leet Forces) used in the northwest. Even a fully tanked carrier stood no chance against the mythical “300 Hurricane fleet” when each Hurricane wielded two medium neutralizers that could cap out any ship in moments with these numbers. With that, the Sacrilege doctrine operation was quickly shut down.

The Hurricane-class battlecruiser was used by the CFC as a cheap and disposable doctrine to kamikaze into fleets to inflict tremendous damage, winning the ISK war. It was later considered too OP by CCP and its stats were re-balanced with the other BCs and its fitting capabilities nerfed in a future patch.

August 17th, 2011 – The Great Four-Way of 1DH-SX (Delve)

A great 4-way engagement took place in 1DH-SX on August 17th. This time it was between RAWR/Brick/BORG (Abaddon fleet with battlecruiser and bomber support), Ev0ke (in bombers), CFC (mostly Goonswarm/TEST in battlecruisers) and NCdot (Hellcats).

Goonswarm/TEST took most of the aggression with nearly the entirety of its fleet blasted to shreds but it was essentially a free-for-all. Nearly 600 ships surmounting to 35 billion ISK was destroyed between all teams. CFC lost 164 of its 166 battlecruisers in a fight to the last man. 1DH-SX, being an NPC system, meant many of these brawls were purely for the sake of “good fights” rather than a particular SOV objective.

August 19th, 2011 – Abaddons vs Tengus in PS-94K (Delve)

Ev0ke dominated a 200 man RAWR/Brick and BORG armor battleship fleet with a 100 man Tengu fleet backed by a few tracking Titans and 8 supercarriers. Only two Tengus were taken down at the cost of 40 battleships (nearly 100 ships in total). Some battleships were soloed by the Titans (including logistics ships getting DDed) while large numbers of heavy drones (eg. Berserker IIs) from the supercarriers chewed down the rest.

The Berserker II is an advanced heavy fighter drone. Supercarriers were still able to field flights of heavy, sentry, medium and light drones during this time period – making them incredibly versatile.

Supercapitals were overpowered during this time period. Tracking Titans were able to track even battlecruisers and supercarriers were still able to field sentry, heavy, medium and light drones (in addition to fighter bombers). This versatility allowed them to fight any type of fleet in the game.

August 26th, 2011 – Skirmish of KFIE-Z (Delve)

RAWR/Brick took the fight to Ev0ke HQ in the dead-end system of KFIE-Z. They fought on the station, with both sides numbering about 100 pilots each. RAWR/Brick used an Abaddon fleet with the addition of Scorpions for EWAR support. BricK sQuAD also employed a wing of Blackbirds for additional jamming. The result was Ev0ke wiping out most of the fleet. Ev0ke lost only about a dozen battleships (mostly the weaker tanked Tempests) while removing nearly 85 RAWR/Brick ships off the field. The surviving battleship pilots fled to the adjacent system of Z3V- right into interdictor bubbles, where more kills were scored.

TEST Alliance ruled over the region of Fountain.

August 31st, 2011 – Old Hatreds vs TEST in B17O-R (Fountain)

An 80 man RAWR/Brick Drake fleet led by Nashau ventured into the region of Fountain and came face to face with a TEST Alliance mixed Hurricane and Drake fleet twice that size (with a handful of Tempests and Scorpions). A firefight ensued and 18 battlecruisers, most of the logistics team and recon ships were taken out by TEST. Nashau was also headshotted and the intruding side was forced to escape after only blowing up 19 battlecruisers.

Old grudges burned between the two sides. It was all too recent when TEST reset the NC as DRF bore down the very gates of Tribute in the north, a time when Deklein’s support was needed.

Ironically, Morsus Mihi/NC once played a critical role helping Goons in taking over Fountain from IT Alliance (ex-BoB) and gifting the region to TEST Alliance.

September

The month of September was a period of great change for my EVE character as I began to experiment with t1 cruisers against Ev0ke. Having maximized drone skills early on, the Vexor would become my first and all-time favorite cruiser. One of my first Vexors was defeated in a random 1 v 1 fight against Prometheus Exenthal, who was solo roaming Delve in an armor-repping Absolution.

September 4th, 2011 – Crucible Capital Ship Changes

The upcoming changes in the Crucible expansion were announced. Four tier 3 battlecruisers were slated to be released; Tornado (Minmatar), Oracle (Amarr), Naga (Caldari) and Talos (Gallente). Each tier 3 battlecruiser had the potential to put out incredible damage with the ability to fit battleship-sized turrets. The DPS ability and speed was offset by far fewer hitpoints and higher cost. They are often called “glass-cannons”. The tier 3 battlecruisers changed the way alliances approached PvP, especially when it came to capital warfare and the need for bringing in high-end DPS onto the field with haste.

The Tornado-class attack battlecruiser is one of the tier 3 battlecruisers that was introduced in the Crucible expansion. It had the ability to fit eight battleship-sized turrets. At the expense of tank, it is incredibly agile and excels at sniping and hit-and-run maneuvers.

Time Dilation was also to be officially introduced in the expansion, which would later revolutionize how massive battles in EVE played out by “slowing down” time itself to reduce lag and module-locking. Other changes included Captain’s Quarters and supercapital rebalancing.

September 5th, 2011 – Potato Fleet in FWST-8 (Delve)

Yaay of FUSEN corp began the run the first of many fleets revolving around the rarely used sentry Dominix doctrine. The Dominix of Gallente was often considered both the “swiss army knife” and “the red-headed stepchild” of EVE. Sentry fleets were not effective in EVE at this time due to mobility issues and drone modules not being particularly good to project damage. It was long before the Dominix received inherent bonuses to drone tracking and optimal range.

The Dominix is one of the old warhorses dating back to the Gallente-Caldari War. While no longer regarded as the king of the hill, it is by no means obsolete. Its formidable hulk and powerful drone arsenal means that anyone not in the largest and latest battleships will regret ever locking horns with it.

RAWR’s 50-man Dominix fleet, called the “Potato Fleet”, engaged a 50-man ROMANIAN-LEGION (ATAK) Drake fleet in the system of FWST-8. Only a few kills were scored by the battleships but the majority were gotten as the ATAK fleet was chased into the neighboring system of YZ9-F6.

The sentry Dominix (Gallente tier 1 battleship) is strong and relatively cheap but its slow mobility, vulnerability to bombs and need for high-end drone skills presented major challenges. It was not a new concept in nullsec warfare; Not Found. (404) was a small alliance known to use the ship religiously during this time period. They were actually the previous residents of 1DH-SX in Delve, forced to relocate when RAWR and BricK sQuAD moved into the area earlier that summer.

September 8th, 2011 – Battle for CNC-4V (Catch)

The Battle for CNC-4V was a key engagement primarily between Against ALL Authorities and allies versus DRF members NCdot and Raiden. It took place in Catch (-A- space) as the attacking DRF alliances brought a 100+ man Hellcat fleet to engage the A-Team’s 150-man armor battleship/HAC fleet, consisting of mostly Panic Geddons.

This was the first instance in which RAWR, which was neutral to the A-Team, was invited as a guest to assist in the defense of -A-’s home space. RAWR was not well liked due to earlier transgressions but leadership from both sides had been in contact for some time. They shared a common enemy in DRF. -A- once destroyed several CSAAs during the invasion of Tribute, further angering the Russians. Yaay led a 70+ man Potato Dominix fleet all the way from Delve, much to NCdot and Raiden’s surprise.

Both sides took heavy damage with over 150 ships destroyed total (more occurred due to inaccurate KB data) amounting to over 30 billion ISK. NCdot/Raiden was more efficient despite being outnumbered but their objectives to take the system were thwarted.

It was not forgotten that -A- once brought a 150+ man battleship fleet to one of the final engagements in the NC vs DRF war, traveling all the way from the south. The battle was already lost by that point, however.

RAWR’s decision to help -A- in this fight would later heavily impact its role in the ongoing campaign.

Our Tempest fleet crosses paths with NCdot once more on September 17th, 2011.

September 22nd, 2011 – 1DH-SX (Delve)

A 100-man Goon/TEST Hurricane fleet FCed by Dabigredboat (aka DBRB) paid a visit to 1DH-SX and took on an equally-sized RAWR/Brick fleet on the station. Goons were defeated, overcome by the defending side’s addition of a few triage carriers and kitchen-sink battleships. They lost over 80% of their forces, most of them podded back to Fountain and Deklein.

While not a strategic fight, Cascade Imminent (FAIL) was now regularly joining RAWR/Brick fleets and ops were open for them even on fleet finder. It was a major political change in the south that appeared to soften diplomatic relations with other members of the southern coalition.

September 25th, 2011 – Ev0ke Takes Down Ezekiel Sulastin’s Erebus-Class Titan

In a surprising turn of events, Ev0ke successfully took down an Erebus-class Titan belonging to Ezekiel Sulastin, one of RAWR’s most experienced Titan pilots.

It all began when a foolish Ev0ke Rorqual pilot was caught off the KFIE-Z station by a sling bubble. He did not heed warnings in intel not to warp directly to the station. RAWR dropped a supercapital fleet and ganked the pilot with about 10 caps/supercarriers and an Erebus.

However, it was EU prime and Ev0ke had a standing fleet already forming within the station. Knowing RAWR’s super fleet was only supported by about 40 pilots, they undocked a large Tengu fleet and kept the Titan bubbled with multiple heavy interdictors (HICS). RAWR’s support was forced to warp off to a safe POS and the motherships managed to jump out in time. Ezekiel Sulastin was caught and Vlade Randal flash-formed triage carriers and a support fleet in 1DH-SX to save him. As soon as they made it into KFIE-Z, a well-placed catch bubble was placed by Ev0ke directly at their optimal – and out of repair range of the trapped Erebus. They mostly died in a fire.

The Erebus quickly went down to combined fighter bomber damage from twenty supercarriers, an Erebus, missiles from Tengus, and turret fire and heavy neuting from Tempests. It was the first Titan loss in the campaign for RAWR. It was a huge morale victory for Ev0ke knowing the lack of technetium income once enjoyed by RAWR was long gone.

So without any further interruption we quickly break the Erebus’ neck, loot and salvage the field before making a short break to give everybody the chance to masturbate. Happy and satisfied we then went on grinding a couple of more Systems down while listening to records of the MM-Mumble. The End.

-An Ev0ke pilot

Ev0ke’s conquest of money-moons in the region was left unchallenged.

October

The first week of October consisted of various skirmishes with TEST, Goons and other alliances. Metabrutor of Macabre Votum chronicled many MM Bomber Division fleets on Youtube during the campaign. Many spectacular ganks and bomb runs were captured.

October 4th, 2011 – FM-JK5 (Delve)

A massive three-way battleship brawl exploded in FM-JK5 between Goonswarm and allies and RAWR/Brick. Goons flew its signature Alpha Maelstrom doctrine along with battlecruiser support, numbering about 300 ships. RAWR/Brick flew Hellcat Abaddons and battlecruisers (with support from a FAIL AHAC gang). Ev0ke joined as a third party on RAWR’s side with a 150-man Drake fleet, a signature doctrine of its own.

A bloodbath ensued; Goons’ side lost over 100 battleships close to 40 billion ISK. RAWR/Brick and Ev0ke took heavy damage as well, partly due to a large Goon bomber wing. They lost 110 battlecruisers and nearly 50 battleships. Atleast 155 of their pilots were pod-killed. Over 50 billion ISK and nearly 400 ships were destroyed in total.

October 6th, 2011 – PR-8CA, KFIE-Z and 1DH-SX (Delve)

Another skirmish occurred in PR-8CA, more of a free-for-all. A 135-man RAWR/Brick battlecruiser fleet FCed by S0MEB0DY ELSE took on a 100-man Ev0ke Drake fleet. Until a small Goonswarm Tempest gang entered – which was promptly wiped out. Then the two sides carried on as usual. RAWR/Brick lost 35 battlecruisers where as Ev0ke lost 15.

An hour later, most of the dead reshipped. They flew over to Ev0ke HQ in KFIE-Z and fought its 100-man Drake fleet once again, this time with nearly 200 pilots (a large portion in small tackle). Losses were even with about 120 ships downed between the two forces.

Later that night, a three-way transpired on the 1DH-SX station with a 100-man RAWR/Brick/FAIL kitchen-sink fleet of battlecruisers, a handful of Tempests and a few carriers clashing with a 70-man roaming Goon/TEST and allied Hurricane fleet. A roaming Black Legion. (MEN) 25-man Drake fleet, FCed by Elo Knight, randomly encountered the brawl and shot at everything.

Black Legion, known for its Muninn gangs, was on its traditional “Drake diet” at the time. Still a young alliance, it took its roots from roaming out of Venal and its pilots appeared in the wild at various corners of New Eden, shooting all parties indiscriminately.     

Commissioned by the Republic Fleet to create a powerful assault vessel for the strengthening of the Matari tribes as well as a commercial platform for the Howitzers and other guns produced by the Fleet, Boundless Creation came up with the Muninn. Heavily armored, laden with turret hardpoints and sporting the latest in projectile optimization technology, this is the very definition of a gunboat. Boundless Creation’s ships are based on the Brutor tribe’s philosophy of warfare: simply fit as much firepower onto your ship as is humanly possible. The Muninn is far from being an exception. Credit: Kugutsumen

October 13th, 2011 – Winter is Coming

The bonds that held the Drone Russian Federation tightly together were beginning to loosen as rumors spread about an unknown drama between the Russian alliances in the East. The DRF no longer had a singular enemy to focus on. Its individual groups engaged in localized conflicts, such as White Noise, PL, NCdot and Raiden attacking the Southern Coalition (A-team). The eastern RUS groups did not take part in the campaign; Legion of xXDEATHXx’s leader was also known to be long-time friends of Goonswarm.

The VFK-IV headshot attempt against the CFC in the North served as a reminder that when its forces are divided on multiple fronts, there was a way to fight the superpower.

CCP unveiled a major overhaul of how supercapitals worked in EVE for the upcoming Crucible expansion. Titans would no longer be able to doomsday subcapital ships. Supercapitals will receive a flat 20% EHP nerf. Motherships would also lose their general drone bays, limiting control to only fighters and fighter bombers. Furthermore, the log-offski trick will no longer work. Supercapitals finding themselves in a tough spot will not disappear after 15 minutes upon clicking log-out. As long as they are kept aggressed, they will remain in space until destroyed. A mechanic of this magnitude would have changed many battles in EVE’s storied past; perhaps even the outcome of wars.

In his article, “Winter is Coming,” Ripard Teg of Jester’s Trek wrote an extensive analysis of the changes and how the tactics of the largest alliances would be impacted. The full political implications were not yet known or how the PvP metagame would shift following these changes.  

October 19th, 2011 – Pandemic Legion Visits Delve

Pandemic Legion began to be sighted all over Delve, having done a short term deployment. They usually spent their time station camping 1DH-SX with 1400mm Artillery Tempests with sensor boosters and other mods allowing insta-lock capability. ‘Insta-Tempests’, they were called, and frequently joined by Grath Telkin himself.

Wrik Hoover of North Eastern Swat (NESW)

Having completed the training in Minmatar turrets during the NC vs DRF war and acquiring tech 2 large turret specialization, I fit out a solo t2 artillery Tempest. I warped myself to a vantage point away from enemy tackle and attempted to take out Wrik Hoover’s Cheetah. He used a cloaking sniper Tempest of his own (while multiboxing other alts in Tempests) early in the summer, ganking random ships on the 1DH-SX station. Now he was back with more PL. It was my first experience learning how to use different positions on the grid (and off-grid) to fight multiple enemy ships. Unfortunately my volley missed Wrik Hoover and I was caught by the waiting cloaky PL Vagabond gang. I fired my next and final volley at a Vagabond and wiped out 80% of his shields but eventually went down.

October 21st, 2011 – 8WA-Z6 (Delve)

In addition to Pandemic Legion, Raiden. was a frequent visitor to the Delve Thunderdome.

4-way battle took place in 8WA-Z6 between RAWR/Brick/FAIL, Pandemic Legion, CFC/TEST, and Ev0ke. CFC, flying a large Alpha Maelstrom fleet, focused on RAWR while taking fire from PL’s Hellcat and Ev0ke’s Drake fleet. They lost nearly 100 battleships and 20 logistics ships (over 30 billion ISK). PL then turned their guns against RAWR/Brick battlecruisers and FAIL’s AHACs – which stood no chance.

The 8WA-Z6 4-way brawl consisted of RAWR/Brick vs CFC/TEST vs Ev0ke vs Pandemic Legion.

Goonswarm and allies’ goal was re-securing assets in the south, now that they have returned from their defensive campaign in Deklein. Raiden also deployed to the region in the search of elusive “good fights” – a thread on the EVE Online forums chronicled many of their fights with various alliances, caught on video.

October 22nd, 2011 – Z3V-1W (Delve)

During a skirmish against Pandemic Legion and Raiden’s combined Hellcat fleet in the system of Z3V-1W, Ev0ke decided to assist RAWR/Brick’s battlecruiser fleet. Despite losing 9 battleships and three triage carriers, PL/Raiden managed to blow up nearly 50 battlecruisers, 23 bombers, a handful of logistics ships.

October 24th, 2011 – Z3V-1W (Delve)

A 4-way battle broke out in Z3V-1W between Pandemic Legion, RAWR/Brick, Ev0ke and Against ALL Authorities. Initially the fight was RAWR/Brick’s BC fleet versus -A-’s Drake fleet (with Ev0ke third-partying). Then PL entered the system.

PL focused all its efforts at taking out -A-’s fleet with its well-equipped Hellcats, a doctrine originally designed to counter the perma-MWD Drakes used by the Southern Coalition. An uneasy truce was negotiated between PL and RAWR/Brick; PL simply wanted to focus on -A-. My Lachesis was then shot down by PL because I forgot to take my long-point off of Wrik Hoover’s smartbombing firewall Typhoon during the violence – perhaps subconsciously to get on his killmail.    

November

In the month of November, the DRF ramped up the pressure on members of the A-Team. Stagnation reared its ugly head at Morsus Mihi and FC inactivity became increasingly prevalent due to a lack of direction. Ev0ke remained in the neighborhood and the CFC prevented any space or moons from being taken over by RAWR. Prominent fleet commanders such as Imperian left the alliance to Pandemic Legion early in the summer. Sala Cameron, one of RAWR’s most active Titan pilots, left near the end of October, also to PL.  RAWR sat in Delve and waited. But for what?

The Angel Cartel ruled the region of Curse. Source: CCP

The frequency of battleships fleets reduced to almost nothing and even BC fleets became uncommon; most ops ended in defeat and were without a strategic objective except “good fights.” The few active supercapital pilots remaining in the alliance did not seem to have a purpose. Leadership determined that the alliance will simply “rot further” in 1DH-SX if they did not play a role in the ongoing conflicts. Daily engagements occurred in Catch, Querious and other regions involving Raiden., Nulli Secunda, NCdot, White Noise, Red Alliance, Pandemic Legion, Cascade Imminent, TEST, the CFC, The Initiative and others.

The Southern Coalition/A-Team fought to keep their space but they did not have the supercapital forces and wealth to match the DRF + PL. However, an escalation was brewing and there were whispers of an impending civil war between the Russians.

RAWR was not meant to be a “Wulfpax” group on the sidelines. For much of its life, it had always been an alliance on the front-lines and a driving force behind world events. If a move wasn’t made now, even more talent would be lost. That Fall, a decision was made to completely abandon Delve and move to the region of Curse, an NPC nullsec region controlled by the Angel Cartel. BricK sQuAD followed suit and the two alliances consolidated their assets in Curse, where they began to work closely with The Initiative and Gypsy Band. The latter group was an ancient Russian ally of the NC (formerly Rebellion Alliance). Revenge against the DRF, now more fragmented than ever, was on everyone’s minds.

November 20th, 2011 – The Resurgence – Y7-XFD (Great Wildlands)

November 20th marked one of the earliest signs of the great resurgence against the Russian elements of the DRF by the forces of Gypsy Band, RAWR, BricK sQuAD and The Initiative. The Great Wildlands became the site of a bloodbath as White Noise and Red Alliance fought the insurgents with a large Artillery Abaddon fleet and over 20 carriers while defending a POS tower – about 300 strong. Pandemic Legion backed them with a 100-man Thundercat fleet and a supercapital umbrella.

Gypsy Band began a counter-assault of DRF territory, starting with Red Alliance space.

The insurgent fleet was primarily Russian, with Gypsy Band at the helm. Gypsy Band and The Initiative flew Artillery Abaddons and Mega Pulse Laser Abaddons, respectively. Orders from the FC were translated to English for the guests. RAWR/Brick formed in a suicide Welpcane fleet (numbering ~100). The autocannon Hurricane doctrine established by the CFC was now commonly used by other alliances to zerg rush the enemy. Our objective was clear – no logistics, swarm the enemy and inflict as much damage as possible before being “blown to shit.”

The fight resulted in a Pyrrhic victory for the DRF side, a surprising and profoundly dangerous result. They lost 3 carriers and 86 battleships but took out 80 battleships and nearly 40 battlecruisers from the Curse alliances, partly due to support from Pandemic Legion. About 300 ships and 76 billion ISK was destroyed in total, with the losing side winning the ISK battle with a 56% efficiency.

The Map of New Eden as of November 29th, 2011, the onset of the Crucible expansion. The DRF had finished conquering the North and converged onto what was left of Southern Coalition space.

Aftermath

Major expansion changes were coming about, coinciding with the gossip of the upcoming war – not uncommon in EVE’s history. Subcapital doomsdays would no longer exist as of November 29th, 2011 with the onset of the Crucible expansion. Other changes included the massive supercapital nerf (reduction of 20% EHP, loss of drone bay for supercarriers) representing a great shift in the metagame. This emboldened the underdog alliances who sought to take revenge against the DRF supercapital fleet. The CFC, historically weak in supercapitals, also saw an opportunity. The face of large-scale warfare was about to change forever with the onset of Time Dilation (TiDi), a mechanic originally announced by CCP earlier that year. Pandemic Legion paid tribute to the end of subcapital doomsdays by gathering a large number of Titans and DDing Shadoo’s Machariel, footage of which was caught by Euriti.

Rumors of Morsus Mihi disbanding made their rounds throughout the EVE community; our activity had dropped substantially in the last couple of months. The Southern Coalition was locked in a foreverwar with the DRF but RAWR struggled to find its place in the grand scheme, a shadow of its former self. The rumors turned out to be fact and Morsus Mihi held its final meeting in its history on November 29th – a record of the meeting still exists on soundcloud (Vuk Lau speaks at 11:00). RAWR’s individual corporations made difficult decisions and decided to take new paths.

Macabre Votum (M.V.) and hirr (HIRR), its larger corps, joined Against ALL Authorities (-A-), a dual US/RUS timezone alliance living in Catch. -A- leadership had been in talks with RAWR for some time and the common will to carry on the fight to defeat the DRF played a great role in the decision. The majority of PvPers from my corp, The Arrow Project (then over 10 years old), merged with hirr. The rest took a step back from nullsec and ventured into wormhole space.

Fusion Enterprises (FUSEN) joined NCdot after a trial period. Oberon Incorporated (OI), Shiva (SHVA) and Wrecking Shots (WSHOT) joined White Noise. Free-Space-Ranger (FSR), which was primarily German-speaking, was recruited by Ev0ke. The Graduates (TGRAD), also a large corp and sponsor of EVE-Uni, remained in RAWR for some time and joined RAZOR Alliance (RZR). RAZOR, which joined the CFC at this time, was the closest tie to the old Northern Coalition. That decision was shared by 4S Corporation, the main executor of RAWR, which joined RZR along with TGRAD on the Eve of Christmas. With that, Morsus Mihi’s reign had come to an end.

Pandemic Legion pays tribute to the end of the subcapital doomsday on November 28th, 2011 –
by doomsdaying Shadoo’s Machariel with multiple Titans. Credit: Euriti

The Delve Thunderdome was not a war in true sense but a prelude to a greater conflict that was about to begin. It wasn’t clear then but the different players and struggles that began during this time period would heavily shape the forthcoming years of EVE Online. Wars in EVE are cyclical in nature and there is often a change in the balance of power following the deaths of coalitions.

It was an origins story for many growing alliances, fleet commanders and their allegiances. The journeys they took here decided the fate of many.

To the Russian Civil War