EVE Online War Stories

EVE Online War Stories is a retrospective look at the history of EVE Online’s major wars during 2010-2016 through the perspective of a Gallente battleship pilot, Vik Reddy, as he entered nullsec for the first time. It focuses on the key battles, propaganda, and the evolution of PvP tactics over the years with respect to the time periods in which they took place.

Foreword

EVE Online is the largest living work of science fiction and the classic example of a true sandbox game. The history of the game’s empires and its major conflicts are constantly driven by its players ever since it came out in 2003. Simon Parkin from The Guardian calls the game a “microcosm of human activity.” Within EVE is a “political community” that models hierarchy, rule of law, violence and distribution of labor. It’s a game about spaceships, the rise of coalitions, and mankind’s endless pursuit for wealth and power. Over the years, EVE’s greatest fleet commanders have become legends and they are remembered for their conquests long after they stop playing. 

Vik Reddy's portrait.

Vik Reddy’s portrait.

My pilot, Vik Reddy, entered nullsec in the summer of 2010. I started EVE like anyone else, with no knowledge of the game’s mechanics. Now years later, as a veteran of several campaigns, this page is an attempt to preserve historical events from the perspective of my character as a battleship pilot on the front-lines. These are the key fights, players, and the tactics that were used in past generations. With the help of many sources, the campaigns covered in War Stories are simply a cross-section of all of New Eden’s conflicts.

Vik Reddy’s story begins in Tribute under the banner of the Northern Coalition, considered at the time to be the most dominant power in nullsec. It was a peculiar time period in the game’s history to start as a new player.


Battle of B-R

Bloodbath of B-R5RB. Credit: EVE Reddit

Like in real life, no two wars in EVE are alike, especially when seen within the time period in which they took place. EVE Online War Stories is a time capsule, a retrospective look at the military history of the game from the years 2010 to 2016 at different points of the arms race. The campaigns are from the point of view of Morsus Mihi (2010-2011), Against ALL Authorities (2011-2013), and Pandemic Legion (2013-2016). It depicts these true stories in chronological order to show the extent of what ordinary gamers can achieve when given powerful tools. Over the years, the tactics players have used against one another are constantly refined. The map today is the result of over ten years of war, diplomacy, espionage, and betrayal.

EVE has a reputation for looking like “spreadsheets and brackets in space” to those who are uninitiated. But like any sport, the true nature of its significance is not understood until one learns the game’s rules, what each ship is capable of, and how teamwork and strategy can heavily impact the outcome of a fight. Without this knowledge, one cannot appreciate the finer strategies, like in a game of chess being played at high speed. In that way, EVE has evolved into more of a sport than just a PvP game. Every war presented unique challenges.

Through these great struggles, the struggles of a few against the many, the galaxy came to witness its greatest heroes. 

Act I:

Act II (Under Development):

  • SoCo vs Honeybadger Coalition and CFC (2012)
  • The Fountain War (2013)
  • The Halloween War (2013-2014)
  • World War Bee (2016)

Primary Sources

In War Stories, Act I introduces the iconic NC vs DRF war, the game’s politics, and sets the backdrop for its major players. Act II, during which my character is older, will delve deeper into advanced PvP tactics and the propaganda used.

EVE offers us this utopian idea that you can never die. You can resurrect endlessly. But it also poses the question: do we really want to be strapped into the machines, waging war until the end of all time?Andrew Groen

Death and Taxes

In EVE, the character dies when the pod is destroyed but the “soul” is transferred to a subsequent clone. No matter how many times one can die, it’s simply the death of a physical body. The mind cannot be destroyed. In this universe, everyone is immortal. To me, the game is a caricature of real life. It’s a non-fiction that takes place in a virtual science-fiction world. Like in real life, actions have long-lasting consequences. The history we created has shaped the present-day empires in EVE and the map. The laws of physics may be different in this world but there are always rules.

Act I

Northern Coalition vs Drone Russian Federation (2010-2011)

Propaganda During NC vs DRF War

Credit: Rick Pjanja

Technetium, one of the game’s most valuable resources, was concentrated in the North. As CCP intended, only the most powerful alliances working together would be able to hold these territories for any length of time. The Northern Coalition (NC), formally created to defend the North against the forces of Band of Brothers (BoB), emerged victorious in the aftermath of SirMolle’s MAX Campaign. NC then fought back an invasion on Tribute from the Southern Coalition. It was an era of supercapital proliferation, metagaming, and backroom deals. NC found a brother of war in Goonswarm Federation (leader of the Deklein Coalition) after defeating everything BoB had thrown against them thus far. Their fates seemed tied together.

Meanwhile, in the far East, there was a war machine amassing. In late 2010, the NC launched an invasion of the Drone Lands because of “weapons of mass destruction”. These were the ancestral regions controlled by the Drone Russian Federation (DRF). The NC vs DRF war is considered to be a David vs Goliath story in online gaming, involving most of the major powers in EVE at the time. The clash set record-breaking supercapital fights and decisively set the stage for nullsec for the next several years.

Delve Thunderdome (2011)

PL gets bombed by goonswarm

Credit: Kugutsumen

EVE had witnessed the bloodiest war in recent times. The monopoly on technetium was finally broken. The surviving powers consolidated their territories and divided the spoils of war. Fragments of the NC split off into different corners of the map as a reconstruction period began. Goonswarm Federation, having watched its long-time ally destroyed from the sidelines, chose this period to enter the theatre as it found its space threatened.

Not far from the ongoing conflict, a phenomenon known as the Thunderdome took place in Delve. It was known that the era of supercapital dominance may be coming to an end. In the ashes of the Northern Coalition, a new empire was born, much stronger than its predecessor. But for many pilots who lost their homes, the war was not yet over.

The Russian Civil War (2011-2012)

2012.02.21.20.11.41

EVE Online has a metagame far deeper than the screen. The loss of space could potentially end years of a certain type of gameplay,  leading to the deaths of entire alliances. Stations, CSAAs, and renting space also meant real life implications for certain people in high places. It was known that Russian pilots had a reputation for throwing down and fighting almost anything. Whole empires can go to war based on old grudges.

In the winter of 2011, an unprecedented civil war broke out in the RUS community. SOLAR Fleet declared war on former DRF ally, Legion of xXDeathXx.  xXDeath then contracted the full might of the mercenary group Pandemic Legion. In the north, the CFC laid siege to White Noise. and Raiden. after the failed VFK-IV Headshot attempt. In the South, Against ALL Authorities opened a new front, launching a counter-offensive that focused on Red Alliance and Legion of xXDeathXx. -A- recruited two major English-speaking corps from the recently fallen Morsus Mihi, which bolstered its EU and US timezones. Gypsy Band, an ancient Russian ally of the late NC, became a wildcard in the forces rallying against DRF and the supercapital armada.

The Russian Civil War would see the implementation of tech 3 cruiser fleets on a much larger scale than what was first seen by Shadoo’s Thundercat fleets in the NC vs DRF war. The Rokh with 425mm railguns would overtake the Hellcat Abaddon and Alpha Maelstrom as the gold standard for battleship fleet fights. Technological advancements were made and tactics were refined. The DRF, backed by PL, NCdot, and TEST (The Honeybadgers), had tracking Titans, massive numbers of supercarriers, and a growing war chest to reimburse their losses.

For the insurgents, it seemed an impossible mission to invade the heart of the Drone Lands and fight the coalition that just killed the Northern Coalition.

Act II (Under Development)

SoCo vs Honeybadger Coalition and CFC (2012)

49-u 2nd timer fight 8-6-12

Credit: Kugutsumen

The violent conclusion of the Russian Civil War radically shifted the political landscape of the south. The Russian ancestral system of C-J6MT was now taken by SOLAR Fleet. Red Alliance became a shadow of its former self. In the northwest, the Clusterfuck Coalition (CFC) came forth as the sole superpower in nullsec, having played an indirect role in the DRF’s downfall after the Branch campaign. The Goons laid claim to the technetium moons previously held by White Noise. and Raiden.

An in-game treaty called OTEC was signed between these tech-holding alliances (signatories) to milk technetium for as long as possible while manipulating the market’s supply in order to maximize profits. The only groups with meaningful supercapital numbers were now part of a Tech Cartel and they knew how to take advantage of EVE’s player-driven economy. In the realm of SOV warfare, siege battles were revolutionized by the Slowcat carrier doctrine designed by Manfred Sideous, which saw first blood in the Final Assault of C-6MT in the Russian Civil War. 

Despite the stranglehold on the North, the new generation of -A-, Nulli Secunda, and allies (dubbed SoCo) was seen as a growing threat by the CFC and OTEC. Pandemic Legion sought to establish a foothold in Delve for the budding TEST Alliance Please Ignore with the help of the CFC. It was the beginning of a foreverwar. The newly formed Honeybadger Coalition (HBC) took root and set off a chain of events leading to some of the most destructive subcapital engagements ever seen in the southern war theater.

The Fountain War (2013)

ep6vdtstation

Credit: EVE Reddit

In the events leading up to the Fountain War, -A-’s empire had crumbled and many of its core corporations had moved on. The Honeybadger Coalition took upon the mantle in the south but struggled with organization, no longer having a great enemy on which to focus its attention. There was a cold war and divisions began to form between the HBC (led by TEST) and the CFC. Nullsec was also in a state of tension following the Battle of Asakai. The upcoming changes to technetium and R64 moons forced large alliances to look for other ways to secure methods of income. Not long after TEST cut ties with the HBC that summer, Goonswarm Federation declared all-out war, bringing the full power of the CFC to the gates of Fountain. It was a region originally gifted to TEST by Goonswarm with the help of the old NC. Fountain held lucrative R64 moons and had historically been a prosperous region.

TEST stood alone. Not alone. Outnumbered and outgunned, it formed a formidable defense against the CFC with unlikely allies, Pandemic Legion and N3 coalition. The Fountain War escalated to the point of involving even the northern theater. It was a vicious tug of war of attrition, metagaming, and even bribery.

The Halloween War (2013-2014)

the battle of b-r

Credit: Rooks and Kings

The Halloween War is mostly known for a single battle taking place in the system of B-R5RB. This 21-hour long fight, the Bloodbath of B-R5RB, would see the destruction of trillions of ISK and involved the violent deaths of dozens of Titans, catapulting the game to the likes of BBC News. However, the Halloween War and its final outcome was not solely defined by that event.

The conflict officially began on October 31st in Catch with SOLAR Fleet, Black Legion., Stainwagon and allies (collectively called RUS) forming a pact to fight N3 Coalition and Pandemic Legion (N3/PL). It was the massive RUS counter-offensive that the community had expected for a long time following Shadoo’s early 2013 conquest of the Drone Regions from SOLAR. In a rare move, the CFC got involved despite generally involving itself in Russian politics. The Mittani believed that ignoring the conflict would put himself in a vulnerable position later on. The supercapital gauntlet was thrown and the stage was set.

The Halloween War saw an unusual shift in SOV warfare. Despite being generally outnumbered, Manfred Sideous’ new Wrecking Ball strategy allowed N3/PL to tank unfathomable amounts of damage from hundreds of subcaps and dreadnoughts. Capital dominance became the new focus while subcap pilots took a step back; a defining moment of the perpetual power creep of skill-points and wealth in EVE Online. The Halloween War was the culmination of several campaigns for its participants and its significance is greater today in light of the force-projection nerf changes later introduced in the Phoebe expansion.

World War Bee (2016)

Under development.

Afterword

It was the summer of 2014 when I originally had the idea to create War Stories. There was a small measure of peace after the end of the Halloween War. The Empires of EVE series was recently announced by Andrew Groen and it was inspiring to see so many wanting to know the game’s history from the beginning. Like many grunts who never experienced the Great Wars, I wanted to know what life was like when we only had sticks and stones. There just wasn’t enough documentation on the past and the politics and culture of our gaming base wasn’t that accessible to the average guy. I was just a grunt Pandemic Legion pilot at the time, dabbling in writing and web design. World War Bee in 2016 was the last campaign I fought in EVE, my final shots after three years under Pandemic Legion’s banner. In the game I built up over 12,000 lifetime kills but what I loved the most was logistics in fleet fights. It was nothing but good times and strengthened my focus on creating War Stories and saving my screenshots and other data. Not unlike a war diary, it attempts to portray the spirit of the EVE community and the level of propaganda and meta-gaming that exists in online gaming.

It’s now April 2018 at the time of the release of War Stories Act I; I hope it shows the strength of the EVE community in a single living virtual world. I semi-retired from the game in 2016 due to real life. The memories mean more now as a veteran, after having fought alongside my friends and taking part in its history.

Ostensibly this was a warning of capsuleers to where their folly would lead them, but those who’ve encountered the immortals will know it was more likely taken as an ideal of death and destruction to which they can aspire from now until the end of time.Titanomachy

In the end, I realized alliances are like sports franchises in real life. Generations come and go and the players change. No one can become too powerful given any length of time. It’s a constant fight for survival and keeping enemies in check. The nature of EVE is that it’s PvP defined – the most dangerous game. There will always be an ugly side of human nature. There will always be miners, soldiers and businessmen who crave war. There will always be scammers, pirates and hunters who prey on them. Every action has an irreversible effect. Every micro-decision in a fight can affect the outcome of a campaign, which can change the fate of the map. Tactics and propaganda evolve and the industrial machines continue the perpetual arms race. Every pilot and every decision matters, both inside and outside the battlefield.

In both cases this is economical value that is created by people’s work, either in real life or in virtual life. They put their blood, sweat and tears into making stuff so they can have an advantage in a battle, because in this battle like in any other battle in meet worlds, in real life, it is the resources you have available.

-Dr. Eyjólfur Guðmundsson

In EVE, the actions of a single player continue to impact the game world, long after they have fallen in real life. The community comes together to help those in need and mourns those who passed. People may call these games a wild fiction but I believe the things you learn from your friends can transcend beyond the barriers of the screens of our computers.

As long as man exists, there is war. As long as there is war, EVE will never fade. War never changes.