The first Titan loss of the year happened on Saturday the 21st of January and along with it the year’s second Titan loss. The battle that ensued was nothing short of breath taking and could easily be classed as epic. The battle saw quite possibly more than 1000 ship kills, many of which were capitals, and is without a doubt the biggest battle of 2012 and arguably one of the biggest gatherings of sub capital ships seen in quite some time. The CFC which comprises of Goonswarm Federation, Fatal Ascension, Black Mark, Fcon, Get off my lawn, Spacemonkey’s, Razor and many others stood on one side whilst the forces of Raiden, Evoke, Ewoks, NCDot, Pandemic Legion and many others stood on the other. What follows is an eye witness account of the battle – my very own – and I hope it to prove accurate and unbiased. As I fought on the side of the CFC I would very much welcome an account by a member of the opposing forces to balance this battle report out.
At around 16:00 – 16:30 EVE time a jabber broadcast was sent by The Mittani calling for all hands on deck as it were for an upcoming final timer of a Tech moon owned by Raiden. As this is Raiden’s prime time it stood to reason a fight was on the cards. Judging by the ferocity with which the horn of Goondor was being blown I suspected that the super capital fleet regularly deployed by Raiden would perhaps be tackled, rather than be retreated from. All such thoughts however were cast aside as I began burning my alt in the region back to the VFK staging point. After only a few minutes since The Mittani’s broadcast another was sent advising the first fleet had filled and to begin joining second and third fleet. What struck me most about this second broadcast wasn’t the fact that over 250 people had filled the first fleet within just minutes of the broadcast being sent but rather the fact that the second and third fleets weren’t given their customary racist and offensive names. It was at this point that I realised shit was most definitely getting real.
Somehow I managed to squeeze into first fleet; blind luck. I warped to the staging tower only to be told to warp back the way in which I had come, II5, and get on the DKUK jump bridge. As it happens we were burning to 92D in Venal which I had just fervently burned back from and I felt a bit stupid. As I entered WLF, the first system into Venal from Deklein’s DKUK, I immediately noticed the new and small TiDi (Time Dilation) icon in the upper left hand corner of the screen, indicating that TiDi was in effect. Within roughly 10 minutes 92D local was in the several hundreds and comprised of several different fleets with several differing objectives. As an estimate I believe we had around 650 – 700 people, not including capital ships. Understand that this is an approximate figure – it was far too difficult to pinpoint an exact amount due to a mixing of friendlies and hostiles in local. I have to be honest and say I expected to be ‘blue balled’ as such an amassing of sub capital ships would surely put most people off.
I was wrong, very very wrong. A cyno went up in system and local began to spike. “Spike” doesn’t sufficiently explain by how much local went up in so much as local actually more than doubled! Levelling off at around 1350 – 1400 the TiDi indicator quickly turned red. “Get ready gentlemen” came DaBigRedBoat’s command over comms in as calm a demeanour as you could get. Everything went quiet and after several minutes of anticipation came that sweet sounding “Take fleet warp” and my ship beginning an automatic trajectory. I imagined that upon landing I would be greeted by hundreds of battleships and a terrifying number of super capitals. What we landed on however was vastly different to my expectation; a lone Erebus a good 100km away from his brethren and support vessels.
Bubbles went up and the Titan was quickly surrounded with many “InfiniPoints” put onto him by the many Hictors in the group. Targets were being called, Drakes, however due to my alliance’s blue standings with NCDot I was unable to shoot. Then something incredible and unexpected happened: a blue cyno went up right next to me. At the time I didn’t know it was blue and the few dozen Dreadnoughts that appeared prompted me to believe I was about to be raped quite severely. But those Dreadnoughts weren’t appearing on my overview and it didn’t take long for me to realise they were Goon dreadnoughts. Stunned, I looked on as they began to siege and assault the caught Erebus in a devastating fashion. I locked up the impossibly large ship and begin whoring away just as it dawned on me that I was not only witnessing a Goon capital deployment against hostile super capitals but that this was going to be the first Titan killed in 2012 and, quite excitably, I realised I would be involved in its demise just like I was involved in the demise of the year’s first super carrier loss.
Another cyno and through it came many Goon Titans and super carriers. I could not believe my eyes. So often have I been in battles when hostile supers enter the field resulting in either the fleet’s death or the fleet’s retreat. The CFC is incredibly hesitant to drop supers unless absolutely assured of their safety but to see this risky manoeuvre being played out just a hundred kilometres away from a flotilla of Raiden Titans that must have numbered close to 40… well, I was amazed. If the adrenaline hadn’t have been pumping so vigorously through my veins I would have perhaps stopped and remarked that this event was what drew me to the game and encouraged me to become a part of Nullsec sovereign wars. The scene was magnificent; to the left were well over 30 Raiden titans and many more super carriers that were saving their Tech moon tower, up above were Goon Titans doomsdaying the lone trapped Erebus that had been surrounded with bubbles and all around were hundreds of Maelstroms fighting a fierce battle against the Drake horde. As the Dreadnoughts were sieging Raiden Titans began doomsdaying them in a horrifying yet beautiful lightshow of brilliant greens and vibrant yellows, followed by massive explosions. A calculated sacrifice.
This, my fellow readers, was the opening minutes of a battle that would rage for approximately three hours. Multiple CFC fleets, multiple hostile fleets, all working in unison for unknown objectives and causing untold amounts of damage. At some point Pandemic Legion entered the field with a Tengu fleet accompanied by approximately 30 Titans. It’s easy to see why the CFC is hesitant with deploying capitals because just Raiden’s and PL’s Titans on field alone numbered close to 70. Multiple battles raged, wrecks littered everywhere and suddenly on comms “Goon Titan bounced from POS, tackled by PL”. The fleet I was in didn’t even attempt to save it because we knew it was too late; 30 PL Titans in unison doomsdayed the unlucky Goon Titan. It died almost instantly.
We carried on fighting, many of us died and we killed many. But do you know what was most remarkable about this fight? The lag was barely noticeable. 1400+ in local, super capitals with fighter bombers swarming, doomsdays, Drake missiles, etc, yet with TiDi in full force there were no crashes, no unresponsive modules, no MWD’s that wouldn’t turn off. Astonishing. I still don’t fully understand what TiDi is, its explanation far too technical for my fragile little mind, but whatever it is CCP have certainly struck gold. This was by far a huge improvement over even smaller battles I’ve encountered in the past.
The battle raged on, those who perished went back to VFK to reship, self-destructing their pods in a suicidal frenzy as though gripped by the feverous ramblings of a cult leader. It is difficult to say who won the engagement, perhaps because there are varying opinions of what actually constitutes as a win. Raiden so far as I know saved their Tech moon so technically they won the overall point of the engagement. In terms of kills, losses, ISK ratio etc etc I would say it was fairly even. The battle report on the Erebus puts the kill ratio and ISK ratio in favour of the CFC slightly, at roughly 53%, but it seems losses that occurred elsewhere in the system are not taken into account of this estimation. Goons lost approximately 15-25 Dreadnoughts and a Leviathan class Titan, hundreds of Maelstroms, over a hundred Hurricanes and an uncountable number of support ships. Raiden & Co on the other hand lost an Erebus class Titan, a few carriers and hundreds of Abaddons, Drakes and a large number of Tengu’s. Because of the cost of the expensive T3’s I would estimate the ISK ratio to be even, if a little in favour of the CFC, although the difficulty in replacing Dreadnoughts over T3’s I say would balance that cost out.
At some point during the battle a small fleet of tier 3 battlecruisers of Hell4s descent warped to 100km of our fleet. I’m not entirely sure why they thought tank-less sniper battlecruisers being warped to within range of a few hundred angry Maelstroms was a good idea but suffice to say their entire fleet had been decimated before DBRB was even aware of its existence. Props to Hell4s for at least having a go, though.
All in all it was an exhilarating battle. Both sides most definitely brought it and respect to everyone involved for not backing down from the fight. I’m sure both sides will have their chest beaters claiming unswerving victory which will muddy any battle reports, but the most important factor in all of this was the sheer amount of fun that we all had. Whether we won, lost, drew or circle jerked, we were witness to space warfare on such an epic scale that will be spoken about in the years to come. This was the exact reason why I play EVE.