In the immediate aftermath of our href="" target="_blank">disbanding
the Band of
Brothers (BoB) alliance and the subsequent hellpurge of their
territory, two things occurred. First, my alliance ( href=""
target="_blank">Goonswarm), my dear friend
Haargoth Agamar (also of Goonswarm, nee BoB), and I (a humble fuzzy
mitten) were labeled the worst sort of sociopaths found on the
internet. Second, I was offered a weekly column here at Ten Ton Hammer.
Apparently, reading of the lurid misdeeds of madmen and sinners is
almost more fun than the sanctimonious condemnation of said ne'er
do-wells. So this is my goal: To convey to the reader an overview of
amusing idiocies, hijinks, sting operations, scams, heists, and
hilarity that is often only hinted at in the mainstream of style="font-style: italic;"
href="" target="_blank">EVE
Online gameplay, and to tell the tales only known to a hidden
few - for posterity's sake or for propaganda, take your pick.


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Goonswarm target="_blank">ultimately were responsible for the
disbanding of the Band of Brothers.

Let us begin with Titans, the ridiculously expensive and massive ships
which once could only be fielded by the largest alliances. So many EVE
tales begin with Titans, not merely because of their strategic and
military value, but because of their flat-out cost; a well-fit Titan
runs around 80-90 billion isk, which amounts to approximately six
thousand US dollars. This fact tends to make people who have not played
EVE pay attention. When you're fighting an internet spaceship war, it's
one thing; but when fighting an internet spaceship war with ships worth
as much as a high-end computer, a used automobile, or 25% of Iceland's
current GDP, suddenly the discussion becomes serious and one's
perspective shifts. Massive wars have been fought over the fate of a
single Titan. I'm proud to say that Goonswarm has killed a number of
them, and annihilated even more in the 'womb' of their Assembly Arrays
before they finished construction (constructing one is a process which
takes months, during which they are vulnerable). This pride stems not
from some sort of martial honor (of which I have none), but because I
hate Titans. They are, in my estimation, extremely silly ships. As
Oveur, the lead designer of EVE Online, once said: "Titans were never
meant to be cost effective... it's a huge dick." The only valuable
byproduct of Titans in EVE is it makes people howl and tear out their
hair when you destroy one. That's the fun bit.


Innumerable columns have already been written about Titan kills. Since
their introduction, Titans have gone from being objects of awe to being
commonplace, if still fiendishly expensive. Periodically, some Titan
pilot will screw up, send his Titan into an area of space that is
vulnerable, and some jerk drops a capital fleet on top of said Titan
and blows it up. Whoosh, six thousand bucks down the drain, with all
the attendant humiliation, rationalization, and forum chest-beating
that follows. In the majority of cases, the Titan being blown up is
piloted by dear old Sir Molle, the former alliance leader of Band of
Brothers. In addition to having his alliance disbanded, he has a habit
of losing Avatar-class Titans. If they're foolish enough to give that
man a fifth Avatar, I expect it to last approximately a week. For those
keeping track, that's $24,000 wasted by one man to date and that total
is rising. To be contrarian, this column is about how not to kill a
Titan, a tale of snatching defeat from the jaws of certain, absolute


To briefly recap the events of the last
month for context's sake: On
February 4th, 2009, the Band of Brothers alliance, long-time enemies of
Goonswarm, was disbanded, leaving all their space vulnerable and open
to invasion. The next day, in a move publicly heralded as 'complete
madness' and a 'horrible mistake' by the EVE commentariat, Goonswarm
announced that it was immediately abandoning all of its space,
comprising a sprawling empire of five regions in the southeastern arm
of the galaxy, in order to invade and occupy the former home territory
of BoB, Delve. This all-or-nothing gambit created an unprecedented
power vacuum in former Goonswarm space, as suddenly five regions were
up for grabs, with no goons around to even attempt a defense.


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Goonswarm left a Titan nearly defenseless against threats.

Some months prior to the abrupt resumption of the 'Great War' between
BoB and Goonswarm, Against All Authorites (-A-) alliance switched sides
from being a staunch Goonswarm ally to working actively on BoB's
behalf. Territorially, -A- bordered the Goonswarm regions, and with the
sudden evacuation of Goonswarm from its old space, the leader of -A-,
'Evil Thug', moved rapidly to break down the sovereignty defenses and
seize whatever he could. Due to an agent, -A- knew that more was up for
grabs than merely valuable space; in the process of rushing to Delve,
Goonswarm had abandoned a Leviathan-class Titan in an Assembly Array
deep within its former capital system of XGH, a Titan which had 21 days
left before it would be completed and evacuated. If -A- could break the
sovereignty defenses of the XGH constellation before February 25th, it
could easily destroy the Titan - and it wasn't just any
Leviathan-class, but one intended for the CEO and leader of the Swarm,
Darius JOHNSON. The military and propaganda coup would be palpable,
according to -A-'s directorate, despite Goonswarm having laughed off a
previous Titan loss almost a year ago.


In order to render XGH vulnerable to attack, -A- had to break
'constellation sovereignty'; the shortest path to doing this was to
seize one of the two other stations (T-AK or G-D0N) in the
constellation in which XGH resides. If even one station was lost, after
seven days, XGH would be vulnerable and the Leviathan would be quickly
dispatched by an -A- fleet. Evil Thug chose T-AK for the assault;
overnight, many -A- towers were erected in the system, and unless
somehow stopped, constellation soverignty would be broken on February
21st - a full four days before the Leviathan was due.


The Goonswarm directorate met and
considered how to counter -A-'s move.
Traditionally, one responds to an invasion by having a fleet of capital
ships destroy the hostile towers, but the Goonswarm fleet was by now in
the western half of the galaxy, consumed with the seizure of Delve; the
Swarm would have to choose between success in Delve and defending the
Leviathan. Unconventional methods of defense were also considered - a
secret capital fleet piloted only by Swarm directors, attacking the -A-
towers in T-AK in the darkest hours of night - this idea was tried, but
Swarm directors valued bedrest more than Darius's Leviathan, and none
bothered to show up at the scheduled time. In a more comic vein, an
'outpost egg' was purchased for 20 billion isk from an ally; the plan
was to create an entirely new station in the XGH constellation on the
night of the 20th, a station which would be almost immediately taken by
-A-, but which would preserve the capital of XGH for long enough to
evacuate the vastly more expensive Leviathan safely.


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Despite the
relative ease with which they could have destroyed the Titan, -A-

A public relations offensive was mounted as Goonswarm's enemies began
publicly mocking alliance members about '2/21', suggesting that on this
date the war, which was not going well for the former BoB forces in
Delve, would experience a sudden shift in fortune; Goonswarm would 'get
its due' on this date, a Sword of Damocles that would somehow seal
their fate. The Goonswarm directorate prepared their mad outpost prank
and waited for the inevitable. On Sunday, 2/15, T-AK sovereignty went
neutral, meaning that the station could be captured. The Swarm
directorate began waiting for the T-AK station to be captured, which
would set the stage for XGH to fall. Taking a station once a system
falls requires a fleet to shoot the station to 'flip' it, a boring if
necessary duty. Hours went by. The system was not being defended, so
-A- was in no rush; the station would be taken by downtime, no doubt,
when -A- got around to it. Yet the -A- fleet never came on
2/15.  On 2/16, -A- claimed sovereign control over the T-AK
system. The station remained uncaptured.


It is often said that what separates players on the highest level of
alliance warfare is the understanding of fundamental gameplay
mechanics. EVE is a notoriously complex game, but the documentation is
available in voluminous form; keen understanding of sovereignty
mechanics is practically assumed at the level of an alliance leader.
After all, sovereignty is the core mechanic in alliance warfare; the
game is all about taking, breaking, and holding sovereignty. -A- was
considered at the time to be an alliance of 'elite PvP' players, yet at
dawn on 2/17 we realized that the 'big surprise' on 2/21 was not going
to surprise Goonswarm, but -A- and KenZoku (the former BoB forces). Out
of an alliance of approximately two thousand players, apparently no one
had understood that to break constellation sovereignty, one needs to
not only control a system, but capture the station itself.


On 2/25, Darius JOHNSON launched his new Titan from a still-intact XGH
and entered hyperspace, leaving the former Goonswarm holdings behind
forever, piloting a Leviathan which by all rights should never have
been born. No secret director-only capital operations or midnight
deployment of outposts were required, only a tremendous, alliance-wide
failure of understanding about how EVE works. As of the moment I write
this, on 2/27, the T-AK station still has not been captured by Against
All Authorities, weeks after it should have fallen to them.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016