TEST vs. PL in Providence 2018
On the Mother’s Day show, entitled “Fight for Providence Stations,” we heard from Fleet Commanders from both sides of a coming conflict in Providence region. Representing the defending side, Pandemic Legion (PL), was Elise Randolph, CEO of Habitual Euthanasia and Harvey Skywarker of Higher Than Everest. Elise is the nominal leader of PL, and Harvey is the former leader the closed alliance “The Culture.” On the opposing side, the invaders, Test Alliance Please Ignore (TEST) were represented by co-campaign commander Progodlegend. Progod is a storied FC from a group that initially grew out of Providence.
This conflict is interesting because it draws on current players in the northern campaign, where the Imperium is harassing Darkness and SLYCE, the main alliances in the self-titled Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG) coalition. Elise tried to get “Dumpster Coalition” to stick when Darkness was starting out, but in the end, GOTG won out. This conflict is shaping into one of the more interesting in New Eden current events.
PL Takes Providence
Like any veteran alliance, PL needs to keep their members busy, or they will log off. Many of their members are experienced players that had already done everything they want to do in EVE, often before they even joined PL. In-between mercenary contracts, PL has attacked places where they could get consistent resistance – Brave in Catch (2015), for example, and most recently Provi Bloc in Providence (2018). In both cases, resistance collapsed and PL “suddenly regioned” i.e. they ended up taking ownership of the region.
“The type of people that look to join Pandemic Legion are the ones who aren’t interested in empire building – they’re simply after PvP.” – Elise Randolph, Pandemic Legion
In the most recent Providence campaign, Northern Coalition (NC.), which has conquered Providence in the past alongside longtime regional menace Honorable Third Party (HTP), helped evict Provi Bloc (a coalition including CVA, Sev3rance, and others). The timing of the invasion coincided with the Faction Fortizar changes appearing on the Test Server (SISI), which has led to speculation that PL knew the timing of the conversion of the Stations to Faction Fortizars in advance. Elise denies this was the case, noting that CCP had already announced the approximate time for the change over would be late spring or early summer and interested parties, including PL, were already moving to prepare for them. CSM members confirm they knew only two days before the official announcement.
Imperium Menaces the North
The Imperium Coalition, led primarily by Goonswarm (Goons), purchased the Fountain region from Harvey Skywarkers “The Culture.” The region has since been turned into rental space managed by Imperium member The Initiative (INIT.). The sale of the region included both sovereignty as well as some significant assets. These assets also included a Keepstar, which Goons put to use as a staging point for incursions into GOTG territory. This sale was a problem for the North, as it gave Goons a quick route from their home systems in Delve to the North and allowed them to build up more infrastructure to allow quicker and safer travel for their various fleets. Thanks to the Fountain purchase, the Goon Supercapital fleet could move from its home in the South to the North in as little as 10 minutes. While it would have to rest before it could strike, that rest time was simply a matter of hours. This fast travel ability lead to the battle of 9-4RP2 in Cloud Ring, the largest single battle in the history of EVE Online to date. The 9-4 battle was so large that it slowed the servers down to a crawl. Over 10,000 pilots were involved, but only 6,142 made it into 9-4. This is a world record in gaming, awarded a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the “most concurrent players simultaneously involved in a single multiplayer PvP video game battle.”
In the pre-fight hype, Progodlegend generated mainstream news headlines by claiming the fight would be a “million dollar” showdown and went on to blast Imperium leader, The Mittani, in his comments, much to The Mittani’s consternation. During the 9-4 fight, TEST did not support the Imperium but instead anchored a Fortizar in a contested area between their coalition and the Imperium. This action put a wedge between TEST and Imperium, who had been growing closer before the fight. While this could have had more significant implications, the rift between the two was resolved soon after.
“The tension resolved itself when TEST proved their commitment to killing PL and NCdot in a few major fights after 9-4, which is the basis of the strategic relationship between TEST and the Imperium. So we essentially just got over the 9-4 thing and got on with our lives.” – The Mittani
Following the battle, which was mostly a draw, the Imperium withdrew the bulk of its forces back to Delve, but allowed Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within the Imperium to sortie into the North. These skirmishes, led by the Black Ops, Reavers and Space Violence SIGs, generated a lot of activity on both sides.
Shortly after 9-4, in early March, Pandemic Horde decided they needed more space and moved from Pure Blind to Geminate, which put them three regions away. Before this move, Horde was the primary buffer between the Imperium and GOTG in the North. This move intensified the role of GOTG’s subcapital fleets in protecting the North, and put NC. into the position of supercapital support GOTG – the role that GOTG provided Horde. Critical jump fatigue changes hit the live servers a few weeks later on March 20th, and just four days after that the Imperium delivered a punishing blow to GOTG – killing 5 Titans – in a trillion ISK battle in ROIR that shook GOTG’s morale and served as a wake-up call to the North.
NC. Leaves Providence Area
Vince Draken ordered NC. to Gehi to stage a counter-attack into Imperium controlled Querious. The move was strategic, meant to force the Imperium to stay home and defend their second-largest income producing region, rather than continue attacks up North. So far the Imperium has not ordered their SIGS back to Delve, they continue to attack Northern regions.
NC. have been dropping supercapitals on Imperium SIGS with their primary fleets in the North. Manfred Sidious of HAVOC Corporation commands NC.’s subcapital fleet in the South, usually as his alt Paik, hitting targets of opportunity in Delve and Querious.
Neither front, so far, has evolved into the huge brawls we’ve seen in the past, and it is unlikely to do so unless one group commits to a single front. As it stands, these conflicts are nothing more than attempts to disrupt sources of alliance income, if they have any strategic meaning at all.
Without NC. support nearby, PL is on its own.
Last week, TEST announced their deployment to Providence to challenge PL’s control over the region’s Stations. The region has 79 stations, one in almost every system of the region. These Stations were built up over the years by Provi Bloc, but under the terms of the changes CCP will be implementing, those Stations will belong to whoever conquers them before June 6th. On that day they convert to Faction Fortizars that can be taken down and sold off for an estimated 800 Billion ISK.
“The reason we move around between different areas/objectives is simply because we found that by staying in one place one of two things happens: the locals all die, or they band together and get reinforcements from elsewhere – both of which hamper our ability to PvP” – Elise Randolph, Pandemic Legion
On the TIS program, Progodlegend made it clear TEST’s effort was not a rescue mission for Provi Bloc since they were not bound by standings or coalition ties, leading to the conclusion that TEST was taking advantage of an apparent belief that PL was weak in the region to move in and clear PL out. The rest of the answers are still in flux. By the end of the week, though, TEST capital ships were observed supporting CVA, one of the core alliances in Provi Bloc, in a rapid reconquest of Providence. In the end, NC. did not relocate, and PL appears to be retreating, putting up little more than token resistance to TEST’s Reconquista of the sov, the stations may be another matter. TEST is letting CVA have the sov, the real fight will be over the stations.
While there is no active “great war” on-going in EVE, every day, sizable battles are happening all over the map as multiple forces stretch to fight on various fronts. This week it was TEST’s turn to force its will on the map, with CVA benefiting from the sov take over. TEST appear to have the upper hand, especially in the media war waged through propaganda.
TEST is now camping the system PL staged in, Assah, and fights for the stations have begun. The next few weeks, expect Providence to be the epicenter of activity in the South. Then again, further east there are signs that something bigger may be happening a few regions away. Find out Next time on Talking In Stations.