BR-N97 system, Catch region. On the 21st of September, 16:00 EVE time, a battle unfolded on the BR-N97 station between forces belonging to Providence Bloc, HERO Coalition, N3 and Stain Wagon Coalition, with Pandemic Legion present as well and engaging choice targets. The intense fighting later spilled into the neighboring IS-R7P system as well.
The fight began with Providence Bloc forces defending the armor reinforcement timer of the BR-N97 station. A mixed sentry Batttleship\Battlecruiser fleet, comprising of two hundred pilots and supported by a full wing of Stealth Bombers was staged around the station itself, with a Carrier class Capital ship squadron ready to undock as well. Stain Wagon Coalition, which has been aiding Providence Bloc throughout the campaign, brought a seventy pilot fleet, mainly of Tengu class Strategic Cruisers, to help the defense of the system.
Against them, HERO Coalition and Northern Coalition(dot) Alliance brought a one hundred and seventy pilot fleet comprising mostly of Eagle class Heavy Assault Cruisers and a two hundred pilot fleet, mostly in Tengu class Strategic Cruisers respectively. These fleets were supported by Stealth Bombers wings, supplied by members of HERO Coalition and N3 entities such as Nulli Secunda and The Unthinkables.
Pandemic Legion Alliance was present on the field as well, with a hundred pilot fleet, a mix of Legion and Proteus class Strategic Cruisers.
At this point the system hosted one thousand and one hundred seventy-five pilots, when the fighting actually began.
At first it seemed as though Providence Bloc might hold the field, as both HERO Coalition and Northern Coalition(dot) forces were unable to stay on the station grid for long, before being forced off again and again by bomber wings and Pandemic Legion's presence. The HERO Coalition fleet was only seen twice on field, as it was chased by both Pandemic Legion and Stain Wagon fleets, whose attempts to warp in on the elusive Eagle fleet brought them into a direct confrontation. In the meanwhile, Northern Coalition(dot)'s Tengu fleet seized the initiative and engaged the Providence Bloc forces head on, fighting on the station while suffering a few bombing runs, though they seemed to cause it little to no actual harm.
Time Dilation became a noticeable factor as grid strained under the weight of the fighting, reaching nineteen percent before the server buckled, causing many pilots to disconnect. In a moment the system's population was halved, dropping to six hundred and thirty-eight pilots, with Time Dilation, lag and random disconnects reported throughout the game. At this point it seems that both Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition(dot) fleets remained mostly intact, while both Stain Wagon and Providence Bloc forces were in disarray. Reports of ships destroyed while pilots were offline have become a common complaint as result.
Providence Bloc attempted to rally in the aftermath of the event only to see ships volleyed off the field one after the other, including an Archon class Carrier, while most of their pilots had problems re-connecting or logged in to find themselves in pods. Stain Wagon forces decided to wait thirty minutes before logging back in, in order to avoid such losses. HERO Coalition forces suffered as well from the disconnect, but since they were not present on grid at the time, were spared any losses from the incident.
Before the fight could turn into a complete and utter slaughter, a second disconnect occurred only a few minutes after the first one, dropping the system's local count from the seven hundred pilots it managed to climb to, and down to only a hundred and twenty three in total, effectively putting a halt to hostilities. This time the disconnect encompassed most of the EVE Online player base.
Before anyone could recover a third disconnect followed suit, and the server was left completely empty. As people logged back in, it became apparent that the server conditions were not conducive to further fighting, and Northern Coalition(dot)'s Tengu fleet departed system, allowing Providence Bloc's Carrier squadron to repair the station's armor past the fifty-one percent mark, which would allow the reinforcement timer to reset, thus giving another invulnerability cycle for the station.
At this point, HERO Coalition forces attempted to intervene, bringing their signature Eagle fleet back, though undermanned, along with a Ferox class Battlecruiser gang and a Test Alliance Please Ignore mixed Heavy Assault Cruiser fleet. Altogether, the number of hostiles in the system, excluding bombers and Pandemic Legion, was around a hundred and fifty pilots at best.
Pandemic Legion attempted to engage the HERO Coalition fleet, but several bombing runs carried by Nulli Secunda and The Unthinkables discouraged them, forcing Pandemic Legion to depart the system as well. At this point, Stain Wagon's fleet was the only one committing to the fight, with Providence Bloc's fleet beating a hasty retreat in order to secure the neighboring IS-R7P station, which was coming out of reinforcement mode as well.
Stain Wagon attempted to hold the field, but continued bombing runs and volleys from the Eagle fleet decimated its Logistics wing (not counting the damage they suffered earlier from the hands of Pandemic Legion during the server disconnect) thus forcing them to retreat as well. HERO Coalition did lose its Ferox support gang to a well placed bombing run, but ultimately, the station was allowed to re-enter its armor reinforcement mode.
Fixed Battle Report for the BR-N97 System can be found here.
By now, Providence Bloc forces were already setup in the IS-R7P system, and repairing the station in full swing when HERO Coalition attempted to once again intervene. However, by now the Eagle fleet numbers were vastly depleted, down to seventy pilots only, and lacking bomber support.
HERO Coalition did manage to score a Nidhoggur class Carrier kill, as the pilot warped from a safe tower to the station in order to help the repair efforts, only to be dragged by the mobile warp disruptors covering the station, thus separating him from the rest of the Providence Bloc fleet and making him an easy prey. Regardless, they were unable to maintain their position due to repeated bombing runs, and were losing ships to Providence Bloc's volleys, thus necessitating their speedy retreat from the system.
Providence Bloc managed to repair the station umolested and was in the process of removing the hostile Sovereignty Blockade Units when Northern Coalition(dot) returned once more to the field, this time bridging to the IS-R7P station with a Nestor class Battleship gang numbering thirty pilots with a single Archon class Carrier as Triage support. This was a roam to celebrate the foruth anniversary of Burning Napalm Corporation's foundation, and a throw back to the days of Remote Repairing Battleship fleets (Also known as "Spider Tanking" due to the visual effect).
Unfortunately for the Northern Coalition(dot) fleet, their position close to the station allowed the Providence Bloc fleet to warp on top of them. Another adverse effect of their positioning was the fact the Providence Bloc fleet had many Energy Neutralizing Battleships in its composition, which quickly drained the Capacitors on both the Carrier and the Nestors, thus quickly shutting them down.
Without the ability to operate their Remote Repairers or those of the Carrier, the fleet was quickly overcome by Providence Bloc, who managed to destroy eight Nestors, the Triage Archon and a Bhaalgorn class Battleship that operated as their flagship. The rest of the fleet managed to successfully escape using their Micro Jump Drivers to get away of the mobile warp disruptors and the Providence Bloc fleet.
After this interruption, Providence Bloc forces returned to the task of removing the hostile Sovereignty Blockade Units and anchoring their own defensive ones instead. This task proved mostly uneventful, with only a small HERO Coalition Cormorant class Destroyer gang harassing the force, with little to no impact.
Fixed Battle Report for the IS-R7P System can be found here.
All told, Providence Bloc forces managed to defend both systems, and though unable to completely repel the attack on the BR-N97 system, they have managed to gain another opportunity to do so while securing the IS-R7P system at the same time. For HERO Coalition's part, it seemed as though the brunt of the work was done by Northern Coalition(dot) Alliance, with HERO Coalition engaging very late in the battle and appearing to fill a secondary role in their own campaign. This may have cost them the opportunity to gain both systems. Server performances had a huge impact on the battle, apparently to the detriment of Providence Bloc who seemed to hold the field until the first disconnect occurred.
The final tally is five hundred and forty-five ships destroyed, for a total of ninety-six billion ISK of damages, with Northern Coalition(dot) and Providence Bloc suffering the majority of it.
One may wonder if we have reached the peak of the fighting, or whether this battle will be just another one in a chain of ever escalating engagements.
CCP Games have been reached out for comments over the server performances during the fight. If and when a reply will be received, it shall be posted below.