We’ve all heard the overarching storyline of the Imperium’s campaign in Providence. Instead, resident (relative) newbro Sarin Blackfist gives us his ground-level experience from this much praised campaign, and a look at Aegis sov with fresh eyes. -Niden
The Imperial campaign in Providence has been a hot topic amongst New Eden’s population lately. It’s the event with the widest spread effects in the last few months. Pilots from all corners of the galaxy poured into the region and started shooting absolutely anything that didn’t show friendly on their overview. There have been many varied opinions on whether or not the Imperium “won” or “lost” the war, and a great deal of propaganda has been produced by nearly everyone involved.
I don’t care who won or lost. Providence was my first major war deployment since I started playing EVE Online, and I had a lot of fun. In fact, I think most everyone involved had a lot of fun. Fights were constant and they were brutal. Hundreds of billions of ISK worth of spaceships and infrastructure were destroyed and several constellations were completely burnt to the ground, and I had a lot of fun taking part in it. Since this is a major milestone in my path in EVE Online, I wanted to take a minute to talk about what the war was like for me personally.
Sarin is my original pilot, started roughly five months ago. He is incredibly unfocused and does a little bit of everything. My plan for deploying Sarin was to join the Imperium’s bomber group and try my hand at launching tiny orbs of death at our enemies. That didn’t work out unfortunately, but I was able to purchase an assault frigate from Goonswarm Federation’s Harpy doctrine and go to war in that.
I joined my Harpy up with a harassment fleet tasked with guarding a group of Entosis loaded interceptors, while disrupting the enemies trying to do the same. The fleet was a Svipul fleet, meant for quick engagement and high alpha-strike capability. My Harpy was a terrible addition to the fleet. The Harpy, being an assault frigate, is basically everything that a Tech 3 destroyer is, but a little bit worse all around. When Harpies are deployed by the Imperium, they’re typically deployed in massive numbers to make up for their relative low individual damage. My lone Harpy did not do the same type of damage as the fleet, in the same amount, or at the same range. I also felt sluggish compared to the Svipuls in propulsion mode.
In the end everything worked out for me though. We managed to complete our hacking objectives, and on the way back to our staging area we were diverted by Imperial Flight Command to assist in engaging a Pandemic Legion Cerberus fleet. Our fleets met on a gate and were immediately enclosed in an interdiction bubble. While we brawled with the Cerberus fleet, another Imperial Fleet arrived to assist and we were able to come out of the engagement relatively unscathed. The only real contribution I made to the fight was killing the pod of the Pandemic Legion’s on-grid boosting Claymore (CZ’s very own and esteemed writer MukkBarovian in fact -ed) and, as a personal victory, looted about 500 million ISK worth of modules from the wreckage of the Claymore.
Our fleet continued from there to the staging station and docked up. It was a successful night, and I enjoyed it as my first real taste of the new sov warfare. If this is how things are going to go in the future, I think there is a real place for Aegis-sov in our sandbox. Things should be tweaked as the actual use of the Entosis links are quite boring to watch, but the engagements they create are fun.
Seiz Udan is my Tengu pilot, and a much more focused pilot than Sarin. He only flies one type of ship, and he flies it very very well. The Imperial Tengu doctrines are based on the successful tests of heavy missile launcher Tengu fleets fielded by a special operations group inside of the Imperium. They are heavily tanked and engage at long to extreme range, based on the mission’s needs. The goal of the Tengu fleets that I was on was to delay and destroy enemy fleets while our dedicated Entosis fleets did their jobs.
My Tengu deployed on three different fleets during the war to mixed degrees of success and entertainment. The first fleet had Entosis fit Tengus with us, and we traveled from system to system, trying to generate fights away from the main fleets who were doing the brunt of the Entosis work. We met resistance from a few different enemy fleet compositions, and stood up very well against them all.
Providence’s Naga doctrine was, in my opinion, the biggest danger to our Tengus, as their combined alpha was capable of destroying any given Tengu relatively quickly if our logistics pilots were not very quick to react. However, the Naga fleet did not stand up to our sustained DPS very well, and with our ability to project damage upwards of 80 kilometers we were able to reduce their numbers to a manageable amount very quickly.
Several times we were assaulted by a roaming bomber fleet, which, due to our relative size differences, we were not able to lock on and engage very well. However, the massive amount of tank fit to the Imperial ships made us relatively immune to the bomb damage. We did not lose a single Tengu to bombs in any of the fleets that I was in.
Our biggest challenge were the Pandemic Legion Cerberus fleets. The two fleets were very similar in ability and overall design goal. Each intended to produce heavy missile damage at very long ranges. However, the Tengu doctrine ended up having a heavier tank and were able to withstand damage long enough to edge the Cerberuses off of the field.
All and all, the Tengu doctrine is one of the most fun fleets I’ve ever flown with. They are fast, maneuverable and intoxicatingly powerful. I would be remiss if I did not mention our secret weapon though. The Mittani himself took time away from command and control operations to personally join several Tengu fleets. His ship was appropriately fit for someone of his stature, and served as a magnet for enemy fire. With our logistics pilots able to predict where incoming damage would be applied, we were able to have a one up on our enemies by being ready to receive it. Having our dear leader with us provided a real tactical advantage, as well as a morale boost for the fleet.
Sovereignty warfare has certainly changed, and I think everyone involved in this war on Providence has learned quite a bit. Hopefully CCP was watching the war as it unfolded, and they were able to learn as much as we were. Overall I enjoyed the deployment, my first war deployment in EVE Online. Many fights were had, and I didn’t personally lose anything, so I ended up coming out of the war with a financial gain.
To me it doesn’t matter who won or who lost. Before I am accused of giving a cop-out answer to that question, the general consensus amongst our members is that we achieved the majority of the goals we set out to. A few of the Providence Ihubs survived, but lessons were learned. We killed a lot of stuff, reinforced a lot more, and we all learned a good deal about the new rules of our game. The Imperium considers this a victory, and we are quite happy with the result. For my part, I’d say that if your alliance considers it a win, then you’ve won too
I think everyone involved came away from this better off than they were before. The most important thing is that the game we have all come to love is NOT dead, the new rules for Nullsec conflict do actually work, and they can lead to fun, enjoyable content for everyone. I am a very pessimistic person at heart, and often worry when I see a rash of “EVE is dying” posts and conversations. I can say with confidence that EVE is alive and well, and will continue to be that way as long as people are willing to have fun, undock, and fight!