The War So Far: Both the offensive Clusterfuck Coalition (CFC) and the defensive TEST Alliance and its allies have found themselves at an impasse. With both sides facing serious morale issues, CFC cracked the stalemate through a treacherous betrayal. For the full story, check out part 3 of GamesRadar's series on EVE Online's Fountain War.
A Defensive Quagmire
Small scale skirmishing had been going on in Z9PP-H for the whole war. The system had changed hands several times in June, but on July 4 TEST attempted to entrench the system by adding defensive infrastructure. A CFC force deployed to the system in order to destroy the new structure, and to save their entrenchments TEST countered with a fleet of carriers. Sensing the opportunity to destroy the capital ships--EVE players draw a particular satisfaction from destroying their opponents’ most expensive toys--CFC leaders began demanding players log in and deploy to the fight.
As CFC reinforcements rushed into Z9PP-H, it became apparent that TEST’s carriers were in real danger. With the carriers trapped by CFC special ops pilots, the CFC battleship fleets could slowly pick them apart. Scrambling to save their valuable carriers, TEST leadership doubled down on capital ships instead of proper support fleets, bringing more than 80 carriers and dreadnoughts into Z9PP-H. No sooner had they arrived than they found themselves trapped as well.
Z9PP-H served as a live field test of the CFC’s latest fleet doctrine. Disappointed by the lackluster performance of the Tengufleet and needing a cheaper alternative to expensive Tempestfleets, the CFC began deploying “Baltecfleets" shortly before the battle of Z9PP-H. Based on the battleship-class Megathron hull, Baltecfleet derives its unusual name from Baltec1, a Goon notorious for flying Megathrons in nearly any fleet, regardless of doctrine. Both powerful and versatile, Baltecfleets proved so effective that they became the CFC’s preferred weapon for the remainder of the Fountain War.
CFC forces continued flooding into the system, bringing the total number of pilots to over 2000. It appeared that TEST's blunder had doomed a huge portion of their capital fleet. Such a blow would place incredible strain on TESTs already troubled finances, possibly knocking TEST out of the war. TEST needed a miracle. It got one.
The Fortunes of War
As the battle passed its seventh hour, all 2200 players in Z9PP-H were abruptly disconnected from EVE Online. Their ships vanished. In an instant the largest battle in EVE Online since Asakai simply... ceased. While CFC forces rushed to reconnect, TEST leadership broadcast that members were not to log in under any circumstances until the CFC had dispersed.
The outcry was immediate. CFC pilots flooded to the internet, howling with rage and accusing CCP--the developers--of intervening to save TEST. Rampant speculation bounced around Twitter and the EVE-focused forums, including the hysterical accusation that the tech-savvy redditors in TEST had hacked their way into CCP in order to crash the server. Later that night, CCP apologized and gave their official explanation: an attempt to ease the strain on their servers mistakenly disconnected all players connected to the battle. A fluke mistake--a typo--had saved TEST’s capital fleet from destruction.
CFC leadership was understandably disappointed, but said it harbored no ill will. That said, CCPs mistake proved to be useful fodder for the CFC’s propaganda engine--anger is a great motivator. Robbed of their victory, CFC forces harnessed their anger to fuel renewed offensives. The Goons were on the march.
Next Time: CFC figures out how to bypass the frontlines and TEST appears to crumble.