The universe at war

Over the years Band of Brothers had carved themselves a nice slice of 0.0 space stretching from Fountain to Period Basis. They were in what many thought was an insurmountable position - their 2,000 battle-hardened and well-equipped pilots had trounced all opposition. GoonSwarm had originally joined EVE as a small group of just a few hundred, and began colonizing a small portion of 0.0 space: Syndicate, within striking range of BoB territory. Like others before them, they were routed by BoB’s pilots. Their newbie ships were exploded in the thousands.

Having had enough of this, BoB moved on to other things. They were soon to begin a campaign against the largest military-industrial bloc in the game, Ascendant Frontier. Despite their size and wealth, Ascendant Frontier (ASCN) were a weak and juicy target. Using the vast fortune that ASCN held, their leader, Cyvvok, had built himself a giant trinket - EVE’s first Titan. The Titan was EVE’s largest ship, a behemoth valued at around $8000 (£4,000) in real-world cash. BoB attacked en masse. Even Ascendant Frontier’s hundreds of combat pilots couldn’t hold them back. ASCN began to crumble, the empire falling apart as the peaceful traders and mining corps that plied their trade under ASCN’s protection fled to safety. In the final humiliation, BoB claimed the first Titan kill, in controversial circumstances. Cyvvok was offline as his Titan went down.

With the highest-profile kill of all time under their belts, BoB were riding high. With Ascendant Frontier defeated, BoB were able to begin setting themselves up as Roman-styled imperialists. With a nod to the classic tactics of history, vassal alliances were created in the conquered territories. Xelas battled insurgent Fountain, FIX looked after Querious, and where Ascendant Frontier once stood, alliances such as RISE were installed as regents. Vassals could play peacefully alongside - and expect protection from - BoB’s vast armies, as long as they paid tithes for access to stations.

By the start of 2007 the military masterminds had dominion over eight regions, which was the largest single empire since the opening months of the game. The money poured in. Band of Brothers had cemented a reputation for being the most effective fighting force in the EVE universe. While the vassals made money and the industrial corps produced capital ships, the drilled, trained BoB military began to look for another target. They were regrouping and re-arming, readying for yet another conquest. BoB were so wealthy, so powerful (and had won so many alliance PvP tournaments) that they seemed unstoppable.

Meanwhile, the GoonSwarm had been contacted by Red Alliance and the two hard-bitten corps had decided to pool their resources. Back in the summer of 2006, much of the rest of the game had aligned against the Russians, and Red Alliance had been pushed back to a single station by a conglomerate of aligned pilots, including ASCN. In August 2006 that alliance (consisting of perhaps ten thousand pilots) fielded a 500-man fleet to take the system.