The battles for territorial control are the largest player engagements in Eve. These are some of the highest stakes conflicts in New Eden, where forces valued in the hundreds of billions of ISK are often fielded, and the number of combatants can exceed 1000 pilots. Alliance leaders and fleet commanders send their ships into the fray with the intent winning sovereignty of the system. sovereignty is obtained by having a superior number of starbases, also known as player owned structures (POSes) or towers, anchored at moons in the target system.
Attacking a system
When an alliance decides to take over a system from another alliance, its leadership typically begins by informing their allies and the alliance rank and file of a pending invasion. Forces form up at a time specified in advance. Once assembled, the fighting force makes its way to the objective system.
If a system has sovereignty level 3 it may have a cynosural system jammer. These starbase modules make it impossible to activate a cynosural field generator, which allow vital capital ships to be jumped into the system. The cynosural system jammers must be incapacitated early in the attack. Having jumped into system, Dreadnoughts (capital ships which specialize in attacking towers), can begin their assault upon hostile towers after warping to them and entering siege mode. Siege mode greatly increases the power of their weapons and the effectiveness of their repair systems. Siege mode gives them the ability to rapidly reinforce towers, while tanking the towers strong defensive systems. battleships, carriers, motherships, and titans remain on call in case a hostile force threatens the dreadnoughts.
During the initial siege, friendly towers will often be anchored within a solar system. The towers, in addition to their role in winning sovereignty, give the attacking force a refuge from hostile forces within their shields. Often, one or both sides may deploy large numbers of towers in the system in a tactic known as pos spamming with the intent of holding a majority stake in the system. In some star systems with many dozens of moons, towers may be placed on every moon, increasing the time, cost, and effort required to remove them.
Once a tower has lost 75% of its shielding, it enters reinforced mode in which the tower is invulnerable. The length of time a tower spends in reinforced mode depends on the amount of strontium clathrates in the tower. Above 50% shields, the tower owners may manipulate the amount of strontium in the tower to ensure that the tower exits reinforced mode in a favorable time zone. It is not uncommon for alliances to repeatedly reinforce each others towers, only to have them saved time after time after exiting reinforced mode in the respective alliance's most active time zones.
Saving and Destroying Towers
When the tower exits siege the owners must place more strontium in the tower (known as restronting) to prevent it from being destroyed by an attacking force.
Because the passive recharge rate of the towers is relatively slow, a starbase's shields are often remote repaired using logistics ships and carriers. If the owners of a tower cannot restront it, the attackers have the opportunity to destroy the tower.
The time when a tower leaves reinforced mode will be known known in advance, with a countdown timer appearing once the Tower enters reinforced mode. With advanced warning and ample time for preparation, the resulting battles can be some of the largest in EVE. However, the smaller force often declines to engage enemies with superior numbers.
sovereignty of the system is decided by a points system; the alliance with the most control points is the one that is given sovereignty over the system. sovereignty is awarded one week and one downtime after the first control tower was anchored. Large towers are worth four points, medium towers are worth two points and small towers are worth one point. Because large towers provide the most points, they are almost universally used in sovereignty battles.
The main force of any invasion is the battleship Fleet. With long range weapons equipped, battleship forces see usage across New Eden for the destruction of cynosural system jammers, the defense of capital ships from smaller vessels, and the destruction of enemy battleship fleets.
To bring capital ships into the fray, a cynosural field needs to be able to be deployed. By removing the jammer from the equation, it becomes possible to bring capital ships into a system. However, this is easier said than done. starbases are hard to take on with just a battleship fleet, and the attacking force is at the mercy of any capitals the defender brings into the fray.
A force that engages a jammer needs to stay on its toes, and watch out for doomsday devices, hostile fleets, and Interdictors. If the jammer is successfully disabled, the next stage of the invasion can take place with the introduction of capital ships.
The capital fleet is the most important element of an alliance removing force. The capital fleet includes the dreadnoughts, carriers, motherships, and titans. With their enormous firepower and extremely high strength tanks, these ships are well suited to the goal of destroying a starbase - a target whose effective hitpoints may exceed 100 million.
- The Dreadnoughts are used for tower sieges. These ships have the highest damage output, and are purpose built for destroying the control towers anchored by corporations.
- Fleet commanders typically send their fleets to a position approximately 40 kilometers (+/-20) away from a tower before having them enter siege mode within one minute of each other. The timing is important, to the safety of the dreadnoughts. While they are tough, they are not invincible; they are immobile while in siege mode and cannot be repaired remotely by allies. A single siege cycle is 10 minutes; once entered, the ship is committed to the field for at least those 10 minutes. By keeping the activation times within one minute of each other, the amount of time the dreadnoughts spend on the field is reduced, which helps mitigate the risk of being hit by a surprise attack.
- Carriers are the primary capital support force. They combine logistics repair abilities with a significant amount of firepower in their fighters, allowing them to repair the damage dealt by hostile forces while doing damage, or delegating that damage to friendly units.
- Carriers are often used for their logistics capacity. After a starbase has exited reinforced mode, the tower only has a quarter of its initial shields remaining. Capital shield transporters are an effective means of regenerating the damage, which allows the defending alliance to maintain their sovereignty claim against an aggressor.
- While their value is considered by many to be more psychological than practical, motherships fulfill a similar role to carriers in providing heavy support for the capital force.
- motherships are primarily utilized in an attack role; their tanks are heavier than their carrier counterparts, with substantially greater firepower from their immense drone bays. These ships are also capable of mounting a remote ECM burst weapon, giving them a powerful electronic warfare option.
- These attractive abilities are offset by their incredible expense. At nearly 15 times the cost of a carrier and incapable of docking (and thus incapable of being insured), they are not a cost effective addition to the battlefield.
- The largest ships in the capsuleer arsenal. These immense ships are infamous and feared for the power of their doomsday devices, capable of doing immense damage to every ship within a 250 kilometer radius of the titan. With their numbers increasing, they are a much despised ship. While their doomsday devices cannot be used outside of 0.0 space, titans remain the most potent weapon for the destruction of a support fleet.
- While the doomsday device is the titan's most feared and well known ability, their jump portal generators are perhaps their most useful technique. Titans are capable of launching any vessel in the same fleet to a cynosural field through their Jump Portal. With Titans at their command, it is possible for a fleet commander to move an entire attack force into position within a solar system at once, while bypassing the often well patrolled and defended stargates, which are ordinarily the only way to enter a system.
While the support fleet receives less attention than the capital and battleship forces, the support fleet is often the group that gets the most kills.
As a mobile force, the support fleet attacks any vessel that is ill-positioned within a solar system. With their close range, higher damage weapons, they are well suited for defending stargates and camping stations. The support fleet is very effective at keeping hostile forces from infiltrating and taking control of a solar system.