Another Night, Another Keepstar Fight

This is becoming a regular thing.

Saturday night, after having gone out to see Rogue One, gone out to dinner, come home and watched Star Wars: Episode IV, I finally wandered around to my computer to see what was going on in New Eden.

Jabber had been up long enough that there was a ping about reinforcements going off to attack a Pandemic Legion CHAOS Keepstar up in the system of Vey.  The Imperium New Twitch stream was showing live video from the fight which showed the Keepstar coming online and the repair timer paused due it being attacked.  It seemed like there could be yet another Keepstar kill this month.

I was keen to get there and whore on the kill mail help out our fleet.

However, Vey is in the Placid region, which is Gallente empire space, and something of a haul from way down in Delve.  Also, the reinforcement fleet was well on its way.  A run by myself wouldn’t be impossible, but there were a lot of potentially hostile gates to pass through on the way there.

My first thought went to my Alpha Clone alt, Reynaldo Fabulous, who is now truly and Alpha as his account has lapsed.  He was parked in one of his hull tanked Thorax cruisers less than a dozen jumps from Vey.  I got him out… which meant I couldn’t log anybody else into the game… and headed that direction, but got caught on a gate camp in Renarelle and blown up, sending him back to Jita.  I put the kill rights he got up for sale at a low price and logged him out.

Getting to the fight now meant doing something with my coalition characters, both of whom were down in Delve.  I logged them in and looked at where they had jump clones.  Wilhelm’s closest was in Badivefi, which isn’t much closer than Delve.  But my alt had a clone in Amarr, which wasn’t too far from the fight.  So I jumped him up there.

Once in Amarr, I grabbed the fitting for the target painting Vigil that goes along with most of our fleet compositions and bought that and fit it all up (“buy all” and “fit” buttons for the win!) and set a course for Vey.  Once in motion there, I jumped Wilhelm to Badifevi and put him in a support Crucifier I had stashed there, undocked him, and set his autopilot to the last high sec station on the way to Vey, just in case I needed backup.

Then it was back to my alt who quickly got into Placid, bypassing any trouble right up the gate from Agoze to Vey… and the trouble there was time dilation.  I went from fast moving space straight into the soul-sucking sludge that is 10% tidi surrounding a big fight.  The warp tunnel almost seemed to stop and everything was in super slo-mo.

Which was a bit of a surprise after the 5,337 pilot battle at M-OEE8 because the numbers were less than half that when I hit the system.

Time dilation factor 10

Time dilation factor 10

From what I heard over the weekend, the big fight at M-OEE8 actually got to use the super Jita node (so the Jita market had problems that day) while this fight was just a standard reinforced node.  Judging from coms, the node had not been up to the load and people had been dumped from the game a while back.  But I was there at last and joined up with Asher’s Machariel fleet because… well.. Asher.

Landing on the Machs

My Vigil landing on the Machs

They were right in at the Keepstar.  I got in an orbit around the anchor and started painting the targets being called, which at that moment were fighters.

Target painter running as I fly under the structure

Target painter running as I fly under the structure

I also locked up the Keepstar and sent a missile its way just to get some damage in while I had the chance.  It still had quite a ways to go, but seemed to in peril.

Keepstar and two fighters targeted

Keepstar and two fighters targeted

However, by that time Pandemic Legion had gotten themselves assembled and began dropping their considerable capital ship assets on the Keepstar in order to defend it.  The weight of that turned the tide in their favor.

Capitals landing on the Keepstar

Capitals landing on the Keepstar

While others in the fleet had been going for five hours or more for this battle, including time spent forming up and flying out, we were now aligning for the out gate and heading home just minutes after I had arrived.  I tabbed out and stopped Wilhelm’s slow autopilot progress to the fight and sent him back the way he came, then aligned with the rest of the fleet as we, TEST, and other attackers sought to exit the system.  The Keepstar was going to be saved.

We slowly warped off to the gate and then waited there a bit until everybody arrived.  Then we jumped through and back into playing EVE Online and its normal pace, leaving all but residual bits of time dilation behind us as we made the trip back down to Delve.  That put us into Cloud Ring and then through the well trod path down the length of Fountain to Delve.  I stuck with the fleet for the ride home just in case we ran into any opposition… though a nearly 200 ship strong Machariel fleet would need some serious opposition for there to be a real problem.

Aside from a Sabre along the way, the route was clear and we arrived in Delve where a titan was waiting on a citadel to bridge us back to the staging system.  A cyno was put up at the far end, the bridge went up, and we went to jump through.

Bridge up on the titan

Bridge up on the titan, second titan in the background

However, before much of the fleet managed to jump, the titan, ran out of helium isotopes, the fuel consumed to put up the bridge and then to send each ship through, so those left behind were not going to be taking that bridge.  I made it, but others were still sitting there.  However the fleet was in luck as there was another titan on the citadel. It had a jump portal generator fit and enough fuel in its bay to send the rest of the fleet on home.  The fleet op was over. (More about jump drives and such if you are interested.)

We did not get a Keepstar kill, but the whole thing… and the fact that this was the third Keepstar battle in just over a week… made me start wondering about the state of Keepstar and citadel proliferation.  Pandemic Legion and its allies are going back to the old rental space model in null sec starting with the territory they just conquored in Tribute, which will likely expand into the Vale of the Silent region now that TEST and CO2 are moving south to stage in Derelik with an eye towards taking territory in Catch.

With a solid income stream behind them again and a strong capital fleet available to drop in defense (that whole “last war” polemic has not aged well) Pandemic Legion can keep putting up Keepstars and Fortizars to make a fairly unassailable perimeter. They won’t be able to hold more than half of null sec like the Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition rental empires of old, but they may not need to.  Fozzie Sov upgrades to null, citadels, jump fatigue, and overwhelming local superiority in supercaps likely means they can settle in for a long and lucrative stay in the north in some prime territory with easy access to Jita.  The ISK rolls in while whatever neighbors they have will keep the line members entertained.

With more than seven thousand citadels deployed already back during EVE Vegas, maybe citadel proliferation should be a Blog Banter topic?  Or maybe supercapital proliferation as a topic, since “build more supers” seems to be on every null sec power’s list of things to do?  Or maybe we can just do a Blog Banter about how the more things change, the more they stay the same or Malcanis’s Law or any of the usual tunes we all know the words to after more than a decade in New Eden?

Addendum: And the official rental space announcement is up on Reddit.  You can join Rate My Ticks (RMT, ticker: WERMT) and rent some prime space real estate in Tribute.  It is good stuff.  I know, I used to live there.

Addendum: EN24 has a post about the wider battle, as my perspective was pretty narrow.

6 thoughts on “Another Night, Another Keepstar Fight

  1. Stabs

    Keepstars do seem to be this season’s Cabbage Patch Dolls. In Waffles our CEO is ridiculously proud that we have one up.

    It feels like the “sov revamp” has been a fascinating process. First the phoebe jump changes, then Aegis sov, now the slow rollout of citadels > industrial complexes > drilling platforms > observatories. As each piece is added the jigsaw changes, I wonder how WWB would have played out had Goons had citadels down throughout Fortress Dek.

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  2. SynCaine

    Was there the entire fight, easily the worst TiDi I’ve experienced to date. Everything was insanely slow, far far worse than M-0.

    As for the number of forts and keepstars, I still think that if you beat an alliance all around those (like what happened to CO2), they just become an expensive cleanup activity at the end. I doubt however we will see a true fight over one, where both sides throw supers in.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Stabs – The joke/conspiracy theory in the Imperium during the Casino War was the CCP wasn’t going to make sov defensible until we lost all of ours. I don’t know how much citadels would have changed anything though, the odds against us were still pretty steep even with a Keepstar. I submit the Keepstar in M-OEE8 as evidence.

    And of course, getting citadels up now means not having to do them later when null sec outposts and POSes eventually go away.

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  4. Pleo

    I really enjoy your blog, it is one of the few eve (eve-related?) blogs I visit regularly.

    That said, I fly for CHAOS. I was on the defending side of this fight in, amongst other things, the CHAOS super fleet. I was also (tangentially) involved in raising isk for the Keepstar and donated some of my own (although the amount pales in comparison to donations from other players in the alliance).

    From that perspective, I really don’t see where this whole ‘going off to attack a Pandemic Legion Keepstar up in the system of Vey’ comes from. The idea that we have bent the knee/sucked the cock/whatever other (hopefully tasteful) metaphor is the flavour of today doesn’t hold up on examination.

    I appreciate that PL had a large capital and supercapital fleet on standby (and that their supercapital fleet came in near the end of the fight). I also appreciate that there was concern within your command structure about dropping capitals with that fleet on standby.

    Putting that to one side, with the assets on grid the fight was essentially over when PL landed. The CHAOS super fleet was on grid, fighters were in range and not dying particularly quickly, machs were popping faster than we could cycle the guns on our fighters, and the repair timer on the keepstar was ticking down.

    To bring it back to the centre of the table, within minutes of the Keepstar being put down there was a ping for one of the largest coalitions in the game to come shoot it during its first vulnerability window. Quite obviously we asked for help to deal with that.

    To obtain that help we went to another large coalition in the game with significant assets already staged nearby. Another large coalition that merely by moving closer exercised the type of off-grid control and deterrence that prevented the fight of the few against the great bloody many from becoming a route and prevented all the effort that CHAOS put in to obtain that Keepstar from needing to be repeated.

    For us to do anything else would have been absurd. For people to expect us to do anything else would have been equally absurd.

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Pleo – I think you’re assigning words/meaning to this post that simply are not there. I’ll go change the post to say a CHAOS Keepstar. I really wasn’t paying attention to that and most of the post is about the events getting to or leaving Vey.

    That said, you hang with PL, you get all the good and all the bad that goes with it.

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  6. Pleo

    @Wilhelm Arcturas

    ‘[G]oing off to attack a Pandemic Legion Keepstar up in the system of Vey.’ Am I though? We raised the capital, we put it down, we asked for help to defend it, we now stage out of it. It is ours.

    As to us hanging with PL, that’s news to me.

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