Escalating Battle Sizes in Fade

Asher always warns us to not talk to much about our deployments while they are in progress.  Talking about them… especially on Reddit… brings attention to the fact that there are decent, small scale fights happening somewhere in null sec regularly which gets other people to considering flying over to join in on the fun.  Then things escalate as more people show up and sooner or later you’re back to time dilation sized fights, which are fun once in a while but not something you want to face every night.

So our deployment up into Pure Blind to hound Pandemic Horde and Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t get a lot of mention for a while.  We’ve been up there since November and for most of that time we’ve done our thing with small fleets, occasionally teaming up with TNT, who have a had a fun times deployment like our own going in Lonetrek, but mostly keeping things light.  We prod the locals, drop on their ratters and miners, and dock up when things get too hot for our band.

Then Pandemic Horde moved to Geminate and Guardians of the Galaxy started coming apart under the pressure of our presence, pulling back from trying to camp us, letting us drop structures in their staging, and letting us get away with things an organization that size ought to be able to stomp on given their local capital and super capital dominance.  One of their FCs quit the game while a number of high level defections hit their moral, while some of their internal reactions embarrassed them in public, all of which was documented over on the /r/eve section of Reddit.

Anyway, enough preamble.  GotG’s leader Sort Dragon is back from vacation and knows he is facing a crisis that requires the coalition to stand up and win some fights, while all of this passing through Reddit means that more outsiders will be showing up for battles.

And so it was last night.  One of the Raitaru’s we had anchored on grid with their Keepstar in DO6H-Q was in its final timer and GotG was keen to kill it.  Removing us from line of sight of their staging point would be a good start towards boosting moral.

The Raitaru in question as seen from the Darkness Keepstar

To make sure that they won GotG enlisted the help of their allies NCDot, Mercenary Coalition, and Pandemic Horde for the fight.

At our end Asher was pinging about a big fight to get as many of us on as well as getting the TNT deployment to come over and join us.  In addition TEST, stepping beyond just watching and spamming local in DO6H-Q, brought over a fleet to help us.  We also got a fleet of Jackdaws from Federation Uprising (FEDUP), a faction warfare group that took some space in Cloud Ring on a lark a while back in September and are still there more than six months later. (Kirith Kodachi is part of FEDUP.)

At our end we formed up with the TNT group and were bridged up into Fade to get into position.

Bridging into Fade yet again

There we hung out on the Raitaru with TEST, led by Vily, who once long ago was an FC for the CFC.  They had brought a Cerberus fleet.

Vily in his command ship

There we watched the enemy form.  GotG was forming up a Loki fleet with Hendrink Collie as the FC, flying one of the new Monitor FC ships.  That was the first one I had seen on the live server.

Hendrinks new ride

GotG also had carriers out and were sending fighters towards the Raitaru as the timer counted down.  Also on the field were NCDot in Cerbs, MC in Feroxes, and PH in Jackdaws.

The timer was already in play and the fighters were slow boating towards it before anything happened.  It was not obvious as to whether or not the fighters would get there in time to hit the Raitaru when Asher had the Ishtars spread out around the structure, drop sentry drones, and then led us off tether and into combat.

The Ishtar Train speeds along

Our formation was pretty simple.  We all follow Asher with prop modules on.  The Ishtars shoot the targets called, the support ships bubble, boost, paint, or apply ewar, and the logi tries to keep up with calls for reps.  As with the last fight, life in the logi channel was very busy right off the bat as the enemy tried to trim us back so they could kill off the Ishtars.

That was also when things began to slow down.  Time dilation began to rear its ugly head, so what seemed like a long and busy fight from my own subjective view did not last too long in game time as it was moving at about 20% of normal.  More than a thousand people in local will do that.

Popular Fight

We seemed to be fixed mostly on the Loki fleet which was following Hendrink around in a tight ball.

Monitor and Lokis

They had an advantage on their side.  Being in their staging system they could replace losses very quickly and more than once I heard a target called that we had blown up once already.

A Loki going, only to return again

Our losses ended up jumps away in our staging system with a hazardous path back to the fight.  However our Ishtar fleet was big enough this time around to take down Lokis while we hand substantially more logi than last time so were able to save many ships.  In this the tidi helped with that.  When the game is moving slowly it becomes easier to lock up and get reps on people because the pace becomes leisurely.  The only frustration is that it does take time for modules to spin down, so it can feel like you’re not going to get reps on somebody in time.  But we did pretty well, saving people deep in armor (or sometimes in structure) before they blew up.

The haze of the cap chain and reps in the battle

Meanwhile we kept in contact with the Loki fleet, chipping away at them.

Inside the Loki ball

At one point GotG dropped an Apostle force auxiliary on grid with us and the Raitaru to help rep the Loki fleet.  This became a priority target and was blown up before too long.

The Apostle coming apart

Somewhere along the line I had launched the Warrior IIs in my drone bay and then lost track of them.  They were likely done in by smart bombs in the Loki fleet.  But that meant not having anything to send towards the Apostle to get on that kill.  Ah well.

Meanwhile I am not sure how much the fax helped GotG.  Their fleet zoomed by the wreck not long after the Apostle was lost.

Lokis near the Apostle wreck

As this was all going on the fighters from the carriers had arrived on the Raitaru with about a minute left on its timer and were able to stop it as they chewed away at its structure.

The Raitaru in the middle of all of this

There came a moment of decision.  There was a mass of fighters on the Raitaru.  We could try to shoot them and maybe save the citadel, though it was not certain we could do it, or we could shoot GotG ships some more.  Asher opted for the latter and among the eventual victims was Hendrink Collie’s Monitor, aptly named, “Asher NOOOOOOOOO.”

Target the Monitor

That was the first Monitor kill for almost everybody though again, having lost my drones somewhere, I missed out.

By that point the Raitaru had exploded, fighters were being recalled, and our reason for being there had expired.  It was time to go.  Asher sent the Ishtars off to scoop up their drones, sentry drones being stationary, long range models.  That actually led to a series of Ishtar losses.  There were still hostiles on grid with us and they started picking off lone Ishtars.  They would broadcast for armor but were mostly out of range of reps and sometimes out of lock range, so we took some last minute losses that might have been avoided.  Nothing like being on top of broadcasts for a long stretch and then getting a string where you can’t help.

We then headed out, keeping together so as to prevent stragglers from being picked off.  The tidi outside of DO6H-Q was worse than inside the system as several fleets pushed through gates.  Asher told us we needed to get back to our staging and reload drones as there was another objective to hit.  But by the time we got back to the station that event had already played out and we were done for the night.

On the GotG side of things they managed to complete their main objective in DO6H-Q.  They destroyed the Raitaru in question and another without any resistance.  The battle report shows they paid a price for that objective.

Battle Report Header

The ISK war clearly went in our favor.

Furthermore, as Asher notes in his after action report post on Reddit, while this was going on other forces were able to go out and kill a Tatara and an Athanor, so you can understand why we might feel pretty good about how the night turned out. (Also his AAR explains the broader fight as opposed to my narrow logi view.)

There is also a video of the fight up on YouTube now that shows a few items I mentioned above.

And a thousand ships is a sizable fight.  It seems like we might be past the time of 60-80 person fleets going out for objectives.  The fights are growing in size as the nature of the conflict escalates for GotG into a need to prove they can defend their own space.

 Addendum: Another video of the fight, this one with some of our coms, including bad puns.

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