The Mittani was promising us a war last week, asking us to tune into the weekly fireside chat to get an update. There were more than 600 people in the channel for that on Saturday before a ping went out to get people logged in.
However, the news for us was rather sparse once the fireside got going. We were assured that was was coming, that the next fireside would be replaced by a Station of the Goonion meeting (which differs mostly from a fireside in name, though it tends to be shorter and more on point) which would announce the target of our war, after which move ops would commence immediately while those already forward deployed would begin hitting targets.
It was also stated that this would not be a war of conquest… Delve is already making us rich, so we don’t want more space… but a war of destruction to lay waste to the infrastructure and disrupt the economic output of a region.
The question, left deliberately unanswered was which region? Where will we be heading?
We’ll know come Saturday. Until then there are some likely guesses.
First, given that SIGs and squads were told to carry on with what they have been up to it seems likely that we will be moving into the northeast of New Eden to operate from low sec in Caldari space. Lonetrek or The Forge are where those groups are now, so it seems likely that a big move op on Saturday will use the Eye of Terror and cyno chain to move up through Fountain and then east into Caldari space.
Where exactly we will base depends on the actual target. (Base map from DOTLAN.)
The leak from Headliner on Reddit indicates that we will be assaulting Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion in their home region of Tribute. That would mean basing in Lonetrek, likely in Hakonen again, though maybe Taisy right on their doorstep. We’ve been in Hakonen before, back during the summer of 2017, which led to a series of battles (example) that went against the Imperium.
That deployment had not super or titan support, so the locals were able to drop those on us with impunity. This time we will be bringing all of the big toys so clashes may not be so one sided against us.
In favor of this target is the fact that it hits an an old enemy, NCDot, which harbors the remains of Band of Brothers, as well as Pandemic Legion. In addition, there is already a war going on with Guardians of the Galaxy, who live in our old space in the north, and who would no doubt be keen to join in on the fun after having to pay us for peace last summer.
A war here would also draw support away from other locations in the north allow SIGs based in The Forge to continue a merry harassment campaign in the backfield, forcing Pandemic Horde to choose between defending its timers or helping its allies.
An alternative to the above would have us move a bit further along, into The Forge, from which we could attack into either PL/NCDot and their holdings in Vale of the Silent.
This gets us stuck right into Pandemic Horde if we go into Geminate, pitting strength against strength, while The Vale of the Silent is a big region with a lot of targets. Geminate, like Tribute, means a head-on assault and supers being thrown around. Vale means the locals have to reinforce from Tribute and Geminate, but can stay based mostly at home. It still lets GotG harass from the north end and SIGs at the south end, though both local forces would be able to respond to either more readily.
Finally, there is a possible focus on the rental income of the locals.
The Kalevala Expanse, Malpais, and The Spire represent prime null sec rental space from which the locals derive income. Again, The Forge puts us about as close as we can get those regions without getting into NPC null sec space. But those regions do not have handy NPC space for us to land in. (Otherwise there would probably already be a SIG in there.)
Going after those regions would give us a nice “going after bots” narrative, though the recently revived Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Imperium rental alliance that operates in Period Basis, featured in the latest round of bot bans, so one might be tempted to ask when we’ll be opening a front there. (Or against Fraternity.)
The problem is that, while those are tempting targets, you cannot get a super fleet in there without multiple gates and jumps.
So I suspect that the first option I mentioned, an attack on Tribute, will be the actual destination announced this coming Saturday. It has the advantage of being close to low sec staging as well as close to Jita for re-supply. (Now would be a good time to build up stocks if you’re a seller.) The leak posted on Reddit was based on something said in the Imperium leadership channel according to The Mittani. That gives it some weight, even when Mittens wondered aloud whether or not it was a ruse.
(Map from Null Sec Influence maps)
My guess is that Hakonen or Taisy will be our destination on Saturday and, once the capital fleets arrive, a Keepstar will be dropped in one of those systems to kick off the conflict. Supers will cover the initial deployment and the enemy will have to either come attack it when the 24 hour cycle finishes and the initial repair timer goes live. They will have to either face our fleet then or allow us to setup a a difficult to assail base right on their front step.
Meanwhile, SIGs and squads will use the distraction of the main front in Tribute to harass and set times in rental space.
That seems to me to be the most likely war scenario. However, I have no inside information whatsoever… hostile groups with spies know more than a line member like me… so your mileage may vary.
We will see in about a week.