Suppose They Gave a War and Everyone Came?
When you bring the whole team out to play it can sometimes get crowded on the field.
The war against PanFam, the “glassing of Tribute” was promoted heavily in the Imperium and that promotion was responded to enthusiastically. As I pointed out, over a thousand individuals were on coms for the first move ops north, almost two weeks back.
A giant armada, arriving in the north and keen to blow things up… leads to some problems now and then. There is at time a :goonrush: to get into fleets, even fleets that are not promising kill mails or combat. I have started seeing this dialog pop up quite often.
That is something I am used to seeing if there has be an op pre-pringed and hurfed about before hand. Everybody wants to go to the big battle. But over the weekend I was seeing that come up for ops pinged as “we need to chase some people away” or “we’re going to reinforce a structure.”
At one point yesterday there was a call to sweep away a 15 person gate camp that had the temerity/bad luck to setup on a gate in our staging system and, even though I was already logged in and tabbed over to join the fleet immediately on seeing the ping, I was too late. The fleet was full.
The gate camp seemed quite put out, complaining in local about having a 256 person fleet dropped on their camp. Somebody pointed out that they were happy enough getting kills at a 15:1 advantage, so getting dropped on by a fleet with a 17:1 advantage over them seemed appropriate.
So, when the command team can arrange it, they do set up opportunities for larger groups to shoot things. There was a call to blow up a Fortizar one gate over in Pure Blind from our staging. I went over with the Eagle fleet that was called up first. And then another fleet joined. A fleet of Leshaks added their firepower after a bit. Then supers dropped in. Then the titans landed. Everybody got a chance to take a shot at the structure.
So an undefended Fortizar… as somebody pointed out, an alliance with the name Skeleton Crew could probably not be expected to have the staff to cover such events… that the dozen Leshaks could have easily killed on their own ended up with a kill mail that had over 500 people listed on it. (There is a 4K video of this shoot if you are interested.)
For one of these ops I actually got my alt out in an Ibis just to get that on the kill mail.
The tale of the Ibis is mildly amusing and might become a post of its own if I run out of things to write about this week, which is feeling like a distinct possibility. I need another big fleet fight or Daybreak to do something silly or I’ll end up writing about things like the CSM14 elections.
Anyway, moving on.
The other problem with having a thousand eager pilots on hand and ready to go at any given hour of the day is that the locals in Tribute are perhaps rightly not inclined to come out to play, seeing how eager we are to drop the hammer even on immobile, undefended targets.
We did get that fight last week and, even having lost the objective and had the ISK war turn against us at a ratio of 2:1, the appetite for fleets and ops seemed to have only gone up. People on our side came out of that fight eager for more. In the Eagle fleet it felt like a win despite knowing the result.
The next night the call went out to form up to cover some more entosis operations and, as before, fleets filled up.
Our goal was just to keep the enotsis ships safe as they vied with the locals over the nodes in the constellation.
We ended up in PNDN-V while PanFam ended up forming and sitting on the other side of the gate in 15W-GC. Ships from either side that went through that gate got melted pretty quickly. The gate also split the constellation in two, with us holding two systems and the locals controlling three. That meant that we were unlikely to win the entosis war. However, the same also went for the locals as enough nodes were spawning in our two systems that they couldn’t finish the defense.
Sitting around with not much to do, a streamer who was covering the event was linked in fleet, so we got to watch their view. They had two views, one from either side of the gate, so we could see them and they could see us.
The streamer in question, Lumpymayo, was clearly on the PanFam side of things and much of the chat seemed to be him and his supporters calling us cowards for not coming through the gate to fight them despite the fact that we out numbered them by at least a 5:4 ratio.
Every so often we would get called to type, “Hon hon hon” into the Twitch chat, that being the adopted meme/war cry of the deployment. This came about after we anchored the Keepstar on the doorstep of Tribute and Asher came on coms to tell us “op success.” He asked everybody on the coms, close to a thousand people again, to all key up at once and say, “Hon hon hon,” which was to be done with a heavy French accent. The coms chaos, recorded here, was enough to crash my client. But the Keepstar was renamed “Hon hon hon” and that is now our local spam of choice.
After an hour or so of that the FCs had us go to the gate and jump through, and we took on the locals and their camp. I was again in the Eagle fleet and we quickly anchored up and started shooting targets as they were broadcast.
This went much more our way. While a small engagement compared to the previous night, it was satisfying to get to blow things up all the same. I once again got to lock up and shoot at Dreyden Trovirr from the Open Comms show.
This time around their logi was unable to support itself so Dreyden blew up along with a lot of their logi. The enemy was chased off grid after a short clash. The battle report showed things tilted our way.
After that there was much “Hon hon hon” in Lumpymayo’s Twitch chat and even he had to concede we had won the field that time.
Not only did we get a nice little blood letting, but we won the objective. However, the objective wasn’t the entosis struggle in Tribute. Rather, we were there to pin down the locals while Dead Coalition (formerly GotG) reinforced systems in Tenal, leading to the renters up there handing over a pile of structures to them. Tenal had been the happy crabbing grounds for PanFam. Now, however,
Over the weekend we also spent time working on the ihubs and TCUs in the 1P-VL2 constellation, which includes the famed system M-OEE8, scene of a number of famous battles.
This went largely uncontested and on the initial pass all of the ihubs and TCUs were reinforced. Following up on this the focus was on M-OEE8, which is the gateway system to empire space and which houses a Keepstar. The ihub was destroyed, the TCU was flipped, and the Keepstar was reinforced.
The Keepstar is now down to its final timer and the question is whether or not there will be a fight over it or if this will be akin to the Fortizar mentioned at the top of the post, where we pile in a bunch of ships just to get on the kill mail of an otherwise undefended structure.
It seems possible that the locals will pass on this fight.
The rumor is that PanFam is even now planning to withdraw into the drone lands in eastern null sec, to the Malpais region, which is the core of their rental empire. Lacking any nearby NPC or empire space, that would likely put them out of reach of the Imperium and its ability to project sufficient power to do more than harass them. There is also word that PanFam, after the fiasco in Tenal where renter groups handed over citadels to the attackers without a fight, that they will no longer allow renters to deploy their own structures.
We shall see how much more fighting goes on in Tenal and Tribute.
Supporting sources on this topic are, unfortunately, all from INN since other sources, including Reddit, seem somewhat subdued on the topic right now. I’ll add more if/when they show up.