Three Weeks of World War Bee

Here we are again, another Monday, another summary of what I saw.

I was actually feeling like I might be over-indulging in EVE Online a bit, so took a couple days off to play other things.  No need to get burned out.  Sunday has become the instance group day for WoW Classic, so when we can get together that tends to be the focus. (Sunday evening is when I write this weekly update as well.)  Still, I found quite a bit of time to play.

Northern Front

The Fountain front has been cracked open and the first three constellations have been taken, but we haven’t collapsed back to the Delve boarder yet. The attackers have taken a total of 27 ihubs at this point and PandaFam has moved forward from Hophib to stage some of their forces out of PNQY-Y.

The Northern Theater of Operations

The move forward has put their capitals in range of the northern end of the C-4NOD to KVN-36 backbone route, leading to a fight over a Tartara that escalated which ended up as a major loss for the Imperium.  Both ends of that route remain in Imperium hands.

PandaFam also started clearing out some of the structures left behind in the space they have taken.  Their current push is into space held by The Bastion and a large number of ihubs have been reinforced in their space.

Southern Front

In the south things remained largely focused on Legacy trying to break into Period Basis for most of the week.  We took back the one key ihub in XZ-SKZ that we had lost and have spent time bashing POS towers that TEST keeps dropping, though we did get some pre-emptively.

This remains a thing in 2020

Also, Madcows of the recently returned Elitist Ops managed to steal a Leviathan titan from a TEST POS that they forgot to fuel.  Too busy with towers in our space I guess.

There were a number of clashes in TCAG-3, and the Ansiblex there was destroyed and replaced a couple of times, but the situation remains fairly stagnant.

Sov trolling remained the standard in Querious up until the weekend, when Legacy decided to take some ihubs from United Earth Directorate on the eastern end of the region.

Querious systems where Legacy now has an ihub

I covered our evening of fun making that operation difficult in yesterday’s post.

My Participation

My PAP link status seems to be a marker for how much time I spend with the war.  Last week my total stood at 46, this week it is at 61, so I was counted 15 more times by the coalition.  PAPs remain an imperfect reflection of time spent as I think I earned half of those on Saturday, but spent time during the week doing things for the coalition that was “off the books” so far as PAPs were concerned.  Still, it is a number, and I like numbers.

My ship losses increased as I lost three Ares interceptors in Querious over the course of the week as well as a Hurricane in a dumb loss in Delve.  Caught on a gate by a small gang, I made it back and jumped through, but they had friends on the other side.  My was losses so far are:

  • Ares interceptor – 8
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Atron entosis frigate – 1
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1

I did keep up my entosis hit and runs in Catch, generating an entertaining number of responses from the locals.  They are often keen to tell me about how they can guard an ihub all day long, which is rather the point of my doing this as it keeps them there and not doing other things.

I have taken to letting the locals get close enough to think they’ll catch me before cloaking up or warping off, just to keep them on grid longer.  I got a little too cocky with that, decloaking just to taunt some chasers, and ended up tackled and being shot.  However, it was just a point, so I was able to turn on my MWD and burn out of range then warp off.  I got away, but have a bit of armor damage “flavor” on my Atron now.

My Atron has some scars

Having been at both ends of this, the most effective method of dealing with people like me is to have a rail fit Tengu loaded with spike and a probe launcher to scan the attacker down, warp to them, then hit them as they burn away.  I have been probed a couple of times as I ran, but only by a Hecate, which lacked the range to get in more than a couple of hits before I was too far off.

A 7,000 m/s fit Jaguar isn’t a bad second option, but you have to get there before the attacker can cloak.

The closest pass of the week was by UnOriginalName 28.

So close, but space is so big

I have seen him and some alts both in Catch and in Querious.  I managed to get on his killmail a couple of times in our space, so I am up on him.

As for big battles, I did managed to get into the scrap that happened up in EI-O0O that saw things fall in our favor. (Trying a new battle report tool.)

EI-O0O BR header – Click on it to see full size

I also managed to get in a couple of the TCAG-3 fights, the biggest of which saw more than 1,600 capsuleers on field and 70 billion ISK in losses.

TCAG BR header – Click on it to see full size

However, a lot of the bigger fights seem to be happening in EUTZ, so I am sitting at home working and I see the pings, but I cannot log in unless I have a bit of free time to take a lunch break.  By the point that prime USTZ hours roll around the bigger fights tend to be over.  There are still ops and skirmishes to be found and always things to do, but the Euros are at the tip of the spear right now.

A Popular War?

There are a lot of parties involved in the war, and we regularly see fights pushing towards or exceeding 1,000 pilots, so it feels like the war is creating content that gets people to log in and play.  And you can point to people who have subscribed again just to get involved, which is some anecdotal evidence that the war is good for the game.

But, looking at EVE Offline, the peak concurrent user numbers are not all that huge.  The peak of every week tends be on Sunday between 18:00 and 20:00 when both EUTZ and USTZ players are active.  This past weekend the number hit 35,583 at a little past 19:00, while the top day of the war so far was July 5th, where the count hit 38,838.

Those are not bad numbers these days.  They are certainly better than what the game was showing a year ago, when Hilmar’s Chaos Era plan seemed bent on driving the user count down in null sec, though they remain a shadow on even some more recent years, and far behind the 2013 high of 65,303.

PCU for 2016 through 2019 – Chaos Era in red

That July 5th number is higher than the 2019 peak.  But back in April we had a couple of weekends where the peak was past 40K.  April was when the pandemic was fresh and video games were seeing huge surge all over.  Now a lot of people have settled into new routines and are not binging as much.  Plus, in some places outside of the US the pandemic has been brought under some measure of control, so people can go out again.

Still, hitting 35K on a Sunday was about normal for the few weeks before the war started, so you can wonder how much of a positive impact it is having.  Of course, there is the argument that the user levels tend to sag some during the summer as people travel or at least take to outdoor activities.  Something to ponder.  We will see if the numbers go up when battles over Keepstars start of when titans begin appearing on the field in numbers.

If we get to that.  There is speculation that this war will remain conservative, that subcaps and capitals will be the limit that the attackers will be willing to risk.  It has already been asserted that null sec powers are risk averse by necessity, so we shall see.  We have another week of war ahead of us to test that idea.

Addendum:

 

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