After the rebuff at the Y-2ANO Keepstar last weekend, PandaFam changed their tack and decided to go after the Keepstar in Fountain that was the furthest from Delve. That was the Keepstar belonging to The Bastion in O-PNSN.
O-PNSN is a good dozen gates from Delve and, perhaps more importantly, to get there the Imperium would have to travel through I-CUVX, PandaFam’s forward staging system. They would be closer to the target than us and could reinforce multiple gate camps against any fleets attempting to gate their way to the fight.
I had actually flown out to check on the Keepstars the other night and was surprised to find that the final timer was looming already.
Seeing that the battle would be start towards the latter half of my work day, I flew out in an ECM burst interceptor the night before hoping to be able to join in, or at least peek in on, the battle.
I was in luck. Kun’mi had an ECM burst interceptor fleet up so I was able to join up with them once they arrived in the system, then watch the count down to the start of the event.
The fight itself looked like a return to form. Again, using fighters elsewhere, as PandaFam did at Y-2ANO, did not turn out well for them, so they once again focused their fighters on attacking the Keepstar. Their carriers sat on their Fortizar, bubbled up so they wouldn’t warp off in case of a disconnect, and sent the fighters out early so they would arrive in time for the final stage to begin.
Our subcaps were set to try and extract a heavy price in fighters while their subcaps were out in force to suppress ours. There were Ravens on the field again to help keep the timer paused, but this time PandaFam was using them and they managed not to get blotted out in a single bomb run.
Meanwhile, we were hanging on tether on the Tatara on grid waiting for Kun’mi to warp us off into the thick of things. Our job was just to be annoying, to slow the enemy down, and to whore on a bunch of kill mails.
I’ve explained this before, but as a refresher, Kun’mi would probe down a hostile group and fleet warp everybody at them… everybody was all 8-10 of us depending on when in the battle we’re talking.
When we land, we immediately start to warp out again, hitting our overheated Burst ECM as we aligned. The wave from that has a good chance to break the target lock on any ship within 26km, which can be annoying for DPS and deadly if logi loses lock on somebody they are repping.
You get a lot of target breaks when you get right in the thick of a hostile fleet.
And everybody you tag counts as though you attacked them, so if they end up getting blown up after your run, you get on the kill mail as a participant. This can lead to some serious kill board padding.
The odds, however, were very much against us. It was about four to one against us in the system, so winning the objective really depended on the enemy screwing up. If they limited the number of mistakes they made, they would kill the Keepstar and win the objective.
There were a few crazy moments. We did a run on a fleet and got out just before it got bombed and wiped out. The Bastion had some dreads in the Keepstar that emerged to fight against the odds.
And the enemy did not make any critical mistakes. I mean sure, Progodlegend, one of the TEST leaders, got his Damnation shot out from underneath him and the kill mail showed that he hadn’t bothered to fit the rigs that were in the cargo. This was made more amusing when he was trying to return in another Damnation, got caught along the way, and was blown up again, and that kill mail showed he had yet again not bothered to fit his rigs.
We kept on doing our runs whenever Kun’mi could find us a target.
However, I got distracted at my end for a bit and had to tab out. I tabbed back to find we had been warped in and I had been tackled. I set off the ECM burst, hoping to break enough locks to be able to warp off, but I was out of luck. My Malediction was blown up. A lot of Jackdaws on that kill mail, a lot of missiles in flight my way.
The battle was still going on and the enemy was kind enough to pod me, so I jumped into an ECM burst Ares and flew on back. With tidi running strong and restricted to that system, the battle would wait for me.
However, the server itself was clearly having problems. I had to disconnect coming into the system as I ended up in the eternal warp tunnel. Once I got logged back in and was in the system, the UI wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t able to rejoin Kun’mi’s fleet and none of the right click menus were working for me… oh, and my capacitor and all the UI around it was missing. I could only warp to bookmarks in the bookmarks window I had up, so I ended up tethered on the Tatara again hoping the game would catch up and fix my problems.
But it was not to be. So I just moved the camera about and watched as the Keepstar slowly headed towards destruction. Fighting carried on, and I got a nice shot of the arcing votron projector hitting a Ferox fleet.
I stuck around and watched the final moments and the Keepstar exploding.
The fighting carried on for a while, but eventually things started settle down. I saw almost 3,200 in local at one point, a big fight for a weekday. By the time it dropped to about half that number the server finally caught up and deigned to draw my UI finally. I could travel back home now.
The battle report shows things going heavily in favor of the attackers. Pandemic Horde put more people on the field alone that all of the defenders combined… and they can’t all be spies.
We killed a lot of ships… but that Keepstar weighs heavily against us, ringing in at 200 billion ISK. Without that, not a bad exchange… but without the Keepstar in play nobody would have put up with those losses.
There is some question as to how many fighters we killed. They don’t always get recorded correctly on zKill and do not get counted at all unless a full squadron gets destroyed. So if just one fighter gets back, no kill mail. But, in the end, we lost the objective. The Keepstar died.
As for my time, zKill put me on 227 kill mails. That is four and a half pages of kill board padding right there. Enough to put me in the top ten for KarmaFleet, a totally undeserved position.
But my kill board also shows how delayed the server was.
Up until I was blown up, all my kills are credited to my Malediction. After I was blown up and podded, there are a few where there is just a question mark. You’re not supposed to get credit if you leave the system, but things were out of whack, so I am sure the process leaves some margin of error.
But after a while… and this covers a whole page worth of kill mails… the credit goes to the my Ares. However, I was unable to join a fleet or warp to anybody to set of the ECM burst, I was just sitting in system. But as the server caught up, it no doubt had me on the list of parties that had applied some sort of damage or effect, checked if I was still there, then credited whatever ship I happened to be in at the time. Again, getting kills when you’re in your pod is pretty common. But I was podded, got a new ship, flew the 15 gates to get back, and then didn’t do anything, yet got the credit for ships I had tagged before I was blown up.
And that still leaves 30 where the server wasn’t sure what to do with me, so just put a question mark for my ship. Quirks of the game. We should probably be happy it works as well as it does. There were times when we were up close to the Keepstar when commands seemed to take a lot longer to execute than even 10% tidi would explain.
So it goes. The invaders have now killed four of the six Keepstars in Fountain. The one in KVN-36 is next on their list. The armor timer comes out a couple hours after this post goes live. The armor timer is the tough one, the one that will take more time, so it will likely be an even longer fight. We shall see if the Imperium has any tricks left, or if the attackers do us the favor of making a mistake, when we go to defend it.
- Mailvaltar was there