A Costly Imperium Victory at FWST-8

The map in EVE Online at this moment on October 7th shows one big hot spot if you go to statistics and click the option to show ships destroyed in the last 24 hours.

That big orange ball in Delve

Over at DOTLAN it shows the most violent null sec system of the last 24 hours to be FWST-8, where more than 10K ships were destroyed.

Delve is a dangerous place

Yesterday I mentioned the destruction that happened when the Imperium killed the first Keepstar that the invaders dropped in FWST-8 in NPC Delve.  I also mentioned that they dropped a second Keepstar that could be attacked shortly after that post went live.

NPC Delve and vicinity

Yesterday was the return to battle in FWST-8 as the Imperium once more went all in to defend Delve from the invaders.  Shortly after 17:00 UTC the Keepstar finished its deployment and went into its anchoring phase, during which there was a 15 minute window in which it could be simply blown up in one pass with no future timers.

With a days notice to prepare, both sides were ready to contest this 15 minute window.

I took a little break from work and joined in for the first wave of the attack, going with the Rokh fleet.  We were bridged in early, as FWST-8 is a single titan bridge from 1DQ1-A, the Imperium’s main staging and capital, and waited for the timer to count down.  Mike Flood gave us instructions and warped us on grid when the time was ripe.

Of course, there were many people in system, so time dilation was down to 10%.  The past official record for one battle, the one certified by Guinness, was 6,142 players in the battle at 9-4RP2, the infamous million dollar battle.  There is no doubt a methodology required to assess exactly how many players are in a system and connected and active, but I did see local well exceed that number early on.

6,446 in local

I am not sure if that qualifies for a record, but it was a lot of people.

With all those people and things slowed down, Imperium forces did not arrive on grid and put enough damage on the Keepstar until almost seven minutes had run off the clock.  While everything else runs at 10% speed, the actual time runs in real time, so a slip up can cost a lot of time on the clock.

Warp disruption bubbles drawing as we arrive on grid

I was in full “potato mode” with graphics turned down to keep my client from bogging down trying to draw everything in sight in high detail.

We successfully stopped the clock at about 8 minutes and kept fire on the Keepstar.  As long as the structure was getting enough damage the clock would stay frozen, so we could not slacken our pace.

The first pause point

The enemy was out in force as well and clustered around the Keepstar to defend it.  Our job was to shoot the structure, their job was to shoot us.  When we were blown up and ended up back in 1DQ1-A, we had to re-ship and get back in the fight.  In this way the Imperium kept cycling ships, ranging from frigates to dreadnoughts, into the fight as losses mounted.

After I lost my first Rokh, I stopped and went back to work, but the battle kept going.  I peeked in on the INN live stream of the battle every once in a while and saw the Jabber pings keep rolling by as more and more people got into fleets to attack the Keepstar.

Later, when I was done with work, I jumped back in.  One of the fleets we were using was made up of ratting doctrine ships, Myrmidons and Gnosis, which were thrown on grid at range to send their drones in to attack the structure as they tried to burn out of ranged to avoid retribution.  I threw an alt in to try that.

Gnosis on grid

That Gnosis did not last too long.  I had better luck with the Rokh, which required you to use a bookmark that put you 200km off the Keepstar, within range of the fit with the sensor booster running a targeting range script.

You had to land, align back out, lock up the structure, shoot, then warp off once the hostiles started to lock you up, a process easier said that done.  Each step of that could take minutes and it the bads started shooting at you, their guns would keep cycling while you sat there waiting for the server to pick up your command to warp off.  I died a few times for want of attention from the server.

Just not going to make it

Also, I learned the hard way not to accidentally click on an overview tab that has brackets on.

So much stuff on grid!

That locked up my client for a minute as it worked that out.  It was a good thing I was on a distant perch and not in range.  I might have been blown up before it drew all those brackets.

I had my main and my prime alt alternating with Rokhs.  Progress was being made on the Keepstar, but it was slow going.

As the day wore into evening at my end, the enemy switched up and sent their subcaps to our staging Fortizar in the system to bubble it up.  That was where we were bridging in, so warp disruption bubbles there would keep us from getting to the Keepstar.

Bubble battle at our Fortizar

That came scarily close to working.  Our fire on the Keepstar slackened enough that the timer started up again and two more minutes ran down before we got enough fresh ships back on grid to stop it again.

Second Pause Point

The grind went on.  As the hours went by people in Europe dropped out for the night as more people from the US joined in.  The total players in system began to sag.  The high water mark was not held for long, but it carried on close to 6,000 for quite some time.  As the evening turned to night that number dropped to just below 5,000 as sightseers and the tired left.  But the battle carried on.

My biggest mistake was accidentally warping straight to the Keepstar.  The server didn’t pick up my abort, but I managed to load high damage, short range ammo and get in quite a few hits before I was blown up.  I don’t think they expected that.

My pod on the structure after my Rokh died

After losing half a dozen Rokhs, I switched over to bombers.  There was a dedicated group throwing bombs from stealth bombers, good for 6K of damage each launch, while trying to stay alive.  You can uncloak, bomb, warp off, and cloak up again if your good and if the server picks up your commands.

It was then that the big panic of the night happened.  The enemy had brought in titans to kill our dreadnoughts faster.

Enemy titans arriving

We slipped again and the timer started counting down once more.  All bombers were ordered on grid to shoot their bombs and then use their torpedo launchers to get enough damage on the structure to stop the clock.

We managed it, with losses, but the clock was now down to under two and a half minutes.  Another slip and the Keepstar would likely be save.

The third pause

This was especially agonizing not only because hours had been spent on the attack, but we were also about 80% done.  We just had to stick it out.

The target remains

I could not however.  After about six hours of constant runs on the Keepstar it was getting late and I had work in the morning.  I called it a night at about the 90% mark, even as pings were going out for more people to join in.  I was in a bomber in system, so I warped off to a safe and then found I couldn’t safe log because the 15 minute timer was still running down… at 10% speed.  So I just cloaked up and left myself in space.  I left Jabber up as well and I saw the ping in the morning announcing that the Keepstar had been destroyed about an hour or so after I went to bed.

But the cost. My loss tally will be up significantly come the next weekly war summary.

The battle reports are all muddled due to so many groups showing up to fight or just gawk.  But it looks like the Imperium lost over 1.5 trillion ISK worth of ships, with more than 5,500 ships destroyed in the fight according to one battle report.

Battle report header

It also shows that we did that even as we were outnumbered.  It wasn’t us swarming a smaller group, but us throwing ourselves repeatedly against a larger force.  And, as with the last battle, the kill mail for the Keepstar itself went missing, so you can add 187 billion ISK to the attackers.  They also lost 3 titans getting to the battle, including one right in their staging system.

The details from another battle report show the ships that were sacrificed in the fight.

The Imperium is Team 1 on this chart

One fleet running for a while was Asher handing out Vexors with drones for people to fly in and attack the Keepstar with.  You got your Vexor, insured it, got it into battle, got blown up, and collected some free insurance ISK.

Our foes are feeling pretty good about killing so many of our ships.  But that wasn’t the real point of the battle.  The point was to show how hard we will fight when then step into Delve.  A lot of hay has been made about “flood plains” and how we let Fountain and Querious go without throwing in for a big fight.

But now we’re in Delve and we are ready.  Some propaganda was immediately forthcoming.

Welcome to Delve

Now we are restocking our supplies and getting ourselves ready for the next round.  The invaders want to advance by dropping Keepstars rather than by attacking ours, no doubt thinking their superior numbers would make this a safe way to get into Delve.  Now they know they will have to commit to a huge fight with every step on that path.

I am sure both sides now are planning out next steps and digesting lessons learned.  A third Keepstar drop is expected.

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12 thoughts on “A Costly Imperium Victory at FWST-8

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    And now I am remembering the things I forgot to add into the post, like that CCP turned off the bounty payment nonsense part way into the battle, so those were no longer cluttering everybody’s call queue.

    Bounty Calls from Early On

    My favorite call is now CmdWarpToStuff.

    All things considered, the server held up very well. It might have taken a couple of minutes for it to respond, but it always responded.

    Also, today is apparently dedicated to hunting down people like me who logged off or went AFK until down time and who are now logging in to get home. At least that seems to be what our pings are about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. anypo8

    Great description. Thanks much!

    “I might have been blown up before it drew all those brackets.” Yeah, what’s with that anyhow? It certainly doesn’t seem like the client should have any trouble drawing 10000 little symbols. I guess it’s the server sending the bracket coordinates, but again that doesn’t feel like a very big packet.

    This level of Dread destruction is starting to feel like enough to really impact Imperium production ability, not to mention the overall economy. Is this going to turn into an economic / manufacturing / logistics war? We haven’t even seen mass Titan destruction yet…


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @anypo8 – Brackets… yeah, I don’t know. But programming beyond a certain level of complexity is more art than science at times. In the 90s I worked for a company that made fax modems and our fax software would render a received fax pretty much instantly. Our main competitor, on the same hardware, took more than a minute to do the same thing. The guy who wrote ours, who was extremely smart, couldn’t figure out how they could possibly be so slow.

    As for capitals, the one thing about those hulls is that they are all tech I, made with plain minerals like any other tech I ship. So, while the cook time is longer and the modules are bigger, the hulls aren’t that big of a deal. Or, at least they haven’t been. With the next round of mineral starvation coming next week, that will change. One of the things people are angry about is that the new austerity is seen as an attempt to curtail capital production, but it will hit tech I subcap hull prices just as much. But we’ll get to talking about all that soon I am sure.

    But, yes, there is still a super and titan battle in the offing somewhere. We opted not to do that last night, just burning dreads and subcaps. At some point that will change. Maybe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Winston Archer

    Great summary. I have no dog in this fight, however, I’m pulling for the Goons. I love a good underdog story and Legacy forming the “Blue Donut Coalition” to destroy the Imperium and run them out of the game is certainly a great underdog story. Regardless of the ISK lost, the Imperium won this battle. Let Legacy try and spin the “We won the ISK war” but their line members know that the objective was to establish a foothold in Delve and they, and especially their leaders, failed miserably. I’m looking forward to seeing how willing the Blue Donut Coalition’s line members will be to answer the next “ping” knowing it will most likely be an all day slugfest trying to get a foothold in Delve only to lose to the Imperium again. It’s much easier to get people to defend their home (the Imperium) than it is to get people to leave the comfort of their home to invade someone else’s. Good luck all you bees.


  5. Mailvaltar

    That screenshot gallery you linked to is something else, wow. I wonder what it takes to have it look like that and the client not crashing regardless.

    To be quite honest, having been in this fight for almost seven hours made me earnestly consider my life choices (i.e. gaming choices). I mean, sure, the server still responded after a while, as you said, but still…this doesn’t even come close to my idea of ‘having fun’. The prospect of having a couple more – or more likely a couple dozen more – of these kind of fights ahead of us fills me with dread.

    I haven’t decided anything yet, but I really don’t know whether I’ll be there to see the end of this war in person.


  6. SynCaine

    Great writeup. I was following the battle a bit via Reddit, but this puts it all together nicely.

    I do wonder, when a battle does finally escalate to supers/titans, will too many people flood in to be part to actually crash the node, or at least slow things down so much the battle can’t really happen.


  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Winston Archer – Goons have had a persecution complex since the early days, so being on the defensive and out numbered makes them fight all the harder.

    @Mailvaltar – The crux is that we live in Delve, so we don’t have much of a choice about sitting in the battles. It is the old joke about predator and prey; one is running for their lunch, the other for their life.

    The pep talk towards the end of this fight was focused on getting ready for the next Keepstar drop, which we expected immediately. We still expect a drop soon to force another fight this weekend.

    The server stability is no doubt part of why Dunk Dinkle said PAPI doesn’t want to attack our Keepstars. As we saw at KVN-36, any server failure means the defender wins.

    @SynCaine – That is a tricky one for PAPI. This probably won’t happen until they attack one of our Keepstars, which they don’t want to do. But they do want to kill our titans. They have to want that. And if they do attack our Keepstars, they have the numbers to flood the fight, which also makes node issues more likely and, as I said above, problems favor the defender. So there will be more bait Keepstar drops until the Quantum Core thing hits next week, at which point dropping a Keepstar and getting it fully online will be more painful. You won’t even be able to tether until the core is installed, and being able to tether was part of the game plan in the fight above.

    TEST dread on tether capping up

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Archey

    That raises an interesting question. In the Keepstar, have CCP designed structure that Is effectively unkillable when the defender is determined? Either there are too many defenders for the attacker to face, or the node crashes as the attacker adds more people to solve that problem.

    It’s a theory with some holes but the broad strokes may hold up.


  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Another note from the battle; after I lost my first Rokh I stopped putting a frigate in the battleship escape bay. I had a crucifier in the first one, but it wasn’t very much use and got popped pretty quickly. After that I just let the Rokh die and then warped my pod to the PR-8CA gate, where a PAPI gate camp on the other side obliged me by popping my pod instantly, helping speed my return to the battle.

    We have that problem on our side as well. You tell people not to shoot pods, but everybody thinks the one they pass on will be the one loaded with high grade snakes or something.

    Liked by 1 person

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