Daily Archives: October 16, 2020

The Failed Trap at YZ9-F6

It seemed like a typical op.  We had a couple of Fortizar timers coming up in NPC Delve.  The enemy, having lost three Keepstars there last week, was probably keen to remove those footholds that allowed us to safely jump in the many ships needed for those fights.  Things might have gone differently without them.

I remember the first ping, because it said that we would be forming up at 23:45 UTC, an easily recalled sequence.  That was a quarter to five local time for me, I would be clear of work and able to join in.

There was a mention that the enemy was pinging about this op and claiming that we were pinging for it a lot.  We hear that a lot, intel back from the invaders about what their leadership is telling them we’re up to.  It often seems quite exaggerated, but if they’re pinging and saying we’re pinging, we will end up pinging more just because of that, so there is an odd cause and effect cycle in it I suppose.

When the time came I got into the Rokh fleet that Lazarus Telraven was running.  I named it “Remember the Lazamo” and went with the fleet when it jumped into YZ9-F6.  There we hung out waiting for the timer to count down.

waiting on the Fortizar

As the timer hit, we went through many of the familiar motions as we began to exchange fire with hostile subcap fleets.  Dreadnoughts soon joined us in the field before the structure and a fierce battle began to rage.

Dreads and subcaps on grid

We started out trading blows with the usual TEST Nightmare fleet at extreme range.  We exchanged with them, then started in on some of the heavy interdictors that were on grid.  Laz seemed quite focused on them.  There were a little more than 1,600 players in local.

Brackets drawn with the new UI only mode

Meanwhile, the fight seemed to be escalating beyond what I might have expected for just a Fortizar armor timer.  When dreads were thick on the ground carriers and super carriers began dropping in, with both sides putting them on grid with the Fortizar.

Imperium supers landing

But we had our own battle to fight.  Time dilation went to 10% pretty quickly and as more players showed up in local, responses to commands began to drag out.  I had the outstanding calls window up to watch what was happening and the wait time before calls were handled began to climb.

In the midst of that I had my own close call for the evening.  An Eagle fleet was passing by us at about 5-8km range and the decided to target me.  I don’t know if I happened to be in just the right place or if it was because I put my drones on the FC, but I saw them yellow boxing me.

I broadcast for reps and put the fact that I was being yellow boxed in fleet chat, overheated my shield hardeners, then unlocked all targets.  We were fighting on the Fortizar and if my one minute aggression timer ran down I would simply tether up and become invulnerable.

But a minute long time is very long in time dilation.

I could see the yellow boxes turn to red and I started taking damage before my unlock commands had been handled.  I was worried that the logi wing might have a similarly long wait in order to lock me up and get reps on me.  In moderate tidi the job of the logi pilot gets easier as you have plenty of time to response.  But when the server is backed up and processing commands slowly you are left to the whims of CCP as to when target locks happen and when reps land.

The first reps landed when I was at half shields, but they were countered by more and more of the guns aimed at me finally activating.  I could see the damage numbers zipping past on the screen at an increasing rate.  More and more logi started landing reps on me as well as my aggression counter slowly clicked down.

The race was one.  Logi was slowing things down, but the guns put me into armor, then into hull.  Reps would push back the shields for a bit, but the issue was clearly in doubt and I still had seconds left on the aggression timer.

Reps keeping me alive

And then one of the Minokawas got reps on me and my shields went back to 100% and it looked like I was safe.  The timer ran down and after an agonizing gap I tethered up.  Everybody’s lock on me, attackers and logi, dropped and the Fortizar began repairing my damage.

Upwell structures are op.

Meanwhile there were now about 2,500 players in local and the fight was spread out.

2,500 in local, blues are us, reds the attackers, purple our fleet

The fight carried on, though fleet coms were oddly quiet.  We were asked to keep quiet, which usually means something is going on in the command channel.  But this was more quiet than I had experienced in the middle of an escalating fight.  We were taken off shooting ships and began hitting deployable warp disruption bubbles.

And then some titans landed on grid.  They didn’t jump in though.  There was no cyno.  Instead they warped in and landed spread out.

Titans landing in the fight

I didn’t think anything at the time about the fact that they were spread out or that they had warped in rather than landing on the cyno that had brought in the super carriers.  I was just wondering if we were going all in on a Wednesday night, escalating up to titans.

Later we learned what was up.  This was a setup, a trap to burn up a bunch of PAPI caps and supers by getting them all bunched up and then hitting them with a multi-titan volley from bosonic field generators, the BFG doomsday that does 40K damage to all things in a wide area over a 20 second duration.

And it didn’t work.  The enemy was in place, the titans were in position, the BFGs all fired, but the server cut off the effect after just three seconds, so they delivered less than 15% of the damage that they ought to have.

Asher Elias posted an after action report to Reddit on the plan and how it was setup and pulled off, which I recommend if you want to know the details.

But after that things went badly.  The enemy, seeing titans on the field commenced to undock and throw into battle as many of their own titans as they possibly could, fielding 278 before the fight wound down.  The local count wound up to about 3,200.

PAPI titans jumping in

Meanwhile our own titans, supers, and caps were now lined up to get smacked.  The hostiles went after our titans first, tackling and hitting them as hard as they could.  16 of the 22 were blown up, while six got away.

Ooddell takes multiple doomsday hits, but managed to warp off

We opted to limit our losses.  We shot up what we could on field.  At one point is looked like maybe we might be able to take down one of the enemy titans that had bounced far from the pack.

Welcome citizen

However, that did not work out.  We shot him for a bit, but after not too long the call went out to stop aggression and to tether up.  The enemy went about picking off targets that they could find.

A good day to see doomsdays

At the end of the day the battle report showed that the gambit had cost us a lot.

Battle Report Header

We lost 2.5 trillion ISK  in ships while killing 722 billion hostiles.  That totals up to about what both fights in FWST-8 last week cost all told.  All of this should make a mark on the October MER.

Ship losses from the BR

In addition to 16 titans we lost 28 super carriers, 85 dreads, and 5 carriers.  We did at least knock down almost 200 of their dreads, though they dropped more than 750 of them.

So it goes.  We swung and missed.  Some times the server favors you, some times is trips up your plans and hangs you out to dry.  The war carries on.

CCP said they may have found the issue that caused the problem with the BFGs, but it seems unlikely that we’ll be able to stage something like that again even if they do fix the issue.

The word is that PAPI has dropped another Keepstar in NPC Delve, in 319-3D again.  It managed to deploy, but it should begin its anchoring cycle about the time this post goes list. [I am told the timer starts at 17:18 UTC.]  Expect another huge battle today.

Related:

Blizzard to Stop Working on New StarCraft II Content

Things have been quiet on the StarCraft II front for a while, and now we find out why.

Blizzard posted an update on their site that announced they are no longer going to produce new content for StarCraft II.

To the StarCraft community,

StarCraft is one of a kind, and we’re committed to making sure that those of you who love this universe like we do have a home here for many years to come. With that in mind, we want to let you know about a development change we’re making for StarCraft II as we continue supporting it for the long-term.

As many of you know, Blizzard continues updating its games long after the initial release—some of you will remember that we were actively patching the original StarCraft more than 10 years after it first hit store shelves. This year we celebrated 10 years of StarCraft II with one of our largest-ever patches, with massive updates to the editor, Prestige Talents for Co-op Commanders, and gameplay improvements delivered to players worldwide.

We’re going to continue supporting StarCraft II in the same manner as we have with our previous longstanding games, such as Brood War, focusing primarily on what our core and competitive communities care about most. What this means is that we’re not going to be producing additional for-purchase content, such as Commanders and War Chests, but we will continue doing season rolls and necessary balance fixes moving forward. On that last note, we’re not planning a Q4 balance update given that we did one a few months ago, but as always, we do plan to continue doing them as needed in the future. StarCraft II esports, which is part of the highest echelon of professional competitive gaming, will also continue going strong as it has been through our partners ESL Gaming and GSL.

We know some of our players have been looking forward to some of the things we’re moving away from, but the good news is this change will free us up to think about what’s next, not just with regard to StarCraft II, but for the StarCraft universe as a whole.

StarCraft is core to Blizzard, and we’ve learned that it’s a game that can change the lives of people who devote themselves to it, whether as a player, content creator, streamer, or member of the community (or developer). The outcome of each match is in your hands 100%. To become better, you have to look inward, be honest about any flaws, and dedicate yourself to improving. StarCraft teaches us that that process of improvement can be a reward in itself, and it’s certainly taught us a lot at Blizzard over the years.

You are one of the most passionate, creative, and dedicated communities in all of gaming. We’re eternally grateful for your ongoing support, and we’ll keep you updated on any and all plans we have for future voyages into the Koprulu Sector.

Uhn dara ma’nakai,

Rob Bridenbecker

StarCrat II: Wings of Liberty, the first of the three major releases for the game, came out just over a decade back, in July of 2010.

The game will still get maintenance updates and will remain core to Blizzard’s esports portfolio (unlike Heroes of the Storm) but will otherwise remain as it is.

I remember when Blizz announced StarCraft II, with the “Hell, it’s about time” video.  What do we say now?