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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the end of the day the battle report showed that the gambit had cost us a lot.
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.
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.
Added: Pando’s video of the battle.
- Reddit – Asher’s After Action Report
- New Eden Post – Titans Called in as Escalation in YZ9-F6 Hits Fevered Pitch
- INN – Operation Enho: The Valhalla Ride in YZ9