Life on the M2 Hell Camp

Feed us PAPs and hostile caps and we’ll keep logging in!

-Motto of the M2 hell camp

I’ve spent quite a bit of time of late in the hell camp in M2-XFE, sitting in my Rokh, waiting for a target to appear.

My Permaband Rokh on tether in the bubbles

“Camping” is a pretty common term in MMORPGs.  I was camping spawns back in TorilMUD before EverQuest was even a twinkle in John Smedley’s eye.  You sit and you wait for a mob to spawn or otherwise show up, and then you kill it.  And then you do it again… and again.. and again… until you get your fill or your rare drop or whatever.  It has its variations.  In PvP you can camp the respawn point in a battleground or the objective the enemy is trying to reach.

A “Hell Camp” on the other hand might be a special EVE Online term.  I haven’t run into it anywhere else.

A “Hell Camp” is an operation when you have an enemy or a hostile fleet or the like trapped, in a station or logged out in space, in a known location and you set up to camp them from down time to down time, every day, for as long as it takes, until they either try to break out or they offer terms you can accept to let them go.

Many a hell camp has been called, but sustaining them is difficult.  You really have to have the hostiles pinned down for it to be effective and you must field a force capable of sustaining the camp.  Attempts to hell camp the Imperium into the Quafe Factory Warehouse station in Saranen during the Casino War were largely ineffective.  We had enough people that we came and went when we wanted.  And, in the end, packed up and left for Delve without much hindrance.

Likewise, at one point Guardians of the Galaxy declared they were going to hell camp Reavers into a station in ROIR-Y during a deployment.  That lasted less than a week before they wandered off and let us be.  Such a camp isn’t a lot of fun over an extended period of time.

Which leads us to the camp in M2-XFE, where 337 334 titans sit trapped, along with scores of smaller capital ships, the remains for the fights over the Keepstar armor and hull timers.

That is a lot of titans.  Progodlegend said that PAPI was bringing one thousand titans to attack Delve, so that is about a third of what they promised.  Add in about 200 more destroyed in both battles and afterwards and we’ve trimmed their titan fleet by half… if we can keep a hold on the 334 that are logged out.

The Mittani has said that this camp is the most important thing for us in the war right now.  We’ve given up the Helm’s Deep camp and moved carriers and supercarriers to the M2-XFE Keepstar to sit with fighters out, ready to grab anybody who logs in.  We also cleared out hostile structures and deployed multiple additional Fortizars around the camp grid.

Bubbles on the M2 Keepstar Grid – Now featuring more Fortizars

How long will this last?

We’ve been at it for two weeks now and the camp shows no sign of slackening.  There is always a full fleet worth of ships on when I join, and an overflow fleet with 50-150 more hanging about, putting a sizable force on call around the clock.

It is helpful that being on the camp doesn’t demand much attention.  On my big monitor I have EVE Online open, full screen, in the background and then something else I am working on… like this blog post… in the foreground with just the overview and fleet history from the game displayed on the right side of the monitor.

That is enough.

My overview tab is set to show nothing save hostiles, so somebody logging in or showing up attracts the eye immediately.  I haven’t missed anything that has shown up in range of my guns, save for the interceptors that occasionally show up to try and pop bubbles.

A Nagalfar provides a momentary target for us

You can sit on coms and chat.  There is a channel just for the camp.  I prefer to do other things and wait for the overview to alert me to action.

It is nice that we get PAP links, marking our participation.  (I covered PAP links in another post a while back.)  But even those reach a level of absurdity when you get one every three hours for being logged on in the camp.

The fact that PAPI forces keep logging on trapped ships is probably the biggest thing keeping people active in the camp.  At this point I am sure PAPI knows the situation and has communicated it as far and wide as they are able, but people make mistakes.  Somebody logged their titan in too soon before downtime… they have been logging in just before downtime to recharge capacitor… and ended up getting blow up.  And there have been a few where I suspect that they clicked on the wrong character by mistake at the login screen… I’ve done that a few times… and then their stuck riding the warp back into the bubbles and sure destruction.

Every kill revitalizes those in the camp.

But there is also, as part of the Goon identity, the idea that we’ll do something like this for as long as it take, far longer than any other group in the game would, just out of sheer stubbornness and desire to prove that we can.  So the camp goes on.

Which doesn’t mean the war has stopped elsewhere.  The week has seen a bunch of subcap battles over ihubs and timers both in Delve and in Catch.  The fighting surges back and forth and billions in ships are still being blown up.  I’ve been on some of those this week.

But the camp remains, uninterrupted, waiting for the hostiles to attempt a break out.

3 thoughts on “Life on the M2 Hell Camp

  1. bhagpuss

    Never having played EVE, there’s a lot about this that I don’t understand. I get the bit about the occasional player logging in the wrong character by mistake but are the characters and the ship they logged out in inextricably linked? Is it that, if people were on their main, so to speak, when that ship got trapped, they now can’t play that character at all until the ship is freed?

    I’m guessing it has to be something like that because otherwise, expensive though these ships might be, presumably everyone who owns one also has plenty of other ships. You’d think they could just leave the one ship in stasis indefinitely and go about their business in another. It has to be that they have no access to the character as well as just the ship or no camp could ever succeed.

    EVE is a very odd game from the outside and I’d guess it’s just as odd from the inside until you’ve spent so long there you don’t notice any more. It’s almost impossible to imagine any developer attempting a game even remotely like it now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – “…they now can’t play that character at all until the ship is freed?”

    Essentially yes. This is part of the weight of the hell camp. Most people have a dedicated titan alt, but there are a few prominent people who flew their mains into this fight and who cannot log in to deal with corp or alliance issues in game due to the fact that those characters are in titans and logged out in what is essentially a trap now.

    When you log back into the game you come back in the ship in the location where you logged out. This isn’t an issue if you logged out in a station where you store your stuff. You can swap ships, clone jump elsewhere, and generally take care of business.

    But if you logged off in space… or let the game log you off at downtime as all those titans did, you will come back right where you left off when you log back in which, in this case, is in full view of a couple hundred hostile ships keen to make you explode.

    I have been on fleets where we have spread out, logged off, and come back later when the enemy has gotten bored and gone elsewhere. It happens in small fleets. When you have 30 trillion ISK in titans trapped, boredom takes longer to hit. A couple of the alliances have told their members in smaller ships to just log in and take the loss so they can help with the war again. But titans are too pricey for that.

    Of course, the flip side of this is that we have a mixed bag of 300 ships sitting on top of 334 titans, plus other capital ships, which is a very powerful force. They could handily defeat us if they coordinated a login. However, they would have to fight us and then clear all the bubbles around them in order to escape. In the time it would take to do that we would be logging in and throwing ships at them in order to hold them down until our own titans could drop back in and carry on the fight.

    The plan/dream/hope of PAPI is to somehow clear all the bubbles so that the titans can log in and jump out of the system and back to their staging, so a lot of what goes on with the camp is subcap fleets showing up to try and shoot bubbles. Sometimes they get a few. Sometimes they jump into a few smart bombing T3 cruisers and get wiped out en masse.

    And yes, it is very much an outlier in the genre. Even other titles that aspire to the whole PvP sandbox thing tend not to be this crazy… or if they are, they end up failing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous

    “I was camping spawns back in TorilMUD before EverQuest was even a twinkle in John Smedley’s eye.”

    You’ve waited years to use this.

    Liked by 1 person

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