Daily Archives: August 12, 2021

Towards a New Delve

There is a bit of a tug of war about whether or not World War Bee is over.  PAPI is certainly keen to close the books on war now that they are headed home while the Imperium wants to keep counting coup as they clear out all the structures that Legacy in general, and TEST in particular, dropped in Delve.

Seriously, if anybody ever tries to dispute that Legacy was fully committed to moving into Imperium space to live there, the amount of stuff they anchored in Delve confirms their intention, misguided though it ended up.

At some point though, the current wave of destruction will wrap up, PAPI sovereignty will be taken and their structures all smashed and the war will be over in Delve.

And then there will be a new Delve to build.

The view from 1DQ1-A and old Delve

The old Delve, the Delve before the invasion, came about after our retreat from the north at the end of the Casino War, a conflict we unambiguously lost.

Back then citadels were new and lacked some of the modern conveniences which we have grown to expect in places where we dock up… things like the ability to insure your ship.  We had to go to a old style station to do that back in 2016.

So there was some learning to do and mistakes to be made as more structures were deployed in our new home region.

And then came the era of the Delve Time Unit and the Imperium went a bit crazy.  Mining and ratting was huge for a while and the wealth and resources led to a building boom where we were dropping new Keepstars just to say we had another one.  Every corp wanted to have their own.  It was chaos.

If was had come to Delve towards the end of that era, there might have been a different tale to tell.  I am not saying we would have lost, but we would have been a lot less ready to defend ourselves.

Oddly, a couple of things CCP did helped us prepare for war.

The first thing was the Drifter invasion.  We were in the midst of glassing Tribute and Vale of the Silent when CCP launched the Drifter event that had powerful NPCs attacking Upwell structures in null sec.

Drifter Forces Hitting a Raitaru

We bitched and moaned about that turn of events.  It decided the fate of that war, sending us home to defend our structures from NPCs.  It also looked like a heavy handed jab at the Imperium as the Drifters seemed to be focused on Delve to the exclusion of other null sec regions.  The Goon identity in EVE Online holds the belief that CCP is always ready to work against them, so there is nothing like a CCP launched event that seems to be targeting Goons to spur their already acute paranoia.

But there was an upside to the whole thing.  Having NPCs hitting structures, NPCs which could be defeated if the structure was setup right and a gunner could get in place, meant an overall review of structure requirements in the coalition.  There were standard fits laid out and every structure had to subscribe to the right access control list so that gunners could drop in at need, even if the owning corp wasn’t online.

Then there was the Forsaken Fortress update from CCP.  That still seems like a bit of a betrayal, the removal of asset safety, but the new abandoned state was necessary to thin out some of the structure spam that was becoming a blight in New Eden.

That led to another review and purge of structures in the coalition, as we went out to blow up our own abandoned structures before anybody else got the idea in their head.

So we had done a bit of work before World War Bee kicked off, but the structure situation in Delve was pretty chaotic, and 1DQ1-A was ahead of the pack in that department, with three Keepstars… expanded to five during the war… several Sotiyos, and a constellation of faction Fortizars, prizes from the war against Guardians of the Galaxy in 2018.

The 1DQ main grid with 4 Keeps, 2 Sotiyos, a Tatara, and some of the Fortizars

Outside of our final constellation everything that we couldn’t pull down was razed.  The one minor benefit was that a lot of the structures went down without cores, which made their loss a bit cheaper, but it was still a large hit.  If the PAPI war objective had been to glass Delve, they could have claimed victory in the war and gone away unassailable in their arguments.  Instead there was the whole war of extermination and Legacy moving into our space to live, which tainted their gains and gave the Imperium both an attainable win condition as well as plenty of targets to shoot in revenge.

But now that the cleansing of Delve is reaching is crescendo, with hostile Keepstars starting to fall, it is time to look forward to the new plan for Delve.

I had been thinking about what we would do after the war, long before The Mittani said this past weekend that things would be different in the region when it came to structures.  To start with, we are well past the era of the Delve Time Unit I linked above.  We have been in an era of scarcity and resources are no longer ready to hand the way they were back in that time, so there would naturally be a more conservative approach to structures going forward.

There are already some structures on the main 1DQ grid being unachored for deployment elsewhere in the region, a cheaper solution than building and deploying new ones.

But there are also the lessons of the war.  Loss teaches lessons that victory might otherwise hide, and we lost a lot in the war.  I am sure the big brains in the coalition have already worked out how to set things up more optimally for defense.  The Mittani promised a new plan that would make Delve even more difficult to attack should we face an invasion again.

And then there are the changes that may come from CCP.  PAPI blaming citadel mechanics in part for their loss is probably overstating the problem, but there are likely some changes in those mechanics coming in light of what happened.  It remains to be seen what conclusions, if any, CCP might draw from the war, but I might guess at a couple.

The first likely candidate would involved carriers and supercarriers and how they can stay safe and tethered on a structure while sending their fighters out to guard a gate, attack a fleet, or burn down a structure on grid.  Both sides used this in the war and it was one of the key defensive features of the final Imperium constellation in Delve.

A second might be another review of structure density, perhaps limiting the number of structures on a single grid.

And then there are the usual parameters around defense, offense, and cost that CCP might take a swing at as well.

But a new Delve is coming.  I will be interested to see how it shapes up.