The war continues to rage mostly when I am asleep. This latest battle, over the armor timer for Fraternity’s Keepstar in X47L-Q, kicked off as Thursday turned to Friday for me, at midnight Pacific time, at which point I was sound asleep.
But it was just a bit early for Euros and no problem for the Aussies and our own Chinese allies to get stuck into things, so they went at it while Asher and a bunch of the Imperium command team in the US just stuck it out and burned around the clock.
I did not stay up or get up early because, first of all, I had to work yesterday, which is not something I relish on no sleep, even on a Friday and, secondly, downtime was probably go to screw us again.
You can read about downtime over on the EVE Uni wiki, but in short every day at 11:00 UTC (4am PDT for me) CCP brings the servers down for a reboot. Everybody gets kicked off of the servers and the last time we were in an armor timer fight for the X47 Keepstar the node running that system did not really appreciate 6,000 accounts trying to jump in at the same time and there was some ugliness including a semi-roll back for those did not get blown up (but no roll back for those who did).
Now, we had lost the timer before than because of particularly bad “server weather,” as the wags call it, but the downtime transition went so badly I was pretty convinced that the X47 Keepstar might be unbreakable if defended, as the downtime would be an out.
So I slept easy believing that I would wake up to find that downtime had defeated us. I felt for my late night comrades busy at their task, because that was REALLY going to suck. But my losing a bunch of sleep wasn’t going to make anybody feel better.
Then, when I did get up and go to my computer at about 7am PDT, 3 hours after downtime, I first looked at r/eve to see how the post-fight propaganda was playing out. But what I saw seemed to indicate that the fight might still be going on.
So I got Jabber up and running and found out that we had somehow bridged the downtime gap. Asher had gotten everybody online and in fleets way early, got people in position, so that when the fight started we were able to stop the 15 minute timer very quickly so that when downtime hit, we had as much of a window to get back in and resume the fight as possible.
And they did it. Those magnificent unsleeping bastards did it.
Granted, it was a near run thing. The timer, once they were able to stop it again, was down to 1 minute and 40 seconds. That isn’t a lot of leeway.
I hopped in the shower, made myself some quick breakfast, then got myself online to join in on the take down. We have a couple of AFK doctrines for structure shoots like this, small ships moving fast and firing lasers, which never need to be cycled so long as the crystals hold out.
It took me an hour to get myself in position, lined up and in orbit of the Keepstar before I could safely go AFK, but I got there and started helping to chip away at the armor layer of the citadel.
The nice thing… or odd thing I suppose… about a Keepstar and its size is that burning away in a 30km orbit is a very big circle because you are 30km from the edge of the model. But the model is 160km from top to bottom, and maybe more than half of that from side to side. So people down on the undock can be pretty far away while you’re still able to hit the structure itself.
Most of that time getting into the system was spent waiting for it to load. When I jumped in local loaded, but it was a 25 minute wait before I could see more than just the sky and my modules. The overview didn’t load, other objects in space didn’t load, the name of the system in the upper left hand corner didn’t load, and the outstanding calls window just sat there with the instructions queued up and the timers running.
Fortunately, my invulnerability timer was also sitting still, so I didn’t get blown up unawares.
The peak number I saw in local was at that point, 4,477, but who knows how close to reality that was. The server was grinding to keep up and sparing very few cycles to fit me into the mix with 4,000 other accounts on that grid.
Looking at the EVE Offline chart for the 36 hours around the fight, you can see that downtime did not have the same hiccup as before… likely due to there only being ~4,000 people in system rather than more than 6,000… and there was a surge of people getting in after downtime to rejoin the fight.
The server held and I was able to get my main and an alt on grid and orbiting and shooting before I had to lead the daily standup for my team and focus on work.
Somewhere along the line the PDS on the Keepstar managed to reach out and kill my alt, despite the fact that the range on that is supposed to be 3km from the model and he was well past 25km, but the server will get things wrong now and again in its juggling act.
Fortunately, that was getting towards the end of the fight and the numbers in system were starting to drop off as it became clear that the attackers were going to take the day. The PDS was fired off multiple times, despite defenders being there on the undock, in a last surge to try and get the timer unpaused. They just needed a minute and forty seconds of relief.
Instead, at 17:59 UTC, the last shot was fired. The attackers had won the armor timer and we are looking at another fight, a final fight that may very well end in a kill, on Monday night.
Getting through downtime to win the fight was a pretty amazing achievement.
Overall the battle report shows that One Trillion ISK was destroyed in the fight. But the destruction was fairly evenly split between the sides rather than weighing heavily on the attackers as tends to be the case.
That counts 5,794 pilots and 3,543 ships and pods destroyed, the the ISK balance tilting in favor of the defenders, but not by much.
Over at DOTLAN you can see the stats for the system and when the destruction was happening.
Now the question is whether or not the defenders will put their all into a final defense. Often the armor timer is the real fight because if the defenders lose that then they face the possibility of not only losing the structure and being caught once it is gone in the middle of space with no tether or place to dock up, but also all of their stuff taking the slow trip to asset safety. So if things look bad, they might decide to evac over the weekend and put up a weaker fight come Monday.
Or they might go all in, because if they do lose then not only does all of the above kick in, but Fraternity’s foothold in Pure Blind is pretty much at an end and their attempt to drive B2 Coalition out of the region is over.
Also in the mix is the scope of the final fight. The final timer is 30 minutes rather than 15, so it the attackers will not face the same thing margin of time when downtime hits. They will have a much better chance of getting back online and engaging the structure again. The armor timer fight was also especially strenuous because the Keepstar was fit with five armor plates, giving it a huge amount of armor hit points, so it took a long time and a lot of firepower to grind it down.
Those plates will not impact the final fight, so the kill should not take as much time.
Either way, B2 Coalition and the Imperium will be resting up and getting ready for that final timer. We have set the armor timer quite a few times… I think the count is nine at this point, though we did not contest every single one of those, something that makes the defenders salty… but now we’re at the first hull timer so I expect we will be all in.
- CCP Twitter Coverage with pictures: One, Two, and Three
- NEP: Ninth Time’s the Charm as Fraternity’s X47L-Q Keepstar Enters Its Hull Reinforcement
Hats off to Asher for actually being able to pull that off. With a 15 minute timer right around down time in a time dilation fight, I’d thought it would be easier to just reroll the timer. Also good job on able to get in the fight 3 hours after DT. One question, in these large fights is there a way to force the defender logi onto the keepstar so their PDS blows up their own ships, or are the range bonuses allowing those ships to keep their distance and prevent this?
@Alexander Wong – Anything withing 3km of the model should get hit by the PDS unless they are tethered or have an invlun timer running, and anything outside of that should be safe, but that seems to vary in bad tidi.
Generally the PDS is enough to zap small stuff, so my interceptor, drones, fighters, Vigils being used for target painting, those are at risk. Anything bigger with a tank, like tech II logi, can generally take a few cycles of it before it becomes an issue.
The PDS on this keep was 25.6km range, so it wasn’t too far out of variance. I was saying for you guys to orbit at 28km and hoping that was enough for the server.
@Asher – I did not know it could range out that far. I came in late to the briefing.