Category Archives: Null Sec

MER – How Much Does War Cost Delve?

CCP has released the Monthly Economic Report for July 2018 so we can see what impact moving off to war has on the Imperium’s economic engine in Delve.  So I will be comparing this to the June report which was the last peacetime period.

We might as well dive straight into mining output, as that is where Delve and the Imperium dominate every month.

July 2018 – Mining Value by Region

July saw a big hit to mining output in Delve, dropping from 14.7 trillion ISK in value in June to only 8.2 trillion ISK in value in July.  That is only 55% of the June output, a 6.5 trillion ISK reduction.  A lot of Rorquals were clearly docked up as capital and super capital pilots flew north to Cloud Ring.

And while, in the past, I have had to point out that changes in output might be related to the price in minerals from which the measure is derived, this month the economic indicators show that mineral prices were flat, even rising ever so slightly as the month moved on.

July 2018 – Economic Indices

So there is the cost of war.

Regions in northern null sec, where a lot of the war is occurring, suffered downturns as well, save for a few like Branch that stayed stable or even rose a bit.  There is no bar chart this month so we cannot see the relative rankings easily, but even a diminished Delve is still dominant.

Then there is the NPC bounty output to look at.

July 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region

As with mining, NPC bounties in Delve were down.  In June the number was 11.2 trillion ISK, but in July that number sank to 7.5 trillion ISK.  Unlike mining, which has to be sold or used in manufacturing to be turned into ISK, this drop saw 3.7 trillion ISK less flowing into the pockets of Delve pilots, with a corresponding reduction in taxes for corporations.

I wish that the bar graph for this data had been included… and I am too lazy to make one myself… because you could more easily see Branch, where many northern players have gone in order to escape the war and keep krabbing, creeping up in value compared to Delve.  July saw Branch hit almost half of Delve’s number, up from less than one third in June.

The reduction even saw a slight change in the sec status balance of bounty payouts.

July 2018 – NPC Bounties by Sec Status

Null sec dropped 0.8% causing the percentage for High sec space to rise just a bit.

Overall NPC bounties saw a mid-month dip.

July 2018 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

War activity, move ops and battles alike, took people away from ratting.  Or, took some people away from ratting for a bit.  Even the bottom of that dip is still pretty high as an overall number.  And, ever so slightly, incursion payouts saw a dip at the same time while insurance payouts went up during the dip.

On the trade front Delve stayed steady.

July 2018 – Trade Value by Region

Instead it was Jita that saw the big boost, supplying the northern war front.  Trade in The Forge was up by nearly 50 trillion ISK in July.

July 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph

At leas there we have the bar graph to illustrate the dominance of The Forge, home of Jita.

July 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph, Forge Excluded

Without The Forge you can see Delve holding steady in third place behind Domain, home of Amarr, the second trade hub of New Eden.

When it came to contracts Delve again stayed steady while The Forge surged.

July 2018 – Contracts Trade Value by Region – Bar Chart

That surge may be related to the war, at least indirectly, but seems likely to be more about mutated modules from Abyssal space as they are becoming more readily available and can only be traded via contracts.

Then there is production.

July 2018 – Production Values by Region

Here again The Forge surged, but Delve sank some.  This may be due to a shortfall of minerals in the region.  I know we were already importing minerals from Jita to support production, but with the drop in mining there have been requests from leadership going out asking that we make sure and list minerals in the Delve market because they are needed.  This was a key speaking point for The Mittani during the most recent coalition fireside chat.  Minerals and ice products are in high demand.

And then there is the war time chart, destruction by region.

July 2018 – Destroyed Value by Region

Since the report lags by a month we are only now seeing the numbers for the battles at UALX-3 where a Keepstar was destroyed along with hundreds of capital ships in two consecutive bouts.  That boost the Tenerifis number by about 3.3 trillion ISK.

In Delve the numbers were up a bit as those who kept on ratting and mining while the super capital umbrella was elsewhere paid the price.  In The Forge however ganks were apparently down a bit compared to June.

And, as usual, I will close with the regional stats chart that puts a chunk of the data into one chart.

July 2018 – Regional Stats

The July numbers reflect only the start of the pan-null sec war, with the opening struggles in the south.  Already in August we have had two major battles with losses measured in trillions of ISK, so next month’s report should be interesting.

Meanwhile the shortfall in mineral and ice product production may send the prices upward.  Something to keep an eye on come next month’s MER.

You can find the July 2018 Monthly Economic Report and all of the charts it provides, along with the raw data from which they were made, over on CCP’s site under Dev Blogs.

More Titans Die at the Final X47L-Q Keepstar Timer

But not as many as before.

If the battle report I cooked up sufficiently reflects reality, a total of 20 titans were lost, down from the 56 destroyed last fight, with the split being 1 lost from attackers and 19 of the defenders titans being destroyed, along with the Keepstar itself.  The battle report shows 2 attacking titans lost, but zKillboard doesn’t show an Avatar being lost by Wotan Oden, so something still needs to catch up.  So it might be 21 titans down, with 2 lost by the attackers.

This, as I mentioned yesterday, all kicked off before I was even thinking about lunch at the office, but I brought my iPad along to stick in the corner of my desk to keep an eye on the battle.

Over in front of my phone, which never rings…

I do have to say that INN knew what data incoming views wanted to know with their overlay.  They had a counter for titans, supers, and specials destroyed, another for the local count, a count down clock for the timer itself and, once the fight started, a display showing the percentage of hull hit points left on the Keepstar.

Aside from the kill counter being a bit confusing… I assumed it was counting attacker and defenders blown up, but it was counting how many ships the attackers and defenders had blown up… that was all I needed running silently at the office.

Anyway, due to the above confusion about the counter I was wondering how the defenders lost a titan before the counter even finished.

Almost fifteen minutes left to go and already a titan down

But it was the defenders who manager to kill a GSF Erebus that was likely bumped, ended up exposed and blown up.

Then the fight actually kicked off and the counter began a lopsided swing towards the attackers.  Later on I heard that one of the things learned from the first fight was positioning.  To deal with the titans on the Keepstar, able to safely tether up quickly after a doomsday kill, Asher positioned our titans at the extreme edge of doomsday range.  That meant of the defenders, who were all over the Keepstar, only some of them would be in range to take a shot.  Unable to bring all weapons to bear on every target they were denied kills.

The attackers, both larger in numbers and grouped up in a tighter ball, had no similar issue and quickly started dispatching vulnerable defending titans one after another.

And then the DDoS attacks started, hitting Imperium coms, forcing the attackers to use text channels to coordinate targets as well as the EVE Online login server.

The usual “Well, of course X did this…” accusations flew, as always from people who have no special insight into the issue, but this attack didn’t help either side.  It imperiled the ability of the attackers to blow up the Keepstar and effectively ended their titan kill streak, while the defenders were unable to bring in additional titans they had staged nearby.  Leadership of both coalitions were unhappy with this state of affairs.

CCP Falcon got on the INN stream to talk about the situation.  The stream itself was dropped from the fight several times.

Back live with CCP Falcon speaking

CCP Falcon gave more information about the state of the servers as well as speaking about why the client end crashes on its own during such big fight, the latter often related to the client trying to allocate more memory than it can access.  This is something that won’t happen nearly as often once a 64-bit client is available, something Falcon said we ought to have within a year. (Until then this post on Reddit can help you avoid that sort of crash.)

All of which happened while I was still at my desk at work.

When I finally headed out the Keepstar was still up, but it was destroyed in the half hour it took me to get home.

On arriving home I logged in my alt, pre-positioned in X47L-Q in a cloaky ship, and warped on grid to see what I could see.  The Keepstar was gone, but the attacking titan fleet still appeared to all be on grid in the bubbles meant to keep them from warping off if they disconnected.

A mighty mass of titans

A directional scan I did of the area showed 466 titans, 322 force auxiliaries, and 191 super carriers.

A closer look at that titan blob shows the smaller capitals mixed in with them.

Zoomed in some on the blob

The area around where the Keepstar was located was still clearly staked out with its own array of bubbles.

Around where the Keepstar was

While there appear to be still some ships there, including several titans, those are all ghosts, either safely logged off or destroyed, but still showing up in space and on overviews due to some sort of server malfunction under the stress of load.  You could not target them, though that didn’t keep every new person who showed up from thinking they could get on one last titan kill.

That titan is a mirage

The wrecks though, they were still there and some enterprising pilots were off to try and harvest some of the loot on field.

An Initiative Mercenaries Rorqual looking to loot

While the battle was over there was still clean up to be done.  A fresh Baltec fleet was called in 6RCQ-V to help cover the returning capitals as well as collect up stragglers and those disconnected earlier in order to get everybody home.  We were bridged to the mid-point Fortizar, where titans were already beginning to collect.

A lot of ships hanging off that Fort

That Fortizar, and another not too far off, was the scene of a heavy interdictor massacre.  A fleet of HICs, as they are called, was sent in to delay the incoming fleets and ended up being slaughtered.

We moved on to X47L-Q where we picked up some subcaps that had been wandering around.  Then we were sent out to blow up wrecks, including the wreck of the Keepstar, in order to leave nothing of value on the battlefield.  Also on the list of things to blow up were friendly ships apparently adrift and not responding.  The only kill mail I was on for the battle was an allied Archon.  Again, we were not leaving anything behind, including free kills.

Then we headed back to the Tosche Station Fortizar and got a bridge back to the mid-point where we had to wait for 25 minutes due to jump fatigue.  While CCP cut back on those timers, jumping four times during a short period still leaves you with some down time.  So we got to sit and watch out bridging titan change the SKINs on his Ragnarok.

Maybe the prettiest

When the time finally came we jump we were out and able to dock up.  That was the end of the battle, with the current battle report numbers indicating that it cost the defenders about two trillion ISK.

Battle report not guaranteed 100% finished or accurate

The battle report has about 100 individuals from various third party groups, but their losses do not add up to much so I left them on the Imperium side of the chart.  Naturally, with this big of a fight the DOTLAN stats show X47L-Q as the most violent null sec system in the last 24 hours.

DOTLAN says…

Pure Blind got the top four spots.  The next two systems are on the way to X47, so are likely people getting blown up coming or going, while the final slot is our mid-point system where all those HICs died.

So that was that, the latest battle in the war of the Keepstars.  The war is not over.  There are certainly more citadels to assail, including the Circle of Two Keepstar in DW-T2I.  I don’t think the Imperium will be satisfied or think about turning for home until at least that has been destroyed.

Others who covered the battle:

X47L-Q Preliminaries at Tosche Station

The north has been simmering since last week’s titan destroying battle in X47L-Q.  That fight was just the penultimate round for the NCDot Keepstar in the system.  The armor timer was beaten, leaving open to opportunity to destroy the giant citadel today.

Preparations for what might be the final battle over the station have carried on since.  I mentioned an operation that we ran on Saturday to cover the deployment of a Fortizar in X47L-Q on the same grid as the Keepstar.  That set a three day timer before it would be set.

The wait for anchoring begins

The deployment timer for that came due last night and we formed up to cover it again, this time to see that it went online.  Two subcap fleets were called up, a Baltec fleet under Thomas Lear and a Cerberus fleet under Asher Elias.  I already had a Scimitar to fly logi for Cerbs from a fleet the night before, also to cover a citadel coming online, so I went with Asher’s fleet.

Minmatar Liberation Day SKIN on the Scimi

Both subcap fleets were bridged to a mid-point system early to wait on citadel until the timer hit.  The subcap fleets hung there with the capital fleet that was also called up.  We were serious about getting this Fortizar online, so there were titans, super carriers, and faxes out for the fleet.

I had an alt in X47L-Q cloaked up on grid with the Keepstar and our Fortizar in order to see what was going on.  Watching the system, it did not seem to be as active as one might expect if a battle were expected.  There were fewer than 150 people in the system, many of them Imperium pilots.  We had plenty of eyes on things.

The count in the system went up as the timer transition moved closer.  First Black Legion arrived with a fleet of Muninns led by Elo Knight, followed by NCDot and their own Muninn fleet.  Local moved above the 500 mark, and then the Fortizar anchored and began its 15 minute repair cycle.

Power Converters available soon

The locals put their Munnins in range of the Fortizar and opened up, pausing the timer easily enough.

Munnin mass flying about

But the cyno for us went up shortly and we jumped in, docked up, then undocked to get around the tether delay, the headed on out towards the Munnins.  The Baltecs were there as well, along with a bomber fleet under Dabigredboat and the capitals, so the Munnins withdrew after a short clash.  We moved back to the Fortizar to tether up and keep an eye on things.

Hanging on tether under the Fort, Keepstar in sight

Asher told us then that Zungen from Black Ops had decided to try and start anchoring another Fortizar, no doubt hoping that all eyes would remain locked on X47L-Q.  However the locals could see that we were serious, with caps on field, something they didn’t seem keen to counter at the moment, so the Black Legion fleet broke off and went to kill Zungen’s Fortizar.

At some point, as we hung on tether, a Minokawa force auxiliary of ours ended up on the Keepstar.  Asher had us align and we warped in to try and shepherd it to safety, but we arrived just in time for the Keepstar doomsday to hit.

Cerbs caught in the arc… also, Caroline’s star!

We lost a couple of ships in the fleet, but the brunt fell on the Minokawa, which began to come apart.

A subcap explodes as the Minokawa begins to fail

A few of the locals in the NCDot Muninn fleet, which stayed behind, got in range to get on the kill.  We were able to return the favor by popping some of them, but the Minokawa exploded all the same, the Keepstar having done 99% of the work.

During that exchange the hostiles managed to headshot Asher, blowing up his Phantasm, despite logi getting reps on him right away.  We went to a backup anchor, The Pink Pansy, and shot a few more hostiles before everybody withdrew to their citadels to tether up.  Asher was able to reship into a Sleipnir and carried on leading the fleet from that.

Meanwhile, a few systems over, Zungen’s Fortizar was destroyed, so the locals got their success for the night.  Well, they got the Fortizar and slaughtered a host of bombers that flew over to try and defend the citadel.

When the repair timer on the Fortizar in X47L-Q finished up and the citadel was secure, the subcaps headed out to see if we could catch the hostiles from the other fight.

Subcaps smacking into a gate after using MWDs to get clear of a bubble

We ended up behind them, catching up with them on the gate in O-N8XZ, where a few shots were fired and a couple of ships exploded, but no decisive clash took place.

When that had peter we headed to one of our citadels to sit with the capitals while their jump timer cleared.

Sitting on another Fortizar, waiting to go home

When the capitals were ready to go they began jumping back to our Keepstar in 6RCQ-V.  We were bridged back as well and docked up.  The operation was over, lasting a little over 100 minutes from form up to dismissal.

Operationally, we accomplished what we set out to do.  We have a Fortizar on grid for the Keepstar final timer.  ISK-wise, we would have done very well had the second Fortizar not been dropped and lost along with so many bombers.  That cost us the ISK war according to the battle report I put together.

Battle Report across Three Systems

The numbers of players on the battle report are comparable, and the ISK war was in our favor in X47L-Q, even with the Minokawa loss.  But roping in all of the events across three systems seems like a more fair assessment of the evening.

All of which leaves us waiting for today’s events.  Before this post goes live… the joys of scheduled posts… fleets will have formed up and moved into the jump range or on grid in anticipation of the timer on the Keepstar running down.  A fight seems almost certain as there was a report at NER on Monday that Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and NCDot were moving capital ships away from the southern front and their war with TEST and towards the north and the coming Keepstar contest.

Before I am likely to even have considered lunch, the fight will have begun as the 30 minute repair timer begins.  Time dilation will likely keep any fight that occurs on the field long enough for me to get home from work and peek in… my alt is logged off in the system… and maybe even join a reinforcement fleet.

The question is really whether or not this will be another titan bloodbath.  Both sides no doubt learned from the last fight and nothing has changed since then, so it will be interesting to see how the two sides adapt to the situation.

Anyway, tomorrow’s post will be, at a minimum, the results of the fight.  I cannot cover the drama over this Keepstar and then not report the final result.

Smaller Operations in the North

Between the big battles, like we saw at X47L-Q last week, there are thousands of smaller ops that undock to take care of business and look for fun and targets of opportunity.  Saturday night saw Asher Elias, the sky marshal who has been running huge multi-fleet operations with hundreds of super carriers and titans following his orders, able to return to smaller fleet ops as Reavers formed up Ishtars and undocked.

Once again leaving the station

He has business for us to attend to and we headed to X47L-Q.

There the first thing we did on entering the system was warp to a cyno on the NCDot Keepstar and pop the ship running it.  Sitting exposed right on the hostile structure, we quickly turned about and warped off, then headed back to a point on grid with it again.

On grid with the Keepstar as it counted down

We had a couple of things on our plate.  One was a matter of expedience.  While we were there and able to fly cover, a call went out to cap pilots who might still be stuck logged off on grid after last week’s battle letting them know that they had an opportunity to log in and jump out of system.  A few pilots too advantage of the opportunity.

Keepstar further back

However, our main task was to cover a new structure being dropped in the system.

Fortizar deploying

A Fortizar named Tosche Station was dropped and we were there to watch it for the 15 minute deployment timer, during which it was vulnerable to attack.  This was part of the change to Upwell structures that went in last last year.  They are now vulnerable for 15 minutes when first dropped and then for 15 minutes at the end of their anchoring sequence.  During that time they are both easy to shoot, as they are unfitted and cannot shoot back, and can be destroyed in a single fight.

However, save for a single Pandemic Horde Cormorant, none of the locals sought to interfere with the structure during that vulnerable time.  The structure made it through and began to anchor.  It was good for three days, after which it would be vulnerable again before coming online.

The longer anchoring timer

We shall see if the locals care to form up to keep it from going online to keep us from having a structure on grid with their Keepstar before the final fight for that kicks off.

After that Asher had us head out for another destination in a hurry.  We flew into Tribute, home of NCDot and Pandemic Legion, and through systems I remember both from living there are from the battles in them over the years, to M-OEE8.

There tackle had run ahead and pinned down some targets for us.  Arriving on grid we found two dreadnoughts, a Phoenix and a Revelation, as well as two Rorquals.  We went after the Phoenix first.

Phoenix under attack while a Rorqual sits in its PANIC bubble

Even as we got there one of the Rorquals had already set off its defensive PANIC module, a protective bubble meant to keep the ship alive for a while in order to let help form up and rescue it, before we had had the opportunity to shoot it.

The Phoenix went down, and then the Revelation, before we were able to get started on the more expensive Rorquals.  By that point the PANIC module had run down on the first one while the second one put its up after we poked it a bit.

Foreground Rorqual dying while the other is in PANIC in the background

After that, we raced off to M-OEE8, a system of legend and PL’s capital, complete with Keepstar.

During this some hostile interceptors showed up with a mind to rescue the remaining trapped caps, but they did not fare too well.  On warping in we were able to divert drones to them, killing a few as the others warped off.  After a couple runs at that they kept their distance, waiting for a target of opportunity.

When the first Rorqual was dispatched we motored over to the second and setup around it waiting for its PANIC bubble to fade.  When it went down we started in, but then were told to pull drones.  Jay Amazingness Thomas Lear had a Baltec fleet in the area and Asher wanted to let them come over to join in on the kill.

Baltec fleet firing on the Rorqual

That additional firepower made short work of the Rorqual and it exploded in the dramatic fashion to which we have become accustomed.

Rorqual goes boom!

All four of the capitals were in Rate My Ticks (ticker: WERMT), which is Pandemic Legion’s rental alliance.  Both PL and NCDot still generate income by renting space as their other sources of passive income have dried up.

We then cleaned up the deployed warp disruption bubbles that they had laid about to keep people from warping directly to them from the gates and then started to head back towards home, past more structures.

Tribute is full of structures

As we and the Baltec fleet moved back towards Pure Blind we were shadowed by the hostile interceptor fleet, which was waiting for a straggler or somebody who didn’t align so they could pick them off, as well as flashes of time dilation.  Pushing a couple of fleets through an otherwise quiet region is enough to tax a server that otherwise hasn’t been reinforced.

On the way back we stopped again in X47L-Q in order to clear off some drag bubbles from a POS that was setup as a trap.  We were able to clear the bubbles, though the affair kept the logi wing busy as the tower shot at people, constantly switching targets.

Extricating ourselves from the tower was a task in and of itself, as the warp disruption batteries kept hitting people as we aligned to warp out.  Asher asked if anybody was pointed before he warped, the heard an affirmative only after he had warped us, so we turned around and headed back to try and rescue those caught.  We lost an Ishtar that way before we finally got off grid.

We also lost the fleet Impairor.  One person who logged on to go with the fleet didn’t have anything handy besides a rookie corvette, so brought that along for the fleet.  It made it through, getting on all the capital kill mails.  However, it got blown up at the POS tower, though the kill mail shows that the pilot took the effort to fit it up to be useful.  Tackle corvette!

After that we headed back to our staging and stood down.  Not a bad fleet at all.  It is nice to get back into the smaller ops that Reavers do.

Asher said on The Open Comms show last Friday that our whole SIGs and squads campaign in the north owes its origin to Bigbilltheboss who, after the Hakonen deployment didn’t want to bring all his dreadnoughts back home to Delve. (We came back from that about a year ago at this point.) So setup shop to drop on the locals ratting and mining and found the fields to be rich in targets.  Then we, and BlackOps, and TNT, and Space Violence all ended up in the north, where we have been deployed since at least November.  A long and fruitful deployment it has been too, with a lot of small fleet actions.

But more big ops are coming.  We will have the Fortizar to defend on Tuesday and then the final timer for the NCDot Keepstar on Wednesday.  Expect CCP’s servers to be heavily taxed once again as we see if more titans die.

Rooks and Kings – First Light on the Fifth Day

It has been a while since we have had a new Rooks and Kings video, the last one being Message in a Bottle that saw them moving to the Serenity, the server that hosts the mainland China version of EVE Online. (There is a timeline of their videos on the Rooks and Kings site.)

There wars were fought, with battles between supercaps and titans of the like that we are only beginning to experience in the west on the Tranquility server.  The wars left the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community alliance, or PIBC, the dominant power in null sec, able to rule in a way that no western alliance has, as the influence maps make clear.

Serenity Server Null Sec Influence Map – August 3, 2018

This led directly to the migration of players from the Serenity server in China to the Tranquility server in the UK that serves the rest of the world.  This is the genesis of alliances like Fraternity and Ranger Regiment of the Winter Coalition as well as the P.L.A. corp in GSF.

The new Rooks and Kings documentary, First Light on the Fifth Day, follows the ascension of PIBC, the exodus of its foes, the battle for who represents China, and how the two servers still interconnect.

Available in 5K video, you can click through to watch it in high def on YouTube directly.

Rooks and Kings sent out an email blast to a variety of EVE Online related sites on Friday night, so you will like see this video all over.  Still worth reposting here for me to have my own context down the road.

Clash of Titans in X47L-Q

The event started warming up at about 17:00 UTC, which was 10am local time for me, so I was at work.  But I could watch coms on my phone and follow the progress as events unfolded.

The source of the conflict was a Keepstar timer, so the trend of the war continues.  NCDot dropped a Keepstar in Pure Blind in X47L-Q to support its allies facing the Imperium.  That system put it in range to support the Circle of Two Keepstar in DW-2TI in Fade.  That also put the CO2 Keepstar between it and the Imperium staging in Cloud Ring.

It was, however, quite close to NPC null sec in Pure Blind, where Imperium SIGs and squads have been active since November of last year, and its position also put it astride the route to Tribute, NCDot’s home.

The fight itself was over the armor timer for the Keepstar which, depending on who is speaking, either doesn’t really matter or is the most important timer.

As I have noted before, to kill an Upwell structure like a Keepstar there are three fights that need to happen.  The shield attack, the armor timer, and the structure timer.  Successfully breaking through the citadel’s shields starts things off and can be done at any time.  The following two fights come at specific times.

The argument against the importance of the armor timer rests on the obvious; the Keepstar doesn’t die if the defender loses.  Very simple.

The argument for the importance rests on the idea that if the defender loses the final timer, they are stuck on grid, unable to tether or dock, thus left to the dubious mercy of the victorious foe.  You can lose the armor timer and still find safety.  Losing the final timer means a need to find an exit.

Either way, it wasn’t clear that the fight was going to happen.  Both sides were ramping up for it, however there was a DDoS attack on the game yesterday morning that was causing people to get dropped and leaving them unable to log on.  This rather ironically occurred about when CCP posted a Dev Blog about issues with the game earlier this year.

However, the CCP team was able to get that in hand before the timer hit and I saw the pings go out for fleets.  Ships were forming up and the battle was on.  Cynos went up and ships were bridged in, the system having been captured by NCDot too recently for them to be able to put up a cyno jammer.

A couple of people started live blogging things.  NER had a thread up on Reddit, while INN put one up on their site.  From those I was able to watch things unfold from work.  It looked like both sides were willing to drop titans on the field and battle soon became a measure of who was killing the most of the big ships.

Things seemed to be going in favor of the defenders on the titan count.  While the attackers managed to kill a Vanquisher, a very expensive faction titan, overall the count was going against the Imperium by almost 2 to 1.

Some of the Imperium leadership was on record before the battle saying that we would trade two of our titans for an enemy titan and feel we’d come out on top due to the economic power of Delve.

Of course, it is one thing to say that and another to see it actually happening, especially when our own faction titan landed on the chopping block.  The first Molok to die in the game went down during the fight.

As I finished up with work I went to try and slip into the system to see what was going on.  By then the live blogs were starting to taper off as those who needed to get up in the morning wandered off.

I managed to get into X47L-Q in a Purifier stealth bomber, joining nearly 4,000 other capsuleers as I crossed slowly into the system.

I am in the system, almost…

I was even able to get on grid with the Keepstar but I hadn’t reduced the video settings to put myself in “potato mode” and the client objected to this strenuously, closing down repeatedly until I gave up and went to have dinner.  At some point my ship was in system long enough to get blown up, so op success I guess.  But it seemed like I might just be reading about this battle on Reddit.

Later in the evening though, when the timer had been won by the Imperium, thus setting up a return match, and the EUTZ players were starting to fade, the call went out for USTZ capital pilots to get online an in various fleets to drop on targets of opportunity.

This looked like my chance.

I won a Naglfar as a prize for the Reavers race we had way back in December and it has been sitting in a station waiting for an opportunity like this ever since.

Nag in the hangar… and of course I bought a SKIN for it!

I got in fleet and made sure I was ready to go.  My hope was to be able to drop on a titan.  And a titan came up as the first target, but I did not “x up” in time to be called for that drop.  But another target was said to be coming up shortly, so I undocked so as to be ready to go.

On the undock about to get bumped

I did remember to set my graphics to “potato mode.”   I never do that, and I tend to pay for it in big fights, but I like to see pretty pictures dammit.  You must suffer for beauty!  This time though I wanted to get in and stay in if I had the chance.  So I dialed everything down.  Gone were the shiny, high res textures, but we were called and told a cyno would be up for us in a moment, so I was ready to go.

Then it was up and we jumped, the tunnel speeding along until we started to hit the X47L-Q server, at which point the animation, like everything else, slowed down to 10% speed.  That took a while, but people eventually started to land.  Our target was a Nyx that had disconnected and had been caught coming back into the game.

Then I had to do all the things, get myself in siege mode, target the Nyx, put my heavy warp disruptor on the target because I was close enough and wanted to help hold him in place, and none of the buttons were responding, which is often the norm in these fights.  Eventually siege went greed, and the warp disruptor went live, but I managed to toggle my guns on then back off, so I was set to unleash just one volley.  But that was the minimum I needed to at least get in the fight.

Potato mode Naglfar firing at last!

I had to tinker with things.  I had started the guns up again when I noticed that I had loaded long range ammo.  That made sense because you never know where you’ll drop, but I was close enough to want to swap to shorter range, higher damage ammo.  That meant cycling the guns off again, going through the reload cycle at 10% tidi, then getting the guns going again.  I made it happen, but all that fooling around probably explains my low position on the damage list for the kill mail.

The wreck of the Nyx

Things were going well enough that I started bumping up my graphic settings a bit, so that wreck is not full potato mode.  Tidi even jumped up to 14% at one point, before heading back down to 10%, indicating that the server wasn’t as swamped as it was earlier in the day.  But there were only about 2,600 people in system and the defenders were attempting to de-aggress and dock up or jump out.

Then we had to wait for the siege modules to cycle down.  A dreadnought in siege does a lot more damage, but cannot move or jump out, so you’re stuck there until it is done.  I had three minutes left on my timer, which meant 30 minutes real time until I could do something.  But coms were enough to keep me entertained.

Leadership was quite excited.

As I mentioned, in the first half of the fight the Imperium was losing two titans for every one we blew up.  But as the fight went on we kept piling in more pilots at every opportunity while the defenders began to try to escape once the fate of the Keepstar timer was set.  The aggressiveness of the Imperium set the titan kill totals back towards an even balance, with the end result being something around 29 titans lost on each side [final score seems to be defenders lost 29, attackers lost 27 in the system], which is the second largest loss of titans in a single battle, behind only B-R5RB.  (Infographic about that battle here.) I haven’t seen a final count, and zKillboard is still a bit wonky this morning, but to win the objective and trade titans one for one is a big op success for us.

The final titan kill for the Imperium was one that got bumped off of tether by Jay Amazingness then quickly killed by mass doomsday fire.

After that it was clean up.  There were a few more smaller targets of opportunity, but it was mostly about getting people out of the system.  Our group got out of siege and jumped to the extraction cyno lit for us.  There were efforts to communicate with people who seemed to have gone AFK on grid with the Keepstar, including trying to find people who might know them personally to call them and get them to jump out.  Most ships seemed to find their way home, but there were still plenty of people who got dropped and called it a night.  The defenders set up a bubble camp to catch people logging in this morning.

Bubble camp in X47

As with the bubble camp at UALX-3, there are lots of ships and fighters waiting in that bubble.

This is waiting for you

As I said, final numbers are not up yet.  I have heard a few estimates, but nothing concrete yet.  There is a nice graph estimating the ISK war up on Reddit.  And DOTLAN confirms that a lot of stuff died in the system yesterday and early today.

Pure Blind saw a lot of action

I’ll link any final result posts at the bottom when they show up.

And, of course, this was only the armor timer.  The final fight has yet to come.

Timer is counting down

So at about the same time next Wednesday everybody can long in and do it all again, this time for keeps.

Since I missed out on the main fight, I at least have some links to Imgur galleries of other people’s screen shots, if you are interested.

Other reports on this fight:

Keepstar Down in Kinakka

In something of a replay of the Keepstar kill in Aeschee I wrote about yesterday, the Imperium and various locals formed up again earlier today to kill another Keepstar in low sec space.

This time around the Keepstar in question belonged to Waffles, the former low sec arm of Pandemic Legion.  While SniggeWaffe, the main corp that made up Waffles, was folded into Pandemic Legion late last year, Waffles still exists and holds some assets, including the late Keepstar in Kinakka.

Closing soon…

As with the Shadow Cartel Keepstar, there was a big form up for the kill, with at least seven fleets headed out to low sec, leaving time dilation effects in their wake as they traveled.

Even before we left it sounded like there would be no defenders.  As we metered fleets into the system, the titans landed and started firing, stopping the repair timer and beginning to eat away at the structure.

Titans framed between the uprights firing

I was in Kendarr’s fleet in the logi wing again.  It was the fourth subcap fleet to be pinged out, as the first three filled up before I had even logged in.  I didn’t get to spend a lot of time watching the Keepstar however as we went off to go camp the gate to the high sec system Onnamon.  That kept the faster locking combat ships in our fleet busy, knocking out about 40 kills.

We did get warped on to the Keepstar grid for a chance to get on the kill mail.

More fleets on grid

Unfortunately Kendarr would only warp us in at 100km off the Keepstar for our tag.  While I brought along a sentry drone so I would be able to drop it and take a long shot at the Keepstar, I needed to be inside of 60km to make that happen.  So I missed out on another Keepstar kill mail.  But nearly 2,000 other people made it on.  While somebody was gunning the Keepstar, no fleets came to support it.  Still, Kinakka topped the low sec charts for kills.

Kills happening in Kinakka

And so another structure on the periphery of the fight was destroyed.  The main front in Fade continues to be a grapple over i-hubs.  To get at Circle of Two we need to take those down to remove the cyno jammers so we can go after their Keepstar again.  That will be a while coming.