Tag Archives: 319-3D

Fifteen Weeks of World War Bee

World War Bee has truly picked up over the last couple of weeks as the previous slow pace of things turned into a crescendo of destruction which has seen trillions of ISK in ships and structures destroyed.  As I wrote previously, the October MER is going to be interesting.

CCP has thrown their own monkey wrench into the machinery with war, as the update last Tuesday made deploying citadels more expensive and complicated as well as nerfing mining in a big way.  Expect prices to rise on everything if the war keeps up its burn rate and the null sec alliances have to secure supplies.

But we did get the UI-only option for the client, which made the big fights more manageable for people running multiple clients.  It isn’t a huge change, but it makes things incrementally better.

Delve Front

It was a rough week for the Imperium.  There were three large scale clashes in NPC Delve, two of which went badly and one was something of a Pyrrhic victory.

The losses… the failed trap at YZ9-F6 and the bubble wrapped Keepstar… tipped against the Imperium more due to server performance than any implementation of strategy or tactics by the enemy.  The first, executed with precision, failed when damage didn’t apply while the latter saw PAPI fill up the Keepstar grid with 149 warp disruption bubbles… a number deliberately chosen because CCP is alleged to view 150+ anchorables as an issue that they will step in and correct by removing them… along with a continuous stream of dictor bubbles in order to make any fight on the grid untenable.

So many bubbles on grid

So PAPI won both.  They got to kill 2.5 trillion ISK in ships, including 16 titans and 27 supers and they got their Keepstar in NPC Delve on the fifth try, and nothing can change that.  A bunch of people in the Imperium are angry about these two events, but experience says that is the way the game goes and you have to be prepared to deal with it or stop playing.  CCP isn’t going to step in and make things better, so we just have to carry on.

Meanwhile the big win, the destruction of the fourth Keepstar, cost the coalition more than 1.2 trillion ISK, including 2,000 battleships lost.

On the upside, while the invaders have managed to get their Keepstar in the region and knock out several Fortizars in NPC Delve and SVM-3K, they have yet to be able to turn any of the ihubs in the region, something they have made a prerequisite for any offensive action so far in the war.

Delve ihubs – Oct 19, 2020 with the PAPI Keepstar system highlighted

If I had to guess, once PAPI gets done with their inevitable move op to the new staging, there will be a push on ihubs in Delve systems near the NPC space and Querious as well as possibly in “fake” Querious, the section of the region that is an enclave within Delve and which remains in Imperium control.

Other Locations

There was a running joke that when we lost a fight we would go hit things in G-M4GK and when TEST lost they would hit TCAG-3.  While the Period Basis region had been mostly quiet since the invaders moved into Querious, as the fourth Keepstar battle raged TEST managed to use the time to with the entosis match for TCAG-3, taking the ihub there as well as in RJ3H-0 further into the region.

The Period Basis / Paragon Soul front

They have since lost the RJ3H-0 ihub and we will see if they contest the TCAG-3 ihub when the Imperium pushes back on that.

Last week I reported that Bastion had captured several TEST systems in Esoteria, which I expected TEST would take back shortly.  Busy in Delve… and Period Basis… TEST has yet to clean up that incursion.

Bastion systems in Esoteria

Furthermore, during the fighting in NPC Delve, Bastion managed to anchor a Fortizar in one of the systems, giving them a base of operations that allows them to continue being a thorn in TEST’s side.  Not something that will win the war, but a distraction none the less.

My Participation

I somehow found the time to get stuck in on the three big fights last week, which meant I spent a lot of hours in New Eden in slow motion.  I also lost some more ships during the fourth Keepstar fight, five Crusaders and a Raven.  I managed to get home safe with my original ships from the other two.

That makes my loss count for the war:

  • Ares interceptor – 11
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 5
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Malediction interceptor – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis ratting battlecruiser – 1
  • Scimitar logi – 1
  • Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1

Other Items

CCP put out a trailer regarding their fourth quarter plan, the Phoenix Quadrant.

The sound track syncs well with the feelings within the Imperium.

But the post that went with the trailer says that super carriers will be getting an overhaul as part of this quadrant, including giving them clone bays that allow capsuleers to respawn directly to them in battle, putting them in a ship stowed within the carrier.  That will introduce a new element to the war.

Much hay was made of the fact that The Initiative cut their SRP amounts from a 50% to a 25% of cost policy.  This led to a lot speculation about their finances and concern trolling about why Goonswarm isn’t financing them.  I was more surprised that they were only getting 50% as a matter of course before the cut.  In GSF it is close to 100%, and if you’re in KarmaFleet you get bonus SRP for logi ships, so you can end up making money on a ship loss.  So whether or not this policy change by INIT is significant or not remains to be seen.  They have always been a very independent ally and plot their own course.

And then there is the weekly peak concurrent user count.

  • Day 1 – 38,838
  • Week 1 – 37,034
  • Week 2 – 34,799
  • Week 3 – 34,692
  • Week 4 – 35,583
  • Week 5 – 35,479
  • Week 6 – 34,974
  • Week 7 – 38,299
  • Week 8 – 35,650
  • Week 9 – 35,075
  • Week 10 – 35,812
  • Week 11 – 35,165
  • Week 12 – 36,671
  • Week 13 – 35,618
  • Week 14 – 39,681
  • Week 15 – 40,359

The war finally saw the Sunday prime time PCU pass the 40K mark, something it hasn’t done since back in April when the pandemic was new and everybody was stuck and home and trying to obey the rules and suggestions to help stop the spread.  It probably helped that the bubble wrap fight was slated to kick off right before the usual peak time, even if no real battle ensued.

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The Imperium Destroys Another PAPI Keepstar in 319-3D

The monthly economic report for October is going to be interesting.  If Delve isn’t far and away the top region when it comes to destruction somebody will need to do some explaining.   There was more than 3 trillion ISK destroyed in YZ9-F6 earlier this week, just shy of a trillion ISK blown up last Sunday in 319-3D, which followed the first and second Keepstar fights in FWST-8 that burned about 3 trillion ISK combined.

And yesterday added more than a trillion ISK more to the count for the month as PAPI dropped another Keepstar in 319-3D and the ensuing fight saw it destroyed.

The Keepstar was spotted very soon after its initial deployment, but there wasn’t time to mount an attack during the first fifteen minutes of exposure.  Instead, the Imperium opted to wait until the 24 hour deployment cycle finished and the anchoring process began, which would open up another 15 minute timer during which the structure could be destroyed in a single fight.

This gave both sides time to prepare for the battle.

At a little after 17:00 UTC yesterday the anchoring process began and both sides jumped in, the Imperium determined to destroy the Keepstar at all cost and the invaders set to defend it.

The invaders hit an initial hitch.  Since the October update earlier this week, the second stage of the Quantum Cores plan has been in place, which requires a core to be installed before a structure can become operational.  This fight was the first big test for this new feature, as PAPI would have to install a core in order to get services like tethering up and running.

What also requires a core is the start of the 15 minute timer.  As the deployment timer ended and the anchoring timer was expected to begin… there was no timer.

Core Absent means No Timer

As Pandemic Horde struggled with time dilation to get the core installed, the Imperium was basically given almost an hour of real world time to hit the Keepstar without worrying about hitting the minimum damage threshold.   Not that meeting that threshold early in the fight was an issue, as multiple fleets were on grid and ready to shoot as the overnight timer ended.

What that also meant was that once the core was installed, the 15 minute timer was halted almost immediately, stopping at 14:55, giving the Imperium a lot of breathing room should damage slip during the fight.

Core installed at last

By then the battle was already raging around the Keepstar.

On the Keepstar grid early on

I wasn’t able to be around all day for the fight, which spanned ten hours, but I was there for the start and the end and a bit of the middle.

The system passed 5,200 in local early on as it was prime time for EUTZ but still viable for many US players.

5,233 in system, tidi at 10%

That number did not grow much over the fight.  There was no risk of it passing the peak from the second battle at FWST-8 last week, where the number hit 6,557.  And the number sank slowly as the battle carried on.  Much of the time in the late fight local wavered around 4,000, with it pushing up to 4,300 as the last few percentage points were peeled off before the end.

I started off the day in an interceptor, orbiting the Keepstar at high speed, shooting away and generally being ignored, a tactic that worked well in the previous fight.  However, the enemy wised up to that idea as a bunch of interceptors zipping around ended up being a bit of a give away.  By the time I was able to check back in on the fight, around 20:50 UTC, the structure was at 50% and the enemy had some fleets specifically hunting interceptors.  My dive into the fight was short lived that time around.

My Crusader pointed into the fray

This is what happens in war.  One side comes up with a trick or a gambit and it works for a bit, then the other side figures it out and counters it.  But both sides had learned from the previous fights.  They were able to counter many things that had worked before, but we had new surprises and fleet comps to throw into the fight.

One things that did not change were the Ravens.  Used in the first Keepstar fight by The Initiative, it became a more wide-spread doctrine with each fight.  So when I was able to join back in that evening, I went in with that fleet.

Raven rolling in on the Keepstar

I haven’t flown a Raven in ages, not since they were briefly a Reavers doctrine back in Querious before Fozzie Sov came along.  But generally they aren’t much different that the Rokhs we use when it comes to tactics.  You warp in at at maximum range, which for a Raven is even more than for a Rokh, target the Keepstar, align out, keep firing until you’re going to get hit, then warp out.  If you’re successful, you rinse and repeat.  If you’re not… well, you collect the insurance, apply for SRP, buy another one, and return to the fight.

I was lucky most of the time, but the server was taking 5 minutes and more to grab a command from the client queue and even then it was taking minutes for that command to get processed.  The server had slowed us all down to 10% speed, but was struggling to keep up even then.  So on one run I watched as damage piled up on my Raven… once you have an automatic attack going, it carries on without interruption or need to wait for the server like a fresh command does… as I waited for my warp command, which had left the outstanding calls queue, to be executed.

Kind of a big deal to warp right now!

The damage kept coming, but it looked like I might warp in time… I got the animation and was flying away… only to explode in warp.  Sort of.  My capsule didn’t eject and finish up the whole process for a good 10 minutes.  Life in tidi.

It was during that time that our damage began to slip.  We had held the timer at 14:55 for a long time.  But as we passed the 20% mark we hit a couple of slow patches and the timer… which is not delayed by time dilation but runs in real time… unpaused and started counting down.  There was an agonizing stretch in there where it would pause for a bit, only to be set in motion again.

Timer under six minutes

I was on grid, having just returned from my loss in a fresh Raven, when there was a bit of a panic on coms as we tried to get more ships on grid and shooting the structure.  In past battles, where we were only able to stop the timer near the eight minute mark, we would have lost letting so much time slip.  This time though we were able to pull through.

I waiting a long time to get in range, lock the Keepstar, and finally get my first missile off.  I had overheated my launchers in order to shoot faster and, due to the lag in picking up commands, managed to burn them out before I had to warp off again.

By that time though we had piled in some reserves and the timer was secure going forward.  The enemy, too, seemed to get a fresh wind, as they could see the possibility of a successful defense.  So the fighting, if anything, grew more fierce, but we managed to rally.  The percentages were counted down and, before I could get back on grid again… I got caught in a bubble with my warp and had to warp to another of our structures to get my launchers repaired… the Keepstar had been destroyed.  We had won the objective and destroyed another Keepstar.

But the cost.

The battle report says we fed more than 1.2 trillion ISK into the guns of the enemy in order to kill that Keepstar.

Battle Report Header

As usual, the Keepstar did not generate a kill mail.  This is the fourth time running that has happened.  That means you can add another 187 billion to the PAPI losses, though I think they recovered the Quantum Core that dropped after the kill, so they can recycle that for next time.  But that added loss doesn’t change the balance very much.  We paid for that kill in ships to the order of 1.2 trillion ISK.

You can see from our losses that we depended less on dreads this time around and more on battleships, sacrificing over 2,000 of them on the field in order to destroy the Keepstar.  The SRP team is going to be busy getting payout fulfilled for all of those losses.

Imperium is Team 1

Another long grinding fight is now in the history books.  As one wag pointed out, we may have set a record for the most battleships lost by a group in a single day.  Somebody alert Guinness World Records!

The fighting went on for a while after the Keepstar went down. (The BR includes that.)  While people started to leave the system, time dilation stayed in full effect for well over an hour past the big boom.  We had to wait a while until things settled before the coalition could get us a titan to bridge us back home.  RatKnight1, a solid member of Reavers, dropped in and started bridging us, once we could get to him.  We were spread out all over our Fortizar. (A Fortizar, which had its own timer during the fight and which repaired successfully while everybody was looking at the Keepstar.)

Moving to the titan at battleship speed in 10% tidi

And now both sides are planning for the next attempt.  There are the usual complaints about the fight.  Redline XIII of NCDot was caught on the New Eden Post stream calling for Keepstar deployments to be buffed because this was “horseshit.”  I think that clip already made it into a Mind1 mix as he DJ’d the fight for us.  Unfortunately for Redline XIII, CCP made deploying more tricky with the whole Quantum Core thing, as predicted.

Of course, that is the opinion of somebody trying to drop a Keepstar in enemy space.  I’d guess if the shoe was on the other foot the situation would seem reasonable.

Though nothing about this fight was “reasonable”

The question is, when will the next Keepstar get dropped and will we come up with something new to keep our kill streak going or will the enemy success on the next drop.

Update: PAPI dropped another Keepstar, number 5, in YZ9-F6, so another fight tomorrow.

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Another PAPI Keepstar Destroyed in Delve

I woke up this morning to find that PAPI, the Snek Coalition, had finally decided to go for it again and dropped another Keepstar in NPC Delve.  This time they chose 319-3D as their target system.

This was apparently a flash drop in an attempt to take us unawares as PAPI did not stand up their own forces until the Keepstar was deployed.  That meant our early response was able to put down damage immediately on arriving without an organized resistance ready, so the first 40% of the structure was knocked down with very little in the way of time dilation in play.

By the time I got online and into the fight, the Keepstar structure was already at 42% with the timer paused at seven and a half minutes.

The timer held at 7:28

As with the Keepstar fights on Monday and Tuesday of last week, the Imperium organized fleets and concentrated on shooting the structure, ignoring the hostile ships on grid.  I was able to get into one of the support fleets that helped keep the enemy distracted while the battleships and dreadnoughts did the heavy lifting to kill the Keepstar.

Imperium dreads lined up to warp to the fight

I kept busy and got to watch for the final three hours of the five hour flight.

On grid at the fight

This fight wasn’t going to break any records, unlike the fight in FWST-8 on Tuesday, but there were still between 4,400 and 4,600 people in local for most of the time.

A count mid fight, tidi in full

There wasn’t much in the way of drama when it came to the fight.  Having done this twice already, and having had time to refine tactics and resupply, we never had a moment where the timer started counting down again or really any doubt that the structure would be destroyed.  The enemy stayed on grid to harvest kill mails, but could not stop us from winning the objective.  This did not make the enemy as happy as you might think.

Redline XIII comments in Twitch chat on INN

With the conclusion forgone, it was just a matter of time before the structure was destroyed and the battle over.

Early battle reports show that, while the ISK was heavily favored the defenders, killing this Keepstar cost the Imperium about half of what the fight on Tuesday cost.

Battle Report Header – Updated Version

[Edit: battle report header image updated as more kills have come in. Original here.]

There was, again, no kill mail for the Keepstar, so you can once again add 187 billion ISK to the PAPI side of the chart.

The server seemed stable for the most part, though at one point there was a combined bombing run that made everything stop and chug along for a bit, before resuming the slow pace of 10% tidi.

This time around it looks like CCP left the bounty payments system running.  I saw calls related to that throughout the fight.

Bounty calls piling up

CCP did say that they might leave those calls on for a fight to see how much they change server load compared to when they turned them off for Tuesday’s fight.

At the end of the fight the Imperium may have lost a lot more ships, but we once again left a Keepstar wreck in our wake.

Keepstar wreck on grid

Now we wait to see what the enemy does next.  Will they drop another Keepstar before Tuesday’s patch?  Monday is technically a holiday in the US, though not a widely observed one (Columbus Day), so some people will be off and ready to scrap.