Tag Archives: Asher Elias

Saturday Night Action in Delve

It has been a while since I have been in a fight in the was that was worth a post, but last night we had quite the time.  It was time to get Munnins out to shoot things.

Muninns out for a shoot

It started with an innocuous ping from Asher calling for a Muninn fleet.  It was only about 10:30pm local time for me, not too late to join in on something on a Saturday night.

Asher calls

There were about 100 people in fleet when I joined, which swelled up past 150 before we undocked.

When we did undock, we warped over to a titan that bridged us into NOL-M9 in Delve, a system with some history, both old and recent.  In fact, it had been the focus of a clash earlier in the day when PAPI forces tried and failed to kill an Imperium Astrahus in the system.  That structure, now safe, was where we landed.  Once assembled, we moved over to a PAPI Fortizar which we started shooting.  The plan was to try and reinforce and to see if we could draw a response.

Asher kept us appraised of PAPI’s ping status, the joke now being that they have to ping multiple times to get enough pilots into a fleet in order to come fight us.  On our side pings went out with links to The Count from Sesame Street to indicate how many pings they needed.

Six! Six fleet pings! Ah ah ah ah!

Eventually that number would far exceed how high The Count usually takes his numbers on the show.

They put a Falcon on the Fortizar, on tether but as far from us as they could, which seemed to indicate that they would be bridging in an opposing fleet soon.  As the likelihood of its arrival grew, Asher had us split out one gun from out stack to keep on the Fortizar while the rest would be for the battle.

A Ferox fleet joined us, along with some bombers, and PAPI eventually dropped Muninns of their own along with carriers and fax support.  It became a fairly even exchange between the Muninn fleets, but we still managed to set the armor timer for the Fortizar.

Muninns and Carriers around the Fort

And then, with the timer set and no need to split guns any further, Asher noticed that one of the faxes was off tether.  So we loaded up short range, high damage ammo and he brought us in very close, inside the PDS range of the structure, where we took a shot and one of the faxes… and managed a kill.

A fax kill

Then we managed to grab another.  Then another.  And finally a fourth.  Four faxes down.

Four Faxes Destroyed

That turned what was already a bit of smug… we managed to ref one of their structures while in combat when they had capitals on the field… into a very smug moment for us.  Asher warped us off the Fortizar and back to our Astrahus, the job done.

The battle report fell in our favor, helped along by those four faxes.  We got the objective and won the ISK war.

Battle Report Header from NOL-M9

Asher pointed us back towards home in 1DQ1-A and the Muninns and Feroxes started gating back.  But before we got too far, Asher asked us to respond in fleet whether we would like to just go home and stand down or if we wanted to try and reinforce another structure on the way.  We voted to reinforce.

Mind1, who was doing the Saturday night show, got in our fleet and joined in the fun, streaming our progress and laying down a motivational beat.  Did you know that the Imperium has its own official DJ?  It is a glorious thing.  You should check out his stream.

So we stopped one system short of home, in T5ZI-S, the home staging system in Delve for the PAPI coalition, the place where all of their members are supposed to be and where all their ships and supplies are stored.  We were going to hang out in the lion’s den and shoot a structure.  We would see how awake the lion really was.

Not very.

After a while shooting the Fortizar without a response, Asher moved the Muninn fleet over to their main Sotiyo engineering complex, pretentiously named “Forge of Heroes,” in order to see if that would provoke PAPI to action.

Shooting the Sotiyo

You can see in that screen shot, below the Sotiyo, their Keepstar in the system.  That is their main base.  We were that close to the heart of enemy and for a long stretch the only opposition we faced was the gunner in the structure shooting bombs at us.

I have trouble visualizing something like this happening one gate over in 1DQ1-A, our home, where the presence of bads tends to draw an eager response from people looking for combat.

The first response from PAPI was to get out carriers and HAW dreads to make sure we didn’t take out any of their cyno jammers.  Fighters were sent to cover those as that is all that stands between them and the looming menace of our titans and supers.  Progodlegend, the leader with Vily or TEST, got out on the Sotiyo to assess the situation, but didn’t do much otherwise.

The Fortizar was reffed by the Feroxes, who then came over to join us on the Sotiyo.  The hostiles eventually joined us as well.  Asher had us strip a single gun out of our stack yet again to keep on the Sotiyo and then we started going after the hostiles.   They brought a Ferox fleet of their own and it was on.

Time dilation hit 10% at points and there were nearly 1,200 people in the system, but the biggest frustration was that my guns would cycle fast enough so I ended up only getting on every second or third kill mail, the hostile Feroxes were blowing up so fast.

We stayed in range of the Sotiyo and kept one gun on it while blapping hostiles as quickly as our guns would cycle.  The Muninns went relatively unscathed as the hostiles were more focused on support ships and the easier to kill Feroxes.

Combat on the Sotiyo

The Sotiyo was reffed, the armor timer set, after which we saw ourselves out, warping to the gate to 1DQ1-A and jumping through.

Through the gate to home in 1DQ

The battle report was more even this time.  In the scale of the war, these losses were pretty minor.

T5ZI-S battle Report Header

Strategically this did not change anything about the war.  It was a Saturday night lark and the enemy is likely to get their act together and form up to defend the armor timers of the structures we reinforced.  There is little danger of any of them being blown up.

When it comes to demonstrating morale and responses however, this was another stark illustration as to how low things seem to have sunk for PAPI.  We did something on a whim in their main staging system that they haven’t been able to manage in our home next door in all the months since they set down that Keepstar in T5ZI back in November.

Even the Reddit thread about the whole thing was mild.

PAPI, as a coalition, theoretically out numbers us by a ratio of three to one.  But even in their home they could barely get together equal numbers after sending out nearly 50 pings to get people into fleets.  (The Imperium ping count for the same time was 23, at least half of which were images of The Count or The Mittani smugging and sending out battle reports.)

I am reminded of the tale of why the cheetah doesn’t catch the gazelle nearly as often as you might suspect.  The cheetah is just running for his lunch, the gazelle is running for its life.

The Imperium remains motivated despite the odds because we’re fighting for our survival.  I am not sure what PAPI is really fighting for at this point, but if it is for their lunch then they don’t seem to be very hungry.

The Imperium Retakes the NJU-QV Constellation in Delve

The likelihood of a another fight soon over the Keepstar in M2-XFE diminished greatly last night when the Imperium flipped the ihubs in the entire NJU-QV constellation which includes that system.  Shortly after the second fight that saw PAPI forces face a lopsided loss when the server was unable to handle their forces attempting to jump in after the Imperium had setup more than 4,000 ships on Keepstar to defend it, Imperium pilots went out and reinforced the ihubs in the constellation.  The timers came up last night.

The Delve NJU-QV constellation in green

The Imperium, motivated by PAPI’s misfortune, formed up four fleets and a large number of entosis ships to contest the timers.  PAPI was reported to have assembled a force capable of contesting the timers, but stood down rather than do so.  As the evening progressed, one ihub after another fell until the constellation was back in Imperium hands.

The Delve NJU-QV constellation restored to Imperium control

Much was made of the taking of the NJU-QV constellation previously, as it cut the Imperium off from the Fountain region and was to serve as the springboard of PandaFam’s re-invasion of that region.  The latter petered out, but there were still multiple Imperium Keepstars in the constellation that faced the threat of destruction once PAPI waited out the 35 timer and was able to deploy cyno jammers to keep the Imperium from jumping in when the Keepstars were contested.  However, that went astray when a newbie Imperium pilot reportedly kept shooting the cyno jammer.  Per Asher Elias:

You may not know this but the M2 ihub jammer was stopped by a couple month old :shobon: newbee shooting the jammer to pause it. This new player is directly responsible for nearly 300 dead enemy titans. Every ship counts.

That led to a bit of classic Goonswarm propaganda being updated yet again.

Every Ship Counts

That opened a hole that allowed the Imperium to kill their cyno jammers and deploy three of their own.  While the Imperium could not jam the system, the cyno jammer mechanic only allows three to be deployed in a single system, so we had a flash of the old “defensive SBU” tactic of the Dominion sovereignty days, which helped the Imperium to get setup on the Keepstar for the second fight.

Meanwhile, the Keepstar grid in M2-XFE remains bubbled and camped by Imperium forces eager to get in on another super or titan kill.  I lucked in on an Avatar kill when a FinFleet pilot decided to risk it and log in.  Chance was not with them.

The Keepstar camp gets another kill

Despite a persistent PAPI claim that all the supers and titans from the second fight either died or where ghost kills and restored to the T5ZI-S Keepstar, bubbles and dictors have been deployed above the Keepstar as well as below it.  And the upper bubbles have yielded some kills.  I watched a Nyx that managed to log out during the second fight get warped right back to its logout spot in the midst of all those bubbles, where it too was blown up.

The Nyx in its final moments

Some half-hearted attempts have been made to try and free the trapped capital ships left behind after both fights, but the promise of more kills has kept the camp strong so far and any form up by the hostiles has been met by a counter-form by the Imperium.

For the moment the Imperium has been able to check PAPI’s momentum in Delve.  But that does not preclude them being able to get their act together again and continue their onslaught.  The war isn’t over yet.

26 Weeks of World War Bee

Here we are on the first Monday of the new year.  A lot of us are back at work.

And the war?

The war is now at about the six month mark.  That is a long time for continuous operations.  The great war lasted for three years, but was a series of intense periods of fighting broken up by quiet periods where both sides rebuilt.  We’re still fighting and have reached levels of destruction never before seen in New Eden.

I was worried that the week between Christmas and New Years would be quiet, so had a couple of small items to hand to fill out this opening section of the weekly post, like the fact that Asher Elias, 23rd best FC in the Imperium, is now at the top of the kill mail list for Goonswarm Federation Alliance.

Asher in first position

He passed Bratok Srayona, a pilot nobody could really recall, and who was active between February 2012 and August 2017.  They apparently went on a lot of fleets and got on a lot of kill mails.  He was the epic line member of the alliance in his time.   I must have flown with him, looking at some of his kills, but never knew him.

Then there was the fact that the Imperium began issuing war bonds to support the fight.  This has been viewed by PAPI as a sign of weakness, a last desperate attempt to stay in the fight, a sign that we were on the brink.  But it raised more than a trillion ISK in the first hours of issue, so it will sustain us for a bit.  One billion ISK will buy you one bond with a return rate of 10% per year, with payments due on the first of the month.  That one bond will earn you about 8.33 million ISK every time the first rolls around. [edit: changed from 8.4 to 8.33 million ISK]

But all of that was eclipsed by the battles over the Keepstar in M2-XFE where, during the armor and hull timer fights, the two sides may have destroyed more than 300 titans. (~250 for the first fight and maybe as few as 50 or as many as 170 for the second.)  CCP is going to have to do a dev blog to give us an official count because, unlike the presidential election, there are actually some irregularities in play here.

No matter what though, trillions of ISK went up in flames as the Imperium and PAPI clashed in the battles that so many were hoping for.  It was an epic week in New Eden.  The Monthly Economic Reports for December and January are going to be interesting.

There was also a monthly loss report put together for December.

Most expensive losses

This includes the titans from the first M2-XFE fight, but not the second.  The balance of loss remains fairly close, with the Imperium losing 16.5 trillion ISK to PAPI’s 15.9 trillion.  For January though, PAPI might already be close to 10 trillion ISK in the hole.  And there are, as of this writing, still a significant number of PAPI capital ships logged off on the Keepstar grid in M2-XFE that are being camped around the clock by Imperium forces, so there may be some more losses when PAPI makes a serious break out attempt.

Delve Front

Titans exploded in huge numbers in M2-XFE, a system previously of no particular consequence that has now entered the realm of legends.  There are a number of articles specifically about that event and, rather than retelling the tale here, I will link to them specifically at the end of this post.

With much of the week spent focused on the Keepstar in M2-XFE, the map did not change dramatically.

Delve – Jan. 3, 2021

A few ihubs changed hands, the most important likely being the one in PUIG-F, where an Imperium Keepstar is anchored.  Taking that ihub back reset the 35 day clock on PAPI being able to install cyno jammers and reduce the structure without the Imperium being able to drop supers and titans to defend it.

And then there is the metaliminal storm, which has wandered into the Helms Deep defended systems.  This is actually a bonus for the Imperium as the storm disables the ability to cloak, so there won’t be any sneaking up on an anomaly to light a covert ops cyno for a hot drop.

Catch Front

At the beginning of last week I was pretty sure this was where the action would be.  The Initiative and Reavers and other Imperium groups were out and setting fire to the place.  The Watchmen Alliance was falling apart and its sovereignty was collapsing.  We were reinforcing the ihub in Brave’s capital system and getting fights over it.  Good times were being had.

Catch – Jan. 3, 2021

Even the two metaliminal storms seemed to be on the move in the region… and an incursion popped up in The Watchmen space, like they needed something else on their plate.  And then on Wednesday all eyes turned to Delve and M2-XFE and operations went mostly quiet in the region.

One interesting item did come up later in the week.  With all the focus on M2-XFE, The Initiative put the TEST Keepstar in 0SHT-A into the hull timer.  We could have another Keepstar fight this week… just in Catch.  We’ll see if anybody shows up for it tomorrow.

Other Theaters

Querious remained a secondary point of conflict, as ihubs were reinforced and occasionally changed hands.

Querious – Jan. 3, 2021

The biggest win for the Imperium was the GOP-GE ihub, as that system hosts another Keepstar of ours.

Over in Esoteria the insurgent forces continue their work against TEST, expanding their reach a bit further while eyes were on the big titan fights.

Northwest Esoteria – Jan. 3, 2021

My Participation

I somehow managed to stumble into the right place at the right time all week.  I was in the fights in Catch early in the week and then managed to show up just at the right moment in M2-XFE for the first fight, witnessing the opening titan salvo as I tethered up at the Keepstar.

Titans open fire with Doomsdays

And then I was back again for the second fight, where we were able to pick off PAPI titans as they loaded into system, leading to a lopsided slaughter.

The PAPI titan blob with faxes being whittled down

So I had a few more “I was there,” or at least “I can say I was there,” experiences in New Eden.

I also lost a few more ships, including two more Ares interceptors moving around Delve and a Scimitar at one of the fights in GE-8JV, which brings my total war losses so far to:

  • Ares interceptor – 15
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Scimitar logi – 3
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP gave us the option to make My Year in EVE Online videos, which had the option to include the most valuable kill mail you were on.  And then, two days later, M2-XFE happened and a lot of us had an even more valuable kill mail for the year that wasn’t in the clip.  Oh well.

That battle though, it managed to pop up the peak concurrent user number for the week, getting it close to the 40K mark.  CCP Explorer put the count across the three key systems as well past 13K, giving Delve 37% of all pilots logged in at the peak.

If the servers could have handled it, we would have almost doubled the world record set at FWST-8.  However, the servers were not up to that task, not by a long shot.

Remember that when somebody says null sec is a tiny fraction of the game that nobody cares about.  The fight itself made for the third highest concurrent peak of the war, reversing the downward trend we had been seeing over the last few weeks.

  • 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
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)
  • Week 25 – 31,611
  • Week 26 – 39,667 (Saturday)

Related

 

Titan Massacre at M2-XFE

We had been warned to be on hand for possible fleets yesterday.  The armor timers for three Imperium Keepstars under PAPI cyno jammers were set to come out and we were going to try to make them pay for the effort this time around.

I was busy during much of the day, but I could see the pings coming up announcing fleets.  It looked like the enemy was going to try for the Keepstar in M2-XFE.  The other two Keepstars were ignored and repaired while both sides focused on the remaining one.

When I finally had a chance to log in I flew out in an ECM burst Malediction just to take a look.  Both sides were grouped up, two masses of titans and supers facing each other, the Imperium fleet on the Keepstar and the PAPI fleet below it, shooting the structure.  The timer had been paused at just about the 10 minute mark.

My arrival

As I was scooting around, tethering up, and looking for some way to be annoying, the Imperium titans, which had been tethered, opened up with a doomsday barrage on the PAPI fleet.

Titans open fire with Doomsdays

That was the point that the battle became real.  There were over 5,000 names in local, a number that grew past the 5,500 mark as the battle carried on.

Exchange of fire

At that point I flew my Malediction into the midst of the hostiles and set off the ECM burst.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to commit to the fight.  But then my wife and daughter went out together and I decided to join one of the subcap fleets.  I parked my interceptor in one of our structures, destroyed my pod to revive back in 1DQ1-A, where I grabbed a Rokh to join Mister Vee’s fleet.

While M2-XFE had cyno jammers setup by the hostiles, they were bringing them down now and then to jump in reinforcements, which allowed us to jump in our own reinforcements.  Since the system was running at 10% tidi, the five minute up/down cycle of the cyno jammer lasted almost an hour for those of us jumping in from normal speed space.

I got in and joined the fun, shooting fighters and subcaps of opportunity.  Tidi worked in my favor as my ECM burst hit a titan that was blown up after I returned in the Rokh, so the game counted me on the kill mail.  It shows my ship as a Rokh, but my weapon as an ECM burst.  I fulfilled my goal of getting on at least one titan kill. (I also got on the 10 billion ISK MTU kill mail.)

But then there was a call for boosters for the titan and super fleets.  Asher pinged out to Reavers to get some boosters, so I went to answer the call, which took me out of the fight for almost two hours.  I went to dock up and leave my ship so as to self-destruct again to get back to 1DQ again.  However, by that point the server was under a lot more pressure, and docking took a long time and left me with a black screen that took a long time to clear.  The client went unresponsive and I have to exit and try to log back in.  That took ages, but eventually I was back in and in my pod.  Then it was time to self destruct.  That took a while as well.

I may have pressed the button a few times

Eventually though I ended up back in 1DQ where I had a Damnation command ship ready to go.  The cyno jammers were down again, so I was able to take the slow bridge back to M2-XFE, where I got in one of the capital fleets and started boosting.

My Damnation in the orange of another explosion

With that setup, I felt ambitious and got out my main alt and flew him over in another interceptor.  As he flew over I contracted the Rokh to him, and he was able to dock up, collect the Rokh, board it, join Mister Vee’s fleet.  That took about an hour to accomplish, but I managed it, after which I set him up on my little second monitor in UI-only mode and shot targets of opportunity as I heard them called.   Along the way I tagged some hostile titans with him, and now he his on more titan kill mails than my main.

The command ship had a target painter, so I was able to get on a few kills with my main, but all the big toys were out of range of that.

The hostiles won the objective, reinforcing the armor timer and setting the structure up for the final timer.  That will come out in about two days.  But the fight kept on going.

The exchange of kills was fairly even, favoring PAPI by a few kills for much of the fight, but as the evening drew on past midnight Pacific time and towards downtime, which hits at 3am where I live, the exchange of titans began to favor the Imperium, though ships from both sides kept blowing up until the server shut down.

Ships still exploding around the Keepstar

The tally for this fight will be huge.  I am writing this as the battle is winding down, so the final numbers have not settled, but for titan kills I last saw 10 Leviathan, 18 Avatar, 87 Ragnorak, and 126 Erebus titans destroyed.  That is almost 250 titans down and there will no doubt be more on the list once things settle down.

But this battle far exceeded B-R5RB back in 2014, the previous high water mark for the Tranquility server, when 75 titans were destroyed.  This fight went well beyond that, though the destruction was much less lopsided than the earlier battle.

Expect follow up posts about this fight.  Not only were many titans destroyed, but the total cost of the fight will easily exceed 20 trillion ISK according to early battle reports. (Edit: Now that things have settled down, adding the report header.)

Battle Report Header – Updated as new kills have shown up

To put that in perspective, the total destruction in Delve in October, which saw five huge fights in NPC Delve, only amounted to about 11 trillion ISK according to the October MER.  (11 trillion ISK was also the amount of destruction wrought at B-R5RB, so this fight eclipsed that in ISK as well as losses.)

And there will be some clean up to do after downtime, as many people just went to bed after that and they will need to have their capitals, supers, and titans extracted.

Another historic day in New Eden.  We shall see what the post battle repercussions lead to.  This should certainly inflate the December MER.

Addendum:  Now that I have had a bit of sleep and zKillboard has caught up, the titan loss totals look like this:

Imperium Titan Losses:

  • Erebus – 66
  • Ragnarok – 42
  • Leviathan – 10
  • Avatar – 5
  • Vanquisher – 1

PAPI Titan Losses:

  • Erebus – 63
  • Ragnarok – 50
  • Avatar – 14
  • Leviathan – 1

Total Imperium: 124
Total PAPI: 129
Total Titans Destroyed: 252

[Edit: This is getting updated as kill mails show up. ]

[Edit: CCP now has official loss numbers, 257 titans total]

You can tell which titans are considered the least tanky.  Both sides shot the Erebus and Ragnaroks first.  The first titan to die belonged to the appropriately named Titanic Death, while the last was Sandrin Stone, who blew up just before downtime kicked everybody out.

To expand on titan numbers, the count of them on the battlefield was:

Imperium:

  • Avatar – 317
  • Erebus – 137
  • Ragnarok – 135
  • Leviathan – 82
  • Vanquisher – 2
  • Molok – 2

Total 675

PAPI

  • Avatar – 248
  • Ragnarok – 193
  • Erebus – 111
  • Leviathan – 90
  • Molok – 2
  • Vanquisher – 1
  • Komodo – 1

Total 646

Combined Titan total: 1,321

That is a lot of very expensive ships thrown in on a Keepstar armor timer.

For the battle report, the difference in the ISK totals pretty much comes down to that Vanquisher faction titan loss on the Imperium side.  Otherwise it was a pretty even exchange on the titan front.  Now we will no doubt see both sides going on about how the other cannot afford to replace their losses.

Related:

24 Weeks of World War Bee

We are at week 24 of the war proper, having started officially back on July 5th, but it has been a full six months since the invaders were caught out in their plans and the two week count down to the start began, so I am celebrating six months of writing about World War Bee.  Compare that to the Fountain War back in 2013, which covered just two months, or the Casino War, which started in earnest in February 2016, had us in Saranen by mid April, and in Delve come July.  And we’re not done yet.

This week saw an address by Progodlegend to Legacy and TEST where he both said the war was pretty much a foregone conclusion and that we will all soon begin to abandon the Imperium.  The Initiative attacking in Catch was held up as a prime example of the Imperium collapsing.  Once the war is over Legacy will lay claim to both its old territory, such Esoteria, which they previously said they were abandoning for Delve, as well as Delve, Querious, Period Basis.

Basically, all they need to do is wrap up the Imperium pockets in 1DQ1-A and E3OI-U and they’re done, the war is over.  Those will be the last big fights of the war.  The timeline for that, however, is fairly vague.  Progodlegend says the will come very soon at one point and maybe in  a couple more months elsewhere.  Goons being driven from the game is assumed in there somewhere.

Pandemic Horde had a town hall meeting last week as well, where they distanced themselves from the Vily message of driving Goons from the game.  They are just in it to damage the Imperium economically.  They seem less patient when it comes to assaulting 1DQ1-A and E3OI-U, suggesting if the current strategy wasn’t working in the first few weeks of December that they might try something different.  Also, the second pass on Fountain has been seen to be something of a wasted effort which will likely not continue.

On the comedy front, there was this 5.3 billion ISK Vince Draken pod that got caught trying to slip through Delve in a covert ops frigate.

Delve Front

The Delve front saw quite a bit of action.  Also, that metaliminal storm has found its way into NPC Delve, keeping people from cloaking in the systems marked around it.

Delve – Dec. 20, 2020

The Imperium strategy of retaking ihubs before the 35 timer runs down and allows PAPI to cyno jam the system has not been working out for us.  We were not able to retake the ihub for NOL-M9 as they were able to put many more people on the field to defend it that we would manage.  NOL-M9 now has a cyno jammer setup and the Keepstar there seems likely to be destroyed this week.

PAPI titans at the armor timer shoot

A similar fate seems likely for the Keepstar in D-W7F0, where PAPI also holds the ihub.

The strategy, or that aspect of it which I can see, appears to have moved to preventing enotsis ops on the ihubs that remain in our hands where Keepstars remain.  This had led to a number of fierce skirmishes, like the ones that have happened around 5-CQDA.

Battle Report Header

The other twist that has been coming up more recently is forcing PAPI to choose between objectives.  PAPI can put enough pilots in Delve to force an objective there, but a simultaneous timer elsewhere, like Catch, will be lost because they had to make the choice.

Catch Front

This week I am elevating the Catch region to have its own category as it remains the most active theater outside of Delve and is the place where Legacy is being forced to make choices.

Legacy came back and reinforced the staging Fortizar of The Initiative, but were distracted by a Delve objective that allowed The Initiative to put down a backup Fortizar in their staging in 0SHT-A.  The odd thing was that, when the final timer came up for the original Fortizar, Legacy started to commit to it, lost a bunch of ships to The Initiative, then stood down, losing both the objective and the ISK war.

That left The Initiative with two Fortizars in 0SHT-A after the fight.

Meanwhile, ihubs in Catch, and even next door in Immensea, have been falling.  We took the DY-P7Q ihub and then blew up the no longer operational Ansiblex jump gate and Pharolux cyno beacon on the grid with the Keepstar anchored there.

The Ansiblex blowing up, taking over a billion ISK in fuel with it

The Initiative now holds the ihub and TCU for HED-GP, the gateway system into the region from high sec.

And, as Progodlegend said, Imperium SIGs have been active in Catch as well.  Asher, accused of abandoning the war to hide in Catch, had gathered up the Reavers SIG to deploy out to 0SHT-A along with The Initiative, so I have been out there some myself.  We have been shooting structures… like the two above… as well as doing some of our own entosis work.  Not bad for a “30 man SIG.”  (We have Dawn Rhea of Theta Thursdays with us as well, so add at least one woman to the total.)

Popping a node during an entosis event

Things do not look so bad for Legacy when you look at the map of Catch right now.

Catch – Dec. 20, 2020

They have taken back some ihubs, including the one at 4-07MU, which connects to Querious.  But having lost them, they have to wait 35 days after restoring them before they can install Ansiblex jump gates to restore their easy travel routes.  Instead they either have to gate, use titan bridges, or jump clone between Delve and Catch.

Furthermore, rumor has it that The Watchmen alliance, which holds a large section of Catch for Legacy, is about to fold up shop and disband.  That would set quite a few systems back to the 35 day clock before they can be used for travel infrastructure.

Other Theaters

Despite Progodlegend declaring the Esoteria efforts a failure, citing The Initiative’s move to Catch as evidence, the groups remaining down there, The Bastion, Ferrata Victrix, and the Stain Russians who hate TEST, have continued to make a nuisance of themselves.  They have pushed back on The Army of Mango’s attempt to assert itself in the region and have expanded to hacking new systems.

NW Esoteria – Dec. 20, 2020

Then there is Querious, which is largely a dead zone as both sides have tired of planting new ihubs in the region.

Querious – Dec. 20, 2020

A range of systems remain empty while those still occupied by Brave continue to be assailed, meaning Brave has to deal with entosis events both here and in Catch.

And then in Fountain, as noted above, the PAPI invasion has pretty much ceased, with NCDot left holding a single ihub in LBGI-2 for now.

My Participation

I was able to jump in on a few ops, including two fights in 5-CQDA, including the one mentioned above.  I was also off on a few side missions over in Catch.  I ended up losing a few ships, including two Malediction interceptors that were used for burst jamming in one fight (the hostiles love that), a Scimitar in another fight, an Atron entosis frigate, and a Drake.

Probably the most amusing fight was in Catch on Saturday night when we landed on a gate with a Maller gang fit with smart bombs who were looking for ESS banks to rob.  We murdered them.

Murder report header

The one ship of ours they got was a Griffin ECM frigate.  Otherwise they were tackled and blown up.  In that quick clash I somehow managed to get the final blow on five of them with my sentry drones, which gave me a nice little line of five kill marks on my Ishtar.

5 orange kill marks in the upper left on my Blaze SKIN Ishtar

I do not think I have ever had a hull last long enough to earn five kill marks.

Anyway, my losses for the war so far now are as follows:

  • Ares interceptor – 12
  • Crusader interceptor – 5
  • Atron entosis frigate – 6
  • Rokh battleship – 5
  • Drake battle cruiser – 4
  • Malediction interceptor – 4
  • Ferox battle cruiser – 3
  • Purifier stealth bomber – 2
  • Guardian logi – 2
  • Scalpel logi frigate – 2
  • Scimitar logi – 2
  • Raven battleship – 1
  • Crucifier ECM frigate – 1
  • Gnosis battlecruiser – 1
  • Bifrost command destroyer – 1
  • Cormorant destroyer – 1
  • Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
  • Sigil entosis industrial – 1
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

CCP did a Fireside Chat on Twitch with CCP Burger and CCP Hellmar where they mentioned, among other things, that more than 1.9 million new players had logged into EVE Online in 2020, a number greater than the previous three years combined.

That seems like amazing news, though the fact that the online numbers peaked back in April and have been slowly sliding down as the year has begun to fade suggests that CCP has not solved the player retention problem they brought up at EVE North back in 2019.

The CSM 14 summit meeting minutes had a list of priorities that were:

  1. Stop the bleeding
  2. Fix the stupid
  3. Excite and teach
  4. Incentivize return

It feels like they haven’t really addressed the first point yet as 1.9 million people have poured into the game this year and apparently right back out again.  This number of new players was so huge that I had to check to see if they were including EVE Echoes in their count, but EVE Echoes has claimed more than 2 million players on its own, so I couldn’t tell you where those 1.9 million went.

And that brings us to this week’s peak concurrent user number, which was down again.

  • 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
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149
  • Week 24 – 32,807 (Saturday)

That is now the low water mark for the war, with even the holiday events and the Luminaire snowball fight failing to entice people into the game.

Related

PAPI Headshot Falls Flat in 1DQ

When I use the term “headshot,” I am merely borrowing from PAPI’s own words.

Boom Headshot!

The invaders got together in EUTZ yesterday to make their first real push against the Imperium capital from their staging on gate over in T5ZI-S.

As soon as PAPI started to move, pings went out on the Imperium side and forces were formed to defend the system.  Multiple fleets went up and EU players, and those of us in the US working from home who could take a break.  I got into Mister Vee’s Rokh fleet and we undocked with Fax support to get into the fight.

Rokhs and Minokawas on the way

PAPI’s plan seemed to be a two pronged attack, with them targeting both the main cyno jammer in system as well as the ihub.  Killing the cyno jammer would allow them to drop their capital fleet on us while getting the ihub would break the Ansiblex jump bridge connection to Helms Deep and the safe hold of Delve that it defends.

We headed to the ihub, which is on grid with multiple structures, including a Keepstar and a faction Fortizar that sat within range of our guns.

On the ihub grid

As we arrived we could see that PAPI had multiple entosis ships at work on the ihub, but they still had a long ways to go.

51 minutes to go

That the system was under heavy time dilation due to there being nearly 3K people in system was not helping their progress.

We got set up on the Fortizar, spread out a bit, and started shooting targets as they were called.  Things moved slowly in tidi, and we had a couple of fleets on grid with the hostiles, so there was some overlap in targeting… and some targets melted pretty quickly.

And then they seemed to give up on the ihub.  We had blown up all of their entosis ships… those went so fast I couldn’t finish locking them before they were gone… and the ihub began counting back down in our direction.

Back towards CONDI

Interdictors were out to try and hold them down… most escaped but we got a few more… and then the ihub was quiet again.  We kept an eye on it lest they return.  But the fight was still going on over the cyno jammer and there was now more than 3,800 people in system.

The faction Fortizar and other structures on grid

The cyno jammer fight went our way as well and soon after that began to tip towards us the hostiles began to collect themselves up and headed for the gate back to T5Z.  We warped over there to join in on trying to pop ships as they tried to get out.

Rokh ball waiting for targets by the gate

We managed to pluck a few stragglers out of the mix, but most got out.  When the smoke cleared and zKillboard caught up, the battle report showed that the fight over the ihub and cyno jammer fell in our favor.

Battle Report Header

With the participant numbers about even, it was going to be a steep hill for PAPI to be successful in their headshot attempt.  And, because 1DQ has its ADM up at 5.7, that means it will take an attacker 57 minutes to successfully entosis the ihub on any attempt and that there is less than a three and a half hour window when they can make the attempt daily.

Still, I am sure they will be back.  The Imperium won, but we have to keep winning that fight until they give up.  And PAPI, they have to take down at least the cyno jammers so they can drop their capitals in to support any attack on our Keepstars.  We’ll be back for another round I am sure.

After the fight, when we were back on the Keepstar, Mister Vee regrouped us all to him and had us all set off our MJDs to see us burst out in a group.  He seemed to enjoy the Rokh doctrine.

MJDs warming up

I ended up in the model of the Keepstar, which again tells you how big the Keepstar model is.  I jumped 100km and was inside still.

Later on Asher took 200 of us into T5ZI-S to show PAPI how entosis is done.

On the T5Z ihub with eight hackers

Despite being outnumbered in the system, the PAPI response to us was desultory at best, with individual ships showing up to try and ECM Burst the entosis ships to break their lock and stop the hack.  Not only were they not successful, Asher declared that we should make one of their pods a pet and not kill it, but just keep it pointed so it could not warp away.  And such became the fate of Brothuhbob.

Brothuhbob trying to motor out of range

It would have been Vily, who came out in a Griffin and got popped, but somebody wanted his corpse so his pod didn’t last.

We kept Brothuhbob around for quite a while.  Somebody put combat drones on him at one point and several of us in the logi wing rushed out and repped him to keep him safe.  Eventually he decided his only way out was to self-destruct.  Reps can’t stop that.

We successfully reinforced the T5Z ihub, though their ADM was much lower and we didn’t have tidi slowing down the timer, and headed back to 1DQ.

Nineteen Weeks of World War Bee

Almost to 20 weeks and I haven’t given up on this weekly post yet.  We’ll see who lasts longer, me or Ban Syrin at INN. (Not that my posts are as detailed as theirs, but I do mark up a lot more maps.)

A bit of news hit late in the week when a disgruntled director in Requiem Eternal decided to defect to the Imperium.  They brought with them a reported a trillion ISK in assets, including a Moreau faction Fortizar and all the ISK the alliance had in its wallet, then disbanded the alliance as they left.

Rest in Peace for sure

That destroyed all their ihubs, dropped their sovereignty, and left almost two thousand pilots without an alliance.

Top of the charts

TEST had to get into its backfield yet again and cover the open sovereignty in the Impass region.  It will now be 35 days before any of those systems can host an Ansiblex jump gate.  The corporations in the alliance are all still safe and there appears to be a move to create a new alliance, Eternal Requiem, but this was another disruption.

On the press coverage front, CCP sat down with Game Rant to discuss the game and the war currently in progress.

Delve Front

Delve has become a back and forth slog over ihubs in a number of constellations.  The map as I write looks like this.

Delve – Nov. 15, 2020

However, if you compare it with my map from last week, you will see various systems in the highlighted constellations have changed hands since then.  In fact, the ihubs in those contested constellations change hands daily, so by the time this post goes live the ihub map of Delve will no doubt have changed yet again.

That has made fights sporadic as both sides seem okay with letting individual systems get flipped, knowing they can just come back tomorrow and flip them back.

That is the way it has been going and likely will continue going until one side gets tired and either gives up or decides on a different tactic.

Meanwhile, the gate camp in E3OI-U continues.  That system, and the systems behind it, have all had cyno jammers turned on in order to protect them.

Other Theaters

There was the potential for a big fight in Querious as the final timers hit for the Imperium Keepstar that was left behind in 49-U6U.  There were plans to defend the armor timer and pings went out to that effect, but the defense operations never came to pass.

The defense was based on a plan Asher Elias had formulated and, when yet another storm came ashore near his home a tree fell and knocked out his power just before the op.  Or so the story goes.

Since it was his plan, nobody else was ready to take up the reigns.  In the end, the Keepstar was destroyed, with the gunner taking out a couple of attacking capital ships, giving the invaders their seventh Keepstar kill of the war.

Otherwise Querious remained a low intensity war zone as both sides set about reinforcing and destroying each other’s ihubs, with many systems left without ihubs.

Querious – Nov. 15, 2020

The Imperium did manage to take back “fake” Querious, the set of systems assigned to the region but which are an enclave within Delve.

Then there is Esoteria, where The Bastion and Ferrata Victrix have been waging a guerilla war against TEST to distract them from their main effort in Delve.  After weeks of holding on to their foothold and Fortizar, they have started making more progress against TEST, adding four more ihubs to the list that they have taken.

Essoteria – Nov. 15, 2020

Adding to TEST’s problems on that front, The Initiative announced that they are deploying to Esoteria to join the campaign.  I may have to start using the whole map of Esoteria rather than just the northwest corner when the force there really gets to work.  I may have to give Esoteria its own section soon.

My Participation

I stood by on a couple of strategic ops, but the enemy declined to show up and we either saved the structure or took the ihub and were done without firing a shot.  As such, my loss tally remained unchanged.

  • 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
  • Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I – 1

Other Items

The past week saw some distractions in New Eden.

First, there was the November update aimed at further nerfing null sec, with the Dynamic Bounty system, aimed at making null sec empires spread out (again), and the mandatory Encounter Surveillance System changes, which encourage null sec empires to consolidate, all in the name of making us fight more in the middle of a war that has already set two Guinness World Records.

That got people out robbing banks as part of the new ESS system.  I saw more action doing that than I did in the actual war last week.

Hello ESS Bank!

And then there was the EVE-NT Alliance Open.  CCP is still unable to run the alliance tournament themselves, so have let EVE-NT run one again this year.  That kicked off on Saturday and pitted 32 teams in a double elimination tournament. Both Goonswarm and The Initiative lost their first round matches, making it unlikely that the two alliances will come to blows, something the invaders have been having wet dreams about since the fighting in Fountain started, even in the tournament.

Two losses

Goonswarm actually lost their second match as well, so are out of the tournament, while The Initiative carries on into next week.

While I’m not a huge fan of the tournament, I did watch a bit of it.  Probably the oddest thing I saw was the Rote Kapelle vs Dock Workers match where both teams fielded identical fleet compositions, consisting of 3 Barghests, 2 Caracals, 2 Scalpels, a Stormbringer, a Hyena, and a Stork.  I know the point system and the meta tend to push teams in similar directions at times, but I cannot recall seeing a mirror image fight when it came to hulls.  That Rote Kapelle won handily indicates that fittings, tactics, and pilot skill were the more important factors.

All of that seemed to add up to a weekly PCU that was fair to middling for these times, and this week fell on Saturday rather than Sunday:

  • 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
  • Week 16 – 36,642
  • Week 17 – 37,695
  • Week 18 – 36,632
  • Week 19 – 35,816 (Saturday)

Related

Robbing Some Space Banks

I mentioned in Tuesday’s post the introduction of the newly revised and now mandatory Encounter Surveillance System that was foisted on null sec with this months update.  There was a whole dev blog about it if you want to read up on it.

To me the whole thing seemed silly in that familiar way when CCP introduces a contrived mechanic and their expectations as to our behavior appear unrealistic.

To put it simply, when you rat in null sec now about a third of your bounty payments go into the ESS “bank.”  The ESS runs on a cycle where it will pay that out every three hours.  The timer is for everybody, so if you just missed it you’re waiting the whole time (though you do not have to be logged on to get paid), and if your tick hits just before it pays out, you get paid right away.

The ESS bank is in deadspace behind an acceleration gate, so you can warp directly to it, and inside of a warp disruption bubble that keeps people from warping or cloaking and from using MWDs or MJDs.  You also cannot light a cyno or set off a filament.  Afterburners are okay, and once you are out of the bubble, which is 75km in diameter and centered on the bank, you can warp off.

Also, the acceleration gate will only let in cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships, which narrows down the options and keeps little fast things from zipping in to do the steal.

I have already seen people working on min/max ideas for both defending and attacking the ESS bank.  This what players in EVE Online do, and some winning tactic will emerge soon enough and CCP will either make changes that will simply start the search over again or ignore it an that is the way things will be.

Since I don’t really rat, I can sit on the outside and admire the solutions players craft, and I was treated to a trial run Wednesday night.  Asher pinged out to Reavers that he wanted to go out and try stealing some ESS bank loot.  I was down with that, as I wanted to see how the whole thing really worked.

He had some fits for us to buy and use and the plan was to use a Needljack Signal filament to yeet us into hostile space… which is pretty much all out null sec for us these days… so we could go find some banks to rob.  We undocked, grouped up on Asher, and off we went.

Y is for “Yeet!”

We ended up out in Tenerifis, Legacy Coalition territory.  There we had to go find a bank worth robbing.

In what I consider a great injustice, the search function for finding ESS banks is in The Agency, and interface not commonly used out in null sec.  It is like CCP was trying to hide it from us.  Fortunately we had Dawn Rhea with us, who actually does some high sec stuff that uses The Agency, so she was able to search for some close by banks while some of us were still figuring out where to find this functionality.

The Agency -> Encounters -> Electronic Surveillance System

That will give you some details and you can narrow your search using several parameters.

Dawn had a system for us, so off we went to get it.

Flying through Tenerifis

Every system in null sec now has a little bit of the UI devoted to the ESS.

all about the bank

Near the top you can see the bounty risk modifier, which is part of the Dynamic Bounties feature also introduced on Tuesday,  At the bottom is the ESS info, which shows you how much money is in the bank.  The aqua colored bar is a visual indicator as to how long before the next payout is due.  When it fills up, it is payout time.

The location of the ESS acceleration gate shows up on your overview if you have beacons set to show.  Likewise, the acceleration gate is just another of a class already around, so no new adjustments need be made.

Overview viewed

You just warp to the beacon, take the acceleration gate, and you’re sent into the big bubble around the ESS.  That, however, is a new item that you will need to add to your overview.

The bank revealed

Once you spot it, somebody has to get within 10km of it.  Then you can right click on it… or on its icon in the overview if you have added it there… and select the Access ESS option.  From there you get the ESS window, which shows you the details.

Somebody is robbing the bank

The main bank is what you can rob.   The reserve bank has yet to be made accessible by CCP.

In that window you click on the “Link” button… why link?  I don’t know.  CCP being CCP… and that starts the theft.  You then have to wait for a five minute timer before you get the loot.  If you’re not the one doing the stealing, you get that nice, small red count down bar.

When it starts, the system owners and anybody in the system gets an alert pop up that the bank is being robbed.

We’re stealing, not intruding

Up on the main UI the attempted theft is note, indicating who is doing the stealing.

Theft in progress

In our case Merkelchen, head of KarmaFleet and CSM member, was our test case.

You will note that the ESS interfaces indicates that the bank is 70% “convertable.”  That means, in robbing the bank, you only get 70% of the value of what is in the bank.  Furthermore, it is paid out in bonds of specific denominations that need to be taken to CONCORD stations to redeem.

We had 18 people in the fleet to do the robbing, which meant that the locals in Tenerifis, who were few and far between, let us get away without our theft.

After a couple of runs there we used another filament which sent us up north.  We rolled into Vale of the Silent and robbed some more banks.  I took a turn at a smaller total that appeared in a bank we had just looted just to try it out.  I got to see the UI timer you get when you’re the one doing it.

Now I am the robber

The main difference is that as the one doing the intrusion you get a larger time that isn’t red.  I kind of like the small red one better, but whatever.  I also got my name up in the UI.

The big score

A ratting tick hit while I was waiting on the timer, so the total went up to 8 million ISK before it was done, boosting my haul.

Bank successfully robbed!

I was in the system alone with five ratters and nobody came to get me.

The bonds come in standard denominations (you can see them on the market if you search for “bond”) that add up to the amount you’ve stolen.

New Eden bearer bonds

five 1 million bounty bonds, six 100K bounty bonds, and three 10K bounty bonds will get me 5.63 million ISK when I go turn them in.

After getting the easy bits in Vale, we used another filament to jump to another area.  Over time we jumped about, ending up in Omist, Malpais, and The Kalevala Expanse, and finally Oasa.

It wasn’t until we got to Oasa that the locals really began to get feisty.  We had a couple of supercarriers on a gate and a Sabre bubble us, but Oasa was where the real fun began.

You might recognize Oasa from the Monthly Economic Report.  It is the home of Fraternity and is the crab capital of New Eden currently, topping the charts for bounties and null sec mining.  They are serious about their ISK and the did not like us showing up in their space.  On starting to rob a bank there with 357 million ISK, they started jumping right in with us.

Locals came to fight

Our fleet had numbers, but not enough firepower to burn down a couple of marauders.

We got out of the bubble and ran off to another nearby system where the bank had 120 million ISK and was very close to payout.  We started the robbery and setup to pop anybody who warped in prematurely.

There was less than five minutes on the clock for payout, but we found that if you’re in the middle of a robbery, the payout is suspended.  You can start an intrusion with fewer than five minutes on the clock.

The bank has a hold on that payment

We managed to blow up a couple of eager pilots, including a Cynabal that came for us, but the locals quickly piled on.  We lost a couple of ships on the way out, including Asher, at which point Tom Flood took over.  We ran from the locals for a few gates, heading towards Venal, waiting for our timers to run down so we can use another filament.

We had been out for a while at that point, and had said that any filament that got us close to home would be the end of the op, but they kept pulling us deeper and deeper into hostile space.  This last filament was no exception.

The filament lined us up on landing

There was, however, a Thera wormhole not too far from where we were.  We flew to that and jumped through just as it collapsed of old age.  Most of us docked up in Thera to call it a night.

The next day the EVE Scout site said there was a wormhole from Thera straight to Delve, so I took that using their shared bookmark library in-game and was safely back in 1DQ1-A in almost no time.  I am not very adept with wormholes, but EVE Scout makes it easy.

Home with my bonds, I realized I probably should have first taken one of the wormholes to high sec and dropped off the bonds for an alt to pick up, but I am not sure I’ll miss that big 5.6 million ISK payout.

But now I can said I’ve robbed a bank in EVE Online.  I’m not sure if that is the way it works in GTA V, but it can still lead to a bit of conflict… up until somebody figured out how to defend the ESS with smart bombing battleships or rail tengus or something else that will pop people coming in to steal.

The Failed Trap at YZ9-F6

It seemed like a typical op.  We had a couple of Fortizar timers coming up in NPC Delve.  The enemy, having lost three Keepstars there last week, was probably keen to remove those footholds that allowed us to safely jump in the many ships needed for those fights.  Things might have gone differently without them.

I remember the first ping, because it said that we would be forming up at 23:45 UTC, an easily recalled sequence.  That was a quarter to five local time for me, I would be clear of work and able to join in.

There was a mention that the enemy was pinging about this op and claiming that we were pinging for it a lot.  We hear that a lot, intel back from the invaders about what their leadership is telling them we’re up to.  It often seems quite exaggerated, but if they’re pinging and saying we’re pinging, we will end up pinging more just because of that, so there is an odd cause and effect cycle in it I suppose.

When the time came I got into the Rokh fleet that Lazarus Telraven was running.  I named it “Remember the Lazamo” and went with the fleet when it jumped into YZ9-F6.  There we hung out waiting for the timer to count down.

waiting on the Fortizar

As the timer hit, we went through many of the familiar motions as we began to exchange fire with hostile subcap fleets.  Dreadnoughts soon joined us in the field before the structure and a fierce battle began to rage.

Dreads and subcaps on grid

We started out trading blows with the usual TEST Nightmare fleet at extreme range.  We exchanged with them, then started in on some of the heavy interdictors that were on grid.  Laz seemed quite focused on them.  There were a little more than 1,600 players in local.

Brackets drawn with the new UI only mode

Meanwhile, the fight seemed to be escalating beyond what I might have expected for just a Fortizar armor timer.  When dreads were thick on the ground carriers and super carriers began dropping in, with both sides putting them on grid with the Fortizar.

Imperium supers landing

But we had our own battle to fight.  Time dilation went to 10% pretty quickly and as more players showed up in local, responses to commands began to drag out.  I had the outstanding calls window up to watch what was happening and the wait time before calls were handled began to climb.

In the midst of that I had my own close call for the evening.  An Eagle fleet was passing by us at about 5-8km range and the decided to target me.  I don’t know if I happened to be in just the right place or if it was because I put my drones on the FC, but I saw them yellow boxing me.

I broadcast for reps and put the fact that I was being yellow boxed in fleet chat, overheated my shield hardeners, then unlocked all targets.  We were fighting on the Fortizar and if my one minute aggression timer ran down I would simply tether up and become invulnerable.

But a minute long time is very long in time dilation.

I could see the yellow boxes turn to red and I started taking damage before my unlock commands had been handled.  I was worried that the logi wing might have a similarly long wait in order to lock me up and get reps on me.  In moderate tidi the job of the logi pilot gets easier as you have plenty of time to response.  But when the server is backed up and processing commands slowly you are left to the whims of CCP as to when target locks happen and when reps land.

The first reps landed when I was at half shields, but they were countered by more and more of the guns aimed at me finally activating.  I could see the damage numbers zipping past on the screen at an increasing rate.  More and more logi started landing reps on me as well as my aggression counter slowly clicked down.

The race was one.  Logi was slowing things down, but the guns put me into armor, then into hull.  Reps would push back the shields for a bit, but the issue was clearly in doubt and I still had seconds left on the aggression timer.

Reps keeping me alive

And then one of the Minokawas got reps on me and my shields went back to 100% and it looked like I was safe.  The timer ran down and after an agonizing gap I tethered up.  Everybody’s lock on me, attackers and logi, dropped and the Fortizar began repairing my damage.

Upwell structures are op.

Meanwhile there were now about 2,500 players in local and the fight was spread out.

2,500 in local, blues are us, reds the attackers, purple our fleet

The fight carried on, though fleet coms were oddly quiet.  We were asked to keep quiet, which usually means something is going on in the command channel.  But this was more quiet than I had experienced in the middle of an escalating fight.  We were taken off shooting ships and began hitting deployable warp disruption bubbles.

And then some titans landed on grid.  They didn’t jump in though.  There was no cyno.  Instead they warped in and landed spread out.

Titans landing in the fight

I didn’t think anything at the time about the fact that they were spread out or that they had warped in rather than landing on the cyno that had brought in the super carriers.  I was just wondering if we were going all in on a Wednesday night, escalating up to titans.

Later we learned what was up.  This was a setup, a trap to burn up a bunch of PAPI caps and supers by getting them all bunched up and then hitting them with a multi-titan volley from bosonic field generators, the BFG doomsday that does 40K damage to all things in a wide area over a 20 second duration.

And it didn’t work.  The enemy was in place, the titans were in position, the BFGs all fired, but the server cut off the effect after just three seconds, so they delivered less than 15% of the damage that they ought to have.

Asher Elias posted an after action report to Reddit on the plan and how it was setup and pulled off, which I recommend if you want to know the details.

But after that things went badly.  The enemy, seeing titans on the field commenced to undock and throw into battle as many of their own titans as they possibly could, fielding 278 before the fight wound down.  The local count wound up to about 3,200.

PAPI titans jumping in

Meanwhile our own titans, supers, and caps were now lined up to get smacked.  The hostiles went after our titans first, tackling and hitting them as hard as they could.  16 of the 22 were blown up, while six got away.

Ooddell takes multiple doomsday hits, but managed to warp off

We opted to limit our losses.  We shot up what we could on field.  At one point is looked like maybe we might be able to take down one of the enemy titans that had bounced far from the pack.

Welcome citizen

However, that did not work out.  We shot him for a bit, but after not too long the call went out to stop aggression and to tether up.  The enemy went about picking off targets that they could find.

A good day to see doomsdays

At the end of the day the battle report showed that the gambit had cost us a lot.

Battle Report Header

We lost 2.5 trillion ISK  in ships while killing 722 billion hostiles.  That totals up to about what both fights in FWST-8 last week cost all told.  All of this should make a mark on the October MER.

Ship losses from the BR

In addition to 16 titans we lost 28 super carriers, 85 dreads, and 5 carriers.  We did at least knock down almost 200 of their dreads, though they dropped more than 750 of them.

So it goes.  We swung and missed.  Some times the server favors you, some times is trips up your plans and hangs you out to dry.  The war carries on.

CCP said they may have found the issue that caused the problem with the BFGs, but it seems unlikely that we’ll be able to stage something like that again even if they do fix the issue.

The word is that PAPI has dropped another Keepstar in NPC Delve, in 319-3D again.  It managed to deploy, but it should begin its anchoring cycle about the time this post goes list. [I am told the timer starts at 17:18 UTC.]  Expect another huge battle today.

Related:

Six Years of Reavers

We are at the sixth anniversary of the founding of the Reavers SIG.

Reavers forum bee

As has become the norm, I post on or around this date every year to commemorate the founding and to recount what mischief the SIG got up to since the last post.  For those interested in past tales, you can find them here.

This year my post is a little bit different.  While I am happy to raise a glass to the SIG to mark the passing of another year, I don’t actually have anything to look back on since the five year anniversary post.

It is not that nothing has happened over the last year.  Asher and various members of the SIG have been quite active.  But there wasn’t a lot of opportunity over the last twelve months for the Reavers to run off and do their thing in distant lands.

There was a problem with an overlap of objectives between Reavers and Liberty Squad for a stretch.  And when Liberty Squad was stood down, with its leadership heading off to form their own group elsewhere in null sec, there was the formation of the Goon Expeditionary Force to take its place.

The logo on the left became the official forum bee, but I still like the helmet on the other

The GEF was sort of the Reavers writ large, a mash up of them and Space Violence and Liberty Squad, a way to bundle up the people in the Imperium who play for war and deployments and who chafe during peacetime, to give them something to do.  Founded back in February, it was there to take the show on the road.  And from them until this past June, it deployed, ran ops, blew things up, and gave some of us a sense of purpose in the sandbox.

And then, of course, the war came.  Well, the leak that indicated that war was coming, which was denied right up until it wasn’t, when the non-invasion pact between Legacy Coalition and the Imperium was cancelled by Vily and the count down to conflict began.  Then everybody came home, we pulled back what we could, and there was a sense of purpose every day you logged in.

Asher and many others had bigger responsibilities, tasks beyond the scope of a single SIG in the coalition.

So you might ask, with nothing really to report on over the last year and nothing likely to come while our space is being invaded, is Reavers effectively dead?  Are we just a channel on Jabber and a hidden section in the GSF forms?

The answer is no.

Despite having no official task, Reavers still forms a cadre of players who Asher can call on for special tasks.  It has been that way for a while.  Reavers haven’t recruited in ages.  You cannot get in without a personal vouch and I don’t even think we’re taking those any more.  Everybody left has been around for a long time and the names in the channel are all familiar.

So there will be a ping to Jacketpals, or Trashtiertactics, or another of the many ping groups that Asher has created to send us notifications on Jabber, looking for some people for a special op or to have a special fit ready, or to hold off on the main fleet ping that is coming up because there will be another fleet coming up that will be more our speed.

I think the SIG almost universally signed up for the Spec Ops SIG that was formed for the war, along with a couple of the other groups.  When I am out on an op doing ECM burst interceptors or Sippery Pete’s or something like that, there are always names from Reavers in those fleets.

And when Asher suggests training something up, like EDENCOM ships or whatever, I always jump right on that.  Maybe it will pan out, maybe it won’t.  But if the time comes and there is a Jacketpals ping asking who can fly some specific ship, I don’t want to be left out.