Tag Archives: Delve

Life on the M2 Hell Camp

Feed us PAPs and hostile caps and we’ll keep logging in!

-Motto of the M2 hell camp

I’ve spent quite a bit of time of late in the hell camp in M2-XFE, sitting in my Rokh, waiting for a target to appear.

My Permaband Rokh on tether in the bubbles

“Camping” is a pretty common term in MMORPGs.  I was camping spawns back in TorilMUD before EverQuest was even a twinkle in John Smedley’s eye.  You sit and you wait for a mob to spawn or otherwise show up, and then you kill it.  And then you do it again… and again.. and again… until you get your fill or your rare drop or whatever.  It has its variations.  In PvP you can camp the respawn point in a battleground or the objective the enemy is trying to reach.

A “Hell Camp” on the other hand might be a special EVE Online term.  I haven’t run into it anywhere else.

A “Hell Camp” is an operation when you have an enemy or a hostile fleet or the like trapped, in a station or logged out in space, in a known location and you set up to camp them from down time to down time, every day, for as long as it takes, until they either try to break out or they offer terms you can accept to let them go.

Many a hell camp has been called, but sustaining them is difficult.  You really have to have the hostiles pinned down for it to be effective and you must field a force capable of sustaining the camp.  Attempts to hell camp the Imperium into the Quafe Factory Warehouse station in Saranen during the Casino War were largely ineffective.  We had enough people that we came and went when we wanted.  And, in the end, packed up and left for Delve without much hindrance.

Likewise, at one point Guardians of the Galaxy declared they were going to hell camp Reavers into a station in ROIR-Y during a deployment.  That lasted less than a week before they wandered off and let us be.  Such a camp isn’t a lot of fun over an extended period of time.

Which leads us to the camp in M2-XFE, where 337 334 titans sit trapped, along with scores of smaller capital ships, the remains for the fights over the Keepstar armor and hull timers.

That is a lot of titans.  Progodlegend said that PAPI was bringing one thousand titans to attack Delve, so that is about a third of what they promised.  Add in about 200 more destroyed in both battles and afterwards and we’ve trimmed their titan fleet by half… if we can keep a hold on the 334 that are logged out.

The Mittani has said that this camp is the most important thing for us in the war right now.  We’ve given up the Helm’s Deep camp and moved carriers and supercarriers to the M2-XFE Keepstar to sit with fighters out, ready to grab anybody who logs in.  We also cleared out hostile structures and deployed multiple additional Fortizars around the camp grid.

Bubbles on the M2 Keepstar Grid – Now featuring more Fortizars

How long will this last?

We’ve been at it for two weeks now and the camp shows no sign of slackening.  There is always a full fleet worth of ships on when I join, and an overflow fleet with 50-150 more hanging about, putting a sizable force on call around the clock.

It is helpful that being on the camp doesn’t demand much attention.  On my big monitor I have EVE Online open, full screen, in the background and then something else I am working on… like this blog post… in the foreground with just the overview and fleet history from the game displayed on the right side of the monitor.

That is enough.

My overview tab is set to show nothing save hostiles, so somebody logging in or showing up attracts the eye immediately.  I haven’t missed anything that has shown up in range of my guns, save for the interceptors that occasionally show up to try and pop bubbles.

A Nagalfar provides a momentary target for us

You can sit on coms and chat.  There is a channel just for the camp.  I prefer to do other things and wait for the overview to alert me to action.

It is nice that we get PAP links, marking our participation.  (I covered PAP links in another post a while back.)  But even those reach a level of absurdity when you get one every three hours for being logged on in the camp.

The fact that PAPI forces keep logging on trapped ships is probably the biggest thing keeping people active in the camp.  At this point I am sure PAPI knows the situation and has communicated it as far and wide as they are able, but people make mistakes.  Somebody logged their titan in too soon before downtime… they have been logging in just before downtime to recharge capacitor… and ended up getting blow up.  And there have been a few where I suspect that they clicked on the wrong character by mistake at the login screen… I’ve done that a few times… and then their stuck riding the warp back into the bubbles and sure destruction.

Every kill revitalizes those in the camp.

But there is also, as part of the Goon identity, the idea that we’ll do something like this for as long as it take, far longer than any other group in the game would, just out of sheer stubbornness and desire to prove that we can.  So the camp goes on.

Which doesn’t mean the war has stopped elsewhere.  The week has seen a bunch of subcap battles over ihubs and timers both in Delve and in Catch.  The fighting surges back and forth and billions in ships are still being blown up.  I’ve been on some of those this week.

But the camp remains, uninterrupted, waiting for the hostiles to attempt a break out.

27 Weeks of World War Bee

The past week saw both sides adjusting to the new reality after the battles over the Keepstar in M2-XFE.  The Imperium has used their momentary advantage in morale to take back ihubs.

On the PAPI side, Progodlegend issued what has been called the “Dunkirk” update in which includes a mea culpa about knowing that jumping into the second fight at M2-XFE was a bad idea but that nobody wanted to be the person who called it off.  Also in the update:

  • Shifting to a “much simpler and much more fun game plan”
  • Breakout plan for trapped capitals under way
  • Titans lost at the fight will be reimbursed; may need to go to third parties for hulls
  • May issue war bonds to cover mounting costs

It has been reported that TEST is unanchoring some structures to avoid having to pay for quantum cores, the theory being that they can pay for SRP or pay for cores, but not both.  Critiques of the prosecution of the war have been rife, with Vily even being compare to George McClellan.  Certainly this past week did give PAPI a taste of the Seven Days Battles of the Peninsula campaign.

On the Imperium side, the M2-XFE system has been camped from downtime to downtime since the first fight and there are usually two fleets running because one is inevitably full.  Camping that space has become a priority as there are said to be 337 titans logged off in the bubbles under the Imperium Keepstar.  Some Imperium members have been offering to buy trapped ships, which led to at least one Wyvern logging and getting blown up.

On the weekly fireside chat Saturday The Mittani urged us all to man the M2-XFE camp as it is our key threat to PAPI assets at the moment.  When asked about negotiations, he did say that he would offer a golden ticket out of the trap to any single alliance that offered the best terms.  While he did not expect anybody would take the offer, he did explicitly exclude TEST from it as they are the ones who sowed the seeds of war and who thus must reap the whirlwind.  TEST is estimated to have more than 90 titans trapped in M2-XFE.

And then, on the finance front, the first series of Imperium war bonds has been sold out.

Delve Front

While Delve has been the primary focus of the war for week, these past ten days have pulled most everybody away from the secondary fronts.  The Imperium has setup a downtime to downtime camp, complete with bubbles, around the M2-XFE Keepstar.

In furtherance of this, the Imperium blew up the Fortizar PAPI had setup on the Keepstar grid to act as a staging point for attacks.

The PAPI Keepstar begins to explode

In its place the Imperium dropped its own Fortizar just in case any supers or titans managed to log off on tether.  PAPI defense of the Fortizar was limited to a small group of interceptors there to harass the attackers.

Bubbles on the M2 Keepstar Grid

Those bubbles groups are:

Bubbles on the M2 Keepstar Grid – Annotated

The primary trap is where the titans from the first battle have (mostly) remained logged off since downtime on Dec. 31, 2020.  The secondary trap is the point where PAPI titans, supers, and other capitals jumped in for the second battle, the location of some “ghost” titans.

Maintaining that camp has been declared the coalition’s highest priority due to the estimated 337 titans trapped in the system.  Jay Amazingness has been named the Bubble Czar to make sure that we have correct coverage of the areas where hostile ships are logged off.

The camp itself continues to feed people kills, which helps keep it going.  I have been on enough to have caught a titan and a few faxes.  Every so often somebody will log on… either by accident or in futile hope… and they get blown up.  There have even been some ghost titan kills, which means that not all the empty fit titans that were blown up during the second fight were moved back to their starting point.

You only die twice

PAPI sends interceptors and other small ships out to attack the anchored bubbles now and then, which also feeds the camp and keeps it engaged.  Give us PAPs and some kills and apparently we’ll sit logged in all day every day.

PAPI was in a funk early in the week and the Imperium used that time to work on some of its own problems in Delve.

Delve – Jan. 10, 2021

The Imperium started by taking back all of the ihubs in the NJU-QV constellation, which includes M2-XFE and is the route into the Fountain region.  The ihub blitz carried on and flipped more than a dozen ihubs, about half of which were systems containing Keepstars.  The systems hit were:

  • KEE-N6
  • M2-XFE
  • 5-CQDA
  • I-E3TG
  • ZXB-VC
  • S-6HHN
  • 4X0-8B
  • 23G-XC
  • D-W7F0
  • SVM-3K
  • 6Q-R50
  • UEXO-Z
  • 9O-8W1
  • 1-2J4P

Towards the end of the week PAPI started putting up a stiff resistance, and the struggle over the D-W7F0 ihub was a long fight. By the weekend the invaders were able to field enough pilots to keep the Imperium from flipping the 1-SMEB and M5-CGW ihubs.

Catch Front

The aftermath of the fights in Delve relegated the Catch front to a distant second over the last week, which was probably fine with Brave.

Catch – Jan. 10, 2021

The Watchmen space continues to remain empty and the two metaliminal storms in the region both seem to be making their way towards Delve as if they want to join up with the storm already there.

The one bit of influence the region has was when The Initiative reinforced a TEST Keepstar down to the final timer, which required Legacy to show up and make sure it did not get blown up, something that coincided with an ihub contest in Delve.  There was also a fight over the ihub in FAT-6P, a system on the Legacy Ansiblex jump gate network that went to the Imperium, disrupting their travel infrastructure, though Legacy regained the ihub to restart the time until they can use the system again.

Other Theaters

Even more so that Catch, Querious was very much a backwater after the events of the last week or so.  Some small changes, but not a hot spot.

Querious – Jan. 10, 2021

While the Imperium has been focused on Delve, northwest Esoteria remains a camp in the middle of Legacy space and a spot from which to launch attacks.

Northwest Esoteria – Jan. 10, 2021

And over in Fountain The French ConneXion has picked up a couple of ihubs that were sitting empty.  I do not know if this is the start of something, but the two systems the grabbed would make for a nice Ansiblex jump gate conneXion.

My Participation

While the ihub struggles tend to be in EUTZ I managed to get into fleets that help turn the NJU-QV constellation and was there for the see-saw struggle over the D-W7F0 ihub.  I was also around for the destruction of the PAPI Fortizar in M2-XFE.  And then there has been the camp in M2-XFE, which is something I can log into and put in the background so that just my overview and the fleet window are poking out behind whatever I am working on.  If a target pops up I can click over and shoot.

That was all fairly low key and I did not end up losing any ships over the course of the week, so my loss count remains:

  • 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

Just a bit of New Eden war trivia, but I was out on an op and saw a vaguely familiar name pop up in fleet chat.

Haargoth Agamar returns to the game

Haargoth Agamar was the player who, close to 12 years ago now, disbanded Band of Brothers back during the Great War, one of the great moments in EVE Online.  World War Bee has brought back a lot of old names and we can add one more to the list.

Meanwhile, CCP has been doing their usual bang up job when it comes to presenting a coherent message to the user base.  While they’ve spent the last year nerfing the ability to earn ISK in game, they still want to push wealth as an objective in the New Eden.

Get Wealthy!

As you can imagine, this has irked a few people.

  • 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)
  • Week 27 – 34,989 (Saturday)

And, finally, the requirement to have quantum cores in all structures hits this coming week.  Quantum cores were introduced with the September update and, since October, new structures have required them.  January 12th is the date that all structures will need them or ship fitting, tethering, and ship/module repair services will be disabled.  Without a core structures will also be vulnerable to immediate destruction.  No timers or return trips will be required.  I expect this will be another “happy time” for Upwell destruction.

Related

World War Bee Six Month Review

Time to sum up the story so far, if only to organize what I have written.

Munnins and Ishtars together in EI-O0O

The war officially started on July 5th with the end of the non-invasion pact between the Imperium and Legacy Coalition.  But nothing like that just happens on a single day.  The roots of the war go back much further and various points have been pointed to as where things began to head towards the state of affairs today.

I am not going to go down that rabbit hole.  Instead, I am picking as the start of things, the date when it became public that Vily and Legacy Coalition had been working PandaFam to attack the Imperium.  That extends the timeline by a couple weeks, but that was when things started moving… and when I started writing about the war and tagging it as such

Below is my post journey through the war so far in headline form.  This includes some events outside the war zone that involved the involved parties.  Each link goes out to the post named naturally, and often the headline is sufficient to tell you what to expect.  But somehow… and this was entirely unplanned… I ended up writing a weekly summary post.  For those posts I have added a few sub bullets to hit on the topics mentioned beyond just the state of the fighting.

And that is where we sit some six or so months into the war, with 71 posts documenting the path I’ve taken.  The battles over the M2-XFE Keepstar has given the Imperium some breathing room to push back on the invaders, but the war is still in Delve and PAPI still has a Keepstar one gate over from our capital.  There is much left to do.

Related:

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

 

PAPI Thwarted at Final M2-XFE Keepstar Timer by the Early Bird Imperium

After the mighty massacre of titans at the Keepstar armor timer in M2-XFE on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, all eyes in the war were on the system for the battle over the final timer.  Expectations were high on both sides for a repeat of the earlier blood letting.

That PAPI plan, after getting logged out at downtime after the first fight, was to stay logged out there until the final timer was up, bringing up some reinforcements to jump in to support the forces already there.  Or so their actions indicate to me.

The Imperium plan involved a tactic as old as war itself: Get there first in great numbers.

PAPI had some early move ops to get reinforcements in position, which led to a few losses along the way.

An early start on titan losses

Rorgan Darator is said to be a Progodlegend alt, which makes those kills extra special.

The Imperium had a State of the Goonion at 20:00 UTC, five hours before the Keepstar timer.  The SOTG had to be move to Twitch as the Mumble server was struggling to handle all the players attempting to log in.  While a Fireside on a Saturday can run out to 45 minutes, SOTGs tend to be short and to the point.  The Mittani got on with us, told us the plan, then sent us off to do it.  We started jumping capital ships into M2-XFE right away… some had jumped before the SOTG… deploying them below the Keepstar, close by where the PAPI fleet logged out.

The mass of supers and titans below the Keepstar

That huge formation of capitals was on grid for hours.  There were more than 4K people in system at that point, way before the fight began.  This is the oldest play in the book in New Eden, getting into a system early and being ready before the enemy.  Tales of this tactic go back to the Great War and before.

We were there… my alt in his Ninazu in the fax fleet… when PAPI finally started to jump in their fleet from T5ZI-S.  Their choice was to go in way above the Keepstar, away from our titans.  That put them out of range of our titans (and our titans out of range of theirs), but the supercarriers sent their fighters up after them.

PAPI titans up high in the bubbles

They had 6K people in their staging system and we had 4K in the system already (amounting to more than 25% of the nearly 40K people online in the game at that point) when they started jumping in and… the math just didn’t work out.  The server, already in heavy tidi when we were just sitting around doing nothing, began to chug and grind and commands began taking minutes to complete, so that the hostile titans were landing on grid and were not able to load fully or react before the fighters were on them.  Titans began blowing up in ones and twos and threes.  It turned into a one-sided fight very quickly.  The count of dead PAPI titans kept growing.

But the server was still an issue in other ways.  Some of the kill mails in the long list on zKillboard show the titans to be unfit, which explains how they died to the fighters so quickly at times.  The fighters were on them before the server could pull up and load their fit.  There were also reports that some titans, on being blown up, loading back up in the station from which they had undocked undamaged.  Over at Talking in Stations they began counting both kill mail losses and wrecks on the field, and the wrecks were showing up at about half the rate.

When this started going very wrong for PAPI they tried to put the brakes on things, but too many were already on the way.

So the actual number of dead titans may remain unknown unless CCP comes out with a dev blog, but the battle reports last night were crazy lopsided in favor of the Imperium, with about 100 billion ISK lost on the Imperium side compared to more than ten trillion ISK lost to PAPI.

Battle Report Header – Probably a Worst Case Scenario

The armor timer fight was a massacre of titans, but the final timer ended up being a massacre of PAPI.  The final accounting will come at some point.  Over at zKillboard the loss list looks to be ~170 titans, plus the five killed before the fight.  If even a majority of those are legit, PAPI could be looking at 100 titans destroyed for no titan kills.  This was B-R5RB in an evening.

And then there was the Keepstar, which repaired successfully, so we won the objective.  They need to start over again in order to destroy it.

My main, once again in a boosting ship, ended up having to wait until things were well under way before he was able to bridge in.

Flown out on titan wings

By the time he got there the call went out to pull down boosts and other things that might be contributing to server lag.  So there I was, in the system… well, I got kicked out, logged back in, waited for 40 minutes at the login screen and then a long stretch with just a black screen, but eventually I was through again… with no real role.  So I went motoring up the Keepstar to see if I could take a few pot shots at hostile titans to get on a kill mail or two of my own.   I managed to get on two, both of which had clearly loaded into the system.  They were not ghost targets.

Our titans did the same, warping up to the top of the model, to start picking off the remainder of the PAPI fleet.

Imperium titans now in range

Now that the fight is over, the post-game analysis will start.  That is already well under way on Reddit, with memes proliferating.  Some will seek to blame the servers for the loss, and certainly server performance played a role.  But the servers favor nobody specifically, and allowing the Imperium to setup on the Keepstar with thousands of pilots, to the point that tidi and lag was constant, and thinking they could jump a fleet in on grid and engage without issues was a serious mistake. (Grath Telken puts it more directly in this Twitch clip, though his full statement is even more brutal.)  People will be playing out how it should have been done all week or trying to justify the plan as a good one.  But none of that will change what actually happened.

Certainly pleas to CCP to undo losses will go unfulfilled.  There is a long history of such requests being denied, so starting now would be a very bad look, and all the more so since they have been going on and on about the problem of super and titan proliferation.  Give back dead titans people jumped into a fight?  Not going to happen.

Then there is PAPI going forward.  The first fight only whetted people’s appetites for more slaughter, but this fight was a serious setback for PAPI, a major loss.  They are not defeated in their conquest, but they will have to asses their strategy.  They successfully killed the NOL-M9 Keepstar in Delve by putting up a cyno jammer and keeping us out of the system so they could blow it up unimpeded.  The system’s location helped with that.  If they want to kill more Keepstars they will have do it the safe way, with no slip ups.

But first they have to get out the capital fleet that logged off in the system after the first fight.  They didn’t log on and are still in the bubbles the Imperium laid out for them.

Finally, there is the war itself.  Leaving aside Vily’s extermination policy, even evicting the Imperium from Delve seems problematic now.  Locking us out of a system with cyno jammers and gate camps is one thing, but how do you get in and fight us in 1DQ1-A, our home system, where all our ships, big and small, are waiting to greet any invader, where we can be formed up on grid before an attacker can start finish jumping in?  And if you can’t kick us out of our home system can we be defeated directly?  Does PAPI have the wherewithal to lay siege to Delve for months more to wear us down to the point such an attack is possible?

For now the war goes on, but everybody will be watching for PAPI’s next move.

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. ]

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:

25 Weeks of World War Bee

As expected, the Imperium Keepstar in NOL-M9 was destroyed by PAPI supers as we were unable to take back the ihub to prevent the system from being cyno jammed.  This will likely be the same fate that the Keepstars in D-W7F0 and 1-SMEB will face.

The highlight of the war last week was likely the Christmas Truce, where each group asked its members not to set timers that would come out on December 24th or 25th.  The truce seemed to be mostly respected, though not everybody got the word and the usual suspects on r/eve and elsewhere tried whine their way to a propaganda victory over things few cared about.  Nobody in an actual leadership position called out the other side.

There was even a game of “Griffinball” in T5ZI-S that both sides in the war participated in.  I saw the ping for it, though I didn’t have the time to join in myself.

Of course, the truce only covered structures and sov timers, so there was still plenty of shooting going on.  A big battle broke out on the T5ZI gate in 1DQ and there was an attempt to dread bomb a PAPI Erebus on the Keepstar in T5ZI that went wrong.  Christmas Day saw more than 150 billion ISK in ships blown up across the 1DQ-T5ZI front, most of it being Imperium losses.

And once Christmas Day was past, things returned to the usual grind, though PAPI seemed eager to give us a few last minute presents as they fed first one, then another Marshal blackops battleship for a combined loss of over 18 billion ISK for two subcaps.

Finally, there was a leak from a Fraternity alliance meeting that they were urging their members to get ready for a “big push” in Delve in January, so perhaps PAPI will make another move on 1DQ or Helm’s Deep.

Delve Front

There were not many big changes on the Delve front over the past week.  Timers came and went, but we haven’t been able to wrest any of the Keepstar ihubs back from PAPI.  Their doom awaits.

Delve – Dec. 27, 2020

The electrical metaliminal storm has kept on moving into the region.  Right now it is at a crossroads, where it might head up into the YX-LYK constellation or it could roam right into Helms Deep and its protected areas.  The storm in Helm’s Deep would actually help the Imperium as the only real threat there right now is covert ops bridges into the area to shoot at those still bothering to rat or mine.  Keeping them from cloaking would be a boon.  But even now, with it on E3OI-U it is keeping covert ops ships from slipping past the gate camp.

Catch Front

The Catch region remains in play with Brave and its Legacy Coalition allies having to spend time defending timers and structures.  Early in the week Brave had to defend its ihub, which The Initiative had reinforced.  They managed to form up enough to keep it from being take in the entosis event, but when their propaganda team compared it to the Imperium defending 1DQ I snorted audibly.  High on my list of objections to that comparison is the fact that PAPI hasn’t actually managed to reinforce the 1DQ ihub yet.

Catch – Dec 27, 2020

We keep pecking away at their infrastructure.  The Watchmen, which I mentioned last week because they appeared to be folding up shop, has lost a bunch of members and its sov will be up for grabs.  Legacy seems to have given up for now on killing our staging Fortizar in 0SHT-A, falling back to a defensive posture.  Brave has been keeping up a small gate camp on the gate between GE-8JV, their capital, and V-3YG7, the direction in which we lay.

Meanwhile, in addition to the Gamma storm that has been wandering the region for a few weeks now, the Plasma storm in Providence has started moving closer to the war zone.

Other Theaters

Querious continues to be a low intensity tug of war over some key ihubs in the region.

Querious – Dec. 27, 2020

Meanwhile, The Bastion and friends down in Esoteria are still holding on to a set of systems in the region.

NW Esoteria – Dec. 27, 2020

The Army of Mango Alliance appears to have all but given up fighting in the region.

And, if you have been watching Rorqual losses on zKillboard, you might have noticed that The Initiative has been busy dropping on Legacy’s backfield where they have been mining.

Dec 27 Rorqual kills

That should keep some crabs on their toes.

My Participation

My week in New Eden started with some fights and ended with some fights, but in the middle I wasn’t on all that much.  I formed up a few times for fleets in Delve where not much happened, but out in Catch with Reavers we have had some fun.

Waiting with Asher

I was involved with the fight over the GE-8JV ihub.  While we lost the entosis event, a significant brawl developed where we at least won the ISK war.  I had a close call on the way out.

Cutting things a bit close

But my Ishtar made it into warp and lived to fight another day.  It also has seven kill marks on it now, which is my new all time high.

Headed home for repairs

After the Christmas truce ended we were back at it in Catch on Saturday, reinforcing ihubs and shooting Ansiblex jump bridges.  Brave eventually formed up for us, but not before one pilot threw their Nidhoggur at us to try and stop an ihub hack.

Nidhoggur tackled

I gather he felt that his smart bombs would defang our Ishtars, but we pulled some range, dropped sentry drones, and took him down from a safe distance.  Not too long after we ran into a Jackdaw and Munnin fleet sent to see us off.  We were seriously outnumbered and had to safe up and log off for a bit.  But after that we were able to get out and home.  Through all of that I managed to not lose a ship.

I did lose another Ares, this time by forgetting it was on an alt sitting on a gate in hostile space because I was focused on my main for too long.  So it goes.  My loss count for the war is now:

  • Ares interceptor – 13
  • 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 released the Monthly Economic Report for November 2020 which showed the impact of the latest round of nerfs to the economy.  I wrote a post covering that, but the big news is pretty well summed up in this chart.

Nov 2020 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

Mineral prices are at an all time high, destruction remains high due to the war, and the ISK faucet of NPC bounties has been cut back down to nearly the low point of the Chaos Era null sec Blackout of 2019.

The MER was followed up yesterday with a self congratulatory Dev Blog from CCP about how well they have done fixing the economy.  They promise things won’t remain as grim as they are now, so long as you can do without self-sufficiency, predictability, or wealth.  You can call my outlook cynical and I’ll agree, but I think history warrants it.  I’ll probably do a blog post about the dev blog later this week if I find the time and energy.

Meanwhile, the peak concurrent user count for the week fell on Sunday.  The holiday week was slow and Saturday did not crack the 30K mark, but Sunday it managed to break through to 31K.  The time when it his it peak corresponded to a form up by both sides in the war over a Sotiyo timer.  No fight ensued, so we all just bridged in and glared at each other.

  • 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

Still, that is the low point of the war so far and, while it might be explained away by the holiday, the count does seem to be trending down.  As I mentioned last week, CCP was patting itself on the back for managing to get 1.9 million new accounts in 2020, more than the previous three years combined, but it doesn’t seem to be reflected very well in the PCU.

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

23 Weeks of World War Bee

We lost another Keepstar while trying to unanchor it.  This time we managed to unanchor the structure ourselves, so PAPI didn’t steal it, but the jump freighter that was sent to scoop it got popped and the Keepstar was destroyed with the ship.  Some day we’ll get one unachored successfully

Then we lost a second one down in Period Basis and the one in NOL-M9 looks to be in danger.   It was not a good week on the Keepstar front for us.

This has added up to a lot of low effort trolling in /r/eve about why Goons won’t admit they have lost the war.  That makes we want to pull out the quote from early in the war, which Vily has reiterated over and over with the full support of his alliance and coalition:

When we started this war, we knew that we were fighting this to the end,” Vily told Polygon. “For us, this is a war of extermination. This is a war to the death. We are aiming for the removal of Mittani and The Imperium from Eve Online. […] We are here to purge them.

-Vily, in an interview with Polygon about the war

Leaving aside the fact that so long as we are still in the game we haven’t lost according to Vily’s stated victory condition, there really isn’t another exit from the war for us.  If Mittens said we’ve lost, that wouldn’t stop the invasion.  If you don’t leave somebody an out then they have nothing to lose if they keep fighting.

You might think that some moderation may have entered the picture since that Polygon article, which ran back in September.  But you would be wrong.

IGN published an article about the war this past week which offers a good summary of what is going on.  But within it you will find Vily bringing up the same end goal.  The war of extermination is still on.  Vily has set the parameters of the war and we have no place better to be.  1DQ1-A is where most of our stuff is now, so that is where we’ll stay.

CCP has also turned its eye back to the war.  With the Triglavian event over they found time to write up a post about the battle at FWST-8, which renewed two Guinness World Records for the company back in early October.  Lots of charts and graphs.

On another front, Massively OP named World War Bee as the Best MMO Event of 2020.

And then there is the ongoing forgotten rigs meme, which hit Vily again this past week.  Madcows of Elitist Ops was nice enough to contract them back.

Available for pickup

We’ll see if he picks them up from our Keepstar in D-W7F0. (Which you can do, it would just be risky.)

Delve Front

The week opened with a bang.  Pretty much as my Week 22 summary post went live PAPI tried to break down the door to 1DQ1-A with their headshot plan to take out the cyno jammers and reinforce the ihub.  We managed to thwart their attempt, but it looked like it was finally going to be Game On.  They were finally going to come and get us.

On the ihub grid

This was what we were waiting for and people on our side were itching for a return bout.

And then everything went back to the slow skirmishes over ihubs and small structures and whatever in Delve.  Not much happened.  Some ihubs changed hands, we botched the Keepstar scoop, and Vily forgot to fit his rigs again.

Delve – Dec. 13, 2020

One environmental change occurred however.  That metaliminal storm I mentioned in Querious last week got on its bike and rode into Delve, landing in SVM-3K.  It is an electrical type storm, which is the one that disables the ability to cloak.  If that keeps moving into the region it could mean some fun times.

Other Theaters

The re-invasion of Fountain announced which I mentioned last week seems to have fallen flat, likely due to lack of interest.

Fountain – Dec. 13, 2020

NCDot had a dozen ihubs there last week, now they have three.  The Initiative, the alleged target, has deployed elsewhere, but somebody seems to be pushing back in their space time.

Also, the metaliminal storm in Fountain, unlike the one now in Delve, seemed content to just meander about its pocket.

Querious remains an entosis skirmish zone.  Systems sit with no ihubs installed as both sides seem tired of them changing hands.

Querious – Dec. 13, 2020

The metaliminal storm in Delve is still on the border with Querious, so its effects still spill into the region despite the distance that regional gate spans.  New Eden storm logic I guess.

In northwest Esoteria, while The Initiative has moved on The Bastion, Ferrata Victrix, and the Stain Russians continue to keep the region from being a safe spot in the Legacy backfield.

Northwest Esoteria – Dec. 13, 2020

And this week we have a new entry in the secondary fronts, which is Catch.  I mentioned this in a post on Saturday and indicated that it too would now have to be included on this list.

The Initiative has set up shop in the system of 0SHT-A (universally referred to as “Oh Shit!”) in the NPC null sec region of Curse, which puts them a single gate from the center of Catch and very close to Brave’s home, route to the war, and supply route from high sec.

Action in Catch

They have used this position to reinforce and kill structures, reinforce and take ihubs, gank the locals, and disrupt life for them behind the lines.

Catch – Dec. 13, 2020

While derided as another pin prick, Legacy Coalition is moving assets and setting jump clones to Catch in order to counter this new fire in their rear area.  This will degrade their efforts in Delve and generally make the war more effort for them to prosecute.

And, just to make things interesting, there is also a storm in Catch, a Gamma storm, which has a penalty to remote reps.  There is also a Winter Nexus event ice storm, but that has no penalties.

Keep up to date on storm locations… at least the non-event ones… over at EVE Scout.

My Participation

I got into a few more fleets over the week than I had in the past couple.  I was lucky enough to get into the PAPI headshot fight in 1DQ1-A, so saw some actually fleet combat.  Otherwise I was mostly along for fleets out covering entosis or shooting people trying to entosis our stuff, though I may have spent some time in Catch.  But none of my ships exploded, so my losses for the war remain:

  • Ares interceptor – 12
  • 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

CCP introduced some changes with the December patch last Tuesday, among the biggest was the change to PvE drone aggression.  Feedback… and the fact that it broke PvP drone functionality… got CCP to roll back the change.  We’ll see if they try this again once they have their code figured out.

They also un-fixed the fix that stopped people from setting their home stations in NPC stations without cloning services.  This bug was around so long that it became a feature.  The real question for me was why NPC stations don’t all have clone services at this point?

Unannounced in the patch notes, or anywhere else, was a new character generation process.  This only affects newly created accounts and there is already a forum thread complaining about it.  To me it feels like an attempt to simplify the character creation process to get people actually into the game without getting bogged down in avatar creation.  We’ll see how that plays out.

They also kicked off the holiday event, the Winter Nexus.

And this week CCP faced another foe; the launch of Cyberpunk 2077.  Given how many people are talking about this game… it shattered Blizzard’s claim that Shadowlands was the fastest selling PC game ever, moving 8 million pre-orders, including 4.7 million on PC… the PCU dipped only slightly on 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)
  • Week 20 – 37,628 (Saturday)
  • Week 21 – 34,888
  • Week 22 – 33,264
  • Week 23 – 33,149

Of course, Legacy was supposed to be conducting that big move op in order to defend Catch, so that and the holiday event might have been enough to keep the numbers from tipping too far.  We’ll see how it goes next week.

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