The war carries on in the game, on Reddit, and in other media.
I mentioned Fountain Frank last week. Well, there was more news on the Fountain Frank front as Brisc Rubal managed to track him down and interview him on the Meta Show.
At last you can get the real word on the war situation.
The Northern Front
In Fountain PandaFam has completed taking all of the ihubs in the region. They own all the space now.
Some hay has been made on Reddit about this being accomplished in under six weeks while it took the CFC of old eight weeks to evict TEST back in the Fountain War of 2013. (A timeline post here of that war.) The missing bit is that after eight weeks TEST had to evac to low sec while we still have our main line of defense still in Delve. Oh, and there is the whole Keepstars in Fountain thing.
Attention has now become focused on Upwell Structures in Fountain. There are still a string of structures that belong to the Imperium in the region. That includes some Keepstars. PandaFam has blown up three Keepstars in the region so far.
The remaining three Keepstars, located in O-PNSN, KVN-36, and Y-2ANO, are the next big targets. My post yesterday was about the successful defense of the Keepstar in Y-2ANO when PandaFam failed the armor timer and had to start their attack over again. More than 4K people were involved, with the balance well in the attacker’s favor.
Now they have to do it all again.
With their supers and titan still sitting idle down in FAT-6P in Catch, the attackers have been depending on fighters from carriers to do the heavy lifting when attacking structures. The Imperium response has been to configure fleets to kill fighters in order to make any structure fight as slow and painful and costly as possible. Fighters are not only pricey, but I am told they are logistically awkward to bring forward to a staging system far from home… and all the more so when the supply lines get interdicted.
PandaFam started to show some reluctance to lose fighters. A couple of Fortizars were saved when they just pulled back their fighters rather than let the Imperium take its toll. Saturday’s Keepstar fight saw the attackers completely avoid sending fighters to the structure until it became clear that their plan to keep the timer paused with a fleet of Ravens wasn’t going to work. Those Ravens were wiped out in two bomb runs. Only then did they send fighters, though it was too little too late.
Both sides will no doubt draw lessons from the fight at Y-2ANO and we will see how things turn next time. PandaFam seems back on board with using fighters and absorbing the cost as they set the first timer on the O-PNSN Keepstar yesterday. That is the furthest one from Delve, so is more difficult for us to get to and defend. They also managed to kill one of the Imperium Fortizars in Y-2ANO, but did not set the timer for the Keepstar. The ISK war went their way though, and they blew up a lot of Feroxes. They have not let the loss on one Keepstar timer phase them.
The Southern Front
I was looking at the Querious map and was surprised to see how well Legacy had done over the last week… and then realized I was looking at TCUs and not ihubs. Once I switched to the ihub view I was reconfirmed in my belief that TEST and Legacy are not doing much at all.
I have, in the past, implied, sometimes strongly, that TEST seems willing to let PandaFam in the north do the heavy lifting. But given the past week I am just going to say that is pretty close to being an established fact. They do distract us, keep us busy at times, and win their share of skirmishes, but they aren’t really bringing it to us the way PandaFam has been so far. They are more “annoying neighbor” than “hostile invader” most days.
The situation brings to mind a bit of propaganda from the 2013 Fountain War.
The same allies are keeping them in play seven years later. Time is a flat circle, or something like that.
Back to the ihub map of Querious, it shows that Legacy continues to struggle with the systems in eastern Querious they were so proud to have taken previously.
Their ihub count is 21 as of this writing, down a few from last week, representing about a quarter of the 95 systems in the region. Legacy did use the distraction of the battle in Y-2ANO to reinforce a bunch of ihubs, and some are in play even now. But they have some work to do to even get back to their high water mark of 41 ihubs they held back at the end of week four.
They also continue to thrash about trying to grasp some sort of foothold in the west of Querious or Period Basis. Delve seems pretty safe from them so far.
Meanwhile, when the Imperium forms up and when Legacy won’t fight, we go into their space to cause problems.
The high point of the week in that regard was when GSOL flew into Esoteria, TEST space, and dropped around 70 Athanors in the A-CJGE system, covering most of the 82 moons there. When Legacy drops structures in Period Basis or Querious, we’re very aggressive at hunting them down and blowing them up as they anchor, and we anticipated they would do the same.
We formed up a bomber fleet and some Slippery Petes to be ready when TEST formed up to shoot the structures as they anchored, their most vulnerable time, as you can simply kill them without having to go through multiple timers. We thought maybe some dreadnoughts would show up as happened previously.
However, TEST and its allies were only able to form a small bomber fleet which killed only two of the anchoring Athanors before retiring. There ended up being about 68 live, fueled structures in their space which they now have to take down in three separate operations per structure.
They have killed a few more since, but when I visited on Friday there were plenty alive and active with no timer set.
We could set them to pull moon chunks and have a mining op I suppose.
This is not the way successful invasions generally work.
I managed more than a fleet a day last week. Not all of them were combat operations. I did a couple where we were just ferrying various ships here and there to prepare defenses. I am 22 PAPs up on the month so far.
Being out and about meant some more losses. Only two, a Ferox in the big fight and a Sigil during an entosis op. I am surprised I didn’t lose my Sabre during the shield fight at the Y-2ANO Keepstar, but somehow it lived to return home.
My ship loss count for the war so far now stands at:
- Ares interceptor – 8
- Atron entosis frigate – 5
- Drake entosis battle cruiser – 3
- Scalpel logi frigate – 2
- Bifrost entosis command destroyer – 1
- Cormorant destroyer – 1
- Purifier stealth bomber – 1
- Hurricane battle cruiser – 1
- Sigil entosis industrial – 1
- Ferox battle cruiser – 1
The Keepstar armor timer fight did see quite a turn out, with more than 4,000 capsuleers counted on the battle report… you only get counted if you’re attached to a kill mail somehow… plus all of those on standby or doing peripheral tasks.
It helped that the timer was set for a Saturday at a time when both US and EU players were likely to log in.
The peak online user count for the day hit at 16:38 UTC, during the fight, when 34,544 accounts were logged in. Not a bad count for a Saturday. But 30K of that number were involved in other space business.
And Sunday was still the high water mark for the weekend, with a peak of 34,974, even though there was no huge battle going on. That was about where it was last week, when it hit 34,855, but still down from the start of the war when it hit 38,838.
So it goes.
I am now waiting for the July MER to be released. CCP used to manage that early in the month, but they have been running late on it this year. I want to see what the impact is on the markets, total destruction, and ratting and mining. With the war focused on the southwest of null sec, those living elsewhere are likely free to mine and rat without bother. I expect to see PandaFam regions doing very well.